Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Book Review of Breaker's Reef by Teri Blackstock






Breaker's Reef
Cape Refuge # 4
By: Teri Blackstock
Genre: Christian Suspense
336 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Buy it:
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A Cape Refuge teenager is dead . . .
Then another body is found . . .
Will Sadie Caruso be the next to die?
When a famous mystery writer moves to Cape Refuge, ex-con Sheila Caruso-mother to Sadie and Caleb-is thrilled to get a job working for him. But when a teenage girl is found murdered, Sheila discovers that a scene in one of the eccentric writer's novels matches the crime scene. Exactly.
Then a second dead girl is discovered by Police Chief Cade and Blair Owens. And when this murder mirrors a scene in another of the writer's books, Cade is drawn into a web of trickery and deceit. Shockingly, evidence turns up in Cade's truck-evidence that points to Cade himself as the number one suspect!
Cade tries to clear his name, but when eighteen-year-old Sadie Caruso disappears, tensions mount to a fever pitch. Can Cade find the real killer before Sadie winds up dead? Is the author a demented killer or a hapless victim? And what does Sadie's own mother have to do with the crimes? Secrets are uncovered while lessons are learned about the sins of the fathers being visited upon their children. Will the consequences of Sheila's poor choice in life be fatal, or is there redemption and mercy for her and her children?

I was given a complimentary copy from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

I thought it was a little slow at times but the characters, mystery, and message were all compelling. Overall it was a good read. I'll certainly read more of the books in the series.The ending was also a surprise for me. I thought I had it figured out but turns out I didn't. So, I'm giving it...

















Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Book Review of The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World's Favorite Beverage from Its Violent History by Becca Stevens



"[Women served by Thistle Farms] would be dead by now if it weren't for a remarkable initiative by the Rev. Becca Stevens to help women escape trafficking and prostitution."
—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

New Book by Famed Women’s Advocate Exposes “Fair Trade” as a Myth, and Offers Justice to Women Survivors

Becca Stevens is a White House Champion of Change, and founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms, two of the nation’s leading social enterprises for women. Now she shares how their latest initiative—a café that employs women recovering from prostitution and addiction—is fueling a worldwide movement to bring fair wages to women in her new book, The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World’s Favorite Beverage from Its Violent History (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group, $22.00 hardcover, November 4, 2014).

Stevens opened the Thistle Stop Café in Nashville, Tennessee in 2013 to empower women survivors. But when she discovered a connection between café workers and tea laborers overseas, she embarked on a global mission called “Shared Trade” to bring freedom and fair wages to women tea producers worldwide—especially those trapped by trafficking, oppression, and opiate wars.

As she recounts the victories and challenges of launching the café, she shares the powerful personal stories of café workers, tea laborers, and volunteers whose lives were transformed by the journey. Amid heartfelt stories of justice and healing, each chapter includes recipes for tea blends that readers can make themselves.

Like the best of the culinary exposé genre, Stevens also sweeps the reader into the world of tea, where timeless rituals transport to an era of beauty, and challenging truths about tea’s darker, more violent reality are exposed.

“More than sweet thoughts, tea can become an economic powerhouse that transforms the history of communities,” Stevens writes. “Tea can be a source of economic independence for women, instead of a source of oppression.”

Magdalene, Stevens’ residential model, serves women recovering from prostitution, trafficking, and addiction for two years at no cost to residents. Thistle Farms employs residents and graduates of Magdalene to manufacture, market, and sell all natural bath and beauty products in over 380 stores nationwide.







Genre: Women's Studies/ Current Events
226 pages
Publisher: Jericho Books, November 2014
The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World's Favorite Beverage from Its Violent History













The Way of Tea and Justice: Rescuing the World's Favorite Beverage from Its Violent History by Becca Stevens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


What started as an impossible dream-to build a café that employs women recovering from prostitution and addiction-is helping to fuel an astonishing movement to bring freedom and fair wages to women producers worldwide where tea and trafficking are linked by oppression and the opiate wars.
Becca Stevens started the Thistle Stop Café to empower women survivors. But when she discovered a connection between café workers and tea laborers overseas, she embarked on a global mission called “Shared Trade” to increase the value of women survivors and producers across the globe.
As she recounts the victories and unexpected challenges of building the café, Becca also sweeps the reader into the world of tea, where timeless rituals transport to an era of beauty and the challenging truths about tea’s darker, more violent history. She offers moving reflections of the meaning of tea in our lives, plus recipes for tea blends that readers can make themselves.
In this journey of triumph for impoverished tea laborers, hope for café workers, and insight into the history of tea, Becca sets out to defy the odds and prove that love is the most powerful force for transformation on earth.








I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

While I thought Stevens' story and the women's anecdotes were interesting I found the book to be repetitive at times. I also enjoyed the tea recipes at the beginning of each chapter. I also found the history of tea to be enlightening. I wish that aspect had been explored some more. Overall the book is entertaining.




The Reverend Becca Stevens is an Episcopal priest serving as Chaplain at St Augustine's at Vanderbilt University, and founder of Magdalene, a two-year residential community of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. She founded Thistle Farms in 2001, which employs 50 residents and graduates, and houses a line of natural body care products, a paper and sewing studio, the Thistle Stop Café, and the Shared Trade initiative linking 14 women’s social enterprises around the globe.

Stevens has authored nine books, and has been featured in The New York Times and on ABC World News, NPR, PBS, CNN, and Huffington Post. She was named one of 15 Champions of Change by the White House in 2011, was inducted into the Tennessee Women's Hall of Fame in 2013, received an honorary doctorate by The University of the South, was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumna Award from Vanderbilt Divinity School in October 2014, and was named the 2014 Humanitarian of the Year by the American Business Counsel. In 2011 she was also named "Tennessean of the Year."

In fall 2013, Stevens launched the first Thistle Farms National Conference, welcoming attendees from over 30 states. Her latest books include Snake Oil: The Art of Healing and Truth-Telling and The Way of Tea & Justice: Rescuing the World's Favorite Beverage from its Violent History.




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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Review of Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician's Search for True Healing by Neil Spector, MD

Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician's Search for True HealingGone in a Heartbeat: A Physician's Search for True Healing by Neil Spector

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dr. Neil Spector, one of the nation's top oncologists, led a charmed life. He was educated at prestigious universities, trained at top medical centers, and had married the woman of his dreams. It seemed too perfect. And it was.

In 1994, it all came crashing down. He and his wife lost two unborn children. And a mysterious illness brought him to the brink of death. In his compelling memoir, "Gone in a Heartbeat," Dr. Spector describes in great detail how he was misdiagnosed and, despite being a medical insider, was often discounted by his fellow physicians.

As he recounts his own unorthodox approach to medicine and physician/patient relationships, Dr. Spector encourages readers to never surrender their power to a third party. He tells of courageous patients who served as role models, he conceded that doctors do a disservice to patients when "we treat them like statistics," and he advocates for educated patients who can make informed decisions collaboratively and not simply follow instructions.

In Dr. Spector's words: "To recognize that we are in control of our own bodies and destinies can be a powerful step toward true healing."

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Dr. Spector chronicles his at times frustrating experiences trying to find out what was causing his heart to fail. I was surprised that his doctors didn't listen to his complaints and take him more seriously considering he was a colleague. I found the book read like a novel, it kept me very interesting. He wove his own poetry in with the book and I felt they worked well with the chapters. He also provided good advice such as not to take what doctors say at face value, to listen to your gut, and to be your own advocate. I think it's a good read for those suffering from health issues and ones who are also caregivers.



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Genre: Memoir
Published: February 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review of Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women: Edited by Nina Gaby

Dumped: Women Unfriending WomenDumped: Women Unfriending Women by Nina Gaby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
A series of essays on women being dumped by their female friends. Many of the stories had me going " I know how she feels!" All of them were good even though I felt a couple didn't really belong but I still enjoyed those as well. This is a must read for women.


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Genre: Essays
Publisher: She Writes Press, March 2015
212 pages

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Book Review of A Killer Collection by Ellery Adams

A Killer Collection
A Collectible Mystery # 1
189 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Beyond the Page, January 2015
Book Source: Publisher via netgalley

In the world of antiques and collectibles, it helps to have a sharp eye for quality, a good ear for gossip, and a nose for murder.

Molly Appleby is a young writer for Collector’s Weekly, and when the attractive reporter isn’t covering auctions and antique shows all over the South, she’s trying to get her new relationship with a coworker off the ground. When her latest assignment takes her to North Carolina pottery country to cover an exclusive kiln opening, she’s certain the show promises surprising offerings and rare finds. What she doesn’t expect to find is a dead body.

George-Bradley Staunton is known throughout the antiques world as a very wealthy and very ruthless collector, and when he drops dead just after the opening, there are all too few mourners and a seemingly endless list of suspects. When the local police are stumped, Molly steps in to put her journalist’s nose to work sniffing out the culprit. But no sooner does she start collecting clues than another dead body falls into her lap.

As Molly digs beneath the genteel surface of antiques and collectibles, she finds a world filled with backstabbing and competition, and what started as a story about rare collections might leave Molly with nothing more than a collection of corpses. 


While uneven, Molly is a likable heroine. The mystery kept me interested and I like the developing romance. I liked it enough that I started reading another book in the series.

So, I'm giving it...

 


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Lisa










 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Book Review of Traceless by Joanne Clancy

TracelessTraceless by Joanne Clancy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 Genre: Mystery/ Thriller
235 pages
Published: September 2014


 Adam Stoltz vanishes in the middle of the night.
His girlfriend, Darcey Ackerman, is the last person to see him alive.
An international manhunt and police investigation ensue, but Adam remains traceless.
Darcey is obsessed with finding out what really happened to Adam, but someone is watching her, and she is about to discover that there is a fine line between love and hate...
Traceless - some people should never be found.


Even though there were some flaws such as confusing time jumps- overall it was a good mystery. I also enjoyed the ending. I wasn't expecting it.




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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Review of Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

Stranger ChildStranger Child by Rachel Abbott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars




Kindle edition
326 pages
Publication Date: Feb. 24, 2015
Genre: Suspense
  
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six-year-old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident. 

Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and for her baby?  


 When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.


* I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

A novel that kept me up all night. It had lots of twists and turns and an interesting plot. Emma was a strong, likable heroine. I recommend it.



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