February 24, 2016

Ruby's Choice by D.F. Jones

Ruby's Choice written by D.F. Jones is the first book in the Ditch Lane Diaries. It started with Ruby and her friends Anna and Sandy exploring the Campbell Ridge Cave in 1972 and finding 3 precious stones, one for each girl. The story, then, fast-forwarded to the summer of 1977 with 20-year old Ruby working in Everglade General Store and meeting two shockingly good looking guys, Reed and Brent, the former being the subject of Ruby's recent dream.

Unknown to everyone, ever since she found the amber stone in the cave, Ruby has started having strange dreams which seem to be glimpses into the future. They were usually life dreams foretelling the birth of a child or death dreams signifying death of someone she knew. Other dreams involved people she had never met before. So, to come face-to-face with the man of her dream, literally, was a shock to Ruby.

She eventually learned that Reed and Brent were in the summer baseball team managed by her older brother George. What she did not know, however, was that they have been playing a game they called Tap It! which involved wooing the same girl until she chooses one of them, with the loser having to pay the winner's bar tab for a month. Ruby soon found herself between two very attractive guys both vying for her affection, for real, 

Ruby's Choice is a celebration of youth. It reminds us of how delicious young love feels. It describes how electrifying it is to be touched for the first time. It depicts young lovers' insatiable hunger for each other. However, it also portrays the pain of uncertainty and doubt. 

With a touch of paranormal which reminds me of the Donovan Legacy by Nora Roberts, if the author does not mind me saying so, Ruby's Choice is one great book for romance fans.

Congratulations to D.F. Jones (@Author_DFJones) for such a wonderful book!

February 15, 2016

Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self Destruction

Holding Fire is a collection of ten short stories about self-destruction written by various authors and with introduction by Scott Hughes.
  • Running with Guilt by Maggie Stancu was about Vic, a girl consumed by hate for her ex-boyfriend. Told in the first person perspective, this story was chronicled by the hour and by the day beginning with a heinous act committed by the narrator which led to total self-destruction.
  • Dog Eat Dog by Joy Meehan was about Pam, who seems to hate everything and everyone. She made things extremely difficult for her team who looked up to her for supervision and leadership. She liked intimidating people and she got satisfaction from seeing other people suffer. Her goal was to see every single member of her team break. There was Victor, there was Louise, there was Odelia, but then, there was Elaine.
  • Death's Door by Chris Chan was about the murder of an aging playboy while on a ski trip with four other people. With not so short list of people who hated the murdered guy, who could possibly hate him the most as to stab him through the heart?
  • Vindictive by Isobel Sheene was about Jordan who wanted to exact revenge on the guy who apparently raped his sister.
  • The Unsuspecting Nature of Grief by Jessica Phillips was about a widow who came face to face with the guy who killed her husband and searched her heart for the hatred that burned within her for years.
  • Do Seconds Even Matter? by Tayah Reed was about Lana, whose mother was suffering from undiagnosed serious mental disorder that led her to do the unthinkable. Burdened by the guilt of not doing anything to prevent it from happening, Lana hated herself and started to act irrationally which made her feel scared that she might end up exactly like her mother.
  • Life is a Great Teacher by John Mallon was about Rebecca Redmond and her husband Brian, who was accused of trashing his mother-in-law's car. Though Brian has been between jobs, he was sweet and kind and she could not picture him smashing her mother's car, in fact, Rebecca could not comprehend why her mother hated Brian so much.
  • Burden of a Soldier by J.B. Rice was about Thaddeus who witnessed the killing of his friend Conan by the order of Prince Eamon when he was just a boy. Laden with guilt for not helping his friend, disgust for the villagers who just stood by and hatred for the prince who ordered his friend's execution, Thaddeus eventually left the village and lived in the city. He met Romulus who promised to help him avenge the loss of his only friend. 
  • Ghostwriter by Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill was about Colton Price who wanted to be a popular author but was not talented enough to get published. He hired ghostwriters to do the writing for him. One of his ghostwriters was his sister-in-law, Lucy Albers who eventually changed her mind and refused to give him the final part of the novella she wrote for him.
  • My Name is Finn by Julieanne Swiatczak was about Finn Montgomery who was physically and verbally abused by his own parents. For someone who has been told that he was not supposed to be born, the only ray of sunshine came in the form of Kelly Brinkman. Finn was finally happy until an incident drove him to ultimate self-destruction.
This book showed us, in various ways, how hate of others can easily turn to hate of self that may lead to self-destruction. No matter how much we try to be nice to indifferent neighbors and co-workers and kind to inconsiderate relatives and family members, we need to accept and admit that we get hurt and the pain we feel sometimes turns to hate. However, it is up to us how to handle this undesirable feeling. We can let it consume us and lead us to self-destruction or learn to forgive those who wronged us, forgive ourselves and strive harder to be better people.

These stories portrayed not only hate, envy, greed, abuse and guilt but also forgiveness, joy and love. The authors have each his own style of writing but all of them are engaging. I was actually surprised to find out that some of them are actually too young to have written about such profound subject with life-changing message.

In view of the above, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars and I recommend it to readers who prefer serious subjects. This book may shed light to those whose hearts are blinded by hate and rage.

Check out Holding Fire at Online Book Club

February 1, 2016

Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin

Eating Bull is a suspense thriller written by Carrie Rubin. It is a story about an obese teenager, Jeremy Barton who has been having health problems as a result of his weight.

At 15 years old, Jeremy weighs 310 pounds. His bulk made him an easy target for not only bullies at school but also his own agoraphobic grandfather and his mother's jerk of a boyfriend Rex. His weight was also the reason for his insecurities and very low self esteem. What was alarming, however, was his health problems resulting from his being overweight 

Luckily, Sue Fort, a nurse from the public health weight management clinic was sincere about helping Jeremy. She, together with some others whom Jeremy called Fat Slayers, encouraged him to change his eating habits and perform a set of physical work-outs. Fed up with being constantly bullied, Jeremy was trying his best. However, bullies were not the only ones Jeremy should be wary about because out there somewhere, a serial killer was lurking targeting overweight people and next on his list was Jeremy.

At first, Eating Bull may appear to be a story about a very fat boy. However, the reader would eventually realize that the story actually featured various types of disorders including eating disorder, agoraphobia and auditory hallucination which is a manifestation of a deeper and more serious mental disorder. Moreover, this book is about family and the problems and difficulties a family has to overcome. Sue, despite her successful and rewarding career found it difficult to level with her daughter Kayla, while Connie, a single mother holding two jobs to make both ends meet, blames herself for Jeremy's unhealthful eating habits.

Needless to say, the book has a great plot in addition to interesting characters. The writing is casual thus easy-to-read making this book one amazing reading material perfect for fans of suspense and thriller or anybody who appreciates a good book with social relevance.

Congratulations to Carrie Rubin (@carrie_rubin) for such a wonderful book!

Click HERE to read the official review of Eating Bull by the Online Book Club.