Source: Publisher

Two Steps Forward…By Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist

Two Steps Forward…By Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist

    The Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) is a network of pilgrimage paths throughout Europe that leads to shrine of St.James in the Santiago de Compostela . ‘Two Steps Forward’ follows Marin, a Brit, and Zoe, an American as they walk the Camino.   I  read about the Camino in a previous novels but I misunderstood what it is. I thought it is like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. In fact it’s more of a pilgrimage and less of a hike. The pilgrims stay at hotels and hostels and predominantly eat at restaurants instead of camping as hikers would along the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.   ‘Two Steps Forward’ is packed full of information about the Camino. I loved the experiences that the Camino can offer. For example a chance to challenge oneself. A chance to meet people. It is also a religious experience and a chance to really see Europe up close.   While Zoe and Martin as characters really grew as the story went along, both characters were secondary to the Camino. The Camino is a character in itself and is really the centerpiece of the story.   […]

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Where is the Mississippi River ?…By Dina Anastasio #BlogTour

Where is the Mississippi River ?…By Dina Anastasio #BlogTour

The Mississippi is the longest river in North America. It rises at Lake Itasca in Minnesota and flows almost due south emptying into the Gulf of Mexico, southeast of New Orléans. This is a distance of over 2,300 miles. The Mississippi River’s major tributaries are the Missouri and Ohio rivers. Many authors including Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and Kate Chopin were inspired by the mighty Mississippi.   The name Mississippi comes from the Anishinaabe word ‘Misi-ziibi’ which means ‘great river’. The River flows at between 1.2 to 3 miles per hour. The Civil War Battle of Vicksburg was fought over control of the Mississippi River and was a major turning point in the war. At its widest point the river is over 7 miles wide. At its deepest spot the river is over 200 feet deep. It takes 90 days for a drop of water to travel the entire length of the river.                                                        I am excited to be part of the ‘Where is…’ blog tour. I love books that not only teach a lesson […]

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Left: A Love Story…by Mary Hogan

Left: A Love Story…by Mary Hogan

  Fay Agarra has the perfect life. She lives in a New York City with her husband, respected New York judge, Paul Agarra. Fay’s perfect life slowly begins crumbling when her ‘go to guy’ suffers an explainable episode on their dream vacation.   Where other books such as, ‘ Still Alice’ gives us a look inside the mind of those suffering from dementia,’ Left’ gives us a view of what it is to be the care giver of a dementia sufferer. Alzheimer disease is one of the most heartbreaking disease to witness. Loved ones have to witness not only the physical demise but also the mental deterioration of a once sharp and vital person.   ‘Left’ is told from Fay’s point of view.  In heartbreaking detail we realize how she uses fantasy to cope with her life situation. While, at times, Fay does come across as self-absorbed and even selfish, I remind myself that this is Fay’s story. ‘Left’ represents her inner thoughts and feelings and is an accurate example of how many caregivers feel. An accurate portrayal of the caregivers feelings, emotions, and coping mechanisms is a vital part of this book.A book that idealizes the caregivers and love ones […]

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Caroline (Little House Revisited)…by Sarah Miller

Caroline (Little House Revisited)…by Sarah Miller

 The books that really got me reading as a child are the ‘Little House’ series. I was also a huge fan of the show (I cried during the finale). One Christmas my parents gave me a boxed set of all the ‘Little House’ books. I still have them today . When I heard about ‘Caroline’ I couldn’t wait to read it. Also, I can’t get enough of this cover!     ‘Caroline’ is told in third person. The entire novel is pretty much Caroline’s thoughts. This gives the story a very different feel then the ‘Little House’ books. Since it is told from an adult’s perspective it has a much grittier and darker tone. Children are able to see everything as an adventure where adults have to sweat the details and shoulder the worry. This is true when comparing ‘The Little House Books’ to ‘Caroline’. In fact this is the best book I’ve ever read that represents what it feels like to be a mother. There is never a moment when you aren’t thinking and worrying about your children.    Caroline’s story also really drives home the debt that Americans owe to the pioneers.  For example, before the Ingalls leave […]

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The Year of Living Awkwardly…by Emma Chasten #blogtour

The Year of Living Awkwardly…by Emma Chasten #blogtour

  “The point of the musical is that Nellie’s racism is disgusting and that you can be a cute, fun girl everyone considers so nice and still have this snake coiled in your heart. “   “It’s like Tris let go of his trapeze and he’s falling through the air, waiting for Roy to catch him, but Roy is outside the circus tent making out with the lion tamer.”   “It was a perfect fall afternoon. Cool air Lavender sky. Leaves the color of cherries. Smell of wood smoke. Sometimes New England is so New Englandly.”      Chloe Snow is a high school sophomore who is struggling with the abandonment of her mother. She also is absorbed in taking her PSA, school, boys and friends. She must keep it all together to make it through her sophomore year.     I really didn’t know much about ‘ The Year of Living Awkwardly’ going into it. It is book #2 in the Chloe Snow’s Diary series. They synopsis made Chloe sound very angsty. As I read though the diary (the story is told in diary format) I realized Chloe is typical of how many teenagers truly are. I haven’t been […]

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Classes are Canceled…by Jack Chabert and Matt Loveridge

Classes are Canceled…by Jack Chabert and Matt Loveridge

Sam, Antonio, and Lucy are hall monitors at Eerie Elementary. Eerie Elementary is haunted by its evil founder, Orson Eerie. When the mysterious happenings at the school get a little too dangerous, the powers that be decide to tear the school down. Sam, Antonio, and Lucy, must do everything they can to save their school and to foil the ghost of Orson Eerie. ‘Classes are Canceled, is part of the cute ‘Eerie Elementary’ chapter book series. It has a paranormal twist that sets it apart from many other books of this reading level.  The story also has a great message of empowerment with Sam, Antonio, and Lucy taking the fate of their school into their own hands. ‘Classes are Canceled’  has a few cute twist and turns along the way. The paranormal story-line was a little over the top for me but would be great fun for young readers.

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We Are All That’s Left…by Carrie Arcos #Blogtour

We Are All That’s Left…by Carrie Arcos #Blogtour

Zara feels shut off from her Bosnian born mother. She knows that her mother survived some horrible things in the Bosnian war but Zara wants desperately to understand who her mother is. So when Zara, her mother, and her little brother are victims of a tourist attack, Zara begins to understand what emotional and physical trauma can do to a person and a family.   I really love a good historical fiction. Good historical fiction is entertaining while at the same time teaches us about significant events. I have noticed that much of the historical fiction out there covers the really well-known periods of history. For example: the Tutor period, the American Civil War, WWI, and especially WWII. I really love it when I find a  novel that explores world events that are lesser known . When I read the synopsis of, ‘We Are All That’s Left’, I knew this was a book that I had to read.   ‘We Are All That’s Left’, alternates between Zara dealing with the aftermath of a present day terror attack and Zara’s mother, Nadja, living in war-torn Bosnia in the past. Going into the story, I did know a little about the Bosnian […]

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What I Leave Behind…by Alison McGhee #BlogTour

What I Leave Behind…by Alison McGhee #BlogTour

Will’s dad commits suicide. His childhood friend, Playa, is raped at a party. His mom works long over-night shifts as a nurse. Will then decides to take the negatives in his life and turn them into something completely wonderful.   Will’s father’s death helps him realize that everyone needs positive acknowledgement. He also realizes that sometimes it’s the little things that can make a difference. He gives small gifts and kind words to those around him ( his lonely boss, his friend Playa, a neglected little boy, an abused neighborhood dog).   OMG……This book is powerful, and wonderful, and heart wrenching ! ‘What I Leave Behind’, is a prime example of, “less is more.” There are so many books out there that are just way too long for what they are trying to say (read ‘The Goldfinch’). McGhee delivers a strong and pointed message with just one hundred chapters with one hundred words each. With this she demonstrates that you don’t need a mega size book to deliver a powerful punch.   I really loved that symbolism played such an important part in the novel. From the way that butterflies that  ‘little dude’ watches everyday to Will’s quest to recreate his […]

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Hard-Hearted Highlander…by Julia London

Hard-Hearted Highlander…by Julia London

The Highland Grooms series centers around the Mackenzie clan. Each novel revolves around the relationship of one of the male members of the family. Robbie’s love is killed while he was in exile.  Bernadette is the governess of the women Rabbie’s family has arranged for him to marry. Almost immediately both Rabbie and his intended, Avaline, know that they are not a good match. Avaline is smitten with one of Rabbie’s brothers and Rabbie is drawn to Bernadette. It turns out that  Bernadette has a tragic past of her own. I am not a big romance reader. I can honestly say that I only occasionally read a romances . When ‘Hard-Hearted Highlander’ came as  surprise book mail, I wasn’t sure I was going to read it. ‘Hard-Hearted Highlander’ takes place eighteen century Scotland just after the Jacobite Rebellion . The historical information in ‘Hard-Hearted Highlander’ is amazing. I learned so much about Scottish and English relations during this time period. I also was enthralled by the descriptions of the landscapes of Scotland. (While we were at the  library sale in Gainesville last weekend, I heard two women having a discussion about how much history is covered in many romance novels. If ‘Hard-Hearted […]

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Right Where You Left Me…by Calla Devlin

Right Where You Left Me…by Calla Devlin

‘Right Where You Left Me’ is the story of Charlotte. Her mother is a Russian immigrate who works in the bakery downstairs from their apartment. Charlotte’s father is a larger than life newspaper reporter who loves to be the first on the ground during natural disasters. At the very begging of ‘Right Where You Left Me’, Charlotte’s father leaves for Ukraine to cover an earthquake. Her father soon becomes missing. Charlotte’s shared experience with her mother of worrying about Charlotte’s father draws them both closer together and further apart. I began reading ‘Right Where You Left Me’ the day before hurricane Irma hit here in Florida. It was an interesting surprise to find out that this story was about someone who covered natural disasters. I loved that this was a fresh topic that hasn’t been touched on much in YA. I think how a family reacts when a member is missing in a faraway place is a very interesting premise to explore. Some of the great elements of this story that I really enjoyed was the details about the baking.  I also thought an important topic that is explored is that Charlotte has to deal with competing with her dead sister. […]

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