Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Salvation" by Sloane Kennedy

Book two in The Protectors Series features Seth Nichols, whose parents were murdered and he was tortured when he was 14.  Now 21, he's trying to run his father's shipping company and deal with his PTSD and self-doubt.  He once had an older brother, but he died while serving in the military.  Out of the blue, his brother's fiance, Ronan Grisham, appears and throws Seth's life into even more turmoil because he's had a crush on the man since he was a teen.  Now someone is after Seth, and Ronan will do everything he can to protect him even if it breaks both of their hearts.  Like the previous book in this series, there was a ton of angst, terrible traumas in both men's lives, guilt, and suspense.  I was annoyed at how often Seth and Ronan pushed each other away then changed their minds, but it was still an interesting story.  367 pages (Kindle edition.)

"Absolution" by Sloane Kennedy

This is book one in The Protectors Series and deals with three men who've all suffered some form of trauma.  Jonas was kicked out of his home at age 14 for being gay and spent several years as a teenage prostitute before having even more tragedy befall him.  Mace's son was kidnapped and murdered by a killer.  Cole faced the traumas of war before losing his sister, who was Jonah's best friend.  Now someone has hired Mace to kill Jonah for bogus reasons, and Cole gets involved.  This novel was full of angst and heavy and was not quite believable at times, but it was a compelling story.  356 pages (Kindle edition.)

Grape Expectations (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery #14)

 Grape Expectations (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery # 14) by Tamar Myers

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Pages: 231

In the predominately, Mennonite and Amish community of Hernia, Pennsylvania alcohol is frowned upon. Imagine how upset the townspeople are when they learn an area Mennonite farmer has sold his land to outsiders who plan to start a vineyard and winery. They also plan to have a first class resort and spa. When the manager of the new vineyard is found dead in the cement footings, Magdalena finds herself a suspect as the owner of the only bed and breakfast with A list guests.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep: A Novel by Joanna Cannon

In  a quiet, sleepy England neighborhood, during a brutal heat wave in the summer of 1976, Mrs. Creasy has gone missing. The avenue is awash in rumors and speculation about what might have happened to her.

Enter sleuths Gracie and Tilly, 10-year-old  best friends. After Mrs. Morton tells them God is everywhere, and the priest talks about God separating the goats and the sheep, they decide to go looking for God amongst their neighbors (the goats and sheep).

They never find God, but learn a lot of secrets about the folks in the neighborhood, and solve a long-buried mystery in the process.

368 pages
 Thou Shalt Not Grill (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery # 12) by Tamar Myers.

My Review: 3 out of 5 stars

Pages: 227

Magdalena doesn't have her usual group of celebrity guests, instead she has guests arriving for the celebration of Hernia, Pennsylvania's bicentennial. She is kept running in circles taking care of her guests and showing up at the events as the current mayor of Hernia. Then one of her guests is murdered up on the hillside near the Hernia time capsule. Does his death relate to the legend of a hidden treasure or is it just coincidence?

Gilt by Association (Den of Antiquity #2)

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Pages: 248

Abby's antique store is finally starting to make a profit and her life is settling down after her divorce and her aunt's murder. Then she purchases a set of antique furniture from an estate sale and goes to inspect it the next morning, only to find a dead body inside the armoire. Abby is worried about how this will affect the reputation of her shop and the police are moving too slow, so she decides to help them out and find some clues on her own. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please

Her memoir makes it clear that Amy Poehler's heart is as big as her sense of humor. Poehler's humble confidence is engaging and contagious. The book is read by Poehler herself with excerpts read by Seth Meyers, Kathleen Turner, Poehler's parents and others.

329 pages, Audiobook

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

This book will appeal to readers of historical fiction, art lovers, romance readers, feminists, and those intrigued by the Italian Renaissance.  It tells the story of Alessandra, daughter of a Florence cloth merchant and aspiring artist, as she encounters her first love and the constraints of growing up in 15th century Florence.  The story is set at the end of the reign of the Medici family, who loved art, luxury, and learning. They are replaced by a fundamentalist preaching monk Savonarola who begins a purge of what he views as the sinful excesses of Florence.  This puts Alessandra and her family at risk, as they have supported the Medicis and their luxuries. Alessandra's love story and its related plot twists are a bit over the top, but she is eventually able to express her artistic side.  A wonderful picture of life in Florence, Italy.  301 pages.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie

Summary: "Kate Svenson is attractive, successful, a brilliant businesswoman - and miserable. After three failed engagements, she realises it's time for a PLAN...and organised, detailed agenda with a clear goal: finding Mr. Right.

The Cabins resort is ripe with eligible bachelors, all rich, distinguished and ambitious - just her type. And they're dropping like flies around her...at least, that's how Jake Templeton views the situation. After he's stuck pulling her latest reject out of the swimming pool, Jake's convinced this femme fatale is trouble. Especially for him..."

Jennifer Crusie may just be one of my new favorite chick lit authors! Manhunting is the perfect beach/summer read (even though I read it in dreary November). It was funny, sweet and charming. It's not overly complicated or dramatic. Just a short and lively story of the adventure of falling in love! 

328 pages

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Summary: "Sybella's duty as Death's assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Love and romance, history and magic, vengeance and salvation converge in this sequel to Grave Mercy."

Even though Sybella and Beast were excellent minor characters in Grave Mercy, I wasn't quite as enthralled with their story in Dark Triumph. I thoroughly missed Ismae and Duval, and they were not in this sequel nearly enough. Dark Triumph lacks the political intrigue and mystery of the first novel. I also found Sybella and Beast's relationship to be a little too close to "insta-love" for my tastes. The sub-par quality of Dark Triumph serves to reinforce how unique and special Grave Mercy really is.

I can't decide if I'll read the third and final installment, Mortal Heart

387 pages

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"The Power of Sensitivity: Success Stories by Highly Sensitive People Thriving in a Non-sensitive World" by Ted Zeff, Ph.D.

This book is an accumulation of short essays written by highly sensitive people.  High sensitivity is an innate trait with the tendency to process information more deeply, be easily overstimulated, have increased emotional reactivity and empathy, and have an increased perception of subtleties.  Although research shows that about 20% of the population are highly sensitive people (HSPs), we are not very valued in our society.  We are usually told "you're too sensitive" or "just get over it" or "be more sociable" and are made to feel like there is something wrong with us.  This book shows HSPs having success in many aspects of life by using their high sensitivity to enhance the world around them.  Quite a few suggestions are given for improving the quality of life, including self-care, somatic healing, releasing guilt, risk-taking, and more.  It was inspiring to read how so many HSPs have come to accept and value their high sensitivity.  I highly recommend first reading the most authoritative book on HSPs, "The Highly Sensitive Person: How To Thrive When The World Overwhelms You" by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D., before reading this one.  186 pages.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Summary: "Agreeing not to pursue a relationship after one date, unlikely lovers Min Dobbs and Cal Morrisey are thrown together again in the wake of such factors as a jealous ex-boyfriend, a determined psychologist, and a bizarrely intelligent cat."

Bet Me is the first book by Jennifer Crusie that I've read, and it was wonderful! Cal and Min are interesting and complex characters. Their conversations are fun and unique. Similarly, their chemistry is off the charts! I couldn't put it down.

337 pages