Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Teaser Tuesday: Ten Big Ones

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme, hosted by The Purple Booker, that wants you to add books to your TBR! You can also just share what you are currently reading. We make it very easy to play along, it is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1: Grab your current read
2: Open to a random page
3: Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

I feel like the week has flown by, but then most of my weeks feel that way! I got a couple of chapters written in the latest Galactic Dynasty novel that I co-author with my hubby and muse. I finished reading one novel, The Shop on Blossom Street, and you can check out my 3-star review if you like. And I managed to get more work done on my crochet and cross-stitch projects, plus a lot more stuff thrown in that I'm not remembering right now! Two teasers are below for your enjoyment, one from the book I'm currently reading and one from a novel I've written! I hope everyone's week went well and wish everyone a happy Teaser Tuesday!

Ten Big Ones (Stephanie Plum #10) by Janet Evanovich

The way I see it, life is a jelly doughnut. You don't really know what it's about until you bite into it. And then, just when you decide it's good, you drop a big glob of jelly on your best T-shirt.

These books never cease to make me laugh and are the ones I turn to when I'm needing a good rollicking read! So if you haven't tried this series yet, give it a whirl. I have no doubt you'll enjoy them. Oh, and beware Grandma Masur... that character will make you pee your pants from laughing so hard! LOL

 Starward (Galactic Dynasty #1) by E. M. Lohr and Wendy Lohr

Knock, knock, knock. Startled, I rolled over only to fall onto the hard floor with a grunt, tangled in a scratchy blanket. My mind was in utter confusion as I looked around bleary-eyed for a moment and tried to remember where I was.

Galactic Dynasty is a sci-fi/adventure series that follows Rosa and the crew of Starward on a diplomatic mission to other planets within the galaxy. This particular excerpt is from her first day at the training facility and the chaos and confusion that ensues only increases as she's ushered from one place to the next on the island compound. There are currently four books in this series and the fifth one is being written now, hopefully to be published in the next few months! So, if you haven't heard about this series yet, pop on over to the series page on this website and find out more!

I hope you've enjoyed these teasers and I look forward to visiting your sites soon to see what everyone is reading! Just be sure to leave a link in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

TBR Pile #8: The Shop on Blossom Street

*This review can also be found on my Goodreads account.

Hope. Relationships. Courage.

These themes are at the core of this feel good novel. Hope in the present and hope in the future played a large part in each woman's reaction and approach to various situations going on in her life. Relationships played an active role in each woman's life as well, whether it be a start of a new relationship, recapturing a lost desire for the person one was with, or establishing new bonds with a family member where those bonds seemed impossible before. And courage arose in each woman to take the chances necessary to achieve the happiness they each desired in different ways.

This book follows the lives of four different women from different backgrounds and ages. The only character I truly connected with was Alix and she turned out to be the one that bound the others together in friendship. None of the characters were perfect and they each made a lot of mistakes along the way, but then that's life. No one gets it perfect the first time around!

The reason I couldn't rate this book any higher was I felt like the development of the characters was lacking and the development of their bond of friendship almost non-existent. It went from them being strangers to great friends in a matter of a couple of months, but none of the interactions between the four women gave any indication they were becoming more than acquaintances.

I also didn't like the fact that each woman's predicament and subsequent solution was all too familiar and predictable. The author dropped such a healthy (unhealthy?) dose of foreshadowing for each character, that I was able to pretty much see what was going to happen long before it happened. And I found that disappointing and boring. Not much originality in the individual story lines at all.

This is a feel good book with happy endings all around. So if you're looking for that type of novel to curl up with on a cold winter's night or a sunny day at the beach, then definitely give this book a try. But if you're looking for more complex characters and situations, writing that has a lot of layers, then this might not be the right kind of book for you.

I probably won't continue this series as I feel like it was enough of an ending for me. I'm not interested enough to know what happens next for any of them and just prefer to assume they all live happily ever after.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

TBR Pile #7: Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

*This review can also be found on my Goodreads account.

Adventure, capers, and crime. Even though this is a relatively short book, it was packed full of these three things! And as skeptical as I was at first about reading this, I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it.

I will be the first to admit that even though I grew up at the time when Carmen Sandiego was first making her appearance in our world, I didn't have any interest in following her exploits or trying to find her. I had other interests as I entered middle and high school, but I was aware of the Carmen Sandiego phenomenon. So receiving this book for Christmas one year had me slightly puzzled and I just shrugged and stuck it on my TBR Pile to read at a later date.

Now, two years later, I'm finally getting around to it and kind of regret I waited so long to see what the hype was all about! This book actually is Carmen's origin story and explains where she's from and how she was raised to believe that stealing was a good thing, a fun and exciting game that she wanted to be the best at. And it was hard not to be fondly amused at her antics to be the best little thief in the world, but it was also kind of sad that she was doing it as a way to be close to her quirky 'family' of master thieves.

As the story progresses, it's revealed how she manages to escape (the first time) the island she's called home her entire life, only to learn what her 'family' is really all about. And that lesson is a hard one for her to swallow. But, after being retrieved and taken back to the island, she realizes what she needs to do and, with the help of a voice on the other end of a stolen cell phone that goes by the name of Player, she slowly discovers that she actually can put her criminal talents to good use.

It's a thrill-seeking, fast-paced novel that kept me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. The only reason I didn't rate it higher (and the reason is more personal than anything to do with the storyline) is that it is written at a more basic reading level. The book is really meant for a younger audience of readers, but is definitely a fun read for adults as well. I just believe that most young readers would not have had any trouble if it had been written at a bit higher level. But this is just a personal opinion and by no means should detract from anyone wanting to read this book!

In all, a great, fun, and thrilling read for any age. I know this is now a Netflix series and after reading this book, I'll definitely have to check it out! So, whether you were a Carmen Sandiego fan when you were a kid, never followed her, or are just discovering her, this is a great book to check out if you're even the least bit curious!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Teaser Tuesday - Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme, hosted by The Purple Booker, that wants you to add books to your TBR! You can also just share what you are currently reading. We make it very easy to play along, it is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1: Grab your current read
2: Open to a random page
3: Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.

It has been quite a long time since I last participated in Teaser Tuesday. So long, that it took me a while to find who was hosting now as I used to connect with MizB's blog, Should Be Reading. lol Anyway, I'm back and thought I'd join back in on the fun and add a little extra to my teaser, submitting an excerpt from the book I'm currently reading as well as an excerpt from one of the books I've written. This is, after all, my author website, so I do have to occasionally put in a shameless plug! ;)

First teaser from Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego? by Rebecca Tinker:

From up here, I could see the entire island. Students were making their way across the quad. Some were practicing their criminal skills and training together; others were playing games and gossiping.

I should be through with this book and have a review up later this week as part of my ongoing TBR Pile Reviews. So be sure to stop back by and read what I thought about this book!

For the second teaser, I'm heading back to my very first book to be published! It's part of a mystery series for ages 10 and up, following the adventures of two high school friends, Leyla and Lucien, as they stumble into various mysteries!  I'll provide the link to Goodreads for anyone wanting to add this to their TBR pile, but you can also find more info about this book and others on my website in the tabs above!

Spanish Intrigue (The L & L Mysteries #1) by Wendy Lohr:

Forcing his mind back to the present, Lucien remembered why he was at the lake and pulled the napkin out of his pocket. As he squirted the lemon juice on the napkin and watched in amazement, numbers and Roman numerals began to appear. Opening the sketchbook to a clean page, it took him several minutes to carefully copy what was on the napkin.

Let me know what you think of these teasers and add your Teaser Tuesday links in the comments below. I'll be sure to visit your site in return!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

TBR Pile #6: The Arabian Nights

*This review can also be found on my Goodreads account.

Rich. Lavish. Elegant.

The Arabian Nights has been on my list to read for a long time now and as I finish my first read of it, I have to ask myself 'Self... why did it take you so long to read this?!' lol And the answer is probably because I was intimidated by the sheer size of this collection of stories. But I finally took the time to sit down and read it, from cover to cover, and I have no doubt I'll be reading it again in the future!

I don't typically read forewards of books, just preferring to dive straight into the good stuff. But I took the time to read this one and am glad I did. It prepared me in a way that allowed me to enjoy the stories even more, giving me a cultural and historical context that provided more richness to each individual tale as well as the over-arching framework.

As each tale unfolds, glimpses into a society, culture, and religion bring these tales to life. Before reading this, I had very little knowledge of ancient Islamic/Arabic society norms and practices. And I'm not saying this is a perfect history of that society and culture. In fact, it actually makes me want to learn more about that history in order to see how close to realism these stories presented of the times. The tales are rich in details pertaining to that culture and society, allowing the reader to envision what might have been everyday norms during that point in history and I look forward to diving into more research just to see how much of it came close to reality!

As for the supernatural, the fantastical, the adventures and romance, it's all in here! And every tale appears to have some sort of lesson or morality to impart to the reader. But there is so much more to take away from each tale than just a life lesson and each reader may take away something different.

There aren't many words to describe how much I truly enjoyed reading each and every story in this collection. And I can't recommend it enough to those who truly love tales of fantasy and adventure, love and tragedy, heroism and villainy, triumph and despair. Every imaginable aspect of story-telling is embraced in this collection of stories and is imparted in such a way to keep the reader turning the page to the very end.

So, if you are looking for something that, at first glance, seems to be a challenge, but with each turning page dissolves into one of the most enjoyable reads you'll find, then definitely give this book a chance.