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review 2017-06-30 17:19
Laguna The Lonely Mermaid - Savannah Alatorre,Don Castillo,Dan Alatorre

Laguna The Lonely Mermaid by Dan Alatorre Coloful children's story. The mermaid is sad and lonely. She watches a boat capsize in the water and all the pirates go in the water. The dolphins help them to make it to an island. Sea creatures help the pirates and Laguna makes new friends. Love how the story came about and suggestions on how you can use it for educational purposes also. Great for older children also. Author bios and Illustrator bio are included. Other works by the author are highlighted at the end with summaries of what the books are about. Q&A is included to get the child to think how things could be different. Added bonus material at the website. Received this review copy from the author and this is my honest review.

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review 2017-05-18 07:40
Second Impressions
The Beauty Within - Savannah J. Frierson

I have been a fan of this author since Trolling Nights. I've had several of her books in my tbr pile and I decided to read this one on my Kindle. I really liked this book. It starts out in an unusual fashion. Tyler and Gunnar do not have good first impressions. In fact, Gunnar is actually a jerk to Tyler when they first meet. Gunnar is a gym owner and he has to take his personal trainer's new client and his current girlfriend had pissed him off and he's not happy about it. His behavior reminds Tyler of her insecurities with her weight.

Gunnar is man enough to admit when he's being a tool. He apologizes and finds that he's very attracted to Tyler. Truth be told, Gunnar never seemed to have an issue with Tyler's weight, but he's willing to help Tyler train to be more healthy since her weight was giving her back problems. As they spend time together, the attraction grows into something much more.

I've heard some of Savannah J. Frierson's readers don't like her insecure heroines. That doesn't bother me. I think that's realistic. Most women are insecure about something about themselves, be it external or internal. I think it makes her heroines relatable. I think that one could argue that her heroes are too perfect, but Gunnar definitely isn't that. He's a good guy and he makes up for being a jerk, but he did behave that way. And his past in LA showed that he was fallible and has made mistakes. I liked both of them. I enjoyed their romance. Their relationship was sexy and romantic. I also liked how the author integrated some real life issues into the story, from poor body image, the impact of broken relationships, drug abuse, and body abuse to fit an unrealistic ideal. It wasn't done in a preachy way, which I appreciated.

I also liked how Gunnar's Swedish heritage was integrated into the story. He would use words from his parents' native language, since he spoke it fluently. Also Tyler's culture as a black Southerner was integral. I liked how Tyler was really close to her sister and the fact that her sister's man worked for Gunnar and was friends with him. Their conversations felt authentic to me. Also, the characters have unique professions. Gunnar is an ex-model and gym owner and Tyler owns and runs a barber shop.

I went through a phase where I read a lot of BBW heroines (big, beautiful women) and I sort of fell out of it. I still like the sub-genre and the fact that a woman could be larger sized and still be appreciated by a man without losing weight. I think this was handled well in the book. Tyler focuses on getting healthy (although she does go in a more unhealthy direction with the weight loss and that is a huge trigger for Gunnar). I think that was good that Frierson factored this in, because it's important to be healthy in losing weight. What I loved the most was that Gunnar appreciated her before she lost weight, and my hope is that Tyler comes to embrace herself in the shape she comes and not focus on an unhealthy ideal.

This isn't my favorite by Frierson, because I love Trolling Nights and Being Plumville so much, but I did enjoy it a lot and would recommend this book to contemporary romance readers, and those interested in interracial romance.

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review 2017-03-14 19:56
High-octane Police Procedural
Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI) - Carolyn Arnold

Thanks to Rosie Amber, to the author and her husband for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I voluntarily choose to review (before its official launch).

I read thrillers often and although until recently I’d been reluctant to read books belonging to series that I had not followed before, I’ve found myself reading a few books in this category and enjoying them. Sometimes we might feel particularly attracted to a story line but wonder if we’ll enjoy a book where we’re missing much of the background. Rest assured; although your experience might be different to that of somebody who’s followed the characters from the very beginning, that shouldn’t put you off.

In this novel, the sixth in the Brandon Fisher FBI series, the story is complex and intriguing. The setting, Savannah, Georgia, where some body parts are found in the river crossing through an old plantation. New remains keep appearing and the details of the cases point at ritual killings. Things get more and more bizarre and the plot twists and turns like the river itself.

Most of the book is narrated in the first person by Brandon Fisher. As mentioned, I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, but there are quite a few clues as to past events in his life (he was married, lost a child, was in a relationship with a member of the team, Paige, that ended…) and in that of other team members (his boss almost died in a recent case, Paige is now in a new relationship…) and we get a good sense of the dynamics within the team. There are some chapters written in the third person but narrated by Paige, and also by other unnamed characters (that we soon realise are involved in the crime). The author spins the story with these different threads, managing to maintain the intrigue and mystery despite the alternating viewpoints and complexities. She is also very adept at making the characters sound genuine, using professional terminology and achieving a high degree of accuracy on the procedural side of things, ensuring that the authentic details serve the story rather than slowing it down with endless descriptions that distract the reader from the plot.

There is plenty of action, clues to follow, puzzles to be solved, and an interesting explanation behind the crimes. (As I want to avoid spoilers at all cost, I won’t talk in detail about it, although as a psychiatrist, and one who has worked in forensic psychiatry for a number of years, I must say one of the aspects of the explanation is controversial within the profession [the diagnosis is included in several classifications of mental disorders although disputed by clinicians] but very popular in books and movies.)

The book is easy to read, a page-turner and difficult to put down. Brandon Fisher is not the typical hero: he doubts himself, wonders often about his personal life and questions his decisions, worries about his partners and his boss, has a weak stomach and gets queasy in the scene of violent crimes. He can be reckless at times, has a sense of humour, and is good at convincing people and reading them, gaining their trust. I wasn’t totally convinced that what he does at the end fits in with his behaviour and comments throughout the story, but it is understandable that being exposed to extreme risks and dangers would make anybody reconsider his or her life. The book can be enjoyed in its own right, but I’m always curious about the background of the characters, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed coming to the book armed with the knowledge of the previous novels in the series.

The local characters vary between the local police, who do not play an important part, the relatives of the victims, that are depicted sympathetically and given their own touching stories, and the characters linked to the current case.  Some of those make brief appearances, whilst we know how the minds of others work and we see events from their points of view although we only find out their circumstances later. This works well for lovers of mysteries as we suspect and rule out many of the characters and keep wondering until the end.

In sum, a solid police procedural novel, well researched and constructed, for those who love complex stories and who don’t mind gore details.

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text 2017-03-01 15:35
My February 2017
The Policewoman - Justin W. M. Roberts
Pride and Prejudice - Manga - Morpheus Studios,Po Tse,Jane Austen
Thief of Lies - Brenda Drake
Graffiti (and Other Poems) - Savannah Brown,ed stockham
Harables: Short Stories 2 (Volume 2) - Haidji
Harry Potter: Die Märchen von Beedle dem Barden / Wilharm: Ein Klassiker aus der Zaubererwelt von Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
Guardian of Secrets - Brenda Drake
Gone Wild - Jodi Lundgren
Der Schneeleopard - Tess Gerritsen,Andreas Jäger
The Policewoman - 4.5 stars
Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice - 5 stars
Thief of Lies - 4.5 stars
Graffiti (and Other Poems) - 4.5 stars
Harables: Short Stories 2 - 4 stars
Die Märchen von Beedle dem Barden - 5 stars
Guardian of Secrets - 3 stars
Gone Wild - 2 stars
Der Schneeleopard - 5 stars

 

Favorite book(s) of the month: The Policewoman, Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice, Graffiti (and Other Poems), Der Schneeleopard

 

Books started this month but haven't finished yet: Everything Reminds You of Something Else, Entsetzen

 

I just need to stare at the amount of books I read this month. Granted, one of them I read all through january and finished on the first of february. Some of them are very short books or poetry. But damn, I finished 9 books this month. Even though there was a lot going on and a lot of running around from one appointment to the next.

Qualitiy wise, I only didn't really enjoy two of the books I read, the rest of them were really freaking great.

I'm trying to keep my hopes up, cause I don't think I will keep up with the reading pace I had in february. But man, if would be great if march were amazing like that.

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review 2017-02-14 04:47
Little Tails in the Savannah by Frederic Brremaud
Little Tails in the Savannah - Frederic ... Little Tails in the Savannah - Frederic Brremaud,Mike Kennedy

Little Tails in the Savannah by Frederic Brremaud is a fun-to-read book about Chipper and Squizzo, a puppy and squirrel who have a cardboard airplane to travel and explore wonderful places.

 

They encounter real animals in the African Savannah. They came across a monkey, a poisonous black mamba, a warthog, a gnu, a lion and some vultures. They also saw a cheetah chasing gazelles. They took a bone from a hyena which was not a good idea. Then they saw a buffalo a rhinoceros and many other animals as well.

 

This book is beautifully illustrated by Federico Bertolucci. It is for children ages four to eight years. I gave it four stars.

I received a complimentary copy from Diamond Book Distributors-Magnetic Press and NetGalley. That did not change my opinion for this review.

 

Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Tails-Savannah-Frederic-Brremaud/dp/1942367384

 

This book is in pre-order status until April 11, 2017. I could not leave a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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