Sunday, May 31, 2015

*Platypire ReadAThon* May Results

Photo Courtesy of Platypire Maribel
It's the end of May and time to see how I did on my Read-A-Thon goal for the month. Spoiler alert, I didn't finish my list, in fact, most of the books I ended up reading weren't even ON my list. Of course that's partially because I forgot that I signed up for BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge which started in May, and I'm a mood reader. But without further ado, here's my rundown. 

X - Read
R - Reading
+ - To Be Read

X - The Art of Sin by Alexandrea Weis
See my review here.

X - The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan
See my review here.

X - Tex-Mex for Terriers by Chef Terry Scraps
See my review here.

X - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
See my review here.

X - The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen
See my review here.

X - Proud Patrick by Michael Aloysius O'Reilly
See my review here.

X - A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes
See my review here.

X - The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek
See my review here.

X - Emissary by Thomas Locke
See my review here.

X - The Queen's Shadow by Cybèle Young
See my review here.

X - Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff
See my review here.

X - Last Chance Mustang by Mitchell Bornstein
See my review here.

R - The Rewriting of America's History by Catherine Millard
R - Sector 64: Ambush by Dean M. Cole
R - Sweetwater (The Kihn #1) By Rivi Jacks
R - The Voyage by Tammie Painter
R - Circling the Sun by Paula McClain
R - The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
R - Elwyndyn by Raven Williams

+ - Far From Home by V. Stolte
+ - &Now Awards 3 by Various Authors
+ - Shadows of the Unseen by Christine Steendam
+ - Affliction by S.L. Dearing
+ - Bloodlines by S.L. Dearing
+ - Drawing Heat by S.L. Dearing
+ - Dr. Sleep by Stephen King
+ - PrairyErth by William Least Heat-Moon
+ - Carus and Mitch by Tim Major
+ - House of Holes by Nicholson Baker
+ - Christmas in Paradise by Kathi Daley

So in the end I only moved two books off my currently reading list, and I only moved four books off of my to be read list (although two of those were also finished, so that's a plus, right?) But I finished and reviewed eleven books last month, which is almost three books a week, and I'd say that's pretty darn good. I'm also over halfway done with three of the books that are still on my currently reading list, and hope to finish two of them tomorrow (so chances are I'll only finish one.) Stay tuned next month to see the insanity that is my list (really, it's going to be LONG!) - Katie 

Friday, May 29, 2015

*Challenge Review* Last Chance Mustang by Mitchell Bornstein

Genre: Non-Fiction
Published: June 23, 2015
Pages: 320
Ages: 14+


Last Chance Mustang is the story of Samson, a formerly free-roaming, still wild-at-heart American mustang that was plucked from his mountainous Nevada home and thrown into the domestic horse world where he was brutalized and victimized. After years of abuse, Samson had evolved into a hateful and hated, maladjusted beast until the day he found his way to a rural Illinois farm, an ill-equipped owner, and one last chance. Mitch Bornstein's task was to tame the violent beast whose best defense had become offense. He had twenty years of experience fixing unfixable horses, but Samson would be his greatest challenge. Through the pair's many struggles and countless battles, Samson would teach Mitch about the true power of hope, friendship, redemption and the inspiring mettle of the forever wild and free American mustang.

Last Chance Mustang explains Samson's violent and antisocial behavior while addressing the remedial techniques employed to remedy these issues. The art of working with damaged horses is demystified. Though his story is sad, the reader is asked to respect Samson-not pity him. He has good and bad days, and he has a dark side. Like all of us, Samson is far from perfect. And his saga will move the reader to both tears and laughter. Part history lesson, part training manual, and part animal narrative, Samson's is a story that all readers will be able to relate to: a story of survival, of trust, and ultimately, finding love.


I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program in the hopes that I would then post an honest review.

When I was younger, I went through a horse literature phase, reading Black Beauty, all of Marguerite Henry's Chincoteague books, and several (if not all) of the books in the Saddle Club series. I was kind of excited to briefly return to that obsession of my childhood. Last Chance Mustang did not provide a story similar to those from my childhood. It's a lot more technical and goes into detail about Bornstein's training practices, which makes sense because this is a story about training a wild mustang. 

Once I got over my personal disappointment that this wasn't the next Misty of Chincoteague, I saw the story for what it really is. This is the story of a cowboy's greatest accomplishment, even if Bornstein doesn't view himself as a cowboy. This is the kind of story I could see my own grandfather telling to some young kid on Tuesday's down at the sale barn, the kid hanging on his every word, wondering who would be victorious, man or beast. 

One of the highlights of this book was how Bornstein wove the history of the wild mustang into the story of his training of Samson. We learn not only what it took to try and earn Samson's trust, but also why those steps were necessary in the first place, and what Samson's fate could have been if he'd entered the system at a different time than he had. Some of the statistics offered in this book were truly sobering. 

Overall I give the book 4 out of 5 stars because it was entertaining, enlightening, and made me actually feel concern for the plight of America's wild mustangs. I would definitely recommend this book to horse enthusiasts and trainers and probably just about any animal rights activist as well. But I'd also recommend it to anyone that just loved reading horse stories in their younger years. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

At the age of seven, Mitchell Bornstein jumped atop his first horse, and in the thirty-eight years since, he has pursued his life’s dream of working with damaged, abused, and difficult horses. College, law school, and nineteen years as a practicing attorney have not stood in the way as Mitchell has followed his passion and one true calling: to save the horses that no one else will. 

From Illinois to Indiana, Wisconsin to Iowa, Mitchell has traveled the Midwest and entered stalls that others won’t and mounted steeds that others can’t. Practicing what he has termed "command and control horsemanship," Mitchell handles each of his horses with a firm yet respectful approach. For Mitchell, there is no such thing as a bad horse or a steed beyond repair. Mitch lives and works in Wheeling, Illinois.

Challenge Scorecard

I used Last Chance Mustang to fulfill my "based on a true story" category for the Popsugar reading challenge. It's non-fiction, therefore based on a true story. 

Other categories it could fulfill include
A book published this year (It's not out until the end of June)
A book with nonhuman characters (one of the main characters is a horse)
A nonfiction book
A book by an author I've never read before

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

#SRC2015 - Wishful Thinking by Kami Wicoff

Genre: Chick Lit
Published: April 21, 2015
Pages: 377
Ages: 14+


Jennifer Sharpe is a divorced mother of two with a problem just about any working parent can relate to: her boss expects her to work as though she doesn’t have children, and her children want her to care for them as though she doesn’t have a boss. But when, through a fateful coincidence, a brilliant physicist comes into possession of Jennifer’s phone and decides to play fairy godmother, installing a miraculous time-travel app called Wishful Thinking, Jennifer suddenly finds herself in possession of what seems like the answer to the impossible dream of having it all: an app that lets her be in more than one place at the same time.

With the app, Jennifer goes quickly from zero to hero in every part of her life: she is super-worker, the last to leave her office every night; she is super-mom, the first to arrive at pickup every afternoon; and she even becomes super-girlfriend, dating a musician who thinks she has unlimited childcare and a flexible job. But Jennifer soon finds herself facing questions that adding more hours to her day can’t answer. Why does she feel busier and more harried than ever? Is she aging faster than everyone around her? How can she be a good worker, mother, and partner when she can’t be honest with anybody in her life? And most important, when choosing to be with your children, at work, or with your partner doesn’t involve sacrifice, do those choices lose their meaning? Wishful Thinking is a modern-day fairy tale in which one woman learns to overcome the challenges—and appreciate the joys—of living life in real time.


Have you ever wanted, no needed, to be in two places at once. I'm guessing you have at least once in your life. I know I have. In Wishful Thinking, Jennifer is able to do just that with an app on her phone that works a little bit like Hermione Granger's time turner in Harry Potter. After her neighbor, Dr. Diane Sexton, a kooky physicist, installs the app that Sexton had designed on her phone, she finds herself living the working mom's dream, being supermom to her two children and the most dedicated employee in her office all at the same time. But it comes at a price that Jennifer might not be willing to pay.

I was immediately intrigued by this story, feeling like I could really relate to Jennifer having two young children of my own and being a divorce away from finding myself planted squarely in her shoes in real life. I'm currently a stay at home mom and already feel like I need two of me at times, I can't imagine being a working mother trying to juggle work and kids activities, except I kind of can after reading this book, although Jennifer makes it seem almost effortless with her wishful thinking app.

I did find myself feeling ashamed of Jennifer as she started to take on more and more responsibilities through the apps special powers, but couldn't really blame her as I would possibly do the same thing, although I think I'd most likely just schedule myself some extra nap times during the week. But with the pressure women today feel to be perfect in everything we do to impress our 600 friends on Facebook and Pinterest, it's easy to understand why Jennifer would feel the need to join planning committees and schedule perfect playdates for her sons. It seems like almost everyone's life is perfect if you check their Facebook. 

The wishful thinking app did allow Jennifer to develop new friendly relationships outside of work though, through those playdates, which would be an absolutely wonderful thing if they weren't stretching her so thin. Jennifer eventually comes to realize that a person's body can only take so much pressure before it starts to have deleterious affects on them.

Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars because it was entertaining and made me think about my own life and what I would do if I had an app like that. I also think this would make a great book club selection, because I can think of a half dozen discussion questions off the top of my head. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a lighthearted, but through-provoking read. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Kamy Wicoff is the founder, with author Deborah Siegel, of, the world's largest online community for women who write. She is also the founder, with publisher Brooke Warner, of She Writes Press. Wicoff’s first book, the best-selling I Do But I Don't: Why The Way We Marry Matters, was published by Da Capo Press in 2006. Her work has appeared in, and has been anthologized in Why I’m Still Married: Women Write Their Hearts Out On Love, Loss, and Who Does The Dishes (Hudson Press, 2006), and About Face: Women Write About What They See When They Look in the Mirror (Seal Press, 2008). She serves on the board of Girls Write Now, a mentoring organization in New York City, and also formerly served on the Advisory Council for Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research. Wicoff lives in Brooklyn with her sons, Max and Jed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

*Read This Review Roundup #36*

IMG_20150522_143757_resizedPhoto courtesy of KissinBlueKaren
Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.
Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.

















Monday, May 25, 2015

*Review* The Queen's Shadow by Cybèle Young

Genre: Children's Illustrated
Published: March 1, 2015
Pages: 40
Ages: 7-11


In this informational picture book, award-winning author and illustrator Cybèle Young interweaves the science of animal eyesight into a clever whodunit involving a haughty queen. It is during the Queen's Ball, at which "society's most important nobility" are in attendance (all of whom are animals), that a "major crime has been committed": the queen's shadow has been stolen! Mantis Shrimp, the Royal Detective, takes the lead in the investigation to find the perpetrator, and one by one the animal suspects defend their innocence. From a shark and a snake to a dragonfly and a goat, each creature's testimony explains their version of the scene of the crime based on their own unique eyesight, while the finely textured and detailed artwork illustrates the ballroom as viewed by that animal. In sidebars to the story, the author provides factual information about how the eyesight of each animal works, and why. As each animal's perspective sheds new light on the mystery, it becomes clear to children that there are many different ways to see what goes on in the world. A section on how human vision works, background on each of the animals mentioned in the story and a glossary are provided at the back of the book. This is a unique and sophisticated book unlike any other. It would be an excellent resource for life science lessons on animal and human characteristics. The sly humor, engaging storytelling and layered narrative also make it a terrific mystery read.


I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program.

This book is targeted towards children between the ages of 7 and 11 according to the note that accompanied my copy of the book. I'm guessing that is because those are the ages where kids can begin to grasp the scientific aspects of the book. I think younger children would enjoy the story though, especially if you left out the explanations about each animals eyesight, although I will personally always be including them when reading to my two minions.

This is a cute story about the search for the Queen's shadow after it is discovered to be missing. The mystery and search was reminiscent of the board game Clue and in spite of knowing the answer to the mystery from the book, I'm still pretty sure it was Colonel Mustard in the library with a wrench. The best part about this story for me, is that I wouldn't mind reading it over and over again (for a little while at least), which any of you who have ever had small children know is how you read their favorite books to them.

I thought the rotation through suspects and explanations of what they saw and why they were able to see it worked really well, and the illustrations did an excellent job of showing what the scientific explanations were getting at. I even feel like I learned a little something from this book.

Overall I give it 5 out of 5 stars for being entertaining and educational at the same time. I would definitely recommend it to parents of young children. 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Cybèle Young is an internationally renowned artist, represented by galleries in New York, London, Vancouver and Calgary. Her art practice and family life have also inspired the creation of several children's books. She was nominated for a Governor General's Award for Illustration in 2000, and has written and illustrated two titles (Ten Birds, Kids Can Press, and A Few Blocks, Groundwood Books).

*Review* Emissary by Thomas Locke

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Legends of the Realm #1
Published: January 6, 2015
Pages: 384
Ages: 14+


Hyam is a likeable lad who will make a fine farmer someday. But he carries a burden few can fathom. As his mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice. It was there that Hyam's extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light--and soon cast him into the shadows of suspicion. How could any human learn the forbidden tongues with such ease? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelation tears his world asunder.

He has no choice but to set out on the foreboding path--which beckons him to either his destiny or his doom. An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities--and dangers.


I requested and received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Like most epic fantasies, this is the story of a man on a quest to rid the world of a great evil, and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Although the events in this story seemed to escalate very quickly, it felt like the entire story took place over the course of a single month, I really felt like the characters grew and developed tremendously in that time. Hyam went from being a simple farmer to leading an army into battle. I may just not have noticed the passage of time because it was subtly mentioned rather than shoved in my face though.

This story was woven as fine as any tapestry. The realm created by Mr. Locke is detailed and vivid and the descriptions painted a very clear picture of what the world looks like. 

This story is told in limited omniscient third person, and occasionally switches between two of the main characters. I liked this approach to the story because it provided us with a bit more background on some of the major players than we would have had if we had simply been following Hyam around the whole time, and it helped me to appreciate them more. 

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars because I was thoroughly entertained, the descriptions were well done, and the book was structurally solid. I'd definitely recommend it to epic fantasy fans everywhere. 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Thomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.

His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.

Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University. He holds a lifelong passion for epic fantasy, science fiction and techno-thriller stories.

Thomas's screenplay adaption of EMISSARY is under development as a feature film with a British production company.

Contact Thomas at

Other Books in this Series

Legends of the Realm #0.5

Friday, May 22, 2015

#SRC2015 - The Grown Ups by Robin Antalek

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: January 27, 2015
Pages: 304
Ages: 14+


From the author of The Summer We Fell Apart, an evocative and emotionally resonant coming-of-age novel involving three friends that explores what it means to be happy, what it means to grow up, and how difficult it is to do both together

The summer he’s fifteen, Sam enjoys, for a few secret months, the unexpected attention of Suzie Epstein. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand, he and Suzie keep their budding relationship hidden from their close knit group of friends. But as the summer ends, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving to a new city to save their marriage, and his own mother has suddenly left the house, leaving Sam’s father alone to raise two sons.

Watching as her parents’ marital troubles escalate, Suzie takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers and plans an early escape to college and independence. Though she thinks of Sam, she deeply misses her closest friend Bella, but makes no attempt to reconnect, embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie called home. Years later, a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother will reunite her with both Sam and Bella - and force her to confront her past and her friends.

After losing Suzie, Bella finds her first real love in Sam. But Sam’s inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. In contrast, Bella’s old friend Suzie—and Sam’s older brother, Michael—seem to have worked it all out, leaving Bella to wonder where she went wrong.

Spanning over a decade, told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them.


This book is about a group of "poor little rich kids" as they grow up and learn to adult. They come of age in the midst of infidelity, divorce, and alcoholism among their parents, which I think is basically the American dream right now. 

I was really expecting to be more interested in this book than I ended up being. According to Goodreads, the average reading time for this book is six hours and forty-one minutes. I felt like I was reading it for two days straight, with no breaks (there were breaks, but it still felt like I didn't take any.) At no point was I anxious to continue reading to find out what happened next and I even willingly put my kindle down to clean house and I use pretty much every excuse under the sun to put off housework for as long as humanly possible. 

I found most of the characters to be forgettable, I can't keep Frankie and Peter straight and I can't even remember most of the girls names and I just finished reading the book. There were no real seemingly insurmountable conflicts for the characters to overcome, and the biggest worry they faced was having to ask daddy for money to pay rent while living in the city. There were two sad moments in their adult-ish lives, but discussing those would involve spoilers, so I won't. Because of these things, I never felt anxious for the characters or really connected to them at all. I just really felt like there was no driving force for the story. 

There were also a few other details in the story that ended up bugging me, one in particular that really got to me and led to me ranting to my husband about how absurd the situation was, but discussing it here would just lead to a rant so I'll just say that it was completely unrealistic in a story filled with realism. 

Overall I give this book 2 out of 5 stars because it was structurally sound, but otherwise it just didn't do it for me. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

After making a career out of changing careers, from PR to tending bar, and from waitressing to managing a modern dance company, Robin Antalek eventually gave in to the voices in her head and began writing fiction. She studied at The New York State Writer's Institute at the State University of New York at Albany, and has published in many literary journals: Sun Dog: The Southeast Review, Literary Mama, among others, and has twice been a finalist in Glimmer Train's Family Matters contests as well as a finalist for The Tobias Wolf Award for Short Fiction. You can also find her nonfiction essays monthly on the web at The Nervous Breakdown.
The Summer We Fell Apart is her first novel. She lives in a very needy Victorian house in Saratoga Springs, New York, with her husband, two daughters, and three dogs.

Other Books by Robin Antalek

Thursday, May 21, 2015

*Review* A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes

Genre: YA/Fantasy
Published: June 23, 2015
Pages: 368
Ages: 12+


Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her father’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspeare Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.


I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read Program.

This story starts off following three characters that have absolutely nothing in common. Crys, the rebellious teenage daughter of a bookseller, Farrell, the wealthy, misunderstood middle son of one of the cities most elite families, and Maddox, the only son of a poor peasant woman who has strange powers he doesn't fully understand and can't control. One of them (Maddox) even lives in another world called Mytica. Slowly, their worlds start to collide, and then things get really confusing for everyone.

For me, this book was one part fantasy, one part mystery, one part romance, and 100% awesome. I love books that don't just straight up tell us everything up front because the ah-ha moments when I figure something out before it's clearly said in the book make me feel super smart, but it's even better when those moments happen just before the revelation occurs in the book. When the clues are kind of there, and in retrospect it seems so obvious, but the author still kept the secrets even from me, it's basically magical, and I got several of these magical moments from this book.

The story is told in limited omniscient third person, and rotates through the three main characters. I enjoyed my time following Maddox the most because Mytica has magic. This method of telling the story gave us a well rounded view of the events, leading us to those major revelations, and helping us to figure them out on our own. And it was always clear who we were currently following because these three characters have very distinct speech patterns. 

My one complaint about this book is that it wasn't 1,000 pages long. I know that's a really lame complaint, but I really want more, and I'm thrilled to see that the author has several other books already published in this series because I need more pretty much immediately. Okay so it's apparently not exactly in this series because this is a spin off of another series, but I think it will appease my need.

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to pretty much everyone who is a fan of YA books like Harry Potter. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Morgan Rhodes is the New York Times bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series. Under another pen name, she's an award-winning author of more than two dozen novels. Morgan lives in Southern Ontario, where she’s currently hard at work on the next Falling Kingdoms book.

Other Books by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms Book 1

Falling Kingdoms Book 2

Falling Kingdoms Book 3

Falling Kingdoms Book 4

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

*Cover Reveal* Death Before Daylight by Shannon A. Thompson

Letter from author, Shannon A. Thompson

It’s here! It’s here! The final cover of The Timely Death Trilogy has finally been released. A special thank you goes out to Clean Teen Publishing and this lovely Member of the Dark who is helping share this message today. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, re-releases on July 28 – with an all new interior and exterior – and both are beautiful. Seconds Before Sunrise follows on August 25, and Death Before Daylight (the only novel of the trilogy to never see the shelves before) is finally getting it’s day . . . hehehe . . . Well, it’s releasing September 15. Even more exciting? You can win prizes throughout all of these events and more by becoming a Member of the Dark . . . or a Member of the Light. Check out the details below! I look forward to speaking with you!
Shannon A. Thompson (a.k.a. SAT) 


Two eternities. One ending.

"Harmony would only come with destruction."

The moment Eric and Jessica are reunited, they are torn apart. After the appearance of a new breed of shades and lights, the powers shift for the worse, and all three descendants find themselves face-to-face in the Light realm. When Darthon is in control, the last thing everyone expects is to finally hear the truth.

While Jessica learns the reason of her creation, Darthon's identity is exposed to Eric—and only Eric—and Eric can no longer defend himself. With the eternities of the Light and the Dark resting on Jessica's shoulders, she must choose who she will be—a light or a shade.

In the end, someone must die, and the end is near.

Dark Activities:

Become a Member of the Dark (or Light) by emailing Your email will never be given out, and you are not required to do anything, but you will win more prizes the more you participate.  

Win a paperback of Minutes Before Sunset via Goodreads! 

Stay Updated via The Timely Death Trilogy FB page:

Visit the Extras Page:

Pin your favorite photos from The Timely Death Trilogy Pinterest board:

But most of all . . . 

Stay Dark, 


Monday, May 18, 2015

*Review* Proud Patrick by Michael Aloysius O'Reilly

Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: November 3, 2014
Pages: 379
Ages: 14+


In the tradition of Angela's Ashes, PROOUD PATRICK is an Irish-Catholic saga of the Chicago Sullivan clan told over forty years as they assemble in Dublin to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of Barnaby and Bridget Sullivan.

When two Prodigals not seen in twenty years arrive, an emotional earthquake rocks the family. Somehow comic routines take over. 

The family rule? Sullivans never look back.


I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was offered this copy after entering a Goodreads giveaway for a copy. It happened to be one of the rare books that I actually accepted through that avenue.

This is the story of a man who grew up in an abusive Irish Catholic home. Once he graduated high school, he left and pretty much never looked back. I can't say that I blame him. From the memories he recounts, it sounds like he had a horrible childhood with almost no bright spots. I would have done the same thing in his shoes.

This story is told mostly with dialogue, at least the portions that take place in the present. Sometimes it was difficult to tell who was speaking in the rapid fire exchanges between the characters because they had mostly similar ways of speaking, which is perfectly understandable since most of them grew up under the same roof. A few tags like "Patrick said." or "Dougie replied." would have helped to clear things up tremendously.

Because the story is so dialogue heavy, it moves at a fairly quick pace. The dialogue never felt fake or manufactured to me, although I thought it was strange that the children referred to their mother as Momsourmom and their dad by his first name. It actually took me a while to figure out who they were referring to at all. 

Even though I understood Patrick's motives for never going back home, I never really felt connected to him. This is possibly because we have absolutely nothing in common, but it also felt like the book just glossed over his life as an adult, giving us a sort of highlight reel without giving us any real depth of the characters. There were some things that happened that just didn't make any sense to me because I had no clue as to the motivation. 

Overall I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars because it was entertaining and the dialogue was well written, but I never felt connected to the characters and had trouble following the conversations at times. I would recommend this book to people that enjoy memoir like fiction, as that's what it felt like to me. 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Mr. O'Reilly, a novelist, screenwriter and playwright has seen his works produced by the Berkshire Theatre Festival and Actors Equity at Lincoln Center. A graduate of Marquette University, he is the father of six and married to Marjorie O'Reilly. They reside in Chapel Hill.