Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson – Book Review – #UltimateReadingChallenge – February

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Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas



Beautifully captures the joys of a new family as it builds to an overwhelmingly moving climax. This is an unforgettable love story, at once heartbreaking and full of hope.

James Patterson has written a love story!–a powerfully moving and suspenseful novel about families, loss, new love, and hope.

Katie Wilkinson has found her perfect man at last. He’s a writer, a house painter, an original thinker–everything she’s imagined she wanted in a partner. But one day, without explanation, he disappears from her life, leaving behind only a diary for her to read.

This diary is a love letter written by a new mother named Suzanne for her baby son, Nicholas. In it she pours out her heart about how she and the boy’s father met, about her hopes for marriage and family, and about the unparalleled joy that having a baby has brought into her life. As Katie reads this touching document, it becomes clear that the lover who has just left her is the husband and father in this young family. She reads on, filled with terror and hope, as she struggles to understand what has happened–and whether her new love has a prayer of surviving.

Written with James Patterson’s perfect pitch for emotion and suspense, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas captures beautifully the joys of a new family as it builds to an overwhelmingly moving climax. This is an unforgettable love story, at once heartbreaking and full of hope.


My Thoughts:

Katie and Matt had the perfect relationship. They had much in common and a completeness, but when Matt suddenly leaves the relationship, Katie is left with many questions and wonders what went wrong. Matt is someone Katie could’ve shared the rest of her life with. How could she have been so wrong about their relationship?Not long after Matt’s departure, she receives a package in the mail. She recognizes Matt’s handwriting on the package instantly, and when she opens it, she finds a book titled Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. As Katie reads the diary, she’s shocked. All at once she learns about a woman named Suzanne and her son Nicholas. In the diary, Suzanne writes about her life before Nicholas, her journey through relationships, and the joyous times she had with Nicholas from his birth up through the first year of his life. She writes directly to Nicholas and shares memories with him about his father. She wants him to understand how much she loves him and his father, and just how special their life was together.

I first read this book in 2006 when I was pregnant with my second child. In hindsight, there’s no doubt that hormones played a part in my reaction because I bawled and bawled over the book which is why I decided to read this one for my February #UltimateReadingChallenge–tear jerker. I can still remember gushing over it to everyone and influenced all my friends to read it. I honestly couldn’t say enough about it. I think the majority of my emotions stem from the fact that it’s a mother writing to her  baby son about old memories and how her life was complete once he came into the world. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do (write to my children about our time together so they can read about it later in life). Another reason I was moved was because I personally went through similar health experiences, just like Suzanne, and her story felt real to me. I know some might say the writing isn’t spectacular, but I thought the narrative was, particularly Suzanne’s writings. Just when you think you know what’s happening, a surprising twist is thrown in–even at the end.

I was thoroughly involved in this story for the second time and flew through it, however, I don’t think I was as emotional when reading it this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I teared up for a bit, but I didn’t feel as affected by it this time. There were parts that I forgot and the story felt quite fresh to me, but I prepared myself ahead of time for the end because I remembered how emotional I was after the first reading. There was one part in the book that felt a little confusing and maybe a little unrealistic to me, but it was easily overlooked. Regardless, it still gets five stars from me.

5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Continue reading “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson – Book Review – #UltimateReadingChallenge – February”

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)

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.


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

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

One for Sorrow

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.


  • 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”

Animals at Night by Anne Jankeliowitch and Delphine Chedru: Children’s Book Review #NGEW2018 #2

Animals at Night

by Anne JankeliowitchDelphine Chedru (illustrator)Eve Bodeux (translator)

BlurbWhat do animals do at night?

For humans, the setting sun marks the end of the day and signals to us that it’s time to go to sleep. But while people are quietly dreaming in their beds, there’s a whole world of animals that’s just waking up! Who are they, what do they do until morning, and how do they move, see, and hunt in the dark?

Features glow-in-the-dark content on all 32 pages!

 My Thoughts:

Animals At Night is a glow-in-the-dark book about nocturnal animals and their activities at night. It covers nocturnal animals in the forest, rivers, beaches, ponds, mountains, fields and orchards, and even animals you might find in your local neighborhood, on country roads, or on a farm.


This is a perfect bedtime book due to the glow-in-the-dark pages. It’s also jam-packed with facts about animals with short descriptions for each. Kids will learn about the mysteries of some of these animals like why birds sing when they do, why these animals like the night in the first place, how they see in the dark, and why owls are such good hunters.

The book has an interactive feel as each section asks a question about something in that section and the answers to those questions can be found in the back of the book.

The age level for this book is listed at grades 3-7 which seems about right. The text is pretty easy to read, but might be more difficult for preschool through first graders to read all by themselves depending on their reading level. We loved the illustrations and using the book in the dark. Because I’m reviewing this one late, we were able to get a hardcover version to enjoy.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author’s for a review copy in exchange for a review.


Continue reading “Animals at Night by Anne Jankeliowitch and Delphine Chedru: Children’s Book Review #NGEW2018 #2”

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!


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”

Reading Challenges 2018 – Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge #NGEW2018 and Ultimate Reading Challenge #UltimateReadingChallenge

Hello, friends! I hope everyone is having a great week so far. I decided to add on a few reading challenges this year. Well, actually one, until a good friend tagged me for another, so now it’s two! Here they are below:

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Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge

I found this one over at Claire’s blog. I need this challenge so bad! I’m behind on Netgalley and Edelweiss, so I’m giving this one a go. If you’d like to sign up for this, click here.


Challenge Guidelines:

  • The challenge will run from Jan 1, 2018 – Dec 31, 2018.
  • Anyone is welcome to join. You do not need to be a blogger, just post your reviews and come back every month to link them up.
  • Any genre, release date, request date, length, etc. counts so long as it came from Edelweiss or Netgalley.
  • At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews.
  • If you forget to link up one month it’s not a problem just add your reviews next month.
  • If you would like to move up or down levels that is completely fine and at your discretion.
  • If you have any questions tweet me @BookishThings or e-mail!
  • Hashtag: #NGEW2018


Bronze – 10 Books

Silver – 25 Books

Gold – 50 Books

Platinum – 75 Books

Diamond – 100 Books

*I’ve decided to go with Silver. I have a little less than 25 books to read right now and in case I add a few more on, this one should get me caught up! I’ll update this page with a link for each review.

Like Claire, I’ll list the books here and also include a link for each review. *

2018 NetGalley/Edelweiss Challenge Reading List:

1. White Fur by Jardine Libaire - Review
2. Animals at Night by Anne Jankeliowitch and Delphine Chedru - Review  
3. One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn - Review
4. The Superbowl: Chasing Football Mortality by Matt Doeden - Review
5. Tots! A Cookbook by Dan Whalen - Review
6. A Bear's Life by Ian Mcallister and Nicholas Read - Review
7. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage - Review

Ultimate Reading Challenge

I had no idea about this challenge, but then my great friend Nel tagged me for it on Twitter and I’m really excited, although I have no idea what I’m doing. 😉 Wish me luck!



Continue reading “Reading Challenges 2018 – Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge #NGEW2018 and Ultimate Reading Challenge #UltimateReadingChallenge”