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Reading is Fun-damental

By Gini Rainey

If you are anything like me, your life is so full of busy-ness that you pretty much need to make a concerted effort to set aside time to read.  Right now, my life has been so full of things that eat up my “me-time” that I find myself climbing into bed and falling asleep, literally before my head hits the pillow.  But does that keep me from downloading new books to my Kindle that I generally only read in bed?  Absolutely not…the temptation for a good read is so alluring that, even knowing full well it might not get read for a while, I keep on doing it.  Right now, one of them is “Educated: A Memoir,” a #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe auto-biographical book written by Tara Westfield, who grew up in a survivalist family in Idaho as the youngest child.

My Kindle isn’t the only reading medium I’ve been neglecting.  I seem to have a pile of hard copies of books that caught my interest and are languishing in a stack by my bed and easy chair.  Included in those are “Four, Three, Two, One” by my favorite YA author, Courtney Stevens; “Look for Me,” a psychological thriller by Lisa Gardner, “In Pieces,” an autobiography by Sally Field, and “11/23/63: A Novel” an older book by Stephen King.

So, among my New Year’s resolutions will definitely be a promise to myself to make more time to do more reading and writing, because these are two things that are very important to me.  What’s on your list?  If reading is at the top, then let me suggest (in addition to the books I’ve just mentioned) a few of the most respected book lists top picks.

Amazon:

  • “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty
  • “The Reckoning” by John Grisham
  • “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
  • “Past Tense” a Jack Reacher book by Lee Child
  • “Long Road to Mercy” by David Baldacci
  • “The Storyteller’s Secret” by Sejal Badani
  • “A Killer’s Mind” by Mike Omer
  • “Matchmaking for Beginners” by Maddie Dawson
  • “Whisper Me This” by Kerry Anne King
  • “What Have You Done” by Matthew Farrell.

The New York Post best sellers include:

  • “The Point of It All” by Charles Krauthammer
  • “Killing the SS” by Bill O’Reilly
  • “Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis and Nora Roberts
  • “Of Blood and Bone” by Nora Roberts

Some of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners include:

  • “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer
  • “The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea” by Jack E. Davis
  • “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder” by Caroline Fraser
  • “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America” by James Forman Jr.

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year filled with prosperity, good health, and great reads.

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No Reason to Be Bored This Summer

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By Gini Rainey

“Four Three Two One” by Courtney Stevens

Ms. Stevens has gone and done it again by creating a book that is difficult to put down. Although her writing is primarily geared for the YA reader audience, I must say her books carry messages that even adults can benefit from. With her masterful characterization skills, she has created another group of five intriguing kids who are trying their best to recover from a major catastrophe that seriously impacted the lives of four of them.

Stevens’ story line follows the five on their journey back to the scene of the bus explosion that changed their lives, and carries the underlying theme of learning to live with PTSD. Four Three Two One also focuses on the building of friendship, respect, and trust. 

Ms. Stevens’ books provide a look at some of the challenges facing our young people these days, and offer, if not a specific solution to any one problem, realistic ways for kids to find better ways to cope and work through the pitfalls of growing up.

If you have a young person in your family and you’d like them to see them read something worthwhile this summer, I highly recommend “Four Three Two One” to be high on the list. Oh, and you might just enjoy reading it as much as I did, too!

Rating: 5 of 5 – Copyright 2019, Harper Teen

“The Hungry Ghost” by Dalena Storm

This is one interesting, spell-binding, ghost-type book that will definitely hold your attention. What happens when a ghost has been a ghost for a very long time and hasn’t had much to eat? Well, apparently it gets very hungry and being a ghost, it can’t eat food on its own. So according to Ms. Storm it does the next best thing. It finds a host body of someone on the way out and makes itself at home.

This is what happened to poor Samantha who was in an unfortunate and tragic accident. Her unsuspecting family, her ex-husband, and her want-to-be new gay lover find out not too long after the invasion that Sam is no longer her old self when she comes out of her coma. Instead, she is now the new Sam with an insatiable hunger for food and other things.

While I am not one to usually enjoy ghosty books, I definitely have to admit this was one really good read. In fact, I believe I read it in record time, thanks to the great character-building and intrigue Dalena has created in her recently released, all-consuming novel. This book will keep you on the edge of your chair up to the very interesting and surprising turn of events on the final pages.

Rating: 5 of 5 – Copyright 2019, Black Spot Publishing

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Sea Side Reading

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By Gini Rainey

“BETWEEN WIND & WATER: 1898 GALVESTON” by Rosa Morgan

Set in late 19th century Galveston, Ms. Morgan successfully brings together Abigail Bauer and Captain Sebastian Lyons and weaves an engaging romantic tale filled with Galveston’s elite all the way down to the lowest of the lows in the city that inhabit Tin Can Alley and the docks.

Both unhappily married, sheer luck brought Abigail and her perverted husband Otto from their sod house on the Texas prairie to live in a lovely Galveston home in a decent neighborhood. While across the same street, Sebastian, having given up his life at sea, nursed his dying wife.

Written by one of Galveston’s own, this book is filled with the flavor of turn of the century Galveston and recalls names and places that are an integral part of the past of this historical town.  Definitely an intriguing story, I was hard-pressed to put it down and found myself wrapped up in the lives and adventures of the characters.

With a skill for character development, Ms. Morgan has created a book that is well worth the read.  In my opinion, however, the only flaw was her use of script for the letters exchanged between Abigail and Sebastian.  I understand her reasoning, but should this book go to reprint, I would suggest selecting a more readable font.  It really slowed down my page-turning and I struggled to read the text.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – Closer Look Publishing

“SOUL REMAINS: TERRIBLY SERIOUS DARKNESS, BOOK TWO” by Sam Hooker

This book came to me from the publisher for review, and while not necessarily a book I would personally choose to read, I know there would be a huge following for this type of literature.   If you are interested in witches, goblins, ghosts, demons, and the walking dead, you will totally love this book.

Sam Hooker has quite a way with words and puts a whole new twist on the meaning of life after death.  A lot of the time, his tongue-in-cheek humor kept me reading, but I had a difficult time with the whole premise.  His characters are interestingly engaging and, prior to their meeting up in the afterlife, interacted with one another before the fall of the fictional Salzstadt.

This book is a must-read for people who enjoy fantasy to the extreme and would like to enjoy some very clever turns of phrases.

4 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Black Spot Publishing

“LOOK FOR ME” by Lisa Gardener

True to form, Lisa Gardener does not disappoint in this book filled with psychological mystery.  Another in her series of D. D. Warren and Flora Dane novels, the story surrounds the mass murder of a family of five – but one member survived and is missing.

Taking a look, not only at the murder investigation, but also the foster care system, alcohol/drug abuse and recovery, and family dynamics, Gardener did a good job of building an excellent storyline that kept me turning pages until the surprising end.

A master of character-building, Gardener created believable folks who were able to bring to life the plot in a realistic manner.  Typical of her books, Lisa kept me guessing till the end who the perpetrator was and with all the twists and turns, I was not disappointed in this book. It is defeinitely worth the read.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – Dutton

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