There Is Something about Edgefield – a Review

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Title: There Is Something About Edgefield: Shining a Light on the Black Community through History, Genealogy, and Genetic DNA

Authors: Edna Gail Bush and Natonne Elaine Kemp

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions remain my own.

Genealogy has become something of an obsession for many people today. There have been shows about it, Ancestry makes lots of money off it. It seems that more and more people are driven to discover their ancestral roots.

I am no exception. I am a Latter-day Saint, and honoring our ancestors is an important part of our beliefs. I think this made me a good choice to review this book. In this little book, the authors, both of whom are African American, describe their attempts to uncover more of their family heritage. They combine family stories and photographs with the latest research techniques and new sites that use your DNA to pinpoint your unique heritage.

They also go through all the records they search, looking for the slightest clue to how their ancestors lived and what they experienced. Land records, census, court and probate records all work to complete a fuller picture. It’s not all pretty. Since like many African Americans, some of their ancestors were enslaved and some were the slaveholders, it shines a light on a dark and ugly chapter of American history.

As far as the writing and the style goes, I’m a little torn. They definitely could have summarized more of the steps they took to find out the information, and just included what they found out. Sometimes the actual research parts – what records they found and where – was a little boring. On the other hand, I think this book could also be viewed as an instructional book for other African Americans trying to find out what records exist for their history. I think it could be very valuable in that way. I loved all the stories they included and they way the writers reached out to living family members to hear the stories they grew up with.

In all, I would say this book is not for everyone, but if you are interested in researching your family tree, and especially if you have southern African American roots, this book would be one you’d want to read.

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The Things We Learn When We’re Dead

33142013The Things We Learn When We’re Dead
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Humor
Publication Date: January 26, 2017
Summary:
With elements of The Wizard of Oz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Lovely Bones, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead shows how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, and how sometimes we can get a second chance.
On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… Or does God have a higher purpose after all?
At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33142013-the-things-we-learn-when-we-re-dead?ac=1&from_search=true


Hey bookies! I was asked to review a new book, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw. This was a quick read that had me trying to puzzle together the events in our main character’s life to see what lead her to being in HVN. Lorna is a soon to be lawyer on the cusp of a solid career when she’s struck by a car. After that, things get, well, weird. Turn out, Lorna didn’t survive that collision and now she’s figuring out what the afterlife is all about. Turns out it’s NOTHING like she expected.

Lorna has a lot of time to remember the significant events in  her life – vacations with her family, her first love, good times with her best friend Suze – but it’s the final week of her life that she can’t seem to work out. Which is too bad, because it looks like that’s the key to figuring out what she’s supposed to be doing next.

This was a slow, quirky book. I thought the characters were the best parts. Lorna isn’t very happy when she’s alive, but she did seem like a real, well drawn character. The employees at the Happy Mart – great name, BTW – all seemed real too. I felt like it took a little too long to get to the end, but I’m glad I had a chance to read it. And I love the rocket on the cover! So cool.

You can win a copy of this book right now!

Giveaway: 2 Print Copies of TTWLWWD Signed by Author
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Blog Tour Organized By:

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http://www.rrbooktours.com

A few reviews

I’m playing catch up with my reviews so I’m going to do a few today.

Let’s start with the one I didn’t like so I can finish strong. The Shadow Rises by K S Marden, Witch Hunters book 1. Witch hunters and witches and inherited powers. A little confused with poorly developed characters. DNF. Not much to say but at least it was free.

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Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott, Sam Capra book 1

Sam works for the CIA. His wife is expecting their first baby. She also works for the Company. One day Sam goes to work and receives a call to from her to come outside right this second. As soon as he does a bomb goes off in the building and she disappears.

Sam is now the only survivor and the chief suspect. He only wants to escape custody and find his wife and baby. To do that he has to make some new allies and go on the run.

I love a good thriller and this one sounded really exciting. It has a great premise, as who doesn’t identify with wanting to find your family and keep them safe? The bad guys were pretty bad,the pace was goos. But the writing kept me from giving it more than 3.5 stars. Also I don’t enjoy political thrillers as much, so it wasn’t quite what I expected.


 

Goldmayne by Kate Stradling

Duncan escapes an abusive father to wind up servant to a witch. There he meets a talking 🐎 who helps him escape. They set off for a neighboring country and find work at the castle.

This was a fairy tale retelling of two French stories, Scurvyhead and Goldmayne. I was unfamiliar with either story, so I couldn’t tell at first how it was going to end. It has a happy ending, of course, and the hero gets the girl. Fun stuffstuff. This one is on Kindle Unlimited or it’s only $1.

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Finally my favorite of the bunch, Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

“Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.” Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

I actually liked this better than the Dresden Files. I liked Tavi and Amara better than I like Harry Dresden. It still has some problems, mainly a hyper sexualized female villain (her character does get explained though), but I thought it was a lot of fun. Looking forward to the next book.I

 

Hope this have you done ideas for your next read. See you later!

 

Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness – a review

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Title: Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness 🐓

Author: David Casarett

Meet Ladarat Patalung – the first and only nurse detective in Thailand. 
Two nights ago, a young woman brought her husband into the emergency room of the Sriphat Hospital in Thailand, where he passed away. A guard thinks she remembers her coming in before, but with a different husband – one who also died.

Ladarat Patalung, for one, would have been happier without a serial murderer-if there is one — loose in her hospital. Then again, she never expected to be a detective in the first place.

And now, Ladarat has no choice but to investigate…

The first novel in a captivating new series by David Casarett, M.D.

Ladarat at works at a large hospital in the tourist town of Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is  a nurse ethicist, which means she helps with tough decisions that doctors and patients make every day. She enjoys her job, but when a friend who is a police officer asks for her help investigating a sudden death at the hospital.

A woman arrived at the emergency room with her dead husband and her marriage certificate, asking if she could get a death certificate. Very odd, she thinks. Even more mysterious when she discovers that the same woman had visited the hospital a few years earlier, with a different dead husband, one with the very same name. The police think it was murder, and that in fact, the woman might be a serial killer. Ladarat isn’t sure she’s cut out to be a detective, but surely finding a killer is an ethical thing to do? Meanwhile, she’s also helping the family of a dying tourist and preparing for a coming inspection by the health department.

I really enjoyed this book. The setting was so refreshing. I found myself drawn deeply into the world of the busy tourist destination. Then the hospital was a great place for the story too – so much human drama. The writer is always comparing the  Thai and American culture.

My one concern – I would have enjoyed this book more of it were an Own Voices book. This was written by an American doctor, so it’s no wonder that he got the hospital part right. But I really wondered how accurate the whole Thai setting was.  In the end though I liked it enough that I would probably read another book by the same author.

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Pirates AND Dragons!

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Are you looking for a great escape read? After watching Marvel’s The Avengers: Infinity War – no spoilers, I promise! – I *really* needed something light and happy. What could be better than a fantasy story with a love triangle, pirates, and a little dragon? How about a kick-ass heroine who gets in there and mixes it up? And how about doing it all for less than a dollar?

The book is Moss Forest Orchid, book 1 in the Silver & Orchids series by one of my favorite fairy tale writers, Shari L. Tapscott. I’ve talked about Shari’s books before on here, so you know that I love them, but these books are not based on a fairy tale. They are entirely new.

Lucia is from a family of chicken farmers, looking for a way into a better life. She teams up with best friend (and grandson of the local lord) Sebastian and sets up as adventurers. Unfortunately, she invests all their earnings with a man who turns out to be a con artist, and the two have nothing to show for all their hard work. Then they hear about a new job – bringing back a cutting of a rare flower, an orchid that only grows in a distant and dangerous swamp. The pay would be enough for Lucia to pay back Sebastian and make a new start.

There’s only a few problems with this plan. First, Lucia and Sebastian can hardly talk to each other without fighting, so teaming up is going to be rough. And second, there’s this distracting (and sexy) pirate captain who keeping turning up. Finally, Lucia has hm, acquired a dragon egg, which is going to be trouble. The whole thing is a bit of a mess. But hey, pirates are good!

I loved this one so much that the love triangle didn’t even phase me. Normally I avoid those books, but this one was just done right. I was really deceived by the first book, but as soon as I finished, I downloaded book 2, Greybrow Serpent, and completely switched my ship! The first book is available on Amazon right now for only $1 so you have no reason not to check it out. Love, love this series!

 

 

A Lack of Temperance – a review

A Lack of Temperance by Anna Loan-Wilsey

Hattie Davish arrives at her new job as a secretary to an older woman. But whe she get there, she finds that her employer is missing and she’s right in the middle of a storm over temperance. Her employer is the president of a large protest organization and they’re hosting a rally that week. But her new boss turns up dead and the police haven’t got much to go on. Hattie better figure out what’s going on before she become a victim herself.

I liked this series debut. The setting, Arkansas in the late 19th century, was well done. I liked the resort town. It’s certainly one that’s not overdone, so I hope that the writer keeps the books in the same area. But I wasn’t as crazy about the main character as I was about the setting. I felt that she was a little inconsistent and times and not especially likeable. Still, she might grow on me.

Overall, recommended. I received this book for review from LT Early Reviewers program.

These Honored Dead – a review

These Honored Dead by Jonathan Putnam, book 1 in the Lincoln and Speed series

Set in Illinois during the time Lincoln worked as a private lawyer before his marriage.

Joshua Speed, the enterprising second son of a wealthy plantation owner, has struck off on his own. But before long, he makes a surprising and crucial new acquaintance–a freshly minted lawyer by the name of Abraham Lincoln.

When an orphaned girl from a neighboring town is found murdered and suspicion falls on her aunt, Speed makes it his mission to clear her good name. Of course, he’ll need the legal expertise of his unusual new friend. Together, Lincoln and Speed fight to bring justice to their small town. But as more bodies are discovered and the investigation starts to come apart at the seams, there’s one question on everyone’s lips: does Lincoln have what it takes to crack his first murder case?

Inspired by actual events from the American frontier, Jonathan Putnam’s thrilling debut These Honored Dead brings renewed verve and vigor to the historical mystery genre that readers haven’t seen since Caleb Carr’s The Alienist.

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So much of this was freaking amazing. I have so much to say I don’t really know where to start.

I guess I’ll start with the audio. I listened to this one and I have to give the reader a solid 5 stars. There were so many different voices in this one. The freed Black man, the Kentucky gentleman, Abraham Lincoln with his well-known high pitched voice, the poor house keeper, the Illinois sheriff – such a range but all of them sounding distinct and authentic.

Several of the other reviewers complained that there was either not enough Lincoln or any at all, objecting to his presence in a historical fiction. I liked it. They should have read the book description.

For the rest, I really enjoyed this book. I thought the premise was great. The story itself was good. But it was the setting that made it exceptional. So many issues packed in here. I loved the accent for the Kentucky gentleman, that’s just a very pleasing sound. But then I’d hear what he was actually saying. He just couldn’t understand what the problem was with The Peculiar Institution i.e. slavery. He was reluctant to use the real word and called his slave a Bondswoman. Just the way he spoke for her, treated her like – well, like property. That wasn’t even the main subject of the book, but it still dominated things, what with the looming threat of the coming war.

I would recommend this one. I already added the second book to my TBR list.

The Time Hunters – A Review

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The Time Hunters, book 1 

by Carl Ashmore

Becky is a typical thirteen year old girl. She likes Facebook, gossiping and plenty of sleep. So when she and her brother, Joe, are invited to stay with their ‘loony’ Uncle Percy at his stately home, she thinks it’ll be the worst summer ever. What she doesn’t realise is that Bowen Hall is also home to a baby Triceratops, two Sabre-tooth tigers and the mythic hero, Will Scarlet… 

‘The Time Hunters’ is a thrilling adventure that takes Becky, Joe, Uncle Percy and Will on a quest through time to find the legendary Golden Fleece. 

The Clock is ticking…. 

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Becky and Joe are sent off to spend the summer with their Uncle Percy, whom they’ve never met. Neither is very excited about it, but it turns out to be the most exciting thing that could have happened to them – and something that could change their lives forever.

This is actually a tricky book for me to review. It’s not because I didn’t enjoy it. I did. Rather, it’s because I’m not the target audience. This is clearly written for younger readers. I wish I could have given it to a young teen and asked them what they thought. For me, I thought it was pretty over the top, a little too much going on in here and not enough character development. But it wasn’t written for me.

The book has plenty that would have appealed to my kids when they were younger – the idea of time travel, the fun look at classic myths and the twists the writer includes, and hey, dinosaurs. What kids wouldn’t enjoy that? I liked that the writer looked at time travel from a kid’s eye. Most adult time travel books have them going back to see famous historical events like Washington crossing the Delaware or the Battle of Hastings. But kids would absolutely be more interested in dinosaurs, in events they have personal knowledge of, or things that affected their family. I felt that was very real.

That said, I hope that as the series progresses we see some character development. Becky and Joe are pretty typical siblings – they don’t get along great most of the time. Joe is very much treated like he’s too young to understand what’s going on while Becky gets the full explanation. I’m not sure that’s completely fair. There’s only two years separating the kids. I’d like to see their relationship develop and the kids mature. With the big reveal near the end of the book, there’s certainly room for some growth.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it for parents with kids about 9 – 13. As it is, I don’t think I’ll be reading more, but it was a fun read.

 

Bosch: A Review

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Have you watched this Amazon show? I only saw the first episode, but since I mentioned it in a blog post recently, I thought I would rerun my review of the first book in the series by Michael Connolly.

The Black Echo by Michael Connolly

This may be the only time I can remember that I am giving a book 5 stars, but I’m not planning to read anymore in the series.

It’s not the main character. I really liked Harry Bosch. Maybe he’s a bit cliched, but I found him a likable sort of loner with a messed up past. A crummy childhood, combined with some serious PTSD from the Vietnam war, has left him unable to trust anyone. It’s a good thing, really, because with just a couple of exceptions, everyone in this book is exclusively working for himself.

When the body of a fellow Tunnel Rat, a guy from Harry’s old army unit, is found apparently dead of an overdose, Harry feels like he owes his old buddy more than the cursory glance the rest of the police force wants to give the case. Add to that some guilt Harry feels about letting his old buddy down, and he’s just not about to let things drop. So when his investigation leads to a connection with a major bank heist that the FBI is still investigating, he starts asking questions. A lot of questions. And now he’s being followed by two guys from Internal Affairs who can’t wait to shut him down.

This all sounds pretty good, so what am I complaining about? It’s just the general feel of the book. It’s unrelentingly pessimistic – life stinks, you can’t trust anyone (and Harry can’t), everyone is hiding something, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending for anyone. It’s Harry against The World. And I’m just not going to read more of that. My own life is complicated enough; I don’t want to read somethings this dark when it’s supposed to be reading for fun. So I guess I’m saying that it’s a good book; it’s just not the right book for me.

Astounding Antagonists – review

Astounding Antagonists by Rafael Chandler.

Dr. Agon, a megalomaniacal inventor with an arsenal of lethal gadgets. Motley, a wisecracking jewel thief with nothing left to lose. Chillpill, a cryogenic drug lord who just wants a normal life. Baelphegor, a demonic psychopath with an ugly score to settle.
They’re the most dangerous supervillains on Earth, and they’re about to pull off the perfect crime. There’s just one catch: if they succeed, they might accidentally save the world.
From the skyscrapers of Apex City to the gates of Hell itself, the Antagonists are pursued by violent superheroes and billionaire vigilantes. But as loyalties are tested and old hatreds are rekindled, the line between friend and foe begins to blur… 

I really expected to enjoy this one, but it didn’t work for me at all. There were a few characters I liked, but for the most part that were just really unpleasant. I hate books where I don’t like the characters. Then the superheroes and the villains all sit around discussing politics. Really? Socialism vs. capitalism? That’s your banter?

I think the author had some interesting questions in here, like what happens when the heroes get powerful that they can’t be controlled, what would happen to an average dude who got super powers, but it was just so preachy. I was so disappointed