Book Review of The Heat Is On by Helen Bridgett

The Heat is On by Helen Bridgett

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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

 

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

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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

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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.

 
 

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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

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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.

 
 

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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!!!
 
 

Book Review of Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde

Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde

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Book Review of Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde

Have you ever found it hard to get along with your siblings? As teenagers, my sister and I didn’t get along well. You could say that we were pretty much opposites in regards to the friends we had, the clothes we wore, and what our sides of the room looked like. We had a few difficult years. Now, however, I consider her one of my best friends. It’s great how time and circumstances have brought us closer together. In this book you get to know three adult siblings; they don’t have their relationships with each other quite figured out yet. I hope you enjoy my book review of Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde.

Blurb:

“When Murray Blaire invites his three children home to his New Hampshire farm for a long weekend, he of course wants everyone to get along. But Ruth, George, and Lizzie all have their own private agenda—as does Murray, who wants eldest daughter Ruth to convince Lizzie to break up with her much older boyfriend. But Murray’s plans, along with those of his children, are derailed when impulsive Lizzie turns up with a damaged family cookbook and the possibility of criminal charges.

This is not the first time the Blaire family has been thrown into chaos. In fact, that cookbook, an old edition of Fannie Farmer, is the last remaining artifact from a more idyllic time, a time when they had a mother and another brother and a public reputation to maintain. And the handwritten notes within its pages provide tantalizing clues to their mother, whose choices have long been a mystery to her children.

As the Blaire siblings piece together their mother’s story, they come to understand not just what they’ve lost, but the one path they may have to find their way back to one another.”

 

My Book Review:

I am the oldest of six children. Growing up with all of us was a blast, but there were also a few times that we didn’t get along. When that happened, my mom would quote scripture to us. Haha! Smart mom move, right? Matthew 5: 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” We’d all groan when she said it, but she’d get her point across.

Now that we are all adults, we get along great. We have a lot of fun together. Consequently, it made me sad when I saw how difficult the relationship between Ruth, George, and Lizzie was. I like how each character in this book has his or her own identity. You learn about their histories, their current stories, and their fears and misgivings. Past mistakes come to light, along with the good things they do as well. I felt like a part of their family because it was written so well.

The writing style of this book just sucks you in. It’s easy to read, flows well, and draws you into the lives of this family. I liked Murray a lot. My favorite part of his was when he took out his hearing aid so he couldn’t hear his children arguing. Haha! The sibling I most related to was probably Ruth. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. We’re both oldest children, so maybe that’s why. I liked George’s easy going style, and Lizzie’s heart.

This family has dealt with a lot, and even though you feel bad for them, it definitely makes them more authentic. I loved how the title came into the story; I thought it fit perfectly. Even though the book only took place over a weekend, I enjoyed seeing the growth of each of the characters. The one thing I thought that was a little strange was that a man would keep a cookbook for that long, or borrow it at all. I did like how Lillian utilized the cookbook, and how it became sentimental to the family.

This was a fast, entertaining read for me. I enjoyed delving into the lives of these family members. The complexity of their lives and their personalities made it a fun book to get lost in. It deals with many everyday situations, and some a little more far-fetched. The writing draws you in as a member of the family, and I liked it a lot. I do wish that there had been less profanity.  

 

 Content Rating RRating: R (There’s lots of profanity, including many “f” words. There are also discussions about “intimacy” and a few scenes. Abortion is discussed, and there is some domestic violence.) 

Age Recommendation: Adult

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

3.5 Star Rating

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

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 A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner  A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake
 
 

The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle

The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby Burle

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Book Review of The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle

Has there ever been a time in your life where things have not turned out as planned? You lose your job or your car breaks down on the side of the freeway? A loved one passes away unexpectedly or an illness affects a loved one? I think it happens to everyone at one time or another, and this book speaks to those moments. The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle is Shadow Mountain’s first women’s fiction novel, and I am thankful to them for allowing me to read and review it!

Blurb:

“Nina’s once-sweet life has unexpectedly turned sour. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, and her teenage daughter is slipping away from her. Then her father dies and issues with Nina’s mother come to a head; her estranged brother, Ray, comes home; and her sister, Lola, Is tempted to blow a big family secret out of the water. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will make a huge mess of things.

All Nina’s got left is her final photography assignment shooting images for the book 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. Well, that and the attention of a younger man, but Oliver’s on-again-off-again romantic interest in her ebbs and flows so much she is seasick. And then Jack, her ex-husband, shows up, wanting to get back together.

As Nina struggles to find a way through her complicated relationships and to uncover her true path, she discovers just how valuable a second chance at life and happiness can be.”

 

My Book Review:

I think everyone understands hard times. Sometimes we bring the hard things upon us by our actions, and other times they just happen. How we deal with and handle those hard times is what defines us. Can we pick ourselves up, learn from the experience, and move forward? Or do we find ourselves stuck, looking backward? Do we push everyone away and try to handle it ourselves, or do we embrace the love and help of others? This book speaks to these moments.

Nina is a good main character. She has a good voice. She’s easy to relate to, realistic, and likable. When you read about her family it makes you feel like your family is not only normal, but great! I may have thought, “Oh, and I thought my family was bad at that…” a few times. Nina’s family definitely has issues. Each of them is complex and well developed.

Jack and Cassie also seem authentic and realistic. I loved Lola. She is Nina’s sister, an artist, and has dealt with some difficult things in her life. Nina’s brother Ray is a bit harder to relate to. There were times I really liked him and times that I didn’t like him at all. He has a good heart, but has a difficult time making good choices. I liked how these characters were not perfect. They each struggled with something, but were trying to overcome. The one character that I thought was a bit unrealistic was Oliver. I don’t know about that whole side story. It was a bit over-the-top for me; kind of silly and unbelievable.

What I liked about this story was that it shows how difficult life can be. We make choices every day, and sometimes those choices stick with us forever. We’re not perfect and we don’t always handle things correctly. Sometimes we make a bigger mess of things when we try to fix them. We allow our pride to get in the way of progress and growth. But that doesn’t mean that we’re stuck there forever. We can change, learn, grow, and move forward in our lives. I think it also speaks to acceptance and forgiveness of others.

I enjoyed this book a lot. Some books you finish and never think of again. That was not the case for me with this book. The characters and their stories stuck with me; I kept thinking about them and hoping for them long after I finished. I like the title and will probably use it to describe my last year; we definitely had a lemonade year last year. Here’s to hoping this year will be better!

 

Content Rating PG-13+Rating: PG-13+ (There’s no profanity and no violence. There isn’t any “intimacy,” except kissing, but the actual word is said a couple of times. And it is discussed. Some of the themes are geared more toward adults.) 

Age Recommendation: 18+

Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

To purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2H7WRJR

The Lemonade Year Blog Tour Image

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

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite  The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright
 
 

Girls Who Code: Lights, Music, Code! by Jo Whittenmore

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

Book Review of Girls Who Code: Lights, Music, Code! (Book #3) by Jo Whittenmore

My 12 year-old daughter is really into coding right now. I love it! Unfortunately, I don’t know much about coding, so I hope she learns a lot and then teaches me! Learning to code has so many benefits, and I think every student should learn the basics. Girls Who Code: Lights, Music, Code! by Jo Whittenmore is the third book in the series of middle school girls who are in a coding club at school. It’s a great way to introduce coding to girls, and to help them see coding as something they may want to do. This book is in cooperation with GirlsWhoCode.com.

Blurb:

“It’s almost time for the winter dance, and Maya and her BFFs are in charge of coding the lights and music! Of course they’ll use what they’ve learned in coding club to make it super-cool, though figuring out their plan isn’t easy. And Maya’s friends aren’t listening to any of her ideas.

But Nicole, Maya’s old friend, is happy to listen to her. Before long, Maya finds herself in one big mess—with her friends and at home—and the dance might be a total disaster. Is it too late for Maya to realize that friendship—like coding—is about making sure you look, listen, and learn?”

 

My Book Review:

I love the idea and concept of this book! Using books to introduce children to different people, places, and things is something I did as a teacher and now do as a mom. It’s a great way to teach without telling them they’re learning. See how sneaky that is? Coding may seem scary and difficult when children (and adults) first learn about it. However, if they can see it put to use, it helps break down the barriers.

That’s the idea behind this book, and the two previous books. If you can create a cute, fun story that girls will enjoy reading, and make coding fun, it may help girls take more of an interest in coding. The girls in the story come from all different kinds of backgrounds and ethnicities, which is great. Most of them seem like sweet girls, and they’re smart! I like it when being smart is portrayed as a good thing.

The things these girls do in coding club amazes me! I even learned a few things. (Haha! That’s not hard…I don’t know anything about coding!) It’s super fun what they end up putting together. One thing I had hoped for was more coding. For a book about coding, there wasn’t a ton of it. It’s a good start though.

There are some good lessons taught in this book as well. Honesty, trust, treating your parents with respect, and taking responsibility for your actions are just a few of the lessons. The problem is that there is A LOT of drama before they can get to the lessons learned. Wow. I don’t do drama, and have taught my girls not to get sucked into the drama, and this book is 85% drama, 13% coding, and 2% lessons learned. It’s a bit much.

One thing that didn’t make sense to me was that the girls are in middle school, but they’re going with boys (as dates) to the dance. It felt like they should be in high school instead. However, the reading level of the book seemed a bit low to include boys, as dates, and all that drama. The reading level and language made it seem like the girls should be even younger than middle school. I thought there was a bit of a disconnect because those things weren’t congruent.

Overall, though, everything came together in the end. The girls accomplished their coding goals and learned some good lessons. I think it does do a good job of introducing some things that coding can do, and how coding can be used in everyday situations.

 

Content Rating PG-13Rating: PG-13 (There’s no profanity, no “intimacy,” and no violence. I’m rating it at PG-13 because the girls talk about the origins of the Tooth Fairy, and I want to make sure girls are old enough to know that. 🙂 Also, there is a lesbian couple in the book.)

Age Recommendation: 13-14 years-old and up (See above)

Rated: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

To purchase this book, click here: http://amzn.to/2px4txV

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

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio Focused by Noelle Pikus Pace  Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
 
 

(This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra and I receive a small commission.)

The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright

The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright

Book Review of The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright

Have you ever lost someone? I’ve lost my grandparents and, more recently, my father-in-law. It’s tough! Each person grieves in his or her own way. What helps one person may not help the other person at all. And the timing is different for everyone. The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright delves into the difficult world of loss and suicide. Two very different characters handle the loss in their lives in their own ways, but they have one thing in common: the bridge.

Blurb:

“Katie Connelly has lived in San Francisco all her life. Her late father made his career on the Golden Gate Bridge, and the many stories of how he saved jumpers still haunt her. And now her job assignment is to write about the history of the bridge—a history that includes a secret journal about a promise ring and a love story that may be the answer to her unresolved sorrow.

Meanwhile, Dave Riley, a marketing executive in New York, has sorrows of his own. Grasping at straws after tragedy strikes his family, he decides to follow a daydream that has turned into an obsession: to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge on a motorcycle on the Fourth of July.

Does the bridge somehow mysteriously hold the answers both Katie and Dave are looking for? Or will they find something completely different when they get to the other side?” 

My Book Review:

I loved Camron Wright’s The Rent Collector. Therefore, when I had the chance to review his new book, The Other Side of the Bridge, I couldn’t resist! The story switches between Katie Connelly and Dave Riley. I thought that the character development was pretty good, overall. Katie lives in San Francisco and recently lost her father. She works at the university doing research. Dave lives outside of Manhattan. He works in marketing at a big company in New York. He is dealing with a tragic loss.

The writing switches between the two characters. I didn’t find it difficult to switch. Katie’s story is written in italics to help distinguish between the two of them. I also thought their voices were different enough. Of the two, Katie definitely stood out to me as more relatable and amiable. Dave isn’t quite as likable, and although his story is tragic, it is also harder to relate to. Katie’s grieving feels more “normal,” if you can say that, where Dave definitely takes it to the extreme.

Don’t get me wrong, I felt empathy for Dave, I really did. However, his extreme reaction compared to his feelings at the beginning of the book made it seem like a discord to me. Who am I to say though? I’ve never experienced what he did. The event that happened at the end, after he technically reached his destination (I’m trying to not give anything away here…), was a bit much for me. It felt over the top and out of place, in my opinion.

One of my favorite things in the book was learning about the Golden Gate Bridge, how it was built, and the people that built it. Patrick O’Riley’s story is so good, and I enjoyed reading through his journal with Katie. I loved learning about the Claddagh faith rings.

Womens_Silver_Claddagh_Ring

Aren’t they so pretty? According to http://www.celtic-weddingrings.com:

The Claddagh ring meaning is all about love, loyalty, and friendship. The two hands represent friendship, a heart symbolizes love and the crown on top is for loyalty. The ring can be worn on different fingers or hands, depending on status. 

Patrick’s words from the book describe his love for Anna:

With this crown, I give my loyalty. With these hands, I promise to serve. With this heart, I give you mine.

I think they are beautiful, and I love the meaning that they have. That part of the story was my favorite.

At first I felt that the book would be very predictable. Some of it was, but not in the way I originally thought. What I originally predicted was way off course, thankfully. However, I felt disappointed by the moment at which the characters cross paths. I had hoped for a little more, but I guess it fit for each of them. The ending felt a bit rushed, but I liked it.

The book as a whole felt a bit depressing, but it talks a lot about overcoming loss in your life. It also delves into suicide. Both of these topics need to be discussed, so why not allow people to learn through a good story? We all grieve differently, and there’s no right or wrong way to experience grief. I did like the lessons it taught about overcoming, moving on, and learning to live again—guilt free.

Overall, I liked The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like it as much as I liked The Rent Collector, but it’s a good, thought provoking read.

 

Content Rating PG-13Rating: PG-13 (There’s no profanity and no “intimacy,” except for a brief kiss. I rated it higher because of the discussions about suicide.)

Age Recommendation: 14 years-old and up

Rated 3.5/5 stars

3.5 Star Rating

To purchase this book, click here: http://amzn.to/2FP2uir

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

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill  Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
 
 

(This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra and I receive a small commission.)