Tuesday, November 13, 2018

REVIEW: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Title: A Dog’s Purpose (A Dog’s Purpose #1)
Author: W. Bruce Cameron
Publisher: Forge Books
Publication Date: July, 2010
Genre: General Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN | Audible

Description: This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog's search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, this touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8 year old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh out loud funny, this book is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

My Thoughts: All Bailey wants is to be a good dog. He knows his purpose is to take care of the people in his pack and be a good dog. I absolutely loved this story of Bailey and all of his numerous lives that bring him full circle back to the life he loved the most. Bailey offers the most meaningful insight to his surroundings and I loved how quickly he adapts each time he is reborn as a puppy, knowing he has a purpose and his determination to discover it. Though Bailey has many names in this story, I will refer to him as Bailey as the heart of the story for me is when he is with Ethan as Bailey.

The characters were well written and I loved the way the story flowed. I could easily relate to the characters and felt a lot of empathy for them. This story is told in the first-dog perspective and hearing Bailey’s opinions and thoughts and reactions to the world around him was thoroughly enjoyable.

My Final Verdict: This was my first time reading this author’s work and this book was a keeper-shelf book for me. I laughed and cried through the story and fell in love with this wonderful dog whose only purpose is to bring joy to those around him. I think he aced it.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

REVIEW: Brotherhood In Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Brotherhood In Death (In Death, #42)
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February, 2016
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Urban Fantasy
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN | Audible

Description: Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head.

Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze.

As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.

My Thoughts: Oh Em Gee! Just when you think this series has pulled out all the surprises and maybe it’s time to give Eve and the Scooby Gang a break for a change, the powers of brilliance in the great imagination of the talented J.D. Robb says “Oh no, you ain’t seen nothing yet!” Insert evil mwah ha ha ha here…

I thought with a story featuring the wonderful Dennis Mira as the central character would be a slow paced story, like Dennis is a comfort to Eve, with fuzzy sweaters, scents of pipe tobacco and hot chocolate. I thought (smacking forehead here) that this would be a soft shuffle of a story, as Lord knows Eve and the gang work awful hard and could use a bit of a rest. This story peels back layer upon layer that opens a depraved and twisted world to Eve filled with people who have gotten away with horrific acts…until now. I’m shocked Eve and her gang haven’t been committed to an asylum yet or undergoing intense therapy by now. One of the things I love about the characters in this series is their uncanny ability to do the job and do it well while maintaining their perspective of the world around them and keeping it real with a great balance of humor and sarcasm.

This story is definitely not black and white when coming to the identity of the villain. I had a lot of empathy for the characters who found themselves cast in this role, but like Eve, felt that justice still needed to be served. Eve often finds herself in the position of having to make some very hard decisions, but I admire her strength of character and integrity and how hard she works to keep it separate from her personal feelings.

My only negative issue with this story was no Mavis, Leonardo or Bella. Hopefully, they will make an appearance in the next book to add a little color to the mix.

My Final Verdict: I highly recommend this book. It’s keeper-shelf material for me, as are most of the books in this series. I always look forward to what Eve gets into next and watching her grow as a character in a variety of situations is highly entertaining.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

REVIEW: If You're Not The One by Jemma Forte

Title: If You’re Not The One
Author: Jemma Forte
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: June, 2015
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: What if you could do it all over again?

Jennifer Wright is pretty sure her husband doesn't love her anymore. She and Max used to be the perfect couple, but the pressures of work and kids have pulled them in opposite directions. Now, Jen is full of "what if" questions about whether her bland, suburban existence is all she was ever destined for.

When a terrible accident sends Jen into a coma, she is able to see what her life could have been if she had run off to Australia with the handsome, dangerous man she met on vacation, or if she had stayed with her workaholic college boyfriend. Would she ever have loved another child as much as she loves her daughters? Could she have become rich? More than anything, Jen wants to do the right thing for her family. But what she discovers may leave her with even more questions about the choices she made, and no easy answers about what to do next.

My Thoughts: With If You’re Not The One, new to me author, Jemma Forte, opens the door on the “what if” that we all have wondered in our lives. What if I had met him sooner? What if I had taken the bus that day? What if, what if, what if…

Our protagonist is a normal wife and mother of two young children facing this complex question after she is a bad accident and lying comatose in the hospital. She is able to revisit her past relationships to see what would have happened if she had chosen one of them instead of her husband, Max. And before you guess that she would have always chosen Max, give this book a look. I was actually hoping for a different outcome, but was so mesmerized with the way the story unfolded that I had to keep turning the page to find out what would happen next. Getting a bird’s-eye view into Jennifer’s life makes me appreciate that everything does happen for a reason, even if we are not cognizant of the reason. Sometimes not knowing is for the best. But for just a fleeting, brief moment, how exciting it would be to know what would have happened if….

I enjoyed how the plot flowed between the present and Jennifer’s past memories. She is aware of what is happening and knows the choice is up to her. She just has to choose to walk through that door. The storyline was easy to follow and kept me engaged throughout the entire story. The characters were easy to relate to and I felt a lot of empathy toward Jennifer. Her frustration is realistic, as well as her anger and fear. I admired the courage and strength she demonstrates to face the challenges in front of her.

My Final Verdict: I highly recommend this story not only because it’s really good, but also because it is a story we all have gone through and can relate to. Jennifer’s journey shouldn’t be a new experience for any of us and it’s a good reminder to embrace our lives with joy and live our choices to the fullest extent of our capabilities.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of If You’re Not The One from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

REVIEW: The Competition by Marcia Clark

Title: The Competition (Rachel Knight #4)
Author: Marcia Clark
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: July, 2014
Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN | Audible

Description: In Marcia Clark's most electrifying thriller yet, Los Angeles DA Rachel Knight investigates a diabolical high school massacre.

A Columbine-style massacre at a high school in the San Fernando Valley has left a community shaken to its core. Two students are identified as the killers. Both are dead, believed to have committed a mutual suicide. But in the aftermath of the shooting, as LA Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller dig deeper, they realize that the pieces don't add up. Could it be that the two "killers" were themselves victims? And if so, does that mean that the real killers are still on the loose? When someone starts dropping clues that another horrific crime is in the works, Rachel and Bailey scramble desperately to profile their suspect and prevent another killing--before it's too late.

My Thoughts: The fourth book of this very good series left me with a lot of questions…such as “will there be more in this series?” I enjoyed this intense and suspenseful story that brings Rachel and Bailey face to face with a killer, psychotic and diabolical while appearing innocent. The setting of a mass murder at a high school leaves charged emotions and intense fear for all of the characters in this story. I especially enjoyed how methodic Rachel and Bailey are in hunting down and following up on the clues amidst all of the chaos and confusion surrounding them. The clock is ticking and it’s only a matter of time before the killers strike again. How much time is the question, so every minute is precious.

The author does an excellent job of capturing the terror and horror of the situation as well as the emotions of all the characters on both sides of the investigation. The plot flowed smoothly and kept me intrigued all the way to the end. The characters are well written and easy to relate to and empathize with. I truly hope there will be more books in this series in the future as there are a lot of loose ends that haven’t been addressed.

My Final Verdict: I highly recommend this series to readers who enjoy complex storylines and characters with multiple layers that are revealed as the reader gets to know them.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Competition from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, July 04, 2018

REVIEW: Trapped At The Altar by Jane Feather

Title: Trapped At The Altar (Trapped #1)
Author: Jane Feather
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: July, 2014
Genre: Historical Romance
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN | Audible

Description: New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather introduces a sizzling new series that moves from the remote wilds of southwest England to the turbulent royal court, when a lovely young woman is forced into marriage to unite two families—and discovers a most unexpected desire...

Headstrong Ariadne Daunt is convinced she loves handsome Gabriel Fawcett, but her grandfather has other plans for her. He decrees that she marry Ivor Chalfont, thus forging a powerful alliance between the two warring families who share ownership of their valley. Given no time to plot an escape, Ari finds herself standing reluctantly at the altar, swearing to honor and obey a man who is not her choice.

Ivor has treasured Ari as a friend ever since he was brought to the valley as a child, but now he feels a man's desires. He longs to take the beautiful young woman to his bed and make their marriage more than an empty vow. Ari may believe she loves another man, but Ivor believes otherwise—and he will not rest until he gains her heart, her trust . . . and her passion.

My Thoughts: Ari and Ivor have been friends since they were children but Ari is not happy when she is ordered by her family to marry Ivor to secure her family’s security and standing with the King. Ari believes she is in love with another man and has no qualms about telling Ivor her heart belongs to another. Ivor accepts his responsibility to the family and marries Ari but believes her feelings will change and he will win her heart.

I found this story very interesting in that Ari is not a virginal maiden. She has given her body and heart to another man; a man she is not married to. Very taboo in this historical setting, as marriages are contracts and the bride’s purity is an important part of the arrangement. I found it interesting that Ivor goes through with the marriage despite knowing Ari has given herself to another and he keeps that secret between them. I really admired that as this story could have had a completely different outcome.

The only real problem I had with this story is with Ari. She is self-centered and selfish in the beginning. She appears to be a little fickle in how quickly she gets over Gabriel and realizes she loves Ivor. I enjoyed watching her squirm a little bit when Gabriel appears in London and she is filled with anxiety how she will address the situation. It is resolved not how I thought it would, but, again, Ivor deserves the credit for doing the right thing. I liked Ari, but she needed to do a lot of growing up and with Ivor, she is well on her way.

My Final Verdict: Though Ari starts off as very immature and headstrong, she develops into a proper noblewoman doing what her family expects of her. I thought Ivor was an excellent character and I liked that he accepts the challenge of marriage to Ari and winning her love and doesn’t look back. Fans of historical romances will enjoy the backdrop of the court of King Charles II.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Trapped At The Altar from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

REVIEW: The Beginner's Guide To The Birds And The Bees by Sophie Hart

Title: The Beginners Guide to the Birds and the Bees
Author: Sophie Hart
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: September, 2014
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: What happens in the bedroom doesn’t have to stay in the bedroom…

A refreshingly open and uplifting romantic comedy about friendship, love and sex. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone in order to give a relationship a good dose of TLC…

Sex therapist Annie Hall helps couples put the fizz back into their relationships. It’s a shame her own love life is non-existent. When Jamie who works next door catches her eye, she can’t ignore the spark of chemistry.

Most men would jump at the chance to skive off work for an afternoon quickie with their gorgeous wife, but Nick knows Julia is after only one thing – a baby. Sex shouldn’t be a chore. Can Annie help Julia see that?

Newly engaged Zoe and Simon can’t keep their hands off each other. They’ve decided to take a vow of celibacy until their wedding night. Will Annie help them stick to it?

Roy and Linda have been married for over thirty years but she’s more interested in the family business than getting intimate with him. Can Annie convince Linda to rediscover her passion for Roy after all this time?

While Annie begins to work her magic with the three couples, she soon discovers that she’ll need to take some of her own advice if she’s going to let a new man into her life.

My Thoughts: Loved, loved, loved this story! New to me author Sophie Hart pens a story of the ups and downs of love for three very different couples who all seek the advice of a sex therapist for very different and interesting reasons. The best thing about this story is the sex therapist, Annie Hall. She isn’t there to help them get better in the sack, she actually helps them rebuild the emotional intimacy that makes relationships grow and thrive. On a side-note, Annie’s love life is a zero, though she puts on a brave face and goes out on the occasional date. True love has not found Annie and she has nearly convinced herself that it’s for the best. I loved the chemistry between her and Jamie and you will too.

The couples that Annie takes on as clients are vibrant and come alive on the page. The reader will get an excellent sense of the emotions all six of these people feel; feelings about their relationships, their partners and even themselves. I had a lot of compassion and empathy for them and was rooting for all of them to be successful. The exercises Annie puts them through as couples and as a group were a lot of fun to witness. The author takes this story further by delving deeper into the characters on a personal level, so the reader gets to know them better as individuals as they all get to know each other and form friendships. The story moves at a very good pace. I wanted to savor it but I just couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

My Final Verdict: The Beginner’s Guide to the Birds and the Bees by Sophie Hart is a must-read for fans of the romance genre, but fans who seek more comedy than romance in their reading will enjoy this as well. This was a keeper-shelf book for me and I think it will be for you too.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Beginners Guide to the Birds and the Bees from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

REVIEW: Wonderment In Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Wonderment In Death (In Death #41.5)
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Jove
Publication Date: September, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN | Audible

Description: Someone is hosting dangerous tea parties in 2061 New York...

Thing aren't what they seem when Lieutenant Eve Dallas investigates what appears to be a routine murder/suicide. When friends of Darlene and Marcus Fitzwilliams insist Darlene would never hurt her brother, Eve digs deeper.

Eve learns that Darlene sought help from sensitivities, psychics, and doctors of paranormal studies in an attempt to contact her dead parents. After clues mimicking Alice in Wonderland repeatedly turns up, the case gets curiouser and curiouser...

Racing against the clock, Eve must travel down the rabbit hole to stop a madman's murderous tea party.

My Thoughts: To be honest, I only read the Eve Dallas story, though it’s part of an anthology featuring stories with variations of an Alice in Wonderland theme. Wonderment In Death brings Eve and the Scooby gang together to investigate an apparent murder/suicide committed by Darlene Fitzwilliams when she stabs her brother in the heart and then throws herself off his balcony. As the investigation progresses, Eve discovers that Darlene has been seeking the services of a medium who promises her contact with her dead parents...for a bunch of money in cash withdrawals. Eve’s spidey sense goes into high gear as she meticulously narrows her search to find the culprit.

My Final Verdict: I loved the story and enjoyed the Alice in Wonderland theme. The villain’s identity wasn’t a deep mystery, but the enjoyment was more with the way the author creates the world in which Eve lives. The mini novellas satisfy the craving the reader has for more interaction with Eve and the gang while waiting for the next full-length novel. Unlike other novellas that are part of a series, these stay true to the previous storylines and character development and flow seamlessly towards the next story.

My craving wasn’t satisfied after finishing Wonderment, so I had to immediately start the next story in the series. That is the downside to the novella…less everything, but it is easily remedied by jumping into the next story. In fact, I highly recommend doing just that…you know, just to make sure you get your fill of Eve and the gang. This is such an enjoyable series and I get such enjoyment from seeing these characters develop and grow and live. They feel like friends and family as time goes on and what more could a reader ask for?


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at sharalsbooks@yahoo.com Happy Reading! :o)