Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Firewall, by Eugenia Lovett West {ends 11/5}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

The schedule politely requested that guests meet in the anteroom at eight o’clock. Moving leisurely, I took a shower and put on a new dress, a Valentino knock-off cut low in the back. Last spring Caroline had given me a necklace made of brilliant semiprecious stones set in gold. Wildly pretentious and never worn until now.

I clasped it carefully and studied the overall effect. There were fine lines around my mouth and eyes, but there was no gray in that mane of auburn hair, and my long legs were exceptional. Rubbing shoulders with highfliers could be a challenge, but I had credentials. Emma Metcalf had been a rising name in the opera world. My dead husband had been the CEO of a large international company, but my status didn’t matter. My one job was to support Caroline in case she became confused – and mind my manners in front of the jumped-up countess.

For once, thanks to Bailey, Caroline was ready in full war paint, clanking with bracelets. She gave me the once-over. “You’ll do. Italian men love dark red hair and blue eyes. Shades of Botticelli.”


The title of this one had me thinking it would be more about cybercrime or computer issues. While one of the plot lines did say it was about cybercrime, it never really explained much about it.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Firewall, by Eugenia Lovett West {ends 11/5}
Former opera singer Emma Streat has survived the murder of her husband and the destruction of her beautiful old house. Now a full-time single mother, she struggles to move forward and make a home for her two sons. Because of her detection skills, she has become a go-to person for help―so, when her rich, feisty, socialite godmother is blackmailed, she turns immediately to Emma.

Soon, Emma founds herself thrust into the dark world of cybercrime. Mounting challenges take her to exclusive European settings where she mixes with top people in the financial and art collecting worlds and has intriguing and emotion-packed experiences with men―including her dynamic ex-lover, Lord Andrew Rodale. When she is targeted by a cybercrime network using cutting-edge technology, it takes all of Emma’s resilience and wits to survive and bring the wily, ruthless criminal she’s hunting to justice.

Action-packed and full of twists and turns, this third book of the Emma Streat Mystery series does not disappoint!


The best part of this book was undoubtedly the feeling that we were traveling all over the world. From Boston, to New York, and then on to France and Ireland, Emma Streat’s emergency travels around the globe were always exciting. I wish the author hadn’t mentioned what Emma was wearing for each occasion though – I think I counted less than five outfits over the course of several months. It became an annoying detail I certainly could have done without.

I enjoy books about how different people live. In this story, Emma’s godmother was very rich, and insisted Emma live like her while visiting, or when they traveled together. While they seem to have known each other their whole lives, Emma still seemed uncomfortable with the luxuries that her godmother apparently forced on her. I guess I would have expected her to get somewhat used to it over the years, especially since she repeatedly talked about how close they were.

Overall, Emma’s adventures seemed a little far-fetched, and I never felt really engaged with any of the characters. I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars. While this is the third book in the Emma Streat Mystery series, the second book was published 10 years ago. I’d be curious to see if the series will continue at a little quicker pace. I don’t remember what books I read a decade ago, and I doubt I’ll remember this one when another 10 years has passed.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley loves fuzzy slippers, artichokes with butter, and the feeling of contentment that comes from curling up with a magic blanket and a good book. She’s been blogging in SE Michigan since March 2002 at www.sweetlybsquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Firewall!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, November 5th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified the next day via email and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Firewall, by Eugenia Lovett West

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Book Review: Meant to Be Yours, by Susan Mallery

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

In a wedding destination town, the rhythms of the residents were determined by weekend weddings. Happily Inc’s workweek started on Wednesdays as the businesses geared up for the dozens of nuptials that occurred in multiple venues. Which meant the town’s Friday night was actually on Monday.

The Boardroom, a local bar, hosted game nights on Mondays. Board games ruled and tournaments were heated and fun as friends crushed each other at everything from Candy Land to Risk.


Happily Inc sounds like a delightful little town to live in. I was surprised to find that this was the fifth book in the series about the town and its residents.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: Meant to Be Yours, by Susan Mallery
Wedding coordinator Renee Grothen isn’t meant for marriage. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, plan. But she never could have planned on gorgeous, talented thriller writer Jasper Dembenski proposing - a fling, that is. Fun without a future. And the attraction between them is too strong for Renee to resist. Now she can have her no-wedding cake ... and eat it, too.

After years in the military, Jasper is convinced he’s too damaged for relationships. So a flirtation—and more—with fiery, determined Renee is way too good to pass up ... until his flame becomes his muse.

Renee is an expert at averting every crisis. But is she finally ready to leap into the one thing that can never be controlled: love?


This was a fun read. I liked the quirky characters, especially Renee and her mother. The way the series is set up is pretty obvious – there are a few couples in the small town who of course interact with each other. A few times over the course of the story, someone references when so-and-so and their flame got together, which is surely an earlier book in the series. I like these kind of light-hearted series – you feel like a citizen of their quaint little town as you meet everyone.

I enjoy books where they present careers that lend themselves to fun daydreaming about an alternative life. Renee was a wedding coordinator, and her love-interest Jasper was an author. I don’t know how realistically either career was depicted, but they sounded like fun, and the book made them sound believably realistic.

The book also included a novella at the end. It was another pleasant read, but kind of annoying that it obviously took place sometime before the actual book. See, the characters in the novella are married and expecting their first child in the book that the novella followed. Still a fun story, but maybe they should have been presented in a different order?

Overall, I enjoyed reading Meant to Be Yours. It also kind of made me want to watch the old 2001 movie with J.Lo, The Wedding Planner. Wedding planning was the only overlap (well, that and finding love), but the movie and the book make it seem like a fun job. I’d give the book 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for a great beach read, or for this time of year, cuddled under a blanket in front of a fireplace. Enjoy!

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley reads whatever she can, wherever she can. When she’s not reading, she’s feeding the children as a breakfast lady, lunch lady, or mom. Sometimes she blogs at SweetlyBSquared.com.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Book Review and GIVEAWAY - Flying Alone: A Memoir, by Beth Ruggiero York {ends 10/25}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

“Nice job. You handled the airplane well,” Frank told me after the flight test.

We stood on the ramp outside Mountain Air’s building that housed the offices along with the cleanest hangar space I had ever seen. I didn’t know a Part 135 operation could be so professional.

“Thank you.” My hopes were high.

“Your movements of the controls are smooth, and that’s important when there are people in the airplane. I learned to fly that way in the Air Force. Couldn’t get through a flight check if we weren’t smooth. I’m retired but I try to pass on all I learned to the young people I hire,” he explained. “I know you’ve been flying freight before this. It’s easy to get sloppy when you only have boxes in the back. Our business here at Mountain Air is half and half, passengers and freight, so we expect you always to fly as though you’re carrying passengers.”

Did he mean I had the job? It sure sounded that way. “How many airplanes do you have?” I asked.

“We’ve got the four Navajos, a single-engine Cessna, two Beech Barons, and a Piper Aztec.” The operation was impressive. “And Joe Fontaine – he’s the owner of the company – keeps the Stearman over there for his own fun.” He pointed to the yellow biplane in back of the hangar. “When would you be available to start?”


To work so diligently toward a goal for years is impressive. Beth Ruggiero York fought her way through an industry that wasn’t supportive of her and her dreams to earn the reward she wanted for so long.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY - Flying Alone: A Memoir, by Beth Ruggiero York {ends 10/25}
From the time she was a teenager, Beth knew she wanted to fly, and a solo trip across the country to visit family confirmed her aspirations of becoming a pilot. But her dreams were almost grounded before they could take off when she received the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the age of 22.

Beth vowed that this new challenge would not put restrictions on her life and embarked on journey to become an airline pilot. Starting at the small local airport, the aviation world swallowed her whole, and the next five years of her life were as turbulent as an airplane in a thunderstorm, never knowing when, how or if she would emerge.

An agonizing love affair with her flight instructor, dangerous risks in the sky and flying broken airplanes for shady companies all intertwined to define her road to the airlines, eventually being hired by Trans World Airlines in 1989.

Flying Alone outlines the struggles and the challenges of civil aviation that Beth faced 30 years ago.

Ultimately a story of survival and overcoming overwhelming odds, Flying Alone is told with soul-baring candor, taking readers on a suspenseful journey through terror, romance and victory.


What an all-consuming hobby and goal it was for the author to want to fly for a commercial airline! Her determination to continue pursuing her goal in spite of the obstacles was truly inspirational. I liked reading her comments on the specific planes and challenges of flying that she encountered. Her extensive knowledge of the subject was obvious. The situations that employers put her and others in while they were working and trying to accrue more flying hours were horrible. The author’s struggles were 30 years ago, but I wonder if the industry has really changed much since then.

While I liked the flying parts of the book and was on the edge of my seat whenever she navigated a challenge in the sky, I just wanted to yell at her over her stupid boyfriend. Maybe I’m old and jaded, but I was tired of his shenanigans almost immediately. I would have been interested in hearing what the rest of her close family (her mother and her brother) thought of her persistence in pursuing such a monumental goal.

Overall, I would give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. It is a great story of the author’s determination and planned steps toward her goal.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a daughter, sister, wife and mother. She spends most of her time juggling schedules for her immediate household, and tries to spend a few minutes commenting on it all at SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Flying Alone!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Friday, October 25th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be chosen the next day and notified via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Flying Alone, by Beth Ruggiero York

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Review: The Perfect Candidate, by Peter Stone

Guest review by: Andrea Hodge
"Try to have a normal few days. Don't talk about this to anyone in the office," Memo had told me before dropping me off three blocks away from the Rayburn building, the morning we'd talked with BIB's penitent hitman. "I need time to formalize Meteer's statement, and I need you to act like you're continuing to have an amazing summer interning for your congressman. Replace copy machine toner, Give tours. Write form letters. We'll keep an eye on you. You'll be safe."

"A normal few days," he'd said so effortlessly. Normal, even though the man whose name was on the plaque outside the office hired a least one contact killer in his life. Normal, even though I'd spilled a particularly volatile pile of beans to this same man's number two. Normal, even though I was keeping secrets that had gotten others killed.



While the title of this book didn't exactly jump out at me, I was quickly pulled into the fun writing style and dramatic plot. A perfect example of a YA thriller.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: The Perfect Candidate, by Peter Stone
When recent high school graduate Cameron Carter lands an internship with Congressman Billy Beck in Washington, DC, he thinks it is his ticket out of small town captivity. What he lacks in connections and Beltway polish he makes up in smarts, and he soon finds a friend and mentor in fellow staffer Ariel Lancaster.

That is, until she winds up dead.


As rumors and accusations about her death fly around Capitol Hill, Cameron’s low profile makes him the perfect candidate for an FBI investigation that he wants no part of. Before he knows it—and with his family’s future at stake—he discovers DC’s darkest secrets as he races to expose a deadly conspiracy.

If it doesn’t get him killed first.


I love a good YA novel, and this one did not disappoint. The perfect blend of thriller, drama, and teen angst guarantee a fun read. Cameron Carter provides a likable hero, and the dangerous situations he finds himself in provide a definite page-turner.

The Perfect Candidate is the debut novel of author Peter Stone. His love of thrillers is clear as he does a great job in building momentum and developing for the reader a sense of impending danger. The characters are believable and the plot is easy to connect with. In all, I enjoyed it very much.

3.5 stars out of 5.

{click here to purchase}

*Disclosure: Books I Think You Should Read received a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing. The opinions expressed here, however, are those of the reviewer.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Review and GIVEAWAY - Almost Home: Poems, by Madisen Kuhn {ends 10/23}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

i am so many different people.
i am vibrating
with all the lives
i have lived.
i cannot make out a face
in the perpetually spinning
chaotic blur that pulses beneath
this translucent alien skin
stretched across these bones.


Everyone can relate at one time to feeling lost, alone, or confused. Madisen Kuhn knows how to put these feelings in words, and onto the page.

Official synopsis:
Review and GIVEAWAY - Almost Home: Poems, by Madisen Kuhn {ends 10/23}
In this stunning third collection from Madisen Kuhn, Madisen eloquently analyzes some of life’s universal themes within the framework of a house. Whether it’s the garden, the bedroom, or the front porch, Madisen takes you into her own “home,” sharing some of the most intimate parts of her life so that you might also, someday, feel free to share some of yours.

Filled with beautiful hand-drawn illustrations from Melody Hansen, this boldly intimate, preternaturally wise, and emotionally candid collection encourages you to consider what home means to you—whether it’s in the lush, green-lawned suburbs or a city apartment—and, more importantly, explores how you can find it even when home feels like it’s on the far-off horizon.


I enjoyed the way the author used the words in her poems, and I chose to read some of the hopeful poems more than once. The drawings which were captioned by parts of the poems were also pleasant and well suited to the collection.

I think these poems would resonate even more with someone in their 20's or early 30's. They were somewhat nostalgic for me, in that I remembered the feelings, but most of the struggles she spoke of are ones I’ve moved past now.

Overall, I’d give the book 3 out of 5 stars. The poems are able to talk about things that could be sad or depressing, without being depressing poems.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a reader, sometimes a bit of a writer, and a collector of things like sloths and zombies. You can see her life spanning over the past many years at SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

Two of my lucky readers will win a copy of Almost Home: Poems!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, October 23rd, at 11:59pm EST and winner will be chosen and notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Almost Home: Poems, by Madisen Kuehn


*Disclosure: Books I Think You Should Read received a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing. The opinions expressed here, however, are those of the reviewer.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Law and Addiction, by Mike Papantonio {ends 10/22}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Nathan Ailes jumped to his feet. “Objection, Your Honor.” Ailes wagged his index finger as if he were poking holes in the air. “Haven’t we heard enough rabid conjecture? This wannabe lawyer is impugning the good name of my client and making them sound like gangsters. His wild speculation is turning this whole proceeding into a circus.”

“And that would make me the ringmaster, would it not, Mr. Ailes?” Judge Perry’s little smile belied the hardness of his gaze. “Since that is the case, I would suggest you tread carefully on your high wire. No, please have a seat. And Mr. Rutledge, let’s finish up.”

“Yes, sir. I haven’t even yet addressed the matter of corporate profits. Between year one and year four, MHC’s profits skyrocketed from one hundred million dollars to well over two billion dollars. And though MHC is the largest distributor, there are two other Fortune 25 companies making similar profits. And these same results have occurred in small counties all over West Virginia.

“Your Honor, if you allow this case to proceed, we intend to pursue a host of claims against MHC and its ilk, where we will provide data showing how these companies were complicit in creating the opioid epidemic. The figures are irrefutable. What is also irrefutable is that the three major drug distribution companies were well aware of what was going on. Every day their own employees were witness to droves of West Virginians lined up first thing in the morning in front of the pill mills they helped create. These pill mills would never even have existed if not for the corporate pushers who supplied them.”


What a powerful book! While framed as fiction, the opioid epidemic is real, and the author wrote of the causes and consequences compellingly.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Law and Addiction, by Mike Papantonio {ends 10/22}
One week before his law school graduation, Jake Rutledge is shattered. His fraternal twin, Blake, has died of a drug overdose. When Jake returns to his hometown of Oakley, West Virginia, he discovers that his brother was not the only person hooked on opioid painkillers. The entire region has been ravaged by an epidemic insidiously planned and carried out by one of America’s most powerful pharmaceutical companies.

Still wet behind the ears, Jake is determined to seek justice for all the victims of Big Pharma’s greed. He soon learns that the drug companies’ tentacles reach far and deep. His only hope is to get Nicholas “Deke” Deketomis to help. A partner at one of the country’s most powerful law firms, Deke’s “as tough as a two-dollar steak” and well-known for his winning tactics against corporate wrongdoers. With just enough persistence, Jake coaxes Deke to see Oakley’s devastation firsthand. Overwhelmed, Deke agrees to join forces with Jake.

And that’s when the real heat begins. Death threats, bribes, unlawful property seizure schemes – all are connected to the massive distribution of both legal and illegal drugs. Everyone is impacted, from the highest levels of corporate America to corrupt local officials to their lackeys and hapless victims. The complexity of the schemes is overwhelming.

Working tirelessly, the lawyers begin to uncover the truth. Along the way, Jake falls in love with Anna Fowler, a former homecoming queen who has succumbed to the power of opioids. With his support, she weans herself off the drugs. Hope begins to bloom — when suddenly, Jake disappears. As Deke undertakes a desperate search to find him, questions swirl. Has Jake abandoned Anna and his crusade? Can the case against the evildoers move forward without him? Will Oakley and its residents survive? Law and Addiction is real-life drama at its finest — a book that clears away the darkness page by page, spotlighting a profound truth about our society through expert storytelling.


This was definitely a page-turner, and all the more sad that it’s based in fact. Opioid addiction is a tragedy for all it touches. After the main character loses his brother without even knowing he was struggling with addiction, he wants to avenge his brother’s death by making someone responsible. It doesn’t take much research at all to see that the pharmaceutical market—especially in economically depressed areas—is flooded with opioids. The pill mills and corrupt doctors are looking the other way as those despondent with their lives are using physical pain killers to numb them to everything.

As tough as the subject matter could be, this was also a great action/adventure book. While some of the court room gibberish might have been confusing, it was usually quickly explained. Reading this book made the opioid epidemic very clear and real, but it was also an entertaining work of fiction. Overall, I’d give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars and would definitely consider reading author and attorney Michael Papantonio’s other legal thrillers.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a fall-lovin, hoodie-wearing, Halloween-excited reader and blogger at SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

Two of my lucky readers will win a copy of Law and Addiction!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, October 22nd, at 11:59pm EST and winner will be chosen and notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Law and Addiction, by Mike Papantonio

*Disclosure: Books I Think You Should Read received a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing. The opinions expressed here, however, are those of the reviewer.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: If I Had Two Lives, by Abbigail N. Rosewood {ends 10/14}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

I chose this part of the beach because I’d sensed somehow that Lilah would prefer not to be disturbed. I realized now that it wasn’t necessary to try to find an empty stretch of beach. With the snow falling so thick and the wind bellowing even louder than the ocean, nobody could see or hear us from two or three feet away, even if they somehow desired to be out in this bleary white. Her outline was beginning to disappear when she turned around and waited for me.

“So, what are you doing in Montauk?” she asked.

“Just trying to remember some things. It’s my first long stretch of time off from work in two years,” I said.

“I get it. I’m so forgetful myself.”

My heart was beating faster. I was glad we were now side by side and she couldn’t see my face.

“There are things you wish you could forget though. Don’t you think?” she said.

“No. I want to remember everything that’s ever happened.”

“Really?”

“Forgetting is natural. Remembering is much harder,” I said.


I love to read a story that’s so well-told and resonates so much that it comes to life. This novel was so beautifully written, it feels more like a true memoir.

Official synopsis: 
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: If I Had Two Lives, by Abbigail N. Rosewood {ends 10/14}
As a child, isolated from the world in a secretive military encampment with her distant mother, she turns for affection to a sympathetic soldier and to the only other girl in the camp, forming two friendships that will shape the rest of her life.

As a young adult in New York, cut off from her native country and haunted by the scars of her youth, she is still in search of a home. She falls in love with a married woman who is the image of her childhood friend, and follows strangers because they remind her of her soldier. When tragedy arises, she must return to Vietnam to confront the memories of her youth – and recover her identity.

An inspiring meditation on love, loss, and the presence of a past that never dies, the novel explores the ancient question: do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what we need them to be?


I read this book hoping for a happier story than the last couple of books I read. While this wasn’t a happy book, it certainly was a graceful story about a character who accepts her life. She doesn’t spend time lamenting what she doesn’t have, or searching to have and be more. She accepts that life is made up of all the moments we experience, and their variety is what makes life full.

The main character’s early life is shaped first by missing her mother, then by living on a military encampment to be with her mother. They are surrounded by only soldiers and a cook and his daughter, near the girl’s age. When she turns 12, the main character is sent to be with family and friends she doesn’t know in the U.S. In her adulthood, she spends much of her time reflecting on the life she left behind in Vietnam, until she finally returns to resolve the mysteries of her youth.

I loved the author’s use of words. It felt like actual thoughts from the main character. The narrative prose flowed in a way that felt smooth and realistic. Overall, I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was a beautiful book about a not entirely beautiful life.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley leads of life of little mystery at SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of If I Had Two Lives!

Enter to win via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Monday, October 14th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.

Good luck!

If I Had Two Lives, by Abbigail N. Rosewood

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Mad Dog, by Kelly Watt {ends 10/9}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley
Peter’s birthday fell on a Saturday in July. The day the newspapers were splattered with pictures of the Harlem race riots, people smashing window and throwing Molotov cocktails, black faces running from white faces, protesting the white shooting of a Negro boy. Still, all was peaceful in Eden Valley.

Standing in the kitchen, hands in his pockets, shrugging bashfully, not looking a day over sixteen, Peter announced to everyone he was turning nineteen and Sheryl didn’t utter a word to the contrary. Fergus gave Peter a brand new Yamaha guitar, saying: I thought you might need something a little better to practice on, it’s not a Martin or a Fender Telecaster I know, but the man at the store told me a Yamaha is a good learning guitar. It has six strings, chrome tuning heads and these nice white inlay thingamejiggies along the neck. I felt a young man with your talent, kiddo, should have himself a real guitar. Are you pleased?


No one really knows what happens within a family, behind closed doors. And this family makes it even harder with their rule to never talk about the night once the day starts again.

Official synopsis:

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Mad Dog, by Kelli Watt {ends 10/9}
It's the summer of 1964 and the Supremes are the reigning queens of radio. Sheryl-Anne MacRae dreams of running away from her home on an apple orchard in southwestern Ontario to find her missing mother. But the teenager's plans are put on hold when her uncle and guardian, Fergus, the local pharmacist and an amateur photographer, brings home a handsome young hitchhiker. When Sheryl-Anne meets the guitar-toting Peter Lucas Angelo, she falls in love. But life in Eden Valley is not as idyllic as it seems. As the summer progresses, Peter is pulled deeper into Fergus's dangerous underworld--a world of sex, drugs, pornography and apocalyptic visions. Through the naïve eyes of the ethereal 14-year old Sheryl-Anne, Kelly Watt explores themes of child abuse and sexual deviance, and the secrets, dissociation and denial that allow it to flourish. A Gothic tale told in vivid, often hallucinogenic prose, Mad Dog was a 2001 Globe and Mail notable book and Watt's first novel.

This book wasn’t quite what I expected. I’ve read my share of gothic fiction, but this was even darker than I expected. The book starts out a bit milder, but as the lives and the craziness of some family members progressed, everything got worse for everyone in a hurry.

While "likable" isn’t really a word that would apply to the characters, I think that is in part because the book was about their darkness. Even those who were primarily victims of the abuse were never held up as good people. Their bad choices and the results were what the story was about.

While the author does have one other book (Camino Meditations), I can’t find that she’s published another book of fiction. I enjoyed her writing style, and may be curious to check out her other book.

Overall, I’d be careful who I recommended Mad Dog to, as it definitely has moments that may be triggering for abuse survivors or others. I’d give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a mom, daughter, wife, lunch-lady (who mostly serves breakfast), cross-stitcher, junk-food snacker, and avid reader. She also posts from time to time at SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Mad Dog!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, October 9th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only, please.

Good luck!

Mad Dog, by Kelly Watt

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