njmom3

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Smashwords book reviews by njmom3

  • My True Essence on May 30, 2011
    (no rating)
    This book highlights a very important issue - breast cancer and its effects on those who are diagnosed and those who love them. On those who survive and those who don't. The story takes place within the context of a church community. Although it is Christian fiction, most religious references are to prayers not specific Christian teachings. Thus, it can easily be read regardless of beliefs. Many other elements are added into the story, some of the unnecessarily so. I wish that the author had kept the focus on the central theme and developed that further with greater depth to the characters. I did love the ending message though - it is not our bodies that define who we are but something beyond that that is our "true essence."
  • Olga - A Daughter's Tale on July 13, 2011

    An amazing story of the history of a place, a family, and one amazing woman - Olga. It's even more amazing because it's a true story. The story takes us from Jamaica to England and through a lifetime. It is a story of courage and of love of family. A great tribute written by Marie Campbell to honor her mother. I loved it! Thank you for sharing your mother's story with us.
  • Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide on Aug. 18, 2011

    Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide is a story of a journey - physical and emotional. Jill Homer is an ultra-cyclist. The Great Tour Divide is an individual race from Canada to the Mexico border - over 2,700 miles. This book is the story of Jill Homer's journey during this race. I have not followed her blog. Nor am I familiar with the world of ultra-athletes. The story left me in awe of the courage these athletes show and the challenges they choose to face. It is inspiring and amazing. I have no intention of following in her footsteps, but the lessons are there for all of us. To quote the book, "My only real investment in my future were the steps I took toward it - everything else was just a dream, a plan, or a fear." The book did not get five stars because not really understanding cycling, I did find myself skimming some of the descriptions. Or maybe it was just because I wanted to find out what came next. I wanted her to succeed and couldn't wait to find out if she did. *** Reviewed for member giveaway ***
  • Stress? Find Your Balance on Aug. 22, 2011

    A good reminder of the basic techniques we can all use to manage the stress in our lives. Techniques such as meditation, exercise, healthy eating, and others. The book does point to the author's website, seminars, and audio CDs which would bother me. However, the book then goes on to present the techniques stating that they can be followed by the directions in the book alone. I appreciate that the book can stand alone. The ideas in this book are not new. However, I can always use a fresh reminder. I will keep this book in my portfolio of other similar books. *** Reviewed for LibraryThing member giveaway ***
  • Gifts and Consequences on Aug. 22, 2011

    How many times in your life have you said, "If ___________, then I will ______" or "If ________, then I will never ___________." We all attempt to bargain especially when we are troubled. What if someone took us up on our offer and then held us to the bargain? That is the premise of "Gifts and Consequences." The gifts are making the "If" part of the bargain work out - getting treatment for a loved one, getting healthy, getting a business deal to work out, paying for college. The consequences come in that the bargains are enforced. If you keep the bargain, the gift remains. If you don't keep the bargain, the consequences spelled out at the time of the bargain are enforced. Jonathan Wheeler, the main character, sets out to help people in this way in honor of his wife who suffers from early-onset Alzheimers. He, however, believes that a gift that is earned is better appreciated. Hence, the consequences. The book is a very fast read. The gifts are beautiful to watch. The consequences make you cringe. But now before I say "If.........," I will think. *** Reviewed for LibraryThing member giveaway ***
  • Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should on Sep. 11, 2011

    Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should by David Gaughran is a wonderful guide to the world of self-publishing. The first quarter of the book presents an overview of the publishing industry and a look at why you may want to self-publish. The second quarter of the book is a step by step look at the process of self publishing. The second half of the book is testamonials from successful self-published authors. The book includes an appendix with links to other resources. As a newcomer to the world of ebooks, I found this book to be very informational and an interesting read. *** Reviewed for LibraryThing member giveaway ***
  • A Secure Heart on Oct. 26, 2011

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/10/secure-heart.html A Secure Heart is a collection of stories centered around the men of a security service company. The characters in the different stories do interrelate. The relationships continue from one story to the next. However, each section of the book focuses on the love story of one character. A Secure Heart falls into the "adult" fiction genre, a fact I did not realize when I requested the review copy. I normally do not read this genre. However, having received the book, I did decide to read it. I will not comment on those aspects of the book. If that appeals to you, you will enjoy the book. It's not something I choose to read. That being said, I still did enjoy the stories themselves. The stories each have substance to them. The erotica is part of the story, but it is not the story. Elements of situations the characters find themselves in are real. One story deals with friendship evolving into love. One story deals with the thought of losing a loved one and what you would do to save them. Another deals with infertility and its effect on a relationship. If this genre is not one you read, perhaps you may be able to look past it and enjoy the stories themselves. If the genre does appeal to you, then you get the added bonus of a good story to surround it. *** I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program. ***
  • Ox Cart Angel on Nov. 17, 2011

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/ox-cart-angel.html Ox Cart Angel is a book set in the 1800s in the Dakota Territory. It tells the story of Claire and her father as they decide to relocate from the town of Pembina to St. Paul. It is the story of their journey as they attempt to reach the caravan of traders that has gone before and then as they journey alone with an ox cart full of photography equipment and their old ox Bone Bag. Ox Cart Angel is also a story of racism, prejudice, loss, and ultimately survival. Claire's father is a French Canadian and her mother is a Native American, making Claire a Metis. The book talks about the racism and prejudice she faces both for being a Native American and for being of mixed parentage. Claire has also lost her mother to small pox and feels the loss again as they are forced to leave behind her home and possessions. Ultimately, the book is also about survival and moving forward as they face adversity after adversity on their journey. The story creates a vivid picture of Claire and her father and of the land through which they travel. It pulls the reader into their world, feeling their emotions, and rejoicing and crying with them. The ending sends a strong message about survival and sets the groundwork for the sequel. Can't wait! ***Reviewed for LibraryThing Member Giveaway Program***
  • Ox Cart Angel on Nov. 17, 2011

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/ox-cart-angel.html Ox Cart Angel is a book set in the 1800s in the Dakota Territory. It tells the story of Claire and her father as they decide to relocate from the town of Pembina to St. Paul. It is the story of their journey as they attempt to reach the caravan of traders that has gone before and then as they journey alone with an ox cart full of photography equipment and their old ox Bone Bag. Ox Cart Angel is also a story of racism, prejudice, loss, and ultimately survival. Claire's father is a French Canadian and her mother is a Native American, making Claire a Metis. The book talks about the racism and prejudice she faces both for being a Native American and for being of mixed parentage. Claire has also lost her mother to small pox and feels the loss again as they are forced to leave behind her home and possessions. Ultimately, the book is also about survival and moving forward as they face adversity after adversity on their journey. The story creates a vivid picture of Claire and her father and of the land through which they travel. It pulls the reader into their world, feeling their emotions, and rejoicing and crying with them. The ending sends a strong message about survival and sets the groundwork for the sequel. Can't wait! ***Reviewed for LibraryThing Member Giveaway Program***
  • Three Girls and a Baby on Nov. 26, 2011

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/three-girls-and-baby.html Three Girls and a Baby is the story of Ginny, who finds herself recovering from a broken relationship and pregnant. The book covers the year from finding out she is pregnant to when the baby is a few months old. It deals with her emotions and the support (or lack of support) from those around her especially her friends and roommates Jen and Annie. In bits and pieces, the book tells about her relationship and how she got to this point in her life. The book deals with serious topics in a very light hearted manner. Can you be successful in a relationship without being happy with yourself? What are the problems when you make someone else responsible for your happiness? What are some of the challenges of being a single mother? What will people do in the name of love? How far can the bonds of friendship extend? How does having a child change you as a person and your entire life? Sometimes, the treatment of the topics seems a bit too light hearted, but perhaps that goes with the young age of the characters. The book follows a somewhat predictable story line, but makes for a quick, easy read. ***Reviewed for LibraryThing Member Giveaway Program***
  • Finding Fiona on Nov. 29, 2011

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com... Finding Fiona is the story of a young woman, Fiona, who has lost her memory due to a trauma. She is cared for by Hannah, who found her as Fiona was left after suffering stab wounds The books is about Fiona finding herself, discovering who she used to be, and learning who she can trust. Tied into this is the mystery of her parent's death and why those responsible want to find her. The story has good guys and bad guys. However, because Fiona does not have her memories, part of the book is about discovering what group each character belongs in. This question extends to the character of Fiona herself. Is she who she thinks she is? Added to this is the topic of scientific research and the ethical implications of certain types of research. The book is a fast paced story with characters that you feel for. It has elements of family, friendship, and even a little romance along with the central conflict of Fiona and those who might harm her. A quick, interesting, and fun read. ***Book reviewed for LibraryThing Member Giveaway Program***
  • Ghost Trails: Journeys Through a Lifetime on Dec. 04, 2011

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/12/ghost-trails.html Ghost Trails is a story of a journey - physical and emotional. Jill Homer is an ultra-cyclist, participating in extreme bicycle race events. This book is the story of Jill Homer's journey on a 350 mile race along the Alaskan Iditarod Trail. Yes, a 350 mile bicycle race across the frozen Alaskan wilderness! This book is also the story of how she came to that sport and that race. I have not followed her blog. Nor am I familiar with the world of ultra-athletes. The courage these athletes show and the challenges they choose to face are absolutely amazing. I do not completely understand it and have no intention of following in her footsteps, but it is an inspirational feat to witness. I commend her commitment to the sport. I commend her ability to pull a reader into an experience that most of us could never imagine. The first book I read by Ms. Homer was titled Be Brave, Be Strong: Journey Across the Great Divide. That book chronicles her participation in a almost 2,800 mile race along the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. It completely immerses the reader in the experience of the race. This book unfortunately fails to do so. The chapters of this book alternate between the race and descriptions of past events that led to her becoming a cyclist. Each is individually interesting. However, the intensity of the race experience is broken at the end of each chapter, and that is disconcerting. I wanted to go along with her on the race and stay with that experience. ***Reviewed for LibraryThing member giveaway program***
  • After Ten on Dec. 09, 2011

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/12/after-ten.html After Ten is the story of four women who meet in the first year of law school. They become friends, and discuss where they expect their lives to take them in ten years. They agree to meet in ten years time to see if expectations meet reality. The book moves back and forth between the four characters and back and forth through the ten years telling their stories. Not surprisingly, life takes unexpected turns for all of them both in positive and negative ways. Whether or not the friendship lasts is for you to discover in the book. This book is definite chick lit. The plot is not a new one. The issues raised - lost loves, parental disapproval, siblings, care taking for elderly parents, alcoholism, building a marriage, bonds of friendship - are common but real life issues. They are issues we can all relate to in some way. Different ones will strike a chord with different people. That perhaps is the value of this book - to remind us that no matter what the issue we may be facing, we are not alone. Others face the same things, and if we are lucky, we have people around us to help us get through. Overall, It's not a bad book, but it's not a memorable book. A quick weekend or airplane read. ***Reviewed for LibraryThing Member Giveaway Program***
  • Not Quite Ordinary on Dec. 20, 2011

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/12/not-quite-ordinary.html Not Quite Ordinary is a book targeted toward the young adult market. This is the first book in what is to be the Darkness Nears Trilogy. It is the story of sixteen year old Sarah, who has spent life feeling as if she is ordinary with nothing special about her and feeling like she is not good enough. At sixteen, she discovers that she is a powerful witch descended from a long line of witches and wizards. Of course, there is a prophecy and a battle of good versus evil. Her confidence and self-esteem grows as her belief in herself grows. A positive message. The world of witches and wizards is a popular setting for books for the age group and a great place for imagination to take flight. However, some concerns about the book raise questions as to its suitability. First, the book ties its beliefs in witchcraft to the Wiccan way of life. Tying religious beliefs to a book aimed at young people is a challenging task. The book could still tell a story - the same story - without grounding it in a specific belief system. Second, Sarah states revenge as a motivator and a satisfactory end result of certain extreme actions. (The cryptic tone here attempts to avoid spoilers). That does not seem to be an appropriate message to send to young readers. It will be interesting to see what direction the other two books take. Hopefully, they will focus on the positive image of accomplishing great things if you believe in yourself. ***Reviewed for LibraryThing Member Giveaway Program***
  • Michael Belmont and the Tomb of Anubis on Dec. 26, 2011

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/12/michael-belmont-and-tomb-of-anubis.html Michael Belmont and the Tomb of Anubis is the beginning of a series for children. Michael Belmont is a twelve year old boy. His parents are anthropologists and archaeologists who travel around the world working on projects. Michael and his sister Abigail sometimes accompany them and sometimes stay with relatives in different parts of the world. This story has so many elements. It travels between Scotland, America, and Egypt. It unravels a mystery and conflict that crosses centuries. It has monsters, ghosts, werewolves, shape shifters, myths, and legends. Kidnappings and disappearances happen. Adult relationships such as recovering from a loss of a spouse and old loves are discussed. The ending is a clear lead-in to a sequel. With so many elements, the story felt scattered and difficult to follow. The book is a long one. Towards the end, the different threads of the story do start to come together. However, it is a long process to get there. It will be interesting to see if the follow-up books can develop the central theme. ***Reviewed for LibraryThing Member Giveaway Program***
  • India Was One on Jan. 19, 2012

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2012/01/india-was-one.html India Was One is the story of what could happen if the culturally and religiously diverse parts of India threaten to come apart over these differences. The book tells this story through the love story of Jai and Kaahi, one from south India and one from north India. The book highlights some of the struggles going on in India today as caste differences, economic differences, cultural differences and other such things within this large country threaten to overshadow the fact that all these diverse populations are part of one country. The story of Jai and Kaahi begins in India, comes to the US, travels to Europe, and then returns to India. The target audience for the book appears to individuals not familiar with Indian culture or with US culture. In the middle of the story, entire passages appear in italic print and provide descriptions and explanations much as a travel brochure would. Sometimes, it's unclear whether the explanations are there to help the story or the story is there to provide structure to the explanations. However, the book does paint a vivid picture of Indian culture and the expatriate culture of Indians living outside of India. The book provides a hypothetical look at what would happen if India as a country started splitting into pieces. Unfortunately, the book does not follow through. It comes to a somewhat abrupt ending, bringing into play a stereotypical, external force as the resolution. The resolution seemed too quick and too cut and dried to address the complex cultural issues that the book was highlighting. The shift in focus to external conflicts undermines the point being made about the need to unify India across the cultural divides and the need for real, tangible solutions to these challenges. ***Reviewed for LibraryThing Member Giveaway Program***
  • The MacLosers on Sep. 11, 2012

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-maclosers.html The MacLosers is the story of the Diobair family - Roger and Samantha and their children Alex and Jess. Roger is an out-of-work architect who can't seem to escape the disasters of his last job. The financial and emotional troubles of being out of work are piling up. Then, out of the blue, they receive an inheritance - a village in Scotland. Being out of options, the family moves to a dilapidated castle with an interesting cast of village characters. Some friendly, and some definitely not. People expect Roger to quit; yet he does not. Along the way is a feud with a neighboring village, some long forgotten history, and a winner take all wager. All the makings of a fun tale. Overall, the book was a very quick, very easy read. It was a fun story. Throughout, my thought was that with some revisions and editing to make the language and content more kid-friendly, this would make a fun children's movie - the tried and true plot family in trouble to a family taking on a new adventure to a family coming together. *** Reviewed for Library Things Member Giveaway Program ***
  • The MacLosers on Sep. 11, 2012

    Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-maclosers.html The MacLosers is the story of the Diobair family - Roger and Samantha and their children Alex and Jess. Roger is an out-of-work architect who can't seem to escape the disasters of his last job. The financial and emotional troubles of being out of work are piling up. Then, out of the blue, they receive an inheritance - a village in Scotland. Being out of options, the family moves to a dilapidated castle with an interesting cast of village characters. Some friendly, and some definitely not. People expect Roger to quit; yet he does not. Along the way is a feud with a neighboring village, some long forgotten history, and a winner take all wager. All the makings of a fun tale. Overall, the book was a very quick, very easy read. It was a fun story. Throughout, my thought was that with some revisions and editing to make the language and content more kid-friendly, this would make a fun children's movie - the tried and true plot family in trouble to a family taking on a new adventure to a family coming together. *** Reviewed for Library Things Member Giveaway Program ***