Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: Antiques Slay by: Barbara Allan

Title: Antiques Slay
Author: Barbara Allan
Publisher: Kensington
Series: A Trash 'n' Treasures Mystery #7.5
Pages: 85
Format: e-book
Source: Purchase


Ho Ho Homicide The Christmas rush is on as Brandy Borne and her quaintly quirky mother, Vivian, sniff out plum collectibles for resale, only to find the owner of a Santa's workshop worth of treasures has received some deadly tidings. It's beginning to look a lot like murder...but who wanted the deceased closed for the holidays-permanently? Maybe a rival antiques dealer, a Grinch who collects Christmas? Or the victim's suspiciously frosty stepchildren? Brandy and Vivian check their list of who's been naughty or nice, but it may take a Christmas miracle-and some help from Sushi, their elfin shih tzu-to tie a bow around the season's most wanted killer!

 My Thoughts: 

This was a cute little novella in the Trash 'n' Treasure series that follows Brandy Borne, her mother Vivian and her dog Sushi.  When the three decide to go visit a man in town who is getting rid of his extensive Christmas decoration collection Vivian decides that they need to scoop out the goods to help their shop.

What they didn't count on was uncovering a mystery.  When the owner is found dead in his sleigh it's up to Vivian and Brandy to figure out who had the most to kill and why.  This leads them to the step-children who seem to be clueless idiots in this book and also leads them to Lyle Humphrey another collector of antiques.  

I enjoyed this cute little Christmas story I especially enjoyed the back and forth between mother and daughter I found myself laughing at times at their banter!  Such a great story definitely puts you in the festive spirit. 

Editorial: Happy Thanksgiving 2015

We at Community Bookstop just wanted to take the time to wish all our American publishers, Authors, Followers, etc a warm and blessed Thanksgiving holiday.  We are so glad you take the time to work with us and share your books with us.  We look forward to working with you for many years to come!

Feel free to share all those Thanksgiving traditions you utilize in our house it's pretty traditional we watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, then cartoons for the kids and have Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, biscuits, cranberry sauce and veggies.  This year we also add hot Apple Cider to our mix!

Review: A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom by: June McCrary Jacobs

Title: A Holiday In Apple Blossom
Author: June McCrary Jacobs
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
Pages: 144
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Cedar Fort Book Tour


When her student, six-year-old Mary Noel, survives a car accident over Thanksgiving break, Amber and her new friend, Paul, are determined to cheer her up during the holidays. But Mary Noel’s most painful injury is the loss of her dog. The more withdrawn Mary Noel becomes, the more Amber and Paul need a miracle—a miracle that requires the entire community’s help.

My Thoughts:

When 6 year old Mary Noel has a car accident and watches her precious dog die in front of her eyes she shuts down and shuts the world out Amber and a man she met while visiting Mary Noel take it upon themselves to work a miracle and try to work on a festival for Mary Noel and their family.

Alot of people come together to provide a Christmas miracle for Mary Noel and her parents.  As Paul and Amber's relationship continues to flourish as time passes.  The more time that passes the stronger their connection gets which also surprises both couples who are new to love.

I really enjoyed this story about love and faith and doing something for others that need it.  It was beautifully written and well told story.

Book Trailer: My Open Heart Destiny: New Avalon, Book 1 by: Andrea Buginsky

Purchase Links:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review: A Last Goodbye by: J.A. Jance

Title: A Last Goodbye
Author: J.A. Jance
Publisher: Pocket Star
Series: Ali Reynolds #9.5
Pages: 48
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley


New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance brings her trademark breakneck pace to this fun and exciting e-novella, where fan favorite Ali Reynolds takes on double responsibilities as both sleuth and bride.

Ali Reynolds is finally getting married to her longtime love B. Simpson. They wanted a simple Christmas Eve wedding, but nothing is ever simple with Ali. Even as a motley crew of her friends—Leland Brooks, Sister Anselm, and others—descend on Vegas, the bride-to-be finds herself juggling last-minute wedding plans and a mystery in the form of a stray miniature dachshund. Ali’s grandson rescues the little dog, but Ali’s not in the market for a new pet right before her honeymoon, and leaves no stone unturned in hunting for the dog’s owner. But what she finds is more than just a shaggy dog story…Bella’s elderly owner has vanished, and her son seems to be behind it. So it’s Ali and B. to the rescue—and still making it to the church on time! 

My Thoughts: 

This was a cute novella where Ali and B. Simpson are getting ready to get married.  They are in Las Vegas with Ali's family and their friends when B takes his soon to be grandkids shopping they come back with more than presents.

B is carrying a dog a mini-dachshund who was thrown into the street which brought Ali's grandson rescuing the dog.  As B. and Ali try to track down the previous owner they learn something things about the precious dog named Bella who was cared for until recently.   The woman who owned her got sick and the son didn't seem to like Bella and ditched her on the road.  What are B. and Ali to do but find out what they can and see if her owner still wanted her.

As the days pass the relationship between B., Bella, and Ali grows stronger as Bella wiggles her way into their heart.  I enjoyed this little novella which brought a dog into the mix.  I loved how Ali and B. did try to do the right thing by locating the owner and was glad it worked out in the end!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Review - Maya's Notebook by: Isabel Allende

Title: Maya's Notebook
Author: Isabel Allende
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 387
Format: Hardcover
Source: Personal purchase


Isabel Allende’s latest novel, set in the present day (a new departure for the author), tells the story of a 19-year-old American girl who finds refuge on a remote island off the coast of Chile after falling into a life of drugs, crime, and prostitution. There, in the company of a torture survivor, a lame dog, and other unforgettable characters, Maya Vidal writes her story, which includes pursuit by a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol. In the process, she unveils a terrible family secret, comes to understand the meaning of love and loyalty, and initiates the greatest adventure of her life: the journey into her own soul.

My thoughts:

My first meeting with Chilean author Isabel Allende was with The House of the Spirits. The reason why I found out about her in the first place is because I'm always in the search for authors following Marquez's footsteps in "magical realism." Allende lived up to my expectations and The House of the Spirits was an amazing journey for me. Salvador Allende's granddaughter Isabel Allende really captures you by adding in her observations and imagination to her already interesting life. 

Then, ever since I started reading Maya's Notebook, I've been googling Chiloe Island. I keep looking at tours of the island, going, "I must see this place before I die." Maya paints such a wonderful picture of the island and she grows to love it so much that you can't help but want to go there and breathe in that magical air. I'm really, really dying to see a house be moved on the water tied to the back of a boat. I want to meet the witches of Chiloe, to attend their rituals. I want to get drunk at the saloon and listen to the stories of the locals...

Having said that, would I want to do all this with Maya, though? Nope.

Honestly, I believe Maya is Allende's way of showing the reader how she thinks today's youth lives in a bubble and how they lose themselves if that bubble is popped somehow. Maya's Chilean grandmother's past is as turbulent as the country's. However, Maya had the luxury of growing up with her grandmother and grandfather in Berkeley. After her grandfather passes away, she loses herself in drugs and alcohol, also getting involved with a gang leader and starting to work for him. Her grandmother, in her best attempt at protecting her from the people after her (which include the FBI, by the way) sends her away to Chiloe Island to stay with an old friend.

If you ask me which character I liked the most, I'll have to say nobody except the island locals. However, like I've mentioned before, Chiloe Island is so powerful, so magical that this book is worth reading even if just to experience that.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review - Kiss Me First by: Lottie Moggach

Title: Kiss Me First
Author: Lottie Moggach
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 337
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase


On the internet, we can be anyone we choose. No one knows who we really are. Sheltered and obsessive, Leila spends more time online than out in the real world. So she seems the ideal person to take over the virtual identity of the vivacious and fragile Tess, who wants to disappear. But even with all the facts at her fingertips, there are things that Leila can’t possibly know about Tess – or herself – until it is too late . .

My thoughts:

I was rather intrigued by this book, probably because it came right after I was done with Talking Back to Facebook, which led me to constantly think about internet and social media's roles in our lives. I am a person who is very much addicted to the internet, to the point where I freak out if I don't have an internet connection. The main character of the book, Leila, on the other hand, has taken this addiction to a whole different, uncomfortable level.

I don't remember whom Kiss Me First was recommended to me by. And, I must admit, I almost wasn't going to bother with it when I saw it being compared to Gone Girl, which I didn't really enjoy. But the fact that it handled internet addiction and was targeted toward young adults grabbed my attention anyway. Leila is a young girl who starts making money on the internet (not in an illegal way or anything before your mind wonders off) after her mother's death. While she's not playing World of Warcraft online, she's hanging out in forums, which is something I too did a lot in my teens. Her forum of choice is one called Red Pill, and he manages to get the founder Adrian's attention with her smart comments and attitude toward life. This is how she comes to accepts a job he has for her: continuing a women called Tess's internet presence after she kills herself.

I must say that I got myself getting quite bored with Leila and everything in her life until a bit more than half of the book. Because Leila is also the narrator, we have to read through what she thinks is important at the time. Even though this might be the case, I couldn't help wondering whether or not I would accept such a job if it ever came up...

Adrian thinks that everyone has the right to do whatever they want with their bodies. People he finds, people like Leila, are hired to "help" those who want to do just that by committing suicide. As a person who's lost loved ones to suicide, I have to believe that there is a good reason for them to choose to do that. What I don't understand is what they might gain from having someone impersonate them on the internet to help them "fade away."

Just think about it: you think your close friend has moved to another country. You e-mail each other everyday, message on Facebook and keep up with each other's lives. However, that friend is already dead and the person you think she is is a stranger who supposedly has enough knowledge to keep up the act. If this isn't disturbing beyond words, then what is it?

There is also Leila's character development, which leads to her actually wanting the life that Tess lost, even almost wanting to be Tess. She gets to wrapped up in this that when an old fling of Tess's gets in touch with her, Leila is sure he is actually falling in love with her, and not Tess. This was very disturbing for me as well, but I guess it is expected from a young girl who knows nothing about real life except for what she reads about it online. 

Kiss Me First has made me realize once again just how dangerous the internet can be and how everyone should really be more educated about it.

Respect The Arc