Review: Mutti's War by M.J. Brett

Mutti's War by M.J. Brett
Paperback, 312 pages
Published December 1st, 2003
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mutti's war is the story of Regina Wolff, a rather delicate young German mother who is forced to smuggle her 3 small boys out of East Prussia when the Russians surround it in 1944.

My thoughts…

This courageous woman sacrifices all to protect her children while escaping from the Russian occupied portion of Prussia and to reunite her family. This was a great book from a perspective I don't hear about often, a German citizen during WWII and how awful Hitler was to his own people.

“It all began with an unexpected letter. As I think back, it all ended with an unexpected letter, as well. Had I known of the last letter, I might have responded differently to the first. But it would not have many any difference in the long run. Either decision would have brought change, and I have always detested change” – Regina Wolff 1911-1997

The Russians were forty miles away and closing in on Königsberg, when Regina received a letter from her husband, Gustav, who was serving in the German military. The first words in the letter;

“Destroy this letter as soon as you’ve read it, and tell no one of its contents. You must get the boys out of Königsberg, now!”

Gustav would be at the hospital in Karlsbad for thirty days and they must arrive to meet him before then. Regina began to wonder what Gustav’s job in the military was for him to have so much information. So began the daring escape to protect her children. Regina need to obtain a Ausweis, a pass and the proper papers before she could purchase tickets or get on a train. Once at the office she was told that she would receive a pass but her children would not. She wasn’t going to leave her children behind, later that evening Regina snuck back into the building and typed “and three sons” alongside her name on the proper paperwork.

The following morning Regina boarded the train to Berlin along with her three sons. They began their journey on the crowded train, the filth and stench was sickening but they had no other choice and they brought little food. After some time, the train stopped, all the passengers were removed from the train because the train was need to transport soldiers. Regina and her boys had to sit outside on the concrete in a cold rain until another train came along, a cattle train. Once again, they were taken off the train and had to walk. From then on, the conditions becoming progressively worse. They had to avoid Russian air attacks, Regina was almost raped, she also had to steal potatoes to feed her children who were hungry and sore from traveling by foot.

Throughout her journey, Regina became to realize that she was doubtful of Hitler’s intentions before she left with her children. Whenever she would try to talk to Gustav he would tell her not worry and not to voice her opinions out loud because by speaking about or writing letters could get her into trouble.

Her friend had taught her how to make a little transistor radio that she kept hidden from Gustav. When everyone was sleeping, Regina would go downstairs and listen to broadcasts, other than German broadcasts, and was surprised to hear how Hitler and Germany were viewed by the outside.

She did not agree with the SS enforcement of new laws that Jewish people were no longer allowed to own business or cars, go to public movies or concerts, or travel on streetcars. Radio broadcasts and posters have proclaimed Jew as ‘enemies of the people’ and they were singled out for mistreatment. 

When Hitler’s men had burned books that he considered radical, seemed strange to Regina, since most of those books were classics. She had doubt’s but again she didn’t voice her concern, she believed her husband knew best. Hitler began replacing school books with images showing the brains of Aryan, Jewish, African and Chinese people. The Aryan brains were drawn bigger while the others looked shriveled. It made no sense to her because she knew that human brains were one size only.

Did Regina and her children make it Karlsbad and what was in the second letter that Regina received? I highly recommend reading Mutti’s War to find out and because it’s a reminder of the horrific events of a time of history that should never be forgotten.

Mr. & Mrs. Brettschneider
Mutti’s War was my local library’s book club pick for the month of April. Since the author is local (Colorado Springs) she attended our discussion night, it was wonderful to meet her and her husband. The author, Margaret is married to one of Regina’s sons, ‘Willi’ in the book, and Mutti (pronounced ‘Moottee’ and means little mother in German) was her mother-in-law, the family name from Mutti's War is Brettschneider.

Me & M.J. Brett
Margaret spent about two years talking with Mutti about her journey, and made a promise to Mutti not to share her story until after she passed, not even her children knew the extent of the sacrifices she made. Only the names were changed but it is the true story of a mother forced to smuggle her three small boys out of East Prussia.

Mutti's War by M.J. Brett
Thank you for visiting -J

Stacking the Shelves #6

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves; may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks.

Springtime in the Rockies… ugh. Last weekend I was snowed in at my parents’ house, this weekend I’m mourning the loss of my tulips, iris’s and lilac bush, okay maybe ‘mourning’ is too strong of a word. Earlier in the week we had temperatures in upper 60’s and then last night a winter storm moved into Colorado Springs. I’m thankful I could cover my rose bush before the temperature dropped.

Time to move onto book talk... my long awaited order from Book Outlet finally arrived and these are the books I added to my shelves:

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson – I picked this up purely for the cover. I do enjoy historical fiction, imagine my surprised when I found out this is a mystery based in the early 1900’s.

Imogen Robertson's break-out novel—a deep, dark and opulent tale of Belle Époque Paris, and the secrets and dangers hidden beneath its luxurious facade.

Fairest by Marissa Meyer – I’m almost finished acquiring the Lunar Chronicles series, only two more to purchase.

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye – Jane Erye by Charlotte Bronte is by far my favorite classic novel. I couldn’t resist picking this up, a reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gusty, heroic serial killer.

A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement.  Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.

Wicked Heart by Leisa Rayven – Book #3 in the Starcrossed series. New Adult Romance.

Liam Quinn is one of the biggest movie stars in the world…and the only man Elissa Holt has ever truly loved. After being out of her life for six years, he and his gorgeous fiancé are set to star in the new Broadway show Elissa is stage managing. The only trouble is, when late night rehearsals bring Elissa and Liam together, the line between what is and what could have been gets blurred.

What I added to my Kindle:

The House Mate by Kendall Ryan – I can always count on Kendall Ryan for a great romance, she is one of my favorite Contemporary authors. I also enjoy reading romance that features a single parent.

Max Alexander is nearing thirty-five. He’s built a successful company, and he’s conquered the professional world, but he’s never been lucky in love. Focusing so much time on his business and raising his daughter, adulting has come at the expense of his personal life.

Rosemary's Baby: A Novel by Ira Levin – 50th Anniversary and it was on sale, couldn’t pass it up, a classic horror.

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a shine to them.

Cinderella and the Colonel by K.M. Shea – Fairy tale re-tellings have been hit or miss for me, I’m hopeful this will be a good one. I have not read the two previous books in the Timeless Fairy Tales series and the books in this series take place in the same world and can be read all together, or as individual, stand-alone books.

Scratching out a living in a land recovering from war and a hostile takeover, Cinderella—an orphaned, destitute duchess—is desperate to save her lands and servants in spite of the terrible taxes placed upon her by the Erlauf queen, even if it means she must don servants’ clothes and work like a commoner.

Ebook borrowed from library:

Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen – Julie Klassen is one of my favorite Historical Romance authors and I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this ebook for borrowing.

One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has added to their shelves this week, thanks for visiting and happy reading. -J

Fur Baby Friday

This photo of Avery was taken a couple weeks ago, the night before Easter. Our little guy was helping out the Easter bunny with egg dying. 

Lately, Avery has been very curious as to what is going on in the kitchen, I’m sure he just wants food and hard boiled eggs are his favorite. When any of the family is sitting around the island he whines and wants to be up there with us. My husband has been sitting him on a stool so he can see. Avery has my husband wrapped around his little paw.

Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful Friday. 

ARC Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Advanced Reader Copy, 304 pages
May 2nd, 2017
My rating 1 out of 5 stars

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora's brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

My thoughts… **spoilers**

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory, she is only able to retain information from one hour to three hours. Flora always has a notebook with her so that she can write down reminders of events and information she needs to know when her memory resets. Flora also writes short notes on her arm and has a tattoo reminding her to be brave. When her memory resets she is once again the ten-year-old girl she used to be, until she reads her arm.

I didn’t care for the repetitiveness of Flora having to continually be reminded of basic information about herself. I understand Flora has no short-term memory, as the reader I have no memory difficulties and I felt irritated that I had to be continually reminded also.

The story opens with Flora attending the going away party for Drake, her best friends (Paige) boyfriend. After Drake gives his going away speech, Flora slips out through the side door. She finds herself standing in the middle of the road, it’s night and she is trying to work things out. She shouldn’t be alone, she starts to panic and wants her mom. She looks at her arm “Flora, be brave.”  Flora makes her way to the sea, she sits to watch the water and shortly after Drake approaches her and he must remind Flora who he is. They have a short conversation, he holds her hand and leans in to kiss her and the rest of world vanishes for Flora. 

“Look. Do you want to go somewhere with me? Like, now? We could spend the night…”

I instantly hated Drake. Drake knows of her condition, yet still kisses her and asks her to spend the night, come on really. Flora falls in insta-love with Drake, since she basically has the mind of and behaves like a ten-year-old I can understand how she felt that way. Somehow, kissing Drake triggers something and she can remember the time she spent with him on the beach.

“I can say this, because like, what the hell? You won’t remember anyway. I would be, like, out at a bar with you and Paige and looking at you, all pretty and blond and different from every other girl in the world, and wondering what it would be like to be with you.”

My son is the same age as Drake, nineteen, and I don’t think I ever heard him say “like” in the middle of a sentence. I didn’t care for the writing style, it reads more middle grade than young adult.

Floras parents leave her in the care of Paige when they leave for Paris to be with her dying brother Jacob. Paige is angry with Flora because she discovers that Flora kissed her boyfriend. She tells Flora that she is no longer her friend and leaves her a note saying not to call her ever again. Unknown to Floras parents, Flora is left home alone without any supervision to fend for herself. Flora begins corresponding with Drake through email, they confess their love for one another. One day she receives an email from Drake;

“We both got carried away, and I think we need to cool it off, because this can’t work from this distance, and you can’t come over here, can you?  I’m happy you remembered our time together.  That means the world.  Let’s leave it at that. Sorry for everything. Love, Drake”

This sends Flora on a daring adventure to Svalbard to find Drake. Which I found totally unbelievable that someone with no short-term memory could make reservations and travel by train and airplane to another part of the world without an issue.

I really wished that the book went into more detail about her brother Jacob, he had such a huge impact on Floras story. She discovers the truth from Jacob of her never having a brain tumor, why her mother is overprotective of her and why her mother is drugging her to keep her compliant.

This book just wasn’t for me. Thank you, Penguin Teen, for the arc of The One Memory of Flora Banks.  Happy reading - J 

Review: Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick

Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick
(Hush, Hush #1)
Hardcover, 454 pages
Published October 23rd 2012
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank's absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels - destroying Patch.

Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.

But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.

As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for. 

My thoughts…

I finally finished the Hush, Hush series and it only took me five years. I read Hush, Hush, Crescendo and Silence (books 1-3) one after another in 2012. I purchased Finale at the end of 2012 but I never felt the desire to finish the series. This year I made a goal; try to finish off the many series that I haven’t completed yet; usually it’s the last book in the series.

Finale had somewhat of a recap of what happened at the end of Silence (book #3). Nora killing the Black Hand, Hank Miller (her father), she had sworn a blood oath to become the new leader of the Nephilim army and lead them into war against the fallen angels. If she doesn't lead the army; she and her mother will die. In order to carry out the oath she must destroy all fallen angels. This is clearly not an option because she is in love with Patch.

Nora is trying to be the leader of the Nephilim, but it isn’t easy because she is met with heavy opposition. It is well known that she is dating a fallen angel herself and nobody understands why the Black Hand appointed her, a human turned Nephilim to take his place. Nora is not accepted or trusted amongst the Nephilim. This is not good because Cheshvan is approaching; it is the one time a year that fallen angels can possess the Nephilim body to experience touch and emotions.

Why not 5 stars; there is plenty going on in this book and it was all over the place; Nora trying to lead the army, Nora training with Dante, Patch’s ex-angel girlfriend showing up, Marcie moving in with Nora, Dante and the Devilcraft, Vee crushing on Scott. Poor Scott, I was so ANGRY and did not see that coming. With so much happening I felt it dragged on at times. I also would have liked to see more of Nora and Patch together in this book. Overall I enjoyed Finale, yet it's not my favorite in the series.

Happy Reading - J

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
(Cruel Beauty Universe #1)
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 28th, 2014
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

My thoughts…

Fairy tale re-telling’s have been a hit or miss for me and I’m disappointed to say that Cruel Beauty is another miss. I liked it but I didn’t really like it.

Nyx’s father made a bargain with the Gentle Lord before Nyx and her twin sister, Astraia, were born. Their mother was not able to conceive a child; their father approached the Gentle Lord (Ignifex) and asked him to grant them children. In exchange Nyx’s father promised one of his daughters to the Gentle Lord on her seventeen birthday. Nix’s father was unaware that by consenting to this bargain his wife would die during childbirth. Nyx has always known her destiny to be the wife of the Gentle Lord and that death will soon follow, while her sister gets the love and affection from their father and aunt (who by the way the father is having a secret relationship with). Nyx truly loves her twin sister, but she feels resentment and jealousy towards her.

When the time comes, Nyx goes with purpose, she is going to kill her husband, end his punishing reign over the kingdom and avenge her mother’s death. But, unsurprisingly, things are never quite that simple. She meets Ignifex and he isn’t what she expected, shortly after she meets the enslaved shadow, Shade. Enter double insta-love and the weirdest love triangle: Nyx kisses Shade and Ignifex, she loves them both, one betrays her and so she decides that she loves the other one, then she betrays him… ugh, after a while it became bit annoying.

I did enjoy the mythology that was mixed in with the fairy tale, although at times it was a bit confusing and overwhelming. I did not like the ending, I actually had to go back and read it again just to make sure I understood it correctly. I am hopeful that I will eventually find a Beauty and the Beast re-telling that I truly enjoy, until then Happy Reading - J

Stacking the Shelves #5

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves; may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks.

I spent this past week at my parents’ home in Cheyenne, WY. I was going to leave back to Colorado Springs yesterday morning, during the previous night we had a significant amount of snowfall which continued to accumulate throughout the day. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to get my car out, I have a 370Z and it does not drive well in the snow.

I was able to visit a couple of used book stores in Cheyenne this week and these are the books I added to my shelves:

Enticed(The Violet Eden Chapters #2) by Jessica Shirvington
Endless(The Violet Eden Chapters #4) by Jessica Shirvington

I have never heard of this series (also known as the Embrace Series) or read anything by this author, after reading the synopsis about angels I purchased the three books they had. I will eventually get Book #1 and #3 to begin the series.

Strange dreams leave her with very real injuries and there's a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms. The guy she thought she could fall in love with just told her he's only half-human - oh, and same goes for her. And she keeps hearing a distant fluttering of wings. Violet Eden is having a very bad 17th birthday.

But if angels seek vengeance and humans are warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden.
The Book of God by Walter Wangerin Jr. – Growing up Catholic and attending Catholic High School, I always wanted to read the Bible, and I’m embarrassed to say after 30 years I still have not read the bible, hopefully I can get to it soon.

The Book of God reads like a novel, dramatizing the sweep of biblical events, making the men and women of this ancient book come alive in vivid detail and dialogue. From Abraham wandering in the desert to Jesus teaching the multitudes on a Judean hillside, this award-winning best-seller follow the biblical story in chronological order.

And the Kindle reads:

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West – This is going to be the Buddy Read with Me (Facebook Group), book for the month of May.  I will post more information about that group next week for anyone who would like to join in our buddy read or just to join a group of fellow readers who like to chat about book related topics.

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend.

TheGirl in the Ice (Detective Erika Foster #1) by Robert Bryndza - Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist - It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing.

Audio that I borrowed from the library:

On the Fence by Kasie West - Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has added to their shelves this week, thanks for visiting and happy reading. ~ J

Fur Baby Friday

This week I’m spending time at my parents’ house in Wyoming and I thought I would share a photo of their fur baby, feather baby, King Bird. He is an African Grey Parrot, that my mother nicknamed Sybil because of his multiple personalities; I nicknamed him Freddy after Freddy Mercury. He doesn’t really have multiple personalities, when he speaks words or phrases it is usually in a different voice.
The last time I spent a week with my parents, I continually told him “give me a kiss” with kissy sounds, he picked that up pretty quickly and now speaks the phrase often during the day.
Yesterday evening while I was talking to my husband on the phone, King Bird was making a very loud horn noise. I told him “hey, stop it” and I must have said it about five times. This morning he was telling my mom “hey, stop it.” He is very attached to my mom and follows her throughout the house. Last week he saw deer in my parents driveway and started barking at them, he is quite the character. 
If you have any fur babies you would like to share, please post your link down below and I will make sure to visit your blog. Thanks for visiting and happy Friday ~ J

Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves; may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks.

These are the books I added this past week:

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven ~ Book #1 in the Starcrossed Series, book #2 has been on my shelf for months and book #3 should arrive next week from Book Outlet.

When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer ~ Book #3 in The Lunar Chronicles.  I’m really looking forward to this series.  Is it weird that I like to have all the books shelved before I start the series? 

Each book entails a new take on an old fairy tale, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. The story takes place in a futuristic world where humans, cyborgs, and androids all coexist.

Mutti’s War by M.J. Brett ~ My local library Book Club read for this month.  The author is local (Colorado Springs) and will attend discussion night and sign our books.

A historical novel based on the true events in the life of a German mother forced to smuggle her three small boys out of East Prussia when the Russians surrounded it in 1944.

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness ~ I finally have book #3 in the All Souls Trilogy, time to get started on reading book #1. 

The All Souls Trilogy follows the story of Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch, as she solves the mystery of Ashmole 782, falls in love with a mysterious vampire named Matthew Clairmont, and learns how powerful it can be to accept who you are.

And the Kindle reads:

Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout ~ A young woman comes home to reclaim her life—even as a murderer plots to end it. . .

Predator by Michelle Horst ~ Predator comes with a warning, it contains dark, sensitive subject matter that some readers may find hard to read.  I've read and my review is posted.

Illicit by Ava Harrison ~ Another teacher/student romance, I think I’m addicted to these taboo novels.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has added to their shelves this week, thanks for visiting and happy reading.

Review: Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
(Hercule Poirot #24)
Paperback, 266 pages
Published February 1st, 2011
First Published May 1942
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other “little pigs” who could have done it: Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcée), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

Sixteen years later, Caroline’s daughter is determined to prove her mother’s innocence, and Poirot just can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.

My thoughts…

“Listen, Mr. Poirot. Get this-and get it clearly. I’m hiring you to investigate a case of murder.”

“Do you mean-?”

“Yes, I do mean. A case of murder is a case of murder whether it happened yesterday or sixteen years ago.”

“But my dear young lady -”

“Wait, Mr. Poirot. You haven’t got it all yet. There’s a very important point.”


“My mother was innocent,” said Carla Lemarchant.

Carla’s mother, Caroline Crale was tried and convicted of murdering her husband Amyas Crale. Her mother died a year after her conviction and left her daughter (who was five years old when her father was poisoned) a note saying she did not kill her husband.

Poirot takes the case and he interviews everyone connected with the case, police officers, lawyers, as well as the five people present at the Crale's house at the time of his death. Poirot requests each of the five to write an account of what they remember leading up to the murder. By reading these accounts, he believes he will be able to reconstruct the crime and determine who was responsible for the death of Amyas Crale.

I truly enjoyed this whodunit mystery and I was positive I knew who the murderer was… I was wrong!

Happy Reading ~ 

Review: Predator by Michelle Horst

Predator by Michelle Horst
Kindle Edition, 407 pages
Published April 27th 2016
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

If you need a warning before reading a book, then this book is not for you. +18 ONLY.

All my life I’ve been hiding, until there is no corner on this god-forsaken earth left for me to hide. I have to pay for the sins of my father. No one with Ellison blood in their veins is allowed to live, and I am the last of my bloodline.

I am kept in a container waiting for my death sentence to be carried out, when he comes. He is only known as ‘Predator’. No one knows who he works for, only that he leaves no one alive.

His every breath is filled with the last gasp of his dying prey.

But for some reason he doesn’t kill me.

I don’t know which is worse, the death sentence hanging over my head, or being at his mercy. 

My thoughts… **spoilers** 

When Cara was 18-years-old, she lost her parents in a suspicious boating accident. She wakes in the hospital to find her uncle with a new identity and passport for her. He tells her to go to American and stay hidden because it’s not safe for her after what happened to her parents. She doesn’t understand why all this happening and her uncle doesn’t explain much of anything.

She avoids being captured for seven years, she’s moves every couple of months and uses her new identity (her mothers’ maiden name).  One evening her nightmare becomes true. She is kidnapped, beaten and raped repeatedly over a four-day period before she is rescued by Damien.

Damien is a "cleaner," he cleans up people's messes and he was hired by Cara’s uncle to kill her. After reading her file Damien knew she was innocent and he could not kill her, he saves her instead and feels guilty for not getting to her sooner.  Damien brings her into his home, cares for her and helps her with the healing process while gaining her trust. Damien returns her uncles money, changes their identities so they can’t be found, he starts developing feels for her and wants Cara for himself.

Cara runs away from Damien after he brings another woman home to protect. Cara is extremely insecure and jealous of this new woman Jean, who Damien had a sexual relationship with in the past. While she is hiding from Damien she discovers that she is pregnant from one of her rapists. There is a shoot-out she gets shot in the stomach and the baby dies.

Damien and Cara leave the hospital and her cares for her once again. They move to a new location and get new identities. Damien decides the only way to end this, is to end her uncle’s life. Damien and Cara fly back to South Africa to confront her uncle at his nightclub. After meeting with the uncle in the back office, Damien stabs him with scissors, they leave the club, fly back to America and get a HEA with a baby along the way.

This was a quick read, it’s list as 407 pages, but I’m sure it was slightly half that. I couldn't connect with the storyline or characters, it just wasn’t for me.

Happy Reading ~ 

Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 14th, 2017
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

My thoughts:

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I thought I was really going to enjoy Hunted since Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies. I did like it, but it is not one that I would read again. I was expecting to read about talking teacups and a barking footstool. This retelling is a much darker tale than the original story, it has elements of the original but Hunted is more about a Russian fairy-tale: Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf, the primary fairy-tale that drives the story.

The story is very slow, resulting in some plot dragging moments. The time that Yeva spent with the Beast was generally him taking her out to hunt and her sharing tales. I found the romance at the core of this story to be missing, she had planned to kill the Beast and even attempted to. It took Yeva a fairly long time to realize her feelings for the Beast, longer to work out what to do about them, then even longer to return to him.

One thing I did really like was Yeva’s commitment and relationship with her family. She respects and loves her father and sisters and there is mutual love and acceptance on both sides.

I felt the ending was somewhat rushed and I felt cheated out of love story between Beauty and the Beast.

Happy Reading ~

Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published April 14th, 2011
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you ..."

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say ...?

My thoughts…

Attachments is not your typical love story, it’s unique, told in a unique way and is undeniably cute.

Throughout the book, we read emails between best friends, Beth (the film critic) and Jennifer (the copy editor), both working for the newspaper.

~Jennifer to Beth~ Whenever I have too much to drink, I start to feel pregnant. I think it’s because I never drink, and it would just figure that the one time I decide to loosen up, I get pregnant. Three hours of weakness, and now I’m going to spend the rest of my life wrestling with the special needs of a fetal alcoholic.

~Beth to Jennifer~ Am I worried that the bad guys from Tron are reading our e-mail? Uh, no. All this security stuff isn’t aimed at people like us. They’re trying to catch the pervs. The online porn addicts, the Internet blackjack players, the corporate spies … ~Jennifer to Beth~ Those are probably all red-flag words. Pervs. Porn. Spies. I bet red flag is a red flag.

Lincoln is the IT guy hired to read company emails flagged for inappropriate use. Since Beth and Jennifer regularly have flagged emails, he starts reading their exchanges.

“By the time Lincoln realized that he hadn’t sent a warning to Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder—after who knew how many offenses, three? half a dozen?—he couldn’t remember why not. Maybe because he couldn’t always figure out what rule they were breaking. Maybe because they seemed completely harmless. And nice.”

Lincoln becomes interested in their lives and starts falling for Beth, even though he has no idea what she looks like. I know I found their emails very entertaining. I never thought Lincoln was stalker-ish for reading the emails or for later trying to figure out who Beth was in the office. As soon as he started developing feelings for Beth he felt guilty and he also knew that he had to tell her that he was reading the emails.  I really liked Lincoln and how his character grew into finding his way in life.

“Lincoln?” she asked. “Yes?” “Do you believe in love at first sight?” He made himself look at her face, at her wide-open eyes and earnest forehead. At her unbearably sweet mouth. “I don’t know,” he said. “Do you believe in love before that?”

“When she smiled up at him, he felt his heart swell against the inside of his chest. He felt that way all the time now. Even when he was holding her, it felt like there was something inside of him trying to burst out and embrace her.”

I really enjoyed Attachments, more so than Fangirl, why not 5 stars? I felt it took Lincoln and Beth too long to meet. I would have enjoyed seeing them together in a relationship. I know this seems spiteful, but I also wanted Lincoln and Beth to have a chance run in with Sam (Lincolns ex-girlfriend), just to show her that Lincoln moved on and loved Beth.

Happy Reading ~