The Vicar’s Daughter

The Vicar’s Daughter
by
Josi S. Kilpack

Blurb:
“Cassie, the youngest of six daughters in the Wilton family, is bold, bright, and ready to enter society. There’s only one problem: her older sister Lenora, whose extreme shyness prevents her from attending many social events. Lenora is now entering her third season, and since their father has decreed that only one Wilton girl can be out at a time, Cassie has no choice except to wait her turn. Evan Glenside, a soft-spoken, East London clerk, has just been named his great-uncle’s heir, and though he is eager to learn all that will be required of him, he struggles to feel accepted in a new town and in his new position. A chance meeting between Evan and Lenora promises to change everything, but when Lenora proves too shy to pursue the relationship, Cassie begins to write Mr. Glenside letters in the name of her sister. Her good intentions lead to disaster when Cassie realizes she is falling in love with Evan. But then Evan begins to court Lenora, thinking she is the author of the letters. As secrets are revealed, the hearts of Cassie, Evan, and Lenora are tested. Will the final letter sent by the vicar’s daughter be able to reunite the sisters as well as unite Evan with his true love?”

My Review:

This is a fun new addition to the proper romance genre! It is well written, has good character development, and a sweet love story. Although I usually liked Cassie, there were times when I wanted to scream at her; she could definitely be strong willed and had a tendency to make poor choices. Lenora was more complex than you think she will be the first time you meet her, and she could also drive me crazy at times. Evan was a great character. I actually liked him a lot. He wasn’t perfect, but he was a gentleman and did his best. I like how he protected his family, and how he felt he had to take care of them. This story was a bit predictable, and cheesy in some parts, but that’s what we love about romances, right? I think it ended a little too perfectly, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the ending. 🙂 If you’re a Josi Kilpack fan, or if you enjoy the proper romance genre, you will definitely enjoy this book. It was entertaining and was a cute story.

This book is clean! There may be a kiss or two, but the only scandalous thing in the book are a few secret (clean) letters. Boy am I glad times have changed for dating and marriage!

Rating: PG (It’s clean!)

Recommendation: YA and up

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

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Blurb (From amazon.com):
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.”

My Review:

This is one of my all time favorite books! It is a classic and still a great read! I read it in school and have reread it several times. I appreciate it more every time I read it. Atticus Finch is a single father raising his two children, Jem and Scout. He has a nanny that cooks and takes care of the children, and she is an African-American woman. Next door to them lives Boo Radley, who never comes out of the house. The story goes through the trials of being a single father, growing up in the 1930’s, and the relationships between races at that time. Atticus is a lawyer who is asked to defend an African-American boy accused of raping a white girl. Harper Lee did a very good job in this book. It is very well written. I love the way she writes. I love her descriptions, her character development, and the way she seamlessly traverses difficult subjects. I love the lessons that are taught in this book. It is timeless. The issues brought up in the book are still in the news today; I love books whose messages are relevant to all ages and eras. I wish some of the issues in this book were no longer issues today; however, since they are still issues, books like this are great to help us see beyond the trees and into the forest.

There are some very adult issues discussed in this book that may be too much for younger readers to understand and deal with. (Do I really want to go into rape with my 11 year-old son? No.) There is the rape trial and other racial issues. With that said, older junior high students (9th grade) and high school students will definitely benefit from reading this book.

 Rated: PG-13 (Racial issues and a  rape trial.)

Recommendation: High School and Up. This is a great read for a high school English class. This book may be appropriate for a mature 9th grader as well. As is always the case, I recommend that parents read this book first to determine whether or not their child is mature enough to handle the issues discussed.

   

*This review was originally posted on 4/28/09, but has been updated. 

The Forgotten Garden

Throwback Thursday
This review was originally posted on 3/1/12. I loved this book!!!

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book–a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and with very little to on on, “Nell” sets out on a journey to England to try to trace her story, to find her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. At Cliff Cottage, on the grounds of Blackhurst Manor, Cassandra discovers the forgotten garden of the book’s title and is able to unlock the secrets of the beautiful book of fairy tales.”

I loved this book! It is very well written and so engaging. It is a little confusing at first trying to figure out who goes to what time period, but in the end it comes together seamlessly. I loved the story and I loved the characters. The storyline is intricate and intimate. The characters are well developed and I felt as though I knew them personally, as if I were on the journey with them. I’m not usually one to try and figure out what happens, I usually just like to read and enjoy the book. With this story, however, I would lie in bed at night trying to piece it together. I would think I had it figured out and then the characters would say or do something that would make me think otherwise. And the cycle continued. In the end, I had a lot of it pieced together, but there were some twists thrown in the end that I hadn’t anticipated.

I thought a lot about family and self worth while reading this book. If I suddenly found out I wasn’t who my family said I was, would it change my relationships with them? Blood doesn’t change who loves you and takes care of you does it? I’m sure I could see myself trying to find my blood relations, but I don’t think I would distance myself like Nell did. Anyway, that was really interesting how each character reacted. I liked that in trying to find Nell, Cassandra was able to find and heal herself as well. I really liked the romantic touch weaved through the story. I found it was interesting how different people saw the same evidence differently, and I liked how the storyline continued through different times and people and never skipped a beat. It was mostly clean. There were a few words throughout, and there was a scene that involved “physical intimacy” of two unmarried people. That whole part of the story is strange, but I guess fits. It definitely made me uncomfortable.

I highly recommend this book! It made me think a lot about how the choices we make not only affect us, but they affect those around us, and they can sometimes set in motion a chain of events we would never have anticipated. Thank you, Ms. Morton, for a very good read!

Rating: PG-13 (Death of a few characters, some language, and “physical intimacy.”)

Recommendation: Senior in High School and up. This is a tricky one. Because of the nature of the “physical intimacy” scene (It doesn’t go into a ton of detail, it’s just the people who are doing it and why they are doing it.), I think the reader should be a little more mature. As an adult, don’t let this description stop you from reading it. I promise, the rest of the book is fabulous and makes up for it.

Someone Else’s Love Story

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
(Summary taken from the first page of the book) “At twenty-one, Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college; raising her delightful three-year-old genius son, Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo; and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Christian mother and Jewish father. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stickup in a gas station minimart and falling in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who willingly steps between the armed robber and her son. Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god, Thor, has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: it’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn’t define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head-on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know. Someone Else’s Love Story is Joshilyn Jackson’s funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about a virgin birth, a sacrifice, and a resurrection; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem–or what we hope they will be. It’s  a novel about discovering what we want and ultimately finding what we need.”
The characters in this book are well done. Each has a distinctive voice and personality. I had a bunch of guy friends in high school and college, so I could definitely picture the relationship between Shandi and Walcott. I loved the love that Shandi had for her son. I loved that she was trying to finish college and not let a teenage pregnancy rule the rest of her life. Walcott was one of my favorite characters. I thought he just seemed so nice, helpful, kind, considerate, patient, and gentlemanly. William was harder to read. I couldn’t ever quite figure him out, but at the same time I thought he was genuinely sincere and had a good heart. I liked the impulsively nice things he did, like putting himself between the robber and Shandi’s son Natty. Oh, Natty. I loved him. So cute and smart!!! Three is a hard age, but a fun one too. I had a hard time getting used to Ms. Jackson’s writing style, and had to reread a few sentences to understand them, but by about half-way through I didn’t notice it as much, and got sucked into the story. It’s not the easiest writing style to read, but it got easier the more I read. I didn’t like how she jumped from character to character. Sometimes it was in the character’s mind and sometimes it was not in the other character’s mind. I think it felt choppy and it took me a few sentences each time to figure out where we were. I ended up liking the story, ok. It came together well and there were some surprises at the end that completely got me! I liked how Shandi and William were able to move past some very difficult situations to find what they needed. Both of them showed personal growth; it was good to see. Although, I’m not quite sure her decision to maybe forgive at the end was realistic, especially without the whole truth. The lessons of accepting the past and moving forward, and figuring out what you really need are poignant. I wished it went on just a few more pages….I wanted a little bit more info at the end, but it was ok. I did enjoy the story in the end, but it did take me awhile to get into her writing style. I also figured out half the ending. I know, half, right? Well, the other half was one of the surprises.
It’s a good thing the story was good because the language was awful. There is a lot of profanity in this book, especially the “f” word. There is also a lot of talk of, and discussions about, “intimacy.” There is a rape that is discussed and a lot of “intimacy” scenes and discussion. It’s not put delicately either. College frat initiations, high school boys that have reputations, that kind of thing, and it’s quite detailed. You’ve probably read enough of my reviews to know that I’m not a huge fan of this. I did find parts of this book offensive, and the language was too much for me. But, I know I’m kind of by myself in this regard. The story was good, but it would have been so much better without the language and “intimacy.” I know, some of it may have been necessary to set up histories and personalities, but for me it was too much. Putting all that aside, I did enjoy getting sucked into Shandi and William’s worlds. I think I can learn their lessons and try each day to make my marriage stronger, not take for granted the loved ones in my life, and help make the world a better place.
**Update!!! I originally posted this review on 11/12/13, but I’m reposting it today because it comes out in paperback this week, and the publisher asked if I could help her get the word out!!!**
Rating: R (This does not follow the movie ratings exactly, it is just my way of saying it is not appropriate for younger readers.) Language, especially the “f” word, rape, intimacy scenes and discussions about, a robbery with a gun, and violence.
Recommendation: Adult. This book is not appropriate for younger readers.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling–a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths…all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale. As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object–artfully encoded with five symbols–is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation…one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon–a prominent Mason and philanthropist–is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations–all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.”
This book is a typical Dan Brown book. I liked it, but it was very formulaic and somewhat predictable. The places, names, and institutions involved may be different from his previous books, but the story is very similar. There is the evil guy, Mal’akh, and he wants something. In order to get it, he has to kidnap someone and torture him, and then Robert Langdon is there, of course, to figure out the meanings in the symbols. Robert will hopefully save the day with his knowledge. There’s a girl too.  At the beginning of the book, Mr. Brown states that, “All rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real.” You can definitely tell that Mr. Brown did his homework and knows a lot about the different rituals in Masonry, and the science of Noetics. I did find all that information very interesting and would like to know a little bit more about it. I liked Katherine, Warren Bellamy, and Dean Galloway. I thought they each added something a little different to the story and thought they were written well. Mr. Brown definitely toned this book down. I thought Angels and Demons was a little too much, and this one brought it down a notch, which was good. The language wasn’t as bad, and the evil character was evil and insane, but not quite as grotesque as in Angels and Demons. Don’t get me wrong, there are some yucky scenes that are hard to read, but they are not as bad as they were in other books. I did like the book okay, and there were some things that I did really like, but it just didn’t capture my attention like Mr. Brown’s previous books did. I may have been in the wrong frame of mind to read it. I was in a really bad car accident a few weeks ago and was really stressed to find a new car and deal with insurance companies, and even though I did read, my mind wasn’t too into it. If you like Mr. Brown’s books, you will most likely like this one.
Rating: R (This does not follow the movie ratings exactly, it is just my way of saying it is not appropriate for younger readers.) Language, murders, torture scenes.
Recommendation: 18 and up

 

Orphan Train

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

(Summary taken from the inside cover) “Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude? As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.”

I love it when I can read fiction and still learn something! I consider myself to be well-versed in history, especially U.S. history, but I had absolutely no idea that the orphan trains existed. I was shocked, to say the least. I’m glad Ms. Kline put the time and research into this book, because I may never have learned about this part of history. Ms. Kline weaves the story together so well. I loved her imagery, her descriptions, her ability to tell the story, and her ability to bring the story to life. I loved this book. Yes, it was definitely depressing and awful at times, but the way it came together in the end made all the sadness worth it. The character development in this book is very well done. The characters come to life on the pages, and it felt like they had been my dear friends forever. Vivian-old and young-is such a strong character. I felt so bad for her when they changed her name, and she just seemed to roll with it. I enjoyed getting to know her through her possessions.  Dutchy is such a fun and real character. I loved his determination, his attitude, and his independence. Mrs. Nielsen was another favorite character. She seems like the perfect teacher. Someday, when I go back to teaching, I want to be like her. I could go on and on about the characters. Ms. Kline’s writing style is very easy to read, yet has a certain eloquence to it. She managed to really fit the style of it with the time period, and I liked it a lot.

I also liked the second part of the story, and Molly. I didn’t really like her at first, and I think that was the point. I did feel bad for her, growing up in modern-day foster care, but her personality and mine definitely clash. I loved how her character evolved, though. It made me so sad to realize that in the 80 or so years since 1929, we really haven’t come too far from the orphan trains. According to the book, and from my impressions of today’s foster care system, it doesn’t seem a whole lot better, and that irritated me. Sometimes it takes a book like this to motivate people to make changes, and I hope it does that. These children aren’t just statistics anymore, but are real children that matter and should be loved.

There is quite a bit of language in this book. The “f” word is used several times, along with other profanity. There is an attempted rape scene, along with domestic violence, death, and abuse, among other things. I told you, it is not a happy book, there are scenes that will make you cringe and cry, but it is a wonderful story and I’m so glad I read it. I learned a lot, and it really made me think and consider what my viewpoints are, and if I could possibly help. I highly recommend it, with the above cautions.

Rating: R (Remember, this does not follow the movie ratings exactly….it is just my way of saying it is not appropriate for younger readers.) Death, abuse, domestic violence, language, attempted rape.

Recommendation: College and up. I think this may still be too much for even an 18 year-old.

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

Skull Eye Island

Skull Eye Island by Peter Greene

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Homeless and alone on the streets of London in 1800, twelve-year-old Jonathan Moore survives this harsh and dangerous world using courage, intelligence and determination. His dismal fate changes dramatically one day after he is abducted by a gang and pressed into service aboard the HMS Poseidon, a forty-four gun fighting frigate of the British Royal Navy. However, there is more to the event than just a change of address. How is it that some members of the crew, including the Captain, already know his name? Why do the officers seem to favor him above the other new crewmembers? As Jonathan endeavors to solve these mysteries, he is thrust into a daring mission to recover a hidden treasure on a remote Caribbean isle. Unfortunately, the crew and officers of the Poseidon are not the only ones searching for the prize. In a desperate race across the Atlantic to Skull Eye Island, Jonathan is pitted against sword-wielding spies, engages in terrifying ship-to-ship battles and in the end, must match his wits and courage against a ruthless and cunning French Captain and his powerful warship.”

I loved this book! It is written very well, and I really liked Mr. Greene’s writing style. It just pulled me in from the beginning, and I couldn’t put it down. I could picture myself on the ship, in the Captain’s quarters, on the island, and in France walking to the apothecary shop. I love it when I can become a part of the story; that is why I read! Mr. Greene’s character development is really good. I did have a hard time keeping track of some of the crew members at first, but figured it out in the end. I especially liked Jonathan and Sean, the Captain, and Mr. Harrison. Some of the other crew members were grumpy old sailors, but they all had some good moments. The story is well written and exciting. There is action, sword-fighting, storms, mystery, and treasure! What more could you want? Oh, romance? Well, there might be a paragraph or two on that as well. Remember, Jonathan is only 12 years-old, so hopefully there’s not too much romance. I really don’t know anything about ships, so some of the jargon was difficult at first, but I think I got it down by the end. That is another reason I enjoy reading; I love to learn about different things, on my couch, in my p.j.’s. It’s great!

And what is something I love? It is clean!! Yes, that makes me very happy. You can have a wonderful story without the language and other questionable material. There is some sword-fighting and a few characters die, but it is a war, and the descriptions are not in-depth or gruesome. I highly recommend this book, and can’t wait for my boys to read it. I think they will really enjoy it as well.

Rating: PG (Some sword-fighting, ships shooting each other, and a few minor characters die)

Recommendation: 9 years-old (4th Grade-ish) up. This would be a fun read-aloud as well as a great silent read.

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

Frindle

Frindle by Andrew Clements

(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “Everyone knows that Mrs. Granger, Nicholas Allen’s fifth-grade teacher, has X-ray vision, and nobody gets away with anything in her classroom. To make matters worse, she’s also a fanatic about the dictionary, which is hopelessly boring to Nick. But when Nick learns an interesting tidbit about words and where they come from, it inspires a great plan: to invent a new word. From now on, a pen is no longer a pen–it’s a frindle. It doesn’t take long for frindle to take root, and soon the excitement spreads well beyond his school and town. His parents and Mrs. Granger would like Nick to put an end to all this nonsense. But frindle doesn’t belong to Nick anymore. All he can do now is sit back and watch what happens.”

I had never heard of this book before, and then my friend reviewed in on goodreads. I thought it would be great for my boys (4th and 5th grades), and when I asked them if they had read it, they both said, “Yes!” That doesn’t usually happen. I had no idea. Anyway, they had both read it, so I picked it up and started reading. It is so cute and fun! I read it in one sitting, so it’s a very fast and easy read. It’s very imaginative, and I think it teaches kids a great lesson about words, about using your imagination, and also about how one person can make a difference. I love Nick’s character. He is witty, imaginative, and funny. I also liked Mrs. Granger because of the teacher in me. I loved how the word just took off, and it reminded me of when I was in high school and “like” was just beginning to be used more, and how  my drama teacher pounded it into our heads not to use it. Unfortunately, she was not able to stop the “like” movement, but that’s okay. The word frindle took off in the same way. What a fun idea! This woud be a great read-aloud, but it’s also great for a silent read.

It’s a clean read, so it’s great for everyone, which I like!

Rating: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: 5 years and up (I have a four-year-old, and I don’t know if she would quite understand it yet.) as a read-aloud. I think it’s about a third grade reading level for a silent read.

Return to the Aegean

Return to the Aegean by E.J. Russell

Thalia grew up on Katafigio, a small island in Greece. She left years ago and has not returned, until now. She has her reasons for not returning all these years, and is now hoping to find some answers and some peace. Will she find them?

Haha….that is my lame excuse of a summary. Now you know why I usually copy the summary from the book or other sources. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a summary for this book so you have to suffer through mine.

Moving on….I enjoyed this book! It has mystery, romance, and betrayal. What more could you ask for, right? How about beautiful descriptions of Greece’s scenery? Ms. Russell’s descriptions put you right on the island. They are very well written and definitely make me want to visit Greece. I could almost smell the ocean and feel the breeze. Ms. Russell also has very good character development. I don’t really relate to Thalia at all, but it didn’t matter because I could find enough of a connection that I felt for her and wanted her to find the truth. I liked a lot of the people around her. For example, I really liked her friend Irini and her step-mom Sophia. They helped to ground Thalia, and I related to them more than I did to Thalia. They were a good connection for me. I also liked Petros, Villi, and Manolis. They all helped Thalia in some way or another, and with each of these people around her she was able to begin the process of healing. And that is how it is in real life. The people we surround ourselves with are the people that ground us, love us, help us, and help make us who we are. It’s the relationships in our lives that bring us the most fulfillment.

I liked Ms. Russell’s writing style and thought it was easy to read and it flowed well for the most part. There were a few typos, and there were also some sentences I read twice and still wasn’t sure where she was going with them, but it wasn’t enough to deter me from continuing. There were also some Greek words I didn’t know the meanings of, but there is an index in the back so I could look them up. I did have some unanswered questions, one of which still bothers me. I can’t go into too much detail without giving it away, but someone knew the whole time what had happened. Why doesn’t this person just tell Thalia when she sees her? She knows Thalia is looking for the truth. It would have saved a lot of trouble. It also would have taken away half of the book, which is probably why. But this is a trusted person. I still don’t get it. And Thalia was never upset with her for not telling her the truth from the get-go. My only explanation would be that she wanted Thalia to find out on her own, and that maybe it would help her move on easier. I still enjoyed the book, but this point is still a little frustrating for me.

This is definitely a book for adults. There is quite a bit of language, including a few “f” words. They caught me by surprise and I didn’t really think they needed to be there. There is also a lot of “physical intimacy.” Some scenes have more details than others, but it is a prevalent part of Thalia’s lifestyle. There is also an attempted rape scene and a murder, which is difficult to read because of how it happened and the people involved. I do recommend this book, with the previous warnings, and for the correct age group.

Rating: R (This does not follow the movie ratings exactly, it is just my way of saying that it is NOT appropriate for younger readers.) Language, “physical intimacy,” attempted rape, and a murder scene.

Recommendation: College and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, and I thank Ms. Russell for the opportunity to read and review her book.

Dancing on Broken Glass

Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes–he has bipolar disorder; she, a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry. Cautious every step of the way, they are determined to make their relationship work–and they put their commitment in writing. Mickey will take his medication. Lucy won’t blame him for what is beyond his control. He promises honesty. She promises patience. Like any marriage, there are good days and bad days–and some very bad days. In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children. But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary, she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything. Everything. Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window, and the two of them must redefine what love really is.”

Grab your box of kleenexes ladies, you’re going to need it! This book is amazing. And heart-wrenching. It’s one of those books where I could see where it was going and thought about quitting before I got there, because I didn’t know if I could handle it, but I just couldn’t put it down. I was so involved in these people’s lives that I had to see what happened. Ms. Hancock’s character development is so good that I thought of myself as the Chandler’s next door neighbor. I knew all the neighbors so well that I could have just moved on in and felt right at home. Nevermind that I have never been to Connecticut, I felt like I lived there.

As much as I cried, you’d think that I didn’t like this book, but no, I can’t say that. It is amazing. It is very well written and draws you in from the first sentence. I had a roommate in college that had bipolar disorder, and I could tell in seconds whether or not she had taken her medicine that day. That has been my only experience with bipolar disorder, but she had a lot of the same tendencies that Mickey has in the book. Thankfully she never crashed far enough to need hospitalization, but she had her up and down days. I could not imagine what Lucy went through being married to Mickey, but when you love someone you will do anything for them. I loved that message in the book. If Lucy and Mickey could make their marriage work through all those hard times, anyone can. Yes, it’s hard, but you do it. You keep your commitment and love each other through the best and worst of times. I also loved the connection Lucy and her sisters had. I loved Charlotte and Harry and Jan. I highly recommend this book. Just grab your box of kleenexes and lock yourself in your bedroom where you can cry in peace.

There is some language in this book. There are also a few love making scenes, but they are tastefully done and very romantic. There are also some tragic deaths that are heartbreaking and difficult to read. However, there is also hope and inspiration, dedication and love.  I love how the title fits in.

Rating: R (This rating does not follow the movie ratings, it is just my way of saying it is not appropriate for younger readers.) Language, love making, death of a main character.

Recommendation: College and up. I really want to say married and up, because of the love making scenes, but they are tasefully done. For some, married may be better. This is definitely an adult book, though, and not appropriate for young adult readers.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Ms. Hancock for allowing me to read and review this book, it was an honor.