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review 2017-11-21 17:34
The 13th Gift ★☆☆☆☆
The 13th Gift: A True Story About a Christmas Miracle - Joanne Smith


Ugh. Within about 5 minutes of listening to this audio, I could only wail Nooooooooooooooooooooo. I didn’t expect much from this one, so the bar was set pretty low. I expected a bit of light Christmas glurge, a memoir about a family dealing with the loss of a loved one, who found their Christmas spirit when their friends/neighbors/whatever got together to leave anonymous gifts to remind them of The Meaning of Christmas. Sounds like the perfect story to get you into the season, if you go into it without a cynical heart. I was even willing to overlook the amateur quality of the audio narration, because it’s a memoir read by the author. But I simply could not overlook its pushing my biggest button with respect to writing style, the dreaded First-Person-Present-Tense, further committing the egregious sin of mixing past tense inner monologue directly in with the present tense narration of story events. No. Nope. No way.


DNF at 5%. Ordinarily I wouldn’t rate a book after less than 20 minutes of audio time, but FPPT always gets a 1 star from me unless the writing and story are so fantastic that I don’t even notice it enough to be annoyed by it.  


Audiobook, borrowed from my public library, read by the author.


I was attempting to read this for The 16 Tasks of The Festive Season, square 4: Book themes for     Thanksgiving Day:  Books with a theme of coming together to help a community or family in need.  –OR– Books with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover. I don’t have any other books lined up for this task, so I might have to use my other Light Joker for it.

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review 2017-11-06 14:02
Review: Defending Rebecca by A. K Bruinn
Defending Rebecca: a novella - A. K. Bruinn,M. John Harrison

Self-published (6th March 2017)


Source: Author


ISBN: 978-1520774275



This is the true story (with a little fiction thrown in) of how hiring a Finnish au pair as part of a reality show wreaked havovc on Emma's quiet family life in Vancouver. All she wanted was a little help with her kids...



The idea behind Defending Rebecca caught my attention as I love stories with some truth behind them, and the idea of an au pair and a film crew had endless possibilities for disaster! I really like Emma. She came across as such a warm and generous person. She seemed to have a genuine reason for wanting to take part in the programme in the first place, to have an au pair to help her with the children. She seemed to really want to like Rebecca too. She seemed to be pushed and pulled this way and that by all the people in her life and I felt a bit sorry for her.

Rebecca is an odd character. I really couldn't work her out, which I secretly like.

The children are brilliant characters, especially Ryland.

I like the way the story flows and the character interaction is great. It feels natural and the amount of observation is fantastic. This novella is funny in places, and at the end of the story I was left wanting to read more.



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review 2017-10-29 00:16
Muffy & Valor: A True Story by Karl Beckstrand
Muffy & Valor: A True Story - Karl Beckstrand,Brandon Rodriguez

Little Muffy was attacked by a large dog and hurt badly on her side. After she heals he no longer likes other dogs and barks at any one that come near her. 


Valor a large German Shepherd gets out of his yard and is hit by a car and hurt badly on his side.. 


Muffy's person Carlos runs to his mom about Valor laying int he street hurt. She drives him to where Valor is and since no one seems to know who Valor's people are, they take him to the Vet who fixes him up. Not knowing where her loves Mother worries abtout what to do with Valor since Muffy does not like other dogs. Carlos tells his mom that he will watch Muffy and keep her away. 


Once they get Valor to their home Carlos decides to see how Muffy will act around Valor. Surprisingly she knows Valor is hurt and goes to him to comfort him.


This is a true story from Karl Beckstrands childhood. It is a very sweet book. As a huge dog lover it brought a tear to my eye.  I hate to think of animals hurt, suffering, and alone.  I have 2 furry kids. One has 3 legs, he was shit in his rear leg several years ago. So I think this story hit real close to home for me. It is a great book. It doesn't really go into detail of the wounds. it is a short book, and the words would be pretty easy for early readers. 


I was given a copy of this book by the author for review purposes but the review is my own thoughts. 

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review 2017-10-28 00:00
American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West
American Wolf: A True Story of Survival ... American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West - Nate Blakeslee https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/166873595623/american-wolf-a-true-story-of-survival-and

The corporate world conducts business all over this planet and has continually disregarded the environment stretching now beyond the crisis of climate change to the certain eradication of our natural resources. Clean drinking water is increasingly becoming scarce and our wild woodlands threatened along with its endangered creatures. Enter the wolf, long-hated and feared for centuries due to myth and innuendo. Nate Blakeslee produces a riveting history of the wolf’s re-introduction to protected lands once eradicated of them. The feature story throughout this sad but fascinating book centers on its main characters, good and bad, both man and wolf. Uplifting and at times defeating, this fine work brings important focus on a subject well worth our time. The fact that congress and our bureaucracies continue to enable and sell-out to the corporate hunting and ranching industry at the cost of the treasured wolf is a travesty. Every year our government agencies, established to serve and protect us, destroy thousands of wolves on our tax dollar. There is detail galore in this book to help us learn more about the social behavior of wolf and man. And it is sad that wolves prove themselves more humane and conservative than humans are.
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-09 21:59
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter - Adeline Yen Mah

An interesting book based on the upbringing of the author, Adeline Yen Mah. Gives insight to life as an unwanted child, but also about how families were affected of the Japanese invasion of China and later on in the book the Chinese civil war. Ending was sour sweet. Very enjoyable book overall.

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