Filled with common writing issues, English Grammar is a fun (yes, actually fun!) way to correct your grammar, punctuation, and word use.
Quick! What is the easiest way to determine whether to use “further” or “farther” and “affect” or “effect”? If you said for the first pair, farther refers to distance, you would be correct! For the second choice, if you said affect is a verb and effect is a noun, you would match what I thought before reading this book. But you would be wrong! Both can be used as nouns or verbs. It depends on usage. Affect is a noun when writing about the flat affect of someone’s face. Effect is a verb when you mean to make happen. You can effect change in your grammar if you read this book. If you wonder how I could be writing a review of a grammar book and start a sentence with “But”, you need to read the author’s section on the changing face of English grammar. Starting a sentence with a conjunction is fully acceptable everywhere but in an English composition class. Just a side note on my side note, does anyone else hear the Conjunction Junction song in their head every time they read or hear the word “conjunction”? They really should bring back the Schoolhouse Rock cartoons.
The author uses clear explanations and examples to explain grammar and punctuation rules. There is even a quiz afterwards for the more complex ideas. There is also a section about the differences between English (from England) and American English. For example, theatre is the English (from England) spelling but theater is the American English spelling. However, just to confuse everyone, Americans use the British spelling when trying to sound refined. Also, Shakespeare used the American spelling. English grammar differences are nothing but inconsistent. Thanks Noah Webster, who the author blames for trying to un-French the English language in An American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828.
If you read through my review all the way to this paragraph, you will probably enjoy English Grammar (the book—not necessarily the subject). It is an excellent reference that is short and to the point. And it entertains while it is teaching you something most writers, reviewers, and basically humans, need to use daily. 4 stars!
Thanks to Zephyros Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
“ ’I think I killed someone.’ The man’s voice whispered across the phone lines.” Jessie is a pregnant attorney who receives this Midnight Call from her mentor, high school teacher Terrence Butterfield.
Terrence claims he remembers nothing of the incident after his whiskey-fueled anger that kids were tagging his walls. The police determine that Jessie had a strong link to the victim. When Terrence betrays Jessie to free himself, Jessie must prove her own innocence by finding the true killer.
There are many subplots within this novel. Perhaps slightly too many as it is difficult to keep them all straight. I believe this is the first romantic triangle involving a very pregnant female I have ever read. So kudos for originality! The legal system is fully described in this book for those aspiring lawyers among us as the author is an attorney in real life. Midnight Call is an enjoyable night’s reading for legal thriller readers. 3.5 stars!
Thanks to Immortal Works and Meryl Moss Media for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
In Limited Wish, Mark is a busy sixteen-year-old. He is still playing Dungeons & Dragons with his high school buddies. However, now he is a freshman at Cambridge University. He is getting over a breakup and finding a new love. He is battling cancer. All while dealing with time travel, paradoxes, and, of course, saving the universe.
This book is set six months following its predecessor in the Impossible Times trilogy, One Word Kill (reviewed here). The author provides an in depth spoiler-filled synopsis of the prior book in this book’s prologue but the series is best read in order, if possible. If you read the prologue in this book, you will ruin all the surprises in the first book.
Admittedly, math is not my favorite subject despite having taken it through calculus in college. I also never took a physics class anywhere due to my previously mentioned aversion to math. I do like string theory, in theory at least, so the time traveling multiple universe plot was fine. However, the parallel universes did get a bit confusing as the plot was much more complex than One Word Kill. However, there is still some human emotion and humor on hand here too. Overall, Limited Wish is highly recommended for science, math and science fiction fans. For all of us just regular thriller readers, I give it 4 stars and again recommend reading One Word Kill first. Still, I can’t wait for the final book in this series, Dispel Illusion, out in November 2019!
Thanks to 47North and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
It seems like the Ghost of Hollow House may have been Agatha Christie as this tale fits right in her wheelhouse.
In Victorian England, Mina uncovers fraudulent mediums. She also writes fictional mysteries that include spiritual elements. When she is asked to uncover the reason for the haunting of a newly married friend’s mansion, she is skeptical. But when she sees a mysterious lady in white in the window when first arriving at Hollow House, she becomes intrigued. Perhaps this haunting will bring her real evidence from the other side.
Mina is a great character. Her ability to press past her disabilities and the oppression of females prevalent in Victorian times is empowering.
The mystery was challenging as well. Though I didn’t figure out whodunit or why until after the intrepid Mina, I clearly saw the clues in hindsight.
Ghost of Hollow House did resemble Agatha Christie’s mysteries in both its complexity and portrayal of English village life. I would have liked slightly more backstory for the main characters. I’ll be looking for the previous three books in this series, as well as any future entries, when I feel like reading a jolly good mystery. 4 stars!
Thanks to Sapere Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Nick is just trying to survive high school in One Word Kill…literally.
Nick, Simon, John and Elton are best friends, high schoolers, and Dungeons & Dragons fanatics in 1986. Nick also has a crush on their newest player, Mia. Plus Nick has cancer.
Bullies Devis and Rust are rumored to have burned a homeless man to death. What is undeniable is that they have fun taunting the nerds in their high school. Nick’s secret weapon is the mysterious Demus, who appears exactly when he is needed and has strange forecasting powers. The plot just gets better from there.
One Word Kill is a smart, nerdy, many worlds’ hypothesis treat for anyone who loves Back to the Future, 1980s gaming, or physics class. Thirty years after the time period of this book, the nerds clearly have won. Right, Mr. Gates and Mr. Musk? But back in the 80s, the victory wasn’t so assured. That uncertainty is a large part of the charm of this book. If you’re a fan of The Goldbergs on television, I guarantee you will enjoy this book as much as I did. 4 stars!
Thanks to 47North, Amazon Publishing UK, and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
The Fog Amanda McKinney
(A Berry Springs Novel)
Publication date: December 4th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Romance
Former Marine turned ballistics expert, Wesley Cross is known around town for two things, his rugged good-looks and cocky attitude—until he finds his ex-girlfriend lying in a puddle of blood in his basement. The scene screams setup, but the discovery of a rare gem and a puzzling autopsy suggests the murder goes much deeper than that. Wesley will do whatever it takes to clear his name, including calling in a notoriously headstrong—and sexy—scientist.
While most little girls were playing dress up, Gwyneth Reece was digging in the dirt collecting bugs. Now one of the top forensic entomologists in the country, Gwen reluctantly accepts a job from a pushy cowboy and travels to the small, Southern town of Berry Springs. Heavy storms are brewing, and when she’s forced to check into the creepiest hotel she’s ever seen, she instantly regrets her decision to help out the former Marine.
Following up on a tip, Wesley heads to the Half Moon Hotel but quickly realizes his visit was not by chance. The killer lured him there, and suddenly everyone from the uptight bellman to the wealthy couple just passing through town become suspect. Bodies begin to disappear, and Wesley knows the killer will do anything to get to him…. including hurting the woman who’s kept his head spinning since he first laid eyes on her.
Award-winning author of romantic suspense and mystery, Amanda McKinney wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries peppered with steamy love scenes, and include the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES and the BLACK ROSE MYSTERY SERIES, with many more to come.
It’s that time of year when you look around at your assembled family during your holiday party and decide they look Relatively Normal. At least they will, after you read this laugh-out-loud book.
Cat runs an event planning company in New York City. She meets and becomes engaged to Ethan, an actuary. Ethan is a planner. After Ethan and Cat are engaged and living together for two years, he insists on their two families celebrating Thanksgiving together at Cat’s family farm in rural Illinois.
Cat doesn’t know to explain her family to Ethan. Her mom collects obscure household goods like shortbread pans and various cozies. Cat’s dad is staunchly Scottish. He plays the bagpipes badly and dresses up stuffed mice as Scottish heroes. Her grandmother, Nan, says whatever she thinks. Unfortunately, she is usually thinking with a sailor’s vocabulary due to numerous small strokes. Cat’s brother, Travis, is a 29-year-old clown college dropout living in his parent’s basement.
When Cat, Ethan and his parents get to the farm all hell breaks loose. Cat’s dad has invited Cat’s high school boyfriend and former love of her life, Sam, and his parents. Unfortunately, Dad forgot to mention Cat’s engagement.
The absurdity of the Scottish Thanksgiving dinner is hilarious. Cat’s family never lie so they don’t hesitate to tell her Ethan isn’t her perfect match. When a medical emergency occurs, Cat contemplates her relationship with Ethan and her still fiery feelings for Sam, a feeling that Sam shares.
Relatively Normal starts as a superb farce. When the romance begins to heat up between Cat and Sam, Cat must decide what is important for her. The characters are so believable. You’re rooting for them to make the best decisions and live happily ever after. I recommend this book both to fans of zany humor and non-explicit romance. If you like the Stephanie Plum series, you will also like Relatively Normal. 4 stars!
Thanks to 33 Partners Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Medallion of Murder is another excellent entry in the young adult mystery series, Nefertari Hughes.
Terry, a female high school senior, has many balls in the air. She is still getting used to her leg prosthesis, deciding what to make her career after high school, and dealing with her widowed father’s romance with the mother of her best friend, Maude. Oh, and she has superpowers that she uses to fight crime at night.
Awad is a friend of Terry’s that works by day as a hieroglyph translator and by night as a member of the Illuminati. While looking for a cursed medallion, he disappears. Terry and her friends Maude and Fraser take on the medallion search while also looking for Awad.
I started reading the series with Medallion of Murder and wished I hadn’t. I think the spoilers in this book will make reading the others later a pointless exercise. Plus there was a large number of characters’ backstories to memorize in the first tenth of the book. However, the breakneck speed of the action makes this a fun young adult mystery. The book’s characters compare their earlier adventures to Scooby Doo. I agree. It’s just pure light-hearted fun. Here is one secret you won’t have to search for—this is a great read for adults too. 4 stars!
Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours and the author for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
There is a blog tour giveaway for the entire series including this book plus a $25 Amazon gift card. It closes on October 11, 2018.
Jane Doe is smart, sarcastic and a sociopath. When her only friend, Meg, kills herself over a bad romance with Steven, Jane doesn’t have enough human feeling to cry. Instead she hatches a complex plan to make Steven pay for Meg’s death.
Jane Doe is a deliciously deep dive into the cool calculating brain of a sociopath. The author’s use of first person narrative makes the reader feel just as crazy as Jane. It is a fun compelling ride that is highly recommended for thriller fans. 5 stars!
Be aware that there are many sexual situations in Jane Doe making this book recommended for adults only.
Thanks to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for a copy.
Enter this book giveaway to grab a free paperback copy of Paradise by Kevin Scott Olson.
My review is here but you have a chance to win this great book for yourself.
Giveaway begins August 10, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PDT and ends August 17, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PDT.
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Space Between is a good choice for fans of Gone Girl.
Sarah and Ben have been married 15 years when Ben mysteriously disappears. Ben leaves behind a shiny new Glock, an erased security system and a million dollar transfer into Sarah’s bank account. Ben was scheduled to testify the following week in his lawsuit against his partners in his upscale LA eatery. Could they have abducted Ben? Or could Sarah, who admittedly has problems in her marriage, be angling for the huge insurance and inheritance payoff if Ben is found dead?
Space Between in a good, not great, mystery. There have been so many similar plotlines since Gone Girl was released, it is possible I’m just burned out on the family dynamic thriller. I spent much of my reading time wondering if Sarah had ever read or watched a thriller or police procedural before. Some of her actions are bizarre and stupid. Picking up a gun without worrying about getting your fingerprints on it? Not using your alarm or even locking your doors after your husband disappears? Lying to the police? Concealing and tampering with evidence that could be used to find your husband? It is just unbelievable that a Caltech PhD and famous astrophysicist could be this stupid. Someone less jaded than I might like Space Between so 3 stars.
Thanks to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
How many people multi-task daily? I know I do because I have so much to do in each 24-hour day. However, it does lead me to not get as much enjoyment out of each task. Mindfulness: Being Mindful in Your Everyday Life states that not focusing on one task at a time leads to living life on autopilot, stress, depression and anxiety.
The book’s solution is mindfulness or paying attention to what you are doing right now. It has some easily adopted habits to put a bit of mindfulness into your day no matter how busy it is. At work, take a five-minute break to relax and just focus on your breathing. While walking during your usual tasks, focus on your feet hitting and lifting off the ground. When eating snacks, put them in a bowl so you won’t eat the whole bag distractly while watching tv or surfing the web.
Even the book’s short length will save your time for mindfully doing something else. I read one much longer book about mindfulness previously. After about 100 pages, I decided that I just didn’t have the time or energy to spend 30 minutes a day to meditate in a quiet room. Mindfulness: Being Mindful in Your Everyday Life doesn’t require that kind of commitment. You can save time (and calories) by not eating a whole bag of chips. No one at work will know that you are focusing on your breathing at your desk. You can pay attention to the movement of your feet when walking into a grocery store or walking your dog.
This book is highly recommended for those busy people who are intrigued by the idea of enjoying their life more but don’t want to spend much time to see if mindfulness is for them. 4 stars!
Keep It Quiet is a witty British golden age mystery chock full of curmudgeons complaining about minor issues while members are being killed in their club’s easy chairs.
The chef at a London’s men’s club may have accidentally poisoned a member to death. The club’s secretary, Ford, wants to Keep It Quiet to avoid bad publicity. He enlists the help of a member, Dr. Anstruther, to put the cause of death as heart failure. Thus begins a comic farce of blackmail, threats and other crimes.
This book is hilarious! I enjoyed the hunt for the blackmailer. Despite guessing basically everyone in the book at various times, I still failed to guess correctly by the end.
Overall, highly recommended to armchair detectives and anyone looking for a droll golden age mystery. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Ipso now Agora Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
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Page-turner is so overused that it has become trite. Here is how I felt about Obscura by Joe Hart. I…COULDN’T…PUT…IT…DOWN! Literally! I was reading my kindle at stop lights, during boring parts of a telephone conference call at work (with my office door closed of course) and when I should really be sleeping. The plot is completely different from what I usually read. It is a mystery but set in the future that included copious comingled science fiction and science fact.
Humans are increasingly becoming victims of a vicious type of dementia that resembles quick onset Alzheimer’s. Dr. Gillian Ryan’s husband falls victim to it. When their daughter also catches it, Dr. Ryan, a neurologist, tries to find a cure using rats. When her funding is cut, she takes a wild gamble on a six-month trip into space to try to find a cure for an even more virulent version of the disease by using human subjects in her trials.
Unfortunately, revealing any more of the plot would be a spoiler. The best part of Obscura are the wild twists in the plot. What is causing the disease to become more intense in space? Will Dr. Ryan find a cure? What will happen to her daughter?
This book is superb. It is recommended to anyone who wants to read an intriguing rollercoaster ride with a scientific bent and a near future setting. 5 stars! At the time of this review, this excellent read was available on Kindle Unlimited. It is definitely worth picking up!
Thanks to the publisher, Thomas & Mercer, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
80% of the world’s population has had back pain. 25% have had to dial back their life to deal with it. 14% have had back pain that lasted longer than two weeks. Back surgery rarely works completely. Pain drugs often lead to life-altering addictions. So what is the answer to chronic back pain? Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief may be able to help for little cost or effort.
The book explains how the back works, how you can mess it up and how to fix it organically. Common causes of back pain are age, trauma, hip problems, poor posture/breathing, not moving/standing enough, excess weight, stress, depression and smoking. Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief gives some commonly prescribed solutions like stop slumping and move more. However, the author also includes innovative solutions like switch the side on which you sleep and modify breathing to correct posture. Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief also advocates using yoga poses for three different phases of back pain exercise: feel better, move better and prevent future pain.
The feel better section starts with six easy exercises designed to gently stretch and relieve pain. There are then nine slightly more difficult range of motion exercises. The move better section also first includes ten easier intermediate exercises. These are followed by ten more difficult intermediate exercises. This section adds twisting exercises. The author includes ten more exercises in the maintenance/prevention section. Three are to be done daily with the other seven recommended to be done three times a week. All of these exercises are similar to, but slightly modified, exercises in the previous sections.
Overall, I like the format of this book going from pain to prevention of future pain. I like the friendly but knowledgeable tone. The early exercises are easy so the bar to begin exercising is low. Most people will only have to purchase a yoga mat and foam block. As always, everyone should check with their doctor before beginning an exercise program especially if back pain is already an issue. However, Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief is certainly worth a try before going down the pain drugs or surgery route. This book is currently available on Kindle Unlimited.
Thanks to the publisher, Althea Press, and the author for a copy.
Highly recommended adventure tale for tween girls.
Beatrice and the Basilisk is an modern updating of an adventure tale. However, it seems so realistic that it could happen again tomorrow in your town. This book is perfect for tween or younger girls. While the heroine is 12, she acts more mature than most 12 year olds.
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway but that has not impacted my review.
There is another book by this author, which is reviewed here.