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

How To Make A Life

If you love family sagas then you need to go grab a stunning copy of How To Make A Life. This novel tumbles you first into Ida’s world, the old country, the Ukraine. Due to the first war she escapes off to America with her two young daughters, where she works to build a brand new life for them. Ida can’t wait to put away the horrors of the war behind her.

This novel touches on the tough subject of mental illness and how society has viewed it through the decades and how family members can view it very differently. Would you be strong enough to call it out when a family member may need help instead of keeping quiet since you speak out loud just may bring shame on the family?Another subject that is focused on is sisterhood. When is being a sister go from caring to usury?

Each chapter gives the point of view from a different family member through different eras. Join Ida, Bessie, Jenny, Ruby, Morris, Irene, Abe and others on their adventures through life.

I received my complimentary copy of How To Make A Life by Florence Reiss Kraut from She Writes Press, care of Smith Publicity. The views are mine and of my own choice. I love the cover of this book. I have a soft spot for WWII books and this cover gives off the rustic, charming, 1940’s antique look. It makes me feel like I could walk right out onto the cover and be there with the characters.

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.

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

A Flame Through Eternity

Helle and Jason are trying to get back to normal life now that Sam Woolf is dead. Helle is thrilled to finally officially be Jason’s wife. For this time ever they are husband and wife. No more Sam Woolf to tear apart her and Jason’s love.

On one of their trips to Jason’s family castle of sorts his colleague Nigel brings his infamous girlfriend Miranda. Helle is turned off by Miranda’s New Age stance. When Miranda attempts to read Helle’s palm what she sees disturbs Helle, making her wonder how legit Miranda might be.

When things start hearting up with attempts on Jason and Helle’s lives they both wonder if Sam Woolf is truly dead. No body was ever uncovered. They thought for sure his fall off the cliff did him in.

When the one police contact John Stapleton steps in to befriend Helle due to her headaches and nightmares about the evil Sam Woolf, his solution is his Aunt Katherine. Why would his old Aunt Katherine be helpful? When Jason and Helle go to meet John’s Aunt Katherine, a surprise neither of them was expecting is waiting for them. What could make old Aunt Katherine someone who might be able to help Helle?

If you love steamy erotic scenes then the passion between Jason and Helle will have you begging for more. These scenes are tasteful depicted. I’m not huge into romance novels, but this past lives love story is heavy on the passion and the storyline is hard to put down.

I received my complimentary copy of A Flame Through Eternity by Anna Belfrage from Matador, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To grab a copy for your own click here and to read more about the lovely author here. The great thing about this series is there is enough background provided that you don’t necessarily have to read the first two titles in this series. If you love romance, past lives, and an intense villain then you’ll gobble up this passionate love story.

Book Review · Books

The Moonglow Sisters

Some books are life changers. Some stories take you down a long dark tunnel that is scary as Hell, but the story stays with you, to comfort and guide you to the end where your life becomes that much brighter. This story is one of those gems.

Gia, Shelley and Maddie were as close as three sisters could be until the night their bond was destroyed and they each went their own, separate ways. Five years pass and Gia gets a strange letter from their grandmother. Her request of Gia is to reunite the sisters. Gia is not quite sure if their grandmother’s request will be heeded, but she can try. Who knows if Maddie, or Shelley will come back to home base?

The C word is scary, ugly and something none of the sisters want to face, but all three show up. Wether or not their bond is able to be mended is still out for debate, but Gia hopes Maddie and Shelley will try. In order to help spur the truce along, Gia has a nuts idea to help get them to finish the quilt. The dang quilt tied to the day that reunited their sisterhood, but will Gia’s plan work?

Follow Gia, Shelley and Maddie as they embark on a journey of self discovery, challenges, hopes, dreams and the occasional road block. Hear from each sister, from their view of what transpired to ruin their sisterhood and what might be their saving grace. Can these sisters redeem their sisterhood?

I received my complimentary copy of The Moonglow Sisters by Lori Wilde from William Morris, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To grab a copy for your own click here and to read more about the lovely author here.

This novel was EPIC. I didn’t want to finish this lovely, deep, challenging family drama. Each character was unique and I could see myself in each one. Gia, the youngest who is the ever peace keeper. Shelley, the free spirit and Maddie, the eldest who took her big sister role seriously. You will step into their lives and not want the last page to arrive.

Book Review · Books

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant

Three generations searching for love. Rachel who seems to have fleeting romances, Eve who has swapped her travels to Africa with her boyfriend in favor of taking care of her grandmother. Esther stuck on a island against her will by her husband, in an attempt to heal her from her grief.

Rachel lands on the Isles of Scilly to research clams. While going out to do her research a storm brews up fast and she doesn’t want to lose her boat. Attempting to swim it to shore behind her she ends up getting her arm caught between rocks. An older woman whose a recluse rescues Rachael. She has landed on an island called Little Embers. Her rescuer finds her some clothes to borrow. They are clothes from a different era with a secret.

Eve is stuck taking care of her grandmother and wonders if she’ll ever rekindle the boyfriend she left behind. Helping her grandmother write her memoirs Eve senses there’s more to her life then her grandmother is letting on.

Esther is stuck on an island to try and heal her grief. With her husband and little boy so far away can Esther heal?

Join Esther, Eve and Rachel on their journeys to discover love and the how the paths we choose shape our future. This gripping novel is set on the isles off the Cornish coast. If you enjoy small town stories then you might just fall in love with this story. This novel touches on so many different themes from loss, independence, grief, romance, adventure and most of all hope.

I received my complimentary copy of The Lost Letters Of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn from William Morrow, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To go grab a gorgeous copy of this novel support HarperCollins and to find out more about the author.

Book Review · Books

Brave Enough

Cason Martin is a professional dancer whose life revolves around her dance schedule and high school. While auditioning to get into a professional ballet academy her one leg is giving her extra pain than normal, but Cason pushes through her routine. Her mom is her dance director and expects only perfection. At the end of her routine Cason hears a sound, not realizing it’s her leg. After being rushed to the doctor she finds out she has cancer.

Why does the big C word have to interfere with her plans for greatness? Cason’s one tract mind is on dancing and having to go through treatment isn’t going to help her reach her goal. While going in for treatment she notices a classmate of hers, Davis. He seems nice and everyone seems to like him on the oncology floor. The only problem is that he’s a recovering addict. Cason’s mom nips that potential friendship in the bud.

Davis notices Cason while doing his community service at the hospital and is sad when he realizes she’s there for treatment. Will her mom ever view him anything other than an addict in recovery? Davis decides to work on befriending Cason, though her anger about her circumstances doesn’t help ease his attempts at friendship. Can Davis convince Cason to go to cancer camp for a week?

Will Cason ever accept Davis’ friendship and will she ever come to terms with her diagnosis? Can a recovering pill addict and ballet dancer become friends?

I received my complimentary copy of Brave Enough by Kati Gardner from North Star Editions and Flux, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel was just plain sweet. If you need an impactful novel, a sweet YA romance then I highly recommend this title. The subjects involved aren’t easy to always digest, but cancer and pill addiction are two relevant topics in today’s world. I feel the author handled these topics realistically and with grace.