Tag: 5 stars

A Double Review of The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

The Fixer Upper
Author: Mary Kay Andrews

Narrated by: Isabel Keating
Published: June 23, 2009
422 pages

Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Fixer Upper by a favorite of ours: MKA (better known as Mary Kay Andrews). We both really enjoyed this one! 

Book Description:

After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father’s offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. All it will take, he tells her, is a little paint and some TLC to turn the fading Victorian mansion into a real-estate cash cow.

But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise when she arrives in Guthrie. “Bird Droppings” would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol-pink dump with duct-taped windows and a driveway full of junk. There’s also a murderously grumpy old lady, one of Dempsey’s distant relations, who has claimed squatter’s rights and isn’t moving out. Ever.

Furthermore, everyone in Guthrie seems to know Dempsey’s business, from a smooth-talking real-estate agent to a cute lawyer who owns the local newspaper. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the pesky FBI agents who show up on Dempsey’s doorstep, hoping to pry information about her ex-boss from her.

All Dempsey can do is roll up her sleeves and get to work. And before long, what started as a job of necessity somehow becomes a labor of love and, ultimately, a journey that takes her to a place she never expected–back home again.

Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Kim’s Review:

Mary Kay Andrews is easily one of my all time favorite authors. She has a way of capturing real Southern towns filled with real Southern people faced with outrageous, hilarious problems. Her characters are some of the funniest I have ever read about and the situations they find themselves in are unforgettable and crazy, yet totally believable.

Poor Dempsey Killebrew (MKA creates the awesomest names) finds herself in the middle of a federal investigation as the scapegoat for a rich and powerful DC lobbyist. She goes from sleek executive to house flipper in overalls all in a week. By the time I finished this book, I was ready to go flip a house. And you gotta understand, I am the least creative, crafty, construction minded, practical person you will ever meet.

Enter father-son, small town, legal team of Carter and Tee Berryhill and now you’ve got the elegant Southern gentleman factor. And, of course, Tee, fabulous man that he is, throws Dempsey’s world even more askew. But my favorite character of all, Ella Kate Timmons. Old, crotchety, and set in her ways Ella Kate and her yippy cocker spaniel, Shorty. If for no other reason, y’all need to read this book simply to meet Ella Kate. I normally listen to the audiobook, and the narrator brings such life to each character. Isabel Keating narrates several of MKA’s books, and if I see that she’s the narrator for a book, I don’t even read the synopsis, I just buy it.

This is such an awesome book and I recommend it to anyone who wants a fun, hilarious, heartwarming read.

Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: August 28- September 8, 2018
Jessica’s Review:

Mary Kay Andrews (MKA) is a ‘go to’ author of mine; her books are always so much fun and The Fixer Upper is another of those!  She really captured the genuine small town feeling for me with Fixer Upper.  I could picture everything she wrote as I listened to the audiobook. Everything was very descriptive and even the descriptions of Birdsong (the house) are well written. 

I felt for Dempsey in her situation that she goes through. She’s an innocent (situationally and in life) and you want her to pull through everything successfully.  It is crazy to believe how quickly she goes from a high class junior lobbyist to an overall wearing ‘do it yourself’-er in a small town. She obviously missed her calling in life!.

The heart of the novel is Ella Kate!  She is an older woman very much set in her ways and tells it like it is and does not care what you think! She was my absolute favorite character and I would love to read more books with Ella Kate! You just have to read Fixer Upper to understand….

As previously mentioned, l listened to the audiobook version of Fixer Upper. I would recommend listening to the audio version as the narrator, Isabel Keating, does a superb job. Her portrayal of Ella Kate is 100% spot on!

The Fixer Upper is recommended.

**If reading The Fixer Upper gets you in the mood to buy a house that needs fixing up, we would be willing to sell ours…..

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Blog Tour: I Give You My Heart

Today I am on the blog tour for I Give You My Heart by SarahJane Ford. I share my 5 star review with this one! This one reached me on a personal level.

Book Description:

A terminal diagnosis. A life-saving sacrifice. A love letter written on the walls of her heart.

Alice Richards looked forward to watching the seeds of love she and her husband planted bloom and grow well into their old age. But her plans for the future shrivel up and die when she learns she has an inoperable brain tumour.

Determined that she won’t die in vain, she decides to become an organ donor. With a few precious months left, Alice begins documenting her fairytale romance—from their first meeting to the children they dreamed of having. She’ll pass on every detail to her heart’s next owner… along with careful instructions to send her husband reminders of her undying love. Before her time runs out, Alice must find the perfect candidate to guide her husband through unimaginable grief and hold the memory of their love in her heart.

I Give You My Heart is an emotional romantic fiction novel with an uplifting message. If you like strong-willed women, undying love stories, and honest portrayals of coping with a terminal illness, then you’ll love SarahJane Ford’s heart-warming epic.

An unmissable love story full of warmth, beauty and with a huge, beating heart. Perfect for fans of Cecilia Ahern’s ‘P.S. I Love You’ and Jojo Moyes’ ‘Me Before You’.

Author: SarahJane Ford
Published: September 1, 2018
314 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 2- August 11, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Jessica’s Review:

I Give You My Heart  is a very touching read.  Alice is just 26 years old and she finds out she has an inoperable brain tumor with very little time left.  She decides against treatment and wants to be an organ donor.  BUT she doesn’t want her heart to go to a random person. She wants the person selected because her heart is precious to her.  Her heart belongs to her husband Alex, and she wants her best friend Ryan to find the perfect recipient for her heart.  She feels her heart will always love Alex and whoever receives it will be a part of Alex’s life.  Given the importance of her heart, Alice writes a manual to the person who will soon receive it.

The chapters alternate between Alice’s life and the manual she is writing to the recipient. In the manual she also shares about her life with Alex and gives directions she hopes the recipient will one day follow.

Do not let the summary keep you from reading this novel. Yes this is a sad subject, but handled in a positive way. I am very emotional and thought I would cry as I read it, but I did not; though I did come close at the end of the novel. It is uplifting as Alice writes her manual and lives with the decisions she has made.

I Give You My Heart will make you think about the end of your life.  Do you have plans to be an organ donor? If you have not thought about that, once you read this novel, you will want to become one.

Though this novel could not actually happen (with choosing who your heart goes to) Ford gets her point across in a very positive way.  Organ donation is vitally important. I personally know someone who was granted an organ (not the heart) and is still alive today thanks to organ donation. I thought of her as I read this novel!  <3

Purchase Links:
Amazon US

Amazon UK

About the Author:

SarahJane is the debut author of ‘I Give You My Heart’ which is due to be published on September 1st 2018.

SarahJane was born in Scotland but grew up in the Cheshire countryside, which is home to her. After a few years living in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, where she went to secondary school, she has now settled back in Cheshire in a quirky flat surrounded by trees, birds and rolling fields.

A marketing professional since finishing her formal education SarahJane is delighted to be following her writing dream. She still works part-time as a Marketing Manager, whilst furiously penning her second novel.

Harbouring an adventurous spirit, SarahJane loves to travel, be surrounded by the wilderness or be riding Cornish waves.

SarahJane loves to read (ideally by the sea!). She was raised on the greatest love stories, which is where her romantic soul comes from. She is in love with love…Mr Darcy’s brooding looks in Pride and Prejudice; Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s arresting chemistry in Runaway Bride; the intensely emotional Titanic; going weak at the knees for Danny Zuko in Grease; Cecilia Ahern’s heartbreaking P.S. I Love You and Patrick Swayze’s mega moves in Dirty Dancing. 

Contact SarahJane:
website

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A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness
Inspired by: An idea from Siobhan Dowd
Published: May 5, 2011

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

The bestselling novel about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Kim’s Review:

I have read many books that have made me cry. Some made my eyes wet, some made fat tear drops roll down my cheeks, some made me ugly cry . . . but only two books have ever made me ugly cry with sobs that I couldn’t stop: A Monster Calls is one of those books. I had seen it on shelves and on book sites, but I found it for super cheap at Ollie’s one day, so I snatched it up. I decided to read it two years ago when I was looking to fill time between books with something short and easy. Easy, my sweet aunt!

My mother-in-law had come for a visit and Ivan was about to get ready to go to work when I finished it. They both had to get up and leave the room, I was crying so hard. Poor Ivan never knows what to do when I cry and all Meemaw wanted was to say hi and see the flowers in our backyard! I wasn’t expecting to react so dramatically to this book. It broke my heart. But this was before I started reviewing for Jessica’s Reading Room so I decided to read it again so I could write a review: Bad idea. There are some things that I’ll have strong reactions to when I read or watch or experience it the first time, but then try again and handle it better the second time . . . yeah, not with this book! Ivan is just sitting there working on his Legos when he looks up and sees me break down completely. Poor guy just puts his head down and keeps working! 😊 When I finally get control of myself he asks if this is good kinda sad or bad kinda sad and the only way I can describe it is that it’s a feeling kinda sad. Y’all know how shallow I am.

I’ve always considered myself to be relatively unfeeling and emotionally stunted. Then between, Gerda Weissman Klein’s book All But My Life and The Book Thief, I’ve discovered that I’m waaaaaaaay too feeling! And this book brought out so many feelings, it’s not even funny. I can’t even talk too much about the story because it needs to be experienced. I don’t want to give away information that y’all need to read and feel for yourselves and I don’t want to ruin this book in any way. All I can say is that this book is perfect for a dreary day. If you feel emotional, but it’s all pent up inside, this book will help get it all out! I’d recommend this book for slightly older kids who have suffered. Had I known about this book when I was teaching, there are several kids I would have gotten copies for! Rainy days, moody days, PMS-y days, difficult days, days when you need perspective, days when you need to remind yourself that annoying people could be suffering, this book is perfect for them all! I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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