Book Review of Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

Christmas by Accident by Camron 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 Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

I’m not going to hear the end of this one for awhile! I am a very strict, “No Christmas until after Thanksgiving!” kind of gal. My kids want to listen to Christmas music right now, in October, and I say no. So, when they find out that I just read and am now reviewing a Christmas book, well, yeah, they’re never going to let it go. I know they’re going to think it’s okay to put up the Christmas decorations and start going Christmas-crazy. Ummmm…..yeah no. This is a fun little book, though. It’s not all about Christmas—there’s a love story in there too! Want to know more? Read all about it in my book review of Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright.

Blurb:

“There are no accidents where love—and Christmas—are concerned. Carter is an insurance adjuster whose longing for creative expression spills over sometimes into his accident reports. Abby works for her adoptive father, Uncle Mannie, in the family bookstore, the ReadMore Café. Carter barely tolerates Christmas; Abby loves it. She can’t wait past October to build her favorite display, the annual Christmas book tree stack, which Carter despises.

When an automobile accident throws Carter and Abby together, Uncle Mannie, who is harboring secrets of his own, sees a chance for lasting happiness for his little girl. But there are so many hurdles, and not much time left. Will this Christmas deliver the miracles everyone is hoping for?

Camron Wright holds a master’s degree in writing and public relations. He says he began writing to get out of attending MBA school, and it proved the better decision. He is the author of the award-winning novels Letters for Emily (a Doubleday Book Club selection), The Rent Collector, and The Orphan Keeper.”

My Book Review:

Besides the fact that this is a Christmas book, and it’s October, it’s a cute story. I like the writing style because it’s easy to read. It’s hard to describe, but I would say that it’s laid-back and easy-going. Although there are a few intense moments, you never feel rushed through the story. I like it. He describes things well, and even while you’re reading about a car accident as it’s happening, you kind of feel like it’s happening in slow motion. It’s as if he takes the time to notice details that one would never recognize in such an intense moment, and it slows everything down for the reader.  

I like the characters in the story. They’re all likable and easy to relate to. I think they’re well developed and realistic. Abby is my favorite. If I weren’t a teacher, I think I’d be a librarian or work in a book store. Abby gets to work in a book store (I wish it were real because I’d love to try out their treats!) and loves to read, which makes her my new best friend. She doesn’t seem to engage in girl-drama, which is good. She has her priorities straight. I love the relationship she has with Mannie.

Carter kind of floats through his life. He doesn’t seem to have any motivation or ambition. He’s not happy, but not upset enough to change either. I do think it’s hilarious that Carter embellishes his accident reports and makes them sound like intense novel story lines. It’s fun to watch him grow throughout the story.

This is a fun book. It’s not too Christmassy; it could be read any time of the year, but it would be fun to read at Christmas. It’s a little cheesy in some parts, but not too bad. It’s an easy, fun, entertaining read. I liked the little lesson nuggets thrown in throughout the book: honesty, family, love, forgiveness, being brave and going for it, prayer, and miracles. It does have a touch of faith and prayer in it, but it’s not the main focus.    

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or violence, except a couple of car accidents, and the descriptions aren’t overly graphic. There isn’t any “intimacy” except a couple of brief kisses.)

Recommendation: Young Adult and up

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Christmas By Accident Blog Tour

 

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/2CHyHFx

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright  The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill
 
 

 

Book Review of The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani

The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani

♦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 Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani

I do not know much about India or Indian culture, even though I have a sister-in-law that is Indian. I should know more, but I don’t, unfortunately. When I was asked to read this book I got excited because I thought it would be fun to read more about it. There is a modern-day story set against a story from the past, and how they come together may determine the future. I hope you enjoy my book review of The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani.

Blurb:

“Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.

Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.”

My Book Review:

Learning of Jaya’s heartbreaking miscarriage and subsequent demise of her marriage grasps at the heartstrings. I have four children now, but have experienced miscarriage, and it’s so hard. And I could see how not knowing your family’s past would probably make you feel like a part of you was missing. I thought her abrupt decision to travel to India was a knee-jerk reaction, but if you can, why not?

Jaya is a good character. She’s well written and usually realistic. She is quick to react and slow to recover, but I do know a few people like that. Ravi is an interesting character. As the reader you really feel for him in the beginning because life isn’t fair in his circumstances. Amisha’s character is interesting. Sometimes I got her and sometimes I didn’t. Some of her choices made me cringe.

While I was reading this book, I was enthralled. I loved the writing style and got sucked right into the story. Both Jaya and Amisha were mostly relatable and sympathetic. I also enjoyed learning about India now and India during the British occupation. Learning about the caste system intrigued me and made me want to know more about it. I read the book very quickly and loved it.

Then I started thinking about it. In the moment I didn’t really think through some things because I was so enthralled. After, though, as I thought about a few of the situations and events, they didn’t make a lot of sense. There were some big inconsistencies throughout the book. Technology seemed to come and go, the caste system also seemed to come and go, and certain improprieties were completely disregarded.

Then there was the ending. I did not like the ending. There were several ways the author could have gone, and this one was my least favorite. I thought it was presumptuous and unrealistic. I, honestly, couldn’t picture it happening that way. I was so sad because I had enjoyed the rest of the book. Overall, I loved this book in the moment. The writing just sucks you right in. After I thought about it for a few days I realized that there were some inconsistencies, but I still liked it. I didn’t love the ending, but life doesn’t always take the turn you want it to, so it was ok.

Content Rating RRating: R (There’s not really any profanity, but there are a few “intimacy” scenes. Some of them are more descriptive than others. There is a little bit of violence with beatings and domestic violence.)

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/2CtcCKT

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Lost Family by Jenna Blum Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton  Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
 

Spotlight on Coding Club by Michelle Schusterman

Spotlight on Coding Club by Michelle Schusterman

♦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 Girls Who Code: Spotlight on Coding Club by Michelle Schusterman

I have a 13 year-old daughter that loves coding. She’s taking a creative coding class at school and loves it! So I have been thrilled to be able to review the books in the Girls Who Code series. I’m so glad they’re putting an emphasis on girls and coding. The books, if nothing else, are great at spotlighting some amazing things that coding can do. They make it seem so fun and “cool” (Does anyone even use that word anymore, or am I dating myself here?). These girls are normal, cute girls who play softball, dance karaoke, have real problems, and love to code. They do such fun things with coding! I hope you enjoy my book review of Girls Who Code: Spotlight on Coding Club by Michelle Schusterman.

Blurb:

“Erin knows that she is a star, and this could be her big break. With the talent show coming up at school, she will have the chance to take center stage with a stellar performance and help behind the scenes, too, with the coding that will make it all happen.

But Erin has a secret: She has anxiety. And when things start piling up at home and school, she has a harder time pretending that everything is okay. Her friends from coding club have always been there for her in the past, but she has never told them what is really going on. With the spotlight on coding club and more pressure on the team than ever before, will this be their final blow?”

My Book Review:

This is a really cute book. I seriously love how fun and awesome they make coding sound! And they also make it sound fairly easy. I mean, if they can do such fun stuff in junior high, then it must not be too hard, right? I don’t know coding at all. At all. I know as a blogger I shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true! So I like that it makes coding a little more accessible in my mind. I think it will have the same effect on the YA girls reading this book.

The book is well written. I like the writing style and the character development. Erin, especially, is well developed and realistic. She thinks things I know I thought way back in junior high. I like how realistic she is. She definitely has her struggles, and I think that’s great for the girls who will be reading this to see. I especially like the focus on anxiety.

Over the past year and a half I have come to know a lot about anxiety in teenagers, and I know it’s a lot more common than most people think it is.  It’s high past time that we talk about it and get it out in the open. Maybe a YA girl reading this book, who has anxiety, will seek help when she sees Erin getting help. Or maybe she’ll at least gain the confidence to talk to her parents about it. I really liked that side story of the book because it is so pertinent to these kids.

The story is realistic with a school-wide talent show. I think it’s a fun back drop to talk about amazing things that coding can do. I loved how all the technology came together, and I could totally see a high school coding class putting something like this together. What a great learning experience for the girls in the coding club! I love how they all put their personal touch on everything.

This is such a fun series, and I am glad there is a focus on girls and technology. I think a lot of girls will benefit from this book and series. Hopefully it will spark an interest in coding in some more girls!  

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (There are a couple of places the girls say, “Ohmygod,” which is a swear word in some homes. There is a homosexual character, and it is briefly discussed.)

Recommendation: YA and up

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/2RMSecX

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Girls Who Code: Lights, Music, Code! (Book #3) by Jo Whittenmore Girls Who Code: Crack the Code by Sarah Hutt  
 

Book Review of Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

♦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 Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

I have worn glasses since second grade, and contacts since seventh grade. Pretty much, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t need glasses to see. I’ve never been made fun of or teased because of my glasses, thankfully, but the cover of this book totally had me curious! I loved Mustaches For Maddie, so when I saw that Squint was written by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown I knew I needed to read it. And I’m so glad I did. They have become quite the duo!

Blurb:

“Flint loves to draw. In fact, he’s furiously trying to finish his comic book so he can be the youngest winner of the ‘Find a Comic Star’ contest. He’s also rushing to finish because he has keratoconus—an eye disease that could eventually make him blind.

McKell is the new girl at school and immediately hangs with the popular kids. Except McKell’s not a fan of the way her friends treat this boy they call ‘Squint.’ He seems nice and really talented. He draws awesome pictures of superheroes. McKell wants to get to know him, but is it worth the risk? What if her friends catch her hanging with the kid who squints all the time?

McKell has a hidden talent of her own but doesn’t share it for fear of being judged. Her terminally ill brother, Danny, challenges McKell to share her love of poetry and songwriting. Flint seems like someone she could trust. Someone who would never laugh at her. Someone who is as good and brave as the superhero in Flint’s comic book.

Squint is the inspiring story of two new friends dealing with their own challenges, who learn to trust each other, believe in themselves, and begin to truly see what matters most.”

My Book Review:

What a great book! As I stated above, I love the way that Chad Morris and Shelly Brown write together. The voice in their stories just draws you in. It’s so real. It is full of emotion, expectations, and energy. It’s easy to read and understand, and yet it has an underlying depth to it. Although it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, it has such a positive feeling to it. The voice fits the characters and situations in the book perfectly.

This book feels similar to Wonder by R.J. Palacio. There are some similarities there as well. Flint, the main character, has a disability and the kids at school make fun of him, tease him, and stay away from him. Then someone is brave enough to look past the thick glasses and quirky habits. McKell wants to fit in with the popular crowd, but she doesn’t like how they treat Flint, also known as Squint. Her brother gives her these challenges to do, and since she’s afraid that the popular crowd will make fun of her for doing them, she asks Squint to accompany and help her.

Squint is not used to people actually paying attention to him and being nice to him. At first he doesn’t trust McKell because he expects it all to be a prank. But then it’s not. She genuinely wants to be with him. Now, she may still want to also be a part of the popular gang, but she makes it clear to Squint that she doesn’t like how they treat him. She’s nice, caring, talented, friendly, and kind. She has the ability to look past the glasses and quirks to find the real Flint.

Flint is also a great character. He used to be normal like everyone else. He played football, had friends, and could see perfectly. Then one day he began losing his eyesight. The diagnosis was keratoconus. It’s an eye disease. This is how Flint explains it in the book:

“It’s called keratoconus,” I said. “It’s not like super rare or anything. There may even be someone else in the school with it, but mine is pretty bad. Well, really bad. My corneas are getting thinner and thinner, and that makes my eyes bulge. It’s like the windshield of my eye to too weak to hold its shape ball…It makes everything look a bit like a funhouse mirror.”

I won’t complain about my poor eyesight after reading about Flint’s disease!

I think it’s great how Chad Morris and Shelly Brown use their books to bring attention to different situations in people’s lives. The more we talk, the more we realize how similar we are. The more books kids can read about how being different is ok, the better. If kids can read more books on how to treat people, the better off we’ll all be. We like to think we’re different. We’re unique, for sure. But we’re the same. We all want to fit in, have friends, be loved, and not be made fun of or teased. I think everyone wants to feel safe and acknowledged. It’s the relationships and the connections that matter.

I love books that teach such valuable lessons in such a great way. It’s a great reminder for readers of all ages that how we treat people is important. Everyone has a story. Everyone is fighting a battle. Some battles are front and center while others are more hidden. Learning to look past differences and see the real person behind the façade is a skill we can all improve in. Learning to accept and love despite differences is also something needed today. Also, there are always two sides to every story. Many times we get caught up in our own thoughts and feelings, and forget that others are involved, and they have feelings too. Thank you Chad and Shelly for writing stories that inspire, teach, and uplift!  

Content Rating PGRating: PG (It’s clean, but there is some minor violence with fights, mean words, and bullies.)

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

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/2y9OCsu

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

mustaches for maddie Wonder by R.J. Palacio  the hundred dresses
 

Book Review of The Heat Is On by Helen Bridgett

The Heat is On by Helen Bridgett

♦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 Heat Is On by Helen Bridgett

Have you ever had one of those years where everything seems to be going great and then it suddenly falls apart? That was my last year. Everything was going well until my son got sick. Super sick. After a year, he’s finally recovering. It’s a very slow process, but he’s doing so much better. Then to top it off, we’ve had to fix cars, replace several appliances, and get a new furnace and water heater. Yep, it’s been a year! We’ve learned so much though! We’ve grown closer together as a family and we’ve all grown a lot individually. In this book, things are going well for Angie. She co-owns a business that she loves and is doing great. She has a handsome boyfriend, an amazing daughter, and great friends. And then the business across the street opens and everything starts falling apart. I hope you enjoy my book review of The Heat Is On by Helen Bridgett.

Blurb:

“Angie Shepherd is back and this time she means business!

Life is perfect for Angie Shepherd. Her dreams of becoming an entrepreneur have come true, business is booming, and her best friend Patty is back in town. So when the opportunity of investing in a luxury hotel comes up, it seems like a no-brainer. It’s all going swimmingly until a rival travel agency opens up across the street. Before long, The Mercury Travel Club is undercut, double-crossed and in deep trouble. It’s time for Angie to up the stakes. But with costs mounting up, sales going down, and her personal life suddenly in freefall, can Angie and her friends weather the storm?

Witty and charming in equal measure, this feel-good novel shows that when the going gets tough, the tough definitely get going.”

My Book Review:

Sometimes when everything is going really well it makes me nervous. Ok, this can’t last forever, right? What’s going to happen? It’s easy to get anxious and fearful, but then when something does happen, you realize you’re stronger than you thought. You realize you lived through your nightmare and it’s ok. That’s what Angie has to do in this book. She needs to make it through and come out stronger.

I enjoyed this book. It’s a fun, entertaining summer read. I think it’d be perfect for sitting next to the pool or ocean, kicking up your feet, and drinking something cold. This book is well written, has the perfect touch of humor, and has a fun cast of characters. The characters are very well developed. They each have their own identities, personalities, and voices. I thought the author did a good job of bringing them all together. They have their strengths and weaknesses, their talents and flaws, and their good and bad times. As a reader, it makes you feel like you’re one of the gang. They’re realistic and easy to relate to. Most of them are likable too.

I don’t know anything about the travel industry, and I kind of didn’t realize that travel agencies still exist. Yes, I hate to admit that I thought people planned their own vacations via Expedia and Hotwire. Or, maybe that’s just me. When my husband and I went on our honeymoon to Cancun twenty years ago (yes, we just celebrated twenty years!) we used an agency, but it’s not there anymore. After reading this book I may need to look and see if there’s one by me. I’d love to relax and let someone else take care of the details. After this year, I need a vacation!

The plot, although not action-packed, was interesting enough to keep me reading. There were a few twists and turns, and a few tense moments. The one thing I didn’t like was the title. I still don’t get it? This book also has a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. If you see the publisher, please tell her to call me and I’ll help her out! (Blue Pen Proofreading) It doesn’t really fit the book or its style. I thought it came together well in the end, but I could have used a few extra pages to see how one of the excursions turned out. I want to go to the library in the woods! So much so, in fact, that I did a few quick google searches and found a pic of it. Isn’t it enchanting? It’s a real place! Right now I really wish I could go there!

eas-mor-library

Photo Credit: That’s How the Light Gets In

This is a quick, fun read. It’s not based on complex submarine terrorist plots in Russia (like my last read), so it’s kind of a breath of fresh air. It’s easy to read and understand, and is pretty clean. I feel like I have a bunch of new friends, and I definitely have a few places I want to visit now!

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (Thankfully, there is no profanity in this book! There isn’t any violence either. There are a few discussions about “intimacy,” a couple of scenes where it almost happens but not quite, and several innuendos.)

Recommendation: 18+

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

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

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2MUGxO3

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill  The Light in Summer by Mary McNear
 

Book Review of The Lost Family by Jenna Blum

The Lost Family by Jenna Blum

Book Review of The Lost Family by Jenna Blum

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about a Holocaust survivor living life after the war. I’ve read several books about people’s stories during the war, but it usually focuses on the war, not after. Consequently, I have not taken the time to think about how living through an ordeal like that would affect their daily lives. Now that I think about it, it would be difficult. To have been treated so poorly and to have seen so many die around you would definitely haunt your dreams. It affected Peter enough that it made living difficult for him. His story in the book was my favorite. Find out more of what I thought in my book review of The Lost Family by Jenna Blum.

Blurb:

“In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service, and to admire its dashing owner and head chef, Peter Rashkin. With his movie-star good looks and tragic past, Peter, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the parade of eligible women who come to the restaurant hoping to catch his eye. He has resigned himself to a solitary life. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha—the restaurant’s namesake—and two young daughters perished.

Then exquisitely beautiful June Bouquet, an up-and-coming young model, appears at the restaurant, piercing Peter’s guard. Tough she is twenty years his junior, the two begin a passionate, whirlwind courtship. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that beginning a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of the horror of the past. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter, Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways.

Jenna Blum artfully brings to the page a husband devastated by a grief he cannot name, a frustrated wife struggling to compete with a ghost she cannot banish, and a daughter sensitive to the pain of both her own family and another lost before she was born. Spanning three cinematic decades, The Lost Family is a charming, funny, and elegantly bittersweet study of the repercussions of loss and love.”

My Book Review:

This book hooked me at the beginning. I loved the writing style, the descriptions, the story of Peter, and the focus on the food. Peter’s story grips you to the core. I can’t imagine losing my family in the way he did; it would devastate me. Peter seems like such a good guy. He struggles, but who wouldn’t in that situation? And his struggles stem from something terrible, so you empathize with him. June seemed like the perfect person for Peter. It was fun reading about their courtship and how June was able to help Peter start afresh. I really loved this part of the book.   

And then it all went downhill. Part two skips to 1975 and is told from June’s point of view. Wow. She’s… (I’m speechless when I try to explain her.) She’s not a nice person, I’ll just say that. I can understand how by this point she probably thought that Peter should have been able to overcome some of his grief. I get how hard it probably was for her with a husband who was pretty closed-off. That would be very difficult on a marriage. However, that does not excuse her actions.

At this point the book took a very uncomfortable turn. I didn’t like it at all. In fact, it made me very uncomfortable. June’s character became extremely unlikable, whiny, selfish, and…awful. I couldn’t relate to her or her actions at all. I understood that what she had wasn’t maybe what she had envisioned for herself, but come on! Life is unpredictable. Grow up and take responsibility.

I also understand that life for women in the 70s may still have been a little more controlled by men. I get that Peter didn’t seem to listen to her concerns. However, she could have handled things much differently. She could have made life better for her family.

And just when you think the book can only get better, it gets even worse. You skip to 1985 and get to hear Elsbeth’s story. This part is VERY disturbing—even more than June’s story. What is going on? With a closed-off father and an awful mother, Elsbeth is doomed. Seriously. She is messed up. Don’t let your children anywhere near this part of the book. Yes, it is that bad. The things she does are some of my worst nightmares for my daughters. She has no self esteem, she looks for love and affection from all the wrong places, and she doesn’t have great friends.

Elsbeth hears opposite messages from her parents, and you can tell she’s confused. It is EXTREMELY uncomfortable reading this part of the book. If I hadn’t been reviewing it, I would not have finished. If Ms. Blum was going for shocking, she got it.

I was so disappointed and appalled. The first part of the book was so good! I had high expectations for the rest of the book and didn’t expect it to go the way it did. At all. Sometimes that’s a good thing. This time, no. I wish the book had ended after part one. I would have given it 4 stars for sure. Between the unlikable and hard-to-relate-to characters, the content of the story, and the characters’ actions, the last two-thirds of the book were a huge disappointment.

Not only that, but it was uncomfortable to read. Sometimes uncomfortable is good because you can learn from the moment. For example, it makes me uncomfortable to read about how slaves were treated in the U.S. In that case it’s okay because at least I can learn from the past. The uncomfortable in this book is not like that. In my opinion, it’s jarring just to be jarring. I didn’t like it. This book had so much potential. Unfortunately, it did not live up to that potential.  

Content Rating RContent Rating: R (There is quite a bit of profanity in this book, including many “f” words. There’s a lot of “intimacy,” including descriptive scenes, innuendos, oral, and discussions about it–including pornography with a child. Also included are eating disorders and other adult themes.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 2/5

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

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand  A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
 
 

Book Review of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

♦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 Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

For some reason, this book took me a long time to read! I would start then have to stop so I could read another book because I had a review I needed to post. Then I’d pick it up again, and not finish in time so I’d have to put it down to finish another book for review. At this point it’s about a week late at the library (oops!) because I just wanted to finish it. My point is, this review is a long time in coming! So I hope you enjoy my book review of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.
 

Blurb:

“In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads to the colors of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.”

My Book Review:

I should have just stopped reading this book and taken it back to the library when I knew I couldn’t finish it in time. The problem was that I couldn’t take it back because I was so intrigued! I had to find out what happened! I loved the writing in this book because it just pulls you in. It flows well, transitions well, has realistic dialogues, and it draws you into the story.

The characters are very well developed. I loved their complexity, their depth, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they all fit together. Each of the characters brought a difference in opinion and way of living. I liked how each character had his or her own viewpoints, and how those views determined the decisions they would make. It’s just like in real life. I have four children and they are all very different. They all see the world a little differently, and that’s one of the things I love about them.

There are some very heavy topics discussed in this book. Parental rights, teenage “intimacy,” abortion, honesty, making mistakes, and how we treat each other are just a few. Does playing by the rules 99% of the time make it ok to be unethical for 1% of the time? Does a more affluent person have more rights than a non-affluent person? What makes a fit mother? Does a nomadic lifestyle make a person less important?

See what I mean? Wow. This book definitely packs a punch!

Content Rating RRating: R (There’s some profanity, including several “f” words. There is teenage “intimacy,” including scenes and innuendos, and one of the characters has an abortion.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

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

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

the book thief by markus zusak Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton  A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake
  

Book Review of Girl Fighter by Cyan Night

Girl Fighter by Cyan Night

♦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 Girl Fighter by Cyan Night

My husband laughed at me when I told him I was reading this book. He said, “It’s right up your alley!” Haha! He knows me too well. I do not watch boxing or fighting of any kind. I can’t. Watching people hit each other and hurt each other is not my thing. I don’t find it entertaining because there could be long-lasting repercussions from injuries. You won’t find me watching a fight like that…ever. So, what did I think about the book? Find out in my book review of Girl Fighter by Cyan Night.

Blurb:

What kind of person signs up for a cage fight? Aliyah, a mixed race Australian lives a solitary life as a computer specialist in London. She is born with an exceptional intelligence but her gifted mind does little to alleviate the pain she carries inside since her childhood. One day Aliyah stumbles upon a mixed martial arts gym. Like many fighters before her she finds peace in a sport that is seemingly violent.

She takes on training with a military discipline as an easy substitute for any meaningful bond in her life. Her journey to her debut cage fight is challenging, but it does nothing to prepare her for the biggest fight of her life. Girl Fighter explores the motivations of a mixed martial artist, the challenges of women in combat sport and the unseen struggles of a brain injury survivor.

 My Book Review:

The beginning of the book goes into Aliyah’s past. Where is she from, how did she get her name, and how did she get to this point in her life. It’s a bit confusing, and a little long, but it does set up the story. From the get-go you feel for Aliyah and her situation. I felt bad for her because of her past. However, I found her difficult to relate to in the present. Ok, so you had a rough life growing up—I’m sorry—now move on! Make something of yourself. Change your life, surround yourself with good people.

She doesn’t do any of that. Aliyah finds herself alone, and it’s sad, but she put herself in that situation. I’m just a spectator to the situation, and I find it hard to relate to her. I can only imagine the vibes she would put off if you were in the same room with her. Ms. Night did a good job of developing Aliyah. She may not have been my favorite character, but she was consistent and well developed.

The story is well written. I felt like I was there with Aliyah when she was training, at work, and even during the fight. It was interesting to see why a woman (or anyone) would choose to put herself in that situation. Like I said, I don’t get the sport. So, I did find it interesting to learn her motivations.

Unfortunately, this was not my favorite book. It did have some redeeming moments, but I just felt like I was watching a train wreck in slow motion. Something would happen, and it would negatively snowball until it got worse and worse. I felt drained after reading this book. You may feel differently than I did, but I didn’t find any inspiring moments or breaks to Aliyah’s pain.

I know in real life there aren’t always happy endings, so I didn’t expect one here. However, the ending did try to kind of make things better. I liked Hilary, Jeremy’s wife. She was the one bright spot in this book, and I’m glad she was there. John was a jerk. Consequently, I couldn’t believe the ending.

Although it was interesting learning about Aliyah and her motivations to fight, her life in London, and her journey, it was a bit of a downer for me. That’s fine. I don’t expect to read all unicorns and pixie dust, and I think I’d get sick of that anyway. Reality has its difficulties, and I think we can learn a lot from what others experience. Me, now you’ll for sure NEVER find me in the ring.

Have a good attitude. It’s the relationships in our lives that make life meaningful. Take the time to foster friendships and family relationships. Serve others. Life is too short to waste on unkind and uncaring people. Don’t judge people because you never know where they’re coming from in their lives. Look around you and find those who need a friend.

Content Rating RRating: R (Profanity, including many “f” words. “Intimacy,” including scenes and innuendos. Violence including fighting in the ring and outside the ring.)

Recommendation: Adult

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

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

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

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card  Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan
 
 
 

Book Review of Sleep Train by Jonathan London

Sleep Train by Jonathan London

♦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 Sleep Train by Jonathan London

One of my favorite things to do is read to my kids before bed. I love that time we share together. Children’s books are especially fun to read because we can take the time to look at the illustrations. I hope you enjoy my book review of Sleep Train by Jonathan London.

Blurb:

Night is falling.

A steam whistle softly calls.

A yawn begins.

It’s time to slip under the covers

And catch the sleep train. . . .

 

I count the ten sleepy cars

instead of counting sheep.

And I’ll count those cars

until I go to sleep.

My Book Review:

I have mixed emotions about this book. On one hand, I like the idea of the book. It has a cute premise. The little boy is in bed at home, and instead of counting sheep to go to sleep, he counts the train cars. His imagination puts him on the sleep train to help him doze off. On the other hand, I didn’t love the execution. It’s supposed to be in rhyme, and a lot of it is. However, I’m not sure what happens with some of it because the rhyming just isn’t there. It’s kind of in and out, and the formatting isn’t consistent.  

I like many of the illustrations and their dream-like feel, but I’m sorry…the little boy looks a little creepy when he’s on the train. He looks fine in the beginning when he’s in his room, but once he’s on the train, he looks like one of those creepy marionette or ventriloquist puppets. I do like the illustrations of the train and its cars though.

The most important part of a children’s book is if the kids will like it. I think they will still enjoy it despite its flaws. Many children love trains, and those children, especially, will have fun with this book.

 

Content Rating GRating: G (It’s clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone

Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

If you would like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2HOIyws

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

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood Nina the Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy  Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman and Jacky Davis
 
 

 

 

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

♦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 Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

This book review of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland has been more difficult to write than normal. Unexpectedly, this book has found a tender spot in my heart. I have a few connections with this book. In the story, Ailsa receives a heart transplant, and her friend Seb receives a corneal transplant. My mother-in-law received a corneal transplant many years ago, so I related to Seb and his circumstance. Then, about 4 ½ years ago my father-in-law received a heart transplant.

In the months previous to his heart transplant, my father-in-law spent weeks in the hospital. He had an LVAD pump put in, and we went through this strange act of asking for a miracle. I say strange because you want your prayers answered. You want the miracle. But in order for that to happen, someone else must lose his life. Another family must lose a loved one so that you may keep yours.

Then, in the middle of the night we received the phone call. There was a heart that was a match, and he was going into surgery. What a blessing. My father-in-law did really well with his new heart. He got a second chance at life, and he took it. We are so grateful to his donor and the donor’s family. It’s hard because you know that their sacrifice brings your joy.

Sadly, my father-in-law passed away about ten months ago. The wound is still fresh. It wasn’t his heart, though. His heart stood strong until the end. Unfortunately, he had pulmonary fibrosis, and died from complications with that. We will never forget that because of his donor we had 3.5 more years with him. Thank you to those who become donors, who give others a chance at life.  

Blurb:

“Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that—just in time—saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But…

Her relationship with her mother is at a breaking point.

She knows she needs to find her father.

She’s missed so much that her friends have left her behind.

She’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.

And then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart.

She just needs to learn to listen to it…”

 

My Book Review:

Ailsa has a good voice in this story. She’s authentic. Although she’s not perfect, she is learning. I like how you see her growth as the book progresses. It would be difficult to transition from thinking you could die at any time to thinking of a whole life ahead of you. Sometimes she is strong and other times she isn’t, but isn’t that how life really goes? I don’t know anyone who is strong all.the.time. If they act that way then you know they’re hiding something.

Seb seems like a good guy. I like his voice as well, and think he is great for Ailsa at this time of her life. Does he have some growing up to do as well? Yes, but that’s one of the things I like about him. I like that he’s down-to-earth and normal even though his circumstances might not be.

I think the character development in the book is done very well. The writing style is easy to read and understand, flows well, and sucks you into life in Edinburgh, Scotland. Now I want to go there! Butland does a great job writing dialogue. It doesn’t seem forced or awkward; it feels real and is quite engaging. You do need to pay attention to the dates at the beginning of the chapters because once in awhile it sends you back in time, and I got confused a few times.

The moral of the story is that life is hard, but good. Even boring life can be hard sometimes. You don’t let that pull you down, though.  Stand up, take charge, change what you need to, and go forward with a positive attitude. Look for the good in life, be grateful for what you have, and try to make life better for others. Be kind and forgiving. Love, and allow others to love you. Believe in yourself. Take advantage of the time you have with your loved ones because you never know what tomorrow brings.

I enjoyed this story, and loved getting sucked into Ailsa’s world. It’s fun that she’s a blogger too! I finished reading the book this morning, and I admit that it has touched me in a way that I didn’t expect. I miss my father-in-law, but am so grateful for his heart donor and the 3.5 more years of family parties, camping trips, birthday parties, Christmases, and family dinners we were able to have. Hug your loved ones today!

 

Content Rating RRating: R (There’s quite a bit of profanity, including many “f” words. There isn’t any violence, but there are a few “intimacy” scenes and discussions about it.”

Age Recommendation: Adult

Rating: 3.5/5 (I lowered it from 4 because of all the profanity.)

3.5 Star Rating

If you would like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2qJmEAN

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

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright  the nightingale by kristin hannah
 
 
This book review is dedicated to my father-in-law Robert. Love ya, Bob!!!