May 2014 Archive

Francesca of Lost Nation

8988491by Lucinda Sue Crosby

Pages: 252

Published: April 24th 2010 by Luckycinda

ISBN: 9781450701679

From Goodreads: If you love a grandmother or are one yourself –
especially a feisty, leggy and stubborn kind – then join 10-year-old
Sarah as she and her grandmother, Francesca tear up the race track,
team with barn-storming pilots and capture a wanted felon on an Apple
Farm in Iowa during the late 1940s. It’s one fun read and a story you
and your grandchildren will want to visit time and time again.

This was such a cute story. It was so much fun reading this because I
felt like a 10 year old again. I mean, sure, my life wasn’t actually
anything like this, but this book captured that kind of feeling. The
feeling of being a kid and thinking that your grandmother is one of
the coolest people on the planet and that you could never have more
fun than when you’re with her. This story also reads like something I
would’ve read when I was in school for summer reading and (because I’m
a huge nerd) I have a fondness for those kinds of books. I do think
this is something that children could read with their grandparents and
would have a great time with it. It’s not too long and has enough
excitement to keep anyone’s attention. I would definitely recommend
this for some summer reading. 🙂

Cupcakes: Other FictionOther FictionOther FictionOther Fiction

Buy this from Amazon here: Francesca of Lost Nation

Guardians at the Gate

17993262by: Ray Dacolais

Pages: 258

Published: May 24th 2013 by Ray Dacolias

ISBN:  9780988817760

From Goodreads:  Margaret C. Carbuncle is the principal at Amethyst Elementary. She has an insatiable appetite for power and soon becomes a tyrant; she also develops a desire for prestige and glory, and she knows the only way to attain this is through high test scores for her elementary school. Therefore, she drives her Teachers into a frenzy as she demands that they instruct only those subjects that will be included on the all-important, all-consuming state examination. She is ruthless in her desire to achieve her lofty goals. She happily destroys the lives of anyone who gets in her way. Some of the Teachers fight back, and some of them are destroyed by her; still, she cannot be everywhere at every moment, but when cameras are put into the classrooms, the Teachers are nearly under her complete control. But then the Secret comes, and with it, the Teachers are able to carry on, and wait for the day they will be liberated and can educate as they know best; yes, they survive, but the school slowly dies, for no true learning occurs, only monotonous, repetitive lessons that inoculate the students with certain test-ready knowledge. And then one day, two small visitors come for Carbuncle and attempt to teach her a real lesson in civility and charity and give her a chance to repent for all she has done to the inhabitants of the school. Will Carbuncle reform? If she reforms, will she fight for the Teachers? If she refuses, what will be the consequences? And what is the Secret? Public schools are an easy target for anyone who has a yellow pen or a high position in society or politics and who decries the state of education in America, thereby crucifying every Teacher in every school and empowering principals like Carbuncle everywhere; yet, these people form their opinions about American schools from flawed childhood memories, unreliable anecdotes, and distortions of the truth. Read every word between the covers of this book and you will soon know what is really going on in the secret world of public schools, for the author of this tale is an educator, and reveals the unabashed, sordid truth, albeit in novel form, about America’s crumbling educational system.

This novel was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, so this novel was a little weird for me. There were parts of it that I genuinely enjoyed reading and thought were entertaining. The author has a unique type of humor that is very rare in novels, and I found myself laughing at some parts of it. There were other parts though that seemed to go on for quite a while and I wasn’t necessarily sure where they were going or if I was really interested in finding out. This novel does offer a very scathing view of the world of education that I think someone working in that field may appreciate a little more than I did. I also found the writing style a little jarring. It’s broken up into sections that tell you something that may or may not come into play a little later on. Overall I found it interesting, but I don’t think this is the kind of thing I would want to pick up again. The humor was little hit or miss to me, there were some parts I found very funny and others I didn’t. I found the beginning to be a lot more interesting and engrossing than the second. It is something that a teacher or someone else highly invested in the education world might enjoy, but for someone like me who reads to escape from reality for a bit (even if that reality if harsh) it just didn’t quite do the trick.

Cupcakes: Other FictionOther FictionOther Fiction

Buy this from Amazon: Guardians at the Gate

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with , , , , ,

Mardi Gras Gris Gris

20317239by: A.C. Mason

Pages: 317

Published: Wings ePress

From Goodreads: Susan Foret is thrust into a murder scene when one of
the town’s wealthiest citizens dies near her as the local Krewe’s
parade is ending. A gris-gris bag containing tarot cards and several
other fetish items is left dangling from the knife in his chest.

I think anyone who reads my blog knows how I feel about mysteries.
There are very few that really capture my attention and make me want
to keep reading. I’m much more attracted to emotional depth than I am
to blood, guts, and horror. So when a mystery gets good reviews from
me, then it’s a lot more than just a mystery. This one had it all. I
always enjoy a story with a good Louisiana setting, one that actually
describes what life here is really like, and this book definitely has
that, especially since it takes place during Mardi Gras! Like I said
earlier, I enjoy emotional depth in what I read and this book had
plenty to go around. There were in depth backstories and events that
took me through many different emotions while this mystery was solved.
If you’re a mystery fan, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. If
you’re not as much of one, like me, but are looking for something a
little different to shake up your TBR pile, then pick this one up. I
think it’s got something for everyone.

Cupcakes: MysteryMysteryMysteryMystery

Buy this from Amazon here: Mardi Gras Gris Gris

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with , , , ,

Sabbatical in the Sun

19389589by: Jackie Ullerich

Pages: 323

Published: April 19th 2013 by Brighton Publishing LLC


From Goodreads: Jessica Slater would seem to have it all. She’s young, personable, good looking and is making strides in her career as an educator.
Her personal life, however, is in disarray. Recently divorced, she’s also coping with the loss of her mother to cancer. What better time than now to take sabbatical leave, to shake the blues and escape wintery Northern Virginia.
Jessica’s choice for a sabbatical in the sun is Southern California where she is hired to housesit the showcase home of George and Lydia Papas whose import-export business has taken them out of the country. She also elects to take graduate courses at USC and it is there she meets John Martin, a university administrator who, unknown to Jessica, has orchestrated their chance meeting and subsequent dates for a very specific purpose: He must gain access to the Papas home.
Later the reasons become clear but at this point, Jessica, despite certain misgivings falls hard for John, and eventually they become lovers.
John is able to persuade Jessica to accompany him during spring break on a business-pleasure trip to Athens, Greece, and then to a resort town in the Peloponnese where, as guests of John’s friend, Denis Angelides and his family, the two are swept up into the exuberance of Easter festivities.
But then everything falls apart as Jessica learns she has been brought to Greece under false pretenses, that she has been a pawn in a scheme to recover an heirloom–a priceless coin belonging to the Angelides family–which Denis believes has been smuggled out of Greece by his brother Alex and into the home of George and Lydia Papas. John has used her to gain entry to that home. Worse, their entire relationship has been built on lies, on deceit.
Denis does recover the coin, but it turns out to be a fake. That he has been betrayed either by someone at home or in Los Angeles sets in motion a series of events in which Jessica plays a major role. She becomes the focus of Denis’ romantic intentions, as well. John, however, is never completely out of the picture, and after a harrowing adventure involving the coin that nearly costs her life, Jessica and John reconcile.
Among the supporting characters, Alex Angelides is a prominent figure. Unlike Denis, his brash but principled brother, Alex is a conniver, a master at manipulating others. He also hoards a secret about the coin that he shares only when he thinks he is dying.
Of concern to Jessica is the continuing presence in her life of her ex-husband Andrew whose obsession with her turns ugly.
In the face of calamitous events, Mort Abrams, an attorney-advisor for the Angelides family, is the voice of reason, a solid presence. He also becomes a father figure to Jessica, filling a void in both their lives.
If Mort is a stabilizing influence, Bill Warner is its antithesis. A seedy-appearing eccentric man in his sixties, Warner runs the housesitting agency that has hired Jessica, though his more important role is of go-between for parties in Athens and John Martin in Los Angeles. A truly devious person, he appears throughout the story in ever-changing guises and behavior that reveal him in an increasingly sinister light.
Sabbatical in the Sun is a novel of intrigue that deals with the consequences of selfishness and greed. But it is also about love–familial and romantic, about relationships that fall short of perfection. Mainly, it is about forgiveness.


Wow. This book was a lot. I thought it was really interesting and it made me want to keep turning the pages. Everything was very well written and I there was a great amount of depth to the characters. It was a lot though. If you’re not ready to set aside a decent amount of time then this book might not be for you. There were definitely some moments I had while reading this book that I thought things were drawing to a close and thought… “How could I possibly have that much left?” But then the story would pick back up and I’d get drawn in all over again. I loved all the different aspects of the story, so it ended up being a good thing that the story kept going. I thought the different settings and types of characters were interesting and that the complex story line was very well done. I’ve always wanted to go to Greece so I love reading books with a rich Greek setting.  If you’re looking for something quick and easy to read, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for something complex that will draw you into its world, then pick this one up. It’s worth it. 🙂

Cupcakes: Other FictionOther FictionOther FictionOther Fiction

Buy this from Amazon here: Sabbatical In The Sun