“Above: The Broken Sky Chronicles”–Review

51vvhf8ulzl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Good evening, bloggers!  This will probably be my final book review for this year.  I can’t wait to read and share more reviews for 2017.  Here’s my review for the second book from The Broken Sky Chronicles, by Jason Chabot.

In the first book, Below, Hokk and his fox sidekick, Nym, are living in exile in the barren plains of Below, surviving on anything they can find.  Meanwhile, in the floating islands in Above, Elia works as a lowly servant girl in the Mirrored Palace.  The edges of the island have always been seen as borders that no one dares to approach.  However, when a natural disaster occurs, Elia falls down to Below.  And that’s where she meets Hokk.  Together, the two plan to escape the dangers of Below and get back to Above.

Now in the second book, Above, Elia and Hokk are separated after unusual circumstances.  For weeks, Elia tries to survive in the lands of Below, all the while trying to gain acceptance from the Torkin marauders, especially because she’s seen as a dangerous outsider.

Just when she starts to feel she’ll never return home, she and Hokk are reunited, and Hokk has a plan to get the two of them out of Below indefinitely.  Once they finally make it to Above, they realize it’s not over.  Their quest has become a lot more complicated than they’d expected.  They’re led into the scorching sand dunes, where the sun’s rays become a threat to Hokk’s life.  However, they are rescued by a privileged family who seem to have ties to those who Elia has tried to infiltrate.  During their stay with the family, though, Elia and Hokk stumble upon secrets that pose a threat to Elia’s plans to save Hokk, herself, and her own family.

Although I think the first book was quite interesting, this new installment was even better.  The secrets, along with the suspense, really had me turning the pages.  Now I’m really curious about the final book.  So if you haven’t, I recommend you read the first book.  Afterward, it gets better.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

Above: The Broken Sky Chronicles, Book 2 will be released on February 7, 2017.

*I received this copy from Turner Publishing, as part of the Review Team.

You can also follow Jason Chabot on Twitter.

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“Skipping Christmas”–Review

41mpsbst04l-_sx312_bo1204203200_Good afternoon, bloggers! I can’t believe it’s already the week of Christmas. I hope you all are enjoying some great books. I, too, am hoarding books faster than I can read them, but it’s worth it. Anyhow, after stumbling upon a recommendation for Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham, I immediately took an interest in reading it.

It’s a good plot.  With their daughter away in Peru doing work for the Peace Corps, Luther and Nora Krank have different plans for the holidays. Every, single year, they’ve spent hundreds of dollars on holiday festivities yet not much to show for it. Now that it’s the two of them, the Kranks decide it’s time to do something for themselves, for once.  Instead of spending money on all the madness of Christmas, they’re going to spend ten days enjoying the warm weather on a Caribbean cruise.  What a wonderful way to treat themselves, right?  Wrong.

Once word gets out that the Kranks are cancelling their annual Christmas plans, the entire neighborhood is angry.  While preparing for their upcoming cruise, the Kranks endure harassment, rumors, gossip, etc., but that still won’t stop the Kranks from packing their bags.  Until they are hit with another surprise, making everything twice as messy.

Rarely do I read holiday-themed books, but I enjoyed reading this one.  I was curious to see how far the madness would go.  Some of the neighbors were so annoying, yet I couldn’t help wondering what would happen next.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading and Happy Holidays!

“The Secret Language of Dogs”–Review

61xos-763hl-_sx385_bo1204203200_Good morning, bloggers!  Here’s a new recommendation for dog owners/lovers.

Many of us have more likely wondered what dogs go through on a daily basis.  Sometimes we wonder if there’s some hidden language dogs share with each other.  In this book, trainer and star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or The Dog, Victoria Stilwell reveals how to both interpret and “speak” the hidden language of dogs.

Each chapter will answer particular questions, such as:

  • What do different tail wags mean?
  • What does being right-pawed say about my dog’s personality?
  • How can I tell the difference between boredom barking and warning barking?
  • What does it mean when my dog spins around, arches his back, or gives me the whale eye?
  • Do dogs feel guilt?
  • How do dogs perceive human faces?
  • Why do some scientists think dogs’ emotional experience is even greater than ours?

And so forth.

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Leah (in the above picture) is extra hyper and can be a handful, yet she’s so sweet.  The book has a chapter on the reason for howling, which is something Leah does often, especially when I play music for her.  It could be that she just enjoys singing along to music.  And it boosts my mood.

13244127_1055301057894889_2686228353419622822_oBecause I look after a senior mini pinscher, named Mandy (in the above picture), I was definitely interested in the chapter on the language of aging.  When dogs get older, it’s especially important to know about certain signs in their body language.  Also, signs of aging could effect their daily activities, and oftentimes, they lose interest in what they usually love doing.  Because Mandy is arthritic and can’t walk anymore, I have to assist her with certain things.  Despite her ailments, however, I always treat her as if she were my little child.  So that’s mainly the reason I took interest in this book.

To all the dog owners/lovers, this may be the book for you.  As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*FTC Disclosure: I received this copy from Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.

“The Wayfarer Trilogy”–Review

511m9sm0mgl-_sx323_bo1204203200_-2Hello bloggers!  Although I’d read the last two books in the Wayfarer Trilogy awhile back, I’m happy for having the opportunity to finally read the first book, The Secret Language of Women, by Nina Romano.

Set in a war during the Boxer Rebellion in China, star-crossed lovers, Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo Scimenti, an Italian sailor, meet.  Because of superstition, history, and customs, Lian and Giacomo are separated yet try to find a way back to each other.  Then Lian is forced into marrying a man to whom she was promised long ago.  When she is forbidden from her profession as a healer, frowned upon by her unbound feet, and enduring her husband’s and in-laws’ demanding ways, Lian turns to Nushu, the women’s secret writing which expresses her hopes for the future.

When Lian realizes enough is enough, she embarks on her own quest for freedom—even if it will come with a costly price.  Not only does she risk everything in hopes of reuniting with Giacomo, she learns a lot more about herself along the way and what she’s willing to endure to be happy again.

I liked Giacomo and now that I’ve read his story, the next two books made a bit more sense to me.

51gnxdwxitl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Lemon Blossoms, the second book in the trilogy, takes place in Italy, where Angelica Domenico resides in a blossoming lemon grove on an island governed by volcanoes and earthquakes.  During an accident from her childhood, Angelica faces the importance of maintaining her purity.  She begins to question it all even more after she endures the trauma of her aunt’s death during a difficult childbirth.  Because of that, including her fear of intimacy, she decides she’s going to commit her life to the convent, even though her parents forbid it.

Things start to change, however, when Giacomo Scimenti stops by the family shop, leaving Angelica confused and afraid of her feelings toward him, including her future in the convent.

I liked this book, even more, especially when certain chapters mentioned some Italian recipes.  I hope to, one day, visit Italy.  Aside from that, it was a good story with likable characters.

51yi1la3zhl-_sx327_bo1204203200_The final book, In America, takes place in 1920s New York.  Marcella Scimenti—the daughter of the characters in the previous book—is young, beautiful, and ambitious.  The handsome neighborhood boy is in love with her, she has a large family, and she has dreams of moving to Hollywood to sing.  Although her parents forbid her to pursue a singing career, Marcella is willing to stick by her own stubborn ways and do what it takes.  During the economic depression, she learns the importance of friendships, promising suitors, and life as a modern working woman with certain expectations of her tradition-bound family.  Later on, Marcella’s fate is tested when she learns of a devastating family secret, leaving her to choose what is really important in life.

I’m happy for having the opportunity to read this trilogy and I loved some of the helpful advice Marcella was given in the third book.  It just left me thinking, “Wow.  I wouldn’t have thought of it that way.”  No spoilers, of course, so I’ll just encourage you to check out this wonderful trilogy.

Feel free to post your comments, of course.  Happy reading!

For more info on the author, click here.  Also, you can follow her on Twitter.