Why Fostering is EASY and the loving is hard…

Fostering is Easy.

My husband and I began our adventure into the crazy world that is the foster care system the end of last year. We received our first placement – a sibling set of newborn twins and a 1 year old – on December 1, 2017. A friend of mine came over about a month later. She and her husband had fostered for a couple of years and we were swapping stories of our limited experiences. (I’d only been at this for a month. She’d already tread these waters and survived to tell the tale.)

Our toddler was in meltdown mode. It was past her nap time and she had an audience… cue the Terrible Two’s. Every toy she saw seemed to require screaming, crying,  and arguing about (with no one in particular – an imaginary friend, maybe?) and me, trying to keep her from waking up the babies and have a conversation with my friend, all while maintaining a smile and still trying to keep my home in a somewhat non-pigsty type order. (There are seasoned foster parents laughing hysterically right now at my naivete… I did mention I was only a month in at this point, right?)

My friend then went all sage-ish on me and broke down the foster care system in 7 words. The sentence she spoke was tragic, enlightening, semi-freeing… and incredibly sad.

You don’t have to give her toys.

Huh?

I looked at her like she’d just informed me she’s dodging the feds and – should I ever need her – she’ll be hiding out in Mexico with her lesbian lover AND she’s not taking her precious baby boy because that’d be too inconvenient. (Yeah, it wasn’t a good look on me.)

Eventually, I got my mouth to form words again: Continue reading → Why Fostering is EASY and the loving is hard…

BOOK REVIEW: The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley

22914448-_sx120_Title & Author:  The Dead Key, D. M. Pulley
Publication Date & Publisher:  March 1, 2015, Thomas & Mercer
Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller, Suspense
My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

It’s 1998, and for years the old First Bank of Cleveland has sat abandoned, perfectly preserved, its secrets only speculated on by the outside world.

Twenty years before, amid strange staff disappearances and allegations of fraud, panicked investors sold Cleveland’s largest bank in the middle of the night, locking out customers and employees, and thwarting a looming federal investigation. In the confusion that followed, the keys to the vault’s safe-deposit boxes were lost.

In the years since, Cleveland’s wealthy businessmen kept the truth buried in the abandoned high-rise. The ransacked offices and forgotten safe-deposit boxes remain locked in time, until young engineer Iris Latch stumbles upon them during a renovation survey. What begins as a welcome break from her cubicle becomes an obsession as Iris unravels the bank’s sordid past. With each haunting revelation, Iris follows the looming shadow of the past deeper into the vault—and soon realizes that the key to the mystery comes at an astonishing price.

My review:

 

First of all, I think I may have found a new favorite mystery/suspense author!

I bought The Dead Key at the West Virginia Writers summer conference last month, after attending a session by the author, D.M. Pulley. During the class, she referenced The Dead Key a few times and the more she talked about it the more I wanted to read it. (To be honest, it was distracting…I found myself trying to pay attention, but just wanted to go read the book she kept talking about.)

If you’ve read any of my other book reviews, then you know that I’m often drawn into a book by its characters. I really am a sucker for a character-driven story and will often enjoy a book even if the writing or story isn’t that great, if I’m in love with the people in it.

What you probably haven’t realized yet (or maybe you have if you’ve been paying close attention), is that I hardly ever read mysteries anymore. I hate being let down by guessing every single plot twist before it happens, figuring out who did what when and why way before the author tells me… basically, I hate feeling smarter than the hero or heroine. The point of a good mystery is to keep you wondering what the heck is going on and/or going to happen until the very end (Where I expect for everything to be wrapped up in a pretty little bow for me).

I’ve been let down too often over the last couple years… I gave up on mystery authors all together.

Until now…

Not only did I love the characters in The Dead Key, but I had to force myself to put the book down… I desperately needed to know what was going to happen next!

The story goes back and forth between a young girl’s experiences at the First Bank of Cleveland in 1978 and a female engineer, Iris, in 1998.

Iris is trying to do a renovation survey on the bank, which has been frozen in time for the last 20 years. It’s so strange, that she begins to snoop around more and more…and get herself into more and more trouble as she digs into the past.

One part of the past she digs up on the bank is that of Beatrice, a young secretary that had worked at the bank. It’s obvious that Beatrice has a lot of secrets and while Iris herself doesn’t discover all of them, D. M. Pulley lets you experience it yourself as you go through Beatrice’s sad and terrifying journey with her.

I love a good serious story with a lot of laughs and Iris provided plenty of both! She’s nothing like what you’d expect an engineer to be. She drinks too much, smokes too much, and makes bad decision after hilariously bad decision after another. At one point, she starts to believe she may be imagining things:

She had to stop drinking and get some sleep. It was getting hard to separate her memories from her delusions.

On page 292, I realized that I still had no idea what supporting characters to trust and which were dangerous for Beatrice and Iris…and I was shocked by who was friend and who was foe at the end!

There is so much I want to tell you, but almost anything more would be a spoiler so if you’ve already read The Dead Key, let me know what you thought! I love talking about great books!

If you don’t have an interest in reading it, why? If you’re planning on adding it to your TBR stack, was my review helpful?

Thanks for reading my review and happy reading!

 

 

WWW Wednesday -Independence Day 2018 Edition

Happy July 4 to all my fellow American bloggers and readers!!!

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img_1384-0WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.  I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and it’s a lot of fun sharing what all I’m currently reading and visiting the other participant blogs to find more to add to my TBR pile!!!

Don’t know what it is or how to participate… All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to Taking on a World of Words, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog!

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Without further ado…

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

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Priceless, by Jen Barrick

I’ve been going through Priceless: Who I am When I feel… with my daughter and I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. She is currently at her father’s house and was in Europe hopping about for a couple weeks before that so I’m reserving further opinion until I’ve been able to read more into it with her. As I’ve said in previous weeks, I love the idea behind this devotional and my daughter seems to be enjoying it. The problem may just be that it’s geared toward her age and understanding/dealing with the MANY emotions that come with being a teenage girl and holding those emotions and feelings up to God’s truths.  Maybe I just need to tap back into those emotions in order to get more out of it?

 

37795839-_sy180_Beneath the Same Heaven, by Anne Marie Ruff

I wasn’t able to get much reading done on this one lately, I’m sorry to say.  I am definitely still enjoying Beneath the Same Heaven, it just didn’t make the top of the list this week as I tried to play catch up from last week’s sick household shutdown. I’ll have more to say about it next week, I’m sure!

 

I recently finished:

small Truth Seer coverTruth Seer, by Kay L. Moody

I am really enjoying Truth Seer!  I flew through the first 100 pages…no small feat when you’re caring for 6 month old twins, a two-year old, and a recent high school graduate, all while worrying about your 13 year old daughter that’s currently hopping about Europe! I can already tell I’ll be reading the entire series! You can read my review of Truth Seer here.

 

 

22914448-_sx120_The Dead Key, by D.M. Pulley

I picked up The Dead Key at the West Virginia Writer’s Conference earlier this month.  It’s a fast paced mystery novel that I really had a hard time putting down at night! For me, mysteries/suspense stories are either love it or hate it, with no in between, and this one is firmly in the love it category! I’ll have a review up for it soon!

 

 

What I’ll be reading next:

the_irrationalist_cover the_sun_king_by_allison_lee_palmer_200 cover132474-medium

As you can tell, it’s been a crazy slow couple of reading weeks for me! It feels a little strange, but I guess you’ll have that.

What’s your WWW? Any thoughts on the books above? Leave a comment or send me a message through the Contact Me page.

BOOK REVIEW: Truth Seer (Truth Seer Trilogy Book 1) by Kay L Moody

40598920Title & Author: Truth Seer, Kay L Moody
Publication Date & Publisher: July 2, 2018, Marten Press
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA
My Rating: 4.0

Description (from Goodreads):

A world of lies. A cell of terrorists. When her sister is taken hostage, only the power to see the truth can set both of them free.

Egypt, 2121. Imara Kalu knows how she wants her future to go: Become a police interrogator in Kenya and then graduate as a truth seer in her last semester of the summer training program. But her plans fall apart when a group of terrorists take over the school and carry out a desperate kidnapping. Devastated that her sister is among the victims, Imara leads a rescue team and descends into the dangerous catacombs where the hostages are rumored to be hidden.

Although suspicious of others because of the truth she sees, Imara knows the rescue team will need her help as a truth seer to bypass the lethal illusions laid by the abductors. But as the terrorist traps escalate, Imara realizes how much truth she’s been ignoring and that holding back could get her sister killed. Throughout the journey, Imara confronts her past and amplifies her abilities as a truth seer only to discover that her sister’s kidnapping is just one piece of a much darker secret.

Truth Seer is an enthralling YA sci-fi fantasy novel. If you like tenacious heroes, incredible mind powers, and futuristic tech, then you’ll love Kay L Moody’s fascinating world.

My review:

If you had the ability to see (literally SEE) others truths and intentions, would you really want to?

Before reading Truth Seer, I would have said “Um, Yeah!” without thinking twice about it. But now?!?!? I’m not so sure…

Truth Seer takes place in the future, after we’ve tapped into innate abilities that allow us to basically have superpowers (hilas). It seems a little far fetched when I say it that way, but Kay L Moody actually had me thinking I could totally have a hila!

Basically, we’re currently in a world where we all have “abilities” we just haven’t tapped into yet. Are you good at nursing people back to health? You’re probably a healer. Have an incredible sense of smell? Yep, there’s a hila there! Can you predict when it’s about to rain? You’ve probably got the same hila as Imara’s sister, Naki. OR at least, you would…if only we’d figured out how to unlock our hilas already. Not gonna lie… I’M SUPER UPSET WE DON’T HAVE SUPERPOWERS!

Oops! I got distracted. I’m supposed to be telling you what I thought about the book…

The main character, Imara, is a truth seer. She’s able to see the truth and intentions behind what people say. I both thought this was awesome, and felt so bad for Imara that this was her hila! Because she knows anytime someone is lying, she can’t trust anyone. Everyone lies.

Imara and her sister, Naki, have some issues that go far deeper than most sibling rivalries. But when Naki is kidnapped by a terrorist group called “taggers,” Imara risks her life to save Naki and the others who were taken with her.

My favorite thing about Truth Seer was definitely the characters! I was drawn to Imara and loved how complicated she was. She is constantly seeing the truth around her, but the truth about herself is much harder for her to see. While Imara is my favorite character, there’s a mystique about Abe that has me dying to see what happens in the next book… I’m really hoping to learn more about him!

One of my favorite scenes was probably really only my favorite because I found it hilarious and could totally see the scenario taking place in the not so distant future. And I could totally see me talking to my grandchildren the same as Mr. Nazari talks to the students…

… “There’s writing on it. There’s actual writing on this paper. By hand!”

Mr. Nazari snatched the paper from Darius. “Let me see that.” He masked his curiosity with a patronizing look. “You children. Getting excited over paper. It used to be commonplace, you know.”

Because of Imara’s hila, no one ever questions her. They just go along with whatever she says. But she falls for Abe, who questions everything about both her hila and Imara herself. I loved their back and forth and they may be my new favorite fictional couple!

So those are the pros, on to the cons…

While I loved the book, there were times when Imara rubbed me the wrong way. She said and thought things that just didn’t make sense concerning her sister. It really got to me – to the point that I started not to like her so much. But you are given an explanation later in the story and it’s this “AHA!” moment, where suddenly it all makes sense and you think “Okay, now I’m shocked she wasn’t having even worse thoughts.” (So I guess this wasn’t actually a con. But I put it here because Imara REALLY angered me a couple of times before I knew what was going on.)

There were quite a bit of typos in my copy, but it may have just been because I had an ARC and these may be taken care of. In case they aren’t, I feel I need to mention that it was a problem. There was also a couple of times when the dialogue didn’t seem quite right…it either wasn’t something I would have expected the character to say, or it didn’t sound natural to me.

But basically, I loved Truth Seer and I definitely recommend it for those that enjoy young adult science fiction/fantasy novels. Book 2 in the trilogy is coming in January and I’m excited to get my hands on it!

In case you’re wondering…my hila would totally be truth seeing, just like Imara. And just like her, it’d cause me to isolate myself from everyone… What would you’re hila be? Would you actually want one, or do you think you’d be happier without it?

Do you plan on reading or have you read Truth Seer? What did you think? Do you want a hila now? Let me know!

***UPDATE: Since the original posting of this review, it has been confirmed that the typos mentioned above were because they had not been fixed prior to my receiving the ARC from the author and typos were corrected prior to final version of book.

WWW Wednesday (Sorta Kinda Maybe) – June 27, 2018

Welcome to WWW Wednesday – June 27, 2018 (Sorta Kinda Maybe)!

img_1384-0WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.  All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to her, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog!

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What should follow here are my answers to the above three questions.  These answers should be different than they were for my answers to the same questions last week (WWW Wednesday – June 20, 2018)….

giphyUnfortunately, my week has been filled with sick babies and a sick me which has kept my reading to nearly nothing (I’ve managed to write a total of 500ish words total on top of that).   The result? The below is a copy and paste from last week’s WWW Wednesday.  So sad…

So, here’s what I’m currently reading:

small Truth Seer coverTruth Seer, by Kay L. Moody

I am really enjoying Truth Seer!  I flew through the first 100 pages…no small feat when you’re caring for 6 month old twins, a two-year old, and a recent high school graduate, all while worrying about your 13 year old daughter that’s currently hopping about Europe! I can already tell I’ll be reading the entire series!

 

38749523

 

Priceless, by Jen Barrick

I’ve been going through Priceless: Who I am When I feel… with my daughter and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet.  I love the idea behind this devotional and my daughter seems to be enjoying it. The problem may just be that it’s geared toward her age and understanding/dealing with the MANY emotions that come with being a teenage girl and holding those emotions and feelings up to God’s truths.  Maybe I just need to tap back into those emotions in order to get more out of it?  IDK… stay tuned, I’ll let you know how it goes…

22914448-_sx120_The Dead Key, by D.M. Pulley

I picked up The Dead Key at the West Virginia Writer’s Conference earlier this month.  It’s a fast paced mystery novel that I’ve been having a hard time putting down at night! For me, mysteries/suspense stories are either love it or hate it, with no in between, and this one is firmly in the love it category!

 

37795839-_sy180_Beneath the Same Heaven, by Anne Marie Ruff

I’m enjoying Beneath the Same Heaven, even though it’s a bit heavy on the romance side for me. Obviously, I knew it was a love story when I picked it out, but it’s the cross-cultural family dynamic that really pulled me in and got me interested in the novel.

 

I recently finished:

51ndubla9rl-_ac_us218_The Shield Breaker, by Scott Beckman

Just finished The Shield Breaker and I  can’t wait for the next book in this series to come out! There were a few more typos than I like to see as I was reading this one, but the story was so good that it really didn’t matter all that much (which isn’t normally the case).

 

What I’ll be reading next:

the_irrationalist_cover the_sun_king_by_allison_lee_palmer_200 cover132474-medium

What’s your WWW? Any thoughts on the books above? Leave a comment or send me a message through the Contact Me page!