Traveling the Blue Road: Poems of the Sea by Lee Bennett Hopkins – #NGEW2018 #NetGalley

Traveling the Blue Road: Poems of the Sea

by: Lee Bennett Hopkins (Editor)

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From Goodreads:

A 2018 Notable Poetry Book for Children (National Council of Teachers of English)

Selected for Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2018 by NCSS-CBC, a cooperative project of the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council

Traveling the Blue Road is a carefully curated collection of kid-friendly poetry about the ever inspiring subject of the ocean. Themes include pilgrimages, migration, culture, and more.

Prepare to be inspired by the sea with Traveling the Blue Road. This book is packed with gorgeous illustrations that surround a collection of poetry for children on the themes of the couragebeauty, and promise of sea voyages.

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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.

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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.

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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”

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”