One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner
A Frankie Elkin novel, book 2
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Action/Adventure
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Timothy O’Day knew the woods. Yet when he disappeared on the first night of a bachelor party camping trip with his best friends in the world, he didn’t leave a trace. What he did leave behind were two heartbroken parents, a crew of guilt-ridden groomsmen, and a pile of clues that don’t add up.

Frankie Elkin doesn’t know the woods, but she knows how to find people. So when she reads that Timothy’s father is organizing one last search, she heads to Wyoming. Despite the rescue team’s reluctance, she joins them. But as they hike into the mountains, it becomes clear that there’s something dangerous at work in the woods…or someone who is willing to do anything to stop them from going any further.

Running out of time and up against the worst man and nature have to offer, Frankie and the search party will discover what evil awaits those who go one step too far…

“Why do I do what I do? Because at the end of the day, the people left behind matter as much as the ones who are missing. We mourn the ones we’ve lost, but we agonize over the pieces of ourselves they took with them.”

Though the book is a bit long at 395 pages, and slow to get to the heart of the story, it still is a memorable read. At first, I wondered what I’d gotten myself into because the book seemed to be just words spoken from Frankie’s point of view about hiking to find a missing man in the Ramsey, Wyoming mountains. However, author Lisa Gardner’s fantastic writing style and her main character drew me in.

Yes this is a book about a guy going missing in the mountains, but as I read more and more the story of Timothy missing in the Wyoming woods became the back story. Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic, a drifter that has a knack for finding missing people. Frankie’s character is so developed I feel like I knew her, and I felt as if I was losing touch with a friend once the book ended.

The author’s talent for creating character development really shows in this second book of the Frankie Elkin’s series. The deep conversations Frankie had with each of Timothy’s friends revealed a lot. The first hundred or so pages some readers may find slow, drawn out or even boring but I was in awe reading the details and conversations between Frankie and the other hikers. The conversations weren’t boring but informative. It gave me the feel that Frankie was getting to know them but also investigating to get more details not only about what happened to Timothy, but she also got to know Timothy though the words of those who loved him.

Frankie is a lady with her own demons. She lives for what she does. It makes it very admirable because other people would do it for the recognition, but to Frankie every single person matters and it’s not about the recognition or monetary gain, or lack thereof. Readers will get to know her struggles, and see that she is outside of her comfort zone, but she perseveres and doesn’t give in.

As the story progressed, I was still at a loss as to what happened to Timothy. The search wasn’t going as planned. Someone didn’t want the crew searching and they made it very clear. The action picks up midway through the book when the searchers become the hunted. The question changes from will they find Timothy to will they survive? The mystery of what happened to Timothy is revealed. The denouement is a short reveal and I’m not sure if the motive behind it all really made sense. The author didn’t give much or elaborate.

The book is well written with great characters, suspenseful and a good feel to it. Everything isn’t perfect, nor does it end perfectly, but to know there is someone who is touching lives, willing to help people with no ulterior motive and is making a difference as she passes through makes this a book worth reading.

The Baby Shower by S. E. Lynes

The Baby Shower by S. E. Lynes
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

She doesn’t know I’m there, watching her in the mirror. She slides her hand under her blouse. And then I see something impossible. She isn’t pregnant…

She bursts into my life like a storm, and nothing is the same again. She seems so perfect, with her lilting laugh and her beautiful face. One by one, I watch as my friends fall under her spell.

Only I seem to suspect something. Only I see that her smiles don’t reach her cold, furious eyes. And when I’m accused of things I didn’t do, when my home is vandalized, I know she’s behind it. But she only lets her mask slip when no one is looking, so if I say anything, I’ll look crazy.

So when the baby shower comes around I’m there, sitting on a velvet sofa in a posh hotel room, surrounded by balloons. We share gifts, we pour small glasses of champagne, and she beams, her bump just visible under her bright red shirt.

But that afternoon, I finally learn the unbelievable truth.

There is no baby…

This was a quick and very entertaining read.

Jane Preston-Reece is happily married to Frankie Reece and owns A Roasted Development, coffee bar. I enjoy the loving marriage and closeness that the two share. Life for Jane seems to be ideal, except the fact that she hasn’t been able to conceive.

Jane has only shared this personal detail with one of her closest friends in her Runner Beans circle, Sophie.

When Sophie introduces Lexie Lane to the group their friendship takes a downward spiral. The story is fast paced, and I can’t necessarily say predictable. It’s clear the villain is Lexie Lane but what does she have against Jane? Or is Jane just jealous of Sophie and her newfound friendship? Or could Jane have underlying jealousy that Sophie is pregnant again?

I didn’t like Sophie. She was so naïve and gullible to let a stranger come between the closeness that she had with Jane. Sophie did not handle things in an adult manner. And I can very well understand Jane if she didn’t want that type of friend in her life. Jane is a likable and relatable character. I like how the author brought out the value of friendship. Who can we trust with our secrets if not our closest friend?

Frankie is also dealing with his own issues. Owner of Frank Reece Plumbing, Frankie sees his friends’ material wealth so when he wins three thousand pounds on a scratch card, he decides to purchase a Breitling Superocean Automatic 44 watch. A watch that makes him feel like a man of class, he feels invincible. While readers may think the start of Frankie’s trouble is because of a watch, readers find out it’s so much more.

The book has so many twists, all of which left me satisfied. But this book was so much more than a suspenseful read. I appreciate the author for bringing to light several issues that people shy away from. Jane dealt with early menopause. The book shows its impact on her and her relationships. I was hoping Jane would share her story with the other ladies, to be of help and a spokesperson for others that may be dealing with the same issue. But that would have taken away Lexie’s power to be the villain that she was. The author touched on sexual assault that happen to men. In addition to pointing out that not addressing childhood trauma which, in this case lead to lack of self-confidence and coveting material things that don’t matter, and that don’t belong to you eventually hurting others. And finally giving social media followers a false perspective of reality when in fact the person posting is sad and broken.

Well written and well plotted out – for those that enjoy a good suspense you may want to go ahead and add this to your reading list.

Wahala by Nikki May

Wahala by Nikki May
Publisher: Custom House
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Ginger

An incisive and exhilarating debut novel following three Anglo-Nigerian best friends and the lethally glamorous fourth woman who infiltrates their group—the most unforgettable girls since Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha.

Ronke wants happily ever after and 2.2. kids. She’s dating Kayode and wants him to be “the one” (perfect, like her dead father). Her friends think he’s just another in a long line of dodgy Nigerian boyfriends.

Boo has everything Ronke wants—a kind husband, gorgeous child. But she’s frustrated, unfulfilled, plagued by guilt, and desperate to remember who she used to be.

Simi is the golden one with the perfect lifestyle. No one knows she’s crippled by impostor syndrome and tempted to pack it all in each time her boss mentions her “urban vibe.” Her husband thinks they’re trying for a baby. She’s not.

When the high-flying, charismatic Isobel explodes into the group, it seems at first she’s bringing out the best in each woman. (She gets Simi an interview in Shanghai! Goes jogging with Boo!) But the more Isobel intervenes, the more chaos she sows, and Ronke, Simi, and Boo’s close friendship begins to crack.

A sharp, modern take on friendship, ambition, culture, and betrayal, Wahala (trouble) is an unforgettable novel from a brilliant new voice.

The author presents a modern storytelling about three Anglo-Nigerian best friends Ronke, Boo and Simi. The characters are well developed with realistic personalities. The author gives the readers a glimpse into each of the character’s perspectives, their imperfections, their fears and their secrets. I enjoyed their friendship and the closeness the ladies shared. Will their friendship still remain when (Wahala) trouble comes?

Ronke is a dentist and the cook of the group who has a boyfriend she can’t depend on, and a client turned stalker. She wants the happy ever after but is her boyfriend Kayode actually the one? I wanted Kayode to act right or leave Ronke alone. He didn’t appear to be the strong man that she needed, so I agreed with her friends about him.

Boo made a statement “She made me hate my life.” when in fact that’s what she displayed to others. Boo seems to have the life that any woman would dream of. A husband, nicknamed Tubby Hubby by Isobel, willing to work and take care of things around the house, and a bratty 5-year-old daughter. But to her, her life is boring and unfulfilled. At times I didn’t like Boo, but then other times I could understand why she felt the way she did. She wanted someone else’s life, to be someone else but didn’t see that what she had a lot of women pray for.

Simi is her own woman with a doting husband who desperately wants to have children, but Simi isn’t ready to have children or to share this fact with her soon to be 40-year-old husband, Martin. I enjoyed the way Simi and her husband took time to talk to each other often despite the different in time zones. I wanted her to come clean with her husband on not wanting a child right now.

Even though the women were warned that the Babangari family was rotten, Isobel still made her glamorous appearance befriending the ladies and in her subtle and sly way wanting to know more about them. She starts out with friendly advice, working her way to gain their trust making everyone believe she’s an asset to the group. Even though I was suspicious of her to begin with, Isobel had a way about her that draws people to her. As the reader, I knew what was happening and I kept reading hoping one of the ladies would figure it out. I didn’t care for Isobel, but her character was well thought out and written. Isobel was able to find the ladies weak points and use it against them.

I enjoyed reading this book. It gave such insight on various cultures, languages and recipes. Their friendship circle does remind me of the reality housewives shows. The author created characters with personal issues that many women face. She revealed to readers the characters true self, their secrets and thoughts that for some reason they haven’t shared with others in their clique. At one point the ladies seem to have it all and then another they appear fragile and vulnerable.

The pace of the book flowed well. The author gave enough of their daily happenings, so it didn’t drown out the storyline. A few times, I wanted to rush the storyline, but I understood once I got to the end that it was part of the development for the ending. It’s an overall good read. It made me appreciate what I have and not take others for granted but to be open and not harbor secrets that could very well hurt others. There’s a saying ‘hindsight is 20-20’. Once the ladies’ world was shaken up, they each wanted to go back to what they had or it revealed a different way that they could have handled things.

An impressive read layered with culture and populated by characters that are so real readers may find it hard to forget them. This isn’t a housewife’s tale but a story of friendship, jealousy, betrayal and hopefully a tool so that you’ll see trouble when it comes.

As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall

As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall
Jordan Manning series Book 1
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

When crime reporter Jordan Manning leaves her hometown in Texas to take a job at a television station in Chicago, she’s one step closer to her dream: a coveted anchor chair on a national network.

Jordan is smart and aggressive, with unabashed star-power, and often the only woman of color in the newsroom. Her signature? Arriving first on the scene—in impractical designer stilettos. Armed with a master’s degree in forensic science and impeccable instincts, Jordan has been able to balance her dueling motivations: breaking every big story—and giving a voice to the voiceless.

From her time in Texas, she’s covered the vilest of human behaviors but nothing has prepared her for Chicago. Jordan is that rare breed of a journalist who can navigate a crime scene as well as she can a newsroom—often noticing what others tend to miss. Again and again, she is called to cover the murders of Black women, many of them sexually assaulted, most brutalized, and all of them quickly forgotten.

All until Masey James—the story that Jordan just can’t shake, despite all efforts. A 15-year-old girl whose body was found in an abandoned lot, Masey has come to represent for Jordan all of the frustration and anger that her job often forces her to repress. Putting the rest of her work and her fraying personal life aside, Jordan does everything she can to give the story the coverage it desperately requires, and that a missing Black child would so rarely get.

There’s a serial killer on the loose, Jordan believes, and he’s hiding in plain sight.

The story follows Texas native Jordan Manning. Jordan’s an ambitious TV journalist who is compassionate, driven and determined to help solve the murder of Massy James. Sadly, the story of Masey Jones, a black teenager who has been missing for a few weeks is the focus story for Jordan.

I enjoyed the crime mystery mixed with journalism. I liked seeing behind the scenes as the story follows Jordan’s investigative journalism. She is set on exposing the injustice for victims as well as for the black community. Many times, she is so focused on getting the story that she forgoes eating.

A few things that I didn’t like about the writing is the very detailed backstory for each character mentioned. There were times in the book that were over detailed on unimportant situations and characters. Jordan has a lot of friends and in their introductions the story goes on long-winded tangents which overwhelmed the storyline with details that were not needed.

I admired Jordan’s strength, creative tactics and realness. She has a great and close relationship with her mother. She has a good circle of sister friends and reliable work associates. She is single but well aware that her lifestyle isn’t conducive to maintaining a healthy relationship. A late suggestion, if this is going to be a series saving some of the details of her friendships and her relationship with Thomas for a later book might have been well advised. This first book revealed everything about Jordan. As a reader I would have liked for the first book to focus on the storyline and provide some details about Jordan but leave a little mystery about her that’ll make me want to read the next installment of the series.

Jordan has a sense that something more is going on than anyone else realized. Another characteristic that I liked about Jordan is that she is willing to put herself where needed and she’s open to asking the hard questions to get the details of the story to the public. I was impressed with Jordan’s unique qualifications in having a degree in forensic science but at times she seems to cross the line in doing a detective’s job. This led me to believe that no one on the police force is capable of solving the case. Originally, the police wrote Masey off as a runaway. As the story intensifies the police are now under pressure to solve the case which leads to a questionable arrest per Jordan.

I admit, I lost interest as the story went along. It started to dwindle after the questionable arrest. There were so many people being introduced that it was confusing, and I didn’t care who the killer was, I just wanted to be finished because I knew probably wouldn’t remember them in the crowd. There may be some emotional triggers for some readers as this story does center around a missing 15-year-old girl (not disclosing specific triggers due to spoiler for potential readers), along with the mistreatment of the falsely accused.

Overall, I enjoyed the storyline despite the drawbacks stated previously. This was still an entertaining read and I enjoyed watching Jordan as she went from scene to scene, following sources as she gathered details on the story while the wicked watched.

Can’t Go Back by Debra Webb

Can’t Go Back by Debra Webb
Devlin & Falco Book 3
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Birmingham detectives Kerri Devlin and Luke Falco arrive at the scene of a double homicide to discover that nothing makes sense. A woman and her child are dead, and though the husband says he killed them, the evidence says otherwise. Why would a man confess to unspeakable murders he didn’t commit?

What starts as an open-and-shut case explodes into a web of new leads. Devlin and Falco get to work tracking down every single one—including a disturbing connection between the murders and Falco’s dark past.

Falco knows the incident from eight years ago will jeopardize the partnership he’s built with Devlin, both on and off the job. If he could go back, he would—but what happened happened, and there’s a murderer on the loose. Devlin and Falco must slog through the pain to get to the truth; and so far the only truth they know is that everyone is lying.

Can’t Go Back is an unpredictable suspense with a fast-moving plot that kept my attention. It includes strong, well-developed characters, good and bad guys, romance, police cover ups, obsession, family drama and murder. It’s a balance that gives the readers an authentic story. Book #3 in the Devlin & Falco Series can be read as a stand-alone. I haven’t read the first two books and followed the story and characters with no problem.

There’s a lot of story going on, however the author delivers it with her special skill and talent for entertaining and telling a story. The book opens with a woman and her child found dead from a house fire and the husband admitting to the crime. Detective Luke Falco is still dealing with the incident from eight years ago and it could ruin the current relationship with his partner Kerri Devlin. There are family issues, but the author puts everything in its place and gives the characters life by adding in such vibrant personal details.

The story is told from various characters’ points of view. The author fills the plot with action, heartache from loss and two qualified detectives that are working hard to solve the double murder of the mother and daughter.

The ending revealed a skillful unique twist that I didn’t see coming. I wanted justice for the families and the author delivered that and so much more. It was upsetting that everyone appeared to be withholding information and everyone looked guilty but as it turns out that’s exactly how the author devised it. I’m sure readers will continuously question whodunnit as they continue to read to see what happens next in the case.

A good read that I would highly recommend to readers that enjoy a well-developed murder suspense that doesn’t end in a cliff-hanger.

The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes

The Spanish Daughter by Lorena Hughes
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Set against the lush backdrop of early twentieth century Ecuador and inspired by the real-life history of the coastal town known as the birthplace of cacao, this captivating #OwnVoices novel from the award-winning author of The Sisters of Alameda Street tells the story of a resourceful young chocolatier who must impersonate a man in order to claim her birthright…

As a child in Spain, Puri always knew her passion for chocolate was inherited from her father. But it’s not until his death that she learns of something else she’s inherited—a cocoa estate in Vinces, Ecuador, a town nicknamed “París Chiquito.” Eager to claim her birthright and filled with hope for a new life after the devastation of World War I, she and her husband Cristóbal set out across the Atlantic Ocean. But it soon becomes clear someone is angered by Puri’s claim to the estate…

When a mercenary sent to murder her aboard the ship accidentally kills Cristóbal instead, Puri dons her husband’s clothes and assumes his identity, hoping to stay safe while she searches for the truth of her father’s legacy in Ecuador. Though freed from the rules that women are expected to follow, Puri confronts other challenges at the estate—newfound siblings, hidden affairs, and her father’s dark secrets. Then there are the dangers awakened by her attraction to an enigmatic man as she tries to learn the identity of an enemy who is still at large, threatening the future she is determined to claim.

Eager to claim her birthright after her father’s passing, Puri Maria Purification de Lafont y Toledo and her husband Cristóbal de Balboa set out across the Atlantic Ocean soon to discover their travels won’t go as smoothly as planned. Has she made a mistake by giving away everything to chase after her father’s dream?

For her safety she disguises herself as Cristobal and tells her siblings that Puri died on the ship. This is a bit far-fetched to me but a good telling on the author’s part. I was wondering how long she would be able to carry out this gender swap of wearing facial hair, sounding like a man all the while maintaining male characteristics. The author explained that Puri has always been naturally thin and tall as well as details on her transformation from female to male.

This is a fresh and unique read of family drama and secrets. The author did a fantastic job creating a storyline that kept me guessing. Three very different sisters united by loss and all wanting their share of their father’s cocoa estate in Vinces, Ecuador. There’s dialogue and backstory from multiple characters that help set the foundation for readers to understand the present scenes in the book.

I must mention with such descriptive writing I was able to picture in my mind vivid images of the surrounding scenes on the ship, Puri horseback riding and also the architectural structures and decor of the homes. I was also captivated by the enchanting setting and history of the cacao plantation.

My favorite character of the book would be Puri. I admire her bravery, passion, smarts, strength and kind heart. She has faced many obstacles and her life didn’t seem to be an easy one compared to her sister’s easy lifestyle. Puri hasn’t seen her father since she was two years of age. My least favorite character would be the father, the one who created this family drama and secrets. Everyone seems to admire and respect Don Armand Lafont but I on the other hand couldn’t help but vocalize while reading that he seems to have been a lady’s man fathering children and then had remorse for leaving Puri all those years ago. The sisters have an interesting story of their own and so does Martin Sabater.

The ending was satisfying but I felt like it could have had more to it. I was able to piece together the ending, but it seems it was abbreviated. The author gave us this full and lively story only to shorten and rush the outcome of what happened to the characters.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It’s richly woven into an entertaining read that I would recommend to readers that desire something different. It’s historical, and if you enjoy a good family secret and drama mixed with suspense that gives you closure in the end this is the book for you.

The Balance by Kirby Hall

The Balance by Kirby Hall
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Paranormal, YA (16+)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Marise never expected to end up at a private school like St. James, but she understands better than most, you rarely get what you expect in life. It turns out a new school, a mysterious new roommate, and befriending a set of twin brothers is just the beginning of Marise’s journey.

Twins Aiden and Ethan couldn’t be more different or more distant. Aiden is determined to put what happened at their previous school behind him and to keep as much distance between himself and his brother as possible. No one wants a sibling who borders on homicidal.

Ethan is adrift and scared of who he’s becoming, but when a new girl arrives at school, he can’t stay away. As it turns out, she might be the one to help him figure out who or what he really is.

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Marise and Ethan are about to find out even if it kills them.

The Balance is the first installment of a series and was my first introduction to the author. I did like that the author chose to use alternating points of view between the main characters as this gave deeper insight into their thoughts and feelings.

The beginning of the book is light and a little slow for my liking as it introduces the characters attending St. James boarding school. Within days of enrolling at the boarding school, Marise, who is a strong female character, forms a friendship with two troubled twin brothers, Aiden and Ethan. And her new roommate Sara seems too good to be true. Quickly the events happening at the boarding school start to put students in danger. Who can Marise really trust?

As the story progresses, the pace and action picks up. The author’s writing style continued to hold my attention, in fact once the storyline picked up, I was intrigued with the suspense and action. One minute I was reading about normal teen life and then the next how to banish demons and learning about the war between heaven and hell.

The characters are likable but I just didn’t feel a connection to them. It took me a few sittings to complete the book, but I honestly can’t really pin-point why I didn’t love the book. It might partly be because the characters aren’t ones that’ll stick with me.

The good news is, the storyline was well crafted and very interesting plus the ending does give answers so there is closure to many questions that readers may have while reading. The cover of the book is beautiful and the title does fit the book’s concept. Recommend for YA/Teen that enjoy reading an interesting and well plotted paranormal or supernatural series.

The Hands of Love by Omar Scott

The Hands of Love by Omar Scott
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Everyone has a dark side … and one never quite knows just how dark it can get until they’re pushed to their limits. Steeped in a culture of dirty cops on the take, Lorenzo Love – Ren, as he’s known on the street – maintains a few vices of his own. The married narcotics detective has put countless notches in his belt with one casual sexual fling after another – but he finds he’s playing a deadly game. When young women with whom Ren’s known to have fooled around start turning up dead – with their hands ruthlessly cut off – the evidence starts pointing to Ren himself. He’s covered up many an affair, but can Ren clear himself from a heinous string of crimes that threaten to take him down for good? The Hands of Love is a thriller that promises to keep readers hooked from page one, right through to its unbelievable finale.

Have you ever read a book and it didn’t quite catch your attention in the beginning and you were wondering where the author is going with this? Have you asked yourself, should I bother finishing it? Well that’s how I felt when I first started reading The Hands of Love. The book started off materialistic and superficial with greedy cops doing questionable deeds. And a lot of characters were mentioned but no details about them were given.

But then at some point I sat down to pick up where I left off and it turns out I didn’t want to stop reading. The dirty cops are being questioned by Internal Affairs, Momo’s brother wants to get revenge for his brother’s death and wait…women are being killed right in front of their homes. Then I was hooked!

After a few chapters I learned to appreciate the author’s writing style and his knack for including wise sayings or advice during character conversations. People in the world can be harsh and I felt the author gave us a glimpse of that dark side. I don’t condone murder but in the book the murders were speaking what wasn’t said verbally. Lorenzo (Ren) Love had good qualities, he loved his dad and would do anything to save him, but he just wasn’t a good person. He is cocky, thinks he is untouchable and that he can sleep around but he learns there is always someone else who has a darker side. A warning for possible readers, the book does contain and reference sex and also there are details that disclose how the murders happened.

The author did an awesome job on setting the foundation and making the puzzle pieces click. There was a reason behind it all. I figured out early on who the killer was but it was interesting to see if the detectives ever would. The detectives on the case, McCain and Bernstein, were not the best detectives because they only seemed to focus on one suspect and they didn’t look at the big picture and ask what would be the motive for the suspect. I’ve watched enough crime shows and read enough books to have several hours of investigative skills so this was an easy solve. But if the case had been solved there wouldn’t have been the surprise ending. Thumbs up to the author on keeping the suspense going and ending with the big reveal.

Shift Into a Higher Gear: Better Your Best and Live Life to the Fullest by Delatorro McNeal

Shift Into a Higher Gear: Better Your Best and Live Life to the Fullest by Delatorro McNeal
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Non-Fiction, Self-Help
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Kick fear-based living to the curb and discover exactly how to manifest the life of your dreams!

Is there another level of life that you want to live? Are there goals you’ve been struggling to achieve? It’s time to stop settling for excuses and start achieving excellence!

With nearly two decades of experience working with high achievers globally, peak performance expert Delatorro McNeal II is passionate about teaching people how to live life full throttle. As a motorcycle enthusiast, McNeal uses powerful biking metaphors to vividly illustrate how to reject the monotony of living on cruise control. Packed with interactive exercises, compelling questions, and thought-provoking analogies, this book teaches you the methodology and the psychology to bring the best out of yourself! Each of the twelve chapters starts with the word Shift and invites you to make a simple but profound change that will accelerate your results and expand the horizons of your possibilities. You’ll discover how to

• Lean into the curves of life and business
• Sever your dependency on the “kickstands of life”
• Put your weight into the changes you desire most
• Steer the flow of your emotional states
• Shift your core relationships to invite the right posse to your biker club
• Drive defensively to avoid the potholes that stop most people from succeeding

From the introduction all the way through to the conclusion, this book is a transformational seminar on paper. Join Delatorro McNeal as he takes you on the personal development journey of a lifetime.

I don’t even know where to start so I’ll start by saying this is a book you will definitely want to not only read but study and keep handy. And to think this was a book that I picked at random with the preconceived notions that I wouldn’t enjoy it… Boy was I wrong. While reading I texted two friends to share the book’s title and told them that the author’s writing style and message are so inspiring and I also posted a comment on Facebook. I read the book in one sitting and was so thankful for no interruptions.

This book will be a staple for anyone…for business, finances, personal, relationships…just life in general. This is an amazing book that shares great pointers and thought provoking questions that will stick with you well after you finish reading.

I love the motorcycle riding to life concept. I’ve ridden motorcycles before but never would have compared riding a motorcycle in any way similar to having life goals and accomplishing them. I love the layout of the book, along with the thought provoking questions. The author didn’t just write for reading pleasure he wrote so that the readers can receive the message as well as making sure readers take action. I related his writing style to what I imagine it feels like being present at one of his conferences.

Each chapter starts off with a catchy sentence and then is followed by in depth details. The questions, examples and quotes made me pause and meditate on how I can put into action giving 1% more each day, and not just living life but experiencing it. I enjoyed every chapter! I can’t even pick a favorite because I took away a lot from the entire book. I like that he wasn’t wordy, his message is to the point and that he gives practical guidance and various learning exercises that opened my mind to reflect as a consequence I can see myself on the right track to reach my fullest. I love the conclusion at the end of the book and how it gives a snippet of the information included in each chapter. I’m sure I’ll be using this for a quick reference for now on.

I am thankful for the fresh pair of 3-D lenses. A collection of words that help me to live life actively, with intention and purposeful. There is so much I took from this book that I can implement into my life furthermore shifting into a higher gear. To name a few nuggets: no matter what I want it will require my best effort, to also recognize that small changes are just as potent as huge changes and each morning I’ll be asking myself “Will I be better today than I was yesterday?”.

I can’t recommend this book enough!

Big Feelings – Feeling Shy by Mary Lindeen

Big Feelings – Feeling Shy by Mary Lindeen
Publisher: Norwood House Press
Genre: Contemporary, Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

What does it mean to feel shy? Readers will learn how to recognize and manage that feeling in themselves, and how to respond to others who feel that way. An early social and emotional book that includes reading activities and a word list.

This book is a great illustration for children who may experience someone that is shy or for a child who is shy. The book includes beautiful photos of children smiling in addition to those that are uncertain about interacting with others.

It’s a quick and simple read that demonstrates that being shy is okay. It also delivers the message that they are not alone. The book also discloses the signs of shyness and what to do when you meet someone that is shy. There’s also a reading reinforcement that I thought was pretty neat. It contains a word list, suggested further reading material and interactive discussion questions that can be of resource for adults once the book has been read. A good book for kids!