Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me by Julie Wright

Glass Slippers Ever After and Me by Julie Wright

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me by Julie Wright

I have read a few of Julie Wright’s proper romances, and they’re so fun. When I heard she had written a new one, I had to get my hands on it! I couldn’t wait to read it. Thankfully, I get to review Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me—that’s even better than just reading it. I love the cover art on this book! The colors are so fun, and when you add the rose petals and the fancy shmancy heels, it looks like a fairy tale waiting to happen. The title is super cute too!

Blurb:

Can the fairy tale bring Charlotte the happiness she’s looking for, or was he always there to begin with?
 
A modern, reimagined Cinderella story.
 
When aspiring author Charlotte Kingsley finally gets published, she thinks all her dreams have come true. But the trouble begins when her publicity firm reinvents her quirky online presence into a perfectly curated dream life. Gone are the days of sweatpant posts and ice cream binges with her best friend, Anders, replaced instead with beautiful clothes, orchestrated selfies, and no boyfriend. Only, that carefully curated fairy tale life is ruining her self-esteem and making her feel like a fraud.

When a bestselling author takes Charlotte under her wing—almost like a fairy godmother—she helps Charlotte see the beautiful person she already is and the worth of being authentic. But is it too late to save her relationship with Anders? The clock is quickly ticking towards midnight, and Charlotte must decide between her fairy tale life and the man she loves, before he’s gone forever.

My Book Review:

I loved this book! One of the things Julie Wright does very well is giving characters a voice. Charlotte’s voice in this story definitely makes the book. I love her spunk and her realness. One of my favorite scenes happens at the beginning when Charlotte feels quite upset and eats a couple cartons of ice cream. Yep! She’s my kind of gal! Ice cream is for sure a great go-to comfort food when you’re down.  I love Charlotte’s enthusiasm toward her writing, and especially her reaction to rejection letters. Haha! Her reaction to meeting her favorite author also makes for a fun scene. She makes such a great character.

I like that Charlotte is a strong character. She has her flaws, for sure, but she’s so well developed, real, and relatable. I could definitely see myself hanging out, watching movies, and eating ice cream with my bestie Charlotte. Anders also makes a great character. He’s such a nice guy with a big heart. He, too, is well developed, real, and relatable. I love his romantic flair. Don’t tell my husband, but he could use a few lessons on romance from Anders. Of course, we’ve been married for 21 years and they’re just beginning to date—it’s only a little different.

The story line in this book is so fun. A writer (Julie Wright) writes about a young, struggling writer (Charlotte Kingsley). I love the concept. I wonder if any of the experiences Charlotte had mirror experiences that Julie Wright had when she first started her writing career. That would be a fun question to ask her, for sure.

I didn’t love the characters of Charlotte’s mom and step-dad, or the way they treated her and her sister. They’re not as likable or relatable as Charlotte, Anders, and Kat are. They do, however, add contrast to the story. They give the reader context and background information about Charlotte and Kat, and you can see why the girls are the way they are in some ways. Charlotte’s team of editor, publicist, and social media people also add another dimension to the story. You want to like and hate them at the same time.

I felt bad for Charlotte because she wanted success so badly that she was willing to give up some of herself in order to do it. It’s a hard lesson to learn, for sure. As an outsider, I wanted to scream at Charlotte a few times. I could see where it was all heading, and it didn’t look pretty. It’s one of those things that I’d rather learn as the reader rather than the participator, for sure!

I really enjoyed this book! If you like proper romances, fun love stories, fairy tales, or any of Julie Wright’s other books, you will love Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me.

Glass Slippers Blog Tour Image

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity, violence, or “intimacy,” except some brief kissing.)

Age Recommendation: YA and up

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/2IV5ol8

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Julie Wright Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite
 
 

Smarter Than a Monster by Brandon Mull

Smarter Than a Monster by Brandon Mull

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Smarter Than a Monster: A Survival Guide by Brandon Mull

Wow! Brandon Mull is on a roll! I just read and reviewed the third Dragonwatch book, and now he has a new children’s book out! Does he ever sleep? A children’s picture book is a new chapter (pun totally intended…haha!) for Brandon Mull, and I am excited to be a part of the blog tour for it. My kids and I have been reading and loving his books for many years, and it’s fun to see him grow as an author. I was surprised that Brandon Dorman didn’t illustrate this book, but Mike Walton did a great job. Don’t let those monsters outsmart you—read Smarter Than a Monster: A Survival Guide by Brandon Mull.

Blurb:

“No monster wants you to read this book. The more you know about monsters, the more you will know how to defeat them.

Little kids have big fears, which they often imagine to be scary creatures, like monsters. But this book helps explain how knowing “Monster Facts” can help kids outwit them.

Want to avoid monsters? Fact: Monsters love dirt and grime, so when faced with two kids, the monster will choose the dirty one every time.

And if toys and clothes are all over the floor, you may get ambushed by a mess-loving monster.

Survival Tip: Take baths and keep your room clean. Smarter Than a Monster will arm young readers with practical advice in this innovative and imaginative parenting tool that teaches common sense and positive and healthy habits.”

 

My Book Review:

Have I ever told you how much I love children’s books? Probably. I say it all the time. I.Love.Children’s.Books.So.Much! Picture books bring out the reader’s imagination and creativity like nothing else does! They’re magical. Seriously. Children’s books can strengthen connections between parents and children, teachers and students, and anyone else who reads them. They bring our imaginations to life. One of my favorite parts of children’s books is the lessons learned and the morals taught.

This book doesn’t disappoint in that area! It’s full of tasty lesson tidbits and learning. The good part is that the story is so fun that the kids don’t even realize they’re learning lessons! They’ll do it all just to outsmart and avoid those pesky monsters. Yep! This book is all about how to avoid meeting any creepy creature. For example, hiding in kids’ bedrooms would be much too obvious. Monsters don’t want to be found, so they hide under the parents’ bed. Smart, right? So staying in your own bed is much, much safer.

Monsters like dirt, so if you take a bath the monsters will leave you alone. Who knew? Having lived in Fablehaven’s creature sanctuaries for so long, Brandon Mull must know a lot about these creatures. This book is full of smart tips to avoid meeting them, and I think the kids will love it! Parents too! Brushed teeth, clean rooms, and clean children are a few byproducts of this book, so parents will for sure want to spread this important information as far as possible!

As I stated previously, I kind of thought Brandon Dorman would illustrate this book, but an illustrator named Mike Walton did it, and he did a great job. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and very well done. The monsters are not too scary but not too cute, and are unique and creative. The combination of fun story and great pictures will make this book a cherished one in any classroom or home. I’m so glad Brandon Mull gets to bring another fun story to life, and in the process teach kids how to be Smarter Than a Monster! I think the parents will learn a few things as well, so this is a win-win for everyone! This is such a fun book, and I highly recommend it!

Smarter Monster Blog Tour Image

Content Rating GContent Rating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 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/33fTavt

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore The Nantucket Sea Monster by Darcy Pattison
 
 

Master of the Phantom Isle (Book #3) by Brandon Mull

Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle (Book #3) by Brandon Mull

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle (Book #3) by Brandon Mull

For months now, my kids have been counting down the days until the release of Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle. I’m not joking. It’s serious business at our house! And I may or may not need to draw a name to decide who gets to read it after me because there may or may not have been a big argument about it. Yeah, let’s just say the kiddos are super excited about this book. I am too! This is such a fun series. I’m glad Brandon Mull decided to keep going with the Fablehaven story because it definitely wasn’t finished. This book, though, has me worried! What about Seth? Is he ok? Does he remember anything? I’m super excited to share my book review of Dragonwatch: Master of the Phantom Isle (book #3) with you! Enjoy!

Blurb:

 “Cursed by the Key of Forgetting, Seth has lost all memory of his past—his relationships, his experiences, and who he really is. For now he will align with his new mentor, Ronodin, the dark unicorn, who takes him to the Phantom Isle, the secret gateway to the Under Realm. Though Seth is not formally a prisoner, Ronodin wants to use him and his shadow charmer powers for his own dark ends.

Kendra is frantic to find her missing brother, but the quest will take her and her companions, including Warren, Tanu, and Vanessa, far from Wyrmroost to Crescent Lagoon—a recently fallen dragon sanctuary made up of many islands and underwater domains. Its caretaker has regained a foothold on one of the islands. If Kendra and her friends can save that sanctuary, they might uncover the answers they need to rescue Seth.

With each sanctuary the dragons overthrow, Celebrant, the Dragon King, comes closer to the dawn of a new Age of Dragons. With the forces of darkness on the march, can Kendra and her allies gather enough power to win the epic dragon war?”

My Book Review:

The first part of the book is torture to read! Seth, the mighty Seth, can’t remember anything. Ahhhhhh! Let’s just say that he doesn’t make very good choices. Seriously. Torture. I just wanted to scream through the book to remind him who he is. It’s a different experience to take a character you think you know really well, and have him show up completely different. It’s not his fault, of course, but still. It makes you want to cry.

I love that some of my favorite characters make appearances in this book, along with a couple new favorites. And some NOT so favorite. Boo to Ronodin. The characters in this series are some of my favorites: Vanessa, Tanu, Warren, Kendra, Seth, Bracken, and Newel and Doren are the best. I’ve come to like Knox, Tess, and Calvin too. The characters make the series. They really do. It’s so fun to watch them work together, problem solve, and help each other. I love Kendra’s fighting spirit. Although she comes a little close in this book, she never gives up. I love that she cares so much for Seth that she never stops asking about him and fighting for him. She never doubts him. I think we can all learn a lot about how to treat each other from Kendra.

This book is intense! Dragons, betrayal, sanctuaries falling, characters dying, barrels and canoes, sacrifices, giant pearls, friends, enemies, everblooming flowers, and so much more! Does Seth figure out who he really is? Do Kendra and Seth get control of Wyrmroost? Does everyone work together to get the dragon sanctuaries back? Do they all stay safe? So many questions! Must.Read.This.Book! If you like Fablehaven and the first two Dragonwatch books, you need to read Master of the Phantom Isle!

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy” in this book. There is some violence because they’re fighting a war against dragons. Characters die.)

Age Recommendation: Middle-Graders (4th-6th and up)

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/2ohJ91u

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull Dragonwatch (Book #1) by Brandon Mull caretakers guide to fablehaven
 
 

The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

I love it when a book takes you somewhere you’ve never been, and never knew you wanted to! You don’t know what you don’t know, right? I had never heard of Penny Dreadfuls until I read this book. In case you don’t know what they are (because I didn’t), they were sensationalized stories printed on cheap paper in the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century. The story would be sold in parts, with each part costing one penny. These stories were quite popular with the young men of the time. When I say sensationalized, I mean that they were more fantastical, involving characters like ghosts and vampires. Who knew, right? Now you know! These Penny Dreadfuls play a major part in The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden.

Blurb:

“Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls’ school and a well-respected author of ‘silver-fork’ novels. But by night, she writes the Penny Dreadfuls that are all the rage among the working-class men under the pseudonym, Charles King.

Fletcher Walker began life as a street urchin, but is now the most successful author in the Penny Dreadful market, that is until Charles King. Determined to find the elusive Mr. King, Fletcher approaches Miss Black. Elizabeth agrees to help if only to insure her secret identity is never discovered.

What neither author anticipated was the instant attraction. It’s upper-class against working-class, author against author, where readers, reputations, and romance are all on the line.

  • A historical romance set in London, England in the 1830s. This Victorian time period was well-known for its gothic romances and ‘Penny Dreadfuls’—cheap sensational fiction read by young, working-class men. The Guardian described them as ‘Britain’s first taste of mass-produced pop culture for the young.’ With more than a million sold each week, they contributed to the growing fear of crime in mid-Victorian Britain.
  • Though Penny Dreadfuls were known for their tales of crimes, exploits, and supernatural beasts, the Highwayman heroes were popular for the story’s romantic elements.
  • The story drew its inspiration from the real-life Victorian author Elizabeth Caroline Grey, a high-class lady, who, it was rumored, wrote both ‘silver-fork’ novels and Penny Dreadfuls.”

My Book Review:

This book is so fun! I didn’t know anything about Penny Dreadfuls when I began reading, and now I feel like an expert. I completely got sucked into the story, the life, and the time period. The characters, especially, draw you into their lives. Each character is well written, developed, and so unique. Fletcher—oh Fletcher. He just might make you swoon if you’re not careful! And I love Elizabeth’s complexity. Her secret life makes you want to, well…find a cool secret life! Nothing too crazy. Does book blogging count as a secret life when you’re a sixth grade teacher? Probably not. It’s not cool enough. I’ll need to think about it for awhile.

The uniqueness of the story draws you in. All the members of the “Dread Penny Society,” and their cause, remind me a lot of today’s Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad. It’s hard to think of a better cause to support! I loved watching their operations take place, and knowing the lives they saved. The only thing that was a bit off for me was that I kept wanting to read “Dead Poets Society” instead of “Dread Penny Society.” The former is one of my all-time favorite movies. That’s just me, though.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The characters come to life on the pages, and they draw you into their lives and stories. There’s a lot of wit, which I love. I like the relationship between Elizabeth and Fletcher, and I like how the “Penny Dreadfuls” stories play into the plot. There are also some great causes highlighted like education and help for the poor and needy. Of course I love the tension and the romance as well!  

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (Some minor violence and kissing)

Age Recommendation: Young 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/31G3wnY

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden
 
 
 

Review of The Lady in the Coppergate Tower

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

You know me; I love a good fairy tell retelling. I love how authors are able to take a familiar story and rethink it, looking at it from different angles perspectives. Looking at the characters in a unique way, and trying to find a story within a story are also something I enjoy about retellings. When I saw that Nancy Campbell Allen had done a re-telling of Rapunzel I was super excited. Having it steampunk made it all the more fun! I love this little world she is creating surrounding Blackwell Manor and its residents and friends, so I couldn’t wait to read it. I hope you enjoy my review of The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen.

Blurb:

“Hazel Hughes believes there is nothing remarkable about her, not even her strange ability to heal the sick and injured. Her employer, Doctor Sam MacInnes recognizes her special talent, but because of the difference in their social status, he can’t tell her how much he admires her. When a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the existence of a twin sister, she agrees to accompany him to the wilds of Romania, where she learns that her healing skills are needed to save her twin’s life. Worried for her safety, Sam insists on accompanying her.

Faced with dark magic, malfunctioning automatons, and dangerous magical artifacts, Hazel and Sam learn to rely on each other as they untangle a dangerous and dark web of mystery surrounding the mysterious count, and search for a way to free Hazel’s sister from the cursed walls of a Coppergate Tower before time runs out on all of them.”

My Book Review:

I seriously love this little steampunk Victorian society that Nancy Campbell Allen has created. It’s so fun and imaginative! I love that you can take such a prim and proper time period and add robots (automatons), transcribers (pagers), submarines, and so much more! It’s also fun to see characters from past books make appearances; it kind of brings it all together.

I liked the cover art of the book before I started reading it, but once I had gotten to know the characters inside the book, the characters on the cover didn’t work for me. I know it’s picky, but I didn’t think they looked anything like the characters in my head. Haha! It’s not that big of a deal, though.

The story line is unique and fun. I thought the fancy, important count coming to get Hazel was a bit creepy, and don’t think I would have gone with him if it’d been me. Hazel’s intentions to save her sister were genuine, though, and that would be a compelling reason to go with him. I thought a few parts were a bit predictable, but a lot of it surprised me. It had enough twists and turns to keep me reading. I had to know more about the sister! What was happening to her? What could Hazel do to save her?

Nancy Campbell Allen does a great job of describing and developing characters. Each character has his or her own characteristics, voice, and personality. I especially liked Sam and Hazel. They have differing viewpoints of the situation at hand, and each of them handles it in a unique way. I liked seeing their strengths and weaknesses throughout the book. As the book progresses, you get to see growth and development in both Hazel and Sam. I enjoyed watching them evolve and change.

Another thing Nancy Campbell Allen does well is describe this world she has created. I love the descriptions of all the high-techie Victorian era stuff! Because it predates our current technology, things are named differently (I gave some examples above), and I enjoy her depictions of them. I enjoy reading her writing because it’s easy to read and understand, it’s entertaining, and it all flows well. It’s clever, too, which makes it more fun to read.

I enjoyed The Lady in the Coppergate Tower. I liked the beginning and middle a lot more than I liked the ending, though. I didn’t like the ending. Most of the story leads up to the ending, and It felt like it took a long time to get there. Then, once I got there, the ending felt a bit rushed to me. It also felt a little too unrealistic, and I still had some questions that didn’t get answered. The other thing I didn’t love about the ending was that it felt a little too much like a copy-cat of something else. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into more detail than that, but I felt like I’d already seen the ending. Overall, though, it was a fun book. I liked it.

Blog Tour The Lady in the Coppergate Tower

Content Rating PG-13+Content Rating: PG-13 (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy” in this book, except for kissing. There is some violence, though. A couple characters are attacked, and another character is abused. A couple characters die.)

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/334zivR 

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Beauty and Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen my fair gentleman
 
 
Featured Image Credit: Goodreads.com
 

The Orphan’s Song by Lauren Kate

The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate

I’ve never been to Venice, but now that I’ve read this book, I seriously need to go. While I was reading, coincidentally, my friend was in Venice. She posted a lot of pictures from her amazing trip, and I definitely felt a little social media jealousy. What a beautiful city! I can only imagine what it had been like in the 1700s. We probably romanticize it more than it was, but since we weren’t there, why not? I did not know anything about the Ospedale degli Incurabili—a hospital and orphanage for children, and so it was fun to delve into that world. I find it so interesting that they taught the children there to love, appreciate, and excel at music, and it also provided funding for the hospital and orphanage. The Orphan’s Song by Lauren Kate is a masterfully written story, and I loved it!

Blurb:

“As befitting a book set in eighteenth century Venice, Italy, the novel spins a riveting tale of secrets kept and secrets revealed and the far-reaching consequences of both. Based on a gripping chapter in Venice’s remarkable history, The Orphan’s Song brilliantly recreates both the glamour and seedy underbelly of a city at its zenith.

Known as ‘the city of masks,’ Venice, circa 1736, is notorious for its excesses and its reputation as the place where lovers and revelers don Carnevale disguises to move secretly within society. On most days the city’s sick and orphans are the only bare faces wandering the city. Yearning to join the masked revelers are two foundlings raised within the walls of the Hospital of the Incurables, a famous house of worship that serves as both hospital and orphanage. Over centuries, its massive stone complex (still standing today) has been reinvented as a conservatory for the best singers and musicians on the continent, an ingenious plan that brings acclaim to the church and its coffers.

Among the talented foundlings are Violetta and Mino, lonely teens with big dreams who meet for the first time on an off-limits rooftop. Violinist Mino is a self-taught luthier with aspirations that reach far beyond his humble beginnings. Violetta, a gifted soprano who, despite her desire to rise to soloist in the church’s renowned choir, yearns to break free of the Incurables’ walls and embrace the unknown on the outside. Their tentative private duet—first musical, then romantic—is strictly forbidden, and the risks they take launch them on separate journeys that radically transform their lives.

Mino is determined to find the mother who abandoned him as a toddler, while Violetta steadfastly avoids entanglements and motherhood in her quest for stardom as a legendary soprano with a secret nighttime life. But both will find themselves tossed by society’s cruel unpredictability as they navigate the world and its endless seductions. Despite their separations and painful discoveries, they’ll discover that fate has more in store for them than they could ever have imagined for themselves. With its stunning plot twists and sophisticated sense of history, The Orphan’s Song blends the author’s signature fast-paced storytelling with an enchanting love story for the ages.”  

My Book Review:

I loved this book! Wow. Just wow. The characters, descriptions, feelings, and emotions transform this book into an intimate view of a very personal story. You become a part of Mino and Violetta’s story. You’re there to witness the highs, lows, and everything in between. You laugh and cry with them. You feel their love and their hate. In return, their story becomes a part of yours.

The Orphan’s Song is very well written. The writing sucks you in from the very beginning. I loved the descriptions of the Venetians with their masks, beautiful clothing, and fancy parties. It’s not hard to see why Mino and Violetta wished for more. From their rooftop they could see so much, and they couldn’t have any of it. As the reader, you feel their loss and their want. The way Kate writes the scene of the mother abandoning her child makes it so real and raw and personal.

Violetta, Mino, and the many other characters just come to life on the page. It may be a platitude, but it is so true, in this book. Seriously. Each character is well developed, realistic, unique, and has his or her own personality. The characters switch off narrating the chapters, and I never had to think about who was talking.

One of my favorite things about this book are the feelings portrayed. The writing is so superb that you feel the emotions of the story. I also loved the complexity of the plot and the characters. I was definitely surprised by some of the events and some of the decisions the characters made. The story flowed well, and I loved it. I could not put this book down.  

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

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/2Jnt8zi

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

 

How Not To Die Alone by Richard Roper

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper

No one wants to die alone, right? That seems to be something everyone can agree on. Just thinking about it brings panic and sadness, and you never want to hear of anyone else going through it either. So how do you prevent that from happening? It’s all about connections. Connections with other people bring us joy, love, sorrow, happiness, safety, pain, frustration, peace, and so many more. The difficult thing is that in order to make a connection you need to put yourself out there and be vulnerable, and that’s scary. Once you’re out there, there’s a chance you will get hurt, and that’s scary too. In How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper, Andrew sees this dilemma and is paralyzed by it. What about you? How far would you go to not die alone?

Blurb:

“No one wants to die without having really lived.

Andrew’s been feeling stuck.

For years he’s worked a thankless public health job, searching for the next of kin of those who die alone. Luckily, he goes home to a loving family every night. At least, that’s what his co-workers believe.

Then he meets Peggy.

A misunderstanding has left Andrew trapped in his own white lie and his lonely apartment. When new employee Peggy breezes into the office like a breath of fresh air, she makes Andrew feel truly alive for the first time in decades.

Could there be more to life than this?

But telling Peggy the truth could mean losing everything. For twenty years, Andrew has worked to keep his heart safe, forgetting one important thing: how to live. Maybe it’s time for him to start.”

My Book Review:

Have you ever told a little lie? Has that lie ever exploded into something out of control? Well, that is what Andrew deals with in this book. He told a lie his first few minutes at a new job, and several years later he still has to perpetuate that falsehood. It takes on a life of its own, and immobilizes him. So he’s alone. But he’s not. Strange how that works.

The writing style of this book hooked me from the beginning. It’s witty yet somber, crass yet sensitive, all-out yet half-hidden, truthful yet full of lies, alone yet together, bursting with love yet loveless, alive yet dead, and the end yet the beginning. As you can tell, contradictions abound in this book. It’s quite the feat to put all of that into one cohesive story, yet Roper skillfully pieces it together.

Truthfully, Andrew’s job sounds terrible. There’s no way I could ever do what he does. I’m glad he’s there to do it, but I’ll take a classroom full of sixth graders over his job any day. When people die, if they don’t have friends or loved ones to find them, they could be dead for months without anyone noticing. Sad, right? After the authorities are called, Andrew goes into the home to search for clues about lost loved ones, or anyone that might have known the person. He’s looking for help paying for the funeral, and for someone to come mourn at the funeral.

Not fun, right? Yeah. Honestly, it’s something I’d never thought or heard of until I read this book. The story takes place in London, and I did a little research to see what they do in the United States. I found this article. It pertains to New York; I couldn’t find anything about where I live. It sounds like it’s about the same.

I love the uniqueness of this book. I’ve never read anything like it. The characters are very well developed, realistic, and they all have their own personalities. Andrew makes such an interesting main character. Even after a whole book it’s difficult to read him or guess what he’ll do next. There’s a bit of a mystery surrounding an event in his past, and it definitely has an impact on his current day. There are a few times that he does cringy things. Seriously cringy things. And it makes you want to scream.

I like Peggy a lot; especially how she handles everything that goes on. Andrew’s boss and colleagues are quite the bunch. I vacillated between annoyance and disgust with them. His sister Sally is something of a mystery. That’s one thing I would have liked more info on, but instead Roper leaves it to the reader to decide what really happens there. Sally’s husband is a jerk. I’ll leave it at that.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s quirky, unique, and packs a big punch. I love the dynamics and relationships between the characters. I also love watching Andrew grow and develop along the way. How Not to Die Alone is very well written. The story flows well, the plot is interesting, and there are some great vocabulary words. I love the connection between the title, Andrew’s job, and Andrew’s personal circumstance–it’s very clever. The cover art definitely grabs your attention.

The big take home from this story is to be honest. Be honest with others and with yourself. All.the.time. Another take-away is the importance of connections.

“Connection is the antidote to depression”

               –David Kozlowski

It’s hard to make connections because you need to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. That’s never a comfortable thing to do, and it takes a lot of practice, but it’s so worth it. True connections with good people make life so much more enjoyable. And who knows? It could save your life one day.  

Content Rating RContent Rating: R (Profanity, including multiple “f” words. “Intimacy,” including scenes and innuendos. Domestic violence, and the death of a couple of characters.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3.5/5   (I lowered my rating from a 4 because of language.)

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/2X7lJMM

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill
 
Featured Image Credit: Goodreads.com 
 

When the Storm Ends by Rebecca L. Marsh

When the Storm Ends by Rebecca L. Marsh

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of When the Storm Ends by Rebecca L. Marsh

Thankfully, I grew up in a loving home. I married a kind and loving man. I’ve never been in an abusive relationship. I know people who have been, and my heart breaks for them. This book speaks to those people. There are some very difficult things discussed in this book. It’s good for people like me to see how difficult those situations are. This allows me to be more aware and to be more compassionate. It’s also good for those who are in the situation to read, so they know that there is hope and a way out. When the Storm Ends by Rebecca L. Marsh delves into the topic of domestic violence, child abuse, and the foster care system. Those topics can be a bit heavy, so thankfully, Ms. Marsh evens it out with a touch of healing and hope.

Blurb:

“Beth thought her violent childhood was something she left in the past—until she met Erin. Now the abuse of her step-father has returned in terrifying nightmares.

Beth became a child psychologist so she could help children who are broken and hurting, but Erin, the fifteen-year-old who killed her father, is different. If Beth can’t reach her and find out why she did it, Erin will spend the rest of her childhood behind bars. To most people, it looks simple—Erin is either crazy or evil, but when Beth looks into Erin’s haunted eyes, she’s sure that something terrible was done to this girl. Erin, however, isn’t talking.

Beth believes Erin might open up to someone with whom she feels a kinship. Of course, Beth knows she shouldn’t share her own past with a patient, but the clock is ticking toward Erin’s trial, and Beth is out of options.

Little does Beth know that taking this terrifying leap will not only reveal the truth about Erin, but will rip Beth’s past wide open as well—and a connection between them that will shake Beth to the core.”

My Book Review:

I’m not good with violence. Any kind of violence.  You know all those movies and tv shows that everyone loves because of the action and things blowing up? The good guys usually win, but lots of people die in the process? Yeah, well, my husband laughs at me (now you can too) because I close my eyes through most of the movie. I don’t like watching violence. I don’t like watching people get hurt, and I really don’t like watching people die. So, I close my eyes.

Unfortunately, when you’re reading a book, you can’t close your eyes. It doesn’t really work that way, does it? There’s not a good way to escape from what happens on the page. Therefore, I just have to read, and maybe skim, the best I can. When the Storm Ends by Rebecca L. Marsh has a few scenes that I wish I could have closed my eyes through. I found them very difficult to read. Reading scenes that describe children (and women) being physically abused is tough to do.

I understand the purpose of those events in the story. They are there to give history and to show where the character is coming from. I realize they also show the evilness of a character. For me, personally, I don’t like to read them. It took me awhile to read because it’s a quite depressing in some parts. Therefore, I did lower my rating a bit because of this content. Not everyone will feel the same way.

Looking past the difficult content, this book is well written. The characters are well developed, realistic, and unique. Each one has his or her own personality and traits. You definitely feel Beth’s emotions, as an adult and as a child. I liked Beth’s character. She was strong, yet still vulnerable. I also liked her brother Jack’s character. He was tender and loving even after having been through some rough things.

Although most of the other characters are secondary, I came to love some of them, or hate some of them, just as much as Beth and Jack did. I didn’t always understand them or where they were coming from, but that’s why I love reading—it always helps you look at situations from different vantage points.

Ms. Marsh’s writing style flows well, grabs your attention, and is easy to read and understand. She brings up many hard issues in this book. Even though it’s tough to read, it’s always good to see things differently, and maybe to understand things a little more. Some of the topics brought up are physical and emotional abuse, murder, death, loyalty, foster care, domestic violence, love, family, hope, healing, therapy, and overcoming hardship. It’s a lot to take in, but it does speak to hope and healing, even after going through hard times.

Overall, I’m glad I read this book. If I hadn’t been reviewing it I may not have finished, but the story is compelling and I did want to know what happened. I cared for Beth and Jack, and wanted to see their story through.  

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including at least one “f” word. Physical and emotional abuse, domestic violence, murder, attempted rape, and the death of at least one character.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3.5/5

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/2ZFtOoZ

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

 
 

The Heart of a Vicar by Sarah M. Eden

The Heart of a Vicar by Sarah M Eden

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of The Heart of a Vicar by Sarah M. Eden

I have always thought that it would be fun to go back in time and spend at least a week in England during the early nineteenth century. At least from all the books I’ve read that have taken place during this time (which is a lot), it seems like such a nice time to live. Now, you’d need to go spend time with a more wealthy family, but nevertheless, I think it would be fun to see. I don’t want to stay there forever, just long enough to experience it for a minute. Regency books have always been one of my favorite to read, so I was excited to see Sarah M. Eden’s new book The Heart of a Vicar. The cover art is beautiful, and sets the perfect tone for the book.

Blurb:

“Young love is all too fleeting, as Harold Jonquil painfully discovered years ago when Sarah Sarvol, the niece of a neighboring landowner, captures his heart. After an idyllic few weeks in the throes of blossoming love, reality intervened. They could have no future. Following their disastrous parting, Harold attempted to push aside thoughts of love and regret, but Sarah has never left his heart. Now, years later, he has achieved his lifelong aspiration of becoming the local vicar. However, the role proves more difficult than he imagined. He feels hollow and uninspired—until the most important person in his past returns, challenging him as no one ever has.

When Sarah’s ailing uncle summons her back to the family estate in England, there is only one person from her past she is reluctant to see again: Harold Jonquil, the only man who has ever claimed her heart. But when she comes face-to-face with her former beau, she hardly recognizes the aloof and dull man before her. She is determined to help Harold rediscover the passion he once felt toward his chosen profession. Soon, despite their exasperation with each other, they cannot deny the stirring of feelings long buried—but is it too late for second chances?”

My Book Review:

I love being transported back in time to England in the early 1800s. In The Heart of a Vicar, Eden does a fantastic job describing the scenery, the large estates, and the people that live there. Her descriptions make you feel like you are there, a part of it all. I especially love the people in this book. Although there are a lot of them, they each get the attention they deserve. Each character is well developed and so life-like. Each has his or her own personality, traits, and quirks.

Sarah comes across as determined, happy, and loving. I love her independence and love of people. Her fun with the blacksmith is one of my favorite parts of the story. Scott isn’t focused on as much, but he plays a big part in bringing the story together. Harold may struggle at times, but I really liked his character. He wanted to do the right thing in the right way; he just needed a little help getting there. It was fun to watch his growth as the story progressed. I thought it was funny that his little quirk ended up playing such a big role in the story.

The Jonquil family seems like a family anyone would want to be a part of. They know how to have fun, and how to come together to help each other.  One of my favorite parts of this family is their focus on the children. In many other books about this time period, children are taken care of by governesses, and the parents don’t interact with them a lot. That is not the case in this book, and it is a feature I loved. Another feature I loved about the Jonquil family was how deeply they cared for each other and took care of one another.

The Heart of a Vicar is well written. I like the flow of it, and Eden’s writing style. It’s easy to read and understand, and easy to get sucked into. One of the reasons I love reading so much is because you get to live different lives, see different places, and experience things you’d otherwise never get to experience. I felt that in this book. Becoming a part of this neighborhood was so much fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It’s the perfect summer get-away. Although it’s not titled a “proper romance” like many of Eden’s previous books, it is one. It’s a sweet, romantic story that happens to be clean. You all know how much I appreciate that. The Heart of a Vicar by Sarah M. Eden will make a perfect addition to any proper romance, or romance, collection.

The Heart of a Vicar Blog Tour Image

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity, violence, or “intimacy” in this book. There is some brief kissing, and some abusive tendencies of one character.)

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/2ItM4uh

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden The Sheriffs of Savage Wells by Sarah M. Eden
 
 
 

Daisies and Devotion by Josi S. Kilpack

Daisies and Devotion by Josi S Kilpack Cover Art

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of Daisies and Devotion by Josi S. Kilpack

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Mayfield Family Series, Promises and Primroses, so I was excited to read this second book. Daisies are one of my favorite types of flowers, and there are quite a few daisy plants in my yard. I’d take pictures of them for you all, but they aren’t blooming yet. Uncle Elliot managed to get Peter married off, so I was excited to see which family member this book would focus on, and how he would perceive the marriage campaign. Anyway, what a perfect way to merge two of my favorite things—books and flowers! Find out more in my book review of Daisies and Devotion by Josi S. Kilpack.

Blurb:

“Timothy Mayfield is ready to marry for love, but, since his personal finances are thinner than he’d like, he knows he’ll also need to find a wife with wealth. After receiving an unexpected inheritance, Timothy’s circumstances change, and he is free to pursue his ‘perfect woman’—one with blonde hair, blue eyes, a light laugh, arched eyebrows, elegant fingers, and a dazzling smile, among nearly twenty other characteristics.

Maryann Morrington doesn’t match anything on Timothy’s list—except for wealth. An heiress in her own right, she is tired of men pursuing her only for her money. But at nearly twenty-two years old, and not a particularly stunning beauty, she can’t be as picky as her friend Timothy is.

The two friends end up playing matchmaker for each other. Timothy will find a decent gentleman for Maryann, and Maryann will prove to Timothy that his ‘perfect woman’ doesn’t exist.

Until Miss Shaw comes to London.

Now, with Timothy’s heart captivated by the blonde, blue-eyed beauty, Maryann must decide if she should risk her heart and reveal her true feelings for her friend, or if she should settle for someone else. It’s an up-and-down game of ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ with both hearts and friendship on the line.”

My Book Review:

I love the setting in this book. London in 1822 is the perfect place for a romantic story. If I could travel back in time, this is a time period I would choose to go to. It would be so fun to wear the fancy dresses and go to the balls. Of course, I’d want to go back with money because I’m sure life was different if you didn’t have money for such fancy things. The carriage rides, the visiting, the new dresses, and the parties would be a lot of fun. However, it might also feel like you’re on show on the time, and I could see that being stressful. What if you don’t meet someone that season? To be twenty-two and not married (gasp!).

That is where Maryann is at this point in her life. She’s twenty-two and just now getting into her season. She has some unusual circumstances surrounding her past, and is now looking to marry. Her character is well written and developed. I like that she isn’t perfect. She doesn’t look, act, or sound perfect, and you can see her insecurities in her actions and thoughts. She has a personality that is easy to relate to, and she seems like she would be a fun friend.

Timothy’s character is also well written and developed. Even though he has a lot of “guy” expectations (the “perfect woman…”) he does have a likable personality. I do like his gentlemanly mannerisms and the fact that he thinks things through, except the “perfect woman” thing, of course. He thinks he knows what he wants and needs, but does he really?

I like the banter between Timothy and Maryann. It’s hilarious that she helps him with his fashion. He’s not so careful with his observations of her, but the two of them provide for some good entertainment when they’re together. Of course you also throw in a few other characters like Deborah and Lucas, Miss Shaw, and Colonel Berkins, and you get just the right amount of tension and questioning.

This book is well written. The character development is very good. I like it when you see the characters’ growth as the story progresses. The book flows well, is easy to read and understand, and has just the right amount of humor, romance, and story line. I like the descriptions of the events and activities, the dresses, the punch, and the setting. Ms. Kilpack does a great job of making you feel like you are there, in London, enjoying the dancing like everyone else. It’s also easy to feel right alongside the characters.

I enjoyed this book and think it is a great addition to the Mayfield Family Series. I can’t wait to see if there’ll be more Mayfield stories up and coming.

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity, violence, or “intimacy.” There’s some brief kissing, and some descriptions of the smell of cigars and cigar smoke.)

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/30iPzfl

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Promises and Primroses by Josi Kilpack The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack