Author: Lily B

Tell Me Something Tuesday #3: What Annoys Me

Posted May 1, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post hosted by Heidi over at Rainy Day Ramblings   where we discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging. If you would like to participate, grab the question and post it on your own website. Don’t forget to jump over to Rainy Day Ramblings and link your post in the comments!

What are things that annoy you right now in the book market?

Comparing books or For the Fans of – This is annoying and it needs to stop. No book should ever be compared to another book. Not only that, but it also sets a bar, and if a reader picks up a book thinking it will be similar to the feel of the books it is being compared to, already we entered the book with high expectations. Half the time the books are nothing like the books that they are being compared to which I have seen people than be frustrated and give a book a lower rating than it probably deserved. Another time, it can be skipped on. If I see a book being compared to Twilight, I probably will not read it and then I won’t know if it would have been something I liked.

Cliffhangers – these are like the worse things ever, especially if we have to wait 1-3 years for the next book. As an adult I don’t have room for that in my life and is probably the reason I wait to read most YA novels till the series is out if I am really interested, otherwise I get frustrated. Heidi over at Rainy Day Rambling pointed out that this does not usually happen in Adult titles and I am grateful for that, but that leads me to another issue…

Open Ended – especially in books that have so much going on and we find ourselves super invested and it’s like the author did not know how they wanted to finish it so they left it. Those books, especially stand-alone, to me, feel unfinished and a lot of the time unsatisfying because I guess I like things wrapped up instead of coming to my own conclusions.

Thrillers that don’t make sense – I am all for a twisted shocking thriller, what I am not really happy is when the author tries super hard leads you down the road and it’s an abrupt shocking ending. Yes, I love endings that I do not see coming. But I hate endings that do not make sense. Let’s say for example, you are following a woman whose friend has gone missing. During the investigation, we get tidbits that the woman is really worried for her friend and thinks her husband did something to her and then we get to the end and we suddenly find out that woman was responsible for her friend’s disappearance despite the fact that the author at some point wrote that the woman was relieved to know that it is possible her friend is safe. That, to me, like makes no sense. Or, when you are on the egde of your seat because the thriller is so gripping and the ending fizzles completely out and kills the entire book. Which seems to be a common ground for thrillers these days.

Don’t know if these two count as part of the book market, but this appears in books and drive me absolutely crazy.

Bad Parents in YA – I feel like the authors are trying to appeal to teenagers by making the bad guys out of parents and, there had been books where there are no good adults in them what so ever, all the parents are just terrible. STOP THAT. I understand that not everyone has a parent that is perfect and most of us are not perfect parents, but when every single YA contemporary makes you feel like all parents are evil, it gets tedious and makes me want to weed those books out from teenagers reading. A book is meant to escape, sure, have your bad parent, can you even it out maybe a bit?

Money Makers based on Need/Demand – It actually makes me think of a certain genre, but I don’t want to enrage people so not going to mention what genre. People get very sensitive these days. But, kind of tired of authors writing books because people say there should be more of, but the books themselves have like no ground only a saturation of that subject in it with no plot, just to give a certain genre, or demand a book. The book get’s hype, people buy it, but outside of this book being so saturated with the topic that is unrealistic, the book ends up having no obvious take away from it. But, it makes people happy because they finally get more out of the genre. I have read books like that because it’s a genre I am interested in, but I found some unrealistic issues with it (based on my experience in life) and just books that exist to exist and no real plot to it. I rather see more book have this sort of elements done well, over books that aren’t.

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Review: Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

Posted April 30, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review: Other People’s Houses by Abbi WaxmanOther People's Houses by Abbi Waxman, Saskia Maarleveld
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 9 hours and 59 minutes
Series: standalone
Published by Penguin Audio on April 3, 2018
Genres: Chick-Lit, Contemporary, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

"Abbi Waxman is both irreverent and thoughtful."--#1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin
And now the author of The Garden of Small Beginnings returns with a hilarious and poignant new novel about four families, their neighborhood carpool, and the affair that changes everything.
At any given moment in other people's houses, you can find...repressed hopes and dreams...moments of unexpected joy...someone making love on the floor to a man who is most definitely not her husband...
*record scratch*
As the longtime local carpool mom, Frances Bloom is sometimes an unwilling witness to her neighbors' private lives. She knows her cousin is hiding her desire for another baby from her spouse, Bill Horton's wife is mysteriously missing, and now this...
After the shock of seeing Anne Porter in all her extramarital glory, Frances vows to stay in her own lane. But that's a notion easier said than done when Anne's husband throws her out a couple of days later. The repercussions of the affair reverberate through the four carpool families--and Frances finds herself navigating a moral minefield that could make or break a marriage.
Listening Length: 9 hours and 59 minutes

This book follows Frances Bloom and the surrounding neighbors and how one neighbor affair ends up affecting them all in one way or another.

I was honestly super excited for this book from Abbi Waxman. I read her first book and really enjoyed it. I knew a little about what to expect going into this book, so when I started listening to it none of it really surprised me.

In this this book Abbi tackles the familiar road map of marriage, children, and neighborhood drama. I found this book funny, and in many parts easy to relate to (minus the obvious parts). I found the audiobook a lot more enjoyable in audio than I did on ebook. I like the narrator and thought she did a wonderful job on it, enough that it made me coming back to it.

I can see why many people were put off by this book. Crude humor and cussing do appear throughout the book, and although these things I do not mind, I can see why people found it a bit shocking after reading her first book. To me, I feel like this is a way for the author to test the water, come out of her comfort zone and explore in which direction she wants to take her writing. The two books are extreme night and day, so while her first book was light and fluffy, Other People’s Houses was definitely stark and uncomfortable. I did find myself laughing most of the time and a lot of stuff can be found relatable.

Where I struggled wasn’t with the cussing as much as the whole book fell a bit short for me. The ending wrapped up, but it left kind of open and in the end, I wasn’t really sure if there was a point in this book. It was definitely entertaining, quick, pallet cleanser, but I guess I was kind of looking for a bit more. It was definitely an okay read and if these are the type of books you enjoy, I do recommend it. It is perfect for adult for the summer if you do not mind a bit of cursing, a bit of cheating and a not enough resolution.

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Weekly Wrap Up #25

Posted April 29, 2018 by Lily B in Wrap Up / 16 Comments

Weekly Recap

 

It’s 45 degrees today and it was snowing this morning! You know what mother nature, I am not in the mood for that, you are stressing me out. By this point last year we had beautiful weather, but this year, the trees are just starting to bud. That aside, we did have a warm week, today alone just seems like winter fighting to stay.

I have bought some books from Abebooks, because feeling a bit broke, but still feeling the need to buy books apparently so I got a few used books. I also kind of want to write my experience with each store on there and the quality of the book they sent based on conditions advertised.

My Mystery Wrap Book this week was — Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse – This is actually last weeks mystery pick, but I didn’t have a chance to post last week and it’s taking me forever to read this cause… it’s pretty boring.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer

Last Week On The Blog

 

Currently Reading/Listening to

    
Gods of Howl Mountain – out of my usual comfort zone but it looked interesting, as of at the moment tho.. not really my thing after all. Before we Met – suppose to be a thriller, but feels slow and boring. Murder Between The Lines – just started this so no real opinion yet. The narrator is good so far and so is the writing.
     

  New Arrivals

 
Thank you Bookouture, Thomas Nelson
 Bought

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Review: Folded Notes from High School by Matthew Boren

Posted April 27, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 8 Comments

Review: Folded Notes from High School by Matthew BorenFolded Notes from High School by Matthew Boren
Narrator: Taylor Spreitler, Ramy Youssef, Ryan Newman, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Rebecca Budig, Vicki Davis, Katie Lowes, Meredith Salenger, Adam Shapiro
Length: 4 hours and 49 minutes
Series: standalone
Published by Razorbill on April 3, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback, Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A status-obsessed senior unexpectedly falls for a freshman because of his Danny Zuko audition in their high school's production of Grease in this epistolary novel set in 1991.
It's 1991, and Tara Maureen Murphy is finally on top. A frightening cross between Regina George and Tracy Flick, Tara Maureen Murphy is any high school's worst nightmare, bringing single-minded ambition, narcissism, manipulation, and jealousy to new extremes. She's got a hot jock boyfriend in Christopher Patrick Caparelli, her best friend Stef Campbell by her side, and she's a SENIOR, poised to star as Sandy in South High's production of Grease. Cinching the role is just one teensy step in Tara's plot to get out of her hometown and become the Broadway starlet she was born to be. She's grasping distance from the finish line--graduation and college are right around the corner--but she has to remain vigilant. It gets trickier with the arrival of freshman Matthew Bloom, whose dazzling audition for the role of Danny Zuko turns Tara's world upside down. Freshmen belong in the chorus, not the spotlight! But Tara's outrage is tinged with an unfamiliar emotion, at least to her: adoration. And what starts as a conniving ploy to "mentor" young Matt quickly turns into a romantic obsession that threatens to topple Tara's hard-won status at South High....

This book takes us back to high school in 1991 and is told in an interesting format of folded notes. The book follows a girl named Tara Maureen Murphy, who is inspired by the mean girls Regina George and Tracy Flick, her boyfriend Christopher Patrick Caparelli, best friend Stef Campbell, freshman Matt Bloom and several other teenagers that end up entwined in Tara’s world.

I liked the 1990’s feel to the book and I can see how movies such as Mean Girls ran an inspiration there. Thought I loved the setting of the year, I wasn’t sure how the teenager’s of today’s Era were really going to relate to this book. I do find that as far as subject matter goes, it does transcend time and although technology has changed, the action of some teenagers do not.

Tara was hard to follow, she was terrible. She ran hot and cold, flipped-flopped, so much that it gave me some serious whiplash and felt like she had some serious case of split personality. She was a classic mean girl and I found her grating. The things she did to the people around her, the way she lied was quiet a bit frustrating.

The other characters were fabulous, especially Tara’s friend Stef and Matt, I loved them as characters and I was glad they were able to stand up to Tara and her conniving ways.

Because this is told from folded notes, we don’t actually know why Tara is the type of character she is. Most the story centers on high school drama, such as dating and Tara not getting what she wants so she strikes back like a snake. She makes some really poor decisions with life choices and it makes you want to scream.

I did end up just listening to this book on Audio and I have to say, the audiobook saved it. The array of different narrators made this a much more addictive read and much easier to get through, they did an amazing job with capturing the different characters through their notes in this book. I do give the audio it four stars, even if I found the book just okay, because it definitely won me over.

The last page in the end, I think made me a bit angry because it felt like a cliffhanger of some kind that I felt was not needed. I don’t know if the author is planning on a spin-off based on that paragraph left at the end, but if he isn’t that part just left me annoyed. As far as I know, this is a standalone.

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Guest Review: Death in an English Cottage by Sara Rosett

Posted April 26, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 20 Comments

Guest Review: Death in an English Cottage by Sara RosettDeath in an English Cottage by Sara Rosett
Narrator: Sarah Mall-Christensen
Length: 6 hours 21 minutes
Series: Murder on Location #2
Published by Tantor Audio on December 10, 2014
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It’s spring in England, and location scout Kate Sharp has returned to the quaint village of Nether Woodsmoor with its lush gardens, budding hedgerows, and mellow stone cottages to work on a Jane Austen television documentary. The unique opportunity also gives her the chance to explore a possible romance with Alex, the deliciously rumpled local scout.
Rumors of recently discovered Jane Austen letters stir up the production, but then an unidentified young woman dies in a fire in a village cottage, and the police investigation narrows to focus on the documentary crew.
Desperate to keep her job and help a friend under suspicion, Kate delves into the search for the identity of the woman. Who was she? What was her connection to the seemingly sleepy village? And who in the village is lying?

Sophia Rose’s Review

For this second outing in the Murder on Location series, the story returns us right back to quaint English village, Nether Woodsmoor. Kate Sharp has agreed to freelance with Alex as a location scout for a Jane Austen documentary.

I had a good time with the first book because the author did a great job introducing the world of location scouting and the adorable village and its people all with a nice twisting mystery. I think I enjoyed this second book more simply because it wasn’t the introduction book and got right down to things.

Kate’s something of a Jane Austen buff and Anglophile so doing location work in the English countryside is her dream job. She’s super organized, hardworking, and independent. She likes Alex and where things left off, but she’s cautious and senses he’s keeping something from her so she’s kind of got one foot out the door back to LA just in case. As a reader, I was privy to Alex’s secret since the last book, but I could see how his secrecy is wearing on Kate especially since she’s the type who over-analyzes everything when it comes to relationships. I got impatient with him to just come clean about it.

The romance was there and advances some more, but the mysterious goings on in the village including the murder is where the main focus is at. Kate wasn’t planning to get involved until Alex becomes the number one suspect. This wasn’t really one the reader could get easily because some of the important clues don’t come until later on and there are some extra mysterious activities that muddy the waters. I had a good time following along with Kate trying to solve it.

Sarah Mallo-Christensen did a fine job once again with the narration. She does a variety of English accents and American. Pretty good with the male and female voices. She strikes just the right tone for the story.

All in all, I’m really getting into this series and looking forward to each new installment. I wasn’t sure about Kate as a heroine I’d like in the last book, but I definitely liked her in this one. The mystery was fun and light and the setting was abso-fab. I can heartily recommend it to cozy mystery fans.

My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Mini Book Reviews

Posted April 25, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Mini Book ReviewsNot That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 27, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.
By Monday morning, one of them is gone.
Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.
As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

Not That I Could Tell is a story about a group of neighborhood women, who one night get together at a campfire and some secrets fly. The next day, one of them disappears with her kids while in the middle of the road and no one seems to remember a chunk of time from that night. This was an okay read, I was honestly wishing for something a bit more. I think in general this book would be much better read in the summer, because there is this whole summer feel of the book which does not work with dreary mood. I was hoping it would be more thrilling, but I am not sure I would consider this a thriller. The ending was definitely surprising, but at the same time giving how the characters reactions are written in the book, felt kind of thrown together. Overall, this is a decent summer read.

Mini Book ReviewsCatacomb by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #3
Published by HarperTeen on September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

Sometimes the past is better off buried.
Senior year is finally over. After all they’ve been through, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are excited to take one last road trip together, and they’re just not going to think about what will happen when the summer ends. But on their way to visit Jordan’s uncle in New Orleans, the three friends notice that they are apparently being followed.. And Dan starts receiving phone messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween.
As the strange occurrences escalate, Dan is forced to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year may not be a coincidence, but fate—a fate that ties Dan to a group called the Bone Artists, who have a sinister connection with a notorious killer from the past. Now, Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.
In this finale to the New York Times bestselling Asylum series, found photographs help tell the story of three teens who exist on the line between past and present, genius and insanity.

I finally finished this series. I think? I am not sure if there is supposed to be another book, but the way this one ended, it feels like there should have been another. This series really does have an addictive quality to it, for me, I think, is the format of the book. I really like the mixed format with the pictures thrown in because it adds to the whole experience and the atmosphere of the book. I did struggle with this one. I did not feel like there was any character growth in this series. The kids thought almost on their way to college feel very much younger than their age. Also, it’s repetitive in the way Dan’s friends react to them. Dan is constantly looking into his past and trouble, and his friends get angry at him over it and blame him for it, but in the end always show up to save him. The ending felt open with the possibility of a new book, but I don’t think one is coming. I did enjoy the setting of the book as this one is set in New Orleans.

Mini Book ReviewsLowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer
Series: A Liz Talbot Mystery #1
Published by Henery Press on September 13, 2012
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 316
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Private Investigator Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer. She’s fit to be tied when her police-chief brother shuts her out of the investigation, so she opens her own. Then her long-dead best friend pops in and things really get complicated. When more folks start turning up dead in this small seaside town, Liz must use more than just her wits and charm to keep her family safe, chase down clues from the hereafter, and catch a psychopath before he catches her.

An interesting start to a new to me series. Liz Talbot is a private investigator and she moves back home upon her grandmother’s death. She is not only left with her grandmother’s house, but she was also left with the land it is on. When Liz finds out that her grandmother is murdered, she has no choice but stay home and try to find her killer. On top of, she in roped into more drama than she bargained for. This was a quick, fun read, it has a lot going on, probably a lot more than it should and features an array of different characters. Liz could be a little frustrating at times because of her not telling her cop brother much about the investigation and the ending and whodunit came out of no where. But, it’s full of southern charm, great characters and even a bit of the paranormal. I’ll continue with this series.

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Review: Flying at Night by Rebecca L. Brown

Posted April 24, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Review: Flying at Night by Rebecca L. BrownFlying at Night by Rebecca L. Brown, Cassandra Campbell, Kivlighan de Montebello, Arthur Morey
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell, Kivlighan de Montebello, Arthur Morey
Length: 11 hours and 11 minutes
Series: standalone
Published by Penguin Audio, Berkley on April 10, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Family
Pages: 336
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

An emotionally charged debut novel, told through the voices of three family members, who learn that when your world changes, so does your destination....
Stay-at-home mom Piper Whitman Hart is too close to her nine-year-old son Fred to realize that his idiosyncrasies are signs of something more. And just when his diagnosis of autism sends her life reeling, she's dragged back into the orbit of her emotionally abusive father, Lance, after a heart attack leaves him with brain damage.
Fred is in need of a friend. Lance is in need of care. And Piper just wants to feel stable ground beneath her feet. What she never expects is that Fred and Lance--both misunderstood by the world--will start to connect in the most miraculous of ways...

A beautifully written, emotionally charged novel about family.

Piper is a stay at home mom, who is very close to her son that she does not realize that his idiosyncrasies could be a sign of something more. Dealing with her own family drama, Piper’s world is thrown into a spin when her son is identified with Autism around the same time her emotionally abusive father, suffers a heart attack. When her father survives the heart attack, but is left with brain damage, Piper is left to take care of him after her mother bails out completely. Unable to leave him in a home, Piper ends up not only dealing with her father and his new state of being as well as with Fred.

This was a beautiful debut. I found the story for myself, extremely relatable, emotionally driven, raw, with wonderful writing and memorable characters. You can feel for Piper and all the stress she is under, the unfairness of it all. I found myself angry for Piper because of how her mother just unloaded everything on her at such a critical time in Piper’s life. This book deals with autism, it deals with family and depression, the struggles of ups and downs and it just flows so well.

I both read the book and listened to this on Audio. The audio was fantastic. There was a chapter for Piper, Fred and Lance (the father) read by three different narrators and they did a truly wonderful job, it made the emotions and the characters in this book that much more real. The narrators really gave these characters both personality and life.

The ending was just a tearjerker, I really did not see that coming. It was so heartbreaking, but the author still did such a wonderful job. She even used her own life experience with her son as an influence for her novel and you could tell that through the way she crafted her story. As someone who has Autism in the family, this book really hit close to home and something I was able to identify with. Just thinking about this book right now is making my eye water, it was great and if you have not heard of it I do recommend you give this one a shot.

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Review: The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

Posted April 20, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna GoodmanThe Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
Series: standalone
Published by Harper Paperbacks on April 17, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.
In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.
Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.
Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long-lost daughter, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.

Trigger warning for rape

It’s 1950’s in Quebec and Maggie is the daughter of the local seed store owner. The French and the English just barely tolerate each other, the tensions are high. Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phenix, a poor french farmer from next door. When Maggie get’s pregnant at 15 years of age, her parents give up her baby Elodie for adoption so Maggie could get her life back on track.

Elodie is being raised in one of Quebec’s impoverished orphanage’s. When all the sudden the laws change, her orphanage is converted into a mental institution and hundred of orphans become trapped in that system, classified as mentally ill.

Years later, Maggie cannot stop thinking about Elodie, and hopes to find her daughter again.

This book follows both Maggie and Elodie and how they grow as people in the life they have been thrown in. This book also explores The Duplessis Orphans who were the children that were victimized and falsely certified as mentally ill by the government of Quebec, Canada mid 20th Century. It wasn’t easy to read at times, the beginning of the book especially was a bit rough for me, because it involves rape of Maggie as a teenager by an adult and it was very uncomfortable.

I thought the writing in this book was well done, the author did a fantastic telling both Maggie and Elodie’s stories, even if Elodie’s part was also difficult to read at times, you just cannot help but sympathize with the characters.

This topic was new to me, I did not know much about Canadian history prior to this book, nor about the animosity between the people. I found this whole topic fascinating and very heartbreaking, especially with what happened to these orphans.

There was a bit of a struggle with this book at times based on the misogyny of the male characters and how they kept assuming that children will make a bad marriage better. When Maggie first get’s married, I wanted to throttle her husband for disregarding Maggie’s dream and forcing her into producing babies. Thought given the time frame, it isn’t all that surprising, does not make it any less annoying.

The ending did feel like it wrapped up kind of weird and convenient, I didn’t expect it to be as neat but it was really touching.

Overall, the writing I found really good. The storytelling flowed. I did find myself invested in the characters and their storylines. I did enjoy it and looking forward to more from this author in the future.

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Review: Sleep Train by Jonathan London

Posted April 19, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 6 Comments

Review: Sleep Train by Jonathan LondonSleep Train by Jonathan London
Illustrator: Lauren Eldridge
Series: standalone
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on April 3, 2018
Genres: Childrens, Picture Books
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A perfectly pitched bedtime story and counting book for sleepy train lovers, illustrated in dramatic 3D sculptures!
A little boy climbs into bed with a book and starts counting the train cars in it, between the engine and caboose. "Ten sleepy cars going clickety-clack," reads the refrain. But as the boy counts cars and gets sleepier and sleepier, his room looks more and more like one of the train cars from his book--the sleeping car, of course!
Rhythmically told by the author of the Froggy books, Sleep Train is also stunning to look at. 3D illustrator, Lauren Eldridge, has sculpted an entire train full of intricate details. Part bedtime story, part counting book, part children's fantasy, Sleep Train is a magical ride to dreamland.

When your little one is ready to sleep, and loves trains, Sleep Train is a great book to pull out during those night time hours.

It’s a quick story about a sleep train making its way through the night with a little boy on the train who counts the box cars to sleep instead of sheep.

My son really enjoyed the story, but he is also really in love with trains so it was perfect. He loves the part where the little boy in the book starts counting the train cars and has even remembered some of the names.

I do believe both girls and boys will enjoy the story. I like that it does rhyme for the most part, but it tends to end up a little choppy at times. My son obviously did not mind it, as he enjoyed the story overall.

The illustrations are pretty, I like the night time setting, it’s very catchy. I do wish that the little boy in this book was a bit better done, I found him myself to be a little on a creepy side as he looked like a wooden boy that belongs in Pinoccio.

Overall, this was a great addition to our nighttime routine and my son enjoy the train.

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Review: Nil by Lynne Matson

Posted April 18, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review: Nil by Lynne MatsonNil by Lynne Matson
Series: Nil #1
Published by Henry Holt on March 4, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.
Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.
Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.

A few points about Nil

 

  1. The basic premise of this book was kind of exciting, a bunch of teenagers trapped on an island that is not suppose to exist and they have to find their way off the island. There is danger on the island and as far as they know, no one survived more than a year on the island. The rules seem to be simple, you must catch a gate, or you die.
  2. There is a large cast of characters, but we only get two POVs in the book. We get Charlie’s POV and Thad’s. Charlie is a new arrival at the beginning of the book, Thad is the current leader of the group and he seems to keep everything running smoothly and fairly. Of course, there will always be a person or two who do not like following the rules.
  3. The romance was the most frustrating part of the book. It seemed to be instalove but the characters act like petulant children and refuse to give into their feelings. Honestly, they start pouting, brooding and avoiding each other. Other people on the island have to step up and tell them to get it over with because they are tired of their moods.I honestly found myself rooting against the romance because I just did not like it.
  4. The setting and the plot were interesting to me. I did feel this had a bit of holes that were left to uncover in other books, which I guess makes me want to read the other books. The author was brutal and did not hold back any punches when it came to character death. It kept me flipping through the pages and reading.
  5. Overall, not too bad of a story – if you can grit your teeth at the romance, because the premise and the setting I actually did find enjoyable.

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