Full Circle by Regina Timothy

Rating: 2/5 stars

Published: 24 December 2017

Genre(s): Contemporary literary fiction

Pages: 314 (eARC)

Eight years after the 9/11 attacks, Samia-Al-Sayyid an Iraqi immigrant is living a quiet life in New York City after she fled her home to avoid imminent death.

She works hard for her cold, heartless, high-strung boss, loves her seventeen-years-old-son, and cherishes the close friendship she has formed with her best friend Susan.

Nothing can go wrong, or so she thinks – until the estranged brother she left back in Iraqi shows up on her door step. Then she finds herself in a cab, on her way to the hospital to identify her son, a terror suspect who has blown the city, and with it her boss’ husband, and her best friend’s son. With everything lost, she is forced to flee to Iraq where she confronts her past. Will she make peace with her past? Can she get forgiveness for all the damage she has caused?

Full Circle is a contemporary fiction tale of friendship, family, and hope. It explores the devastation of loss, the great capacity to forgive and the lengths our loved ones will go to protect us.

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Stowaway by Pam Withers

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Rating: 2/5 stars

Published: 11 September 2018 by Dundurn

Genre(s): Fiction; Young Adult; Adventure

Pages: 200 (eARC – Kindle)

Owen’s plan to sail away on an adventure puts him on a collision course with some very dangerous people.

When Owen’s parents leave him on his own for a week, the sixteen-year-old gets bored and hatches a crazy idea: sneak onto the yacht that’s visiting the sleepy Pacific Coast island where he lives and stow away on an adventure! Once on board the vessel, Owen quickly finds out this is anything but innocent fun. The ship is packed with teenagers from Central America, and it looks like Owen has stumbled into a people-smuggling operation.

Complications pile up and as things head from bad to worse, a haunting incident from Owen’s past tightens its grip on him. There’s only one way to break free and make his way home. Owen and the first mate, Arturo — a former street kid — must work together to commandeer the boat and win the trust of those on board. But who’s friend and who’s foe in the shifting tides?

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Pandora’s Garden: Kudzu, Cockroaches, and Other Misfits of Ecology by Clinton Crocket Peters

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Rating: 2/5 stars

Published: May 1st 2018 by University of Georgia Press

Genre(s): Non-fiction; Science; Anecdote

Pages: 176 (eARC – Kindle)

Pandora’s Garden profiles invasive or unwanted species in the natural world and examines how our treatment of these creatures sometimes parallels in surprising ways how we treat each other. Part essay, part nature writing, part narrative nonfiction, the chapters in Pandora’s Garden are like the biospheres of the globe; as the successive chapters unfold, they blend together like ecotones, creating a microcosm of the world in which we sustain nonhuman lives but also contain them.

There are many reasons particular flora and fauna may be unwanted, from the physical to the psychological. Sometimes they may possess inherent qualities that when revealed help us to interrogate human perception and our relationship to an unwanted other. Pandora’s Garden is primarily about creatures that humans don’t get along with, such as rattlesnakes and sharks, but the chapters also take on a range of other subjects, including stolen children in Australia, the treatment of illegal immigrants in Texas, and the disgust function of the human limbic system. Peters interweaves these diverse subjects into a whole that mirrors the evolving and interrelated world whose surprises and oddities he delights in revealing.

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Stateline (Dan Reno, #1) by Dave Stanton

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Rating: 2/5 stars

Genre(s): Fiction; Mystery; Crime; Thriller

“When a tycoon’s son is murdered the night before his wedding, the enraged and grief- stricken father offers investigator Dan Reno (that’s Reno, as in no problemo), a life-changing bounty to find the killer. Reno, nearly broke, figures he’s finally landed in the right place at the right time. It’s a nice thought, but when a band of crooked cops get involved, Reno finds himself not only earning every penny of his paycheck, but also fighting for his life.

Who committed the murder, and why? Which cops can he trust, if any? Haunted by his murdered father and a violent, hard drinking past, Reno wants no more blood on his hands. But a man’s got to make a living, and backing off is not in his DNA. Traversing the snowy alpine winter in the Sierras and the lonely deserts of Nevada, Reno must revert to his old ways to survive. Because the fat bounty won’t do him much good if he’s dead…”

This looked promising but every time I came back to it, I dreaded reading, which has never happened to me before. It occurred to me to just put it down and classify it as my first ever DNF. This experience was a first for me, and I have to say: not fun at all.

At first, it felt like a 4-stars because the plot was appealing. The groom murdered just before his wedding?! YES. Read More »