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

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

Life Under The Apple Tree

If you grew up in the 80’s then you’ll remember the children’s book The Giving Tree. The cover of Life Under The Apple Tree gives off this same vibe as it is a cartoon of an apple tree with a single apple dangling from a branch. I just had to read this story.

Enter into the author’s ordeal starting his life over when his wife passes unexpectedly. The author and his children scramble to find a home to move into. His family cabin becomes a brief respite while they search since their old house sold and their new home fell through.

Things turn sour when financial troubles hit hard. Life gets even more stressful. Thankfully the author has a best friend in the local couple Thaddeus and Christopher. They offer pearls of wisdom under the apple tree. Come sit and listen to their wisdom.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Life Under The Apple Tree by A.P. Roberts from BooksGoSocial, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and are my choice. This story is based on a true story of what the author went through. It is hard to put down and is a swift read. This book is parts magical, convicting and inspiring. I can’t get over how much I love this book’s cover. It brings out the kid in me.

Book Review · Books

The Outlook For Earthlings

If you are craving a story about friendship then you need to go grab a copy of The Outlook For Earthlings. Mel and Scarlet are classmates, a grade apart. Scarlet is older with beautiful red hair and Melanie is the one with the mousy brown hair. Both teens love books. Both live in difficult home situations. Mel looks up to Scarlet and Scarlet doesn’t judge Melanie’s strange father who has pin up photos in his writing office for inspiration.

Through the years both ladies go through life changes and careers. Both Scarlet and Melanie stay in contact through letters, phone calls and when email comes on the scene they graduate to sending messages from their prospective jobs.

This novel touches on the topic of friendship and how through the years even if our lives are in turmoil at least we have our best friend to vent to and share life with. Even though both Mel and Scarlet come from different kinds of families, they form a friendship that still stands firm beyond the different life decisions they make as adults.

I received my complimentary copy of The Outlook For Earthlings by Joan Frank from Regal House Publishing, care of TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. The prose in this novel is captivating and will make you pause with reverence. The description of the setting of the story is spot on and so visceral you feel as though you are walking the neighborhood between Scarlet and Melanie’s homes. The only thing is that I don’t understand how the title coincides with the book. This is a novel that isn’t long, but deep in heart. Have you discovered your own Scarlet or Melanie?

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

Let The Willows Weep

What’s it like to have your own mother hate you? Birddog knows. Her mother always favored her older brother, Denny and other brother, Caul. The one solace she has is her dear father. He’s a miner who works hard, but shows love even harder, giving Birddog the sense of safety her mother won’t. Thankfully her brother, Denny is her protector and one of her best friends.

When the unthinkable happens to their father, Denny is forced to grow up sooner than he’d probably like. The challenge is he gets the same kind of work his father did. This doesn’t go over well with their mother. With miner work comes the comfort of the bottle and Denny starts to pull away from Birddog.

Birddog try’s her best to warm up to her mother, but any praise from her is fleeting, often filled with caustic words. After she doesn’t have the safety of her father, Birddog gets sick and the local town doctor asks her mother to comfort her. There is no comfort provided in their shared grief. Birddog’s mother’s hate just seems to gather more intensity like a storm brewing.

One day while visiting her father’s grave she happens upon Samuel and Dig. They both befriend her. Samuel is the local caretaker of the cemetery. Dig is his special needs younger brother with a heart of gold. Dig gives Birddog a new nickname. Daisy Girl. Daisys are the flower of choice for her father’s grave. The new nickname is a pleasant change. While getting to know Samuel her broken heart begins to heal. Will Birddog ever discover a love of her own?

This novel is lyrical, gut wrenching and powerful. I can’t fathom my parents hating me as deeply as Birddog’s mother does her. She’s a tomboy while her mother is all about appearance and the finer things in life. As soon as I started this novel I was transported back in time, when your station in life isn’t always easy to move on up from.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Let The Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell from TLC Book Tours and the author. The views are of my own accord and at will. Go grab a gorgeous copy off Amazon and to connect with the author, check out her website. This novel is a top favorite of mine this year. If you’ve also, read this novel I would love to discuss it.

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.