Book Review · Books

I Love You To Pieces

Olivia appears to have a charmed life. Her father is rich, so she is not in need of want when it comes to accommodations, but the one thing missing is her mother’s love. No, matter what Olivia does it seems to grate on her mother’s nerves. Her times of respite come when gets to visit her grandmother. At her grandmother’s house Olivia’s stress can melt away while looking for seashells on the beach.

When incidents with Olivia’s mother turn sour, Olivia is whisked off to live with her grandmother. Peace reigns, but then Olivia has to return to life with her mother. Olivia can’t wait for her father to return from one of his business trips, but then the unthinkable happens. Olivia is crushed as her father was her protector. After a dire incident involving her mother, Olivia’s grandmother takes matters into her own hands. Olivia has got to be protected at all costs. She is sent off to a private boarding school.

With Olivia’s best friends by her side her as an adult, life seems to be normalizing after her rocky childhood. After a few incidents of Olivia waking up with different nail polish on and mystery items she’s wondering what’s going on. Why can’t she recall some evenings? Why does she wake up feeling hung over when she hadn’t drunk the night before?

I received my complimentary digital complimentary copy of I Love You To Pieces by Lori Flynn from Austin Macaulay Publishers, care of Booktasters and the author. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel is nail biting. I can’t fathom growing up in a home with a mother as monstrous as Olivia’s. This story is one of great challenges, but also, shows how the gift of true friendship and a love interest can spur you on to survive.

Book Review · Books

Sisters Of War

Natasha has a fairly cush life with her sister, Lisa and their younger brother, Nikolai and their parents in Russia. When World War II hits things turn nerve racking. One day while Natasha is walking with her grandmother, a drunk German starts to intimidate them and gets aggressive. Natasha is petrified. Her grandmother isn’t afraid of the Nazi and winds up injured, but before the soldier can zero in on Natasha, a handsome stranger appears and the drunk officer is dead on the ground. This mystery man helps Natasha carry her badly injured Grandmother back to their house. Who is this knight in shining armor?

Natasha searches for this handsome stranger, to offer her thanks for his heroic deed. When she finds him she’s shocked to realize he’s a Hungarian soldier working for the enemy. He says that he has no choice. Natasha returns home still smitten. Her sister, Lisa is a tad suspicious, but she’s distracted by her fiancé.

When the Nazi’s want to know who killed their comrade Natasha says she doesn’t know who killed the drunk soldier. It was too dark that night. She wants to keep her Hungarian safe. The only problem is someone has to take the fall.

I received my complimentary copy of Sisters Of War by Lana Kortchik from HQ, care of TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are mine and my choice. This wartime novel is a wild ride filled with sisterly drama, romance, adventure and the love of a devoted family. If you enjoy historical fiction then you’ll gobble up this must read.

Book Review · Books

How To Build A Heart

Izzy’s dad passed 6 years ago in the war and it still feels like yesterday. Thankfully she has her best friend Roz to cheer her up and her little brother Jack. Izzy enjoys attending her private high school though she struggles with feeling like she fits in. When the new girl in chorus, Aubrey, befriends Izzy, she’s excited to discover this girl is the sister of her best friend’s crush, Sam.

As Izzy gets to know the new chorus girl, she inadvertently gets to know Sam better. Izzy can see why Roz has such a big crush. He’s genuinely nice. The problem is he has a girlfriend that’s quite the b.

When Izzy’s mom discloses they are trying to get approved for a Habitat house, Izzy is thrilled, but then nervous when she realizes Sam and Aubrey will be her neighbors. She shys away from sharing her big secret. She’s not sure how Roz will react if she moves.

I received my complimentary digital copy of How To Build A Heart by Maria Padian, from Algonquin Young Readers and NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own will. This novel is sweet, fast paced and full of true heart. If you enjoy contemporary YA then you will enjoy this book.

Book Review · Books

Always Yours, Bee

Bee and James had the perfect life with their three boys. That is, until the day James insisted on biking to work on a very rainy day. That choice ends in an accident. Bee blames herself as she was focusing on hearing back from her book agent. She did offer to drive her husband, but of course he insisted he’d be fine. James survives, but the mental aftermath is ugly.

What is it like to suffer a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD? What is it like to care for the love of your life who can’t recall their psst and know they are supposed to love you, but it feels brand new to them? Bee has to deal with these changes in James. She gets so wrapped up in helping her husband, Bee doesn’t realize her own depth of trauma. Follow Bee and James on their journey to work through recovering from Jame’s accident.

This memoir is intense, gripping, emotionally draining, insightful, mesmerizing, and hard to put down. I’ve never read Mia Hayes before, but after reading this gut wrenching memoir of hers, I want to read her other books.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Always Yours, Bee by Mia Hayes from Finn Star, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. Thank you NetGalley for always providing memoirs that become all time favorites. This is one of them. I can’t wait to grab a copy when it comes out. Thank you Mrs. Hayes for opening your heart and past, so that others could see there is hope on the darkest of nights.

Book Review · Books

Why She Wrote

I love to read about author’s lives. I find them fascinating and sometimes more interesting than the actual books said authors have written. When I saw this upcoming book a possible option to review I jumped at the chance. The cover is girlie in its pink color and the busts of the women author’s explored between the pages adds a unique charm to the cover.

Inside this book you get a window into the lives of some of the most beloved women authors: Louis May Alcott, the Bronte sisters, Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and many others. Each chapter offers a portion expressed via graphic novel form which makes it even more fun to read. I learned a lot I didn’t previously know. I discovered that some authors I decided I’m not too fond of and others I’m fascinated by.

I received my complimentary copy of Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman, and Kaley Bales (Illustrations) from Chronicle Books, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This short book is an enjoyable and inspiring read. If you are struggling to write that next novel, then you’ll want to add this book to your 2021 library. Thank you NetGalley and Chronicle Books. This book has renewed my desire to write and publish.

Book Review · Books

I Lost My BFF

Friendship can be a tight rope walk we are all still learning how to balance. If you are searching for an age appropriate book for your preteen on the topic of friendship, then I recommend the upcoming: I Lost My BFF. This short story is about Sophia and her best friend Camilla. They do everything together at school and hangout on the weekends as well. One day Sophia notices that Camila is hanging out with a different girl. That’s fine, but when Sophia feels intentionally left out she feels even worse. Doesn’t Camila miss their friendship? Are they still even BFF’s? Follow Sophia on her journey to learn the ebb and flow that friendship brings.

Even being an adult I gleaned a lot from this little book for kids. I think we always crave to have that one best friend that stands by our side unconditionally. That’s a nice dream, but we can’t hog others from also, making best friends. Learning that friendship flows. Some are for a lifetime and others are temporary. The latter hurts because you get so excited, but we can’t see from the other’s person’s view that there is a particular reason we are placed in their life and when that has been fulfilled, then it’s time for them to move on.

I received my complimentary digital copy of I Lost My BFF by Jennifer Licate from Boys Town Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. This book brought back quite a lot of friendship memories from grade school and navigating friendships. I would recommend this for kids and their parents. Adults can glean a lot from this story.

Book Review · Books

Questions Of Perspective

Dave is an attorney who works at befriending his colleague John. The two become great friends. One day John doesn’t come to work for a few days without any warning or preamble. Dave is concerned so he offers to go check on John. When he arrives at John’s place his landlord acts drunkenly surprised that his tenant is MIA. He allows Dave to go into John’s appointment to see if he’s home, but there is no one there. The only inhabitant is his cat, Peaches. Since Dave feels bad for the cat he asks the landlord if he can watch over Peaches till John is found. The landlord seems fine with that.

Dave tries to locate John, but can’t. He’s utterly disappeared. After a year goes by Dave is out briefly during his work lunch break and bumps into John. Understandably he’s furious that John just abandoned his job and cat. What John shares briefly with Dave is what it’s like to be God and know/see everything. Dave in confounded. John explains that he, himself have become God. Dave is skeptical, but the glimpse John allowed Dave to have changed Dave. Living a mundane existence didn’t cut it any longer, so Dave decides to change his life. Journey with Dave as he processes what it’s like to have his friend become divine and how he works to answer the questions John/God pose to Dave.

This novel was outside the box. We have enough challenges with the Western view of God, but what if one of your closest friends became God and then life started not going as you planned? What if God wouldn’t answer your prayer? The characters are memorable. I like how Peaches goes on hikes with Dave, leash free.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Questions Of Perspective by Daniel Maunz from Black Rose Writing, care of TLC Book Tours and the author. The views are mine and my choice.

Book Review · Books

All About Us

What would you do if you could go back in time to choose a different path than the one you are currently on? Ben gets his chance in: All About Us. It’s Christmas Eve and he’s in a rut. His wife, Daphne is off at her work Christmas party. He declines to go so, he can stay home and decorate their tree. Instead he’s off to the pub to see his best friend Harv. At the pub he meets a watch salesman who gifts him a watch. This stranger asks Ben if there was anything in his life he’d like to do over. Welcome to Ben’s adventure to find out just what that entails.

This novel is fast paced, gripping, emotional, thought provoking, and sobering. I couldn’t put it down. This book is fiction, but the essence of the story brings home so much on a personal level. You can’t read this novel and not think about your own life and all you’ve gone through to be at where you are at currently. If you love a Christmas Carol then you may enjoy this story. I have never read this classic Christmas tale, but I just might after reading this novel.

I received my complimentary copy of All About Us by Tom Ellen from HarperCollins, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. Thank you for the opportunity to get to read such a powerful book.

Book Review · Books

Affirming

Sally was raised in a Christian church that adamantly believed being gay was a sin and not what God wants. She was devout in her faith and loved her church. She was raised in a strong Christian home where her parents and grandparents showed and reflected their faith to her through how they lived their lives. The challenge came when she noticed she didn’t like boys in the same way her girl friends did. Instead she got crushes on girls. This quandary bugged Sally because she wanted to the do the right thing. She tried, prayed and begged God to change her desires. Nothing worked. When Sally encounters believers who have a different view of monogamous gay relationships between believers what she has tried to believe is challenged. Follow Sally as she goes on a faith journey to figure out just what exactly God wants.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Affirming by Sally Gary from William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. This memoir I couldn’t put down. Sally is candid and not preachy, but kindly shares her faith throughout. She talks about how not only how her church helped shape who she is, but the impact her family had on her with how they showed love to others through their hospitality. I can relate to Sally when it comes to always having different people coming over for dinner or staying with your family for months at a time when you are growing up. Flexibility and patience is key. I think this is an excellent book to help open up an important discussion within the church. If you have read God And The Gay Christian or Torn, then you’ll want to add Affirming to your Christian LGBTQA library collection.