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confuzzledbooks

Confuzzled Books

If you are wondering what kinds of books I review and events I host, this little section is the place to look. Books I love to read: Children's, Young Adult, Paranormal and Fantasy books. Books I like to read: General Fiction, Romances, Religious Fiction, Mysteries and Biographies. So those are the genres of books I will generally review. If you send me a book outside of those areas, I'll consider it, but it may not fit my tastes. Reviews will take about 2 months to post; I try to post them around the time the book is released. On giveaways: Sending me a signed book to give away on the site is a great way to get your book noticed. I do a "mystery book" giveaway about every 2 weeks, where I read the book and twitter about it without revealing its title, then reveal what I've been reading and give it away. The whole event takes a couple weeks, and I feature the giveaway book on my blog for most of that time.

Currently reading

Blood Lite II: Overbite
Heather Graham, Jeff Strand, Kelley Armstrong, J.A. Konrath, Janis Ian, Derek Clendening, Amy Sterling Casil, Sam W. Anderson, Aaron Polson, Brian J. Hatcher, John R. Little, Joel A. Sutherland, Jordan Summers, Allison Brennan, Lezli Robyn, Scott Nicholson, Sharyn McCrum
V is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone: An ABC for Grownups
Seth Godin
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman
Parting the Veil: The Art of Nene Thomas
Nene Thomas, Bruce Coville
The Art of Amy Brown (Bk. 1)
Matthew(Read by) Ryan, Ilyana(Read by); Brown, Amy Kathleen?(Author) ; Kadushin
The Creativity Book: A Year's Worth of Inspiration and Guidance
Eric Maisel

Beauty In Realistic Illustrations And Story

Turtle In The Sea - Jim Arnosky
The story of a Momma turtle as she battles the negative areas of the sea to make it to a beach where her children will be birthed.  Although she comes out with scars, life still prevails.

 

The first thing that grabs you about Turtle In The Sea is the beautiful illustrations. Each page could be a work hanging in a museum. Just really wonderfully detailed.  The writing is smart and fits with the artwork masterfully.

 

There is really nothing I can find wrong with this book.  Even the slightly sad parts which are just realistically what happens in the sea are pleasant to view.

 

This is my first book by Jim Arnosky but from what I have read in other reviews all his books have similar beauty. They are the type of books I would love to collect even though I do not have kids.

Dark But True

When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 - Barry Denenberg

Young Emma Simpson lives in Virginia in 1864 during the middle of Civil War. She writes in her diary about the trials, Emma, her mother and other family members survive through. The men in the family are fighting in the War. Food rations start to dwindle as family and friends get sick and some die. Based on a real person we see the dark side of war in America’s past. I find these Dear America books interesting and wish I had them when I was younger. They do tend to be pretty dark. I guess that is to show children they have it easier these days. These Dear America book do usually end with death of the diary writer or just an abrupt ending, which probably meant death as well. This one I am happy to say actually has info on what really happened to Emma after the war. As I mentioned I dislike the fact that the stories are so dark, in these series of books. I do not know how much of the diaries are real or made up but i guess when people usually write in their diaries it is not because something good is happening or you are working out some happy through your mind. It would be nice to read one Dear America with a happy conclusion. I will continue to read the dear america books because they have a charm about them and they make me feel like I am learning. I do wonder how close they are to the actual history but how will I ever know.

Full Of Irish Magic and Love

An Irish Country Christmas - Patrick Taylor

In the third installment to the Irish Country series we happily retreat back into Dr. Barry Laverty and Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly lives around the Christmas holiday. As they share the practice that Dr. O’Reilly started their bond is getting stronger. Dr. Laverty hopes that his girlfriend, Patricia, can make it to spend the holiday with him and Dr. O’Reilly rekindles an old flame. Meanwhile the characters in town are a loveable and sometime silly group of Irish folk.

 

I love this series not only because you don’t have to read it in order but it reminds me of how Ireland feels when you visit it. It is magical, friendly and relaxing. It feels like going home to me. Of course my heritage has a lot of irish in it so it is only natural for me I guess.

 

Some people complain that the books are getting redundant and have formula but I do not feel that nor would I mind if it was.

 

The Irish Country stories are a nice cozy and warming stories that feel real to me. They are plausible stories that usually end with a happy ending. I have realized something about happy endings. I use to get bored of them but now I realize I like them more than any other ending. If your life were a book which ending would you like? Not many of us get happy endings and it is what I hope for and if I don’t get it at least I live briefly in a book that does.

Same Old Christmas With A Few Other Stories

Christmas with Anne of Green Gables and Other Stories - L. M. Montgomery
12 short Christmas stories, the first two from L.M. Montgomery’s most famous series Anne Of Green Gables.


If you had only read the first book in the Green Gables series you might not want to read the second short story because it does spoil Anne’s story a little. 3 of the stories were different and refreshing compared to most of the stories.


Some of the other stories which are not in the green gables series have the feeling that is heart-warming and sweet but honestly most of them were the same story over and over.  A family can’t afford gifts for their children and it looks that they will have nothing for christmas so someone gives them their gifts.  Maybe it has to do with the time period they are written in but most of the stories got old real quick.


I love what I have read of the Anne Of Green Gables series but these short stories are not great. That said I would still try other short stories by L.M. Montgomery.

 

Wishing For More

the Star - Michele Breza

A little star in the night sky wants to be special and part of something big. He gets his wish and shines brightly as an announcement to all about a special birth.

 

The illustrations are charming and whimsical. The stars feeling of wanting more and being special like other stars in the sky is relatable for most.

 

Although I understand the feeling of wanting and waiting to be special I feel like the the telling of the story was lacking. I wanted the story telling to match the adorable imagery and it fell flat.

 

I think the story idea is a good one but I feel the execution of the story is not where it needs to be.

When Santa Needed Help

How Santa Changed - Karl Steam, Maksym Stasiuk
Before Santa had help with reindeers and elves he made all the toys and traveled on his own. As time went on the world got bigger and santa could not do everything on his own so he searched for help.

 

The rhyming scheme is excellent and a great story to read out loud. The story really fits into Santa’s background that most of us know. It seems very plausible and shows Santa’s human side. The side that stresses, worries and gets tired.

 

I think only thing I am not fond of is the title, How Santa Changed. I don't really know what title would be better.  I just felt like the title did not grab me and honestly did not make me want to read it.

 

Even though my issues with the title are there. I am glad I did read it. It is one of those surprise books that you think you are not going to like but then like it more than you did.

Don't Forget Tovi At Christmas

Tovi the Penguin: goes away for Christmas - Janina Rossiter, Janina Rossiter

Tovi and family visit a cabin in a extremely snow covered place.  So snowy that it seems Santa did not see them and left no presents.

 

This family of penguins are very cute and seem easily pleased even after the disappointment of no presents from santa.  Although they have not received gifts they find happiness with just spending time with each other.

 

I do think that the message that family is more important than the materials things we want, but I worry particularly for little ones that this story is read to. For instance those who are traveling with family getting upset about Santa forgetting them on Christmas Eve. Even though I know that is not exactly how it ends, Santa really did not forget them.

 

This was introduction to the Tovi The Penguin series, and even though I am not sure which penguin is Tovi, I can see the likableness of this series.

Written For Kids But Adults Learn Too

If You Were Me and Lived in....the Mayan Empire: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 4) - Carole P. Roman, Paula Tabor
Another book from the “If You Were Me And Lived…” series.  This edition is about the Mayan Empire.  

 

This series is great for kids to learn about history. Since I don’t have kids I think is also great for adults who do not read much history and want to learn by not getting overwhelmed with a huge history book. I learned many things that I did not know, like the fact that descendants of Mayans still live in the area and still speak Mayan. They placed boards on babies heads to elongated the head.  They embedded jewels in their teeth.

 

There is a lot of information in this little book. My only problem is the info does not really stay in my head but I think that is a me problem not a book problem.  Luckily since it is a kids book it is small and you can re-read the book quickly.

 

Carole P. Roman does a great job on the research of the history and on what to place in the books. I look forward to reading and learning more from the other books in the series.

 

Great Art With Fascinating Story

The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1: The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie

Laura is obsessed with these pop stars who happen to be Gods reincarnated. The Gods come back every 90 years but do not hang around for long because they tend to die young. Some people love the Gods others think they are a nuisance or fraud. There is a murder, Lucifer aka Luci is framed and sent to jail. Laura tries to help her by talking to the other Gods and asking for help.

 

I find many of image comics have beautiful art and this one is no different. Although I will say this the art reminds me a little of the original Jem And The Holograms cartoon which is a good thing to me because I loved it back in the day. The story has some holes and still needs a lot of explaining especially all background of the Gods.

 

Many people say the writing was hard to follow. There was only one part that was hard to follow for me which was in the beginning when Laura was talking to the reporter about Luci. I couldn’t tell if the reporter was interviewing Luci from jail or the answers were coming from a flashback from Laura’s conversation with Luci. So yes there is some confusion at times but did not stop me from really liking this graphic novel’s beginning.

 

I had never really heard about this series before hand it was the cover that caught me. Now that I have read it I can’t wait to look for the second volume next visit to the bookstore.

Thriller That Thrills But Also Falls Flat

Seven Unholy Days - Jerry Hatchett

An IT geek, Matt Decker, has created a futuristic new power grid for the United States. A crazy mastermind gets into the electric system and shuts down power everywhere. As this nut gains power by causing other catastrophes in the world and claiming to be “The Messiah” and “The Devil” from the bible. Decker and his group of computer experts try there best to find this man and keep the power and other things up and running.

 

This thriller moves pretty quickly. The electric systems going down they way they did is a fear of mine. We really depend on electronics so much now a days for news, communicating with others and hospital’s life support.

 

I do not know if it was the dark points in the book that made me dislike it but I really did not connect with the characters. I connected with the terror of the different disasters because they felt like something that could happen. I do not feel that only one man could have made that all happen the way, Hart did.

 

I am not a big fan of thrillers this is second one in a month I have read. They both seemed very similar even though the stories were a little different. Both had terrorism in them. This one just fell flat like other book did as well. It this was a series I probably would not read the next one.

Fun Thriller With Some Issues... But Still Fun

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - Katherine Howe
The main character, Connie Goodwin, is working to get her doctorate at Harvard.  As she looks for a topic on for her dissertation her mother asks her to clean out her grandmother’s old home. She finds strange jars full of things,  an old bible with a key and the name Deliverance Dane.  Her curiosity to find out more about Deliverance Dane leads her to a recipe book and Deliverance’s connection to the Salem witch trials.

 

It took me a little bit to fall into this book because of the times it switched back to characters that spoke with boston accents or flashing back to puritan times accents.  I could not make out what they were exactly saying sometimes. Once I did connect with the book I begin to love the characters and eventually the magic that joined them all together.

 

My main dislike is it was to easy to see where the story was going, and who the bad guy was.  There was also some dumb plots points where I felt smarter than Connie.  For one she is in search of Deliverance’s book and does not realize that the different names the book may have as she searches for it. I was practically screaming at Connie, “She is calling the book an almanac now!  Look for almanac now!”  There were so many chapters until she realized just that..

 

I really did like the characters in the book and way magic is described.  I read recently that the author Katherine Howe is writing a sequel.  I am excited for it because even with the downfalls of the book I still enjoyed it very much.  

Thrilling But Sometimes Unbelievable

The Missile Game (The Dr. Scott James Thriller Series) (Volume 1) by Glenn Shepard (2015-01-16) - Glenn Shepard
Our main character Dr. Scott James, a plastic surgeon, finds out after a minor surgery on his secretary that murder is afoot and not just one. The police and his wife believe he is the murderer as he was the only one there.  He hides and searches for answers on who is framing him.  Through this hunt he is going to find out what is going on and that terrorism ties into it all. 

 

I do not read thrillers often.  That being said, this one did keep me interested for a while. I did like the thought of the main character Dr. Scott James falling for Elizabeth especially after his wife immediately believe the worse in her husband once second after hearing about it.  What A B.I.T.C.H.! It is funny but even though she was a background character I think I hated the wife the most.  

 

The thought that everyone was blaming the doctor for every murder that kept happening seemed far fetched.  The police barely did any investigating once they got to the seen and then would start barking at Dr. James that he did it.  I had to go back and reread chapters because sometimes I did not realize I was reading another person or what they had to do with the story I was already processing.

 

Sometimes the book was too over the place other time there was just enough thrill to keep me reading. Would I read another from this series? My answer would be maybe. It was not bad it was not great.  It was just a typical thriller.

 

Horror That Tackles The Mind

Monstress Volume 1: Awakening - Marjorie M. Liu
A teenage girl searching for answers on her mother’s death and the horror that is transforming her mind and body.

 

Once you get into this graphic novel, which might take a little bit, the characters are likeable and some horrible.  They make you feel the way you should which terror, fear and a little hope for our main character.

 

The art is good reminds me of anime and manga. Only thing it is the type anime manga art I dislike.  I am not a fan of the gory, and bloody art. Maybe that is because in high school art class we watched the anime Akira over and over.  It was really gross and that is how I found some of the art. It’s really great art just not a fan of the theme.  

 

I read this because I heard good things about it and Neil Gaiman had a good quote about it.  I will probably read volume two to find out what happens.  Once I got through the beginning which is a little vague in storytelling wise but starts to come together at the end.  Still worth a read.

 

Cheerful Illustrations With Childlike Wonder

Goodnight, Dragons - Judith L. Roth, Pascal Lemaitre
Quaint illustrations of a cranky dragon and child, with a charming story of them enjoying a night together before bed.

 

I picked this book up for my two year old nephew.  I got the book not just because he is at a stage where even board books have a short life but because it had a dragon.  I love dragon stories and hope to spread that love to my nephew.  The art is one of the best things about this book.

 

The story unfortunately is a little lacking for me.  The art and writing do not quite fit sometimes and I can not really place why that is.  I do not think that is something kids would pick up on though, which is why I still purchased it.

 

In the end dragons and children are a wonderful mix.  Especially in this cute form.

Eagerly Awaited Union

Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True - Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Brigette Barrager

Adorable sequel to Uni The Unicorn. Finally fans get the see Uni and the little girl from the first book get together all because they believe in each other. I was happy to see this continuation of Uni The Unicorn as the first book ended abruptly and without conclusiveness. Getting to see the little blonde hair-girl and Uni together was bittersweet as they saved the dreary skies and magicless unicorn world. Although the story is sweet it is a little too simple and yearns for more substance by the end. The story has so much potential but not unlike the first book it runs out of steam. While I still think this is a good book there are just things as an adult that rub me the wrong way but for child I do not think they would be noticed.

Believing Is Happiness

Uni the Unicorn - Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Uni the unicorn, is unlike other unicorns.  She believes there are such things as little girls even though the other unicorns laugh at her.  Also far away a little girl believes in unicorns, unlike other children.  

 

Just the thought of Uni believing in little girls boosts the cuteness level of the book that already has art that brings innocence to the book that little children will love.

 

Many people have commented on some things that they disliked in other reviews. Two things I agree with is the book ends abruptly and the two main characters don’t meet.  It makes you long for more story.

 

Uni the unicorn is a sweet story and I can happily say there is sequel that recently came out which I will be reviewing. If you have a little girl who loves unicorns or fantasy, I think it will be fairy tale cherished for long time.