Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Days Made of Glass



Days Made of Glass
by Laura Drake


I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked this up to read I thought it would be more of a cowboy romance but it really isn’t but does have a touch in it. I have never read anything by this author and was very pleasantly pleased with the plot, the characters and the writing. Here is a family that is trying to get by and stay together going through many trying times. A mother who is barely holding it together ,to a teen who takes care of the family. When the mother dies they have a care taker who is the mother’s boyfriend but when he dies with a little mystery about his death and Angel falling apart leaving Harlie taking charge on the run with Angel with social services one step behind them. This is a story of the strength of one teenager trying her best to raise her sister by putting food on the table and a roof over their heads.  When Angel has a meltdown Harlie can no longer close her eyes thinking Angel is just having a bad day. Angel rushed to the hospital with cuts from the glass she has to face the fact that Angel needs more help then she can give. What is a girl to do when faced with medical bills she cannot pay along with her sister being institutionalized which will cost more money? She remembers the man who told her about bullfighting and wanted her to go to a school fully paid. She decides to go where the money is. The story is built around Harlie’s trials and errors of her life and learning to fight the bull along, dealing with a job in a man’s world where women have never stepped along with her dealing with her sister’s issues and the people around her. Harlie doesn’t trust or make friends which makes her come off as a cold person, maybe even a little of a snob. Which is far from the truth, she just never had the time to grow up in a normal home. Then she was on the run and couldn’t let anyone get close for fear they would split the sisters up.

There is a lot of sorrow, pain, and a few heart stopping moments in this story but there is humor that will make you chuckle. It isn’t all doom and gloom but some very bright sun shining days that really grabs your heart making you smile. I really liked Harlie she is strong but codependent on her sister who she has built her life around. Now she must leave her in other peoples care, start over, learn how to put your trust on the person beside you and work as a team to make sure not only she but the men around her come out alive. There is no way you can read this and not be touched by bother Angel and Harlie along with some of the cowboys and how things work out.  There were times I just wanted to pull Harlie out of the pages let her rest her head on my shoulders for a few minutes to give her a little piece of mind.

The cowboys really touched me, the one who did the most was Deuce he is amazing in so many ways as he works on bring Harlie around pushing her and being her support system in so many ways.  I enjoyed the men some had an attitude and were put back in line. It really is a wonderful story showing how each of them learns to work together, trust the other and find out they don’t know as much as they thought. I loved the tattoos and the meaning behind them. The owner of the school is a hoot as he brings strong men to their knees.  I loved his roughness as well as his wife how she deals with things. The story has so many messages in it along with meaning that will really stay with you. This isn’t one of those books you will forget when you put it down. It is one you will most likely want to reread again due to so many emotions you feel as each new twist unfolds and comes to life before your eyes.

It’s truly a heartwarming, soul searching lovely read that grabs you from the first page until the last. I really didn’t want it to end. It was a pleasure to watch Harlie and Angel grow in mind and spirit both fighting their own demons and winning the battle. Watching them overcome so many issues fighting their way back to each other. My heart broke for so many of these characters but the author did an amazing job putting it back together. Out of all the books I have read this year I pick a few that are my favorite, this book will be added to that group as one of my favorite reads of the year. My hats off to the author for being able to really reach in and touching my heart, making me want to cry, smile, laugh and just hug so many wonderful characters. 



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Summary
Harlie Cooper raised her sister, Angel, even before their mother died. When their guardian is killed in a fire, rather than be separated by Social Services, they run. Life in off the grid in L.A. isn’t easy, but worse, there’s something wrong with Angel.

Harlie walks in to find their apartment scattered with shattered and glass and Angel, a bloody rag doll in a corner. The doctor orders institutionalization in a state facility. Harlie’s not leaving her sister in that human warehouse. But something better takes money. Lots of it.

When a rep from the Pro Bull Riding Circuit suggests she train as a bullfighter, rescuing downed cowboys from their rampaging charges, she can’t let the fact that she’d be the first woman to attempt this stop her. Angel is depending on her.

It’s not just the danger and taking on a man’s career that challenges Harlie. She must learn to trust—her partner and herself, and learn to let go of what’s not hers to save.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Stranger's Kindness


A Stranger's Kindness

Written by: EC Stilson
Narrated by: Courtney Parker
Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08-09-17
Publisher: Wayman Publishing




I do not even know where to begin this let’s start with the characters Mark a bachelor doesn’t need a women in fact jokes about them but one look and he is a night in shinning armor who will bend over backward for a women he doesn’t know? He also has a girlfriend that lives somewhere away from them, but from the writing you think he is a playboy with a different girl each night. Gina is thirty something but acts like she is twelve the things she does as far as getting his attention and how she deals with her ex’s and friends etc  are things we did in middle school. Every time I thought this was going somewhere I found it wasn’t as the character went out of character and changed their whole attitude.  Gina’s emotions were all over the place first she wouldn’t leave the shmuck and then she would break up with him and go back. When she found out he was married she still didn’t break up with him. Her daughter talked about how he scared her and you thought she saw the light no one would hurt her kids and then she brought him back into their lives. She tells Mark they can’t be anymore than friends but then just about attacks him. The whole plot is like this. They say one thing and do something else. I don’t think I ever hear the shmucks name and everyone calling him that got a little old.

I think the narrator did a pretty good job but maybe a more mature voice would have been better. Ms. Parker’s voice is young and exciting but didn’t sound 30. Some of her character voices were outstanding but some of the voices were too much alike and sound too much like her normal voice which was a little confusing.  Her male voices need a little work they need to be a little deeper. There were times when you could hear the excitement or sorrow in her voice I thought this was done very well.  There are 3 places about ¾ way through where she repeats words or a sentence. I hear no background noise, it was a very clear audio. If any breaks were taken I could not tell. At times she needs to pause a little longer where other times it was just right. There were some time you could tell she was reading, it didn’t seem natural the flow was off but other times it was perfect.  I think her natural voice is very lovely.

These characters are just too wishy washy with emotions going too far one way and then to far the other way. Too much filler was used you could have skipped most of some the chapters and not missed much. There were times when the author hinted things were going to get dangerous and exciting or a character was going to go psycho but it never happened. I really had to push myself to listen to the whole audio. Too much contradictions and immature characters the author lost me almost from the first page and never got me back. Some love this drama filled child like story I just did not.  

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Summary
"Love can carry us through all of this. It doesn't age. Its back doesn't go out. It doesn't get arthritis, or need a motor. It doesn't lose its hearing or become forgetful. It is what keeps on when the years get late and our hair is grey. It's what can heal and buoy us through anything. I want to be old with you, yes, but I want to feel young with you forever."
I finished reading the words and found myself speechless. I was a single mother, yet this selfless bachelor had come into my life, and he had literally changed everything. I'd never known a love like this.

Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils and Herbal Tinctures


Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils and Herbal Tinctures: DIY Natural Remedies with Herbs, Aromatherapy Recipes, Infused Oils, and Much More!

Written by: Kathy Wyatt
Narrated by: Jo Nelson
Length: 2 hrs and 21 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08-25-17
Publisher: CiJiRo Publishing


I have heard so much about essential oils but never really knew what their uses were or what to do with them. When asked if I would be interested in reviewing this audio I really wasn’t expecting much as most books for beginners really do not have a lot of information they are just to get your started. To my delight I found some very useful information not only on how to use the oils but what they are for. You can use these for health and beauty but also for cleaning, infection, rashes, getting rid of spiders and the list goes on and on. There are some great recipes in this book to get you started, they even cover how to make them but I do not see myself doing this.

This is the first time I have listened to Ms. Nelson’s narration I was totally pleased. Her voice is very pleasant and easy to listen to.  Her tones are wonderful, she give just the right pause to let what she just told you sink in giving it meaning and understanding. There are no repeating of words, no volume changes and if any breaks were taken I could not tell.  The narrator’s voice really makes you forget you are listening which is great, you can spend your time focusing on what she is saying. I never thought I would be pulled in but I was taking in every word she spoke waiting to see what the next information would be. I loved the speed this audio was delivered in, it makes me wonder how a normal romance or thriller would sound from her.  Bottom line I totally enjoyed listening. I believe I got more out of listening then I would have reading.

I really thought this has a lot of information for beginners with outstanding recipes I can’t wait to use to better my health inside and out. I would not have checked into essential oils for some time to come which would have been a lost for me. I would never have guessed there was something so nature that did so much. I do love anything that is natural and feel we need to know more about what goes into our bodies. I also believe that in the long run this would be a cheaper way to deal with health, house, and mind. I liked how the book was broken down explaining it in a way that is easy to understand. I am very much looking forward to trying some of these recipes and learning more about essential oils. If you are a prepper or thinking about prepping this would be a great book to start you out.

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Summary
Are you looking to enhance your life through natural means?
Do you want to learn how to kick over the counter medication to the curb?
Are you interested in using essential oils correctly to create different products?
Then Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils and Herbal Tinctures: DIY Natural Remedies with Herbs, Aromatherapy Recipes, Infused Oils, and Much More is for you!
You'll find everything in this book you'll need to know in order to use essential oils properly, make your own herbal tinctures and infused oils, and even apply that knowledge to making salves and balms for various ailments. You'll also learn how to make different beauty products, use essential oils for your home, and how to choose the right essential oils to start with. There are so many different applications for essential oils that you'll even find out how to make your own bath bombs and shower steamers, which double as great gifts! Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils and Herbal Tinctures will get you started with a comprehensive herbal guide for any beginner.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Callie: The Women of Valley View


Callie: The Women of Valley View, Book 1

Written by: Sharon Srock
Narrated by: Diane Marty
Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
Series: Women of Valley View, Book 1
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-22-16
Publisher: A Blonde and a Prayer Books


This started off a little slow for me but it didn’t take me long to get into this story of broken hearts, sorrow, healing, forgiveness and the faith one women has in God as he leads her to find the answers for a small family who has lost everything in return finding forgiveness for herself.  It is really hard to put yourself out there helping others and making the correct decisions never knowing if it will come back to haunt you. So many times we maybe should have stepped in but turn away not because we do not care but because of what the fall out might be. In this story one woman didn’t turn away but stepped up to the plate helping a young mother keep her child. The fall out was of the little boy losing his life and leaving Callie devastated knowing in some way she took part in killing an innocent child. It doesn’t matter that others step forward and help the family keep the child it is that she did. She can’t see beyond her own guilt. When another family comes along that needs her help she wants to step back but her belief in God and what he wants her to do will not let her.  This is what the story is based around…the trial of pain, sorrow of two families finding their way and leading one to the word of God as he changes their life. It is one thing to say you are religious but totally different to walk the walk and talk the talk why putting your life in God’s hands as Callie did.

I thought the narrator did an outstanding job making the reader really feel the emotion that each character was going through. You could hear the pain of each one as things happened. I really enjoyed her character voices you always knew who was talking and what they were feeling. There are no repeating of words, no background noises, no volume changes and if any breaks were taken I could not tell. Ms. Marty put a lot of thought into how the story would play out giving her voice the correct tones for each scene. I had no trouble picturing what the narrator was reading. I thought her performance was outstanding and really pulled me in. The audio was very clear and clean giving you a performance you will not forget for a long time to come. She really pulled on your heartstrings in her very vivid account of story the author wrote.

I had no trouble relating to this story as I am sure most of us have had to deal with abuse of some kind. Now a day’s most of us have also dealt with divorce, a parent leaving and maybe even a drug issue. All of these issues can tear a family apart with no trouble at all. My heart went out to Callie but more so too this young girl Iris and Samantha as they deal with the road life has given them. I can’t think of anything more horrible then having no one there for you when you need them the most and to scared to reach out for help knowing your family might be torn apart at anytime.  The author really put some thought into writing this as she pulls your heart one way and then another. She does add some humor lots of smiles and then breaking your heart all over again. It is a story of love of God, forgiving your self and learning to forgive others. There are some very good points here as to the reasoning of why we should forgive. I thought this was a very compelling vivid audio that really gives a punch in more ways than one. Just when you think things cannot get worse they do. The author gives you a few surprises that at first you do not know how to take it. It all does work out for the best leaving you with a smile on your face and peace in your heart. I thought this was a very uplifting and inspirational listen that I totally enjoyed. I hope others will give it a listen and really be pulled in to some outstanding narration and writing.
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Summary
A baby is dead and Callie Stillman blames herself. Haunted by memories of a tiny coffin, Callie can't understand how God could expect her to put her heart on the line a second time. But the evasive little girl attending her Sunday school class is so obviously in trouble that Callie finds her resolve cracking.
Iris and Samantha Evans are living on borrowed time. Deserted, orphaned, betrayed, and deceived, they need rescuing in the worst way.
Steve Evans had his life changed by God. A reformed drug addict, he's searching for the family he abandoned 10 years ago and praying for a miracle.
The road to healing is rocky. But as Callie confronts her worst fears by bringing father and daughters together in a risky bid for reconciliation, she realizes that the Evans family aren't the only ones God wants to rescue from a tortured past.