Book Review: A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson #ChristmasBooks #FestiveReads

A Christmas by the Sea

By Melody Carlson

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From Goodreads:

When Wendy Harper inherits her family’s beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in–temporarily, she reminds him–in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist.

Join award-winning author Melody Carlson for a Christmas story that will warm your heart and have you dreaming of your own enchanted seaside holiday. Continue reading “Book Review: A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson #ChristmasBooks #FestiveReads”

Book Review: Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo #KateDiCamillo #ChildrensBooks #ChildrensLiterature #BookReview

Louisiana’s Way Home

by Kate DiCamillo

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From Goodreads:

From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.

When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Called “one of DiCamillo’s most singular and arresting creations” by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.

Continue reading “Book Review: Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo #KateDiCamillo #ChildrensBooks #ChildrensLiterature #BookReview”

Book Review: This Can’t Wait by Luke P. Narlee #shortstories @lukenarlee #BookReview #ThisCantWait

This Can’t Wait

by Luke P. Narlee

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From Goodreads:

Adam Arthur has built his life on telling love stories. In the final moments before a surgery from which there is no guarantee of waking up, Adam’s mind is filled with the stories of an array of individuals: each one unique, each one connected.

A jaded woman tires of pretending her way toward a perfect match; a wife who, after years of contentment, suspects her husband of unfaithfulness; a young mother wonders at what juncture her life took the wrong track; two lovers find their fate in one another, even if it requires more than one lifetime to fulfill that destiny. These tales and more intertwine in Adam’s memory as he considers the rippling effect of choices made and chances taken.

Told with romantic mystery, urgency, and hope, Luke P. Narlee’s collection of stories captures brief, significant moments in his characters´ lives. These 13 narratives of the heart remind us there are things in life that just can´t wait. Continue reading “Book Review: This Can’t Wait by Luke P. Narlee #shortstories @lukenarlee #BookReview #ThisCantWait”

Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman #BookReview #Coraline

Coraline

by Neil Gaiman

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From Goodreads:

“Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house. . . .”

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.

But there’s another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life. Continue reading “Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman #BookReview #Coraline”

Book Review: Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks #BookReview #EveryBreath #NicholasSparks #Romance

Every Breath

by Nicholas Sparks

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From Goodreads:

In the romantic tradition of The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a story about a chance encounter that becomes a touchstone for two vastly different individuals — transcending decades, continents, and the bittersweet workings of fate.

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she’s been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family’s cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother’s early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.

Illuminating life’s heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, Every Breath explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question, How long can a dream survive? Continue reading “Book Review: Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks #BookReview #EveryBreath #NicholasSparks #Romance”

Book Review: The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa #BookReview @BerkleyPub

The Traveling Cat Chronicles

by

Hiro Arikawa

(Translator – Philip Gabriel)

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From Goodreads:

Sometimes you have to leave behind everything you know to find the place you truly belong… 

Nana the cat is on a road trip. He is not sure where he’s going or why, but it means that he gets to sit in the front seat of a silver van with his beloved owner, Satoru. Side by side, they cruise around Japan through the changing seasons, visiting Satoru’s old friends. He meets Yoshimine, the brusque and unsentimental farmer for whom cats are just ratters; Sugi and Chikako, the warm-hearted couple who run a pet-friendly B&B; and Kosuke, the mournful husband whose cat-loving wife has just left him. There’s even a very special dog who forces Nana to reassess his disdain for the canine species.

But what is the purpose of this road trip? And why is everyone so interested in Nana? Nana does not know and Satoru won’t say. But when Nana finally works it out, his small heart will break… Continue reading “Book Review: The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa #BookReview @BerkleyPub”

Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill #4 #BookReview

A Series of Unfortunate Events:

The Miserable Mill #4

by Lemony Snicket

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From Goodreads:

Dear Reader,

I hope, for your sake, that you have not chosen to read this book because you are in the mood for a pleasant experience. If this is the case, I advise you to put this book down instantaneously, because of all the books describing the unhappy lives of the Baudelaire orphans, The Miserable Mill might be the unhappiest yet. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are sent to Paltryville to work in a lumber mill, and they find disaster and misfortune lurking behind every log.

The pages of this book, I’m sorry to inform you, contain such unpleasantries as a giant pincher machine, a bad casserole, a man with a cloud of smoke where his head should be, a hypnotist, a terrible accident resulting in injury, and coupons.

I have promised to write down the entire history of these three poor children, but you haven’t, so if you prefer stories that are more heartwarming, please feel free to make another selection.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Continue reading “Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill #4 #BookReview”

Book Review: The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo #BookReview #KateDiCamillo

The Tiger Rising

by Kate DiCamillo

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From Goodreads:

The National Book Award finalist from the best-selling author of BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE – now in paperback 

Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger – a real-life, very large tiger – pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things – like memories, and heartaches, and tigers – can’t be locked up forever. Continue reading “Book Review: The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo #BookReview #KateDiCamillo”

Book Review: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman (Audible)

Something in the Water

by Catherine Steadman

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From Goodreads:

A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut–for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena.

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you? 

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Continue reading “Book Review: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman (Audible)”

The Burning Within by RaNelle Wallace & Curtis Taylor #UltimateReadingChallenge #Bookreview

The Burning Within

by Ranelle Wallace & Curtis Taylor

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From Goodreads:

True story of a couple returning home after an unsuccessful vacation to revive their marriage, their plane crash, their rescue, survival, recovery, and coping with life after severe burns and disfiguration. Adding to this tragedy was a woman’s disregard for the warnings and strong premonitions of what was to come. That burning within all of us. Also a very compelling near death experience and confirmation of life after death beliefs that people of every religion can relate to.

Continue reading “The Burning Within by RaNelle Wallace & Curtis Taylor #UltimateReadingChallenge #Bookreview”

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo: Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge July

Because of Winn Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo

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From Goodreads:

Kate DiCamillo’s beloved, best-selling debut novel is now available in a paperback digest edition.

Kate DiCamillo’s first published novel, like Winn-Dixie himself, immediately proved to be a keeper — a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor winner, the inspiration for a popular film, and most especially, a cherished classic that touches the hearts of readers of all ages. It’s now available in a paperback digest format certain to bring this tale’s magic to an even wider circle of fans. Continue reading “Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo: Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge July”

Throwback Thursday: The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board. Please link back to her by using the link above.

BeFunky Design

Today’s Throwback:

The Best of Me

by

 

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Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks”

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan | Book Review | Author Interview | Signed Giveaway Including a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! #HistFic #BookReview #Giveaway #Fiction

HiIn the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

by Michael A. McLellan

From Goodreads:

In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history.

Continue reading “In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan | Book Review | Author Interview | Signed Giveaway Including a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! #HistFic #BookReview #Giveaway #Fiction”

Already Here: A Doctor Discovers the Truth about Heaven by Leo Galland

Already Here: A Doctor Discovers the Truth about Heaven

by Leo Galland

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

Already Here tells of the death of Leo Galland’s son, Christopher, at the age of 22; the direct visual evidence Christopher showed him that our souls do go on; and the communications he received from Christopher’s spirit that dramatically changed Leo’s understanding of life and its meaning.

In life, Christopher was a brain-damaged special needs child who challenged everyone he knew with his unpredictable behavior and uncanny insights. After his death, he revealed to Leo the real purpose of his life, as a spiritual guide who taught others by confounding their assumptions and expectations. And he began to share with Leo a new perspective on everything from the nature of good and evil to the concept of timelessness—“God’s moment”—to the notion that the universe is, fundamentally, an act of love. Continue reading “Already Here: A Doctor Discovers the Truth about Heaven by Leo Galland”

The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) by Lemony Snicket ~ Book Review

The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3)

by

Lemony Snicket

Illustrations by Brett Helquist

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From Goodreads:

Dear Reader,

If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted; but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and this one may be the worst of them all. If you haven’t got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signalling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair. I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket Continue reading “The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) by Lemony Snicket ~ Book Review”

The Doggie in the Window: How One Beloved Dog Opened My Eyes to the Complicated Story Behind Man’s Best Friend by Rory Kress – Book Review – #NGEW2018 #TheDoggieintheWindow #Edelweiss

The Doggie in the Window: How One Beloved Dog Opened My Eyes to the Complicated Story Behind Man’s Best Friend

by

Rory Kress

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From Goodreads: 

When Rory Kress began to wonder where her beloved Wheaten Terrier, Izzie, had really come from, she had no idea of the horrors she would uncover. With stunning insight and tenacity, Kress launches an investigation into the harsh realities of the American dog-breeding industry, exposing troubling ties to factory farming and big agriculture.

From a pet shop on Long Island to the puppy mills of rural Missouri, from the author’s own living room to a ride-along with a dog rescue organization, The Doggie in the Window is a must-read for all dog owners and a call to action for improving the lives of man’s best friend. Continue reading “The Doggie in the Window: How One Beloved Dog Opened My Eyes to the Complicated Story Behind Man’s Best Friend by Rory Kress – Book Review – #NGEW2018 #TheDoggieintheWindow #Edelweiss”

Throwback Thursday: Broken Music by Sting

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board. Please link back to her by using the link above.

BeFunky Design


Today’s throwback is:

Broken Music

by
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Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Broken Music by Sting”

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

A Mother’s Goodbye

by
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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”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay ~ Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge May

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1)

by 

J.K. Rowling, Jim Kay (Illustrator)

 

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From Goodreads:

The beloved first book of the Harry Potter series, now fully illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Kay.

For the first time, J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books will be presented in lavishly illustrated full-color editions. Kate Greenaway-award winning artist Jim Kay has created over 100 stunning illustrations, making this deluxe format a perfect gift as much for a child being introduced to the series, as for the dedicated fan.

Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley–a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry–and anyone who reads about him—will find unforgettable.

Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay ~ Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge May”

Blog Tour & Book Review: As Good As Gold: A Dog’s Life in Poems by Patricia Furstenberg #AsGoodAsGold

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As Good As Gold: A dog’s life in poems

Author: Patricia Furstenberg

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Synopsis:

As engaging as a tail wag

Celebrating the simple things in life as seen through the eyes of our old time favourite furry friends, “As Good as Gold” is a volume of poetry revealing the talent and humour we always knew our dogs possessed.

Dogs are full of questions, yet they are famed sellers of innocence especially when it comes to explaining their mishaps and often foolish effervescence through ponderings such as “Why IS a Cat Not Like a Dog”, “As Brown as Chocolate”, “Silver Stars and Puppy Tail” or, best yet, “Dog or Book?”

A book with an enormous heart for readers of all ages, it includes 35 poems and haiku accompanied by expressive portraits of our canine friends. Continue reading “Blog Tour & Book Review: As Good As Gold: A Dog’s Life in Poems by Patricia Furstenberg #AsGoodAsGold”

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

 All the Little Lights

by
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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”

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy and Ali Fadhil- Book Review

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story

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Blurb from Goodreads: At the start of 1991, eleven-year-old Ali Fadhil was consumed by his love for soccer, video games, and American television shows. Then, on January 17, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein went to war with thirty-four nations lead by the United States.

Over the next forty-three days, Ali and his family survived bombings, food shortages, and constant fear. Ali and his brothers played soccer on the abandoned streets of their Basra neighborhood, wondering when or if their medic father would return from the war front. Cinematic, accessible, and timely, this is the story of one ordinary kid’s view of life during war.

Continue reading “Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy and Ali Fadhil- Book Review”

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin – Book Review

Snow & Rose

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Blurb from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author-illustrator brings readers into the woods to meet two young sisters and a strange bit of magic in this reimagining of the classic but little-known fairy tale “Snow White and Rose Red.”

Snow and Rose didn’t know they were in a fairy tale. People never do….

Once, they lived in a big house with spectacular gardens and an army of servants.

Once, they had a father and mother who loved them more than the sun and moon.

But that was before their father disappeared into the woods and their mother disappeared into sorrow.

This is the story of two sisters and the enchanted woods that have been waiting for them to break a set of terrible spells.

Bestselling author-illustrator Emily Winfield Martin has created a world that sits on the border of enchantment, with characters who are grounded in real emotions that readers will recognize in themselves. Continue reading “Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin – Book Review”

Happily by Chauncey Rogers – Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge April

I had the pleasure of reading Happily by Chauncey Rogers and finished it this morning. I was truly charmed by this retelling! You can read my book review below.

Happily

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Blurb from Goodreads:
If the shoe fits, wear it.
If it doesn’t, 
make it.

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

My thoughts on this book:

Happily by Chauncey Rogers is a retelling of Cinderella, but totally unique and refreshing with an interesting premise! I sort of cherish retellings and couldn’t wait to see how Happily compared to some of the others I’ve read. As soon as I saw it, I instantly fell for the cover too! I had no idea what to expect, but rather than following the story of Cinderella and her wicked step-sisters, it follows what’s happening on the outside with Laure, the female protagonist. Laure is hard-headed, sort of pessimistic and chooses to live differently than a commoner while despising royalty as well. She’s a street urchin, and because she refuses to work, Laure barely makes ends meet by stealing the foods and necessities she needs to survive. With good reason (due to her past) she hates where she lives, Éclatant, and would love nothing more than to leave it all behind forever. During one of her thefts, she ends up causing problems for a boy named Luc and he simply won’t stand for it. He threatens to turn her in for her crime, until she shares her plans to trick the royals and in turn promises to pay him back. They both set out on an exciting, yet often dangerous journey filled with adventure.

I was genuinely connected with all the characters in the book. Laure is a very strong main character and I admired how she evolved throughout the story as she learned many lessons about honesty, love, and friendship. She’s headstrong and stubborn–nearly the opposite of Luc– but even so, she wants to do what’s right and they still had some similarities too. Luc is the type of person that wants to have a positive perspective in all situations. He’s optimistic and wants to help Laure see the good in people, and in life. With their likes and differences, they were nearly perfect medicine for one another. Prince Carl was everything I wanted him to be and truly, all the characters were great and meshed together well. Derived from the characters, one of my favorite morals in the story was to be yourself and to stand up for what you believe in.

I was pleased with the writing and the pacing was spot on which kept me interested throughout. It’s modern and without too much romance which I think makes it appealing to younger readers. The twists kept me guessing and the story wasn’t predictable. I felt like the narrative consistently took the direction I wanted it to. With that said, the ending felt a tad rushed, but with some wonderful surprises which the author tied up well. I can see this easily adapted into a movie as it’s remarkably different and stands out from others! I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys retellings or those looking for a magnificent story.

I’d like to thank Chauncey Rogers for bringing this book to my attention and sharing it with me.

My rating: 5 stars

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Continue reading “Happily by Chauncey Rogers – Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge April”

The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Book Review & Author Interview

A few weeks ago I read The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell. I was lucky to also  get an interview with the author to share with everyone. You can see my review of the book and the author interview below. I do hope you enjoy!

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The Last Panther

by Todd Mitchell

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The Last Panther

Blurb: For fans of “The One and Only Ivan” and “Hoot, ” this is the uplifting story of a girl who discovers a family of panthers that were thought to be extinct, and her journey to save the species.

Eleven-year-old Kiri has a secret: wild things call to her. More than anyone else, she’s always had a special connection to animals.

But when Kiri has an encounter with the last known Florida panther, her life is quickly turned on end. Caught between her conservationist father, who wants to send the panther to a zoo, and the village poachers, who want to sell it to feed their families, Kiri must embark on a journey that will take her deep into the wilderness.

There has to be some way to save the panther, and for her da and the villagers to understand each other. If Kiri can’t figure out what it is, she’ll lose far more than the panthers she’ll lose the only home she s ever known, and the only family she has left.

My Review:

Kiri lives with her father, who is a conservationist, in the ghost forest near a dangerous swamp. He’s considered a waller (city dweller) and not far from their home are the fugees, the original habitants of the forest. Wallers are considered the wealthy ones and have what they need to survive while tending to preserve the environment and the species that are still living, while fugees consistently need to search for food so they won’t die of starvation or sickness. Fugees will do whatever it takes to feed their community and that includes killing whatever they can catch, including animals that are endangered, if need be. They don’t have much of a choice as the damaged ecosystem they live in has left them with little resources.

Kiri’s mother, who has previously passed away, was once a fugee and Kiri is now caught between two worlds having a waller for a father. The fugees detest the wallers and they simply don’t agree on anything. For this reason, Kiri doesn’t want to be considered a waller and would rather keep the peace between both groups. She doesn’t necessarily agree that the fugees should be hunting these ‘once-were’ creatures, but she understands them concurrently. When Kiri surprisingly discovers a panther she’s never seen before–a beautiful creature she connects with and knows she must protect–not only does she need to protect the panther, but she has to find a way to keep her cubs safe too. From this point, Kiri goes into survivor mode and does all that she can to stop the hunters and trappers from killing the panther, even it means she must go against her father’s wishes. What will Kiri do? She’s a courageous and spirited young girl, always standing up for what she believes in, but will she alone be enough to protect the last panther and its cubs?

After seeing the beautiful cover and reading the blurb, I took a chance and bought a copy for our home library. I’m always in search of stories that I can read with my children, especially those I can enjoy myself. I particularly relished the sweet parts in the story from Kiri’s companionship with Snowflake, her pet rat, to her friendship with Paulo. I found it compelling and full of action and adventure. The mystical world and rich plot that Todd Mitchell has created draws you in and makes you feel like you’re part of Kiri’s journey. It’s un-predictable and written well. I also appreciated that the story provokes questions about climate change and brings attention to the importance of caring for our environment now, as animals are experiencing high levels of endangerment as our world is ever-changing.

This is one I’m pleased to have for my family and I’m overjoyed that it turned out to be such an awesome read. This is a perfect middle-grade read for classrooms and libraries, but essentially, it’s great for all ages. I honestly can’t wait to see what other books Todd Mitchell writes in the future.

My rating: 5*****

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (August 22, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399555587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399555589

Continue reading “The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Book Review & Author Interview”

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”

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”