Return to Robinson Island by TJ Hoisington

Return to Robinson Island by TJ Hoisington

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Book Review of Return to Robinson Island by TJ Hoisington

Remember when I read The Swiss Family Robinson last July? In my review I said that I had never read it before. Well, I hadn’t. But, what prompted me to read it right then? In July 2020? I read it because I had received an email from the author of this book requesting a review. You can’t really read the sequel without reading the original, right? Maybe some people can, but you know me…I had to read the original first! When TJ Hoisington sent me a message requesting a review, I was surprised and a little star-struck. He’s kind of famous. He’s a public speaker, and I listen to his podcast, Unleash Your Greatness Within. He’s also written a few other books. I hope you enjoy my review of Return to Robinson Island by TJ Hoisington.

Blurb (From goodreads.com):

“Return to Robinson Island is an entertaining adventure story that has a thread of romance weaved throughout. It takes place fifteen years after the Robinson Family’s famous shipwreck on a remote island in the East Indies. The story highlights Ernest Robinson, who is now twenty-seven years old, engaged to be married, and is a 1st Lieutenant in the British Royal Navy. Ernest has distinguished himself as a fearless fighter, respected leader, God-fearing, and loyal friend. However, his loyalty is tested when his commanding officer, Captain Charlie, is court-martialed on war crimes and Ernest has no choice but to tell the truth – even if his testimony sends his former Captain to prison.


When reports reach England that a vast treasure trove has been found on Robinson Island, Ernest and his family find themselves in mortal danger when Captain Charlie vows to retrieve the treasure for himself and wreak revenge on the entire Robinson family. 

Will the Robinson Family survive the attack? Will Ernest ever see his fiancée again? One thing is certain; they won’t give up the island – or their lives – without a fight!”

My Book Review:

Wow! What an adventure! When I read a sequel, especially a sequel that is written by a different author than the original book, I worry. I worry because I have read some terrible sequels. Thankfully, this book does not fit into that category. This is a great sequel! I feel like Hoisington did a good job continuing with the feeling and intent of the original book.

This book is well written. The story flowed well and was easy to follow. I liked Hoisington’s writing style and felt like he did a good job mimicking the writing style in the first book. The characters are well developed, and the new characters fit in well with the story. One thing that impressed me was that the characters stayed true to themselves throughout, and that is difficult to do when you didn’t write the original book. Hoisington has a knack with descriptions. When you’re reading you feel like you are right there in the story because of the great descriptive words he uses.

With that, Hoisington also uses some great vocabulary words, and I love that! I’ve noticed over the past few years that vocabulary has tended to get easier and easier in many of the books I’ve read, especially YA and MG books. I’m glad that some authors still take the time to craft the language in their sentences and use more difficult words.

This story is also complex, with more than one story line. I like the complexity it adds, and I like how the story lines weave together in the end. Another thing I liked was the importance this book puts on relationships, especially families. It’s easy to get into a story, and the plot line, and forget about the relationships. Hoisington does a great job of putting an importance on the people and how they relate to each other and work together.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think Johann David Wyss would be very happy with this sequel to his book! A little teaser here…Hoisington wrote another book in The Swiss Family Robinson series. It follows this book, Return to Robinson Island. It’s called Swiss Family Robinson: Secret Discovery. I’ll be reviewing it sometime (I haven’t read it quite yet…). So look forward to that!

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (There are a few profane words, but there isn’t any “intimacy” except for brief kissing. However, there is quite a bit of violence, and some of it is a bit graphic. Many characters die, and not in nice ways.)

Age Recommendation: 14+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2ZFVlcc

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss Warship Poseidon by Peter Greene Ragesong Awakening (Book #1) by J.R. Simmons
 
 
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The Lost Wonderland Diaries by J. Scott Savage

The Lost Wonderland Diaries by J Scott Savage

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Book Review of The Lost Wonderland Diaries by J. Scott Savage

Lost diaries? What?!?! There’s more Wonderland? More adventure, more crazy potions, more interesting characters, and more Queen of Hearts? Sweet! Sign me up! These were my thoughts when I heard that J. Scott Savage had a new book coming out called The Lost Wonderland Diaries. I’ve read many of Savage’s books and have enjoyed them! He has such a fun imagination! To be honest, I haven’t ever read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I know, right?? I don’t know how I haven’t read it. I have watched the Disney cartoon many times, though, so I do have some knowledge of the story. In any case, I’ve now read the new adventure from Wonderland—keep reading to find out what I thought.

Blurb:

Something monstrous wants to exit Wonderland and enter the real world.

Lewis Carroll, author of the classic book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, secretly recorded the true story of his actual travels to Wonderland in four journals which have been lost to the world . . . until now.

Celia and Tyrus discover the legendary Lost Diaries of Wonderland and fall into a portal that pulls them into the same fantasy world as the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter. However, Wonderland has vastly changed. Some of the characters that Tyrus remembers from the book have been transformed into angry monsters.

Helped by the Cheshire Cat and a new character, Sylvan, a young rabbit, Celia and Tyrus desperately work to solve puzzles and riddles, looking for a way out of Wonderland. But the danger increases when the Queen of Hearts begins hunting them, believing the two young visitors hold the key to opening multiple portals to multiple worlds, and she will stop at nothing to capture them.

Will the crazed creatures of Wonderland escape into the real world? Can Celia and Tyrus stop them and save both worlds? Or will they be trapped in Wonderland forever?”
 

My Book Review:

What a fun adventure! J. Scott Savage has managed to bring Wonderland back to life for a new generation of readers! This book has many of the characters we all love and are familiar with. To make it even more fun and imaginative, Savage introduces a few new characters. Meet our new friends Celia and Tyrus. Celia recently moved to the area when her mother took a job as the head librarian of the local library. Celia hangs out at the library a lot because her mom works there, but she does not enjoy reading. Celia is dyslexic and finds it difficult to read. She loves math, though!

Tyrus LOVES reading! He hangs out at the library all summer because he wants to. Crazy kid! J/K…that would describe me perfectly. Tyrus has also just moved to the area and he, like Celia, will be attending a new school in the fall. They are both super nervous about attending a new school. At first, Celia doesn’t even want to be friends with Tyrus because she finds his reading habits a bit annoying. That was before they both started hearing voices in the library calling for help…

Haha! Yes! That is how this new adventure begins. As I stated previously, J. Scott Savage has quite the imagination! This book is well written. It’s easy to read and understand, flows well, and grabs your attention from the beginning. The characters are well developed. I love the variety of the characters. There are super cute and fluffy characters, crazy characters, scary characters, and characters that can be all of the above! Many characters have changed (for the worse) since Alice’s story came out, and that puzzles Celia and Tyrus.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book were the puzzles that Celia and Tyrus had to figure out in order to progress in their journey. I think it’s a fun addition because it makes you think right along with the characters. Another thing I enjoyed about the book was that it highlighted dyslexia. As a teacher, I see the struggle that children with dyslexia have, and I think it’s a disability that no one really talks about. It’s a disability that is easy to forget about, but it makes it so hard for these kids to read and learn. Seeing a character with dyslexia struggle but find ways to thrive will be so beneficial for many children. I applaud J. Scott Savage for highlighting this. I hope there will be an audio version of the book so the children who suffer from dyslexia will be able to enjoy this book too!

Content Rating PGContent Rating: PG (There’s no profanity or “intimacy” in this book. There is some minor violence.)

Age Recommendation: Middle-graders (4th-6th) +

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/3mrpw0D

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Mysteries of Cove Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage Mysteries of Cove Gears of Revolution Book Two by J Scott Savage Farworld Water Book One by J Scott Savage
 
 
 

Brass Carriages & Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

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Book Review of Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

I’m loving the steampunk romances! Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts is the next installment of Nancy Campbell Allen’s steampunk fairytale re-tellings. I may have been a bit apprehensive at first, but these books have won me over in a big way! Allen has retold Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and now Cinderella. If you do not know what steampunk is, you’re missing out! Think Victorian times with supercool tech. Oh yes! They may live during the Victorian Era, but they have floating air ships, tablets, carriages that drive themselves, transcribers (think early cell phones), and so much more. I love the creativity of the technology in these books!

Blurb:

A steampunk retelling of Cinderella.


Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?”

My Book Review:

I read this book at a time when the news was filled with images of protests and riots in many cities across the United States of America. I must admit that I was a bit weary when this book began with the main character Emme participating in a riot and being arrested. Emme acts as the president of the London chapter of the Shifter Rights Organization, and she fights to repeal the Predatory Shifter Extermination Act. Emme is a social justice advocate for Shifters in the community.

As I stated, I read this at a difficult time in our country, and let’s just say I wasn’t too pleased to find it in my entertainment as well. However, I know Allen wrote this long before the events that transpired in real-life, and it was a crazy coincidence. Once I got over that and got into the story, I couldn’t put it down!

The characters in Allen’s stories always bring the story to life, and this book was no different. Emme is bigger than life. She may be short and petit, but her personality is a force to be reckoned with! Emme doesn’t put up with anything, especially when it comes to her nemesis, Detective-Inspector Reed. The two of them have come into contact way too often, each stubbornly doing his and her job—one to bring about a change of the law, and the other to obey the law.

I enjoyed the writing style of this book. It reads well, and I found it engaging, intriguing, and so fun! The banter (good and bad) between Emme and Oliver Reid is seriously the best. Their relationship runs the gamut from rude and mean to soft and intimate, and you never know which it will be. I loved the Cinderella theme intertwined in the storyline, and thought it was just enough to make a comparison, but not too much to be its own story.

If you want a good, solid, strong, female character, Emme is your gal. Her independence and strong will sometimes cause problems, but they have also been known to get her out of some sticky situations. If you want a handsome, intelligent, hard working gentleman, then Oliver is your man. I also liked many of the other characters in the book. Some of the characters surprised me with their actions, while others fell right where I thought they should. I definitely liked the element of surprise with a few of them!

This might be my favorite of the steampunk novels! I have enjoyed all of the previous books, but I loved this one! My only petty complaint is the cover art. In my opinion, neither character on the cover correctly portrays the character he or she plays in the book. Emme, especially, does not look feisty enough. I like the cover; I just don’t feel it correctly portrays the characters.

If you haven’t tried any of the steampunk novels, then now is the time to do it! They can be read as a series, but they are also standalone novels.

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There’s no profanity or “intimacy” in this book, except for some brief kissing. There is some violence, though. Characters are beaten and treated roughly.)

Age Recommendation: YA+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2FtHTRI

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen Beauty and Clockwork Beast COVER The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen
 
 
 

Cash Valley: To Bring One Down (Book 2) by Ryan K. Nelson

Cash Valley To Bring One Down (Book 2) by Ryan K. Nelson

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Book Review of Cash Valley: To Bring One Down (Book #2) by Ryan K. Nelson

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Cash Valley, so when I heard there was a second book I was excited to read it. I As I stated in my review of the previous book, I graduated from Utah State University in Logan, UT. Logan is located in Cache Valley. See the play on words there? Mr. Nelson is quite the punnist. My husband and I LOVED it in Cache Valley! I wish we could have stayed, but there weren’t very many jobs there, so we reluctantly left. I had a good time reading this series because the location is so familiar to me, and I recognize many of the places in the book. It’s fun to have a connection to the book you’re reading. So, did I enjoy this second book? You’ll need to read my review of Cash Valley: To Bring One Down (Book #2) by Ryan K. Nelson.

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Blurb:

(From goodreads.com): “Agent Alex Travis returns to Cache Valley in search of an escaped prisoner, who bears a striking resemblance to one of the gang members Jack killed in the shootout in Green Canyon four years earlier. His instincts are leading him in the right direction, but he continues to be one step behind the man seeking revenge on Jack & Kate, and their young daughter, Emma. By not telling the whole truth of the missing bank money at the time of the recovery, Agent Travis has put them all in jeopardy. He must now decide if he can solve this case on this own, in time to save his friends, or if he risks asking for help from the Bureau and ruining his career in the process, a possibility that could land him in jail as well.

In a race to see who finds who first, the search shifts to nearby Logan Canyon, where Agent Travis will be tested by his own conscience as much as by the man he’s hunting.”

My Book Review:

Book #2 is a little darker than the first book, but I liked it. Agent Travis is back on the case, and strangely, it involves Jack and Kate again. Last time they may have left a little something undone, and now that little something is coming back to haunt them. There are quite a few tense moments in this book! You’ve got the bad guy, Donovan, and he is definitely a bad guy through and through. I love Jack and Kate, and of course Agent Travis. The character development in this book is so well done. You can just feel the evilness pouring out of Donovan. Jack can still be a bit of a mystery at times, and Agent Travis is so real. It’s good to see flaws and real-life thinking from a character like him.

I was hooked on this story from the beginning. It’s well written, I liked the writing style, and I felt like the book flowed well, transitioned well, and progressed well. There are lots of twists and turns in the plot, which made it exciting to read. I never thought I’d know so much about dye packs that bank tellers use to catch the robbers! Don’t worry—I will not be putting that information into practice.

I enjoyed watching the growth of the characters over the entire series. Each of them learned so much throughout the story. I also enjoyed learning about their relationships with each other: Jack and Kate, Jack and Agent Travis, Agent Travis and Kate, all of them with Donovan, and Agent Travis with Billy. You learn that good relationships do not just drop on your lap—they are earned with hard work, trust, and forgiveness.

Content Rating PG-13+Content Rating: PG-13+ (This book doesn’t have any profanity, but it does have an almost-rape scene. It also has quite a bit of violence and the graphic deaths of some of the characters.)

Age Recommendation: 16+

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/3fDCbtl

 

 

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Cash Valley by Ryan K. Nelson The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan
 
Photo Credit: goodreads.com
 

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

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Book Review of The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

As a lover of classic literature, I cannot believe that I haven’t read The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss! I watched the movie as a child, and from what I can remember, the book is not like the movie at all. That’s always how it goes though, right? What an adventure! Let’s just say that if my family were ever shipwrecked and stranded on an island, I would hope it would be the same island as the Robinsons. We would definitely not do as well as they did! What they accomplished is pretty impressive!

Blurb:

The Robinsons leave Switzerland in hopes of settling far away as missionaries, then afterward settling as citizens elsewhere. Their journey did not go as planned, and they ended up shipwrecked on a deserted island off the coast of New Guinea. They took from the ship what they could, including seeds and some animals. From the Preface: “…few books have obtained such deserved popularity. The gradual progress of the family from utter destitution and misery, to happiness and abundance, arising from their own labour, perseverance, and obedience, together with the effect produced on the different characters of the sons by the stirring adventures the met with, created a deep and absorbing interest.” The family learns together how to improve their lives. They work hard, endure many hardships, and thrive on the island.

My Book Review:

You know the game where you’re stranded on a deserted island and you can only take 3 things? One of my things would be this family. Seriously. If you’re going to get stranded, get stranded with the Swiss family Robinson! The book is fairly well written. You can tell by the way the father (the narrator) addresses and talks about his wife that this book was written a long time ago. Another clue is that he uses the Biblical name for their donkey (if you know what I mean), which is different than most people speak today.

The characters are well developed, and I liked them. I found the father to be a bit much sometimes. He seriously knows everything: what all of the plants are and what to use them for; how to plant crops; how to hunt, skin, and save the meat; how to build buildings and bridges and carts and canoes; how to navigate in the ocean; how to raise animals; how to build canals for fresh water drinking, bathing, and crop watering. You get the picture. The mother miraculously knows how to spin cotton to make clothing and how to cook.

Each of the boys has a unique personality and talents. I liked that they were able to find roles in the family to make those talents shine, and to improve them. Another thing I loved about the boys was how well they took care of their mother. They loved her so much they would spend days or weeks building things for her to make her life easier or more comfortable. Kids today could definitely do more of that!

I liked how they prayed and observed the Sabbath Day; you don’t read about that a lot today. I also liked how hard they all worked, and the good attitudes they had about their situation. It’s a little slow at points, but there’s some good action interspersed to make up for it.

There were a couple of things I didn’t like or that I noticed. They killed quite a few animals (some out of necessity–some not). We all know they need to eat, so that’s not the problem. One of the children, especially, killed some animals he didn’t need to. It’s a magical island—did you know that? On this one island there are flamingos, bears, bison, and penguins.

Overall, I am impressed with how they thrived on the island–didn’t just survive. Positive attitudes, hard work, gratitude, and working together helped them achieve this. During this difficult pandemic, I think we could all learn some lessons from this family. Yep, if you’re going to get stranded on a deserted island, make sure the Swiss family Robinson family is with you!  I did like the book and think it’s worth reading.

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There is minimal profanity in this book. They do use the Biblical name for the donkey, which technically isn’t a swear word in that context, but my kids consider it one. There’s not any “intimacy,” and very little violence. They call the native people “savages,” which isn’t too PC, but it was written a long time ago.)

Age Recommendation: YA+

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/32o1ooa

 

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No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica

No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica

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Book Review of No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica

This is my first Mike Lupica book, so I was excited to read it! My boys played basketball when they were younger, and I loved watching them play. They loved playing the game itself, but did not like the politics that came with it, so they both lost interest. Now we cheer for our Jazz and enjoy basketball from the couch. I miss watching my boys play basketball, but now I get to watch them mountain bike, and that’s fun too! Check out my review of No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica.

Blurb:

“Wes’ father always told him that there was only one ball in basketball. That you had to know when to take it yourself and when to give it up, that finding the right balance was key. So at every practice and game, Wes tries his best to be a good basketball player and, above all, a good teammate.

As the season kicks off, Wes finds that not everyone on his team has the same idea. All-star player and the Hawks’ point guard, Danila “Dinero” Rey seems determined to hold the spotlight—and the ball—even if it means costing his team the game. If Wes is to lead the Hawks to the playoffs, he’ll need to find new ways to dish out an assist—even if it means his most important one comes off the court.

In No Slam Dunk, #1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica demonstrates once again that there is no children’s sports novelist today who can match his ability to weave a story of fivid sports action and heartfelt emotion. A touch story about teamwork and family, of selfishness and generosity, No Slam Dunk shows that even in the face of adversity, giving your best is the surest way to victory.”

My Book Review:

I liked this book a lot! I think the YA boys will love it! The book is very well written. The characters are well developed, stay true to themselves throughout the book, and each have their own characteristics. They are relatable and make you feel like you’re great friends. Dinero is a little harder to relate to at first, but he comes around. I think the same thing with Wes’ dad. He seems a little rough around the edges at first, but as the story progresses, you begin to see him in a different light. The story is good, but the characters make the book.

Most sports movies or books I’ve read or seen seem to have the same story line. Poor team, struggles, has some hardship, overcomes, and wins it all. I loved how there was more to the story than just winning the championship. It wasn’t even about the sport as much as it was about the relationships. The relationship between Wes and his dad; between Wes and Dinero; between Dinero and his dad; the relationship Wes has with Mr. Correa. The older I get, the more I realize how important relationships are in life; I love that relationships, hard work, patience, and never giving up are such prominent themes in this book.

I may not be the biggest sports enthusiast, but I enjoyed this book. It has some very valuable lessons in it, and I think the YA boys will love it. As a mom and a teacher, I love it when there are books to fit every child’s interest. This book will be especially great for those YA boys who love sports.

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There isn’t really any violence except for a description of a scene in Afghanistan during the war. There’s also a character that drinks, and there’s some discussion about that.)

Age Recommendation: YA+

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/3emo9eh

 

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Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card Paul Big and Small by David Glen Robb The Sage Challenger by Chad Rassmussen
 
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Leather Horizons by Laverty Sparks

Leather Horizons by Laverty Sparks

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Book Review of Leather Horizons by Laverty Sparks

Let’s just say that Misty and Rebyl live lives completely different than mine. I am pretty much 100% opposite of them. That’s ok, though, right? Reading is fun because you get to experience different lives and experiences. They don’t live like I do, but that’s ok and I can learn from them and their life experiences. We’re not all alike, and it’s ok! Check out my review of Leather Horizons by Laverty Sparks.

Blurb:

“Television journalist Mist Briscoe helps produce a weekly Chicagoland broadcast, but it’s her own life that could be showcased. Playing the leading role in her own performance, she ad-libs through the prologues and soliloquies of life.

Backstage is her married boss who would like nothing better than to make their friendship intimate. Should she pull the curtain on this drama or exit stage left? Neither choice is without sacrifice.

Back in Misty’s hometown in southwestern Michigan, the other important supporting cast members, her family, face their own monologues. Adding intrigue to the plot, her elderly grandfather has disappeared shortly after his wife’s funeral and Misty’s parents are at a loss with the mystery. Last, but not least, Misty’s best friend shines in the footlights and deals with her own perplexing script.

As each of their stories unfold and reality sets in, every impending choice possesses a strong alternative, incentive, and circumstance. But the obstacles aren’t so high this ensemble can’t get over them or so deep they can’t get around them when they take their final bows.

After many rehearsals and run-throughs, Misty meets a leading man who becomes he number-one fan. Will his audition prompt her in the direction of happiness?”

My Book Review:

Misty has a job in broadcasting, but isn’t too happy with her situation there. Her friend Rebyl owns a resort, but has a secret even she won’t admit yet. They have been friends for a long time, yet haven’t seen each other in awhile. Misty takes a trip home and finds that she is needed there more than she thought. Since she isn’t happy with work, she begins thinking of other options, and hopes that she’ll meet someone.

The characters in this book are well developed and have big personalities, especially Misty and Rebyl.  I had a hard time relating to them because they are so different from me, but I did like them as characters. I liked the writing style and thought it was well written. There are some twists and turns that made the story interesting and gave it some more depth.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, “intimacy,” including scenes and innuendos, and suicide.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2ZgBJLP

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Sage Challenger by Chad Rassmussen The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake
 
Photo credit: goodreads.com

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Book Review of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I have had four children go through elementary school (My baby goes into seventh grade this fall—crazy!), so I have heard and seen a lot! I also teach in an elementary school, so I’ve seen and heard even more! The group of parents in this book makes my experiences seem so mild! Wow, we parents need to up our game and make things a little more exciting, I guess! I don’t know if I’d want my children to go to this particular school (too much drama), but I’d love to be a fly on the wall!! Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty will fill your gossip cup for a long time, and make you glad you don’t live there!

Blurb:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.

A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.”

My Book Review:

My children and students could recite my mantra from heart because they hear it all the time…NO DRAMA! Haha! Everything this book is, is 100% opposite of me. That’s okay, though, because that is why I read! I get to experience the drama without dealing with it! When I read about all the gossip and drama, my thoughts are confirmed, and I say my mantra even more. You’ll laugh after I just made a big point of all that, but I loved this book!

The writing in this book is top notch! It is very well written. It’s told from the viewpoint of several different women, and each is unique, individual, and very well developed. Each woman also stays true to herself and her character all the way through. I liked the writing style and was hooked from page one.

 I think I related most to Madeline because she is a mom of older children. She’s been through the elementary scene before, and nothing throws her…or does it? She’s feisty, hilarious, and kind of a mother-figure to the other moms. I don’t relate to the ex-husband part of her, but that’s ok. I like her heels and her “I don’t care” attitude. Celeste was a bit harder for me to relate to, but she’s a very complex character, and I still liked her. I can’t imagine being in her shoes, so no judgment from me. Jane has NO idea what she is getting into when she moves into the neighborhood. Poor girl! The decks are stacked against her before the school year even starts. I liked Jane a lot also.

I liked how Ms. Moriarty told the story. It begins with something happening, but you don’t know what. There are some eyewitness accounts from different people, and then she takes you back six months previous. I liked the eyewitness accounts throughout; I learned some things, but I also found that I had more questions, so it kept me reading.

I liked this book a lot; it’s a page-turner for sure! You get your gossip fix, your murder-mystery fix, and you learn how not to behave at the school trivia night. You also see how little lies can quickly become some of the most dangerous lies.

Content Rating RContent Rating: R (Profanity, including at least one “f” word. “Intimacy,” including scenes and innuendos. Domestic violence and murder.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2W4btT6

 

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The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister

The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister

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Book Review of The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister

I consider my sister one of my best friends. We talk often, our kids are close in age, and we enjoying spending time together. We have watched each other’s kids over the years, and I love the relationships I have with my nieces and nephew. I cannot imagine my sister and I going through what Martha and Becky went through in this story. It’s heartbreaking. It comes down to relationships, trust, patience, and love. Who would you believe—your sister or the police investigators and the court? The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister puts sister against sister, family against family, and leaves you wondering what in the world could have happened.

Blurb:

“When Martha Blackwater finds herself struggling to balance early motherhood and her growing business, her sister, Becky, steps in to babysit without a second thought, bringing the two women closer than ever. But then the unthinkable happens, and Becky is charged with murder. Nine months later, Becky is on trial and maintains her innocence—and so does Martha.

Unable to shake the feeling that her sister couldn’t possibly be guilty, Martha sets out to uncover exactly what happened and how things could have gone so wrong. Fault lines deep in the sisters’ relationship begin to show, threatening the family each has worked so hard to build. With incredible empathy and resounding emotional heft, The Good Sister is an electrifying novel that will lead readers to question everything they know about motherhood, family, and the price of forgiveness.”

My Book Review:

I really enjoyed this book! I loved the relationship between Martha and Becky, especially. Maybe I related to them because of the relationship I have with my sister, but I really enjoyed being a part of their story. It’s not a happy story, but there are a few happy moments. This book is well written, and I liked the writing style of the book. It definitely sucked me in from the very beginning.

The book is written from many different view points, and as each person tells his or her story, you learn more about the events that occurred. Sometimes this is confusing for the reader, but I thought Ms. McAllister did a good job with it. The story doesn’t feel choppy, and you can tell the difference between each unique person.

If you have followed me for awhile you know that I do not try to figure it all out before I get to the end. I just read and enjoy the story. Usually. With this book I couldn’t stop trying to figure it all out. I’d read something and change my mind, then I’d read something else and change my mind again. I liked that there were differing viewpoints because it allowed me to see it all from different perspectives and try to see the situation from different angles.

Although this book is not happy, it doesn’t feel too heavy. There always seems to be a bit of hope ahead, which I felt grateful for. There are some twists and turns in the story, which kept me reading. I wouldn’t recommend reading this book if you are pregnant or have a newborn.  Other than that, it’s a good read. The Good Sister will keep you turning pages, and hooked until the end.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including at least one “f” word. There is a death of a character and adult themes.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2BUd1Is

 

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Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack

Rakes and Roses by Josi S Kilpack

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Book Review of Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack

If you know me at all, you know that I haven’t ever been one to go after the bad boys. I like the clean-cut, well-mannered, hold a steady job kind of guy, and my handsome hubby is just that. There are some women, though, that like the bad boys. They like a little more adventure, maybe? Haha! I’m not one of them so I’m not sure. I’ve read quite a few proper romances, and none of them have had a bad boy as the romantic love interest. Until now. Fun, right? It adds a bit of fun and a bit of surprise to the story. Ok, so here is the definition of a rake according to my Merriam-Webster app: a dissolute person. And then the definition of dissolute is: marked by indulgence in things (such as drink…) deemed vices. You get the picture. What does a rake have to do with roses? Find out more in my review of Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack.

Blurb:

A Mayfield Family Romance


Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man’s world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.

Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he’s a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an ally.

When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she’s so carefully built.”

My Book Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I loved the uniqueness of the story, and I loved the characters. One of my most favorite parts of the book was Lady Sabrina’s secret life. If I were in her position, I hope I could be just as generous as she is. When I learned of her past, I felt so bad for her. I’m glad she was able to rise above her past circumstances. She comes across as very relatable and realistic, and as someone you would want to meet. She seems so genuine and caring. I liked her character a lot. Some of it may have to do with her roses. I LOVE roses, and my gardens are full of them.

Harry, on the other hand, is a rake. Yes he is. He is not a nice person. I definitely would not want to hang out with him or his crowd. Harry has a lot of issues, and they aren’t pretty issues; they aren’t easy issues either. He gets himself into some pretty bad situations. He’s the kind of guy you DO NOT want your daughter to bring home. But does he have another side? A side that isn’t quite as dissolute? If he did, he might be able to convince a few women (and their dads) that he might not be so bad. There is kind of a corny part in regards to something Harry learns to do. I don’t know about that one specific part—it’s pretty cheesy, and I found it mostly unbelievable, but it’s only one small part in the book. And, I guess you never know. 

Overall, this book is well written. The characters are well developed, the story is unique and has an element of surprise in it, and I thought it was a fun book.  I found it entertaining and a great change of pace, especially during the quarantine. It’s a great addition to the proper romance genre! If you have enjoyed any of the previous proper romances, you will enjoy this one!

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy,” although there is some kissing, and a scene where it almost goes too far, but doesn’t. There is some brief violence with fighting.)

Age Recommendation: YA+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/3eQL2I2

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