Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg

Hello, Dear Bloggites.  It’s Me, again!  I just finished April’s Books & Broads Book Club book, The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg.  I know, I am still a few months behind but plan on making up for it within the next week by reading all the books I did not read.

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie FlaggI love Fannie Flagg.  Her writing is very entertaining and easy.  This book is no exception.  The Whole Town’s Talking is about several generations spread out from 1889 to 2020 and all the decades in between.  The story follows a group of settlers and their legacy through the generations in a small town in America.

The characters are very complex and each one has their own fun, quirky side unique to that person.  The novel is an easy read with short chapters.  When I was reading it, I felt as if I was sitting down with a good friend listening to them tell me a fun story.  The author wrote in the third person (which I love) but it was a conversational third person, thus the feeling of being told a story by a friend.

The only big fault in this novel is that by the middle of the book, I found myself becoming bored due to the repeated cadence of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol.  Most stories build up to a climax and then it brings you on the adventure but this story really had no plot or climax, just reading about people and their lives, much like an old-time gossiper of a small town where everyone knows everyone and most are related in some way or another.  By the middle, I was wanting the book to be over.  I did enjoy the story, but it felt like a conversation that went well past its designated end time.

Fannie Flagg is an exceptional author and very entertaining.  You can tell her intent in this book was just to give people entertainment while delving into a little historical nostalgia of a time way back when.  If you are looking for something to read that is entertaining but does not require a lot of thought and focus, this is the perfect book to read.

I give The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg 3 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Happy Reading!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Hey, Dear Bloggites, two posts in a row, Woo Hooo, Go, P (that’s Me!)!  Since I did my book review on February’s book club book, this one is on March’s book club book.  The Books & Broads Book Club chose Faithful by Alice Hoffman for March.

I was unsure of this book, and a bit leery, to be honest after not being able to read February’s book for soooo long.  Be wary, that was not a happy review. 🙂  Enough about that review, we are on this one, Alice Hoffman’s book, Faithful.

Faithful by Alice HoffmanI liked this book, which was such a relief, and I was intrigued by the concept of the story line about how in one instant, a life was turned upside down for one and non-existent for another.  The story follows Shelby Richmond a young lady whose life was changed after a car accident destroyed her best friend, Helene’s, life leaving her paralyzed and catapulted Shelby’s life walking with a burden of guilt.

Throughout the story, Shelby is driven by a series of postcards she felt was left by an angel (possibly Helene since miraculous occurrences happened to people who went to visit her at her parent’s home).  Each postcard had a phrase on it that subconsciously drove the direction Shelby led her life.

The story was a good story line but the characters were not as developed as I would have like to see and they were not very likable, I mean, how can you love someone who lives their life in a self-absorbed world and was very selfish with a “feel sorry for me” attitude?  It is hard, Dear Bloggites.

I loved the postcard concept but I did not like how the author inserted herself in the story.  Many of you have read those novels that you feel you are being directed to feel or think a certain way and those novels are the ones that the author did not remove themselves from the story line to allow you to create your own judgements.

Alice Hoffman did write the story in the third person but it was ruined by her inserting herself in the story guiding my feelings and thoughts about the characters and book.  It was a nice relief to have an enjoyable, albeit dark and moody, novel to read.  I might read another of the author’s books, if the book club picked it, but on my own, I do not think I would pick one of her books simple for the fact that, while I did not hate this book, it did not leave a strong memorable mark on my memory.

I give Faithful by Alice Hoffman 3 out of 5 Bookmarks.  I leave you, Dear Bloggites, to choose to pick it up and read. 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: A Change In Altitude by Anita Shreve

Hello, Dear Bloggites.  This book review has been 7 months and 16 days in the making because that is how long it took me to finally finish FEBRUARY’S Book Club book choice!  FEBRUARY!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

The February Books & Broads Book Club book was A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve.  Now, I understand the author has written 14 novels (if not more now, there were 14 at the time of release for this book), but MAN, I will never read another book by her.  This was a brutal beating for me!

The novel is about a newlywed couple who moved to Africa for the husband’s job.  They rented a cottage that belonged to an older couple (well older than them in the book, they were in their 20s and the older couple were in their 30s).  The premise is for a group of them to climb Mount Kenya.

Now, the book starts as if you are in the middle of a conversation between the newlyweds, Margaret and Patrick.  It felt as if I had turned on a movie I had never seen before right in the middle and was trying to make sense of it.  It was apparent this newlywed couple had obvious issues based on how distant they were to each other in their conversation.

Anita Shreve did create complex characters, but none you really like.  The imagery was the best part of the book when Anita Shreve was writing about Africa, I could truly envision the country in my mind as if I was right there, however, I was highly disappointed in the characters and the way she wrote the book.  The planned trek up the mountain involved Margaret and Patrick, the older couple, Diana and Arthur, and a third couple, Saartje and Willem.

The group dynamic was tense and the reader did not really know why until near the end of the trek when an accident happened.  The accident caused an even deeper rift between Margaret and Patrick after the returned home and changed the way their life would play out.  Pretty good sounding story, eh, Dear Bloggite?  It had its opportunity to be a great book but I feel the author missed her mark.

There was an apparent error in the story line about how Margaret and Patrick met and I do not know if that was on the editors of the book, the author who had an intended reason behind it and forgot about it, or just plain lack of review when writing, but it bothered me.  I do not like things to go amiss in a story unless there is something down the line in the story that validates the reasons for it.

I do give the author props on her ability with imagery but that was the only thing I found likable, heck, the story ended just about as bad as it began, with no closure and the author leading us to the final assumption that she wanted.

I give A Change In Altitude by Anita Shreve 2 out of 5 Bookmarks.  I do not recommend this book unless you are a die-hard Anita Shreve fan.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: What She Inherits by Diane V. Mulligan

I have a question for you, Dear Bloggites: what would you do if everything you grew up knowing, and believe made you the way you were, turned out to be a lie?  Today’s book review is a wonderful read that answers this question in one way.

What She Inherits by Diane V. MulliganThis book review is on What She Inherits by Diane V. Mulligan.  I received a request, via email, from the author offering her book as a gift if I was willing to review her book.  As you all know, I never say no to reading and helping authors out by providing a review.  Thank you, Diane, for the honor of reading your book and reviewing it.

This story follows two people, in two totally different worlds being pulled and pushed by forces outside their control.  Angela Ellis is a young college student whose mother died unexpectedly and forced her to fly home to put the family house in order.  Casey Seaver is a thirtysomething lady who runs a café on a small island which provides the necessary landscape for her to hide from her past and make her own way.  As the story unfolds, Angela is faced with some rather unusual circumstances which makes her believe she is being haunted by her mother’s ghost.  Casey is faced with the potential need to sell her café and leave her island she loves so much.

Throughout the novel, the reader follows these ladies on their strange journey of trying to find themselves while their worlds are falling down around them.  The characters are well developed and any reader will be able to relate to one or more of them in this book.  You have the popular girl that is a lot deeper than surface level, the self-sufficient woman who does not want anyone to dictate her life, the nerdy guy who finally gets the chance with the girl, the friends who always think they know what is best for your life and do not hesitate to tell you how to live it, as well as, the parental figures who were the rock for the various people, and young love gone wrong.

I truly enjoyed this novel.  This is technically my first Paranormal Fiction I have read that features ghosts and I loved it.  The story offered a wide variety throughout: love, friendship, lost-love, family, new-love, and the list goes on and on, PLUS ghosts, but not the spooky, freaky kind (which are not bad) but enough that they figure to strongly in the storyline.  The novel had a few typos and missed words here and there and it was easy to figure out the end result as the story builds out, but that is not always a bad thing.

I give What She Inherits by Diane V. Mulligan 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  I recommend this book if you want a fun story that will keep your focus.  You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Killer In The Coop by Jamie C. Pritchard

Hello, Dear Bloggites!  Happy March, Ya’ll! 😀  I am once again honored to have been asked to review a book by an author.  Jamie C. Pritchard emailed me with the offer of gifting his book, Killer in the Coop, if I was willing to write a book review for him.  As you all know, Peggy NEVER SAYS NO to providing book reviews or reading new authors she had not heard of. 🙂

killer-in-the-coop-by-jamie-c-pritchardI was intrigued by the story plot in this book.  The plot was about a man, Eli, who writes a 51,000 word essay of his planned shooting and why and sends it to the news media.  The fascination is how the author wrote the story.  Jamie C. Pritchard wrote the story telling the ending first then working backward to the beginning.  I am an ID TV junkie and one of my favorite series works from the end back to the beginning so this format immediately piqued my interest.

The story was written in the 3rd person which I love (as you know) and each character had multiple dimensions to them.  The only complex character was the lead character and that worked in this story line.  I was immediately pulled in by the first few lines of a woman who was calling 911 to report a shooting in her building until the killer, Eli, found her under her desk.

The only thing I did not like about the story was it ended too soon.  I was expecting a long novel and was surprised that it was more of a novella and as I was totally engrossed in the “making” of the man named Eli, I was stopped short with the shocked knowledge that I was at the end.  That being said, I really enjoyed this story and I hope the author continues with other stories about Eli’s life before his final decision to murder a bunch of random people with a strange sense of purpose.  Thank you, Jamie, for sharing your book with me and I look forward to reading more of your written work.

I give Killer In The Coop by Jamie C. Pritchard 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Go grab a copy and enjoy a quick read, you won’t be disappointed.

~4-Ever, P

 

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Monster In The Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis

the-monster-in-the-closet-and-other-stories-by-k-kris-loomisHello, Dear Bloggites.  As you know, I have been working on honing my writing craft this year and one of those goals is to take at least one writing class each month.  One of the best things, aside from learning some new techniques on honing the craft, is getting to meet other writers and authors.  Every person is at a different point in their writing life and this makes for some great connecting and friend building.

In the class I took back in January, I met a wonderful lady who sweetly offered two of her books she has already published to whomever wanted them.  I, of course read the title of one of them and immediately wanted to get that one.  This book review is on that book.

The Monster In The Closet and Other Stories is the title of the book I received from K. Kris Loomis.  This book is different from my normal reviews because it is a book of short stories.  Normally, I do not review short story books but I wanted to provide some feedback to Kris as well as promote a dear writer I had the privilege of getting to know and learning from her in the process.

There were a couple unique characteristics to this short story collection that you normally do not find in other similar works.  These two characteristics are: 1. The stories are broken down into five different categories that have three stories each & 2. The stories were written specifically for busy people on the go.  You also find that each story has a moral purpose behind it that anyone can learn from.  I am going to break this book review up into the different categories in the collection.  Here we go, Dear Bloggites. 🙂

The Park Stories Group: This group of stories all take place in a park of some type.  The three stories are titled Lovely Horns, Friday Afternoon, & The King Stomper.  In this collection you meet a variety of people who either never met but impacted each other’s lives, had a rocky relationship where communication never went past the surface level, & two people who met online but once the first meeting in person happened a shock was found between the two.  I like this set of stories because it reminded me that we should never take people for granted that we have in our lives or who we may share a brief moment in life.  Too many times people are so busy moving to the next thing that they forget to stop and appreciate and SEE what is actually right in front of them.  You know the old adage, “Stop and smell the rose,” well this set of stories reminds us that not only do the roses smell good, but they also contain a new mystery to be found.

The Café Stories Group: This group of stories all take place in some café.  The three stories are titled Self Improvement, The Gossip Grind, & Backgammon Buddies.  I really was entertained by this group of stories.  In these stories you meet the standard people in the 21st Century who are just sharing space instead of spending quality time due to an obsessive attachment to technology, people sitting around judging others with their gossip while believing they were actually spending some quality time together, and good friends who has one trying to make amends for past wrongs while the other is distracted by the game on the table.  These stories reminds the reader that, no matter how grand technology is, you still have to take the time to cultivate your personal relationships with communication of the lip speaking kind.

The Funeral Home Stories Group: This group of stories take place in funeral homes.  The three stories are titled Now at Peace, The Makeup Artist, & Granny Gertrude.  This set of stories cover the loss of a parent where the children have to make arrangements, a person that has to prepare a body of a classmate while coming to terms with the past, & a person who learns more about someone after they are dead just by the memories friends share.  This set of stories hit near to my heart because I read the book on the six month anniversary of my Dad’s death.  The take away you get on this set of stories is to never take life for granted and always live in the now because you never know when someone won’t be there anymore.

The Bus Stories Group: This group of stories take place on a bus.  The three stories are titled Glue It to Your Butt, The Orange Scarf, & Say Something.  This group was a thought provoking read.  When you read this group you meet an unlikely friend who helps someone remember the answers to a test, a unique look in the life of a mother and child from the eyes of an observer, & a life lost too soon.  These stories gave moments to pause and consider situations I came across in my life and I dealt with them.  This set reminds you to be present in the life of others because your presence make be the defining factor on an outcome for someone else.

The Bedroom Stories Group: This group of stories take place in a bedroom (not in a sexual way).  The three stories are The Monster In the Closet, Marks on the Ceiling, & The Santa Debacle.  This group of stories cover fear of the unknown, feelings of worthlessness, & the extreme measure new parents’ make.  This set will definitely give me pause to really assess my life and how I handle situations.  It reminds you that nothing is so bad that you cannot find a way to overcome.

Now that I have covered a very brief summary of the tales you will read in this book, I am going to give you my view on how the stories were written.  The author did a wonderful job at creating a realness to each character in such a short block of time.  This is usually hard for writers when dealing with a short piece of work but K. Kris Loomis did a wonderful job and creating well rounded believable characters that the reader can relate to in their life.  The only negative I could find was that I felt the story Say Something did not quite fit with the feel of the other two stories in the group.  I think it would have fit better in a different category even though it did take place on a bus.  Overall, I loved this short story novel and I am grateful that Kris offered it to us to read.  Go visit her website & see other works she has written, as well as, get your copy of this book.

I give The Monster In The Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis 5 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Go read this book, you will be entertained and enlightened.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Dave! The First Trilogy by Marc Richard

Smarmy, snarky, and silly makes for a great read Every. Single. Time.   These words describe my latest book review read, Dear Bloggites.  I had the pleasure of receiving a request from Marc Richard to read his Dave! The First Trilogy novel.  Marc was a doll and gifted this fun story for free with the most intriguing description.  Marc said that the story was described as, “Douglas Adams meets South Park” or “If Christopher Moore had a job at Cartoon Network writing for Adult Swim.”

dave-the-first-trilogy-by-marc-richardI giggled at this story from the get go.  The storyline is about some unexpected heroes planning on saving the world in 2030 from the new President “Uncle Mel” Gibson.  You have the typical dumb butts that everyone loves even though they are annoying as all get out.  You have your lovers who found, lost, and found love with each other in a time of crisis.  You have the typical serious type and all the mix in between. 🙂

Marc Richard does an amazing job at writing each of the main characters with such realness and blunt opinions.  Throughout the book, you meet the minds of various people who shamelessly promote Marc Richard’s books and he even does a cameo appearance interacting with those he created.

This novel had some unique points of view from the characters and the author does a great job with helping us feel how they feel with the different situations going on.  The entire story was as if The Three Stooges had a baby with Laurel & Hardy and birthed Dave!  The ridiculousness made this story the most fun reading I have had in a long, long time.  The only negative I could say about the book was how it started out with the email chain mail.  That was funny on its own, but I did not see an easy transformation from the email chats to the real-time world that was going on once we started following the different characters on their quest.

Thank You So Much, Marc, for this fun book.  I LOVED this silly story and I am so sorry it took me so long to finish it due to life getting in the way.  I plan on reading more of your works and will recommend your writing to anyone looking for good, mindless fun in a book.

I give Dave! The First Trilogy by Marc Richard 5 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you love a good laugh and entertaining storyline, this book is for you, Dear Bloggites! 🙂

~4-Ever, P