Two very Different #FamilySaga #BookReview @jamescudney4 @PintipDunn


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Two Fabulous Reads from James J. Cudney and Pintip Dunn

For the first time ever, I went past a writing deadline and had to ask for an extension from the members of the upcoming boxset, Cute But Crazy 2 : Ditzy Dudes. Talk about stressing out! On top of that, my eyes have been incredibly sore, and yes, before you ask; I’ve been using medicated eye drops and allergy tablets, but the long hours on the computer really did them in. I even turned the light down to low (can’t handle night mode on the big screen, though I love it on my phone). But, as of today, it’s done- so, yay!

These books were finished a while ago, but I couldn’t manage the time to get the reviews done, so I’m making it up now 🙂

First up:

Watching Glass Shatter

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia’s husband unexpectedly passes away. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father. But will the secrets destroy their family, or bring them closer together?

My Review

A letter from the grave will rip everything a family believes apart

The Glass family are rich, well-liked, family-orientated. But all of that disintegrates under the burden of a secret so devastating it’s hard to comprehend.

A child lost.

A lie kept.

Will the family be able to overcome their patriarch’s betrayal, or will it destroy them all?

Told from the perspective of each of the Glass family members, the reader gets to experience their pain, anger, cyniscim, and doubt.

The author weaves lives together finesse, and an eye to detail that makes this story a joy to read. This isn’t my first James Cudney book, and it won’t be the last!


Dating Makes Perfect

The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.

Until now.

In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.

In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.

The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.

If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.

My Review

Dating her enemy shouldn’t be this much fun

Winnie loves her crazy Thai family, even if her parents have some archaic ideas. Her twin sisters weren’t allowed to date in high school, but now that they’re in college, the parents suddenly want to know when to expect grandbabies- oiy!

In retaliation, the girls say they’re having too much fun and don’t plan to marry for a loooong time. Driven to change their ideals, the parents decide Winnie should ‘practice’ date, but that’s not the worst part- they choose the one boy she swore to hate forever, Matt Songsomboon.

The one upmanship begins almost immediately. Mat is just as irritating as Winnie remembers, and disturbingly handsome. Hard to imagine they were once best of friends, and now, without her sisters’ sage advice, she’d give up and stay single for life.

If Winnie can just get through the next three months, Mat will get what he wants, and she… well, we’ll see.

This story is filled with humor, familial love, emotional moments, and cultural heritage. While this is a friends-to-lovers romance, it’s also the journey of a young woman as she learns a valuable life lesson and gains the respect of those who love her.

I especially enjoyed learning about a new culture in a fun and informative way- a great read!

Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 
good day!

#BookReview- How Lulu Lost her Mind by Rachel Gibson #WomensFic


From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson comes the story of a mother-daughter journey to rediscover the past before it disappears forever.

Lou Ann Hunter’s mother, Patricia, has always had a passionate nature, which explains why she’s been married and divorced five times and spooned enough male patients to be ousted from three elderly care facilities. She also has Alzheimer’s, which is why she wants to spend the rest of her life surrounded by childhood memories at Sutton Hall, her family’s decrepit plantation home in Louisiana.

Lou Ann, a.k.a. Lulu the Love Guru, has built an empire preaching sex, love, and relationship advice to the women of America—mostly by defying the example her mother has set for her. But with Patricia suddenly in need of a fulltime caretaker, Lou Ann reluctantly agrees to step out of the spotlight and indulge her mother’s wishes, even if it means trading in her Louboutins and Chanel N°5 for boots and mosquito repellant.

Upon her arrival at Sutton Hall, Lou Ann discovers that very little functions as it should—least of all Patricia’s mind. And as she adjusts to this new and inevitably temporary dynamic with the help of a local handyman and a live-in nurse, she is forced to confront the reality that neither her nor her mother’s future is going according to plan.

Heartrending at times and laugh-out-loud funny at others, How Lulu Lost Her Mind is the book for everyone and their mother. Fans of Emily Giffin, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis won’t be able to forget it.

About Rachel Gibson

Rachel Gibson is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over twenty-five novels, including The Art of Running in Heels and Just Kiss Me. She has received the RITA Award, the Golden Heart, the National Readers Choice Award, and more.

When not writing, you can usually find Rachel with her ’56 T-Bird at Classic Car shows where she kicks butt, takes names, and thinks she Suzanne Summers in American Graffiti.

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My Review of How Lulu Lost her Mind

Lou Ann (Lulu, the love guru) keeps her life running in tip-top shape, everything except her eccentric mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. When Patricia is evicted from her third senior care home for her romantic tendencies, Lou Ann is forced to set aside an important tour to take her mother back to her childhood home in Louisiana.

The plantation is in rough shape, the mosquitos are huge, and don’t even get her started about the alligators, but Lou Ann vows to make the best of a bad situation as long as it makes her mother happy.

While a sexy cajun handyman works on the mansion, Lou Ann and her mother delve into a long forgotten past and reconnect with each other in the process.

This book explores the horrible disease of Alzheimer’s in a humorous, yet heartwrenching way that is bound to touch readers. My grandmother passed away a few years ago from dementia and I found myself relating to Lou Ann’s frustration, pain, and love over the person who had taken over her beloved mother’s body.

Dementia changed my kind, sweet grandma into one who was often angry and scared. I pray that a cure will be found for this brain disease.

Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 

Two Fantastic #Reads #TuesdayBookReview @BetteAStevens @KennedyRWrites


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Two Very Different Stories of Strength over Adversity

I didn’t get much writing done last week- okay, no writing done last week- but I did read two wonderful books while watering my plants. I call that a win 🙂

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

Biography

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). The author is currently (2019) working on two poetry collections. MY MAINE: Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection (2019).

My Review

Shawn Daniels is the oldest of a dirt poor family and his days are full of cutting wood, hauling water, caring for his younger siblings and trying to keep up his grades at school.

Compounded by a drunkard for a father who makes the family a laughing stock, Shawn dreams of escaping the doldrums of his day-to-day existence.

It’s not all bad though. Shawn and his brother, Willie, go on many adventures together; biking, fishing, sneaking apples from the neighbors field, and learning to milk cows so his family doesn’t go without. He picks up odd jobs and soon knows how to do a wide variety of life skills.

Shawn’s strength of will and ingenuity shine throughout this heartwarming tale. Set in the 50’s the vernacular takes us back to ‘simpler’ times when work was long and hard for little payment and indoor plumbing was for the rich.

This is a wonderfully told story that will leave you laughing in places, and gasping in others!


From Wall Street JournalUSA Today Bestselling and RITA® Award-winning Author Kennedy Ryan, comes a captivating second chance romance like only she can deliver…

The boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have…

Dig a little and you’ll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern.
Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old.
Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. The most clumsy, wet, sloppy . . . spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence.
Get into our business and you’ll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant.
Twenty years later, my “awkward duckling” best friend from childhood, the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore.
Finer. Fiercer. Smarter.
Taken.
Tell me it’s wrong.
Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have.
When we find each other again, everything stands in our way–secrets, lies, promises.
But we didn’t come this far to give up now.
And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.

Biography

A RITA® Award Winner and USA Today Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour and many others. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but has a special passion for raising Autism awareness.The co-founder of LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable book auction, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for ASD families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

Stay In Touch!

Facebook: facebook.com/KennedyRyanAuthor
Book Group: facebook.com/groups/681604768593989/
Twitter: @Kennedyrwrites
Instagram: @kennedyryan1
BookBub: bit.ly/KRBookBub
Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/7429243.Kennedy_Ryan
Google +: plus.google.com/u/0/+KennedyRyanAuthor/posts
New Release Text Alerts: Text Kennedy Ryan 797979

My Review

The first time Ezra and Kimba met was in a bathtub- as babies. Even then they clicked.

Growing up as neighbors, the kids formed an alliance. They played together, their families often ate together, and they attended school together. But with Ezra’s mixed heritage background, he was often bullied.

Kimba hated that her friend was tormented and it fostered a need to change the rights of minorities.

For Ezra’s part, he kept his head down and worked hard on his grades while learning about his Jewish faith.

At thirteen, the best friends develop new attractions for each other and a wonderfully portrayed first kiss is later ruined by a horrible fight between Ezra and Kimba’s parents. One that will separate the two of them for three decades.

When they meet up again, Kimba has just lost her father and Ezra’s relationship with his son’s mother is on its last legs.

While I loved the first half of the book, I found the second part to be sex, sex, sex. It ruined the storyline for me. These are supposed to be two almost forty-year-olds and they make out like teenagers in a car in her mother’s driveway- in broad daylight! I’m not buying it. Maybe I’m jaded, but I’d sooner read about their very real issues, than how they can’t keep their hands off each other.

It’s too bad, because this had the makings of a truly great story.

Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 

#TuesdayBookReview and Anniversary News This Last Chance by D.L. Finn #Supernatural #Suspense @dlfinnauthor


Six months after Amber’s sister is brutally murdered, she’s still looking for answers, and now someone is stalking her and no one believes her. Home alone with a powerful snowstorm approaching, Amber is determined to take control of the investigation by hiring a private detective, but her plans are disrupted when she finds herself snowed in with people she may not be able to trust. Meanwhile, Nester the evildwel, whose entire existence has been feeding on fear and pain, is seeking help from the angel who’s protecting Amber. Nester and Amber need answers. Can Amber figure out what’s going on with some subtle help from an angel? Will Nester find what he needs from his enemies? The worlds of good and evil clash, and the outcome will determine not only Amber’s and Nester’s fate but life as they know it.

Biography

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

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My Review

Heartsick Amber mourns the loss of her murdered sister and is frustrated with the lack of help from the local police force. Her mother seeks to forget in the bottom of a bottle and is no support for her daughter. Desperate, Amber turns to a private investigator for help.

Meanwhile, a war between good and evil is being waged between a society of evildwels and angels. There is a surprising plot at play that I wasn’t expecting in this suspenseful tale with evildwel Nester.

After spending generations killing and stealing souls, Nester feels a change come over him and seeks help from the angel tasked with watching over Amber.

A blizzard locks Amber at home with a group of suspicious people- one of which could be her sister’s killer. Will she survive long enough to find out the truth, and will Nester be able to stop the evildwels from taking over the world?

This story kept me guessing until the very end and hoping for Nester to overcome his dark side!

Favorite Line

“You need to move on, Amber.” That line had assaulted her ears like an eager beginner’s drum solo. She was surprised that her eardrums hadn’t burst with good intentions.

This Last Chance- D.L. Finn

This is an unexpected murder mystery with supernatural elements that add an extra layer of tension to an already suspenseful story.

Well worth the read!

It’s My Anniversary!

Thirty-six years ago this guy said, “I do” in front of God and everybody. He’s my best friend, my lover, the father of my child and grandfather to our grandson. He’s supported our family the best way he knew how, and has been my rock when life knocked me down.

We met on his eighteenth birthday and have been together almost every day since. When I am upset, he makes me laugh. When I’m frustrated, he calms me. When I’m lost, he guides me,

I will be forever grateful for the stroke of fate that brought us together- my soul mate.

#BookReview- The Little Bookshop of Love Stories by Jaimie Admans #Romance @be-the-spark


Today is the Mondayest Monday ever. Hallie Winstone has been fired – and it wasn’t even her fault!

Having lost her job and humiliated herself in front of a whole restaurant full of diners, this is absolutely, one hundred percent, the worst day of her life.
 
That is until she receives an email announcing that she is the lucky winner of the Once Upon a Page Bookshop!
 
Owning a bookshop has always been Hallie’s dream, and when she starts to find secret love letters on the first page of every book, she knows she’s stumbled across something special.

But Hallie’s beloved bookshop is in financial trouble, and with sales dwindling, she can’t help but wonder if she is really cut out to run a business.

Things start to look up when she meets gorgeous, bookish Dimitri and between them, they post a few of the hidden messages online, reuniting people who thought they were lost forever.
 
But maybe it’s time for Hallie to find her own happy-ever-after, too?

Attribution- Amazon.com

Biography

Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She has been writing for years but has only just plucked up the courage to tell people.
She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies Kismetology and The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, and young adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.

Find out more on http://www.jaimieadmans.com or find me on Twitter @be_the_spark

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My Review

Bad luck follows Hallie Winstone like a dark cloud, so she is understandably amazed to find herself the winner of a quaint old bookstore.

Reading has always been Hallie’s comfort and she’s dreamed of owning her own store one day- but she didn’t realize how much work it would be to reorganize the old shop. Good thing it comes with a flat upstairs because the store is taking over her life. Financial concerns makes her wonder if she’s jumped from the frying pan to the fire, but a handsome, quirky artist convinces Hallie not to give up.

With Dimitri’s help, Hallie begins to get a handle on the business and excitement blooms when they find books with inscriptions inside their worn covers. The romantic in Hallie wants to bring the people in the messages together, so she and Dimitri hatch a plan to advertise the notes online and the results are more than either of them expected.

This is a sweet, charming rom-com with an underlying message of trust that I found refreshing. Klutzy Dimitri and hapless Hallie make a great couple. And who wouldn’t love to find romance in a bookshop!

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

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Recent Posts

Ichabod Crane and the Van Tassel Feast


Originally posted on Word by Word:
Because it’s almost Halloween, I thought I’d do something different for today’s blog post. I grew up close to Tarrytown, NY near where the Dutch settled in the mid-seventeenth century and the story of Ichabod Crane and his headless horseman took place. We took many school trips to Tarrytown…

#Bookreview – Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Jacquie Biggar


What Amazon says Take two stubborn fools, mix a touch of fate, stir in some desire, and you have the recipe for a?Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Sophia Shaughnessy left her beloved home in order to prove once and for all she was more than a pretty face to her family and ex-boyfriend, Tony. But,…

#TuesdayBookReview- The Quest For Home by Jacqui Murray #PrehistoricSuspense @WordDreams


Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

“Bravo Jacqui! A fine read and meticulous research.” — Sue Harrison, author of the acclaimed Ivory Carver Trilogy,

Xhosa flees what she had hoped would be her new home after being attacked by invaders from the North. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands of what we now call Europe. As she struggles to overcome strangers around her and disruptions within her People, Xhosa faces the reality that her most dangerous enemy may not be the one she expected. It may be one she has trusted with her life.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man spreads across Eurasia. Xhosa must regularly does the impossible which is good because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

Biography

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, and a contributor to NEA Today. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days here on Amazon Kindle. Also, read her new series, Man vs. Nature, starting with Born in a Treacherous Time–also on Kindle.

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My Review

Xhosa continues her journey leading The People to a new homeland against impossible odds. She must survive cold, heat, lack of water and food, as well as those who wish to destroy her People. Other tribes try to stop them, but they aren’t the only danger- someone in her tribe has become the enemy, and it is up to Xhosa to stop him before another member dies.

This is a fast-paced novel filled with interesting characters and descriptions that place the reader smack in the paleolithic time period where the basic fight for survival supersedes almost everything else.

I was especially drawn to the relationships such an existence forged between Xhosa, her People, and the strays she gathers along the way. One of the standouts is leader Pan-do and his love for daughter Lyta. His is the voice of calm and reason while Lyta- the dreamer- is adored by the tribe even though she has a deformity that normally means death for children who must contribute to the tribe or be left behind.

Another favorite is Zvi, a female Other who towers over most males, is strong as a mammoth, and has a heart of gold.

This story may be set in prehistoric times, but it touches on subjects that are just as relevant today; sexual abuse, family values, love and betrayal.

This series is well worth the read!

keeping calm during armageddon

#TuesdayBookReview- What You Wish For by @KatherineCenter #WomensFic


“The story’s message, that people should choose joy even (and especially) in difficult and painful times, seems tailor-made for this moment. A timely, uplifting read about finding joy in the midst of tragedy, filled with quirky characters and comforting warmth.”—Kirkus (starred review)

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

Biography

Katherine Center is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away and the upcoming Things You Save in a Fire (August 2019), as well as five other bittersweet comic novels. She writes about how we fall down—and how we get back up. Six Foot Pictures is currently adapting her fourth novel, The Lost Husband, into a feature film starring Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb. Katherine has been compared to both Nora Ephron and Jane Austen, and the Dallas Morning News calls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way.” Katherine recently gave a TEDx talk on how stories teach us empathy, and her work has appeared in USA Today, InStyle, Redbook, People, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Real Simple, Southern Living, and InTouch, among others. Katherine lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her fun husband, two sweet kids, and fluffy-but-fierce dog.

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Sam Cassidy loves her job as librarian in the cute and eccentric elementary school she ran to after falling for a fellow teacher at her previous school. The staff are the best and Principal Max and his wife, Babette, accepted her like a daughter.

Then Max died and everything changed.

Babette’s neurotic son-in-law becomes head of the board and immediately appoints a new principal about as different from Max as it was possible to be- oh, yeah, he’s also the man Sam had fallen for in her previous life.

But this Duncan Carpenter wasn’t anything like the funny, sweet guy she remembered. This Duncan Carpenter wanted to bleed every drop of personality out of their precious school. He installed security gates, locks, metal detectors, and painted over their bright colorful artwork, turning their whole world gray.

He had to go.

Then Sam learned Duncan’s deepest, darkest secret and suddenly getting rid of him became so much harder to do.

This is my first book by this author and I am so glad I picked it up! Filled with insightful, heart-wrenching moments it will live on in your thoughts for a long time after turning the last page. I will definitely be reading more from Katherine Center.

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 

#TuesdayBookReviews- Two For the Road #amreading


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This week I have two completely different stories to share. I love how books can connect with readers in unexpected ways 🙂

They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher

Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff. Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model.
This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human! Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment.
–Tami Beall
(Principal, Pine Hill School)

My Review

Teachers are often under-appreciated. Without their dedication, patience, and caring where would we be?

This is an inspiring memoir on one man’s thirty year journey as an elementary teacher and all the challenges and joys he found along the way.

There is much more to teaching than relaying a set curriculum. Many times, teachers are faced with children who are in tough situations, lashing out, bullying, depression (yes, even in elementary). They must navigate a minefield of emotional stress and still manage to portray calm and stability.

This book is filled with helpful information on the classroom setup and teaching methods. While I think it’s geared more toward new teachers looking for advice, it’s also a must-read for parents. I guarantee it will change your attitude the next time you go to parent-teacher conference!


Warning Signs: A Story About Obsession

Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her saviour from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together?
Detective Van Ray is out on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection.
Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological thriller about human frailty and loneliness.

https://amzn.to/2X2oHRL

My Review

Niko Nishevsky, aka Eugene Monroe, fancies himself a professor in search of the truth behind a serial killer’s motives. His study of previous cases reveals differences between his own murders and theirs, leading him to believe he is smarter and more evolved than his predecessors. Where they killed, he saved his victims.

Not the same at all.

Angie is a full-time caregiver for her drug and alcohol addicted mother and dreams of the day a white knight will swoop in a carry her away. When she meets Eugene aboard a train heading to Ottawa the connection is immediate. They go on a date, share a few kisses, and Eugene gives her a burner cellphone for ‘secret’ conversations. Angie realizes he is a little bit strange, but her desperation blinds her to the truth.

When Detective Van Ray accidentally gets a look at the biography of a serial killer book in Niko’s briefcase his suspicions rise. Is this the man who has been murdering young women in youth protection?

A game of cat and mouse begins and it’s hard to say who wants the killer caught the most, Van Ray or Niko?

This is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that delves into the mind of a psychopath. I was surprised to find myself empathizing with Eugene. He truly wants to change, but life has made him into what he’s become.

An enthralling read!

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How about you? Any good books that you’ve read lately?

#TuesdayBookReview- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton #YANovels


No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends—true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far.

The Outsiders is a dramatic and enduring work of fiction that laid the groundwork for the YA genre. S. E. Hinton’s classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was first published.

The Outsiders transformed young-adult fiction from a genre mostly about prom queens, football players and high school crushes to one that portrayed a darker, truer world.” —The New York Times

Biography

Susan Eloise Hinton’s career as an author began while she was still a student at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Disturbed by the divisions among her schoolmates into two groups–the Greasers and the Socs–Hinton wrote The Outsiders, an honest, sometimes shocking novel told from the point of view of an orphaned 14-year-old Greaser named Ponyboy Curtis. Since her narrator was male, it was decided that Hinton use only her first initials so as not to put off boys who would not normally read books written by women. The Outsiders was published during Hinton’s freshman year at the University of Tulsa, and was an immediate sensation.Today, with more than eight million copies in print, the book is the best-selling young adult novel of all time, and one of the most hauntingly powerful views into the thoughts and feelings of teenagers. The book was also made into a film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and featuring such future stars as Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, and Tom Cruise.Once published, The Outsiders gave her a lot of publicity and fame, and also a lot of pressure. S.E. Hinton was becoming known as “The Voice of the Youth” among other titles. This kind of pressure and publicity resulted in a three year long writer’s block.Her boyfriend (and now, her husband), who had gotten sick of her being depressed all the time, eventually broke this block. He made her write two pages a day if she wanted to go anywhere. This eventually led to That Was Then, This Is Now.In the years since, Ms. Hinton has married and now has a teenaged son, Nick. She continues to write, with such smash successes as That Was Then, This Is Now, Rumble Fish and Tex, almost as well known as The Outsiders. She still lives in Tulsa with her husband and son, where she enjoys writing, riding horses, and taking courses at the university.In a wonderful tribute to Hinton’s distinguished 30-year writing career, the American Library Association and School Library Journal bestowed upon her their first annual Margaret A. Edwards Award, which honors authors whose “book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young people as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives.”

My Review

An incredibly intimate portrayal into the lives of teenagers from ‘both sides of the track.’

I was hooked from the opening line:

WHEN I STEPPED out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.

The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton

Ponyboy Curtis and his brothers, Darry and Sodapop, are getting by after the deaths of their parents, but life isn’t easy. Darry had to quit school in order to care for his younger brothers, determined to keep his family together even though money is tight and trouble never far away.

The boys and their friends are known as greasers, often preyed upon by the rich socs who take pleasure in taunting them with all that they don’t have.

They had me down in a second. They had my arms and legs pinned down and one of them was sitting on my chest with his knees on my elbows, and if you don’t think that hurts, you’re crazy.

The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton

Life on the streets is brutal. Either you protect one another, or perish. The author does an incredible job of drawing the reader into Ponyboy’s life. It’s impossible not to have empathy for these tough, loyal, misunderstood young men.

“Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold . . .” The pillow seemed to sink a little, and Johnny died. You read about people looking peacefully asleep when they’re dead, but they don’t. Johnny just looked dead. Like a candle with the flame gone.

The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton

I first read this book as an English assignment way back in grade eight and it has stayed with me all of these years. This is a timeless story of disparity and inequality, never more important than in these uncertain times.

A must-read!

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#TuesdayBookReview- The Good and the Not So Good #amreading


I had the chance to read three very different books lately. Some lived up to expectations, while one was a disappointment. Do you have auto-buy authors that have turned out to be DNF reads?

First up: I love, love Kristan Higgins!

TURNING THIRTY HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS… 

For Callie Grey, coming to grips with her age means facing the fact that her boyfriend-slash-boss is way overdue with a marriage proposal. And that she’s way off track, because Mark has suddenly announced his engagement to the company’s new Miss Perfect. If that isn’t bad enough, her mom decides to throw her a Big Three-Oh birthday bash…in the family funeral home. 

Bad goes to worse when Callie stirs up a relationship with the town’s single—yet not so warm and fuzzy—veterinarian, in order to flag Mark’s attention. So what if Ian McFarland is more comfortable with animals? So what if he’s formal, orderly and just a bit tense? Friendly, fun-loving and spontaneous Callie decides it’s time for Ian to get a personality makeover. But, dang—if he doesn’t shock the heck out of her, she might actually fall for Georgebury, Vermont’s unlikeliest eligible bachelor….

https://amzn.to/37BsAPd

My Review

This is actually a re-read for me. Here is my original thoughts:

I loved this book! I cried and I laughed and looked forward to each turn of the page, that's what makes a winner!

Callie Grey has been in love with her boss ever since he played the Kiss in the Closet game when they were kids. Years later, she’s still waiting for him to see her for the sweet, cute, lovable woman she is and gets talked into joining a dating website in order to make him jealous.

Instead, she meets the stoic, handsome, mysterious new vet and makes it her personal mission to loosen the guy up and help his failing business. Which means spending time with the man.

Introvert + Extrovert= chaos!

Ian McFarland is happy to stay out of the spotlight and care for the pets he loves. So, why is he allowing the spontaneous, spunky Callie invade his life?

Favorite Lines

The whole scene was like something out of some French existentialist play… Hell is not other people. Hell is the DMV.

All I Ever Wanted- Kristan Higgins

Some days, optimism was an ill-fitting wool coat, heavy and uncomfortable.

All I Ever Wanted- Kristan Higgins

Kristan never fails to create characters who become your best friends. I give All I Ever Wanted 5+ lovely kisses- Much Love!


Next we have an anthology to benefit the firefighters and wildlife in Australia.

A romance anthology with over THIRTY original, never-before-seen stories from bestselling and award-winning authors. Each piece was written for this anthology to benefit firefighters and wildlife in Australia. AUSTRALIA is only available for a limited time, so one-click your copy before it’s gone.

AUTHORS INCLUDE: Penny Reid, Meredith Wild, Carly Phillips, Sierra Simone, Emma Scott, Susan Stoker, Kennedy Ryan, Willow Aster, Skye Warren, Kylie Scott, Aleatha Romig, Willow Winters, AL Jackson, Julia Kent, Rebecca Yarros, Nana Malone, Giana Darling, Emma Hart, Chelle Bliss, Noelle Adams, A. Zavarelli, Jenika Snow, Dylan Allen, Kayti McGee, Robin Covington, Mary Catherine Gebhard, Melanie Moreland, Parker S. Huntington, Nana Malone, Jewel E. Ann, Annabel Joseph, Celia Aaron, Michelle Heard, Brighton Walsh, Tamsen Parker, Pam Godwin

All royalties from this project will be donated to relief funds in Australia, with 50% going to a firefighter charity and 50% going to a wildlife charity. We aren’t affiliated or endorsed by these charities. We are simply authors who want to support an important cause.

My Review

This is a wonderful collection of short stories ranging in heat from mild to steamy. A couple of my favorites came from Emma Scott’s Where the Current Takes You and Rebecca Yarros Basket Day.

Where the Current takes You

When Kate is betrayed by her fiancĂ©, she decides to go on the planned honeymoon- alone. What she doesn’t expect, is the sexy, smart Nate who seems determined to pull her out of her funk and show her his Australia. Sometimes, love is best left up to fate.

Basket Day

When Bash’s flight is delayed, he misses out on the annual basket auction and has to stand aside while the love of his life is on a date with another man.

Fortunately, he gets the chance to make it up to her later 🙂


And then the not so good.

He’s a ticking bomb…

Eric Trask is counting the days before he blasts out of Shaw’s Crossing forever. He and his brothers were raised at GodsAcre, a mysterious doomsday cult deep in the mountains, and are the only survivors of the deadly fire that destroyed it. The townspeople see them as time bombs just waiting to blow, but Eric’s going to prove those bastards wrong. He’s an ex-Marine, fresh off a tour in Afghanistan, working three jobs and barely sleeping. Utterly unprepared for Demi Vaughan’s dazzling green eyes, lush pink lips and sexy curves. She’s the town princess…he’s a dangerous outcast. It was a sure recipe for disaster.

But the closer he gets to Demi, the more impossible it is to resist…

Forbidden fruit is the sweetest…

Demi Vaughan has big plans for life post- college, and Eric Trask, notorious bad boy with a complicated past, is not part of them. So when he saunters into the sandwich shop where she works she tells herself he’s just tall, ripped, smoldering eye candy, nothing more. Eric was damaged. Marked by violence and tragedy. He’d be the ultimate bad boyfriend, and right now she was too busy even to shop for a good one. But his hot eyes and hard body, his sensual smile and that rough, sexy voice of his shook her resolve. After all, she was leaving this place forever. A little taste of heaven…what could it hurt?

But Shaw’s Crossing has deeper, darker secrets than Eric or Demi could guess. The evil that destroyed GodsAcre is lying in wait…and it will stop at nothing to keep Eric and Demi apart…

https://amzn.to/2UY5UG4

My Review

I’ve read, and loved, many of Shannon McKenna’s books, but this fell flat for me. I bought it expecting the action/suspense with steamy relationships that I expect in her books, but instead found this to be little more than erotica.

I couldn’t get past the pages and pages of sex from a couple who barely knew each other.

A disappointing read.

That’s it for me. Have you read anything from these authors? Love them or not so much?

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