Month: August 2020

A Story About Cancer (With a Happy Ending)

A Story About Cancer (With a Happy Ending)
Author: India Desjardins
Illustrator: Marianne Ferrer
Translator: Solange Ouellet
Published: January 29, 2019
96 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 2, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

I think about everything I’ll miss if they tell me I’m going to die . . . my mom, my dad, my sister, cookies, TV shows I’ll never get to see the end of, walking outside when it’s really nice, the smell of fall, the starry sky on a full moon, my grandparents, my grandpa’s lasagna, kissing Victor, Victor’s eyes, Victor’s voice, Victor’s smell, Victor’s hands . . . Victor.

A teenage girl heads towards the hospital waiting room where the doctors are going to tell her how much time she’s got to live. As she walks, she thinks about her journey up to this point . . . the terrible decor in the hospital, wearing a headscarf, the horrible treatments, but also being with her friends, family, and her new boyfriend Victor. This is a story about cancer with a happy ending. It’s about life, love, and especially, hope.

Jessica’s Review:

Our unnamed female narrator is 15 and has been on her leukemia journey for five years. She tells us her story first hand of growing up and dealing with cancer, from losing a friend to the disease, to even falling in love for the first time.  This is another story with the **spoiler alert*  in the title, but that was actually what brought me to want to read A Story About Cancer.  

This graphic novel comes off more as a children’s book with the watercolor type illustrations and simplistic dialog, yet I was entranced in the story and even though I knew it would have a happy ending, I was intensely reading it. The book gives us the variety of emotions and experiences that a child and her family goes through as she is becoming a teenager and  faces this journey.  The illustrations are perfect for the story and help to complete it. 

I would say the best age group for this graphic novel would be preteens.  The story and words don’t talk down to a reader of that age and help one understand what goes on with someone dealing with cancer.  And yes, there is a happy ending.

There is a real life story behind the novel, which is mentioned at the end and makes the book even more wonderful. I applaud the author, illustrator, and translator for working to give us this story about cancer, but with a happy ending! 

I received a copy from the publisher Frances Lincoln Children’s Books via Amazon Vine.  Many thanks for allowing me to read and review it! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Spotlight: Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr

Today I am bringing you a book spotlight for the novel Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.  Justice Gone has recently won it’s fifth award: The Independent Press Award. Well Done!!!

Book Description:

An act of police brutality hurls a small town into a turmoil of rage and fear, igniting a relentless witch hunt and ending in the trial of the decade.

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

 A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?”


Chosen by among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

What Others are Saying about Justice Gone:

The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written…the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader…Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite “thumbs-up.” Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.
-Kim M Aalaie, Author’s Den

One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.
-The Eclectic Review

The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact…a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works…a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages
-Crime Review 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon India
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

About the Author:

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Contact Nick:



A Good Marriage


A Good Marriage
Author: Kimberly McCreight

Published:  May 5, 2020

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
Dates Read: July 17-27, 2020

Book Description:

Big Little Lies meets Presumed Innocent in this riveting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, in which a woman’s brutal murder reveals the perilous compromises some couples make—and the secrets they keep—in order to stay together.

Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.

No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.

The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.

As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.

Jessica’s Review:

This was another so-so thriller that had promise. The description is intriguing, but it did not totally deliver for me.  It does show one thing that people do their best to hide: Things are not always how they appear.  You think your friend has a great marriage? You better think otherwise!

We have multiple points of views for this novel: Lizzie who is an attorney, Amanda the murder victim, grand jury testimonies from the night of the murder, and confidential memos. They normally would all be interesting for me, especially the testimonies where people HAD to be there because they were subpoenaed.  It’s all about the secrets people have! 

Amanda was murdered after she attended a ‘special party’ of the wealthy in the area.  This is where secrets are known and what happens upstairs stays there.  Amanda’s husband Zach is arrested for assaulting a police officer after finding her dead, and he is being held under suspicion of Amanda’s murder.  He contacts Lizzie as they were old law school buddies: He wants her only her- and only her- to defend him.

Things are far from what they seem and everyone has many secrets. There is even a little side story of cyber-crime where certain people’s (even their teenager’s) secrets may be exposed. 

I honestly don’t know what this one did not totally intrigue me, as it has everything that usually does work for me. Maybe I am in a ‘thriller slump’ as the last few I read have not worked for me. I do have several more thrillers upcoming that need to be read, and I am hoping maybe one of those will ‘bring me back’ to really enjoying them again. Maybe it was because this was an audiobook and  it just didn’t work well in that format; perhaps this is one that should actually be read. It’s not the book’s fault, it is me in this case.  I would definitely give the author another try.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK