Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Goat Mountain by David Vann

Title: Goat Mountain
Author: David Vann
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 2013

In the fall of 1978, on a 640-acre family ranch on Goat Mountain in Northern California, an eleven-year-old boy joins his grandfather, his father, and his father’s best friend on the family’s annual deer hunt.

Every fall they return to this dry, yellowed landscape dotted with oak, buck brush, and the occasional stand of pine trees. Goat Mountain is what this family owns and where they belong. It is where their history is kept, memories and stories that will be shared again by these men. And for the first time, the boy’s story will be added if he can find a buck. Itching to shoot, he is ready.

When the men arrive at the gate to their land, the father discovers a poacher and sights him through the scope of his gun. He offers his son a look-a simple act that will explode in tragedy, transforming these men and this family, forcing them to question themselves and everything they thought they knew.

In prose devastating and beautiful in its precision, David Vann creates a haunting and provocative novel that explores our most primal urges and beliefs, the bonds of blood and religion that define and secure us, and the consequences of our actions-what we owe for what we’ve done.

My thoughts:  This book is very different from the books I usually read and such am sure that I will not do it justice with my review.  While beautifully written, the themes and essence of this book are dark and tragic.  It explores the darker side of human nature through an 11-year-old boy, his father, grandfather and Tom, a family friend. 

"My left shoulder slammed against the ground over and over, and I was being shaken loose, gripping with that arm, and I would have let go if not for my grandfather watching.  I had lost the desire to kill.  I would have reversed time and not fired my rifle, let the buck leap into the brush and escape.  I felt remorese, though I had no word for that at the time or even any possibility of understanding the concept.  We were put here to kill.  That was immutable.  It was family law and the law of the world.  And I reached for my knife because my grandfather was there to enforce.  But who I was had changed.  From that moment on, every kill would be bitter to me.  Every kill would be something forced, something I did not want. And that's what would make me human. To kill out of obligation, to kill even when I did not want to."  (p150)
The book is narrated by the 11-year-old boy and is told 30 years after the incident has happened.  The relationship between the boy, his father and grandfather is complicated. While they thought they knew each other, the events that transpired on that fateful hunting trip proved otherwise. How well do we really know each other when all pretense is wiped away and we are stripped bare of everything that has come before? When our actions have changed the course of more than just our life, how will those we love react?  Will it bond them or break them?  With strong Christian undertones, these questions and more are explored in Goat Mountain.

While this is not a light read, and I can't say an enjoyable read because of the subject matter, it is one that I couldn't put down and will definitely stay with me. 

~I originally received this book through Edelweiss for review, but was unable to read it at that time, so I obtained it from the library for my current review.~

knew each other

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Brotherhood in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley Jove
Publication Date: Feb 2, 2016

Sometimes brotherhood can be another word for conspiracy. . . .

Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head.

Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze.

As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.

My thoughts: I can't remember when I read my first "In Death" book, but it was probably in the late 1990's. A coworker and I would share them as they were published.  I lost track of the series in 2004 when my son was born and I became a stay-at-home mom.  It has always been on my backburner that I wanted to get back into reading them. I wanted to know what happened with Dallas and Roarke!  They were 2 characters that definitely stayed with me over the years.  I wanted to believe that there was really a Dallas and Roarke out there somewhere in the universe.  J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) has written at least 2 book in this series a year since 1995, with Brotherhood being book 42.  You don't need to read these books in order, but if you only read one, you will be left wanting to know more.  

You get thrown into the case very quickly when the husband of one of Eve's coworkers and friends is attacked.  Having a personal connection to the case make's it Eve's priority and when the bodies start piling up, it begins to bring up bad memories from Eve's childhood.  By the end of the book, it isn't clear what should be right or wrong or who is the victim and who is the perpetrator.  The action moves rapidly covering only a few days in the 388 pages.  I like that as it makes the reading go very quickly as well.  

If you haven't read any of the In Death series, it is time to start.  I highly recommend this book as well as this series. 

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cover Reveal: Address to Die For by Mary Feliz

Inside the Book:

Title: Address to Die For 
Author: Mary Feliz 
Publisher: Lyrical Underground 
Genre: Mystery 
Format: Ecopy

For professional organizer Maggie McDonald, moving her family into a new home should be the perfect organizational challenge. But murder was definitely not on the to-do list . . .

Maggie McDonald has a penchant for order that isn’t confined to her clients’ closets, kitchens, and sock drawers. As she lays out her plan to transfer her family to the hundred-year-old house her husband, Max, has inherited in the hills above Silicon Valley, she has every expectation for their new life to fall neatly into place. But as the family bounces up the driveway of their new home, she’s shocked to discover the house’s dilapidated condition. When her husband finds the caretaker face-down in their new basement, it’s the detectives who end up moving in. What a mess! While the investigation unravels and the family camps out in a barn, a killer remains at large—exactly the sort of loose end Maggie can’t help but clean up . . .

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Meet the Author

Silicon Valley is my home. I love its foibles and the easy access to some of the most beautiful coastal and mountain terrain anywhere. The traffic? Not so much.

It hasn't always been home—I've lived in five states and two countries. Traveling to other areas, I'm frequently reminded that what seems normal in the high-tech heartland can seem freakish, odd, or even alarming to the rest of the country.

I'm a big fan of irony, serendipity, diversity, and quirky intelligence tempered with gentle humor, and I strive to bring these elements into my writing. My characters, however, tend to take my manuscripts in directions I've never imagined. It can be a wild ride, but I love it when Maggie and her friends take charge.

While there are always traits that writers share with their characters, I assure you that Maggie is thinner, fitter, braver, funnier, and wittier than I am. Maggie is also more organized, efficient, poised, and better at thinking on her feet. We both love animals, a strong cup of coffee, cookies, and a cold glass of California chardonnay.

I'm a firm believer in professional organizations and am a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Authors Guild (which sounds like it should confer robes, wands, and the ability to do magic). I particularly adore the Writers' Police Academy, where I've met lifelong friends who share my excitement about learning the best ways to murder someone and get away with it.

When Maggie told me she was a professional organizer, I joined the National Association of Professional Organizers and was delighted to meet organizers who generously shared their experiences stumbling on damning evidence amongst ordinary household clutter.

I'm a Smith College graduate with a degree in Sociology and a broad smattering of other subjects. I guess that makes me well suited to examine and catalogue Silicon Valley's unique anthropological customs. I live with and have raised excellent examples of the indigenous nerd.

Before my career as a mom, volunteer, and writer, I worked in Corporate Communications, which taught me to write compelling copy about vacuum tubes and other items of limited interest to the general public. Outside the world of the Fortune 500 and nonprofits my writing credits include first-place recognition from SouthWest Writers for a young adult short story and finalist status in contests run by Writer’s Digest, Pacific Northwest Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. My personal essays have been published in anthologies published by Mothers At Home and Mothers of Preschoolers.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

January Wrap Up

Ok, so January is over, and while I have joined a bunch of challenges, I have not posted one book review.  Shame on me!  The following books were read in January and hopefully you will see reviews soon:

The Drowned Cities (Ship Breakers Book 2) by Paolo Bacigalupi
Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Book 2) by Ransom Riggs
Matched (Matched, Book 1) by Ally Condie - audio
Crossed (Matched, Book 2) by Ally Condie - audio
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Following books are currently being read/listened to:
Goat Mountain by David Vann
Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington
Reached (Matched, Book 3) by Ally Condie - audio
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Not sure how I ended up reading so many at one time.  I am about halfway through all of them, so they will all probably wrap up at about the same time.

And - Since this is Books and Needlepoint - I have the first finished Needlepoint of the year!  This is Ho! Ho! Ho! by DeeBee's Designs.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pages Read 2016

Easy peasy - Keep track of how many pages you read. 
 It is being hosted by The Crafty Engineer's Bookshelf

Levels are as follows:
1 - 13,000 pages read
2 - 26,000 pages read
3 - 52,000 pages read
4 - 78,000 pages read
5 - 104,000 pages read.

I believe that I read just under 14,000 pages last year - so we will go for level 1.  I have more time to read this year, so that should be pretty doable. 

The Drowned Cities  - 437
Hollow City - 352
Matched - 369
This is Where it Ends - 281
Crossed - 367

I Love Libraries Reading Challenge

The I Love Libraries Reading Challenge is simple - read books, ebooks, listen to audiobooks, etc that have all been checked out from your library!  It is being hosted @ Bea's Book Nook

I work at our local public library so have a myriad of items checked out at any one time!    

Levels are as follows:
  • Board book - 3
  • picture book - 6
  • early reader - 9
  • chapter book - 12
  • middle grades - 18
  • young adult - 24
  • adult - 36
  • just insert IV - 50
I think that I am going to go for Young Adult, as that is the area of the library that I work in.  (So of course, most of my books are going to be Young Adult titles as well!)

  1. Goat Mountain by David Vann

What an Animal Reading Challenge

The requirements for What an Animal Reading Challenge are as follows - 
One of these elements must be present: 
1 - There is an animal in the title of the book
2 - There is an animal on the cover of the book
3 - An animal plays a major role in the book
4 - A main character is (or turns into) an animal (define that however you'd like). 

It is being hosted at Socrates Book Reviews

There are 4 levels
1 - Read at least 6 books.
2 - Read 7 - 12 books
3 - Read 13 -  20 books
4 - Read 21+ books.

I will just try for level 1. 

  1. Goat Mountain by David Vann

Books to Movie Reading Challenge

For the Book to Movie Challenge, you just have to read books that have been or are going to be made into movies,tv shows, or mini-series. Neither the book or the production has to be from 2016.  It is being hosted by ebookclassics.

Three book/movie adaptions that I am looking forward to in 2016 include Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs), The 5th Wave (Rick Yancey) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Jane Austen/Seth Grahame-Smith)  I am partway through the Peculiar Children series and am interested in how they are going to do some of the special effects.  I have wanted to read The 5th Wave for quite awhile and hope to get it in before the movie comes out.  And for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - who doesn't like a good zombie movie?  

Color Coded Reading Challenge

For the Color Coded Challenge, the color can either be in the title or the dominant color of the book. It is hosted at My Readers Block

Here are the rules:

*Read nine books in the following categories.
1. A book with "Blue" or any shade of Blue (Turquoise, Aquamarine, Navy, etc) in the title/on the cover. 
2. A book with "Red" or any shade of Red (Scarlet, Crimson, Burgandy, etc) in the title/on the cover.
3. A book with "Yellow" or any shade of Yellow (Gold, Lemon, Maize, etc.)in the title/on the cover.
4. A book with "Green" or any shade of Green (Emerald, Lime, Jade, etc) in the title/on the cover.
5. A book with "Brown" or any shade of Brown (Tan, Chocolate, Beige, etc) in the title/on the cover.
6. A book with "Black" or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc) in the title/on the cover.
7. A book with "White" or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc) in the title/on the cover.
8. A book with any other color in the title/on the cover (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magneta, etc.).
9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.).  - For "implies color" the image implying color should dominate the cover--for instance a large rainbow, a field of flowers, or the image of a painter.  

*While reviews are not required, they can be posted at their Review Headquarters Page.

Women Challenge

This challenge is to read any kind of book authored by a woman.  
It is hosted at Peek a Book!


Level 1: BABY GIRL - read 5 books written by a woman author
Level 2: GIRLS POWER - read 6 to 15 books written by a woman author
Level 3: SUPER GIRL - read 16 to 20 books written by a woman author
Level 4: WONDER WOMAN - read 20+ books written by a woman author

She also asks that we list our three favorite woman authors.  These three were the first to come to mind:  Alex Kava, Emily Bronte, Veronica Rossi.

I am going to go for Girl Power!

  1. Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb

Read the Nobels Challenge

Simple concept - read a book authored by a Nobel Laureate.  This challenge is sponsored by Guiltless Reader @ Read the Nobels.  For a list of Laureates, see here.

  • Nobel dabbler: 1 to 3 books 
  • Nobel keener : 4 to 8 books 
  • Nobel enthusiast: 9 to 13 books 
  • Nobel devotee: 14 to 18 
  • Nobel zealot: More than 19

I am just going to be a dabbler this year.  

Read the Nobels 2016

New Authors Reading Challenge

The challenge - to find authors that are 'new-to-you' - they don't have to be debut authors.  It is being hosted at Literary Escapism.

There are no levels, so I think I will choose 15 new authors.  

After writing the review - links can be added here

Southern Literature Reading Challenge

For this challenge, books must have that Southern Literature "feel" (use your best judgement) and be set in one of the following states:
South Carolina
North Carolina
West Virginia

It is being hosted at The Introverted Reader

Level 1--C'mon in the house! Read 1-2 books.

Level 2--Pull up a seat and stay a while! Read 3-4 books

Level 3--Have a glass of sweet iced tea, honey. Read 5-6 books

Level 4--Y'all come back now, y'hear! Read 7-8 books

I am going to try for Level 2 - Pull up a seat and stay awhile!

Southern Literature Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge

Books for this challenge need to be in the mystery, suspense, thriller or crime genres. These are some of my favorite genres, so I had to join this challenge.  It is hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and Barb @ Booker T's Farm. 

1-10 books – Amateur sleuth
11-20 books – Detective
21-30 books – Inspector
31+ books – Special agent
I will just be doing the Amateur Sleuth level. 

  1. Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb

Cover Reveal: The Society by Jodie Andrefski

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cover Reveal: Her Australian Hero by Margaret Way

Title: Her Australian Hero 
Author: Margaret Way 
Publisher: Lyrical Press 
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Format: Ecopy

“If you’ve never read Margaret Way before, you’re in for a treat.” —New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer 

An epic tale of modern day Australia, where greed, desire, tragedy, and ambition collide . . .

Alexandra Ross has always known Lavender Hill will be hers one day. The grand old house, with its waving jacaranda fronds circling around it like a canopy against the white-hot Australian sun. The acres of orchards, trees heavy with sweet-smelling mangoes and prickly pink lychee. The rushing emerald creek that claimed her brother’s life; the genteel boudoir where her mother died of grief, gin, and stroke. Even the quad bike her bullheaded father uses to tear around the plantation like a teenager, as his covetous young wife plays tea party with Alex’s mother’s favorite china.
Someday Alex will undo her father’s blunders and be the good neighbor her childhood friend Rafe Rutherford deserves. The yearning she feels for Rafe can never overcome the heartbreak they’ve lived through together, but at least she will have his companionship.

Until her father is killed and the plantation is divided. If she wants to keep the land she loves Alex must break free of guilt and hesitation. And once she begins to fight for what her heart desires, there’s no telling where she’ll stop . . .

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About the Author: USA Today bestselling author Margaret Way has written more than 130 books, many of them International Bestsellers. She has been published in 114 countries and 34 languages. Her novels are set in her beloved Australia, where she was born and lives to this day. Her stories always contain the beauty and rugged nature of the rural and Outback Australia, as well as the rainforests and coral reefs of Northern Queensland.


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