Friday, June 14, 2019

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark WoodIn a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's been awhile since I read a mainstream mystery book! My boss recommended this one to me and I read this entire book in one setting! I did have to look up some of the terminology as this is written in England and I wasn't familiar with some of the words used.

Nora loves her secluded life. As an author, she values her alone time to focus on her writing. Her specialty is crime novels. Nora's life runs like clockwork until she receives a mysterious email one day about her former friend Clare's upcoming hen.

Clare is getting married but she hasn't seen Nora in over 10 years. They were best friends growing up but quickly grew apart.

Flo is Clare's new best friend who is setting up this entire weekend hen. Everything is planned out to the second and no one better mess with her plan! Flo is so intertwined in Clare's life that some might confuse one for the other.

Nina is a doctor and is one of Nora's friends from childhood. She also receives the email from Flo about the upcoming hen. Neither Nora or Nina are super excited about going but they decide to go together.

This book is full of suspenseful plot twists! Just as I thought I knew who was responsible for the major incident that occurs (I'll not give out spoilers!), my mind is shifted to another possible suspect. In the end, the real culprit was my #2 suspicion.

Fair warning: there is pretty heavy language in this book as well as some adult themes. There is also a lot of drinking and drugs used. I would caution younger readers and wouldn't recommend to anyone who may be sensitive to the topics listed.

This is not my typical read but, putting the language aside, I did enjoy the story.

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Deployed by Mel Odom

Deployed (Called to Serve, #1)Deployed by Mel Odom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mel Odom is a new to me author. This book captured my attention one day while I was perusing new books on Amazon to read. I immediately purchased this book and the sequel.

Deployed focuses on Lance Corporal Bekah Shaw who is a member of the Marine Reserves. She's doing all she can to support her precious son, with the help of her grandmother, while serving her country. Bekah hasn't had the easiest of lives but is blessed to have her grandmother by her side since her good-for-nothing husband decided they were no longer a priority to him. Bekah is involved in a bit of a scrap with her ex-husband shortly before finding out she has orders to go to Somalia. While the legal system is a bit slow and may cause her problems with her job, Bekah is up for the challenge.

Once in Somalia, Bekah comes face to face with a bandit named Rageh Daud who hasn't done the Marines any favors whatsoever. As a matter of fact, the Marines are searching for Daud along with several other bad guys. It's interesting to see how Bekah and her team deal with Daud in the given situation they find themselves in.

My thoughts on this book...
I enjoyed it and I would recommend it to those who have a love for military and all that they do. There are some gruesome scenes, as would be expected in a book such as this, and I feel that the author depicted them very well. I do wish the characters, especially Daud, would have been a little more developed. I felt like he was meant to be a central character but I didn't "know" him as well as Bekah.
I am looking forward to reading the sequel of this book and I'm curious as to where we will find Bekah and Daud. I'm curious as to the love aspect of this book too, wondering if it will be explored further in the next book Renegade.

As a side note, I've really slowed down on my reading lately. I wish I could crochet and read at the same time. I've been busy working on some new creations! Feel free to check out my newest items on!

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Friday, April 26, 2019

The Fred Factor: How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary by Mark Sanborn

The Fred Factor: How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinaryThe Fred Factor: How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary by Mark Sanborn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's a rare occasion that I read a non-fiction book. Not saying that there is anything wrong with the genre, it's just not my preferred genre of choice. For quite some time now, my boss has been wanting us to do a book study at the office. This book was her first choice and I'm very glad we read this one together!

Fred is a postman, but he's not your typical postman. Fred goes way out of his way, totally above and beyond his call of duty, to care for his postal patrons. He hides packages out of the way of thieves, he talks to the people on his route and genuinely gets to know them, and he's the epitome of what a great employee should look and act like. Fred loves his job and it's obvious, so much that to Fred, being the postman isn't really a job, but more like a calling.

This books gives great tips and practical advice that can be used in the workplace, as well as interpersonal relationships. I have found myself being more conscientious of the Freds around me and making a point to share Fred with those who go above and beyond their job description. Not only that, I do my best to be a Fred to others too.

I would recommend this one to anyone and everyone who is looking for ways to improve their work culture and environment. It's also great for families too!

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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Forgiven, Forgiving, and Free by Dan Winkler

Forgiven, Forgiving, & FreeForgiven, Forgiving, & Free by Dan Winkler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a quick little read but is chocked full of Bible verses and Biblical examples of forgiveness. Dan Winkler is definitely qualified to write a book on this topic and I appreciate his knowledge of the Word and sharing how forgiveness is possible. I've learned that the hardest person to forgive is yourself! Since reading this book and doing a more in-depth study of the Word, I've come to a better understanding of what forgiveness is, how to give it, and how to receive it.

I purchased this book to read in anticipation of a ladies Bible class that this will be used for.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Robin by Dave Itzkoff

RobinRobin by Dave Itzkoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book upon recommendations of several people who know that my family is dealing with Lewy Body Dementia. I will admit, at times this book was extremely difficult to read due to the extremely strong language used within. I laughed, I cried, I got mad while reading this book.

I grew up watching Mork & Mindy, in which Robin Williams played an alien. I loved that show as a kid and it was my first introduction into what would become one of my favorite all-time actors. What I didn't know growing up, and even into my adult years, was the grief and hardships that Robin overcame and continued to face to become the actor that he was. Robin grew up pretty isolated and alone. He had just about anything a kid could have ever wanted, except the time and attention from his parents that he so craved. He developed his own friends in the far room in the mansion he grew up in. Friends made of plastic molds that he could turn into any character.

This book focuses much on Robin's career. The highs, the lows, and the in-betweens. It talks of his family, the half-brothers that were closer than brothers to him, his mom Laurie, whom he thought hung the moon and stars, the three wives and various girlfriends he had, and his three children. It also talks of the close friendships he had with the likes of Billy Crystal and Christopher Reeve.

Robin was a pretty private person, considering he was an international star and celebrity. There is much of his life that I would have never known not reading this book. I wasn't reading this book though to learn about his celebrity status or what got him there. I was reading it to get a glimpse of the man he was leading up to his decision to hang himself that fateful August day. He spent most of his life lonely, depressed, strung out on drugs, addicted to alcohol, and fraternizing with various women. That's a side I would have not known of had I not read this book. Robin made everyone happy around him....except for himself. How can someone who brings such joy to others be so secluded?

There are three movies that he did that will forever be among my all-time favorites. First of all, Patch Adams. I was surprised to learn that he hated everything about that movie and didn't want to be known for it. Maybe it's the nurse in me that loved that one so much but I thought he did a fabulous job. Next, Mrs. Doubtfire. This one is my all-time favorite of his. There is something about the character, Daniel, in this movie, along with Mrs. Doubtfire, that makes it so believable. Maybe it was the issues he was dealing with at the time that spilled into his performance here to make it so. I also thoroughly enjoyed Dead Poets Society. The whole story line resonates with me so much about the desire to help others become better people. The way that movie inspired me to be a better teacher is, in part, due to Robin's sharing of himself through his acting.

While no one will ever fully know what was going through Robin's head the night of that fateful event, we can all be assured that there are researchers out there working on a cure towards this horrible disease. Many people didn't even know that Robin had been (mis) diagnosed with Parkinson's disease until after his death. It wasn't until an autopsy was performed that it was discovered he had, in fact, Lewy Body Dementia.

I would urge anyone personally dealing with this disease to seek help. Find people whom you can talk to. If you are the family member of someone dealing with this ugly disease, I would encourage you to do the same. Do not go through this alone! There are groups on social media, as well as professional counselors and support groups to help you through this. Love on those around you dealing with this and realize that they don't know what's going on with them. It's hard. I know. Reach out to me if you need to as well. Continue on in the fight against this ugly disease and pray for a way to slow down the progression and deal with the side effects so that those afflicted can have a better quality of life.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, with a bit of hesitation. There is a lot of very strong language within. There are situations that are not appropriate for immature minds. If you are only interested in the disease progression, just read the last 3 chapters of the book. You'll get what you need from there.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

The 36 Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease.... by Nancy L. Mace

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later LifeThe 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life by Nancy L. Mace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I didn't have to read this book. I wish no one had to read a book like this. Not because it's a bad book (because it isn't), but because this disease is so ugly! This book is highly recommended for anyone who is dealing with a family member, friend, or going through dementia themselves. In my particular case, we are dealing with Lewy Body Dementia. I'd heard many people recommend this book in different support groups I'm in. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to have read this but it hurt. This book will tell you how it is dealing with someone with dementia. There is no sugar coating situations. It's raw and at times, incredibly hard to read.

The author of this book made certain to cover just about every topic a family member could have when dealing with dementia. Basic symptoms are discussed, medications that are commonly prescribed along with their side effects, behaviors to look out for, modifications that may need to be made to a home or a person's life. Also, how to deal with caregiver strain (yes, it's a real serious thing), how to talk to children who may be affected, how to find a home, if needed, for the person with dementia, resources available, and so much more. As a former member of the healthcare community, I thought this book wouldn't really teach me many different things, but it did.

I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone dealing with dementia. This book is written so that you only have to read the parts you want to, but I highly recommended reading it all. There is a lot to be learned from the information shared in this book. Finally, I would also recommend that if you are a caregiver, that you take to heart the tips given in this book. Dealing with situations like dementia can cause a lot of strife in your personal life, it can destroy family relationships, and have children feeling left out. Please seek out help from professionals if needed as well. This is tough and know that I'm praying for all of you dealing with this.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser

The Fashion DesignerThe Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been on a reading break for too long!!! This book took me awhile to read only because of my super busy schedule. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Annie's story of how she came from rags to riches! Her bravery in leaving her service position to escape to what she hoped would be a better life in America kept my interest the entire time. The historical accuracy of the book was also a breath of fresh air and the author really put a lot of time and effort into getting it as right as possible.

This book has several ups and downs and the story line flowed freely. I loved the note at the end about how the characters will make appearances in other novels so that the reader can still follow their story. Overall, this was a fulfilling summer read!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion. Many thanks to NetGalley, Barbour Publishing, and Nancy Moser for allowing me to review this story!

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