Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Does a Beaver Sleep in a Bed? by Harriet Ziefert

Does a Beaver Sleep in a Bed?
by Harriet Ziefert
Illustrated by: Emily Bolam
Genre: Picture Book/Non-fiction
Published by: Blue Apple Books
Publication date: 1/28/2014
ISBN: 9781609054236
Pages: 32
Format: Review Copy
Source: Edelweiss




Does a Beaver Sleep in a Bed? is part of the Think About Series which highlights things that young kids are curious about. 

This book in the series presents in a silly way all the different places humans sleep and also brings humor to the story by showing all the places certain animals do and do not sleep. A great book about different ways that animals sleep compared to us. Another great resource to this series of books is the last two pages are full of different ways to use the content in the book to further engage your youngster's mind with questions and activities.

The illustrations are really bring the content of the story to a visual level that really pulls in the younger reader and even helps them to look at the pictures and then pick up what some of the words on that page will be in the story.

I Give It:


Author Bio:




Harriet Ziefert grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey, where she attended the local schools. She graduated from Smith College, then received a Masters degree in Education from New York University.

For many years, Ziefert was an elementary school teacher. She taught most grades from kindergarten to fifth grade. "I liked it," she said, but she stopped teaching when she had her own sons. When her children were older, Ziefert wanted "a bigger arena" for her work. She went to work at a publishing company, Scholastic in New York City, developing materials for teacher's guides for kindergarten language arts and social studies programs.

"About twelve years ago," says Ziefert in a 1995 interview, "I tried to get a job as an editor, but no one would hire me as a trade editor. So I decided to write my own books." Since then, she has written several hundred books, mostly picture books and easy-to-read books. "I write books very quickly," she says, "in about twelve hours. I rewrite them three times over three days, and then they're done." She writes about twenty books a year.




Illustrator Bio:




Emily Bolam was born in Buckinghamshire in 1969. She studied at Amersham college and Brighton College of Art under the tutelage of well known illustrators John Vernon Lord and Chris McEwan. Her first idea for a children's book began as a college project and was published upon her graduation.

Since then, Emily has illustrated over a hundred books for children, by many different authors, including Georgie Adams, Vivian French and Francesca Simon. She has worked with publishers such as Penguin, Macmillan, Orchard Books and Orion amongst many others.

She continues to live and work in Brighton where she shares her studio with other artists and illustrators.



Thanks for stopping in to see what I've been reading!

Amy

The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself. 

This book contributed to the following reading challenges: Review Pile Reading Challenge; Women's Reading Challenge; Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge.

Review: Does a Bear Wear Boots? by Harriet Ziefert

Does a Bear Wear Boots?
by Harriet Ziefert
Illustrated by: Emily Bolam
Genre: Picture Book/Non-fiction
Published by: Blue Apple Books
Publication date: 1/28/2014
ISBN: 9781609054243
Pages: 32
Format: Review Copy
Source: Edelweiss



Does a Bear Wear Boots? is part of the Think About Series which highlights things that young kids are curious about. 

This particular book in this series focuses on clothing and uses the humor of animals wearing clothing to show the differences in behavior of people and animals which helps show the uniqueness of humans in a way that younger children can understand. The use of silly humor with the dressed animals will have your little one laughing and will keep them 

The illustrations in the book are wonderful and really support the content and purpose of the book in a clear way so that younger children who may not be able to read yet but that are having this book read to them can visually see the parts of the story.

I Give It:

Author Bio:

Harriet Ziefert grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey, where she attended the local schools. She graduated from Smith College, then received a Masters degree in Education from New York University.

For many years, Ziefert was an elementary school teacher. She taught most grades from kindergarten to fifth grade. "I liked it," she said, but she stopped teaching when she had her own sons. When her children were older, Ziefert wanted "a bigger arena" for her work. She went to work at a publishing company, Scholastic in New York City, developing materials for teacher's guides for kindergarten language arts and social studies programs.

"About twelve years ago," says Ziefert in a 1995 interview, "I tried to get a job as an editor, but no one would hire me as a trade editor. So I decided to write my own books." Since then, she has written several hundred books, mostly picture books and easy-to-read books. "I write books very quickly," she says, "in about twelve hours. I rewrite them three times over three days, and then they're done." She writes about twenty books a year.



Illustrator Bio:

Emily Bolam was born in Buckinghamshire in 1969. She studied at Amersham college and Brighton College of Art under the tutelage of well known illustrators John Vernon Lord and Chris McEwan. Her first idea for a children's book began as a college project and was published upon her graduation.

Since then, Emily has illustrated over a hundred books for children, by many different authors, including Georgie Adams, Vivian French and Francesca Simon. She has worked with publishers such as Penguin, Macmillan, Orchard Books and Orion amongst many others.

She continues to live and work in Brighton where she shares her studio with other artists and illustrators.


Thanks for stopping in to see what I've been reading!
Amy

The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself. 

This book contributed to the following reading challenges: Review Pile Reading Challenge; Women's Reading Challenge; Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge.

Review: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

 The Fourteenth Goldfish
by Jennifer L. Holm
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 8/26/2014
ISBN: 9780375870644
Pages: 224
Format: Review Copy
Source: Netgalley
This review may contain some spoilers.



Ellie is surprised when her mother comes home with her grandfather who has turned himself into what looks like a thirteen-year-old boy. A rare jellyfish has made Ellie's grandfather, Melvin, young again but he can't get to it because he has been barred from his laboratory by the company he worked for, but he is intent on retrieving the jellyfish so that he may make his discovery known to the world so that he will be the most famous scientist ever!

As if a thirteen-year-old grandfather is not drama enough Ellie is now in middle school and she finds herself on her own because her best friend, Brianna, has found a new clique with the girls on the volleyball team, and Ellie feels alone. When Ellie felt like things couldn't get any worse her and her grandfather meet Raj who becomes the third musketeer of their group with the main goal being to get the jellyfish out of Grandpa Melvin's lab. Ellie becomes extremely interested in Science as her Grandpa talks about all the amazing things that encompass the board subject of Science. After quite the break-in they were finally able to retrieve the jellyfish from the lab. But then Ellie starts thinking about the implications the jellyfish will have on the cycle of life and the world. After much thought Ellie goes to her grandfather and tells him he cannot share what he knows with the world because of the heavy consequences such a discovery would have on human life. The pursuit of science that will improve human life is her grandfather's dream and she is asking him to keep it to himself to think not just of the good consequences of his discovery but to also look at the bad consequences that could ruin everything. Her grandfather argues with her but eventually he sees the light and realizes that somethings no matter how great they are can have dire consequences and they just need to be left alone.  

A great read about family, friendship, life and death and the wonder of science! Well written for the targeted age group you or your middle grade child will love this book. The only thing I didn't really get was the title and the first chapter they seem to mean something since if they didn't the author wouldn't have included all of it but I just didn't get how the title and the first chapter ties into the story. Maybe I'm to much of an adult to get it.

I Give It:



Author Bio:



Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children's author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE. 

Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series -- the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. She is also the author of several other highly praised books, including the Boston Jane trilogy and MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

You can read more about Jennifer L. Holm and her other books at her website here.

Thanks for stopping by to see what I have been reading!
Amy 


The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself. 

This book contributed to the following reading challenges: Review Pile Reading Challenge; Women's Reading Challenge; Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Nest
by Esther Ehrlich
Genre: Middle Grade/Historical Fiction
Published by: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication date: 9/9/2014
ISBN: 9780385386074
Pages: 336
Format: Review Copy
Source: Netgalley
This review may contain
some spoilers.



Nest, is about eleven-year-old Naomi, aka Chirp, who loves birds and lives in Cape Cod with her family. Her mom is a dancer, her dad is a psychologist, and Chirp and her sister, Rachel, are pretty close. Life seems good, but doesn't it always before it starts to slide down hill. Naomi's mom, Hannah, is a dancer who has been diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) and unable to bear the diagnosis Hannah becomes deeply depressed and is hospitalized for her depression. The story occurs in 1972 when shock therapy was still widely used and for Hannah it is her last option after so many other techniques and medicines have failed to bring her out of her depression. The shock therapy seemed to help Hannah and soon she is able to come home but the depression creeps back. During this time Chirp, her sister, and her dad are trying to go about their daily routines while their family is slowing falling apart at the seams. Rachel starts acting up and acting out especially against anything her dad says. Rachel however is really trying to be there for Chirp even if sometimes she is snippy with her, but we the reader must remember that Rachel is still a kid herself and is going through the same things Chirp is. Chirp is clinging on and as the story progresses you can see that she won't be able to hold it together for much longer, luckily she has found a friend in Joey, a boy her age that lives directly across the street from her. Tragedy does strike yet again when Hannah kills herself and everyone's world spins out of control. But thanks to her dad, Rachel, and Joey, Chirp will make it through anything even something as horrible as this.

This book had me sobbing. The binds of family and friendship are tested to the extreme in this book and though it is a heart wrenching story it is also a heartwarming story of love. The subject matter touched upon is this book is some pretty deep stuff so it is up to you as a parent to really sit down and think about if your child is mature enough to understand the content and emotionally mature enough to handle the content for each child is different.

I Give It:


Author Bio:

Esther Ehrlich is the author of Nest, her debut novel forthcoming from Wendy Lamb Books/Random House in September 2014. Ehrlich was born and raised in Boston, graduated from Vassar College, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. You can read more about her and Nest here on her website.






Connect with the author on:



Thanks for stopping in to see what I've been reading!
Amy

The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself. 

This book contributed to the following reading challenges: Review Pile Reading Challenge; Historic Fiction Reading Challenge; Women's Reading Challenge; Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge; and Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: The Great American Slow Cooker Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

The Great American Slow Cooker Book
500 Easy Recipes for Every Day and Every Size Machine
by: Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough
Genre: Cookbook/Non-Fiction
Published by: Clarkson Potter
Publication date: 1/7/2014
ISBN: 9780385344661
Pages: 512
Format: Review Copy/Paperback
Source: Blogging for Books



Cooking for me is a very visual hands on experience and so I thought that this review for a cookbook should be a lot more visual than a book review would be for me, so here goes!

Here is a the table of contents to give you an idea of the types of recipes that you will find in this cookbook:














The recipes really vary there are some fairly easy ones that even your mother or grandmother might have a similar recipe to but the majority of them are what I would consider fancier, basically gourmet slow cooker recipes. So if you love your crock pot but want to try new recipes this is a very good source for that.

The authors of this cookbook do have quite the introduction about slow cooking and slow cookers and I found it very informative even though I have been using a crock pot to cook with for more than a decade. 

 Okay so on to the structure of the recipes.

This image of the turkey stock recipe shows us how the recipes are broken down up ingredient and by the size of the crock pot you will be using. I love this about this cookbook because you don't have to do the math for a smaller or a bigger batch it is already done for you, so if you make something in your small crock pot that you loved then you can make a bigger batch for the family reunion or another event without having to figure out how much more of each ingredient you will need!

Now that we covered the ingredient chart let's get to a whole recipe,

Okay so as you can see by the recipe name this is what I was talking about earlier when I said this is a great book to try new recipes out with your crock pot. So another great feature of the recipes is that each step is numbered, I love when it is broken down like this in a recipe and not just all jumbled together in paragraph form, this makes it so much easier to read while you are preparing the dish.

I loved everything about this cookbook except for one thing the lack of pictures, I am a very visual recipe picker, if I see the picture and the food is visually pleasing I am more likely to try that recipe with that being said this cookbook really lacked pictures there is a total of 8, front to back, pages of pictures that to me is just not enough for me even though the pictures they do have are gorgeous food pics; here is an example:


It is hard to try to figure out how to rate a cookbook because they don't have the same criteria to me that fiction books do so I am going to still give it a go though.
I Give It:

I would have given it 5 out of 5 stars but I just couldn't give it because of the lack of those very important food pics.

Thanks for stopping by and  checking out my very first cookbook review!
Amy

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: The Invention of Exile by Vanessa Manko

The Invention of Exile
by Vanessa Manko
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by: Penguin Press
Publication date: 8/14/2014
ISBN: 9781594205880
Pages: 304
Format: Review Copy
Source: Edelweiss
Disclaimer: This review may contain some spoilers.



By now you all know I love historical fiction and when I first started using Edelweiss it is a bit of an understatement that I went a little request happy with pretty much an historical fiction novel my eyes flitted across, but this one stood out to me at first sight because of the cover, an envelope and a "postmark", very cool design, and yes I judged this book by its cover!

Austin Voronkov is a hardworking Russian living in the United States who generally goes about his business in a quiet, unassuming way. Austin leads what seems to be a lonely existence but he does keep busy not just with work but by attending social events like lectures and classes to improve his English, he even joins a few clubs, but deep down there is still this loneliness that you can feel coming from Austin up from off the pages but then he meets Julia.

Julia's father died and so Julia's mother lets out an extra room that they have for rent for extra income this financial predicament her mother finds herself in will change Julia's life forever because her mother lets the room to Austin. Becoming quite fond of each other they begin a general flirtation that turns into so much more. Promises are made that one day they will wed once Austin has saved enough for them to have a nice start to their new life together, but like all great love stories there is a catch or a problem that arises just when it seems like everything couldn't get any better and this happens for Austin and Julia when Austin is rounded up with a bunch of other Russians during raids to round up the growing "Red Menace". Imprisoned, mistreated, and interrogated Austin is soon lead into a false confession that he is an anarchist. Since Austin actually confessed to this he is automatically deported but Julia decides to marry him before he is to leave and she then travels with him back to Russia. 

Austin and Julia soon learn that Russia is no longer the Russia Austin used to know but instead is a hot bed of revolution with the communist gaining new ground everyday and so it is not looking good for the Voronkov's to stay there. Fleeing for safety they travel lots of different places but settle in Mexico since it is so close to the United States and Julia is fighting very hard to win their way back into the states but there is so much red tape that they find themselves raising their three children there until finally the children and Julia are given visas and are allowed to return but they have to leave Austin behind in Mexico because he is not granted a visa because of his past. 

Alone in Mexico Austin suffers greatly from his families absence but he doesn't give up hope as he constantly works on different designs and inventions that he thinks are brilliant enough to earn him a visa to the United States and back to his Julia and their children. Slowly the years roll by and still the answer is always no and slowly but surely Austin goes a bit mad from the stress and loneliness of it all. Pretty soon Austin's children are grown and Leo and Vera have come to Mexico to get their father a visa but again they are denied so they soon take matters into their own hands getting Austin fake papers and then they help him enter the United States illegally. Austin after all these years cannot figure out what held him back for so long and is quite confused as to why he didn't try to cross the border sooner.

An emotional read, Austin's decline is hard to take and he is just so far away from his family and on his own it is heartbreaking. Even though Vera and Leo come and get their dad and bring him to the U.S. it is already to late, the damage already done, all that loneliness and stress has driven their father mad and there is no coming back from it, he will always be this way. I will not be talking about the political issues in the book given the political issues involving the U.S./Mexican border presently I don't want a whole bunch of mean comments so I will keep my politics to myself however they are a huge focus in this book.

There were a few issues I had with the book, one of them is I didn't like how the book flip flopped so much in setting and time, but this did calm down a bit closer towards the end, I also didn't care for some of the narrative it just seemed to disjointed like it didn't fit which would be fine when it is the stuff about just Austin since he is foreign and doesn't speak English very well but I found this quite a bit throughout the whole book and for me it was just strange and made it harder to really grasp what the author was trying to convey to us, the reader. 

Discover: A story about the way government policies and politics can affect one person, one family.

I Give It:



Author Bio:

Vanessa earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter College where she was the recipient of a Hertog Fellowship. Prior to writing, Vanessa trained in ballet at the North Carolina School of the Arts and danced professionally before returning to school to earn her B.A. in English from the University of Connecticut. She went on to receive her M.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she focused on dance history and performance studies. Vanessa has taught writing at NYU and SUNY Purchase and she is the former Dance Editor of The Brooklyn Rail. An excerpt of The Invention of Exile, her first novel, was published inGranta 114, Exit Strategies in 2012. Originally from Brookfield, CT, Vanessa now lives in Brooklyn.

Connect with the Author:

   


Thanks for stopping in to see what I've been reading,
Amy

The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself. 

This book contributed to the following reading challenges: Review Pile Reading Challenge; Historic Fiction Reading Challenge; Women's Reading Challenge; Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge; Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym for J.K. Rowling)

The Silkworm
(Cormoran Strike #2)
by Robert Galbraith 
(pseudonym for J.K. Rowling)
Genre: Mystery
Published by: Mulholland Books
Publication date: 6/24/2014
ISBN: 9780316206877
Pages: 455
Format: Hardback
Source: Library




When I first started reading this I wasn't to sure if I was going to like it but what a murder scene and it turned out to be a  great mystery wrapped up around some literary types which is definitely my cup of tea. So I really, really enjoyed this read.

Cormoran and Robin are back in book #2 with a vengeance and even though there was no "fireworks" between the two like I had hoped there would be there was still some good news to keep my hopes of them alive and that is that Cormoran's ex finally got married so maybe he can finally let her go and realize that he is really in love with Robin and then Robin will simultaneously notice that her fiance is a huge stick in the mud and then Cormoran and Robin will live happily ever after. 
The End!
See J.K. I already have the ending all written for you, lol.

But seriously away from my literary fantasies and back to the book.
The Silkworm is full of eccentric characters, particularly Leonora Quine. Leonora is the wife of author Owen Quine who has gone missing and she hires Cormoran to try and find him but instead of finding the man living and breathing he finds that someone put an end to him in a scene right from Owen's last unpublished book and it is a pretty gruesome way to go let me tell you, if you have a weak stomach you may want to skip over the description part of it, no I am not kidding, yucky! 

Cormoran and Robin throw themselves full force into the case but we also get to meet quite a few characters that are either friends or family of the duo showing us a more personal side to them which is always nice especially in a series I think because it really lets you get to know the characters to the point they feel almost real.

Weaving in and out of eccentric literary types Cormoran and Robin will always catch their man or woman!

Discover: A terrific whodunit.

I Give It:



Author Bio:


Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series and The Casual Vacancy.

Rowling was born to Peter James Rowling, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer, and Anne Rowling (née Volant), on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Bristol. Her mother Anne was half-French and half-Scottish. Her parents first met on a train departing from King's Cross Station bound for Arbroath in 1964. They married on 14 March 1965. Her mother's maternal grandfather, Dugald Campbell, was born in Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. Her mother's paternal grandfather, Louis Volant, was awarded the Croix de Guerre for exceptional bravery in defending the village of Courcelles-le-Comte during the First World War.

Rowling's sister Dianne was born at their home when Rowling was 23 months old. The family moved to the nearby village Winterbourne when Rowling was four. She attended St Michael's Primary School, a school founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce and education reformer Hannah More. Her headmaster at St Michael's, Alfred Dunn, has been suggested as the inspiration for the Harry Potter headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

As a child, Rowling often wrote fantasy stories, which she would usually then read to her sister. She recalls that: "I can still remember me telling her a story in which she fell down a rabbit hole and was fed strawberries by the rabbit family inside it. Certainly the first story I ever wrote down (when I was five or six) was about a rabbit called Rabbit. He got the measles and was visited by his friends, including a giant bee called Miss Bee." At the age of nine, Rowling moved to Church Cottage in the Gloucestershire village of Tutshill, close to Chepstow, Wales. When she was a young teenager, her great aunt, who Rowling said "taught classics and approved of a thirst for knowledge, even of a questionable kind," gave her a very old copy of Jessica Mitford's autobiography, Hons and Rebels. Mitford became Rowling's heroine, and Rowling subsequently read all of her books.

Rowling has said of her teenage years, in an interview with The New Yorker, "I wasn’t particularly happy. I think it’s a dreadful time of life." She had a difficult homelife; her mother was ill and she had a difficult relationship with her father (she is no longer on speaking terms with him). She attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College, where her mother had worked as a technician in the science department. Rowling said of her adolescence, "Hermione [a bookish, know-it-all Harry Potter character] is loosely based on me. She's a caricature of me when I was eleven, which I'm not particularly proud of." Steve Eddy, who taught Rowling English when she first arrived, remembers her as "not exceptional" but "one of a group of girls who were bright, and quite good at English." Sean Harris, her best friend in the Upper Sixth owned a turquoise Ford Anglia, which she says inspired the one in her books.



Connect with Robert Galbraith:



Connect with J.K. Rowling



Have you read any of the books in this series?
Did you like them? Or not like them?
What do you think about the success J.K. has had writing under a man's name?
Love to hear your thoughts!
Amy

The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself. 

This book contributed to the following reading challenges: I Love Library Books Reading Challenge; My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge.



Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You
by Celeste Ng 
Genre: Mystery
Published by: Penguin Press
Publication date: 6/26/2014
ISBN: 9781594205712
Pages: 304
Format: Review Copy
Source: Edelweiss




I love a good mystery especially one that is cerebral so when I first saw this up on Edelweiss I was very, very excited to read it!! Well I finally got to it after pushing it further and further down my reading list, I really need to learn to prioritize better, but anyway. So this is one of the few books that I was completely hyped up for that actually lived up to the hype!


Lydia is dead, but was there foul play or did Lydia kill herself?

Lydia's family is a little out the ordinary, her mom is constantly on her about applying herself to all these courses so that she can one day become a doctor, your basic mom living out her dreams that didn't happen for her through her daughter. Lydia's dad is always trying to get her to make more friends to be an average American teenager because he is ashamed of his Chinese heritage. Both parents have deep issues from their pasts that are stressing Lydia out. Luckily Lydia has an ally in her older brother Nathan but soon he won't be there very much longer because he is headed off to Harvard in the fall. Not knowing where to turn to Lydia starts hanging out with the neighborhood bad boy, Jack, whom her brother Nathan strongly disapproves of, but when Lydia realizes that she is not the object of Jack's desires but that her brother is things start to slide even faster down hill from there.

The theme of suicide is not an easy one to approach especially with it dealing with a teenager but the author did an excellent job of portraying the story with grace and understanding though this did make some of the parts in the story a bit boring just because the author choose to stay with that style of writing which to me felt almost surreal (like in a dream or when you feel like you are standing outside yourself watching it all happen, hope that makes sense) but this type of style is also what makes the suicide not seem to gory or horrifying that you want to stop reading the book. So yes some boring parts but the overall content is excellent.

Discover: A poignant tale of how family interactions play such a huge part in who we become and the decisions that we make. 

I Give It:




Author Bio:

Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You  (June 2014, Penguin Press). She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. Celeste attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award.  Her fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, the Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize.
Currently she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and son, where she teaches fiction writing at Grub Street and is at work on a second novel and a collection of short stories.

Connect with the Author:



What are your feelings on books dealing with suicide? Do you avoid them at all costs? Read them on recommendation only? Or love them?
Let me know I love to hear from you all,
Amy


The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself. 

This book contributed to the following reading challenges: Review Pile Reading Challenge; Women's Reading Challenge; My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge; Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Review: Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer

Nantucket Sisters
by Nancy Thayer
Genre: Women's Fiction/Romance
Published by: Ballantine Books
Publication date: 6/17/2014
ISBN: 9780345545480
Pages: 320
Format: Review Copy
Source: Edelweiss




First thing, that I  have to bring up, is what is up with the author's name being bigger than the book's title; are you selling the author or the book itself? The only thing saving this cover is the beach.

This is the story of Maggie and Emily. Maggie lives on Nantucket all year long whereas Emily only lives on Nantucket during the summer it is her families second home. So I am sure you guessed it Maggie is poor and Emily is rich, normally wouldn't have mentioned this but it is a huge part of this story, The Haves and The Have-Nots. But no matter what Maggie and Emily are the best of summer friends, they are Nantucket sisters. Life unfolds at a rapid rate on the pages, each page turn seems to add a few years on to the girl's ages. Pretty soon they are all grown-up but a chance encounter with the same man, Emily with him in New York and Maggie with him in Nantucket, ends with both of them pregnant. But Emily has also been seeing Maggie's older brother Ben, So who is the baby's daddy???? Eventually through a lot of living the girls get into contact again and life seemed to be working itself out so that they both could be happy. The thing that really confused me in the book is that Maggie never tells Emily how her baby's father is!!
Very curious. A enjoyable read that I didn't have to stress my brain out to understand which is what I needed when I read this and it is also probably why that this book was on many summer beach read lists.

Discover: A friendship that withstood a tremendous amount of that thing called life but still survived the storm.

I Give It:


Author Bio:




Nancy Thayer has a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Before settling down to write and have children she taught English at various colleges and traveled, living in Paris, Amsterdam and Helsinki. In 1981 she was a Fellow at the Breadloaf Writers Conference. She has lived on Nantucket Island year round for twenty-five years with her husband Charley Walters. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Nancy Thayer is the author of nineteen novels, including Summer House, The Hot Flash Club series, Moon Shell Beach, Stepping, and Three Women At The Water's Edge.

Her books concern the mysteries and romance of families and relationships and the humorous adventures of growing older.

In 2008, Redbook magazine chose her novel Moon Shell Beach for their "Hot Summer Read." Nancy's work has been translated into more than 14 languages, including Polish, Hebrew, Russian, and Serbo Croatian. Her novels have been condensed or excerpted in several magazines, including Redbook, Good Housekeeping, England's Cosmopolitan, Holland's Viva, and South Africa's Personality. 

She has published a commissioned three-part mystery novella in Redbook, and short stories in literary reviews in the United States, Canada, and Spain. Her first novel, Stepping, was made into a 13-part series for BBC Radio. Her ghost novel Spirit Lost was produced as a movie by United Image Entertainment. Her novel Everlasting was a Main Dual selection of the Literary Guild in 1991.


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Thanks for stopping in to see what I've been reading!
Did you read Nantucket Sisters with your feet in the sand?
If you did I'm jealous but would love to hear about it from you!
Amy

The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself.

This book contributed to the following reading challenges; Review Pile Reading Challenge; Women's Reading Challenge; Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge. 

Review: Life Drawing by Robin Black

Life Drawing
by Robin Black
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published by: Random House
Publication date: 7/15/2014
ISBN: 9781400068562
Pages: 256
Format: Review Copy
Source: Edelweiss





Augusta and Owen seem to live in quit solitude in the country. Previously being city people it is hard to imagine what would drag an artist and a writer out of their beloved city away from all their friends and into the country. Something big! That's What.

All seems to be well on the surface but underneath there is a hot mess that neither one of them seems to want to talk about let alone deal with it to get the closure their relationship so obviously needs.

But life always get interrupted and this interruption is in the form of a neighbor. So at first I thought that either Augusta or Owen would have an affair with this woman and this would be the conflict but I was wrong and the way it goes down hill for all of them is a slippery slope that none of them will ever recover from.

Black really opens up the raw emotions of a marriage or coupling. She also focuses on decisions and consequences that we all face but she shows how our decisions can have such a huge impact on others and can be life altering. Deep and raw. I truly enjoyed this book even though there were a few times I rolled my eyes. Our emotions, our decisions, and the people in our lives can make life or break it. This book is what literary fiction is all about!

Discover: Love, Betrayal, and Grief.

I Give It:



Author Bio:


Robin Black’s story collection  If I loved you, I would tell you this, was published by Random House in 2010 to international acclaim by publications such as O. Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Irish Times and more. The stories, written over a period of eight years, focus on families at points of crisis and of growth. Her writing is very much influenced by her belief that the most compelling act of creativity in which we all participate is the daily manufacture of hope. Though the book can be seen as a study of loss, it is also a study of the miraculous ways in which people move forward from the inevitable challenges of life. Robin’s stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Southern Review, The New York Times Magazine. One Story, The Georgia Review, Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Freight Stories, Indiana Review, and The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. I (Norton, 2007).  She is the recipient of grants from the Leeway Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Sirenland Conference and is also the winner of the 2005 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner-Wisdom Writing Competition in the short story category.  Her work has been noticed four times for Special Mention by the Pushcart Prizes and also deemed Notable in The Best American Essays, 2008, The Best Nonrequired Reading, 2009 and Best American Short Stories, 2010.  She holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

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Have you read Life Drawing? What did you think of it?
Love to hear from all of you,
Amy
The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself.

This book contributed to the following reading challenges: Review Pile Reading Challenge; Women's Reading Challenge; Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge.