The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis: A Book Review

9781101906125ABOUT THE WOLF ROAD

ELKA BARELY REMEMBERS a time before she knew Trapper. She was just seven years old, wandering lost and hungry in the wilderness, when the solitary hunter took her in. In the years since then, he’s taught her how to survive in this desolate land where civilization has been destroyed and men are at the mercy of the elements and each other.

But the man Elka thought she knew has been harboring a terrible secret. He’s a killer. A monster. And now that Elka knows the truth, she may be his next victim.

Armed with nothing but her knife and the hard lessons Trapper’s drilled into her, Elka flees into the frozen north in search of her real parents. But judging by the trail of blood dogging her footsteps, she hasn’t left Trapper behind—and he won’t be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she’s going to survive, Elka will have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about the dark road she’s been set on.

The Wolf Road is an intimate cat-and-mouse tale of revenge and redemption, played out against a vast, unforgiving landscape—told by an indomitable young heroine fighting to escape her past and rejoin humanity.

My Review: I have mixed feelings about this one. I felt like it had a really unique premise, but from the start I wasn’t sure what direction it was going to take. There were several times I expected it to go a different way than it ended up.

One of my biggest issues with this book is that it felt very unclear and at times confusing. We aren’t given enough background information to understand where and when it takes place or what exactly happened to bring us to this point. The main character, Elka also talked a lot in her head and made a lot of foreshadowing statements, that I found kind of annoying.

I enjoyed the kind of “cat and mouse” theme that was throughout this book.  I also loved that the villain was so behind the scenes and in the shadows, but we knew that he was to be feared. I loved the character of Penelope and I loved the friendship that forms between her and Elka. I wish Penelope had been developed even more. I also would have liked to know more about Elka’s parents.

This was a dark story and it had some disturbing and gross themes, but it was also at times suspenseful and intriguing. I found the characters interesting and I enjoyed a good amount of this book, but I think it could have been shorter, faster-paced and a bit clearer in spots.

All in all, a decent read.

*I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beth Lewis is a managing editor at Titan Books in London. She was raised in the wilds of Cornwall and split her childhood between books and the beach. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has had close encounters with black bears, killer whales, and great white sharks. She has been a bank cashier, a fire performer, and a juggler.

June Reading Round-Up!

I’m a few days late getting this posted. The holiday weekend was a busy one!

So…remember how I’ve been averaging about 5 books a month, but really, really wanted to do better?

Guess what? I read 5 AGAIN this month! I suppose that’s better than decreasing my total, but I know I can do better!

I won’t promise an increase in July, but I sure hope that I do have one to report by the end of this month!

The following are the books I have completed for the month of June:

Me Before You, I read in preparation for the film adaptation. I only finished half before I saw the movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed both the film and the book, which I finished shortly thereafter. June was a book review book. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a favorite. My review for that can be found HERE. Nightime is My Time was a book on my shelf that I’ve been wanting to get to. I had some free time, so I dived into that. I think that it was one of my favorite Mary Higgins Clark novels thus far. The Girl in the Red Coat and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper were both books by debut authors. My Reading Challenge for this month was to read a book by a new author, and I ended up with two! Both of these books were really good and I was impressed by their authors first offerings.

In choosing a favorite book of the month, I’m torn. I think I may go with Me Before You, though The Girl in the Red Coat may finish a close second. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper deserves a lot of recognition too. It was unique, inspiring and whimsical. June was definitely my least favorite, though that doesn’t make it a bad read.

All in all, I very enjoyable reading month! I’ve already dived headfirst into my first July book, so hopefully that bodes well for my end count.

Until next month, Happy Reading!!

June a Novel by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore: A Book Review

May Reading Round-Up!

I am woefully behind schedule in posting this, and sadly, also behind schedule in my reading. I’ve been trying to keep a steady pace in my reading, but life has been so busy lately! No excuses, I know! I had fully intended to read more in May, but once again I am at five books for the month. And, truth be told, I technically finished book five today, but it is going to count as a May read because I read the majority of it in May and it is my monthly challenge book.

And so, for May my five books read were:

Two out of my five books were for review purposes. They were: The Longing in Me and The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom. Orphan Train was a book on my shelf that I recently picked up from the local library book sale. Murder in Morningside heights is a book from a favorite author and series that I’ve been following from the beginning. Wild fulfilled my May Reading Challenge as a book based on a true story.

My favorite book of the month was probably Orphan Train, though I enjoyed them all. The Longing in Me was non-fiction (my review can be read here) , and Wild I would classify as autobiography/memoir. This is a book I’ve wanted to read for a while. It’s about a woman who loses her mom at a young age and how it affects her life and her choices. She decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and she tells her story about that. It’s an incredible book and an incredible journey that she took. I can relate so much to a lot of the feelings she dealt with and I’m really glad I read this book. There is also a lot that I can’t relate to in how she chose to handle her grief, but the very core of it…that deep loss and the effect it had on her life, I can completely relate to. Anyway… Murder in Morningside Heights was very good, and so comfortably familiar. I’ve been reading this series from the beginning (and this was book 19!) so the characters have become like old friends and their story is comfortable and relaxing, but as always enjoyable and suspenseful. Lastly, The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom. My review for that can be read here.

I know I keep saying this, but I’m planning to read more in June! I need to pick up the pace to reach my yearly goal. I have read 26 or 75 so far, and according to Goodreads, that puts me 5 books behind schedule!

The Longing in Me by Sheila Walsh: A Book Review

_140_245_Book.1919.coverDo your desires have you going around in circles? You may be looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places.

You vowed you’d never repeat the same mistakes—yet you find yourself right where you started. What is it that keeps drawing you back into the same old traps? The fact is, your longings are built from the blueprint of your needs: for protection, for love, for God. And those needs aren’t going anywhere.

Sheila speaks candidly about the trials in her life, including the heartache of her first marriage, and intertwines her story with the biblical saga of King David. As both Sheila’s and David’s stories make clear, some cravings are misguided, but they all stem from the same hunger—and they will haunt you until that hunger gets satisfied properly.

If you keep reaching out to the wrong people at the wrong times in your own life, The Longing in Me will help you understand that your cravings are not the problem. It’s where they lead you that makes all the difference.

My Review: This was my first time reading a book by Sheila Walsh, but I have had the opportunity to hear her speak on several occasions and I’ve always been touched by her openness, honesty and humility. These qualities definitely translate well in her latest book.

The Longing in Me is a book about all of us. We all crave things in this life and many times those cravings lead us down dangerous roads with hard consequences. This book weaves together bits of personal experience from Sheila’s life and the well known stories from David’s.

It reminds us that we all stumble and fall. We all become misguided in our steps. We all follow things that lead us down wrong paths. We are all broken people in need of a savior.

I love the honesty in this book. Sheila bravely shares some of her most intimate life struggles with us so that we can know that we aren’t alone in our battles. Sometimes we think that we are the only ones who mess up. The only ones who are weak, broken and flawed. This book is such a great reminder that we are not alone. David, known as a man after God’s own heart, stumbled and fell many times, in many ways, yet he still belonged to God.

At the heart of all of us, is a longing that can only be filled by God. No matter what your story is, or mine, ultimately we need him to fill us. Nothing else can heal our brokenness, mend our shattered hearts or redeem our situations.

Excellent book, and highly recommended read.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom by Alison Love: A Book Review

9781101904510ABOUT THE GIRL FROM THE PARADISE BALLROOM

The first meeting between Antonio and Olivia at the Paradise Ballroom is brief, but electric.

Years later, on the dawn of World War II, when struggling Italian singer Antonio meets the wife of his wealthy new patron, he recognizes her instantly: it is Olivia, the captivating dance hostess he once encountered in the seedy Paradise Ballroom. Olivia fears Antonio will betray the secrets of her past, but little by little they are drawn together, outsiders in a glittering world to which they do not belong. At last, with conflict looming across Europe, the attraction between them becomes impossible to resist–but when Italy declares war on England, the impact threatens to separate them forever.

The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is a story of forbidden love and family loyalties amid the most devastating war in human history.

My Review:

I can’t recall if I’ve ever read a book set during World War II, but I definitely enjoyed the setting of this book as well as the perspective. I love historical fiction, but I prefer if a book focuses more on the characters and uses the historical aspect as more of a backdrop. I feel like this book did a pretty good job of that.

There were, however moments that dragged for me, and were just a little dull. Other than that, the story held my interest and the characters were well-developed. I really liked the characters of Olivia and Antonio, but I felt sorry for them. Their story seemed so tragic. In actuality, I believe at the heart of the story, was Filomena. I know this book was primarily about Olivia and Antonio, but I really loved the character of Filomena. She was strong and smart and loving. Her story with Stan was what captivated me most in this book.

In a lot of ways, this book was quite beautiful, but I don’t feel like it was as captivating as it set out to be. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it will stay with me for a long time to come.

*I received a copy of this book free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALISON LOVE’s short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and in 2013 her story Sophie Stops the Clock was shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize. Alison has worked in the theater, television, and public relations. The Girl from the Paradise Ballroom is her American fiction debut.

April Reading Round-Up!

Five seems to be my monthly average, as this is the third month in a row that my total books read has equaled five. Let it be known that I can do better, since January held six books! Dare I take that as a self-induced challenge to make May a six or even SEVEN book month?

Challenge accepted!

So, for April, my five books read are as follows:

Three out of five of this month’s selections were for review purposes. These include: Room for Hope, The Inheritance and That’s Not Hay in My Hair. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder was one I decided to read because I had recorded the film adapation (Starring Alison Sweeney) and I wanted to read the book first. I have to say the book was really good, but the movie…not so much. Sorry Ali! I still love you though! The last book I read was Pepper Pike and that was to fulfill my April Reading Challenge.

My favorite book this month was probably The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. Not only was it just a fun, cozy read, but it also caused me to bake lots of cookies! It actually included recipes at the end of each chapter. Though I’ve yet to try any of those recipes, I really loved that they are included. Food-themed mysteries could be a very dangerous thing for my calorie-consumption! I also really enjoyed Room for Hope. The title was very fitting, as it was a very uplifting read. Pepper Pike was pretty good too, and a quick read. By the way, the challenge for April was to read a book by a local author. Les Roberts lives in Northeast Ohio and has written an entire series on Milan Jacovich that takes place in Cleveland. The last two books, The Inheritance and That’s Not Hay in My Hair were both just “okay” reads.

I’m looking forward to hopefully coming back at the end of May with a total higher than five!

I have currently read 21 of my 75 book goal for 2016!