Book Review · Books

Don’t Lose Your Head

I’m not educated when it comes to England’s history. I know the very bare bones about King Henry the VIII. This little hot pink gem is a modernized telling from each of his six wives and what happened to them. Dive in to hear from Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn (the famous one), Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr. Each have their own take on what transpired in being married to Henry. Each story is unique. I don’t know if I could stomach being stuck with the king. Which wife do you see yourself as most like?

I received my complimentary copy of Don’t Lose Your Head by Harriet Marsden from Ulysses Press, care of Pacific and Court. The views are mine and of my own choice. This little book packs a lot of history in a fun, sassy tone. The little text bubble conversations between Henry’s wives gives it a modern flair. If you love history and want to learn more then you’ll be pleased this book is not boring. How could it be with all the beheadings and royal drama? Side note, this novel is not for children as it does have mature topics discussed.

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.

Books

Amelia Unabridged Q & A

Question: Who inspired you to create Amelia’s character?

Answer: Amelia’s story was largely born out of my own “what next” question when I graduated from college, but her character makeup was influenced by her circumstances. While she and I share a love of reading, the rest of Amelia’s personality belongs almost entirely to her. She came to me fully formed, which is rarity for my writing style.

Question: Are you going to write a sequel?

Answer: I never say never, but I feel like I left Amelia and Nolan in a good place. There are other worlds I want to explore, for now!

Question: How much did HP have as inspiration?

Answer: I tried very hard not to draw from a specific fantasy series as my inspiration for Orman, instead gathering all of my favorite aspects of many different stories and funneling them down into the bits that you see Amelia and Nolan read, but it’s hard not to nod to the juggernaut that is the Harry Potter fandom when you’re writing a book about readers and writers.

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

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.