Book Review · Books

Those Who Prey

College is a time for freedom, to discover yourself, enjoy dorm life and take the classes that interest you. Emily was thrilled to go away to Boston, away from her home in the south. Dorm life wasn’t the greatest. College life was lonely, until a cute guy interpreted her reading at the local coffee shop.

Josh invites her to hang out with his friends Heather and Andrew. Emily is excited to meet new people and make new friends. Heather seems very nice and that she wants to become genuine friends. Emily gets invited to an event where she gets a glimpse into the group that her new friends are involved in. Heather isn’t religious, but hearing one of the leader’s speak she is transfixed. Who doesn’t want improve their life, to discover their spirituality?

Heather is Emily’s mentor of sorts and as Emily goes through the process of learning and growing it seems Heather becomes even more controlling. Emily brushes off the caution in her gut. Heather wants the best for her, right?

When an internship spot opens up through the group Emily wants to go since Josh is going. The only challenge is that Heather wants to go. Which of them will get picked?

I received my digital complimentary copy of Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett from Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own will. This book will make a great conversation piece. This novel is a cautionary tale of sorts and an important one. I’m still processing my reaction.

Book Review · Books

Loving Well In A Broken World

Being empathetic in today’s world is not popular. Author, Lauren Casper shares how she learned to show more empathy. She provides different examples from her life from fostering to adoption, to listening to those of other ethnicities, to realizing how a rebuke from her younger years helped her gain more insight. Lauren also, includes different Bible stories that show empathy in action.

This book made me think of times I’ve been rebuked by family and how at the time it can raise your shackles, but looking back you can see their reasoning. It also, made me think of how by being raised in a certain community you may be biased to a particular viewpoint. Hearing views different from your own is an important step into learning how to be empathetic towards others who are different from you.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Loving Well In A Broken World by Lauren Casper from Thomas Nelson, care of TLC Book Tours and NetGalley. The views are mine and my choice to post. To grab a copy off Amazon and find out more about the author. This book is a good read, but if you aren’t a Christian there may be some Christianese verbiage to wade through.

Book Review · Books

Let Them Be Kids

This book is great for parents or childless couples. The theme of this book is about how we need to allow kids to be kids and not burden them with adult worries. Kids today seem to be more acknowledgeable about topics that are too, grownup for them. The author, Jessica breaks down the sections into different categories from manners, to age appropriate activities for your kids, to writing your own family manifesto and more. Jessica gives examples from her own life and family as well, which I found quite reminiscent of my own childhood.

Even though I don’t have any children this book brought back my own childhood memories and how I was raised. It makes you think on how we raise today’s kids shapes how they will be in the future. It’s interesting to see how each generation is raised so differently. I like how Jessica brings it back to the basics, not the prehistoric kind.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Let Them Be Kids by Jessica Smartt from Thomas Nelson, care of TLC Book Tours and NetGalley. The views given are mine and my choice. To grab an inspiring copy via Amazon and to find out more about the author. This book is not boring. It’s refreshing and hopeful to know that there are parents out there who are determined to raise kids who know how to fully be kids and not mini adults.

Book Review · Books

Amelia Unabridged

Amelia’s life comes crashing down the day her dad leaves her and her mom for a younger woman. In her distress Amelia goes to the local bookstore to just window shop. In her glazed over pain she doesn’t notice Jenna until Jenna asks if she’d like to come in. Amelia discovers a true fellow book lover in Jenna when she offers to purchase a book for Amelia. This purchase tumbles them both into the exciting world of N.E. Endsley’s books.

With Jenna’s friendship comes a set of surrogate parents: Mark and Trisha. Jenna’s parents take Amelia into their lives in stride, treating her like the second daughter they never had. For their high school graduation gift they gift the girls tickets to a big book convention where their beloved author will be. They are so stoked to go on a trip out of state and BFF time as brand new adults.

The book convention ends up being a disappointment when N.E. Endsley’s time slot gets canceled. Amelia is crushed, hopping mad. The worst part is that while she was using the bathroom, Jenna gets to meet THAT author. Amelia has mixed emotions. Jealous doesn’t quite cover it.

After Jenna goes off on a trip overseas. Amelia misses her best friend. At least they have their college plans mapped out. Life can resume when Jenna gets back. Unfortunately Jenna comes back in a box. Amelia is thrown for a loop. Jenna was the captain to their BFF ship and now Amelia has to navigate their plans solo.

One day Amelia gets a call from the bookshop where Jenna used to work. A mysterious gift is waiting for Amelia. Who sent her this mystery gift? Inside is a limited fancy edition of their favorite book by their favorite author. Awkward thing is the local bookstore has no clue why this other bookstore shipped the book to their store instead of directly to Amelia. Was it Jenna’s surprise gift from the grave? Does this other bookstore have any clues? Amelia wants to find out.

This novel is my top favorite for 2020, so far. The characters come across like real life friends you want call up and hang out with. The depiction of grief is varied and true. This story is for those bookworms who have that one favorite author they squeal over at a book signings. This is for those that have that one nerdy best friend who understands their love of reading and actually enjoys reading by their side. This novel does have some magical realism in it. Other topics it tackles are social anxiety, death, people pleasing, family and what family loyalty looks like. I already want to reread this book, buy a physical copy when it comes out, so I can highlight my favorite lines and recommend it to all my book loving friends.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher from St. Martin’s Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my full choice. This book is so magical, lovely, gut wrenching, perfect. For a devout novel I’ve discovered a new favorite author. Thank you Ashley Schumacher for writing this novel from the heart. It is a gift that will become a classic.

Book Review · Books

In The Neighborhood Of True

Ruth Rob moves to Atlanta from New York after her father passes. Living with her grandparents, along with her mom and sister is different. Her grandparents are well off and into social status. Ruth is plain Jane, but wants to fit into the new social circle she’s trust into at her new private school. Her mom is not wanting her daughter to get into the whole debutante scene that she ran away from herself. She wants her daughter to keep her independent self intact, not become a fufu sheep.

Ruth has her own secret she holds to her heart. Her Jewish faith. When Ruth decides she wants to participate in the social ball her mom makes her agree to going to the local Temple with her. There Ruth meets Max. He’s a tad quirky, but he’s not Ruth’s crush, Davis whose part of the fufu crowd at school. Both teen boys vey for her attention.

Diving into life in Atlanta in the late 50’s is fraught with social clashes between Jews, whites and blacks. When an awful event happens, Ruth has to determine which teen boy is worthy of her. Is Davis all true charm? Is Max just nerdy, or is there more depth to him? Will Ruth ever come clean about her own beliefs?

This novel delves into the ugly topic of racism in the south in the 50’s. This book’s description of this era is spot on. Written charmingly, details so accurate I want to put on bright classy red lipstick and a cute skirt with a cardigan. There are details in this novel I wanted to jump up to Google because it sounded so unique I wondered if it was truly something from that era.

I received my complimentary digital copy of In The Neighborhood Of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton from Algonquin Books, Care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and my own choice. This book is hard to put down. It handles the topics within it honestly, raw and with grace. I hope the author will choose to write a sequel.

Book Review · Books

Wilder Girls

With all the craziness this world is going through currently I wasn’t quite prepared for what I would find in the novel Wilder Girls. This novel’s theme is quite timely and ironic considering it came out before we would have to imagine a world in which being quarantined wasn’t merely a fictional hypothesis.

The one person at Raxter girl’s school who keeps Hetty’s life sane is Byatt. They are best friends and bunk mates. When the Tox hits and everyone has some kind of side effect from the mysterious illness Hetty gets promoted to Boat Shift. This is the coveted group of girls who help bring back supplies that are dropped off on the tip of the island they are on. When Hetty goes on her first patrol she realizes there is more going on than what is disclosed to the students.

Hetty has the quandary of liking her best friend, but the third friend in their trio, Reese seems to have not as hard of a countenance as she lets on. When Byatt gets carted off after experiencing one of her side effects of the illness Hetty is determined to find her best friend. Will Reese help Hetty find Byatt?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Wilder Girls by Rory Power, from Delacorte Press, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and my own choice. This novel is nail biting, emotional and twisted. This is a YA novel that I don’t think is best for younger teens as it does have bits of violence. I’ve heard this novel compared to Lord Of The Flies. I’ve never read this classic, but after reading Wilder Girl’s I don’t think the old classic will hold up to this novel. If you are needing a page turner to stay up all the night for a readathon then go grab a copy of Wilder Girls.

Book Review · Books

Burn Our Bodies Down

Margot’s life is within the walls of the place she shares with her over worked, emotionally closed off mom. Her mom always tells her to keep a candle burning. Margot thinks this is a tad weird, but any time she deviates her mom gives her an earful. Margot’s life consists of her, her mom and school. No one else.

One day to be thoughtful to her mom, Margot decides to go to the local pawn shop to buy back an item her mom pawned. While trying to find the special item she discovers her mom’s childhood Bible. Inside she discovers a message she’s not expecting and proof her mom had a childhood. She purchases the Bible. The proof contains the name of a place and number. Does she have extended family?

While her mom is at work Margot decides to risk calling the number. Will this family member answer? Do they know she exists? As a person answers the phone her mom appears at the phone booth and demands her to hand over the receiver. There are words exchanged and Margot’s mom slams the payphone down. What’s so terrible about possible family?

Margot decides she has to find out. With the money she skimmed from her mom she hitchhikes to the town referenced. Will Margot find a long lost, loving family member? Can she ever gain the home life she yearns for that her mom seems unable to provide? Why is her mom keeping Margot from family? What could her mom be hiding?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power from Delacorte Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel is a whirlwind of different emotions. It’s a roller coaster that keeps you hanging on till the end of the ride wondering what the heck just happened. I’m still trying to mentally wrap my brain around Margot’s story. This novel captures the challenges of family and what family means. If you enjoy YA suspense with a dash of surrealism jump on to this hair raising ride.

Book Review · Books

Winter Of The Wolf

Bean’s best friend is her older brother, Sam, who named her back when he was two. He was that thrilled to be getting a little sister. Bean also, has her long time BFF, Julie. High school life seems fairly mundane and normal until the night of Sam’s best friend, Skip’s party. Sam hasn’t finished his paper, so their mom grounds him from going. He’s ticked off and fuming.

Julie and Bean were supposed to have a BFF sleepover, but that night their parents have company over. Bean gets their mom to ok Sam to quickly take her to go pick up Julie since Bean is only a freshman. That night a bad storm is ragging and the conditions are awful. The conditions were ripe for what happens next. The accident is horrific with a deer running out in front of the car and a tree stopping them.

Sam is gutted by the accident. Julie and Bean watch him go in the pouring rain to briefly lay himself over the dead deer. They get him to stumble home where his parents realize that he has a big gash down him and he’s bleeding a lot. His mom cleans him up and he retreats to his room to work on his paper. Bean and Julie go to their room.

Awhile later they hear a horrific scream. They rush to find Bean’s mom staring into Sam’s room. Bean can’t erase what her eyes are seeing. The paramedics are called and they all race to the hospital.

The end result is Sam is gone. Bean can’t fathom life without her brother. The cause of death is ruled one thing, while Bean determines it can’t be that. Sam loved his life. She determines to figure out the reason for his passing, to dig deep behind the supposed cause of death. Will Bean ever figure out the true reason?

I received my complimentary copy of Winter Of The Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler from Greenleaf Book Press, care of FSB Associates. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel tackles the heavy topic of death and how Bean and her family each handle Sam’s passing.

Book Review · Books

The Socialite

If you love war romance novels then you are in for a treat. Enter the world of Katherine Whitfield who is determined to bring back her wayward sister, Eleanor from Nazi occupied France. Kat just wants to get convincing her sister to come back home over and done quick, but a handsome stranger seems to drop in the night Kat arrives to confront Eleanor. Who is this handsome man?

Barrett Anderson runs a local bar and seems to pop up anytime Kat needs help with Eleanor, but the person holding her sister back is Eric, her dashingly handsome Nazi boyfriend. This man makes Kat sick, but Eleanor seems blinded by Eric’s good looks and money.

Will Kat be able to get through her sister’s head how dangerous Eric is? Will this handsome stranger ever explain himself as to why he seems to be swimming in the same circles as Eleanor and Eric, but isn’t a Nazi, but a Scotchman with the brogue to boot. The more Kat tries to convince Eleanor to come back home to England the more Eric tries to block their goal. Will the sisters ever make it out of Paris?

I received my complimentary copy of The Socialite by J’Nell Ciesielski from Thomas Nelson, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To grab a stunning copy of your own support Thomas Nelson and to check out more about the author. This novel is rich in atmosphere, characterization and even has snippets of humor. The cover of this novel is beyond gorgeous. The dress the main character has on just ripples with elegance and the fashionable way her hair is coifed makes a woman want to throw on some classic candy red lipstick. It makes me wish for the classic beauty of that era.

Book Review · Books

No Truth Left To Tell

The cover is intriguing. What looks like tornadoes are in the background, the sky is red and in the front is a noose. That imagery alone makes you wonder if the story is about a natural disaster. This novel takes us to Lynnwood, LA where it’s racist past is still remembered. The town square by the courthouse is where people were lynched.

Daniel, the Grand Dragon of the local KKK wants to rile things up and decides to burn a few crosses at prominent places around town. One place was this little old lady’s front lawn. The pure terror of it caused her to have a heart attack.

Enter in Adrien Rush, the federal civil rights prosecutor from DC, who swoops in to get justice for the cross burnings. In trying to get the grand dragon to talk, Adrien realizes this group plays dirty. Will Adrien be able to get justice served?

I received my complimentary copy of No Truth Left To Tell by Michael McAuliffee from Greenleaf Book Group Press, care of FSB Associates. The views are of my own choice and mine. This debut novel is fast paced and interesting to see the inside workings from a prosecutor’s viewpoint.