Month: November 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the USA. I hope your holiday season is a good one!  Enjoy that huge meal we will all eat today, then I suppose shopping comes next for some of you… I’m going to try and enjoy this four day weekend, I hope to get some blogging, reading, relaxing, and maybe catch up on a little tv.  But who knows what will actually happen. I can’t sit still much!  Too much to do and never enough time!

-Jessica

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I’ve been dreaming about the turkey sitting my fridge, for weeks now and I’ve been baking up a storm, so I promise you there will be no healthy eating today. Both my and Ivan’s family are coming to my house and I have 4 different bottles of wine to help get thru the day! Ivan is finally off this year and today will be filled with loud conversations, football games, lots of food and lots of napping. And of course, a lot of reflection on all the blessings that have come into my life this year. A special thank you to Jessica for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions on her blog! Everybody have a great day and hopefully you’ll find some time to relax with whatever book you’re reading!

-Kim

 

If you have any suggestions for this site, please send a message and let Kim and I know!  We have a great time doing this. We love sharing our love of reading to anyone who will see this site!


And guess what?!?!  You guys get a review today!  This is today’s review Mothers of Sparta sampler: A Piece of Pie

Book Title: Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces
Author: Dawn Davies
Expected Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Date Sample Read: 11/22/17

Some women are born mothers, some achieve motherhood, others have motherhood thrust upon them.

Dawn Davies, a six-foot-tall divorcée, couldn’t care less about anyone’s potty training progress, and doesn’t care to share her own children’s milestones with people who don’t love them. But even if she has never fit in with other moms, she has raised three children with her own particular brand of fierce, unflagging love.

In pieces that cut to the quick, we see Davies grow from a young girl who moves to a new town every couple of years, to a misfit teenager who finds solace in the local music scene, to an adrift twenty-something who summons inner strength as she holds the hand of a dying stranger, to a woman dealing with difficult pregnancies and postpartum depression. And in her powerful titular story, we see Davies struggling with the weight of knowing that her son is deeply troubled.

Mothers of Sparta is not a blow-by-blow of Davies’s life but rather an examination of the exquisite and often painful moments of a life, the moments we look back on and say, That one, that one mattered. Straddling the fence between humor and, well, not humor, Davies has written a book about what it’s like to be a woman trying to carve a place for herself in the world, no matter how unyielding the rock can be.

Jessica’s review:

**Please note that this is not a review of the whole memoir, just the sample that Flatiron Books released.**

Flatiron Books advertised on their Facebook page about the Mothers of Sparta sampler: A Piece of Pie just in time for Thanksgiving.  This sampler of Dawn Davies’ upcoming memoir was published on November 21st and is 18 pages long. This is the perfect time for this sampler to be released as it deals with a new mother dealing with her infant’s first Thanksgiving and the chaos that ensues.  All she wants to do is bake a pie!

Davies perfectly captured her experience and the story gives people who are not parents an idea of the craziness that new moms go through. I’m sure the parents that read this will laugh and understand where Davies comes from.  Flatiron Books accomplished their intention of offering this sample for free: I want to read the rest of this memoir!

Pre-order links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Words in Deep Blue

Author: Cath Crowley
290 Pages
Published: June 6, 2017

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came. Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Kim’s Review:

Well that certainly was a doozy of an emotional roller coaster! I don’t think I’ve cried like that during a book since Wonder! And it started from the very first page. Rachel exudes a hopelessness that I have never experienced in my life. Her brother died very suddenly in the place that they both felt confident and comfortable, the ocean. So now that she both hates and loves her home by the sea, she decides to move back to her hometown to live with her aunt to hopefully get through her grief. Even aside from Cal’s death, the boy that she confessed her love for through a letter, completely ignored her and stayed with someone else. I was sad while reading all this! It actually put me in a weepy mood!

Henry, unfortunately started out as an annoying teenager who thinks he actually knows what love is and that his whole world has ended because his high school girlfriend dumped him yet again. That is the only reason I gave this book 4 stars. His insistence that Amy is absolutely his soulmate while she claims that she loves him, but also loves someone else, got really irritating really fast!

What I loved about this book was the appreciation of secondhand books and bookstores! Being able to find the lives and memories of others in the pages of used books is such a beautiful thought and Crowley captures it perfectly! Watching Rachel work through her grief in the midst of the memories from so many people brought tears to my eyes. George, Henry’s sister, is the one who tore my heart out of my chest and stomped on it! I can’t give much more detail without giving away the ending of the story, but I had tears coursing down my cheeks because of the regret and love that George has to live with. I wish I could put into words all the things that I felt while reading this book! Overall, this was a quick read, but an emotional one. There is some language and some adult themes, but definitely ok for older teens. I would recommend this to book to anyone who has lost someone, or wants a beautiful story of love, or just wants an interesting read.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Life She Was Given

Author: Ellen Marie Wiseman
304 Pages
Published: July 25, 2017

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Description from Amazon:

On a summer evening in 1931, Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom. Lilly isn’t allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor. She’s never even ventured beyond her narrow room. Momma insists it’s for Lilly’s own protection, that people would be afraid if they saw her. But on this unforgettable night, Lilly is taken outside for the first time—and sold to the circus sideshow. More than two decades later, nineteen-year-old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents’ estate and horse farm. For Julia, home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms, and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories. Instead, she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a striking young girl. At first, The Barlow Brothers’ Circus is just another prison for Lilly. But in this rag-tag, sometimes brutal world, Lilly discovers strength, friendship, and a rare affinity for animals. Soon, thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler, Cole, Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus’s biggest attraction. . .until tragedy and cruelty collide. It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly’s fate and her family’s shocking betrayal, and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last. Moving between Julia and Lilly’s stories, Ellen Marie Wiseman portrays two extraordinary, very different women in a novel that, while tender and heartbreaking, offers moments of joy and indomitable hope.

Kim’s Review:

I really liked this book! It was the perfect historical fiction and the author did an amazing job of switching between the two characters in two different time periods. I became emotionally invested in the life of Lilly. I sympathized with her from the very beginning of the book. I really believed that Lilly’s mother was going to take her to see the circus, but I was horrified when she sold Lilly to the freak show. That was the one thing that kept me from giving this book 5 stars. I have a hard time believing that anyone, even a religious nut (believe me, I’ve known my fair share of those!), would consider albinism to be an abomination. It wasn’t even like Lilly had strange, pink eyes. She had blue eyes and pale hair and skin . . . why so dramatic about it, Mother???

Other than that, I loved the circus setting, the elephants, and the other acts. Each of the ‘freaks’ were portrayed with respect and  with acknowledgement of their humanity. I won’t give you any details, but prepare to have your heart ripped out of your chest and stomped on! Trust me, you’re gonna want to have some tissues nearby! I was a little hesitant about Julia at first. To me she sounded like a typical rebellious teenager who refused to learn from anyone and thought she was always right about everything. Thankfully, that didn’t last. By the time I had gotten through a couple of her chapters, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting and willing her to discover the truth. There was a slight air of tree-huggerish, bleeding heart-ism, but it wasn’t bad and it stayed pretty reasonable. And the author gets the suspense factor perfectly! I couldn’t wait to turn the page to find out what happened next. By the time I reached the end, all I could think was that this book was better than Water for Elephants, and I really enjoyed that book! I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good historical fiction, or even a mystery.

Purchase Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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