Teaser Tuesday

Tea Corner (Blog)

It’s Teaser Tuesday! A weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker where all you have to do is to grab your current read, pick a random page, and select a non-spoiler sentence or two (from somewhere on that page) to share! If you enjoy the teaser, you might even want to add it to your own TBR!

Remember to share the title and author so others can find the book too!

THIS WEEK’S BOOK IS: THE LIGHT IN THE HALLWAY BY AMANDA PROWSE

Nick thought about last year: the house bursting at the seams with relatives, the loud laughter only one decibel away from hysteria, and that same laughter turning to tears at the slightest provocation, all present more than aware of the fact that this was to be the last Christmas they shared with their daughter/sister/niece/cousin/aunt. The whole charade had left both Nick and Kerry quite exhausted, and he had been glad when the last of the revellers had left, paper hats askew, as they trotted down the front path.

Walks with Sam – Book Review

2020, Book Reviews, By Year

Book Name: Walks with Sam: A Man, a Dog, and a Season of Awakening
Series: [Standalone] Book : N/A
Author: David W. Berner
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle (Netgalley)
Obtained: Netgalley > Read Now
Pages: 169 (Kindle)
Genre: Animals > Dogs, Non-fiction > Autobiography > Memoir
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Disclaimer: An e-copy of this book was provided to me via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are of my own.

Goodreads Summary:

A man, his dog, and a long walk can lead to unexpected discoveries. In the tradition of many literary walkers, David W. Berner sets out on foot hoping to reexamine his life, look back and forward, and most importantly, through the help of his young dog, Sam, try to find harmony in new beginnings and the uncertainties of the present.

In a series of chapters, each dedicated to one walk during a summer of hiking, the author finds that it is his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness, finding beauty, wonder, and comfort in the ordinary, and to see a life, a neighborhood, and even a country with brand new eyes.

Review:

Slow paced and an easy read, I found myself feeling “bored” but not really. Maybe the word I’m looking for is tranquil or meditative. A page turner in its own way, I quite enjoyed reading this book because of how different it is to my usual reads. I think with so much rushing around in life, we tend to forget about the smaller things. This is a nonfiction book about a man, his dog and their walks. A beautiful concoction that mixes the daily mundane task of walking the dog and rediscovering yourself, Walks with Sam sparked a warmth in me that left me craving adopting a dog of my own an attempt to slow down and just muse about the wonders of life. I don’t have a dog of my own, but I do commute to and from work via walking and both journeys I tend to power walk to the destination, on auto mode, with nothing in mind except for my day ahead and the day gone past.

For some of us, walking the dog (or commuting from point A to B), even with an abundance of time, may be a bullet point, a check box, a line off your daily to-do list. When your brain goes into auto mode, it’s no harder or different of a task than getting your coffee, climbing into your car, and heading to work. Walking the dog is part of [a dog owner’s] life. It’s not something we think about. The task just gets done.

Walks with Sam is written from the viewpoint of the author, David. Having turned 60 and taking a break from teaching, David begins to document his walks with Sam looking for new meanings in life along with the little older ones hidden by the fog of the hustle and bustle of youth and work. We rush to the coffee shop to find the long line there so you end up rushing to the train that [now] you’ve just missed, and then rushing 5 minutes late into work with half the coffee already consumed. Of course you’re not going to take a moment to smell the flowers. But when you’re 60, and taking a sabbatical from work, you had a lot of time to think about a lot of things.

The chapters in this book are broken down into walks around the block such as Walk 4 revolving around David’s interaction with a neighbor that he, at first, deemed as a little off or Walk 22 revolving around training Sam via the goodness of bacon (😩 🥓) or Walk 26 as David contemplates about the concept of Aloneness.

Filled with the muses of one man, inspired by his dog and the world around him (and books!), each chapter is full of thoughts or little philosophical moments. He started documenting these walks with the purpose of rediscovering himself, what he loved and held close to him, who he was before and who he is now. The entire tone and mood of the book is calm, quiet, and soothing and it’s definitely a book to reread every now and then when you’re looking for things to think about.

I absolutely adorned the book, author and his dog. Sam has the playful energy of any puppy turning into an adolescent. Exploration and discovery comes in all forms from the grass to that rustle up there in the tree. Trains are scary. People are exciting. Bacon is delicious. Catch me if you can. The conversations between David and Sam are endearing and adorable. He’s having whole conversations with Sam, with the assumption that hopefully Sam actually understands a good portion of it. There’s even a chapter/walk in there where David, himself, muses about how there are some owners, like his wife Leslie, that speak to their dogs with words that most dog owners say: phrases, discipline, and announcements and then there are those that speak of whole stories with their dogs.

There was a lovely moment in the book where David is pretty much talking and musing out loud to Sam who is just being a dog, taking in the environment and not really paying attention. I loved that scene the most because it reminds me of the times I have lived with dogs myself and sometimes it’s better to just have someone listening to you, even if they aren’t particularly paying attention or even understanding what you are saying. It’s nice to have someone just lay there (or walking) and listening to you ramble on and on and not judge you.

A lovely read with plenty of things to learn off of, this is a book that I could honestly reread again or at least flag certain walks to glimpse through on during bad days.

August TBR [Maybes]

Tea Corner (Blog)

I finished July in a burst of last minute adrenaline. Three books took everything out of me so I’m hoping August will be a little less busy. While my list here is a bit extensive (for me) and maybe pushing it, I’m hoping that I can get through at least 2 or 3 of the books on this TBR and hopefully, if miracles can happen, I might finish the first book of WoT too 😅

Not Tonight, Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small-Town America by George Mahood

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Cover from Goodreads. Link to book description >HERE<

Again, I went on a Amazon hunt for any new “Free to Read” books. The first of the two books I picked out, for this month, is “Not Tonight, Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small-Town America” by George Mahood. I know nothing else about this book besides that it’s a book about a road trip between two British guys and the last time I read a travel book, I loved it, so I might as well try another one.

Goodreads Summary:

Two Brits, George and Mark, set off from New York City to explore the back roads of America. In this calamity-ridden travel tale, George sets out in true clichéd fashion to discover the real America.
Throw in plenty of run-ins with the police, rapidly dwindling finances and Josephine – the worst car in the world – and you have all the ingredients for a classic American road trip. Will George and Mark make it all the way to California?
And then there is Rachel, George’s girlfriend, left back in England. Would travelling to the United States without her turn out to be the stupidest decision he had ever made?

The Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse

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Cover from Goodreads. Link to book description >HERE<

I loved my first Amanda Prowse book, “The Day She Came Back” which also happened to be my first Netgalley read. It was the first time I cried so much that I started to keep a cry count (not even kidding). The first chapter made me cry, the last chapter made me cry, every other chapter in the middle made me cry, the book was Niagara Falls inducing!

So when I found an Amanda Prowse book on the Prime Reading list, I was overjoyed. This is one of the books I really hope I can get to during this month!

Goodreads Summary:

When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsure how to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.
In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?
And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?

The Milan Job by Krista Cagg

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Cover from Goodreads. Link to book description >HERE<

The most exciting part of August is here! I’ll be taking part of my first book tour hosted by Psst Promotions! I’ll be sharing an excerpt and a review for this book towards the end of August so look forward to it (because I sure am!!) Finally a Steampunk book that suits my extra picky tastes :’) I’m…really…REALLY excited…! I read the first few pages and already have this bubbly giddy feeling in my tummy.

I’ve been craving a steampunk-like book for a long long time and it’s been an even longer time since I last read a book with a decent female protagonist that doesn’t fall into my least favorite trope where the female protagonist starts out strong…only to need rescuing by her love interest (I’m 80% sure it’s called the “Damsel in Distress” trope). The book comprises of five episodes in roughly 200 pages. I’m gearing up for a good time reading these shorts (which I’ve come to discover that I love). Paired with one of my favorite tropes (the “ragtag bunch of misfits”) I can only expect an exciting and adventurous read.

Goodreads Summary:

Meet Captain Alexandria de Sade, the proud and once loyal captain of Naviwerks chrono-ship #25. When she learned the truth about how the company was fleecing their customers she turned her back on the promotion they offered her, left the man she loved without a word, and disappeared with her ship.
With a plan in mind to undermine Naviwerks’ business of artifact and heirloom retrieval, Captain Alex hired on several like-minded misfits to crew her chrono-ship which she re-christened The William’s Hunt. They are: An awkward but genius Horotech, an irascible ex-marine, a flamboyant playboy, a churlish physician, and a hot-shot pilot.
Their first venture: go to Milan, Italy 1490 and retrieve the working model of Leonardo da Vinci’s Gran Cavallo before Naviwerks does. What should have been a simple snatch and run mission for the newly formed band of pirates goes south nearly immediately. In their struggle to recover, they learn that there is much more behind Naviwerks’ actions. Captain Alex and the crew of The William’s Hunt are the only ones that stand a chance of putting things right,and it seems as if her crew’s every step takes them deeper and deeper into discovering just how nefarious Naviwerks truly is.
All five of the monthly episodes of the maiden voyage of The William’s Hunt are collected here in The Milan Job! Follow Captain Alex, Laurence Kane, Geri Reynolds, Nigel Wellington, Dr. Hennessey, and Angel Flynn as they try to stay one step ahead of Naviwerks and Agent Nash, all the while making a grab for the swag that will keep The William’s Hunt in operation.

Walks with Sam: A Man, a Dog, and a Season of Awakening by David W. Berner

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Cover from Goodreads. Link to book description >HERE<

My Netgalley selection of the month is another, “Read Now” book. I had waltzed into the wrong section earlier, my exhaustion-cloud hazed eyes and my cotton candy brain had mistook the humor section for the horror section (again!) and went through 3 scary summaries before realizing I was in the wrong section and promptly hopped right off. I spent a good few seconds in the humor section before giving “Nature and Outdoors” a try. to my surprise, the genre isn’t all “garden guides” like I had assumed…An ARC with a publication date of August 28th, I hope to finish this before then and get a review up maybe a day or two beforehand.

Goodreads Summary:

A man, his dog, and a long walk can lead to unexpected discoveries. In the tradition of many literary walkers, David W. Berner sets out on foot hoping to reexamine his life, look back and forward, and most importantly, through the help of his young dog, Sam, try to find harmony in new beginnings and the uncertainties of the present.
In a series of chapters, each dedicated to one walk during a summer of hiking, the author finds that it is his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness, finding beauty, wonder, and comfort in the ordinary, and to see a life, a neighborhood, and even a country with brand new eyes.

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

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Cover from Goodreads. Link to book description >HERE<

Now this one is really pushing it. Every time I look up recommendations for epic fantasies, the same few series keep popping up and one of them is The First Law series. I’ve read a Mark Lawrence book (Prince of Fools) and commented about how much I loved the witty dialogue and writing and someone (on Reddit) had mentioned that this book had a similar witty writing style. SOLD. I actually have no idea what the book is about. I never made it past the first two chapters before I fell into an affair with maybe 10 other books, but I’m hoping to get back into this one and give this well hyped book a try. Maybe not this month…it’s 500+ pages…so I’ll throw it into the “very much hopeful, but extremely unlikely to start or finish” pile.

Goodreads Summary:

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.
Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.
Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.
Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult.
Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.

Note: None of these books are in reading order… I simply grouped up the Prime Readings up top because there’s two of them. I’m going to tackle the ones that have “deadlines” first (Milan and Sam).

The Adventures of an Air Force Medic [Book Review]

2020, Book Reviews, By Year

Book Name: The Adventures of an Air Force Medic
Series: [Standalone] Book # N/A
Author: Dave Ives
Book Type: Ebook > PDF (Netgalley)
Obtained: Netgalley > Read Now
Pages: 486 (PDF)
Genre: Fiction > Historical Fiction, Romance
Start Date: 07.22.2020
End Date: 07.31.2020
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Disclaimer: An e-book copy of this book was provided to me for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. A big thank you to Netgalley, the author and publishing company; all opinions are of my own.

Cheers to my third NetGalley read! I picked this one because I knew there was no way I was going to finish the first book of WoT by the end of July and I wanted to squeeze in at least one extra book in there (somewhere). This book had an amusing cover and summary so it was a quick pick with no regrets.

Link to the Goodreads Page: >HERE<

Netgalley Summary:

Imagine ‘The Shaw Shank Redemption’ meets ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ in a crazy, fast paced, action, drama, comedy, romance.
Sean Mitchell finds out, ‘The needs of the air force come first, and the air force needs you to become a medic.’ 
Sean’s visions of high flying aircraft, exciting missions and flight line glamour are shot down. Instead, after six short weeks training in north Texas, he’s assigned to Mather Air Force Base Hospital, near Sacramento California, as a medical service specialist; commonly known as medic; derisively known as ‘bedpan commando.’ 
Sean’s situation turns hopeful when he discovers the air force ‘needs’ engineers more than medics. He locks on to the dream of building an ‘escape route’ from medic to engineer. The dream supercharges him into action causing fellow medics to wonder, ‘What’s wrong with him? Does he work for the CIA? Is he a spy?’ 
In his bid to ‘escape’ the air force medic world, Sean discovers something amazing – his life as a medic is more adventurous than he ever imagined. 
The Adventures of an Air Force Medic is based on Dave Ives’ personal experience as an air force medic in the early 1980s. He brings to life the crazy military hospital world; a world full of exotic characters; a world of mixed up romance; a world of tragedy and pain; a world of offside humor; a world unknown to the outside world.

Review:

I didn’t know what to expect going into this book. I needed a book and, with a brief glance at a few covers and summaries, this was the one that peeked my interest the most and I just grabbed and went with it. No regrets there.

The Adventures of an Air Force Medic is a story based on Dave Ives’ (author) time as an air force medic. Thus, while this book has an overall plot and goal that the main character is working towards, most of the chapters and stories are told in a chronological and anecdotal manner with a focus on “a day in the life of” an air force medic. The book is told in the first person point of view of Sean Mitchell. Having dropped out of college and working at an electronics firm as a “no skill” laborer, he was having trouble making ends meet financially. He ended up at the armed forces recruiters office where he was talked into joining the air force on two choices; guaranteed job (your pick of jobs but could take anywhere from six months to a year) or open general (three months with the down side of not getting a guaranteed job; you do what they assign you). Desperate for a job and a way out of his troubles, Sean sees open general as his quickest way in landing a gig and ends up as a medic.

I had a great time with this book. I got some laughs in, some tears, some cringe, and lots of other in between emotions. A very humorous book, we join Sean through his adventures of joining the air force medics and quickly doing everything in his power to get right back out; in his case studying like a madman to get into the AECP (Airman Education and Commissioning Program). A highly competitive program, you would have to study rigorously to be selected, sent off to a major civilian university (tuition and books included) and have three years to graduate. After graduation, you’d be sent to Officer Training School and eventually you’ll be a commissioned second lieutenant. It’s an awesome deal and all he’s got to do is study hard and make it in!

The majority of the book’s main plot would revolve around Sean studying to get his pre-req classes out of the way, take the AFOQT (Air Force Officer Qualifying Test), his SATs, and send in an application. The rest of the book revolves around his time as an Air Force medic. As someone who initially went into the military, sold on the fame and glory of it all, he’s disappointed to be placed as an air force medic. However, he knows it’s his own doing. Multiple times through the story he reminds himself that he’s there because that was the deal. Sean had chosen to get a job as soon as possible with the trade off being that he wasn’t going to get to choose what job he was going to get (open general) and that means he was going to take whatever was thrown his way; no complaints…seriously…Sean never seems to complain.

The book doesn’t go too in depth with characters and sometimes my memory of individuals meld together. It’s a story to recount his days in the air force as a medic and thus is written like so. Occasionally you might see sentences like “To this day, I won’t go to San Francisco unless I’m packing…packing heat…in the form of warm clothes” (Page 291). His friends are more like acquittances during his stay. It’s an interesting read, however, because despite that, everyone is still so vibrant. Sean’s interactions with his co-workers, friends, lovers, and patients is the main theme in a lot of the chapters. Each story is a retelling of something in the past or stories of his daily life as a medic. He listens as his friends and patients recount their own stories to him; how they are doing, what they’d experienced in life and the diversity here is vast! Every chapter reads like it’s own short story, with some minor details popping up again throughout the later chapters like recurring characters or when you read a sentence like, “And, I heard one of the guys killed, one of the trainees, has a wife here in the hospital, wonder who that is?” (Page 326) and immediately it clicks and you go “Ohh…shit…😢…oh no…I know who he’s gossiping about…”

My favorite thing about Sean is that he’s down to do anything. You give him orders and he will do his best to get it done. In fact, he didn’t even know that refusing to do a task was a possibility. You scold him for a wrong doing that he couldn’t have possibly known about (missing a meeting because he wasn’t told there was one) and he’ll apologize with an “I’ll accept any punishment.” Too nice and too honest, chill on the outside even when getting yelled at (I suppose they train you to toughen up?) I sometimes read and admire Sean. Trouble now, deal with it now. Trouble over, no point pondering on it.

I especially enjoyed the formatting of this book. (Mostly) short and written in an easy to digest language (as opposed to some flowery and lyrical/poetic writing styles [which I love too]) I was able to fly through the book without going, “Wait, wait, wait…read that again? And again? One more time…I still can’t understand that sentence” and it’s pretty refreshing.

The chapters start off with a main chapter title in bold. I read a lot of books, nowadays, where most of the chapters are either not titled (blank) or just numbers and reading titled chapters gave me a special kind of joy I can’t explain… With each chapter title, you get a chapter excerpt; literally a sentence ripped off from somewhere in the chapter and plastered underneath the bolded title and then italicized. It became a game for me to read the sentence and go hunting for it in the chapter. Sometimes I would come across a particularly interesting excerpt and try and guess what the chapter would be about just based off the one measly sentence I get for a clue. Already a fun and humorous book (there are tearful scenes too), the excerpt hunts made it an even more entertaining read. I’d love to see more of that in other books!

If there was anything negative I found about the book it would be the handful of typos and minor proofreading errors. I didn’t know if it was alright to mention them because I don’t know if it’s an ARC thing (as it’s already released on Amazon with the Kindle preview edition retaining the same errors, so I don’t know). I figured to at least mention it. A lot of times, they are hardly noticeable, but it’s enough to go, “Oh, another one.”

The errors aren’t glaringly distracting and most of the time they’re easy to brush aside. After all, they didn’t take away anything from the story. The biggest distraction came in the first chapter and I couldn’t figure out if it was a play on words and meant to be written as “Wecome to California” or it was actually “welcome” spelled wrong…I think that one simply stuck out the MOST because it was smack on the title page of chapter one and it just bugged me the entire way through the book.

Overall? Yes, I loved this book! I loved the humor, I loved the interaction between Sean and the other characters (and the other characters interacting with others as well), minor annoyances with dorm life, the ups and downs of medic life, coping mechanisms, seeing repeated patients, Sean’s inability to find a partner, and him studying like hell to get into uni. Sean is a competent worker who is honest and quite a humble person whom people love to work with. I held my breath, with him, when he finally gets his results and his letter back from a college.

An engaging read with each chapter, a story of its own, this book is captivating and filled with laughs, tears, struggles, successes, and camaraderie; medics watch each others backs. The quote that stuck out to me the most was “We can fix broken, but we can’t fix death.” Sometimes, you have to push past the fear of giving someone broken bones if it means that you can ultimately save them. A longer read than I had expected (almost 500), I still flew through the book because it was written in an easy-to-read and easy-to-digest way, no fancy flowery language, just what’s happening as it is. It flowed well and if there was ANY medical or military tech/terminology that I didn’t get, no worries Sean/Dave would never leave the reader to guess what the word or acronym means; it’s almost always quickly followed up with an explanation. Some of the times, I hop on Google to look up a term only to feel mighty silly with the definition right there…a few sentences later. Never once did I feel lost because I didn’t understand hospital talk.

A great way to past the last few days of my July wrap up, thank you for a wonderful time, Dave Ives. I had an amazing read and would recommend this to anyone that enjoys a book that has a larger theme and plot but with chapters that are written in an individual short story-like manner.

This Week in Reading

Tea Corner (Blog)

[08.05.2020] >> Windy Days, Kindle Collections, and Steampunk Reads

This week is already exciting. It’s one of those week where you can just feel something good is about to happen! And for once, I didn’t end my [walking] commute from work drenched in sweat because it’s extra humid and/or extra hot outside. While the ground was a sea of tree limbs, due to the tropical storm during the afternoon, my evening walk was actually very nice and a bit breezy (the better description would have been “it was extremely windy” and “my hair looked like a dust bunny by the time I got home” but shhh).

Over the weekend, I discovered something called “Collections” and I never knew this?!???? Apparently, you can create little folders in your Kindle either directly on the device or on your Amazon account settings and you can basically sort and categorize all the books you have on your Kindle into its own collection folder. It’s still a mess with some folders being genres “contemporary,” some being series names “Shattered Sigil” while others are author names “Sandford.” BUT! at least my Kindle library is no longer a random pile of different books sitting next to each other with endless scrolling through the pages to find a single title (and you all know just how SLOW e-readers can scroll sometimes…)

My current read for this week is, The Milan Job by Krista Cagg. It’ll be my first book tour and I’m extremely hyped for this book. I don’t recall ever having read a Steampunk book…but it’s a genre I’ve always wanted to read. I just didn’t know how to break into that world since I’m so extremely picky with my reads…

I usually have a set format for my “currently reading” posts which is basically a post with a book cover, the description, the summary and how I came across that book. Then I realized that I pretty much rewrite the same sections during my reviews and figured I’d try something new, with my “currently reads” posts, in the form of “weekly reading [diary] entries.” One of my favorite gaming guide websites posts weekly newsletters which involves her talking about her personal garden and life but also talks about that week’s gaming news (for that game series) and I thought, “I’d love to do a weekly post with a bit of life and a bit of books!”

An Invisible Client: Review

2020, Book Reviews, By Year

When I first got Prime, I went on a little spree to look for whichever books were “Read Now for Free” and came out with two Kindle books, one of them being “An Invisible Client.” Like the other book, “The Family Journal,” I was in a bit of a rush (it was the morning before my shift began) as I had “run out” (the fancy way of saying I’m ‘not in the mood for my current TBR’) of Kindle books and needed something to keep me company during lunch break and the commute to and from work. I normally would have pulled out Goodreads or Amazon and read a few reviews to see if a book suited my tastes or was a good enough match for me so that I wouldn’t end up DNFing, but this time I had about 20 minutes before my alarm went off again and I went with whatever looked decent.

And so…

My very first legal thriller book 😎 (I’ve watched legal dramas before, namely Suits).

Sections

Book Details

Title: An Invisible Client
Series: [Standalone] Book # N/A
Author: Victor Methos
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle (Comes with audio)
Obtained: Purchased
Pages: 240
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Legal Thriller
Start Date: 07.02.2020
End Date: 07.12.2020

Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️


Trigger Warning: Death of a child, death, mentions of rape, childhood abuse (alcoholic parent).

Goodreads Summary

Link to Book’s Goodreads Page: >HERE<

For high-powered personal injury attorney Noah Byron, the good things in life come with a price tag—cars, houses, women. That’s why he represents only cases that come with the possibility of a nice cut of the action. But as a favor to his ex-wife, he meets with the mother of twelve-year-old Joel, a boy poisoned by tainted children’s medicine. While the official story is that a psycho tampered with bottles, the boy’s mother believes something much more sinister is at work…and the trail leads right back to the pharmaceutical company.

As Noah digs deeper into the case, he quickly finds himself up against a powerful corporation that will protect itself at any cost. He also befriends young Joel and breaks the number one rule of personal injury law: don’t make it personal. Faced with the most menacing of opponents and the most vulnerable of clients, Noah is determined to discover the truth and win justice for Joel—even if it means losing everything else.

Review Summary

When personal injury attorney, Noah Byron, gets a phone call from his ex-wife, he finds himself taking on a case that already looks like a lost cause. 12 year old Joel had taken a dose of children’s cough medicine that caused him to become horribly ill; his prognosis: poor at best. With two other children who previously came up with the same symptoms after taking the medicine, there’s no surprise a lawsuit comes up. However, Pharma-K is locked up behind doors of secrecy with the gates heavily guarded by their very own attorneys, powerful lawyers that even Noah finds hard to win against.

I loved this book and had a fantastic time with it. As my first legal thriller book, it’s worlds away from the other thrillers I have read where people are being gunned down or where the police are chasing a serial mad man. Here, the only bullets fired are the words out of attorney mouths and justice is never a guarantee. The side that wins is the side that makes the least mistakes and the side that wins the hearts of the jury. Anything can happen and solid evidence and witnesses can become trash in seconds as lawyers easily claw through people during cross-examination. This book talks a lot about how unfair the world is and just how powerful corporations can be. With the right amount of money, things can go hush hush really quickly! But as Noah slowly warms up and becomes dangerously attached to the case, things become personal and he’s not about to just let Pharma-K get away with this. Sure, there’s no solid evidence that Pharma-K has done any crimes, hiding behind the guise of “an external mad-man has tampered with our goods”, but something shady is going on behind those guarded closed doors, and Noah is going to get to the bottom of this. It’s a huge gamble with wildly unfavorable outcomes…but Noah is willing to take the case, willing to take the risk, and willing to bet his entire firm and everything else on winning.

Thoughts and Review

When 12 year old Joel takes an innocent looking enough cough medicine and ends up in the hospital, his mother, Rebecca, does everything in her power to get the corporation to answer her questions. Each time she tries to get ahold of someone from the company, there’s barely a response, but when Pharma-K finally shuts her out and begins to just direct her to their attorneys (who won’t say anything either), Rebecca has no choice and tries to get ahold of her cousin, Tia’s, ex-husband, a personal injury attorney, Noah Byron.

Initially turning down the case, after a quick calculation of just how much money this case would cost them considering how little evidence, information, and chance they have against Pharma-K, Noah slowly changes his mind after meeting Joel in his hospital room. While it’s mostly just to appease Rebecca at first, he does keep his promise and goes over to at least talk to Pharma-K. When an ambush awaits him at his meeting, Noah begins to see how sketchy and shady this company is acting. Pharma-K is scared, terrified even, and Noah knows this isn’t just a crazy man tampering with grocery store medications. It’s something internal, and it’s something bad.

“An Invisible Client” is my first audio book and first legal thriller book. I’ve passed by a good few legal fictions before, but they had mostly meh summaries and it was a genre that I didn’t particularly have a taste for. Legal dramas were okay enough, but courts were always pretty boring places (to me). So, when I was came up a little bored for the first half of the book, I wasn’t particularly surprised. I did raise a brow over how much the word “bullshit” is used in both Suits and this book and am starting to wonder if that’s just a legal drama thing…or if lawyers really throw that word out like Halloween candy.

The real heart pumping thrill comes during the final trial, as is expected. Most of the beginning of the book was just a lot of pushing between the plaintiff and the defendant. Plaintiff tries to bring the case to trial for the [internal] contamination of the drugs produced by Pharma-K and Pharma-K tries to make the case disappear from the media, and hopefully people’s memories, by trying to settle out of court. They try to push money onto the table along with a gag order, and pray that the plaintiff will take the money and go away.

For me, the first half of the book was a bit boring, seeing as the case just felt like it was going nowhere, with how strong the opposing lawyers were, but the story still kept me engaged. After the first visit, Noah begins to get attached to the case and its clients Rebecca and 12 year old Joel. Joel was already pretty bad off during Noah first visit, but as time goes on and his prognosis seeming to spell out a death sentence, the case becomes very personal to Noah and he officially takes the case on (previously mostly just investigating). Joel’s role in the book contributes as a huge factor to Noah’s growth.

Mini-Character Analysis

Noah Byron

Noah is an interesting character. In the beginning of the book, I had pegged the lawyer to be cold; in it for the money and without care or emotions. Of course, from a liability and risk standpoint, his logic on not taking a case is pretty sound; a losing case could be costly and becoming too attached to a case or client could bankrupt a company!

“I know, and I’m sorry, but the value of this case is just not very high. The loss of your income isn’t as high as I would need to take the case when liability isn’t clear. It’s true that pain and suffering and your medical bills are important, but those numbers don’t add up to much. I’m sorry—you just don’t earn enough.”

Methos, Victor. An Invisible Client (p. 18). Kindle Edition.

Noah is a man who puts a price tag on everything and understands that the world truly runs on that: money. The government, the White House and Congress, is a symbol of freedom and leadership, but the true rulers are the rich and mighty corporations, an oligarchy. When the world is a greed factory, it’s no wonder that Noah knows the limits of taking cases; he would only take a case that has a favorable outcome.

Under the law, a person was valued at exactly how much money that person could earn. Anyone who hadn’t gone to an Ivy League school, pulled in at least six figures, or had a family business waiting for them was what PI lawyers called “an invisible client”—one who lived and breathed but didn’t officially exist.

Methos, Victor. An Invisible Client (p. 17). Kindle Edition.

That’s why I felt like Noah was an interesting character; he was written in a way so that he had lots of room to grow; character development. And change he does! Noah begins to warm up and gets attached to this invisible client’s case and Joel grows on him. He see this very sick child and he sees a company doing everything in its power to hide something and he swears to get to the bottom of it.

As he begins to watch the case go downhill, almost in a losing position, Noah is risking a lot more than just a case gone wrong. Money ties to everything and so would a loss; his partners would lose everything, the firm could go bankrupt, and his employees would become displaced. So, seeing Noah pretty much gambling his all into an unfavorable case, end Noah is a quite a ways away from beginning of the book Noah.

Likes/Dislikes

Likes:

I think this book would be the third type of thriller I’ve come across. I’ve made a tiny comparison between military thrillers and mystery thrillers before, so I’m adding a new thriller to the list: legal thrillers. It’s different than the previous two in the fact that no blood is shed (sort of I guess…people are still hurt in personal injury cases afterall). The excitement of a legal thriller is in that last fight, the last trial, the “lose this and lose it all moment”. It’s watching the back and forth in that courtroom. Watching both sides go from being confident to desperate, you watch as every word is chosen slowly for fear of turning the jurynotn away from them, driving them to their opposing side and this applies to both sides.

The thrill is in watching one moment where everything seems to go your way until something is cross-examined or someone is thrown off and it’s a battle of words, no fists thrown, and the one who makes the least mistake wins. In the courtroom, nobody is spared; not the witnesses, not the lawyers, not their clients…

Olivia is brilliant and I’m pretty sure she has hyperthymesia to some extent. When questioning a witness who mentioned a date, she was able to come up with what day it was and what the weather was like that day. With an extraordinary memory and seemingly the ability to read through files in record speed, she’s whip smart and when others thought of law school as hellish, she aced through law school and treated it like it was finally time to relax and get to know her fellow students. If there’s anything I know about law school, it’s that everyone comes out looking like they are ready to drown themselves in a tub of Redbull.

While reading a book with a nearly superhuman genius is a bit cliche, I found myself kind of enjoying reading about Olivia as it’s with her crazy abilities that the case goes on well. Though a bit shy, she knows to challenge others on their views and beliefs and while she casts away her gaze at the beginning, she holds it firm as her confidence grows and it’s nice to read a little side character growth as well.

Dislikes (None really):

I didn’t have much of a dislike for this book as, for me, it’s a solid 5 star book. Relationships ran through too quickly for me, but what can I do? It’s a standalone and you don’t get to drag relationships across multiple books. I could complain that the beginning was slow, but it’s a lawsuit! Gathering evidence that’s being tightly sealed behind a sketchy company’s door is going to be painstakingly impossible to get ahold of and if I had a problem with that, well at that point I would just be nitpicking 😅 So for me, it’s a pretty solid and fantastic read that I throughly enjoyed.

5 ⭐️

The Family Journal [Review]

2020, Book Reviews, By Year

Book Name: The Family Journal
Series: [Standalone] Book N/A
Author: Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle
Obtained: Purchased
Pages: 296
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Contemporary
Start Date: 07.02.2020
End Date: 07.08.2020
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is Carolyn Brown’s 100th book! Whopping 100! That’s amazing! Congratulations to Carolyn 🥳

Goodreads Summary

Link to Book’s Goodreads Page: >HERE<

At the end of her rope, single mom Lily Anderson is determined to move her rebellious children in the right direction. That means taking away their cell phones, tablets, and computers—at least temporarily—and moving to the house where Lily grew up in the rural town of Comfort, Texas. But Lily has a bigger challenge than two sulking teens.

The house comes with Mack Cooper, high school teacher and handsome longtime renter. The arrangement: just housemates. But Mack’s devoted attention to the kids starts to warm Lily’s resistant heart. Then Lily finds an old leather-bound book in which five generations of her female ancestors shared their struggles and dreams. To Lily, it’s a bracing reminder about the importance of family…and love.

Now it’s time for Lily to add an adventurous new chapter to the cherished family journal—by embracing a fresh start and taking a chance on a man who could make her house a home.

review

I usually don’t go for romance books, but I only realized it was romance after I’d purchased the book; a big oops on my part…There was implied sexual content of course, but nothing more than a good kiss on the cheeks or lips was actually written out for the readers to read. For that, I was so very glad. However, it was my fault for not reading properly about the genre and so I just stuck with it. How bad could it be? (Turned out to be a pretty good book that I semi-flew through).

Lily is a mother who has been divorced for a good few years now; her husband having admitted to cheating on her and leaving for a much richer woman, leaving her with her two kids, Holly and Braden. When she discovers fourteen year old Holly with weed and twelve year old Braden with alcohol, she’s decided that enough was enough and decided to move the three of them back to her childhood home in Comfort, Texas, a small community with a population of a little more than three thousand. Along with the move, she confiscates her kids’ electronics…all of them; computers, tablets, phones…

Holding steadfast to her resolve in making a change in her family, she continues with the move as her kids try to negotiate anything to keep them in the city. Nothing was going to make her budge on her decision, not this time. In the years after her divorce, she had began to drown herself in her work and left no time to her children. The combined effects of both the lack of proper family time and the divorce resulted in causing her children to drift apart and become rebellious. This time, she knew that she needed to make a change, and her decision better be solid; no puppy eyes would be changing her mind.

The house that she grew up in comes with Mack Cooper, someone she knew back in her own school days, now her tenant; a school teacher himself with forty goats living in the yard. The arrangement was to remain as friendly associates, a roommate relationship. He gets to keep living in a home that allows him to raise his goats, and she gets to use her house again. They will share the living room and kitchen only when they needed the use of them. With the agreement solid, Lily moves the family back home to get away from the influences of the city.

Thoughts

If I had to describe the book in one word it would be fluffy (heartwarming too). There were ups and downs and the book writes out to be incredibly predictable, but I enjoyed it. There were parts that made me tear up and once the water-work starts going, there’s no turning back. Mack and Lily just fits each other like the perfect puzzle piece. They’re compatible, there’s chemistry between them, each have personal trust issues that stem from the trauma of having to deal with specific people in their lives, and each have baggage they carry.

Lily doesn’t trust herself in another relationship because what if another man like her cheating ex-husband comes by and ruins the little trust and hope she had left? Someone close to Mack had stolen his previous girlfriends not once, but twice! He’s adamant in not getting himself into another relationship, just like Lily, because what’s the point if that someone is going to just stroll back in and steal his girlfriend with his charms and good looks…again!

But as they begin to live under and share the same roof, Lily and Mack begin to gravitate towards each other. Mack, being a vo-ag (vocational agriculture) teacher, is fantastic with Lily’s kids and bonds with her son, who has grown quite attached to the herd of goats outside. While her daughter is a bit more to handle, even Holly begins to settle in to the new rural lifestyle with new friends of her own and even gets along well with Lily’s childhood friends.

The house that Lily resides in now is her childhood home that once belonged to her mother, now deceased. When she finally has the courage to start going through her mother’s things, she finds an old journal that, to her surprise, belongs to the women in her family…spanning across many many years with the first entry starting in June 1862!

With the journal, Lily begins a journey of love and the importance of family. Through the ancient book, she begins to find parallels to her current life as she shares the struggles, hardships, happiness, and even dreams of her ancestors. As she discovers more about herself, she begins to share the journal with her daughter, whom she would love to pass the journal onto one day, and the two’s relationship begins to heal.

It’s a heartwarming story that makes you cry a little. Her kids are at a rebellious stage in their lives and the divorce only catapulted them further away from her; their words constantly laced with anger or I should’ve tried harder to convince dad to move in with him and the likes of such. But with the introduction of the journal, she begins to bond closer to her children, and with Mack, both their hearts begin to thaw as they learn to work through their past problems and learn to love again.

The book is very Christian centric, as well, with many of the scenes taking place at church or mentions of choir practice and Sunday schools. Macks’ old friend is the preacher of this tiny town’s church and it’s these weekends, Sundays especially, whose scenes are the primary focus with most of the weekdays somewhat zipping by (could be me though).

It’s a very sweet book with lots of sparks flying at every touch they make, accident or not. The “good” characters are all like-able and the “villains” are all very detestable. I enjoyed how everybody seems to have their own comfort groups that mingle well with each other, small town style. Mack knows of the old aloof woman at church, as does Lily and her friends. Holly occasionally gets to hang out with her mother’s friends and gets to hang out with that old woman as well. Everyone knows everyone (and everyone knows secrets in half a heart beat). There’s a sense of eye-rolling small town rumors that is always flying around, though most are generally harmless.

All in all, it’s a very sweet and heartwarming book. I loved the parts where Lily and Mack helped each other through their pasts, even before their relationship began to kindle (did you see what I did there 👀?). Mack is the fantastic father figure that Holly and Braden just needed in their lives. Even from the start, you get a feeling that they were all just meant to be together.

I didn’t expect to power through the book as fast as I did. It flows well and reads well; an exceptional page-turning book. I had read pieces of the first few chapters during work breaks and after work, but then managed to just blow through a good 200 pages in one go as the middle began to pick up.

Lovely read with a beautiful ending: 4⭐️