Dress Codes for Small Towns…by Courtney Stevens

Dress Codes for Small Towns…by Courtney Stevens

Billie McCaffrey is a gender fluid teen who lives in a small Kentucky town. Even though she is the daughter of the town’s preacher, she is living life by her own terms. This is to chagrin of both her father and the rest of the town of Otters Holt. At the beginning of ‘Dress Codes for Small Towns’ Billie is at a lock-in with her best friends . Billie and her friends ( who she calls them the hexagon) do something that results in major damage to the church. This and the future of the town’s fall festival is the main focus of the characters in DCFST.  I went into ‘Dress Codes for Small Towns’ having heard really great things about it. DCFST does have many original concepts such as a teen who can’t quite pin down her sexuality, the dynamics of small town America, and loving parents that are not perfect. What I Loved: I found  that Stevens has a  John Green type writing style. It  moves the story along quickly and is easy to read. I love Billy and her diverse set of friends. Her friends all have different personalities and different backgrounds. I also love that a small […]

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The Scent of Rain…by Anne Montgomery

The Scent of Rain…by Anne Montgomery

‘The Scent of Rain’, centers mainly around Rose. Rose is a teenager living in a fundamentalist Mormon community. The main storyline centers on Rose’s terrifying  life. The story is told through multiple points of view. The POV’s are those of Rose, Adan ,the FLDS ‘prophet’, Trak, Chase, and Brooke (Adan Trak, Chase, and Brooke are neighbors and not part of the FDLS community).   One of my favorite topics to read about is subcultures that are embedded within our own communities. ‘The Scent of Rain’ takes on the huge task of bringing to light the FLDS community. Absolutely nothing prepared me for the inner workings of the FLDS.   FLDS members never leave their small community. The women must dress, and style their hair a certain way. Young girls are forced into plural marriages with older men. Most importantly everyone must follow whatever the ‘prophet’ dictates. The ‘prophet’, in Montgomery’s story, is a mentally ill man who dictates his every whim to the community. He lives a lavish lifestyle (with over 70 wives) while the rest of his community scrape together a meager existence.   The characters in ‘The Scent of Rain’  added to an already amazing storyline. The various points of […]

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Corner of Ocean and Bay… by Gina Azzi

Corner of Ocean and Bay… by Gina Azzi

Nessa and Jacie have been friends since kindergarten. When they both have had a terrible year, they decide to take up Jacie’s aunt’s invitation to stay with her at her home on the Jersey Shore. Jacie and Nessa plan to live summer to the fullest before they begin their senior year of high school . On the surface, ‘Corner of Ocean and Bay’ seams like a fun summer beach read. This novel does touch on the fun, carefree, lifestyle of teens on vacation. However, Azzi takes it a step further and explores some of the harsh realities of being young. While Nessa is the ‘good girl’ and Jacie is the wild one, both girls have their own ups and downs. Jacie and Nessa handle their romantic relationships in very different ways. Nessa takes the slow approach with the new boy she meets while Jacie jumps into a new relationship impulsively. Although I can’t really delve into both Jacie and Nessa’s romantic interests without spoiling the plot, I will say Jacie heads off in a dangerous direction. I really loved both Jacie and Nessa, although I kept thinking that Nessa was a little too good. There were even times that I […]

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My Life as a Bench…Jaq Hazell

My Life as a Bench…Jaq Hazell

Seventeen year old Lauren ‘Ren’ Miller has just died. She finds that her spirit lives on inside her own memorial bench. Although the story is called, ‘My Life as a Bench,’ it is really the story of Lauren contemplating her life after her death.   Ren can’t eat or sleep. She can only observe people as they pass by.  Every night Ren must mentally relive her life over and over. Her only companion is the old bench next to her. Ren learns that the other bench is named Lionel. Lionel was elderly baker before he died. Lionel has his own life story to tell.   The undercurrent of the story is that Ren has unfinished business that must be resolved before she can be at peace. Ren’s boyfriend is in jail on charges of killing her. She knows that he didn’t do it. She pleads with people who walk by to help her exonerate her boyfriend but no one is able to hear her.   When I first heard about ‘My Life As a Bench’, I was really unsure how the author was going to pull of this premise without the story being super cheesy. Hazell did a remarkable job making this both […]

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My True Love Gave to Me…by Stephanie Perkins (editor)

My True Love Gave to Me…by Stephanie Perkins (editor)

I admit that I’m not a big anthology fan. I find the stories in them are hit and miss. ‘My True Love Gave to Me’ was a choice for one of my on-line book clubs. I thought it would help me to get into the holiday spirit and to acquaint me with  some new authors. I’m really late putting up this review but I loved many of the stories and wanted to talk about which ones I loved and which one I didn’t love.   Midnight: Rainbow Rowell This story features Noël and Mags and their growing relationship every New Years from 2011-2014.  I really liked this one. The premise of just having snippets of a character’s life for several years really made the story enrolling. It was fun piecing together what was going on in the characters life the rest of the year. 4/5 Stars   The Lady and the Fox: Kelly Link This tells about Miranda’s relationship, over several Christmases, with a strange man who appears and disappears. This one left me really confused. I could not figure out what was going on.  I thought the stranger was a Santa type man but turned out he wasn’t and […]

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Tiny Bird’s Shelf: Otis and the Kittens…by Loran Long

Tiny Bird’s Shelf: Otis and the Kittens…by Loran Long

Here at ‘The Book Return’ blog we are excited to announce a new feature called ‘Tiny Bird’s Shelf’. ‘Tiny Bird’s Shelf’ will exclusively feature children’s picture books. My kids and I will read the stories together and let our readers know what we collectively think about the story.   When I saw ‘Otis and the Kittens’ on Book Outlet I had to pick it up. ‘The Otis’ series features vibrant illustrations by Loren Long. Part of the magic of the ‘Otis and the Kittens’ is discovering all the fine details of the story displayed in the illustrations. ‘Otis and the Kittens’ features the important themes of safety, family, cooperation, and friendship. My son especially enjoyed the interactions between Otis, the kittens, and the firemen. ‘Otis and the Kittens’ offers a feel good story with wonderful illustrations. It features popular children’s  themes. I mean what’s more awesome then farms, kittens, and fireman.  

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The Rules of Magic… by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic… by Alice Hoffman

Franny and Bridget (Jet) along with their brother Vincent are part of the legendary Owen family of witches. Settling in New York city, The Owens kids are far from their Salem roots.  Their mother, Susana, sets up rules to keep her children out of trouble and away from magic. The rules are thrown to the wind when the Owen’s children spend a magical summer with their aunt Isabelle in Salem.   What I Loved         ‘The Rules of Magic’ is the prequel to Hoffman’s popular novel, ‘Practical Magic’. Although I haven’t read ‘Practical Magic’, I was able to understand everything that was going on in ‘The Rules of Magic’. ‘The Rules of Magic’ explains how Franny and Jet became the strange aunts in ‘Practical Magic’. I did love the characters of Franny and Jet as well as their cousin April, and their aunt Isabelle. I also enjoyed getting to know Franny and Jet as young girls in love. The magic system and the Owen’s family powers were simple, easy to understand, and straight forward. This made the story move along quite quickly. . What Left Me Wanting More   I really did not like the character of […]

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Black Friday Book Bonanza

Posted November 23, 2017 by thebookr in Books / 17 Comments
Black Friday Book Bonanza

Welcome to the seventh annual Black Friday Book Bonanza hosted by Kim at Caffeinated Reviewer and Marlene at Reading Reality. It’s a fun way to discover new blogs and to win some great bookish prizes. I’ll be giving away 5 brand spanking new books (they do have remainder marks). This is open to US only.     Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins, My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen, White Oleander by Janet Fitch, and The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen             a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Glow…by Megan E. Bryant

Glow…by Megan E. Bryant

‘There’s a certain kind of light that I should have been afraid of all along.’   Radium was discovered by Marie Sklodowska-Curie and her husband Pierre Curie on December 21, 1898. When radium decays it causes luminescence.  With America’s entry into WWI came a need for self-luminous aircraft switches and instrument dials. Marie and Pierre Curie by André Castaigne  Soldiers involved in trench warfare were especially in need of watches that could be seen in complete darkness. The harmful effects of radium were not yet known.    Factories that produced the luminescent dials were set up Orange, New Jersey, Ottawa, Illinois, and Waterbury, Connecticut. These factories employed young girls and women to paint the numbers and hands with radium. Enter the radium girls. Watch hands painted with radium  The painters were instructed to point their paintbrushes between their lips to create finer details on the numbers and hands of the watches. Not surprisingly, soon many of the workers began experiencing sores, anemia, and bone cancer. Radium is treated as calcium by the body and is deposited in the bones. The dial painting companies tried to cover up the adverse effects of radium and insisted that their workers were suffering syphilis (let that sink in for a minute). […]

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That Night…by Cecily Wolfe

That Night…by Cecily Wolfe

‘That Night’ is the story of Kayla and her two best friends Sarah, and Cassidy. Kayla is an honors student and a top-level soccer player. One night Kayla tries heroin at a party and abruptly dies. The rest of the novel is Cassidy and Sarah dealing with the aftermath of Kayla’s death.   What I Loved:  I loved the message of Kayla’s story. Anyone can die from a drug overdose. That those who overdose are not just addicts and junkies. Anyone can fall victims to drugs and teenagers are especially at risk. Another important message of ‘That Night’ is that your bad choices can be dire and don’t just affect just you but everyone around you. Your decisions have the potential to affect your family, your friends, and even your community.   What Left Me Wanting More:  So, first thing is I found the process of the story to be extremely slow. For me there didn’t seem to be a definite plotline. There wasn’t a lot of progress in the story. Most of the book was just what Sarah and Cassidy were feeling about their friend’s death. There was a ton of internal dialogue and,other than Sarah and Cassidy’s fights, […]

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