Big thanks to @peggy_lampman for sending me a copy of her book for review! 👏🏻 This was a book as lovely as its cover. Although it is mostly about two cousins who open a diner in a run down section of Detroit, it’s also about trying to get the neighbors to frequent the establishment rather than letting it become the next trendy yuppie eatery. Lots of good food descriptions, a restaurant staff with diversity, and characters to root for, make this a satisfying read. My favorite part was that the romances didn’t all work out in the end (nothing annoys me more than having to ruin a perfectly good book with a romance you can see coming from a mile away)! Pick this one up when you need a sweet read as a palate cleanser after all the creepy October selections. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 #lakeunion #thewelcomehomediner #peggylampman #bookblogger #bookreview #bookreviewer
What an enjoyable read! I felt like I was lifted into this small town, where football is king of the fall season. Of course along with the football, comes the privileges of not only the football players, but the cheerleaders. It's this kind of adulation that forms the crux of this story. Just how much can you get away with if you are one of "the chosen"? In this case.......quite a lot. However, this novel is much more than that, it also delves into the grief of two mothers, who find themselves on opposite sides of a tragedy. It's about a young girl with a secret that can bring down the entire football program, but at what cost? It's about a small town where everyone knows everyone and everything that goes on, and has an opinion about it. And it's about a teacher who has been accused of a crime that she may not have committed. The novel is told through the perspective of four people, and the writer does a great job of weaving in and out of chapters to complete the picture of what really happens one fateful night following a home game. The story flowed well, the characters were all interesting and the suspense of what happened kept me turning pages as fast as I could! I even shed a tear or two over the letter near the end (you'll know what I mean if you read it).
A great book for anyone whose been privy to the happenings within a high school, particularly in regard to the social hierarchy. A great expose of small town life, and the courage to rectify a wrongdoing.
This was a SheReads pick for fall. Click the link to be directed to their website, and look for other reviews on social media under #SheReads.
When a new Diane Chamberlain book comes along, you can count on me to be reading it. Not only is Diane a local author, but her books are always superbly crafted, and frequently about a subject that I knew nothing about prior to reading. This one involves a polio hospital that was built in Hickory NC, to treat the many victims of the polio epidemic of 1944. Tess, a registered nurse, goes to work at the hospital, but before the story progresses to this point we learn about her loveless marriage to Henry, and the man she left behind in Baltimore. There are many questions revolving around Henry, his families open resentment of Tess, and the household's second generation maid and her family. We also have an accident, a secret stash of money, and a woman trying to make sense of it all, while desperately working toward making the best of her situation among this strange cast of characters. The writing is sharp, the various plots are all engaging and interesting, and there are a few twists thrown in by Chamberlain to keep you on your toes as a reader. The ending was a bit too tidy for me, but that is on me, and takes nothing away from this great read. I would also be remiss if I didn't comment on the absolutely gorgeous cover of this book. All of the raindrops that you see are raised up and shiny! If you are a cover lover like I am, this is a collector's item 🙂
Another fantastic novel by Diane Chamberlain. If you are already a fan, you will not be disappointed by this one. If you haven't read any of her work, please rectify that immediately!
The Little House series of books were some of my absolute favorite books of elementary school. I like to think they were the foundation for my love of reading today, particularly since I still love a good family saga. I will gravitate toward anything relating to Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I jumped at the chance to read this book from Ma's perspective. Taking place from when the family decides to leave the big woods, and through their time on the prairie, it describes the thoughts and actions of Caroline. Full of events that occur in the original books, it includes the girls Laura, Mary and baby Carrie, but this is definitely Caroline's story. I found it very interesting to get her views on things, specifically her hesitation to leave the woods, and her intense fear and dislike of the Native Americans they encounter at their new home. I must admit that this was a surprise to me, and was quite uncomfortable to read, but I applaud the author for not sugarcoating this aspect of who Caroline was. I was impressed with the obvious research the author put into the novel, with an author's note that explains not only her research, but the times when the timeline is not quite accurate for the continuity of the story. At times I felt that the book dragged a bit, but being that it was Caroline's life at the time, I certainly would not have wanted the author to make things up to liven up the story.
Overall a well written portrait of the matriarch of one of the most beloved middle grade series. If you are/were a fan of the Little House books, I think you would enjoy the story from a new perspective, even if you may not feel quite the same way about Caroline after reading her thoughts and opinions.
Make no mistake about it, this will be one of the best books you will read this year! Ms. Ng knocked it out of the park with her sophomore novel (her first was the highly acclaimed Everything I Never Told You). This had all the ingredients of a 5 star read for me, except for one glaring fact. I am the mother of two adopted daughters (from China)! Without revealing too much about the plot, suffice it to say that I don't know that I've ever hated a character more than Mia! I hated that she got involved in the custody issue, and when the reader finds out the reason behind her doing so, I hated her even more!! I'm going to try not to rant here, but I was also insulted by the lawyer implying that there were no Asian dolls available back in 1998. I beg to differ. My daughters came to the US in 1997 and 1999, and they both had several dolls that looked like them including Cabbage Patch, Barbie (Kira 1998), Mulan (which was released in 1998) and American Girl. I know that is nitpicking, but it still rankled with me. I thoroughly enjoyed all the other characters and plots in this book, and the writing was fabulous!
This is a must read book. Definitely worthy of 5 stars, but I gave it 4 because I couldn't see both sides of the one subplot when the issue hit a bit too close to home. Do yourself a favor (except perhaps if you are an adoptive mom) and get yourself a copy of this one!
Confession time before continuing with this review. I have never read Little Women! I know, I know, but I have to gear myself up for really long books, and just never got around to this one (although I do own a copy). I'm not sure whether that fact has any bearing on my review, but I wanted full disclosure. This was a perfectly good read, but it did contain a few problems for me. I thought the story was interesting, it seemed well researched, and it flowed well. I am not an artist, and I did get a bit bored with some of the longer passages about May's art. The dynamics of the family members was the most entertaining part of the book for me, although I can't say that I came away really liking any of them (why couldn't Anna take care of the parents?). I did appreciate the various settings described throughout (Rome, London, Paris, Boston), and the peeks that were given of some of the other famous artists of that time period. The insertion of letters was also a plus for me.
A good read, maybe a bit too heavy on the creation of art, but probably one that will have even more impact for those who have read Little Women.
My thanks to @williammorrowbooks for this free copy for review. This title released 8/22. 📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖 Interestingly, I recently came across an article that said that Myrtle Beach (where our beach house is, and this picture was taken) is one of the top spots for UFO sightings! I decided it was a sign that I should read this book, even though I have absolutely no belief in such things. While I enjoyed the part of the story where Lucy is looking for evidence of what happened to her brother, the spaceship stuff was just beyond my interest. There was quite a lot going on in this story, but suspending my feelings about UFO's kind of took away from my enjoyment of the subplots. I also think this was a bit too long, for me it kind of dragged in places. ⭐️⭐️💫/5 While this was not really for me, if this world (or out of this world) is of interest to you, definitely give it a try. 📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖 Lucy Durant was only fourteen-years-old when she lost her older brother. First to his paranoid delusions as he became increasingly obsessed with UFOs and government conspiracies. Then, permanently, when he walked into the desert outside Bishop, California, and never returned. Now on the tenth anniversary of Nolan's mysterious disappearance, Lucy is still struggling with guilt and confusion--her memories from that period are blurry and obscured by time, distance, and alcohol. Now an adult, she's stuck in a holding pattern, hiding out at her father's house, avoiding people, and doing whatever she can to keep herself from thinking about Nolan. But when a series of unsettling events leads Lucy back to Bishop, she is forced to reconcile with her estranged mother and come to terms with the tangled memories of her past to discover what really happened to her brother all those years ago. Told in Lucy and Nolan's alternating voices, Everything We Lost is a psychological mystery exploring family, beliefs, obsessions, the nature of memory, and fear of the unknown--a haunting, compelling story that will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned. #everythingwelost #valeriegeary #williammorrow #bookblogger #bookreview #ondbookshelf
What a lovely novel, with such great characters you just want to wrap them up in a big hug and tell them it's going to be ok. The book centers around a family torn apart by the death of the youngest child. Both parents and the two remaining sisters tell the story in alternating chapters. We explore how this tragedy has impacted each of them, and how they are trying to go on with their lives. The writing was lovely, especially the characters. They were so real, and so raw with emotions, that they leapt off the page! I loved the setting of coastal Maine (a yearly vacation spot for me while growing up in Vermont), the first romance of sixteen year old Jess, the pain and guilt of the mother, and the innocence of the now youngest sister. While I liked the initial response mechanism of Jack, I wasn't as interested in the whole rivalry sub plot. Putting that small opinion aside, this books packs a whallop of a punch in terms of how does a family come back from a devastating event, or do they?
This is a book that I highly recommend for the writing, the emotional punch, the wonderful characters, and the ways we attempt to battle back from tragedy.
This was a monthly pick of the SheReads book club. To read more about them clink this link and follow all the reviews and discussion about this book on social media using #shereads.
I had a love/hate relationship with this book. There was some great plot material to enjoy, and made me want to delve in further. I'm going to talk about that first, and leave my semi-rant for later 🙂 I really enjoyed the mystery of Henry's past, which takes the characters to France to explore what happened to his family in the midst of World War II. It was riveting to see things unfold, mostly through the aid of old family photographs. I also really liked the sub plot involving the teenage daughter of the main protagonist. It was lovely to see the transformation of this girl, from body image self loathing, to being comfortable in her own skin. I thought she was well written and was really rooting for her. I was very satisfied, and loved the endings for both Julie and Henry. Where things fell apart for me was the obligatory romance. I could see it coming within the first twenty pages. Man and woman meet and instantly dislike each other, but then can't stop thinking about each other, then end up having to work together, yada yada yada, YAWN! I'm not really a fan of romances in books, but if there has to be one, please let it happen naturally and not have me know what is going to happen before I've gotten twenty pages in. Phew, rant over 🙂
If you are a fan of romance books, I think this book will definitely fit the bill. It is well written, with characters to root for, and a mystery on the side. I found myself rolling my eyes over the romance, but I thoroughly enjoyed the other aspects. If you like a predictable romance along with some great sub plots, by all means read this one.
I was excited when I read that this story revolves around a hospital setting, since I worked in hospitals before my "Mom life". Not surprisingly those aspects were what I enjoyed the most about the book. I was captivated by the work that Marti was doing as a social worker, responsible for helping at risk new moms. I enjoyed the behind the scenes look at the stress of hospital workers, the ways that certain hospital mishaps are glossed over (or covered up), and the seedier side of some of the higher ups in command. What I wasn't as interested in was the character of Marti herself. Parts of her I really liked (the social worker), but parts of her annoyed me (her dealings with her husband, and some of her over the top behavior). Also, all of the aberrant behavior of the hospital staff didn't work for me, even though it ultimately did figure into the plot. The little snippets at the beginning of each chapter that threw you into present time took a while to get used to, and kind of upset the flow of the book for me. I thought the trial at the end was a nice way to add drama and climax to the plot, and I did enjoy it.
All in all, this was a decent read. It's short, has some parts that were great and some parts that I could have done without, but a good story with an even better setting. Check out some of the other reviews on Goodreads, I have bookish friends who really loved this one.