A Mother’s Goodbye by Kate Hewitt – #Book Review #NGEW2018 #NetGalley #Amother’sChoice

A Mother’s Goodbye

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From Goodreads:

‘My arms ache with the need to reach and hold my precious child, and then to never let go. But I can’t. I know I can’t.’

Heather is devastated. There’s no way she can keep her baby. She can barely pay the bills as it is. But when she meets Grace, a wealthy, single career woman, who wants a baby more than anything, Heather believes she has found the perfect adoptive mother.

As Grace and Heather’s lives become entwined, they are tested to breaking point, though neither can deny the other’s love for the child. But just when they think they are learning how to live with each other, they receive devastating news that turns their fragile world upside down.

Will either mother know what is the right thing to do for the child they both love?

An absolutely gripping, emotional drama with a tear-jerking twist. If you love Jodi Picoult, Kelly Rimmer or Diane Chamberlain, this will warm your heart, make you cry, and stay with you forever.

Continue reading “A Mother’s Goodbye by Kate Hewitt – #Book Review #NGEW2018 #NetGalley #Amother’sChoice”

All the Little Lights by Jamie Mcguire – Book Review – #NGEW2018 #AllTheLittleLights #NetGalley

 All the Little Lights

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Blurb from Goodreads:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jamie McGuire comes a riveting tale of first love that starts young but runs deep.

The first time Elliott Youngblood spots Catherine Calhoun, he’s just a boy with a camera, and he’s never seen a sadder and more beautiful sight. Both Elliott and Catherine feel like outcasts, yet they find an easy friendship with each other. But when Catherine needs him most, Elliott is forced to leave town.

Elliott finally returns, but he and Catherine are now different people. He’s a star high school athlete, and she spends all her free time working at her mother’s mysterious bed-and-breakfast. Catherine hasn’t forgiven Elliott for abandoning her, but he’s determined to win back her friendship…and her heart.

Just when Catherine is ready to fully trust Elliott, he becomes the prime suspect in a local tragedy. Despite the town’s growing suspicions, Catherine clings to her love for Elliott. But a devastating secret that Catherine has buried could destroy whatever chance of happiness they have left.

Continue reading “All the Little Lights by Jamie Mcguire – Book Review – #NGEW2018 #AllTheLittleLights #NetGalley”

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage – Book Review #NGEW2018

Baby Teeth

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Blurb: Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

My Thoughts:

May contain mild spoilers…

Suzette, mother to Hanna, deals with illness on a daily basis. She has an autoimmune disease that makes her sick and causes pain. On top of this, she’s trying to be a good wife to Alex, Hanna’s dad, and all she wants is to have a normal family–a normal daughter. The problem is that Hanna is a complete psycho, doesn’t talk, and behaves so badly, she’s continuously kicked out of school and Suzette has no choice but to home school her. At home, there are even more problems. Hanna want’s to kill her mother, but has a deep love for her father and because of that, nobody believes Suzette when she tries to tell them that something is wrong with Hanna.

“Daddy was the most handsome man in the world. He dressed nicely, in crisp shirts and colorful ties, and his favorites were the ones she picked our for him. When she grew up she’d marry him, and then Mommy wouldn’t be competition anymore.”

The main points of view alternate between Suzette and Hanna throughout the book. As I mentioned, Alex, Hanna’s dad, never sees the disturbing behaviors. The person who deals with Hanna on a daily basis is Suzette and this is what made me so uncomfortable throughout the book. Alex refers to Hanna as his ‘squirrely girl’ or ‘lilla gumman’ and it seems like no matter how much he loves Suzette, he just doesn’t believe that his daughter is a psychopath and consistently makes excuses for her. Hanna exhibits aggressive and violent behaviors that almost go too far for me. It made me very uncomfortable and the constant instigating between Hanna and Suzette made me want to scream. This family is extremely dysfunctional and I kept wondering throughout the book what the real reasons for Hanna’s behaviors were. Surely something had to have happened in the past with Suzette or Alex, right?

“Sshh, lilla gumman…Daddy’s squirrely girl…”He cooed so softly Suzette couldn’t hear everything he said. But Hanna quieted. She looked so tiny in his arms, a rag doll.

I thought the book was written really well and it’s certainly a quick and smooth read. People who like thrillers will more than likely be pleased. Personally, I was on edge and completely thrilled all the way to the ‘not so’ surprising end. I was expecting some major twists toward the end which never really came and made me feel like something was missing, however, the book for the most part kept my interest and I found it dark and very disturbing, so for that, I’ll give this book 4****. I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon:

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (July 17, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250170753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250170750

Continue reading “Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage – Book Review #NGEW2018”

A Bear’s Life by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read – Children’s Book Review – #NGEW2018

A Bear’s Life

by Ian McAllister (Photographs)Nicholas Read (Contributor)
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Blurb: Black bears, grizzly bears, and spirit bears all make their home in the Great Bear Rainforest. A Bear’s Life uses Ian McAllister’s stunning photographs to follow these beautiful animals through a year in the British Columbia wilderness–catching fish, eating berries, climbing trees and taking long naps.

 

My Review:

A Bear’s Life had my children and me captivated from the very first pages. The book is an adventure from start to finish, containing photographs from the Great Bear Rainforest including black bears, grizzlies, spirit bears, wolves, and other wildlife.

This is a simple read for elementary students and easy enough for three to four year olds to understand when reading aloud. Along with each photograph, facts are shared and readers will learn what the bears eat, how they socialize, what other animals live there, how they hibernate, and much more beginning with spring and following through to winter again. Our most favorite parts in the book included facts about spirit bears (black bears with cream-colored fur) and how special they are with roughly a 1 to 10 ratio compared with black bears.

I appreciated that even the location of the rainforest was shared in the beginning of the book so young ones can get an idea where it is on the map. I think the map would’ve been better located on an actual page versus the front inside cover because it’s easy to miss.

Overall, we loved A Bear’s Life and can’t wait to read other books in the My Great Bear Rainforest series.

5*****

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The Super Bowl: Chasing Football Mortality by Matt Doeden – Book Review – #NGEW2018

The Super Bowl: Chasing Football Immortality

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Blurb: The Super Bowl is the most popular US sporting event. This book features the greatest plays and most incredible moments, as well as the pomp and spectacle associated with the biggest game of the year.

My Thoughts:

It’s that time again. The Super Bowl is rolling in soon and will mark the end of the football season. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, but it’s also bittersweet as the season comes to a close.

When I first saw this book, I requested it right away because I wanted to share it with my children. They have an interest and I thought it would be a good book for them to learn more about football. I really liked the cover when I first saw it and I was pleasantly surprised with the content once we got into it. I learned many new facts about some of my favorite teams like the Chicago Bears, and the New England Patriots.

The book begins with how football got its start and continues on to explain the NFL, AFL, and how they formed–including the merge of the two. Children will learn about how the Super Bowl was born and even how it got its name. We particularly enjoyed the pages that highlighted special and memorable events like Super Bowl LI where the Patriots had the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. There’s a ton of history here and many historical photographs to enjoy.

I think this is a wonderful book for children on up to adults who enjoy football. It may be a little overwhelming for younger kids due to all the facts, history, and reading level, so it’s probably best for ages 10 and up as it’s listed. Overall, we found it interesting, informative, and entertaining. This is definitely one for any football fan to have on the shelf.

5*****

Find this on Goodreads and Amazon.

  • Age Range: 10 – 18 years
  • Grade Level: 4 – 12
  • Series: Spectacular Sports
  • Library Binding: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Millbrook Press (August 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1512427543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1512427547

Continue reading “The Super Bowl: Chasing Football Mortality by Matt Doeden – Book Review – #NGEW2018”

One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn: Book Review #NGEW2018 #3

One for Sorrow

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Blurb: Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.

My Thoughts:

One For Sorrow is a middle grade, chilling ghost story. It takes place around 1918 during the deadliest influenza pandemic that killed millions of people.

Annie Browne has just moved to a new town with her mother and father. She’s a bit timid and she’s nervous about making friends at her new school, the Pearce Academy for Girls. The first girl she meets is Elsie, and Elsie doesn’t waste any time filling her in on how horrible the girls at Pearce are. None of the girls like Elsie and she convinces Annie that they won’t like her either. Every day, Annie can’t seem to get away from Elsie as she’s consistently holding her hand and inviting herself over to her house. She tells everyone that Annie is her best friend and because of this, nobody else wants anything to do with Annie. They begin making fun of her too and Annie becomes miserable. Elsie is bossy, pushy, and just not fun to be around. Annie can’t even seem to convince her parents that there’s something not right about Elsie. She has to find away to get away from her.

One day, Elsie doesn’t show up for school and Annie finally gets a chance to gain the friendship of some of the other girls, especially Rosie, the most popular. She becomes friends with the very group of girls that hate Elsie, including Rosie. A few more days pass and Annie wonders how Elsie will take the news when she returns. Will she be mad at Annie or will they stay friends? Will Annie take on the same bullying behaviors her classmates have bestowed on Elsie?

I just have to say–I couldn’t put this book down. From start to finish, the narrative had me completely enthralled. I had to know how this story would end and what would come of Annie. The characters are well developed and the book is written well with perfect pacing. There’s just enough to keep you turning page after page. I also loved the mention of multiple classic books by Charles Dickens and Lucy Maud Montgomery to name a few.

With that said, I was disturbed and uncomfortable at times.  I found this middle grade book a bit scary and Elsie pretty much drove me crazy from the start. It’s known that Elsie has demons from her past, some that she hasn’t been able to exterminate, which makes her very unstable and evil at times. It was almost more than I could bear. Rosie was also difficult to deal with. She’s very cruel and tends to cause problems by calling names and bullying others by chasing them. She’s pretty wound up, yet interesting. Some of the girls realize that what Rosie’s doing is wrong, but many of them keep their mouths shut because they don’t want to deal with the repercussions from her and they want her to remain their friend. They feel pressured to join in and all the while, the teacher doesn’t seem to be on top of things and doesn’t do anything to put a stop to the behaviors besides making simple commands like, “I won’t tolerate this behavior.” It’s really annoying. While all of this is happening, the flu of 1918 is making rounds. People are dying left and right. Everyone fears that they’ll be taken next, but who will it be?

Overall, I think this is a 5-star read that I highly recommend. It kept me interested from start to finish and I was really pleased with the ending. The Afterword was such a nice addition because the author explains where she got some of the ideas for the story which are inspired by true events. I’m excited to check out some other books by Mary Downing Hahn as this was my first.

Thanks to Netgalley for sharing a copy of One For Sorrow in exchange for a review.

5*****


  • Age Range: 10 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 7
  • Lexile Measure: 660 (What’s this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (July 18, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544818091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544818095

Find it on Goodreads and Amazon


Continue reading “One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn: Book Review #NGEW2018 #3”

White Fur by Jardine Libaire: Book Review – #NGEW2018

White Fur

 

Left: Wolverine Camper, 1979. Right: Ann Magnuson, Avenue A, 1984.

 

Blurb: When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn’t graduate from high school. Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. The attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.

The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love but also for their lives.

My Thoughts:

I read some reviews for White Fur last year and after reading the blurb, it sounded like a book I would enjoy. Books like The Notebook and movies like “Pretty in Pink” are faves, and this story is about a rich boy who falls for a low class girl and they do fall in love, but it certainly isn’t that simple and not really what I expected.

*May contain mild spoilers*

Jamie is a Yale boy who comes from a wealthy family. They have high expectations of him and there’s no question about the direction of his future, until Jamey meets his neighbor Elise, and discovers he’s both fascinated by her and repulsed at the same time. He develops a hot and heavy sexual relationship with her, but fears intimacy. Elise is like a polar opposite. She’s low class, comes from a multi-racial background, never graduated high school, doesn’t know her dad, and learned about sex, violence, and drugs at a young age. She wonders about Jamey and why he’s distant from her outside of their sexual encounters. She wants a normal relationship with him and wants him to see her–the real her. She wants him to be interested in her. The truth is, Jamey knows he shouldn’t want Elise. She smokes, curses, and he has issues with her behavior. Not only that, he’s reminded by his best friend and family repeatedly that this simply can’t happen, but he can’t seem to shake the feelings he has for her.

Time moves forward and Jamey invites Elise to live with him in New York where there are less distractions. The hope is that they can continue their relationship without drama, but unfortunately, Jamey’s gang of a family won’t leave it alone.

The story is gritty and definitely cringeworthy. I felt that the writing was beautiful and detailed, but for me, it was way too wordy for this type of story. I found the multiple breaks in the narrative confusing and didn’t like the characters. Jamey and Elise’s relationship is pretty much all sex with zero romance for the majority of the book and I can’t understand how this book is described as a modern ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ To me, in a Romeo and Juliet like story, couples don’t have sex with other people, nor do people in love for that matter, but that’s just my personal opinion. I didn’t have any emotion until the last 30-40 pages or so as things started to pick up, and it was more or less over the dog. There just wasn’t enough going on to keep my interest. It had an unexpected ending, but not one that I was really pleased with because I felt like the future was still so uncertain for them. I’m wondering if there might be another book?

This is obviously just not my favorite kind of book, but I know others will like it. Don’t skip the book because of my review if this sounds like one you’d enjoy!

3***

I’d like to thank Netgalley, the publisher, and author for an ARC of White Fur in exchange for a review.

Continue reading “White Fur by Jardine Libaire: Book Review – #NGEW2018”

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – Book Review

The Wife Between Us

by Greer Hendricks, and Sarah Pekkanen

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Blurb:

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.


My Thoughts:

Vanessa has problems. Now that she’s divorced from Richard, she can’t stand the fact that Richard has moved on. Not only is he his usual thriving self, but now he’s getting married to someone new–someone young and beautiful. It just so happens that this new woman reminds Vanessa of someone she used to be.

What is it about Richard? Was he a perfect husband? Is he truly a knight in shining armor? Was Vanessa a psycho and mentally unstable wife? Who’s to blame for the marriage ending and what role do the others have in this story?

I went in to this book super excited after reading multiple rave reviews about it from friends on Goodreads. It seemed like everyone was loving it, so I went straight to NetGalley and put in my request. After I started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down. I thought for sure I knew where the story was going. It felt slow to me, but I hung on until nearly halfway through when the first major twist was introduced. I was shocked! I was so very surprised and befuddled thinking that I’d skipped something or that I was lost. It seemed unique and interesting, but as time went on, I became disentranced and my mind began to wonder away from the story. The characters became confusing to me and the plot felt all over the place. It was like I wanted to get to the ending to see how things would unfold, but there simply wasn’t anything going on to captivate me. At times, I felt like there was too much information and in other places, simply not enough. I didn’t feel like it was horribly predictable as there were plenty of twists and a strange reveal at the end, but even with all the crazy twists, this just ended up being an okay read for me and it just didn’t feel like a thriller.

I did still enjoy it and feel like this is going to be a favorite for many people! I will still recommend this because I know many will love it. The title, cover, and blurb fit the story perfectly!

Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC of The Wife Between Us.

3 stars

3-stars


 

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (January 9, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250130921
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250130921

Continue reading “The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – Book Review”

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt – Book Review

I’m working on getting caught up with my NetGalley books and this one has been sitting on my shelf for months. I finally started reading it a few weeks ago. You can read my book review below.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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“Eerie and compelling, Sarah Schmidt breathes such life into the terrible, twisted tale of Lizzie Borden and her family, she makes it impossible to look away.” —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water

Blurb: In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (August 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802126596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802126597

My Review:

I was so excited to start this book because I love retellings and honestly didn’t know the whole story behind the accusations of Lizzie Bordon murdering her parents with an ax in 1892. I decided to get online and read about the true story so that I would have an idea about what really went down that August morning in 1892.

The book starts with an introduction to that morning the ax murdering took place in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie’s father Andrew and her stepmother Abby were both found axed to death and the only person in sight when someone finally arrives to help is Lizzie. Everyone wants to know who the perpetrator is. Who could commit such horrible acts of crime and why would they want to hurt these people?

tenor.gifFor me, the first half of the book was not intriguing at all. I felt like the characters were flat and boring and the narrative was confusing at times, mainly because of Lizzie’s thoughts with the jumping back and forth between reality and what was going on in her head. I wasn’t enjoying the writing style at all. Then, when I got to the last half of the book, I became very interested in who the real killer was here. It could be Lizzie, but she’s not reliable and her thoughts are all over the place. Is she being honest? What about Uncle John and Benjamin? There are clues and accusations along the way, but the reader is left to wonder until the very end what actually happened.

Overall, The author has spun her own version of the tale and it’s spellbinding at times. I’m happy that I stuck with it and didn’t give up. Some people say that the book is gruesome, but I didn’t think it was too gory on the details. I really appreciated the timeline the author provided in the back of the book. If you’d like more true information on the events that took place, you might want to watch “Histories Mysteries: The Strange Case of Lizzie Bordon.” This is truly a compelling mystery.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book for review.

My rating on this is 3.5 stars

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Continue reading “See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt – Book Review”