Book Review · Books

To Shatter Glass

To Shatter Glass provides an array of poems that showcase the challenging life the author has lived so far. Sister Sharon dealt with alcoholism in her family, death and many other challenges.

I feel that Sister Sharon brings to life the turmoil of wanting a special Christmas, but not knowing if your parents are going to chose celebrating it or choosing booze instead. Another theme she describes is the loss of family, something no one is ever ready or prepared for. Especially when that family member is young. Sister Sharon also, writes about her faith journey.

I received my complimentary digital copy of To Shatter Glass by Sister Sharon Hunter, CJ from Paraclete Press and Iron Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. The poems in this collection are vivid, sobering, thoughtful and inspiring.

Book Review · Books

Sick Girl Secrets

Natalie thinks her life in high school is going great, until being sick morphs into having surgery and needing a wheelchair. Why does life suck? Kids at school can be jerks. A wheelchair will just be like a big red bull’s eye shouting to her school that something is wrong. Natalie doesn’t want to stand out in that way.

Day one of going back to school Natalie decides to ditch her new set of wheels and stashes it near the school at an old abandoned house. By the end of the week of physically walking everywhere she is shocked that someone stole her brand new wheelchair. Natalie is too zapped to move from the spot where her chair had been. After she is found by her aide and gets a talking to, Natalie caves to using her wheelchair at school.

One day in the bathroom Natalie encounters the one known disabled girl named Riley. She’s in a wheelchair and is very loud in her clothing and makeup choice. Natalie wants to avoid her like the plague. Why be associated with the school outcast?

Eventually Riley gets Natalie to befriend her. Natalie realizes that Riley is human with feelings and is a great friend. They hang out on the weekend and are excited for the upcoming school dance until the principal has other plans.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Sick Girl Secrets by Anna Russell from West 44 Books, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my choice. This novel written in verse deals with an important topic we don’t really discuss in school or socially as a society. Disability can be obvious, but also, invisible. Not all illnesses can be seen on the outside. Some are internal or mental. School can be a challenging place to try and fit into, let alone having to maneuver a wheelchair, crutches, etc. This story was fast paced, sweet, thought provoking and a satisfying read. Look for this upcoming fall release.

Book Review · Books

Hurricane Summer

***TW: This novel contains content that may be triggering: verbal and physical abuse.***

Tilla gets to accompany her little sister to Jamaica for the summer to visit their dad. She’s one part excited and the other part nervous. Their dad has a history of leaving and shes weary he’s going to do another disappearing act. When they arrive the extended family on their father’s side is waiting for them. They seem all excited, except for her one aunt who seems put off that she has to give up her room for her nieces.

Tilla and her sister meet their assorted cousins and get the lay of the land, out in what’s known as “country”, They get to spend a few weeks at their aunt and uncle’s. Tilla is shocked when their dad mentions he has business to attend to, but that they will later be joining him in the city. Left alone with family they barely know feels awkward. Tilla and her sister have to also, try and figure out the local lingo.

Slowly, Tilla befriends a few of her cousins. Two girls her age, Diana and her friend Zory seem to be nice. One day when she is walking with Diana they bump into Hessan who appears to take a liking to Tilla. The big problem with that is Diana says that her and Hessan are meant to be back together again after being promised to each other in the church.

Hessan and Tilla strike up a friendship, but then another boy seems interested in Tilla. Diana seems to think Tilla is into this other boy, totally clueless as to the friendship budding between Tilla and Hessan. Who will Tilla choose?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield from St. Martin’s Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This novel is breathtaking. It tackles such heavy subjects as verbal and physical abuse, family dynamics, racial class within a country and racism from within, privilege, and so much more. This novel would make a great book club book to discuss, though it’s not for the faint of heart.

Book Review · Books

Willing

Liz has had bad experiences with men. Her ex husband was a cheater and the man she thought would repair her heart, Roland, wasn’t quite over his wife who had passed. Since she didn’t want to put her sensitive heart on the line Liz decides to just keep it purely to having sex. No heart involved, just simple gratification. Loveless encounters can only appear satisfying to your heart only for so long. When Liz decides to have a romp with her friend’s twenty-something year old son, she realizes some reevaluation is needed in her life.

Liz tries to distract herself with her photography business. Capturing beautiful brides and handsome grooms. The life she had hoped to have. When she meets up with an old friend, Darius, he suggests for her to get away for the winter to GA. He hints about a friend of his, Christopher who she might jive with, who needs a house sitter for his brother’s house. Liz is intrigued and decides to be adventurous.

Georgia is very different from her place in Vermont. The warm weather is a balm to her soul. Her dog, Obie loves exploring the property where this house is. Her landlord Christopher is definitely a hunk. She doesn’t want to get distracted by this handsome man as she’s needing to be inspired again with her photography. When the attraction is shown to be mutual Liz has to decide if she’ll let him in. Is there ever too perfect a man? Can Liz trust again?

I received my complimentary ARC copy of Willing from Blender Publishing, care of Smith Publicity. The views are mine and my own choice to share. This novel first off is intimidating by its size. I don’t normally read this thick of a book. It felt like a Stephen King length book. The thickness of this book is a big detractor I think for someone to choose this book. Aside from it being really long, it’s not merely erotic scene after erotic scene; though this novel is definitely for 18 and over. There is an in-depth storyline. The way that Georgia is described makes me want to go visit. It sounds gorgeous, not to mention Vermont is supposed to be lovely. The characterization isn’t phony. Relationships can be messy. They aren’t like a movie. We can try to portray it as such, but underneath it isn’t always what it seems. I feel this novel explores relationships and how to learn to trust again when you’ve burned in the past.

Book Review · Books

Honey Girl

Grace Porter is a people pleaser through and through. Her dad, Colonel has his daughter’s life plan mapped out for her. She’s worked this path and hauled ass getting her title of Doctor. Her passion? Astronomy. She has her two best friends, Ximena and Agnes and her surrogate family of sorts in siblings, Raj and Meera to help keep her sane. Life seems to be going fairly smoothly until a girlfriends trip to Vegas turns wild.

Grace wakes up with fuzzy memories of the night before. Her clues as to her night are a ring on her finger and a shirt with the word bride scrawled across. What had she done? Grace is always in control of herself and when she finds the note from the mystery woman of the night before she’s shocked back into reality. Who did she end up marrying on a whim?

Ximena and Agnes want Grace to find this mysterious woman. Grace is nervous and yet dying of curiosity. She must have either really fallen for this woman, or the alcohol was supper strong.

Grace is worried this new turn of events will derail her career path, but she doesn’t take vows lightly and desires to do the right thing. When her friends discover the mystery woman’s podcast they listen in. Grace decides to be brave and call in. Will this other woman remember their night in Vegas? Will she want to connect with Grace?

I received my complimentary copy of Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers from Harlequin- Trade Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. This novel is filled with characters who I wish were real. The author does a wonderful job of captivating you from page one. Observing Grace as she wakes up from her wild night in Vegas to discover she has a wedding ring on with no clear memory of what the other woman looks like is an intriguing intro. The sisterhood between Grace, her best friends and her chosen family is playful, thought provoking and also, sweet. The author also, shows the challenge of having divorced parents and juggling your allegiance to them, even when one is a hard ass and other is flighty. This story will stay with you long after the last page. Grab a copy this upcoming spring.

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

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.