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bestwineforlast

bestwineforlast

Just an avid reader who loves books!

Currently reading

Briguella
Vicki Fitzgerald
The Weight of Shadows (Shadow Series) (Volume 1)
Karl Holton
The Sherlock Holmes Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle
Overcoming Daily
Dan Chesney
Progress: 12/192 pages
The Holy Bible : Scofield Reference Bible
Cyrus I Scofield
Progress: 456/1382 pages
Kingdoms at War
Ron Jenson, Bill Bright

Disappointed

— feeling confused
She was Born a Good Girl: An all girls boarding school story - Garfield Whyte

This is the tale of a group of girls at an exclusive boarding school in Jamaica. Families who send their daughters to Rosemount expect their daughters to become ladies and it comes at a hefty price. The group of girls seem to have different goals than what is expected of them, to trap a man, the richer the better using any means necessary. The exception is Nola who has goals, wants and education and to make her family proud. 
I am not sure how I feel about this book as the majority of the girls were far outside my realm of experience, even when I was a teen. With the exception of Nola, the rest are nasy, slutty, foul- mouthed, scheming, without morals and just plain disgusting. They don't care if they destroy marriages and break up homes as long as they get a man they deem worthy... but in the end there is a moral... 2 of the nastiest, who were the group's role models, end up pregnant, the men they had connived for had only used them, and learn the hard way that their goals weren't quite so lofty. I think the moral gives it some redeeming quality, but these girls were just so bad-- I did not like them at all-- so that it sort of taints my view of the book. I would give the book a 3.5 if we could do halfsies. 
I received this book for an honest review from the author.... thank you.

3 Giveaways!

Read interview with author Edward Hackemer and enter to win a signed copy of "Sangria Sunsets"-- giveaway ends 2/28/2018! Enter to win a signed ARC of "Something of Substance" by Tia Souders-- giveaway ends 2/27/2018! Enter to win a copy of "Something Just Like This" by Tracy Krimmer-- giveaway ends 2/27/2018! Good luck and happy reading!

https://twogalsandabook.com/

Speculative Dystopian Fiction

— feeling bloody
Fall of the Cities: Planting the Orchard - Vance Huxley

** spoiler alert ** Good speculative dystopian fiction contemplating the of sudden loss of oil and its impact on the world.
At first, reading it, I thought it was back in the first Gulf War when the guys were in Iraq/Kuwait and the oil wells had been set on fire, and burned forever, but as I read further into the story, I realized that no, this is in the future and terrorists have attacked wells the world over. The result is that society as we know it basically comes to a halt and as expected, the majority of people panic and go crazy. The ones with more evil in their hearts use the unrest and chaos as an excuse to loot, rape, kill and destroy with no one really maintaining order. The are a minority of sane people left (or that is the way it seems) who choose still to act like civilized humans and only kill if need be in self defense, and not because they enjoy it. Harry Miller, ex- soldier, becomes their leader, though not by his choice. Everyone in their group looks up to him, though, for strength, courage and wisdom, to decide what should courses of action should be, responses to threats, and eventually how to react to the deaths of those they have grown fond of. With a lesser leader and one given easily to anger, the group could have easily spiraled out of control, wanting revenge on others but Harry keeps a steady course, though at times it got difficult. It would be difficult to live in the circumstances the group had to-- shortages in basics, constant onslaught of violence and continually living in that "flight or fight" mode, and not having any hope anything will change anytime soon. It was good to see them in the end get some relief, but I don't think the end was a happy one. The government ended up monitoring everyone in a way that even a tally of how many cans of beans, rolls of toilet paper, bars of soap, etc. you used in a given month, because money was useless and everyone got vouchers for basics, like rations. So they basically had to trade peace for security. In my mind, with all that invasion of privacy, that was the lesser of two evils. It didn't make me like the book less, I just felt sad for the characters of the story. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author... thank you!
Read for twogalsandabook.com

Weird, very weird

Disasters in the First World: Stories - June Elizabeth Tilton,  Clare Marie Tully,  Mary Alice Waldron,  Elvi Bertha Wasenius,  Abigail Harriet McSweeney,  Doris Esther Sheehan,  Anna Winifred Simon,  Olivia Mae Stead,  Pauline Margolis,  Elizabeth Bushen May Margaret Elizabeth McNamara

That was the oddest bunch of stories I have ever read. I was always trying to search for meaning or symbolism, figuring there had to be some there, but couldn't come up with much. I was always thinking that the author is trying to say something, but what it is (to me) is a mystery. There was never any closure either-- it was like I was left hanging every time. There were strange conversations as well-- I kept wondering if perhaps the book was written while the author was under the influence of hallucinogens part of the time... like I would think "ok-- maybe this will make sense-- we are starting to get somewhere" then-- nope, cause a crazy conversation started, and whatever progress I thought had been made was gone. Maybe I would have understood it if I had been under some influence...LOL

Humorous look at bad education

— feeling sad
Reality Lies Beyond the Fog - Kevin Terence Ratigan

I liked this book-- it was different, but good. I was surprised to see that Mr. Ratigan had received a few low ratings, and when I read their reviews, it seems that they didn't seem to "get" the book at all. One common complaint was that it was "unrealistic" or about the "dialogue".... It was apparent to me that Mr. Ratigan had written the book this way on purpose as it was supposed to be a satirical parody to make a point. Reading his bio, he has had 12 years in the field of education, and it was obvious that he was drawing on his experiences in the school system as material for his fictional book and the sad state of affairs our school system in this country has fallen into. It details corruption, indifference on the part of teachers/administration for the education of its students, the lack of qualified teachers, poor environmental working conditions, parental indifference for their children's education, lack of courtesy and respect, and the list of sins goes on in a much exaggerated way. If the true educational conditions in the public arena was just a small fraction of what Mr. Ratigan described,if the truth can be seen in the shadow of the author's exaggeration, our nation and our children are in serious trouble. So as far as complaints of unrealistic and dialogue I feel doesn't apply, because one doesn't really expect either from satire or parody... it is using humor to make some pointed and painful statements. In my opinion, well done author!

Good Fantasy/Adventure For children

Destiny's Gambit (The Voyages of Jake Flynn Book 1) - R.J. Wood

Even though this book is geared toward the middle school age set, I enjoyed it a lot myself. It reminded me a bit of "The Chronicles of Narnia", but in outer space and with pirates. It was a mix of fantasy with steampunk, and I look forward to getting more into the series to see where it goes. I felt it had a good pace, plot with just the right amount of action and would capture the imaginations of children. I liked Jake, and the cast of characters as well as the many adventures they found themselves in on Jake's journey to try to find his parents and his destiny. Read for twogalsandabook.com

Modern Romance with Humor

— feeling doubt
The Wedding Date - Jasmine Guillory

Even though I have seen many other people loving this book, I really didn't like it a whole lot. I thought it was kinda "eh". It was sweet, romantic, had moments of humor, but for me, it was a bit much with the sex. From the 2nd day Alexa and Drew knew each other after getting stuck on an elevator together, and her agreeing to be his fictional "girlfriend" and one of his ex's wedding, they were in bed, and it seemed that basically that was what the whole relationship was based on. On alternating weekends. her flying down to spend her time off with him, and him flying up to be with her-- most of every bit of time together was spent shagging, with other bits of non- sex activities thrown in. I think if it would have had less of the former and more of the latter, I would have enjoyed it more. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you.

Intense thriller

— feeling amazing
The Sandman - Lars Kepler

Wow! Now that book was intense! I literally could not put it down (I read all 496 pages in two days)... this one would make a great movie. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next, how were all the disappearances connected, how were people seeing this maniac out and about while he was locked up in the most secure facility in Sweden, were the authorities going to find the victims, where had the boy been kept all these years, was his sister still alive as well? Lots of mysteries in the story and lots of twisty turns and unexpected developments. If you are wanting a thriller/ suspense/ mystery I would highly recommend this one! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review-- thank you! 

A Moving Tale

Love, Secrets, and Absolution: An emotional and gripping psychological, family drama - K.L Loveley

Love, Secrets, and Absolution was such a moving and poignant book. It is the tale of a family torn apart because of the son Alfie's autism, his mother Grace's devotion and defense of him while everyone else (including his father) says Alfie is just not "quite right". Told from alternating viewpoints, starting with Alfie as an infant, and progressing with him up through college, it is a unique look at what autistic kids and families with a member afflicted go through. It starts at a time when not as much was known about autism, so Alfie does not get diagnosed until he is in college. So for most of his journey through childhood into adult, no one really understood what he was going through or why he did the things he did. I was emotionally effected by this book and would recommend it to anyone. I received this book from the author to be read as part of Goodreads group 
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/....... thank you!

Inspiring and Encouraging Book

— feeling kissed
The Mountain - Charles G Thompson

  " If you are looking for a book on mountaineering, this is not your read. In, The Mountain, I will be sharing experiences about the mountains or challenges we all face daily. I chose the cover photo because it is a favorite of mine and Jeanne’s. It was taken by an old inexpensive digital pocket camera balanced on a rock, using the camera’s timer. We had just come from a shelter above Zermatt, Switzerland and crested a hill when this scene came into view. The date was September 10, 2001. We had no communication with the outside world. There were no phones, no computers, no mail service, until we were in Vernaza, Italy the next afternoon. Where were you on 9/11? "

 

Such an inspirational read! Written by a man, suffering from an inoperable stage 4 terminal brain tumor, Mr. Thompson kept trying to help and encourage others until he died this past July. The Mountain is a book of encouragement, profound thoughts and gentle nudges to urge others to reach out, to make a difference and do what they can no matter where they are at in life. He consistently visited the elderly in nursing homes, just to hug them and give them a bit of companionship and the feeling they weren't alone. He regularly visited men in prison to give them hope and show some kindness. What a different world we would inhabit if everyone had his attitude to make their part of the world the best it can be! Truly Mr. Thompson was an amazing role model!
Read for twogalsandabook.com
 

An Amazing Suspense/ Thriller/ Mystery (quite graphic-- comes with a warning)

— feeling amazing
Lines of Justice: Aždaja - Lee Sherred

Oh man that was intense.... I just finished it. I haven't read anything that intense since The Policewoman, and even more graphic (if you can imagine that!)... but worth it. You might need a strong stomach, and it is definitely not for your kids, but it would make an incredible movie!

The story basically has its start in Kosovo, during the Yugoslav War, when NATO forces were sent on their peace-keeping mission. A contingent of those forces is sent to find out what has happened to a policeman and his family that has gone missing. It is suspected that his disappearance is due to the fact that he had been investigating the murders of some Kosovar Albanians, and wanted justice. He is found, barely alive, in a very terrible state, and the torturer, known as Aždaja, is still in the room, in the shadows. Aždaja is seen as a hero among some of the more radical Serbians, including some with lots of power, and thus suffers no punishment. Fast forward to the present.... murders start happening again, this time in the UK, with the same M.O. as Aždaja. Those who had happened to witness the previous crime and their families seem to be target. Those who had witnessed what he had done years earlier knew, but for the rest of the world-- they were clueless. One ex-NATO soldier, now policeman, who has just been diagosed with colon cancer and given 5 years to live, sees it as his mission to stop Aždaja and do humanity a favor. No one knows the killer's real name-- he has taken the name of Aždaja, which is a legendary and mythical creature from Balkan folklore that was a many- headed dragon like creature, and pure evil. The book ended in a manner leading me to believe their will be more to come. I would like to thank the author for a copy of this book-- I expect to see some great stuff to come from him!
 

Sad, moving memoir of a young man and his cat

A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat - Bernard Jan

A heart-wrenching memoir of a man's last three days in the life of his beloved cat. Bernard had spent nearly 15 years with Marcel, his cat. It had become his confidante, companion, like a sibling, seeing him through difficult situations, as watching his grandmother slowly fade and die from dementia to through troubling times as the dangerous and frightening Croatian War of Independence. He had basically grown up with him, and what pain and grief engulfed him as he watched the life of his best friend come to an end. The book is also like a letter to Marcel chronicling those last days, and a tribute to the life and experiences they had shared together. The reader can truly feel the anguish Bernard felt watching his beloved feline's life be extinguished. I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Bernard!

Ok Historical Fiction

A Queens Spy: The Tudor Mystery Trials - Sam Burnell

I loved the historical aspect to the story. The intrigue was great. I felt, though, the characters were a bit underdeveloped and flat. Like they were written and put into designated boxes..."this is the arrogant, callous lady's man", "this one is the underdog with a chip on his shoulder who has tendencies to be careless, impulsive and a bit of a blockhead", etc and the characters never strayed from the confines of their "boxes". In reality, people often put on "masks" to hide aspects of themselves they don't want others to see and make themselves vulnerable, but not matter how carefully constructed the "mask", the qualities the person would like to hide have a way of peeking through eventually. I did not see that with these characters, and for me, because the were so one-dimensional, it made it a bit harder to believe. I did not like how they were consistently assuming what the other was thinking, what was motivating the others, why they did what they did and jumping to conclusions. I find that irritating in real life, and just as irritating in a book. Had these things been rectified, I would have given it a higher rating. The books rates as high as it does by me simply because I loved the historical aspect of it.
Read for twogalsandabook.com
 

Thriller/ Suspense/ Romance that leaves something to be desired

— feeling doubt
Gun Kiss - Khaled Talib

Gun Kiss is a romance/thriller/suspense work of fiction. Blake Deco is ex-military but still contracts out for jobs with HSI. He is sent to recover the stolen Derringer that Booth used to shoot Lincoln from the Russians. After returning from that successful mission, America's favorite movie star Goldie St. Helen, is kidnapped by the most dangerous drug lord Dai Lo, who has a sick obsession with her. Blake is called by an old friend that has a grudge against Dai, alerting Blake about the star's kidnapping, hoping that Blake will kill him in the process. Blake succeeds in rescuing Goldie, but fails to kill Dai which leads to Dai taking revenge on everyone Blake and Goldie know. Blake and Goldie fall in love, which does add to the drama.
One thing I did not like is that the book would jump from one scene or day to another without transition many times, so I would end up being confused initially who was talking, etc. and would have to go back and reread the previous paragraph thinking I had missed something. It wasn't until I would read on that I would realize, "ok, this is another day" or different people or something. If it wasn't for that, I would have rated it higher. 
I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Book considered historically and culturally important

Fabulous Histories: The History of the Robins - Sarah Trimmer

Read review at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9686363-fabulous-histories

Great little kids book!

The Frightened Little Flower Bud - Renée Paule, G R Hewitt

Read review at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36226869-the-frightened-little-flower-bud