Book Review | Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

freedom's ring cover.jpgTwo women in Boston, centuries apart, are connected by a piece of jewelry. Anaya was running the Boston marathon at the time of the bombing and in addition to being injured physically, has suffered a familial rift after being torn apart by guilt from her sister and niece. Liberty was sexually assaulted while working in the house of British officers just preceding the Boston Massacre of 1770. Freedom’s Ring tells the stories of these two women and traces their connection through the ring and their faith.

This book started out strong. Both women were in the midst of life-changing events that drew the reader’s attention. About a third or halfway into the book, the stories slowed down and the focus on God and faith became prevalent. Some sections were repetitive and I once wondered if the book weren’t actually meant for young adults. It is possible my unedited edition may not have undergone all editing and corrections that the final copy received. All ends tied up conveniently, perhaps unrealistically. This book is recommended to fans of Christian, historical fiction with an emphasis on women’s issues. Check it out from a library near you!

I received an advance unedited edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating.

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Book Review | Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

our kind of cruelty cover.jpgAfter dating for nearly a decade, Mike and Verity have broken up and Verity has moved on. Mike’s poor decisions while living abroad are no longer relevant as the date of her marriage to Angus approaches. Mike is still trying to win Verity back while working a high paying job to afford her the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed. Their communication, though, seems stilted and it’s not easy to decide the true meaning of things said and emotions felt.

Our Kind of Cruelty is a good read. Mike’s voice is inviting and catchy from the beginning. The story flows quite quickly and as small cracks appear in Mike’s character, the reader is invited to question his narrative. This choice works well and serves to involve the reader mentally. While the tension steadily builds in the first half of the novel, I found the second half to be less impressive. I felt as though I was waiting for a final twist that never came, which ultimately left me disappointed. Overall though, an entertaining piece. Check it out from a library near you!

I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating.

*Fans of Our Kind of Cruelty, may enjoy Watch Me by Jody Gehrman (2018).

Book Review | Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson

endure cover.jpgEndure pulls together research that has been done on endurance in search of the answer to what keeps man going. Incorporating examples from various sports and research perspectives, Hutchinson addresses multiple parts of the endurance equation from fuel and thirst to oxygen, muscles, the brain and beyond. Whether ice climbing Denali, summiting Everest, deep sea diving, cycling the Hour, crossing the Arctic or striving for a sub 2-hour marathon, people press the limits of endurance. While Hutchinson had hoped to provide an answer for what allows someone to exceed the boundaries, his book shows there are still many moving parts to the equation.

This book serves as an excellent introduction to the topic of endurance. It is well written and organized, providing a summary of vast amounts of research that have been done in a very accessible manner. Anecdotes and scientific findings are interwoven in a way that allows the text to flow seamlessly. Section and chapter breaks are of appropriate length for the book to easily be picked up and put down. Highly recommended for those interested in endurance sport and the limitations of the human body. Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | Feast : True Love in and out of the Kitchen by Hannah Howard

feast cover.jpgIn this memoir, the reader joins Hannah for her voyage from the end of high school, through college and into the professional sphere. While Hannah deals with an eating disorder that governs many parts of her life, she also relates interesting food service industry experiences in New York City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Beyond a mere love of food, Hannah’s romantic entanglements are also included and provide for a well rounded and engaging account.

Feast is a very well written and easy to approach text. Howard is clearly very knowledgeable about food, and does a terrific job sharing some of that knowledge without coming off as snobby or condescending. This book draws the reader in from the start and between the food, relationships and Hannah’s struggle with body image, certainly keeps the reader engaged. While most readers will know about anorexia or bulimia, the compulsive or binge eating that Howard deals with may be new to many. Recommended for those who love food, those struggling with eating disorders, or just fans of a good read with a solid female protagonist. There are currently no library holdings listed for this book, but they may eventually appear here.

I received this Kindle ebook as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | Out of Granada by Ben Fine

out of granada coverFocusing on protagonist Miguel, Out of Granada relays the story of a Jewish family, who despite their conversion to Catholicism, must flee Spain for their safety. The book details Miguel’s education in Italy and subsequent training and work in the Italian Wars. It follows as Miguel leads a party of converted families from Granada to Malaga and then over sea to the New World. Battles, pirates and a hint of romance keep the story interesting.

Readers interested in an immersive experience fleeing the Spanish Inquisition in the 1500’s will enjoy this accessible novel. There are frequent chapter breaks, making the text fairly quick reading. The author is repetitive at times and sometimes overly descriptive. It seems several edits were made and a final proofreading could have helped to eliminate some of the superfluous text. That said, the book is still a good read. Unfortunately, there are currently no library holdings for this book.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

how to stop time cover.jpgImagine living for hundreds of years, but aging very, very slowly. Haig’s most recent novel, How to Stop Time, presents a protagonist and members of the supporting cast with such a condition. Although the rule for people with ‘anageria’ is not to fall in love, Tom Hazard finds the love of his life and fathers a daughter who shares his condition. Forced to leave her behind in dangerous times, Tom then spends several lifetimes searching for her and reliving memories of interactions with Shakespeare, a witch hunter and Captain Cook to name a few.

This book is interesting from the beginning. Interwoven historical flashbacks are very entertaining and mesh well to tell a story that has been happening for centuries. This thought provoking read keeps a good clip going, with a surprisingly small cast. Recommended to fans of historical fiction and mild fantasy. Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*Fans of How to Stop Time, may be interested in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

Book Review | The Wasting of Borneo by Alex Shoumatoff

wasting of borneo cover.jpgPalm oil is the devil. This is one of the clear take away messages from Shoumatoff’s latest book The Wasting of Borneo. This accessible read offers a clear picture of the devastation that has been occurring in the rain forest of Borneo and its far reaching implications. Sharing wisdom from field experts, the book uses both scientific data and real life anecdotes to educate readers about an important, but lesser known calamity that is impacting indigenous people, animals and the environment.

I approached this book with no previous knowledge of the topic. More than just educating me, Shoumatoff’s writing drew me in and explained to me why the wasting of Borneo’s rain forest is a catastrophe, and also how it concerns me as a consumer on a personal level. It’s scary to learn that just because certain processes are being labeled sustainable, that doesn’t mean they really adhere to strictly sustainable standards. I highly recommend this book as an introduction to the topic for any readers who care about the environment and man’s negative impact on it. Check it out from a library near youI received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*Fans of The Wasting of Borneo may be interested in Songs of the Baka and Other Discoveries by Dennis James (2017).