Weekly Wrap-Up: January 13th through January 19th, 2019

Weekly wrap-up banner

Books I’ve Read (clicking on the picture will bring you to Goodreads page):

Books with reviews pending (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page): 

Montauk—review coming June 4th, 2019

Moonlight & Whiskey—review coming March 12th, 2019

In Another Life—review coming March 20th, 2019

The Last Letter—review coming February 26th, 2019

Books with published reviews (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

The Hangman’s Secret—review here

Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants—review here

The Perfect Liar—review here

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave—review here

First Grave on the Right—here and here

NetGalley Haul(clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

Email Haul (clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap-Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Foodie Friday

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Love, Faith, and a Pair of Pants by Herb Freed

3.5 stars (rounded down to 3 stars)

Publisher: Bellrock Press

Date of publication: October 2nd, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Romance

Where you can find Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Ben Zelig thinks he has his life all figured out. Graduate from rabbinical school. Get hired by a spiritually enriched community. Meet a nice Jewish girl and start a family. Simple, right? Naturally, nothing goes according to plan, but life can still work out as long as you have Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants. 

Herb Freed, the author of the timeless love story Bashert, is back with a collection of five short stories about the smart, witty, spiritual and, according to his mother, incredibly handsome, Rabbi Ben Zelig. In five stories about a rabbi’s life, Zelig navigates romance, family ties, colorful congregants and the meaning of faith. We follow him through the decades as master storyteller Freed takes us from humor to pathos and back again in an uplifting examination of what it means to be human. 


My review:

I love to read, which is a given since I maintain a blog that is about book reviews. I also like to read books that other people might pass up. I have found a few hidden gems by doing that. I also like not to turn down books. I very rarely turn down a request for review. So when the publisher emailed me about Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants…I accepted the invite. I wasn’t sure if I would like to read the book but was willing to give it a try.

I am not going to say that I didn’t like the book. I thought that it had a great messages in each section. There were fascinating insights into a rabbi’s life. But this book wasn’t for me.

For one, I couldn’t connect with the main character. Ben attracted drama like honey attracts bees. No matter where he went, drama followed. From his first funeral to the end of the book, it didn’t stop. His obsession with finding a nice Jewish girl did make me laugh a little. By the time Eden came around, I was no longer amused. I thought he was desperate.

I will admit that I was fascinated by the inner workings of being a rabbi. I grew up in a city with a huge Jewish population (the city had 6 temples). Some of my best friends were Jewish. I also dated a guy, for a few years, who was Jewish. So I was familiar with most of what was being talked about in the book. Except when it came to Ben’s duties as a rabbi. I was fascinated and I wish that more time had been spent discussing it.

I lost my focus several times during the book. The book was split into sections and I felt that I was missing out on what happened between the stories. Not something that I usually complain about when writing a review. But I felt that there were gaps. The only section that I didn’t feel that was Eden and that was because, well, I can’t say.

Like I mentioned above, the book did have some redeeming qualities. The messages in each section were great. The lessons that the sections taught were good. I also thought that the other characters (besides Ben) were vividly written. They brought an extra depth to the book.

Would this be a book that I would return to read, probably not. But, I tell people to read it. The messages in each section and the lessons that were taught in them are worth reading.


I would give Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants an Adult rating. There is no sex (there are sexual situations and kissing). There is no language. There is mild violence. There are triggers. They would be the loss of faith, the death of a spouse, the death of a sibling, cancer and estrangement from a parent. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread this book. I would recommend it to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants.

All opinions stated in this review of Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants are mine.

WWW Wednesday: January 16th, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal

I came down with the cold that Miss R had over the weekend. I usually don’t get sick-sick but I was sick with this one. I ended up taking liquid Dayquil and Nightquil to lessen the symptoms. Yeah, that worked out well. I believe one of them counteracted with one of the medications I am on. But, saying that, I am on the downside of the cold and am feeling fine!!

Last night, Miss R decided that she would draw a beard and a mustache on herself….with a marker. Where was I? Folding laundry. I thought she was with Mr. Z. I only found out when I went to give her a shower and she wouldn’t uncover the lower half of her face. As of this morning, it still wasn’t off (and believe me, I tried). So she went to school like that. The teachers and the preschool director thought it was great.

Mr. Z had his DARE graduation last Friday. Which I was supposed to go to. I didn’t find out until he said something that afternoon. I felt awful.

Miss B seems to have learned from her disastrous first semester at school. We discussed what was going to happen during the second semester. She is thrilled that she won’t be doing PE anymore this year. Instead, she will be doing Discovering Computer Programming (or something very similar, I can’t remember). It is mandatory that 6th and 7th graders take a keyboarding/computer class both years. Her only complaint is that the computer classrooms are on the 3rd floor of the school and everything else is on the 1st floor. And she has 3 mins to get to class.

Reading/Reviews:

Nothing has changed from last week reading or review wise. I am still caught up (even with being sick!!).

I have been doing some minor touch-ups on my blog. I finally found a template that I love. I also have been going through my back posts (since 2013 and yes, I am crazy) and updating them. Fixing links, updating covers, deleting reviews for books that aren’t on Amazon anymore….that stuff. It’s tedious but it needed to be done!!

I also have been converting everything to the new blocks that WordPress is using. I was iffy about those at first but I am beginning to like them.

I also have cleaned up my NetGalley bio. I did a google, found a great blog post on what to put in it and updated it. So, I have been busy.


What I am currently reading:

click on the picture for Amazon link

Montauk, Long Island, 1938.

A simple town on the brink of a glamorous future.

A marriage drifting apart.

A life on the edge of what is and what could be...

An epic and cinematic novel by debut author Nicola Harrison, Montauk captures the glamour and extravagance of a summer by the sea with the story of a woman torn between the life she chose and the life she desires.

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. 

For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor—a two-hundred room seaside hotel—while Harry pursues other interests in the city. 

College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage, she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. 

As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future. 

Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has when fates conspire to tear her world apart…

I am only a half chapter into Montauk but so far, I like it. I’m hoping that I keep on liking it. We’ll see. Montauk is currently on preorder. Its expected publication date is June 4th, 2019. Look for my review after that date.


What I recently finished reading:

When life gives you curves, you gotta learn how to rock them.

Successful businesswoman Avery Barrows likes her dips and curves, but she’s sick of the haters telling her that she should be ashamed of her body instead of embracing it. Determined to send them a big f*** you, Avery resolves to cut loose during a girls’ trip, hightailing her quick-mouthed, plus-sized self to New Orleans. So, what’s a smart woman with a little extra gotta do to get laid in this town?

Not much if you ask Declan McGinn, the lead singer of BlackSmith. Tall, dark, and tattooed, with a body made for sin, Declan prefers his women as curvy as his guitars. Avery’s sharp tongue and keen mind makes him want her even more.

As they burn up the sheets, Avery and Declan realize this is no one-night (or even one-week) stand. But for all of her bluster, Avery isn’t sure she can handle any more rejection. Besides, Declan has demons of his own. Now Avery has a choice to make: play it safe, or place her trust in the hands of a man who’s as tempting as the devil himself.

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. It was a hot, sexy, erotic, emotional read for me. I was in tears reading it. Tears from laughing and also because it struck a nerve in me. Moonlight & Whiskey is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is March 12th, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.


What books I think I’ll read next? (click on the pictures for Amazon links)

Ben Zelig thinks he has his life all figured out. Graduate from rabbinical school. Get hired by a spiritually enriched community. Meet a nice Jewish girl and start a family. Simple, right? Naturally, nothing goes according to plan, but life can still work out as long as you have Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants. 

Herb Freed, the author of the timeless love story Bashert, is back with a collection of five short stories about the smart, witty, spiritual and, according to his mother, incredibly handsome, Rabbi Ben Zelig. In five stories about a rabbi’s life, Zelig navigates romance, family ties, colorful congregants and the meaning of faith. We follow him through the decades as master storyteller Freed takes us from humor to pathos and back again in an uplifting examination of what it means to be human. 

I almost never read or review faith-based books. But when I read the blurb for Love, Faith, and a Pair of Pants, I decided to give it a chance. Hopefully, I like it. Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants is currently available to buy. Be on the lookout for my review by the end of the week/beginning of next week.

What if your destiny was beyond imagining? 
Dolma was happy with her life 
working at the Dexter Corporation from home in a telecommuting position. She didn’t have a boyfriend, and the prospects were not good in that department, but she was used to it. 
The world suddenly changed one day. 
Her boss, Jessica, demanded that she start working from the office. Her roommate started urging her to take the new position. Everybody was suddenly making demands of her that seemed to be coordinated. 
She met a man that she had dreamed of, and he told her that she was in danger. The man was Lucas, and he told her of two great houses, each wanting her to join them, and that they would try to kill her if she did not join them. 
Dolma was suddenly thrust into a world of immortals with strange powers, and she realized that her future was uncertain. Lucas assured her that she could become the most powerful of them all, but before that happened, 
she would have to leave with him. 
Together, they flee from the two bloodlines of the gods, and Lucas begins to train Dolma in how to use her dormant powers. The danger and the protective nature of Lucas, along with some unbelievably wonderful sex tells Dolma that Lucas is the man that she would love. 
Will they have the chance to be happy together, or would death come for them both?

Again, another book where the blurb called to me. From what I read, it seems to be good. Hopefully, it lives up to my expectations. The Secret Bloodline is currently available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review at some point next week.

Audrey Martinez is a veterinarian who has devoted her whole life to the care and protection of horses—even if doing so leaves her little time for meeting a man. Who would have thought that a strange case of criminal horseplay would lead her to fall deeply, wildly in love? If only the man who makes her heart race faster than a wild mustang would let his guard down, that is. . .

Caleb Harper is no ordinary cowboy. Sure, he wears his hat, boots, and jeans like a second skin, and displays an easygoing charm that comes from years of working on the ranch. But with his military background, and Army buddies at his side, he is tried-and-true Texas tough. Audrey knows she can trust a man like Caleb to help her save horses. But can Caleb trust himself to resist his attraction to Audrey—or will the sparks of their desire end up getting them burned?

When I saw the words military and cowboy, I knew that I needed to read this book. Plus, I liked the cover. He kinda reminds me of Wayne in Letterkenny. My Favorite Cowboy is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is February 26th. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

From the author of Rust & Stardust comes this heartbreaking story, inspired by true events, of how far one mother must go to protect her daughter. 

Dover, Massachusetts, 1969. Ginny Richardson’s heart was torn open when her baby girl, Lucy, born with Down Syndrome, was taken from her. Under pressure from his powerful family, her husband, Ab, sent Lucy away to Willowridge, a special school for the “feeble-minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny it was for the best. That they should grieve for their daughter as though she were dead. That they should try to move on. 

But two years later, when Ginny’s best friend, Marsha, shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth–its squalid hallways filled with neglected children–she knows she can’t leave her daughter there. With Ginny’s six-year-old son in tow, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets their course on a heart-racing journey across state lines—turning Ginny into a fugitive.

For the first time, Ginny must test her own strength and face the world head-on as she fights Ab and his domineering father for the right to keep Lucy. Racing from Massachusetts to the beaches of Atlantic City, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a roadside mermaid show in Florida, Keeping Lucy is a searing portrait of just how far a mother’s love can take her.

I needed to read this book. I had enjoyed the other book written by the author and figured that this one would be just as good. The blurb makes it seem so. Keeping Lucy is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is August 6th, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

Her: Unstoppable, workaholic, driven force of nature.

Him: The exact opposite of that.

Phebe Stark needs a punching bag. No, on second thought, she needs a donut. No, on third thought, she needs to escape into a dark bar with a strong drink. She’s just been harassed, for the umpteenth time, by the slimy supervisor standing between her and a shattered glass ceiling at her high-pressure Atlanta firm. But then a tall, bearded, sexy lumberjack of a bartender saunters over, and suddenly Phebe knows she doesn’t need gin . . . she needs him.

Brody Cantrell didn’t exactly intend to become a bartender. He planned to help out at his ailing uncle’s bar for a year, then get an advanced degree and rise to the top of his field. Instead, he got a Ph.D. in Real Life from his customers. Brody thinks he’s seen everything—until he meets Phebe Stark. And when he gets a load of her fearless sexting skills, he just has to see what’s under that power suit. Brody’s certain they’ll have a good time or two—nothing serious. Then again, all these steamy messages and breathless trysts have him seriously considering . . . Why not?

This is a book that I pulled from reviewing. The publisher thought it needed more polishing and took it off Loveswept’s page. So I put it as DNF but kept a close watch on it. As soon as I saw that it had been updated, I redownloaded it. So, yes, I am looking forward to reading it. I hope it is worth the wait. Let’s Talk About Sext is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is February 19th. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

In June 1944, the Nazis locked eighteen-year-old Dave Hersch into a railroad boxcar and shipped him from his hometown of Dej, Hungary, to Mauthausen Concentration Camp, the harshest, cruelest camp in the Reich. After ten months in the granite mines of Mauthausen’s nearby sub-camp, Gusen, he weighed less than 80lbs, nothing but skin and bones.

Somehow surviving the relentless horrors of these two brutal camps, as Allied forces drew near Dave was forced to join a death march to Gunskirchen Concentration Camp, over thirty miles away. Soon after the start of the march, and more dead than alive, Dave summoned a burst of energy he did not know he had and escaped. Quickly recaptured, he managed to avoid being killed by the guards. Put on another death march a few days later, he achieved the impossible: he escaped again.

Dave often told his story of survival and escape, and his son, Jack, thought he knew it well. But years after his father’s death, he came across a photograph of his father on, of all places, the Mauthausen Memorial’s website. It was an image he had never seen before – and it propelled him on an intensely personal journey of discovery.

Using only his father’s words for guidance, Jack takes us along as he flies to Europe to learn the secrets behind the photograph, secrets his father never told of his time in the camps. Beginning in the verdant hills of his father’s Hungarian hometown, we travel with Jack to the foreboding rock mines of Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps, to the dust-choked roads and intersections of the death marches, and, finally, to the makeshift hiding places of his father’s rescuers. We accompany Jack’s every step as he describes the unimaginable: what his father must have seen and felt while struggling to survive in the most abominable places on earth.

In a warm and emotionally engaging story, Jack digs deeply into both his father’s life and his own, revisiting – and reflecting on – his father’s time at the hands of the Nazis during the last year of the Second World War, when more than mere survival was at stake – the fate of humanity itself hung in the balance.

I very rarely read nonfiction. Even rarer is when I review it. I think the last nonfiction book I read and reviewed was in 2016. So, a long time. But, when I read the blurb, I felt that I had to read this book. Death March Escape is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is January 19th. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 2nd through December 8th 2018

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Books I’ve Read (clicking on the picture will bring you to Goodreads page):

Illegally Yours (Laws of Attraction, #2)

The Perfect Liar

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)

Books with reviews pending (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

The Perfect Liar—review coming January 15th, 2019

The Perfect Liar

The Gilded Wolves—review coming January 15th, 2019

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)

Sisters of the Fire—review coming February 5th, 2019

Sisters of the Fire (Blood and Gold, #2)

Books with published reviews (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

Zero—review here

Zero

NetGalley Haul(clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

My Favorite Cowboy (Heart of Texas #3)

Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants: a novel in stories

Montauk

Email Haul (clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

The Secret Bloodline

Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap-Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Foodie Friday

Bashert by Herb Freed

Bashert

3 Stars

Publisher: Bellrock Press

Date of publication: February 14th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Where you can find Bashert: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Would you recognize your soul’s complement in another? Beyond the bliss of actually finding your soul mate, there is a belief that the universe hinges on predetermined people finding their other half, their bashert, to maintain cosmic balance. In BASHERT author, screenwriter, director, and former rabbi Herb Freed immerses us in the heady intoxication and thunderous losses of what it really means to be bashert.

Dan Sobol and Marion Gladstone meet by chance at a screenwriter’s event in Los Angeles. He’s a rabbi turned director known for his cinematic television commercials; she’s a writer and film editor who is recovering from a tabloid-headline screaming Hollywood divorce. From the moment Marion hears Dan’s voice, she knows–and so does he. It’s bashert.

But when did the course of true love ever run smooth? Dan and Marion are soon partners in business as well as life, traveling the world to create movies. He directs, she writes and edits, and life becomes an amazing adventure–until Cancun. There, among the ruins of the Mayan civilization, Marion has an eerie premonition that has the potential to change everything.

Drawing upon his own personal experience, Freed spins a tale unflinching in its examination of life, but weaving along the edge of magical realism. From the bright lights of Hollywood to Mexico, Israel, Paris and the dreamy exhilaration of Jamaica, BASHERT is a love story about transcending life, loss and the boundaries we mistakenly place on our lives and our hearts.

My Review:

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Bashert. See, I had gotten an email from NetGalley with their Read Nows. I kinda did a book nerd’s version of drunken Amazon shopping. Except I wasn’t drinking and it wasn’t Amazon. I thought that I had downloaded a book that at its best would bore me to sleep. At its worse, it would completely bore me. I fell somewhere in the middle with Bashert.

I had a hard time following Bashert’s plotline. The book kept jumping from past to present to past. It confused the ever-living out of me. I ended up rereading chapters to understand exactly what was going on. Now keeping what I wrote in mind, I thought that the plotline was original. I  wished I could have followed it better.

What intrigued me about this book was that the author didn’t gloss over Dan and Marion’s bad times. He let us know that love wasn’t all sunshine and roses. That there will be dark and turbulent days. It is up to the people to get through them. Which Dan and Marion did. They faced life’s greatest challenges together. Dan always supported Marion and vice versa.

I liked Dan and I got his skepticism when Molly told him that she had talked to Marion. But the more the events in Jamaica unrolled, the more his skepticism was chipped away.

The end of the book confused me. I ended up reading the last chapter a few times and I couldn’t figure out what the author wanted us to think. Not going to get into it but I thought one thing. When I read it out loud to my SO, with a quick briefing on the book, he thought another. I guess we could both be right.

What I liked about Bashert:

A) The locations the book was set in

B) The storyline

C) Dan and Marion’s love story, the good and bad

What I disliked about Bashert:

A) Plot hard to follow

B) Jamaica. With everything going on, the whole festival storyline added to me not being able to follow the book.

C) The end of the book

I would give Bashert a rating of Older Teen. There is language. There are sex and sexual situations. The sex/sexual situations are very vague. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in the book. They would be: Drug use

I am on the fence about recommending this book to family and friends. I would let them know the plotline and let them make their own decision. I would give them a heads up about the trigger warning.

I am on the fence about rereading this book. On one hand, I want to because I find the whole concept of Bashert fascinating. On the other hand, I don’t because the book confused me too much.

I would like to thank Bellrock Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Bashert.

All opinions stated in this review of Bashert are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Do you believe in true love like Bashert was describing? Why or why not?

Can you read a book where the plotline is hard to follow? Why or why not?

Confusing endings? A deal breaker when it comes to reading anything by the author again? Why or why not?