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#Book Review #No judgements by Meg Cabot

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life… (from the book blurb)

No Judgements is the first title in a new series set on Little Bridge Island, just off the coast of Florida. The protagonist, twenty-five-year old Bree Beckham is a waitress in the Mermaid Cafe and a daughter of a radio super star Judge Justine. Only Bree doesn’t want anybody to know about her mother or the fact that she dropped out of a law school. She wants to paint landscapes (or rather cloudscapes), earn her living by working earnestly and serving breakfasts to locals and tourists, look after her cat Gary, and generally think things through. Bree broke up with her jet-setting boyfriend Caleb, after he didn’t believe her telling him about his best friend trying to rape Bree. For that matter, even her mother, Justine, tried to downplay what happened. No wonder Bree ( or Sabrina as she used to be called in her New York life) needs time in a safe place trying to figure out what she wants from life.

Unfortunately, this quiet time is about to be interrupted by a category 5 hurricane Marylin heading in their direction. Most people are evacuating, but Gary, Bree’s cat, whom she rescued from an animal shelter, has just had a dental surgery (living on the streets for years has not been kind to him) and is in no condition to travel, so Bree is staying put, despite whatever her boss’s nephew Drew Hartwell might be saying. Bree has been warned to stay away from Drew, the local heartthrob, whose truck used to be parked in front of a diffrent woman’s house every week, and sometimes every night.

I thought the book was going to follow the passing of the storm, but it happens in the middle, and the rest is devoted to Bree saving pets left behind by evacuees who thought they could get back home the following day and did not count on the island being cut off in the aftermath of the hurricane. Bree and Drew share a passion for animal welfare, so this book is definitely going to be appreciated by animal lovers. It is difficult not to judge people who panic or trust another person to take care of their pet only to realise the animal is stranded with no food or water. Bree’s No Judgements appeal allows her to get addresses and reach the animals in need. Applying the same policy to people in her life is not easy, but is the first step to forgiveness and a promising new relationship. At the end of the book she seems to sort her issues with her mother/ mothers ( the mother who gave birth and raised her and the egg donor from whom Bree inherited her artistic side). She even confronts Kyle, her assaulter, although I did not like and do not condone the gun usage in the scene.

I loved the setting – Meg cabot’s descriptions of Little Bridge are delightful and will make you fall in love with this tiny island inhabited by warm-hearted and hospitable people. And Gary and Bobby Socks are a wonderful addition to the character cast.

Overall, an interesting book for fans of a small town setting and animal lovers. Will be looking forward to the next title in the series (right now I cannot guess who the next protagonist might be).

Thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow paperbacks for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read No judgements or is it on your tbr list?
  • Do you like Meg Cabot’s work? if yes, what is your favourite book/series?
  • Are you a fan of a small town setting?
  • What do you think of Bree’s No Judgments Appeal to pet owners who left their animals behind?
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#Book Review # What Rose forgot by Nevada Barr

In New York Times bestselling author Nevada Barr’s gripping standalone, a grandmother in her sixties emerges from a mental fog to find she’s trapped in her worst nightmare

Rose Dennis wakes up in a hospital gown, her brain in a fog, only to discover that she’s been committed to an Alzheimer’s Unit in a nursing home. With no memory of how she ended up in this position, Rose is sure that something is very wrong. When she overhears one of the administrators saying about her that she’s “not making it through the week,” Rose is convinced that if she’s to survive, she has to get out of the nursing home. She avoids taking her medication, putting on a show for the aides, then stages her escape.

The only problem is—how does she convince anyone that she’s not actually demented? Her relatives were the ones to commit her, all the legal papers were drawn up, the authorities are on the side of the nursing home, and even she isn’t sure she sounds completely sane. But any lingering doubt Rose herself might have had is erased when a would-be killer shows up in her house in the middle of the night. Now Rose knows that someone is determined to get rid of her.

With the help of her computer hacker/recluse sister Marion, thirteen-year old granddaughter Mel, and Mel’s friend Royal, Rose begins to gather her strength and fight back—to find out who is after her and take back control of her own life. But someone out there is still determined to kill Rose, and they’re holding all the cards.

(from the Book Blurb)

My thoughts:

What Rose Forgot is an extremely entertaining action-packed mystery. I fell in love with Rose’s dry self-deprecating sense of humour from the very first scene. Rose wakes up in a wood and has no idea how she ended up in the place. has there been an accident? Then why is she wearing a hospital gown, and most importantly, why is she struggling to clear her mind from its foggy state? Two teenage boys find and report Rose to a nursing home nearby and we quickly understand that not everything is as innocent as it seems to be. The orderlies drag the poor lady, the relatives (whose names escape Rose) seem to be really angry, to say nothing of the home managers. Rose cannot remember being committed to this secure unit and she doesn’t believe herself demented. Could she have been drugged? Rose pretends to take her medication and then hides her daily dose stash in a drawer of her cabinet. Slowly and painfully, the fog begins to clear away, while she is continuing to behave as if nothing has changed. When she hears two voices saying that she won’t last this week, Rose knows her life is in imminent danger and hatches an ingenious escape plan. Once out, Rose can count on very few people, partly because she still doesn’t know who exactly wishes her harm to the extent of hiring a hitman, and partly because the kind soul she is, she doesn’t want to risk the lives or freedom of people she loves.


The character of Rose is absolutely adorable. I might forget the exact details of this intricate plot, but I definitely won’t forget its feisty protagonist, an eccentric artist, a Buddhist and a doting grandmother. Rose and her sidekicks- her recluse sister/ hacker Marion, wonderfully practical and elusive, and Mel, Rose’s thirteen-year-old granddaughter, make an excellent team.


I believe the charm of this book lies in Rose’s attitude to the events . The comments and opinions she voices in her head are hilarious. She is both humble and resilient, and won’t go down without a good fight.


The pace is really fast and the author makes sure there is never a dull moment. The events are, of course, far-fetched, but the book is well-written and the protagonist is so endearing in all her kookiness, that you will readily suspend your belief and keep turning pages.


The big issues touched in the book- ageism and extended family relationships- are serious and need to be discussed more often. This light and funny read is quite insightful, without losing its entertainment value.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Minotaur/ St.Martin’s Press for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read What Rose forgot or is it on your tbr list? Have you read other books by Nevada Barr?
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#Book Review #Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other.

Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony—a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives—even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

(From the Book Blurb)

*****

My thoughts:

Lyrical, poignant, and powerful, Red at the bone by Jacqueline Woodson will mesmerize you with its spellbinding tale of how people from different social class and backgrounds come together, love, create a new life, stay or go their different ways and continue living.


The book begins with a special kind of celebration- it is 2001 and it is Melody’s sixteenth birthday and her coming of age party. She is wearing a custom-made vintage dress, a corset and silk stockings. The dress was sewn and paid for by her grandparents for Iris, Melody’s mother, who never got her chance to wear it, because by the time she would have, she was already pregnant with Melody. As Melody is dancing in abandon with her friends, she is watched by her family.

Her mother Iris is wondering how things got so wrong between them. She is remembering how her own mother reacted to the news of the pregnancy, crying and cursing her daughter’s foolishness that destroyed the bright future her parents had been hoping for.
Aubrey, Melody’s father, was just a teenager himself. He remembers falling in love with Iris and discovering ‘what love felt like- a constant ache, an endless need‘.  He remembers his own mother who was so light-skinned, she could be mistaken for a white woman. People even asked her if Aubrey was her foster child. They were very poor, but it took years for Aubrey to realize that or feel any kind of shame related to their poverty. Above all, Aubrey remembers his mother’s words: ‘I believe in you, Aubrey. My love. My life. My light.


Melody’s grandparents have their own story. Her grandmother Sabe has been passing the story of the Tulsa riot/ massacre and the fire that burned her grandparents’ businesses and left a scar on her mother’s cheek. She grew up with a special kind of philosophy geared towards survival.


As we  follow the protagonists’ stories, we learn more and more about Melody’s family, the love they all give her, their sincerity, and their own search for identity. Starting from Aubrey’s mother explanation for their very different looks – ‘The black ancestors beat the crap out of the white ones and said Let this baby on through- through Aubrey’s terminally ill mother helping  pregnant Iris re-kindle her ambition and passion for learning in order to finish her high school and go on to get a college degree – to Sabe’s inner voice ‘Rise. Rise. Rise’, refusing to let neighbourhood gossips dictate how she and her family should live.


Jacqueline Woodson’s writing is exquisitely beautiful and I can see myself reding and re-reading this book again and again. Each character has a unique voice and a unique story to tell. Red at the Bone is a little gem of a book that you will keep thinking about long after you have turned the last page.


Thank you to Edelweiss and Riverhead Books for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read Red at the Bone or is it on your tbr?
  • Have you read other books by Jacqueline Woodson?
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#Book review #Bringing down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Set in England, 1879, Bringing Down the Duke is an unusual historical romance. The main character, Annabelle Archer is a daughter of an impoverished country clergyman, which is fairly typical for the genre, but she is also among the first group of female students at Oxford University and is a political activist of the suffragette movement. Her task is to recruit men of power and influence to their cause and this is how she meets Sebastian Devereux, the Duke of Montgomery, her political opposite, who is using his political alliances to bring about more votes for the Tories in the following elections. There is a strong attraction between these two smart and strong-willed characters. However, Sebastian is aware that the bride he needs in order to secure a better position in society is somebody with money, social status and connections, somebody who is very different from the nearly destitute country girl he cannot afford to have any romantic feelings for.
The novel is very engaging and highly entertaining. I am always interested in strong female characters ( the whole series is called: A League of Extraordinary women – how can you resist a subtitle like this? ) and the fact that the story is set against the backdrop of the fight for the rights of women to vote just made it more fascinating for me.

Although the genre of historical romance is not something I often read, I will definitely be looking forward to the next title in this promising new series.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read Bringing Down the Duke or is it on your tbr?
  • Do you enjoy reading Historical Romance? Are there any interesting titles you read recently that you would recommend?
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#Book Review # The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

The human heart has hidden treasures,

In secret kept , in silence sealed; –

The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,

Whose charms were broken if revealed.

‘Evening Solace’ by Charlotte Brontë

Bella Ellis’s charming historical mystery is set in Haworth Parsonage and its neighbouring villages, Yorkshire, summer of 1845. All four surviving children of Reverend Patrick Brontë are back home. Charlotte‘s heart is full of unrequited love for Monsier Héger. She and Emily were employed in his boarding school in Brussels, although Emily returned to look after their dying aunt Branwell. Branwell left his empoyment in Thorp Green Hall under a cloud, following his passionate and forbidden affair with his employer’s wife. Unfortunately, this also meant that his younger sister Anne, a kind and meek soul, had to resign her position. Now that all four Brontë siblings are under their father’s roof, they spend their time walking in the beautiful Yorkshire moors, re-visiting their childhood creation of the fantasy land of Gondal, reading books and perusing newspapers to keep themselves abreast with society news or in case of Branwell- drinking and gambling in local pubs.

Meanwhile, not far from their parsonage, a young woman Elizabeth Chester, by all accounts a devoted mother and stepmother of two young children and a wife of a local land owner, disappears from her room in Chester Grange. There is so much blood left behind that there is little doubt she came to a grave harm. When the Brontë sisters hear of this strange occurence in their neighbourhood, they decide to try to solve the mystery by putting their education, curiosity, deductive powers, social skills and sense of justice in use and become ‘detectors’, no doubt following the example of the first officers in the newly established Police force in London.

This novel is a real treat for all admirers of Emily, Charlotte and Anne Brontë. It is written with so much admiration and appreciation for these wonderful authors. In a series like this, you are walking a fine line between providing too much background information and not enough. The book is obviously well-researched, and will be much enjoyed by people who already love the Brontë sisters and are familiar with their tragic life story. Bella Ellis brings alive three very different characters: sensible and serious Charlotte, curious and intrepid animal lover Emily, mild, meek and religious angelic looking Anne who despite being the youngest often acts as the most grown up and socially adjusted among the siblings. The secondary characters are also interesting and add to the colour of the story: Mattie French, the governess in Chester Grange, Mrs Crawley, the housekeeper, Tabby (Tabitha), Brontës’ faithful servant and source of fairy-tales and legends, Celia, who in our modern society would have been a surgeon, but is instead limited to being her husband’s keeper of virtue and occasional assistant.

With these three independent, creative sisters in charge of the investigation, the plight of women in that historic period becomes much more than a mere backdrop of the story:

Well, in this world where men might beat their wives, might force themselves upon them, and, yes, might even kill them and go unpunished, where society and the law see women as little more than property, it seems as though someone should be trying to do something about it…

You will, no doubt, see numerous allusions to Emily, Charlotte, and Anne’s works. After all, the novel is set before Jane Eyre, Wurthering Heights and The Tenant were written, and we get a glimpse into what might have inspired or influenced the sisters. It is also a story in its own, a story of a woman, trapped in a loveless marriage, who does not want to reconcile herself to being her husband’s property or her father’s means for elevating his social status. There are twists and turns, as in any good mystery, and whenever I thought I had it figured out, a new element was discovered by our amateur sleuths that completely changed my understanding of what happened to Elizabeth Chester.

As this is the first part of a new series, I will definitely be looking forward to the next instament. In fact, I already have my favourite ‘detector’ among the three, and I can’t wait to see what she is going to get up to in the second book.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

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# Book Review # Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

The Book Blurb:

From the bestselling, multiple prize-shortlisted novelist Catherine Ryan Howard comes an explosive story about a twisted voyeur and a terrible crime…

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

‘Catherine Ryan Howard is a gift to crime writing. Her characters are credible, her stories are original and her plotting is ingenious. Every book is a treat to look forward to.’ Liz Nugent

My thoughts:

Natalie O’Connor-Kerr, a lifestyle blogger and a rising Instagram star, a woman with a dream job, a dream house in an expensive area of Dublin, and a dream husband, takes a bus to the middle of nowhere, a half-deserted village of Shanamore on the coast of Ireland. She has a reservation for one of the strange-looking cottages, supervised by a young man Andrew, who immediately gives her if not creeps, at least a strange vibe. Once in her cottage, Natalie starts looking through the drawers until she finds a poetry book with a blue cover and an expensive bookplate. You see, inside the book there is a dedication ‘For my M’ in Natalie’s handwriting. This is the book she gave her husband on their honeymoon in Rome. Natalie has never been to Shanamore and her husband Mike denies ever setting his foot in the place. So how would you explain the book being there? And how would you explain an entry on Mike’s credit card bill that corresponds to a receipt Natalie somebody put in their mail box? The receipt that was printed out in Shanamore Cottages.

If you read the blurb, you know what follows. A woman is brutally attacked in one of the cottages and stabbed to death. This gruesome scene is captured on video by one of the cameras instaled all over the cottage. As the manager watches in horror at what is happening, the killer, wearing a balaclava and black clothes, calmly walks towards the bedstand and switches off the camera. Who could have known Andrew’s little dirty secret and what is going to happen next?

It is quite difficult to discuss the plot without giving major spoilers. The way the story is narrated is quite original. There are several points of view (at least five, by my count), but the characters are very distinct and get more and more fleshed out as the story progresses. The narrattive is not linear, so we also get flashbacks/rewinds that explain the events and show us why the character ended up leading their life the way they do or why they made this or that particular choice. We also get pause scenes and fast forwards that show the consequences of their actions. All this might sound confusing, but Catherine Ryan Howard’s writing skill makes the story hold together in an effortless way.

I was totally fascinated by the characters, both primary and secondary, the victim, the investigators and the villains, every single one of them has their unique voice and is well-developed. Some of them you will like or at least understand/relate to, while the others are really creepy, and no amount of background could make me understand their mentality and their propensities. I loved the way the author painted the life in this remote village with a few masterful strokes- a friendly waitress, with her collage of Instagram photos, a corner shop with old-fashioned plastic phones and eery silence as soon as a stranger comes in, the village pub where the owner stubbornly refuses make any changes and serves three dishes only – stew, soup and sandwishes – and only between noon and three o’clock with no exceptions, the tiny Garda station (Police) manned by one man only…

As the narrative is quite complicated, it helps that the setting is limited to Dublin and Shanamore. We get a glimpse into what Irish life is like after the downturn of the economy destroyed many illusions nurtured by the phenomenon of the Celtic Tiger. We see it in the description of Audrey, a graduate struggling to keep her badly-paid job in the Entertainment section of an online paper, a ‘click factory’, and Carla, Natalie’s best friend, who feels left behind and a bit bitter towards the people like Natalie, people who found their social media niche and are cashing on it. It does come at a price, of course. We all know that the price is privacy and personal safety, although Mike and Natalie seem to think that the way she posts is going to allow her to keep their family life separate.

Look, Nat values her privacy, okay? I know that seems like a weird thing for someone in her position to claim, but she does. Everything that goes up online is carefully chosen. Than pink suitcase? That’s not even hers. Not the one she uses, anyway. She points out the things to people that she wants them to see and she keeps everything else for herself. For us. We live a private life, ironically.

If you are like me, you might find yourself thinking about parallels with a few iconic films. Psycho and Memento are just two that spring to my mind. The reason for this is that the writing is smart and full of vivid images, and you have to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to work out the story of the woman on the tape. A clever whodunnit, told in an unusual but compelling way, Rewind will keep you glued to the pages until the end.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Blackstone Publishing for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read Rewind or is it on your tbr list? If yes, what did you think of it? Did you find any of the characters likeable/relatable?
  • How do you feel about non-linear narratives?
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#Book review #The other end of the line by Andrea Camilleri

Sadly, Andrea Camilleri is not with us anymore. He passed away on July 19th, 2019, at the age of 93. ‘The end of the line’ is Number 24 in his most famous series of books that focus on Inspector Salvo Montalbano.

From the book blurb:

A wave of refugees has arrived on the Sicilian coast, and Inspector Montalbano and his team have been stationed at port, alongside countless volunteers, to receive and assist the newcomers. Meanwhile, Livia has promised their presence at a friend’s wedding, and the inspector, agreeing to get a new suit tailored, meets the charming master seamstress Elena Biasini. But while on duty at the dock one late night, tragedy strikes, and Elena is found gruesomely murdered. Between managing the growing crowds at the landing, Montalbano delves into the world of garments, in the company of an orphaned cat, where he works to weave together the loose threads of the unsolved crimes and close the case.

My thoughts:

It was great to get transported to the world of Salvo Montalbano, his life partner Livia, his colleagues from the Vigata police station: Fazio, Cattarella, Mimi Augello. It always amazes me that Montalbano in the books is older, more tired and perhaps a bit more philosophical than the equally wonderful character created on screen by Luca Zingaretti. Inspector Montalbano series is one of those rare cases where I am in love with both the books and the TV adaptation. What I have always loved about the protagonist is his humanity, immense compassion and hate of hypocrisy. The book opens with the description of waves and waves of migrant boats arriving in Italy.. A political stance? Camilleri never shied away from expressing his views and his sympathy to the plight of the disadvantaged.

I always look forward to meeting the permanent cast (especially Fazio), but every novel introduces new unforgettable characters. At the centre of this novel is the murder of Elena, a female tailor/seamstress, possessing both beauty and charming personality. The way she was killed with a pair of cloth cutting scissors suggests a crime of passion, and there are several suspects that might have had their reasons to commit this gruesome murder. As usual, Camilleri’s characters turn out to be flawed and complex, and we get to see Inspector Montalbano at work, unravelling the mystery against the backdrop of a refugee crisis.

Camilleri was rightfully considered one of the greatest modern writers in Italy. His vivid images, masterful use of the Sicilian colloquialisms (in my opinion, Stephen Sartarelli does an amazing job translating Camilleri’s unique language) and quirky sense of humour make sure Montalbano mysteries are a treat for the fans of the genre.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Penguin Books for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

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#Book review #Well Met by Jen DeLuca


Emily is used to putting other people’s needs before her own. She dropped out of college to put her boyfriend through his expensive law school. He was supposed to help her after the graduation, but as soon as he got his new and shiny degree, he decided to break up with her and cancelled their flat lease. As Emily was desperately trying to sort her life out, her older sister April had a car accident and, of course, Emily rushed to Willow Creek, Maryland, to help out for a few months, until April is able to drive and work again. Emily’s niece Caitlin would love to participate in the local Renaissance Faire, however, the adult who accompanies her is also required to volunteer and become a part of the cast …and this is how Emily takes on the role of a tavern wench for six weeks. She quickly discovers that despite being hard work, this is something that makes her feel competent and appreciated in this friendly little community. She also discovers that the sulky and uptight organiser Simon Graham changes and behaves in a very different way, once he dons a pirate costume. His character Captain Ian Blackthorne likes the tavern wench Emma (Emily’s character) to the point of agreeing to undergo a beautifully romantic ceremony of binding, a kind of temporary betrothal for a year and a day, after which the couple may decide to part and go their separate ways or…declare a different kind of imtentions.

The book was so much fun. Emily is friendly, hard-working and helpful. She might be at the crossroads with her own future, but rest assured she will work it out. A lovely character, very easy to relate to and root for. Simon..well…If his character of a pirate doesn’t do it for you, how about a quiet, responsible, and loyal teacher of English who is willing to woo his girl, and most importantly knows that she deserves to be the most important thing in his life, even if he has to let go of his past and make a lot of changes. The secondary characters are also kind and positive.

I loved the special atmosphere of a small town, where people not only would make casseroles for a neighbour in need, but would also go out of their way to change the schedule of their book club to give you an opportunity to join. If you want to…And if you don’t, they won’t hold it against you.

The book is charming in the best possible way, if you like this genre. The pace is just right- the romance is neither too hurried, nor too slow to develop. It takes time to become a part of a community, but the feeling of belonging is worth it, that’s why Emily’s story is so sweet.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

From the book blurb:

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

  • Do you like contemporary romance? Have you read Well Met or is it on your tbr list?
  • Do you like books set in a small community? What’s the most interesting one you’ve read recently?
  • Have you ever participated in a Renaissance Fair or taken part in an amateur production of a Shakespeare play? Did you enjoy the experience?
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Book Review The Other’s Gold by Elizabeth Ames

Make new friends, but keep the old

One is silver and the other’s gold

*****

From the book synopsis:

An insightful and sparkling novel that opens on a college campus and follows the friendship of four women across life-defining turning points

Assigned to the same suite during their freshman year at Quincy-Hawthorne College, Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret quickly become inseparable. The leafy green campus they move through together, the idyllic window seat they share in their suite, and the passion and ferocity that school and independence awakens in them ignites an all-encompassing love with one another. But they soon find their bonds–forged in joy, and fused by fear–must weather threats that originate from beyond the dark forests of their childhoods, and come at them from institutions, from one another, and ultimately, from within themselves.

The Other’s Gold follows the four friends as each makes a terrible mistake, moving from their wild college days to their more feral days as new parents. With one part devoted to each mistake–the Accident, the Accusation, the Kiss, and the Bite–this complex yet compulsively readable debut interrogates the way that growing up forces our friendships to evolve as the women discover what they and their loved ones are capable of, and capable of forgiving. A joyful, big-hearted book that perfectly evokes the bittersweet experience of falling in love with friendship, the experiences of Lainey, Ji Sun, Alice, and Margaret are at once achingly familiar and yet shine with a brilliance and depth all their own.

My thoughts:

You’re either going to love this book or hate it. If you fall in love with its compelling, engaging writing style and care for Alice, Margaret, Ji Sun and Lainey as they move from adolescence of their freshman year in college to adulthood, you will not want the book to end, or at very least hope for regular updates in future to know how they are doing. If you don’t connect with the book, the story is going to seem long and unnecessarily detailed. Life on paper…

The four girls were assigned the same suite with a window seat on their first day of college. They thought that they were placed together based on the fact that all of them were second daughters and only later noticed that their last names started with an R, an S and two Ts. As Elizabeth Ames spells her story you see the magic of becoming friends as powerful (if not more) as falling in love. There are people around them: boyfriends, acquaintances, professors, parents, siblings, some of them more important than others, some failing to make anything but a very fleeting impression. It is clear, though, that for Alice, Margaret ,Ji Sun and Lainey, their friendship is in part something that defines them. Perhaps, even more than their families, because it might have begun as a random decision of a housing officer, but it continued by choice, which is evident in how they continued to love and care for each other despite their worst deeds, their shameful mistakes.

We are told at the very beginning when the mistakes were made: Alice’s before the college, when she was twelve, Ji Sun’s in the sophomore year, Margaret’s after the graduation and Lainey’s already as a mother to her own child. Four mistakes, four parts of the book, one life that led to that moment and one life in which to make sense of what happened and live it down however much it changes you and people around you.

Don’t think you are not going to judge them- you will. Because, to be honest, they are really inexcusable, those deeds. But you will judge them not as a stranger, but as an invisible friend, trying to see all the reasons and circumstances that led to their lapse of judgement. Reasons they might not be aware of themselves.

No one knows everything about anyone. Not even themselves. Maybe least of all themselves.

Are the characters relatable? yes, they are. I could see bits of myself and my own friends in the girls. The characters are unique and wonderfully complex, and go through intense changes moving from one part of the book to another. You know, you feel it in your bones, they will continue evolving long after the book because this is life, and what we’ve just read is just a glimpse.

The issues the book discusses are not the easiest. Don’t go into the book thinking it will be a light summer read: infertility, sexual harrassment and abuse, miscarriage, depression, adoption are all here, among the other curveballs life throws the four friends to deal with. But the way the author talks about them is both painfully honest and sensitive.

A wonderful debut novel, lyrical, beautifully-written and emotional.



Thank you to Edelweiss and Viking (Penguin Publishing Group) for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion. 

  • Have you read TheOther’s Gold or is it on your tbr?
  • What’s the best book about a lifelong friendship you have read recently?
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#Book review #The Passengers by John Marrs

The premise of this clever and well-written sci-fi thriller, set in the UK in a very near future, is fascinating. The AI that controls eight driverless cars moving to their different destinations is hacked, the destinations are reprogrammed, as the passengers become a hostage to a mysterious and seemingly omniscient Hacker who informs them that in 2 1/2 hours they are going to die.

The story alternates between showing what happens to the people in the cars (who come from all walks of life: a pregnant young woman, an aging actress, and a mother of five trying to escape her abusive husband, an immigrant whose appeal for asylum has been refused, a married couple with two children, a decorated war veteran and a suicidal new man) and a car incident inquest jury. The people on the jury are told they can save one passenger only, while the rest are going to die. As the Car Hack is broadcast live all over the world, the public is also given one vote to decide which passenger they want to save. One by one, the passengers plead their cases, trying to make the best impression of themselves, only to have the Hacker reveal additional information about them that completely changes the picture. Is there anyone truly innocent among these people? Who will survive the imminent collision? and why is the Hacker doing it ?

The story is a real page-turner with numerous twists and turns. John Marrs masterfully shows how dangerous and misleading incomplete information is when a vital decision is to be taken. The main moral dilemma is whether one person’s life is more valuable than the other’s, although there are other equally serious issues discussed, including racism, gender discrimination, honesty, unscrupulous politicians, and mob mentality in the age of social media.
The book is well-researched, and the topic is timely, as the ethical issues raised by the author in such an entertaining way are serious and pertinent to the technological advances our society is making. The aspect that was the most thought-provoking for me wasn’t our over-reliance on technology that isn’t infallible, but the amount of data about us that is being collected, used and potentially abused. Another moment which horrified me was the ease with which the public opinion could be manipulated by presenting incomplete information.

The characters created by John Marrs are diverse, complex and multi-faceted. As the book progresses, your opinions will be revised, as things are rarely black and white, and the more you get to know the people in the book, the more difficult you will find to judge them.

Exciting, fast-paced, entertaining to the point of being addictive, The Passengers is a must read not only for sci-fi fans, but for anybody who enjoys a well-written, thought-provoking thriller.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read The Passengers?
  • If yes, what was the most thought-provoking aspect for you? which character did you find the most fascinating?
  • If no, does the book sound like something you would like to add to your tbr?
  • Have you read any other books by John Marrs?

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# Book Review #The Woman in the Park by Teresa Sorkin and Tullan Holmqvist

Sarah Rock appears to lead a sad and lonely life, despite living in a beautiful and spacious apartment in Upper East Side Manhatten and being able to go to museums, art exhibitions and social events she used to love so much. Her children have been sent to attend a boarding school and she is missing the sense of purpose they gave her life. Her husband Eric has become more distant and seems to spend more and more time away on business with his assistant Juliette, whose photos Sarah found on his phone. Eric keeps saying Sarah’s jealousy is totally unfounded, but Juliet turns up everywhere they go . Worse than that, Sarah keeps noticing people giving her looks of pity and treating her as if she is particularly fragile.

One day, Sarah moves forward her appointment with her therapist Dr Helena Robin for an hour and spends this time in the park nearby, reading Therese Raquin by Emile Zola. Immersed in the world of passion, Sarah is surprised to be approached by a young and handsome stranger who strikes a conversation with her. Lawrence is an aspiring writer, although he is quite reluctant to tell Sarah anything else about himself. There is something familiar about him. Could it be that they have met before but Sarah cannot remember it? Four weeks later the police knock on Sarah’s door and inquire about a woman Sarah saw in the park the same day she met Lawrence. Can she help the police without giving herself away? who was the woman and why is Lawrence impossible to find?

The nature of the book is such that Sarah will keep you guessing what is real and what is not. There is no omniscient narrator to help you make sense of the events and the clues, you just have to experience it together with Sarah and try to understand who (and what memories)you can trust.

It is a short read, quite fast-paced and well-written. What I liked the most about it is the way the authors rendered Sarah’s feelings: pervasive sadness, hope, elation, elusive moments of peace and calm, interpersed with confusion and emotional pain.

I saw one major twist coming because the book reminded me of ‘The trick is to keep breathing’, which made an impression on me when I first read it years ago. If you have read this book by Janice Galloway, you might begin to see Sarah’s experience from a certain angle quite early in the story.

Having said it, Teresa Sorkin’s story is original, written in a different genre, and will appeal to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers with masterfully portrayed unreliable narrators.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Beaufort Books for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read The woman in the Park or is it on your tbr?
  • Do you enjoy reading mysteries with an unreliable narrator?

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#First Line Fridays # The Last Ocean by Nicci Gerrard

This is the first time I am using this meme which is originally hosted by Hoarding Books. The idea is to share the first few lines of a book you are reading or have recently read and then present it.

The first lines:

The year before my father died, he came with us to Sweden for the summer. He had been living with his dementia for over ten years by then, and – mildly, sweetly, uncomplainingly – he was gradually disappearing, memories falling away, words going, recognition fading, in the great unravelling.

The book is The Last Ocean: a journey through memory and forgetting by Nicci Gerrard.

Synopsis from the publisher:

From the award-winning journalist and author, a lyrical, raw and humane investigation of dementia that explores both the journeys of the people who live with the condition and those of their loved ones

After a diagnosis of dementia, Nicci Gerrard’s father, John, continued to live life on his own terms, alongside the disease. But when an isolating hospital stay precipitated a dramatic turn for the worse, Gerrard, an award-winning journalist and author, recognized that it was not just the disease, but misguided protocol and harmful practices that cause such pain at the end of life. Gerrard was inspired to seek a better course for all who suffer because of the disease.

The Last Ocean is Gerrard’s investigation into what dementia does to both the person who lives with the condition and to their caregivers. Dementia is now one of the leading causes of death in the West, and this necessary book will offer both comfort and a map to those walking through it. While she begins with her father’s long slip into forgetting, Gerrard expands to examine dementia writ large. Gerrard gives raw but literary shape both to the unimaginable loss of one’s own faculties, as well as to the pain of their loved ones. Her lens is unflinching, but Gerrard honors her subjects and finds the beauty and the humanity in their seemingly diminished states.

In so doing, she examines the philosophy of what it means to have a self, as well as how we can offer dignity and peace to those who suffer with this terrible disease. Not only will it aid those walking with dementia patients, The Last Ocean will prompt all of us to think on the nature of a life well lived.

He was very happy on that holiday. he was a man who had a deep love for the natural world and felt at home in it; he knew the names of English birds and insects, wildflowers and trees.

When I was a child, I remember him taking me to listen to the dawn chorus in the woods near our house. Standing under the canopy of trees in the bright wash of sound, he would tell me which song was the mistle thrush and which the blackbird.

At least, I think I remember this, but perhaps I make it up as a story to tell myself when I am sad.

The Last Ocean is poignant and tender, and like many amazing non-fiction books may go unnoticed, although it is extremely pertinent in our aging world.

  • Have you read this book or is it on your tbr? Do you read a lot of non-fiction?
  • Are you familiar with Nicci Gerrard’s work?
  • What is the best book (fiction or non-fiction) dealing with the topic of aging you have read recently?
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# Book review #Middle Grade/YA #Fledgling by Molly Harper # Sorcery and Society 2

The second book in The Sorcery and Society series makes us revisit the wonderful magic world of Sarah Smith (a.k.a Cassandra Reed) and her friends, brought to us by ever so entertaining Molly Harper.


If you haven’t read the first book of the series, it is probably better to go back and start from the beginning (Changeling). Having said this, I think the author does a great job of easing the reader into this fascinating world, reminiscent of the Regency Era (if you’re a fan of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, you’ll find yourself quite at home). We learn how the magic people, called the Guardians, took over the running of human society to prevent the non-magic Snipes from using the power of newly emerging technology to invent weapons capable of destroying life on Earth. Unfortunately, the Guardians or the Upper Class have all but enslaved the lower classes and turned them into their servants. Sarah, born into a Snipe family, is not only gifted with magic, but is also a Translator, a rare person who can understand the spells revealed by the Mother Book, full of encoded ancient spells. Sarah’s family decide to hide her unusual nature and give her magic suppressors which cause Sarah grow smaller and weaker than other children. Sarah accidentally outs herself in front of the Lady of the House- powerful Mrs Winter, who decides to help the little Changeling by passing her for a distant relative of hers and sending her to Miss Castwell’s, a magic school for young ladies from Guardian families. Sarah makes fantastic friends, bravely faces adversity and destroys a formidable enemy. She even manages to procure attentions of a smart and gorgeous boy, Gavin McCray.

The second book takes us straight into one of the classes at Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladie, where Sarah/Cassandra shows a great presence of mind in fighting an evil kind of unicorn. I bet you didn’t know that there existed a malevolent carnivorous version of these magic animals- hollowhorns, which was, I’m afraid to say, summoned by the girls’ appaling lack of grace in ritual dancing and regrettable use of wrong tempo…

Molly Harper’s wit and amazing skill of creating a spellbinding story was what attracted me to the book in the first place and I was not disappointed. Great worldbuilding, sense of humour that permeates every scene and well-developed characters– everything I like in a fantasy book. I enjoyed reading about Ivy and Alicia, Sarah’s loyal friends and their witty banter as well as other more secondary characters: Owen Winter, Gavin, Wallace, the girls from Sarah’s remedial study group. And I did love the Art of Healing class, despite Nurse Waxwing’s unorthodox teaching manner.

It is difficult to be original in this genre. Yes, the book is going to remind you of Harry Potter, Charmed and even His Dark Materials. Yes, it is aimed at female audience. Still, the mix is delightful and I will be looking forward to reading the next part to find out if Sarah and her friends manage to overhaul the unjust system their society is based on and defeat their powerful and resourceful enemy.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

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#Book Review # Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Some books leave you feeling better about the world and people in it. Either because their main message is that of love, hope, and forgiveness, or because they have amazing characters: strong, calm, caring. They put your feet a bit more firmly on the ground, because you recognize they are rooted in reality, and uplift you, help you raise your head and notice that, despite everpresent tragedy and suffering, our world is full of beautiful souls, ready to lend a helping hand.
This is one of these books…

26 year old Cassie Hanwell is a person you would like to have next to you in an emergency. She doesn’t get scared (and if she does, she continues doing her job), she never panics– in fact, the opposite happens, when everybody else is freaking out, she gets calmer and more alert. Above all, Cassie lives to help and save oher people. All of this makes her one hell of a firefighter. One of the best and she knows it.

That’s why I didn’t wind up an ER doc. You don’t want me just after the emergency. You want me during the emergency. I am at my very best when things are at their very worst.

When Cassie commits a potential career suicide by standing up for herself in front of a hundred person crowd during an award giving ceremony, she is given a choice: apologize to the despicable politician she had this very public ‘interpersonal conflict’ with and get a deserved promotion to a leutenant or have her contract with Austin Fire Department terminated. Only she can’t do either of these things. Her job is ‘her whole identity’. Cassie finds a third option – move to Rockport, near Boston to help her half-blind estranged mother with groceries and house chores, find a temporary position in a firehouse near her mother’s house and, slowly, work her way up again. Her captain puts in a good word for her leaving until the very end ‘the bad news’ of Cassie being a woman. The new boss is desperate for anybody to fill the position, although he has a deep mistrust female-firefighters and won’t make it easy for Cassie to start it all over at the new place. Cassie’s brave and wise captain, knowing that Cassie has always been welcome and eased in all her firefighting jobs so far and doesn’t know what discrimination and hostility is, gives a few pieces of advice:

No makeup, perfume or lady-scented deodorant, no jewelry. Cut your hair off-or keep it back. Make them less aware you’re a girl whenever possible. If you make eye contact, make it straight on, like a predator. Don’t ask questions. Go above and beyond at every chance. Don’t ever act afraid. Don’t ever hesitate. Don’t ever admit it when you don’t understand- figure it out like a man. If you go up against anybody, make sure to win. No fear! If your hands start shaking, sit on them. Never admit to being hurt. Pain is for the weak.

They will ignore you. They will exclude you. They will resent you. Working hard won’t matter. Just by your very presence there, you are attacking them, trying to steal something that’s rightfully theirs, trying to infiltrate and dismantle their brotherhood.

Do’nt have feelings. Don’t talk about them, don’t explore them, and for God’s sake, whatever you do, don’t cry…Do not sleep with firefighters. Because there’s no faster way for you to go down in flames than to screw one of the guys.

My best advice to you ? Find one person you can count on. Just one.

Cassie is going to follow every single point on this long list, but for one. Unexpectedly for her, she is going to find that after years and years of loneliness and thinking that love was for the weak, she did need human connection, however much gutwrenching courage it took.


She gradually re-establishes and re-defines her relationship with Diana, her mother, and finds out that not everything she believed about her mother abandoning Cassie and her Dad was true.

By the time we reached each other, the resentment I’d been feeling had mixed with so many other feelings and impulses- sorrow, regret, loneliness, protectiveness, admiration, affection- that it became something else completely.
Complicated.

Diana teaches her something extremely valuable, something that will help Cassie not only survive, but actually live- forgiveness. I have to give Cassie credit. It isn’t easy, and a lot of people would just close their mind to these words, and never face the hard task of trying to forgive your own gullible, naive 16 year old self. Cassie does try the three steps, described by her mother: acknowledge to yourself that someone hurt you and accept that. Accept that the person who hurt you is flawed, and try to understand them better. Look at what happened afterwards and find the positive things that came about, not just the hurt. Yes, you can laugh at Cassie’s reply that the upside of her abandonment (and the other tragedy that happened on the same day) was getting freakishly good at basketball.

But the truth is what happened that Cassie became herself: calm, professional, attuned to other people, good at seeing what is true and what is fake, being able to stand up for herself and others, good at learning from whatever life threw at her. Also, knowing when to risk everything because the person you are risking it for is worth it. Like the Rookie, Owen Callaghan, her amazingly good-looking, smiley, kind-hearted, forbidden crush, her road to learning what true courage is.

Telling you more would be giving the story away, and I don’t want to rob you of this heartwarming experience. You probably know by now that I’m in love with the author’s ability to create strong, complex, believable  characters. I’m also in love with her writing style and sense of humour. Anybody who can give their lead character a childhood ambition of becoming the Tooth Fairy deserves a special mention. That and making a seasoned firefighter join a Crotchet Club…

There’s also wonderful storytelling– there are twists and turns that will tug at your heartstrings, as well as other calmer scenes that show the stuff everyday life is made of. My favourite ones show the firefighters both at work and rest, including practical jokes well-meaning colleagues played on Cassie and the Rookie. I loved the way Cassie acknoweledged the differences between her progressive, well-equipped firehouse in Austin and the new situation, and quietly set out to find a way to improve it, including getting super-expensive cyanide antidote kits. If it was a fantasy book, I’d give it five stars for the worldbuilding. As it isn’t, I’ll just acknowledge how fascinating it was to get a glimpse into what living this kind of life would be.


I loved every minute of this book and was sorry to turn the last page. A wonderful, humorous story of love and forgiveness with a strong and endearing main lead, ‘Things you save in a fire’ is a book you won’t forget.

Thank you to Edelweiss and St.Martin’s for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

‘Things you save in a fire’ by Katherine Center is out on the 13th of August 2019.

  • Have you read Things that You Save in a Fire or is it on your tbr? If you have read it, what did you think of the ending? Did you like Diana?
  • Have you read any other books by Katherine Center? This is my first one, and I would appreciate your recommendations


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# Sunday Morning for Kids #The way to Treasure Island by Lizzy Stewart

Is it possible to be best friends with a member of your family? Do you think it is easier to be friends with somebody who is similar to you in character or is your opposite?

# Sunday Morning for Kids is a variation on the meme started by Rae Longest at Powerful Women Readers.

I have recently discovered a wonderful blog Ragamuffin Books (All Things Children’s Literature) with book reviews and tips on how to write children’s fiction. I really encourage you to check out her posts on the importance of reading to children to help them develop their creativity, empathy and confidence at school.

The book I spent this Sunday morning reading to my little ones is The way to Treasure Island by Lizzy Stewart.

This is a sweet story of a girl and her Dad trying to find a treasure island and having a fun day together.

Matilda and her Dad are very different. In fact, in many ways they are the opposites -she is tidy, he is messy; she is fast, he is slow; she is quiet, he is loud. Naturally, they don’t always agree on how to do things. Despite this, they are best friends and have a lot of patience for each other. They complement one another: without Matilda’s ability to lead and pay attention to detail, her Dad would be lost, without Dad’s ability to notice exciting things, Matilda’s life would be so boring.

One day, they decide to spend a day at the beach. Matilda has a special map, but in order to follow it you can’t get distracted. They find a boat and set off on an exciting adventure. Although they do things their own way, in the end, they do discover the most wonderful treasure at all, that of each other’s company.


A delightful book with beautiful illustrations, this little book provides an example of a great father-daughter relationship.

Thank you to NetGalley and Frances Lincoln Children’s Books /Quarto Publishing Group for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Title: The way to Treasure Island
Author: Lizzy Stewart
Published by: Frances Lincoln Children’s books
Expected publication Date: 4th of June, 2019

  • Have you read The Way to Trasure Island? if yes, did you like it?
  • Is this the kind of book your little readers might be interested in?

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‘Books live your life while you live theirs’ # ‘Reading quirks’ by the Wild Detectives

What is the strangest thing you’ve done for the love of reading?

I once read a book… half an hour at a time, 20-30 pages at most, for two weeks…in a bookshop! I’d come, read a bit, sigh at how expensive it was and leave… After two weeks somebody bought the book. Can you imagine my despair? I had almost finished it. Luckily, two things happened the following day: a new copy arrived and my pay check got through.

I just adored ‘ Reading Quirks’ by Javier García del Moral, Andrés de la Casa Huertas and Laura Pacheco and couldn’t help sharing this discovery with my bookloving tribe.

This is a series of vignettes on strange things we do for the love of books. The characters are cute and come from all walks of life. You are bound to find the situations described in this collection all too familiar:

Have you ever…

  • waxed lyrical about the merits of a book to a total stranger who might or might not have been interested?
  • been desperate because you lost a book you were just about to finish?
  • found irresistible the smell of a new book?
  • packed way too many books in a suitcase (and left out most clothes)?
  • liked the book so much that you felt sad that you were about to finish it?
  • realized you love somebody because they get your reading habits?

For some of them I thought: No, surely not. Actually, let me think…Yes, I have done that.

I know some of my friends are going to find these pictures irreverent. I love you for the respect you pay to your books and the way you treat reading not as a pastime, but almost as a religion.

My favourite vignette?

Have a great Friday and happy reading!

Thank you to Edelweiss and Deep Vellum Publishing for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Title: Reading quirks
Authors: Javier García del Moral, Andrés de la Casa Huertas, Laura Pacheco (illustrations)
Publisher: Deep Vellum Publishing
Expected date: October 8th 2019

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# Teen Tonic Tuesday # Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell

Twin sisters Claire and Poppy are rising Internet stars thanks to their Mum blogging about their lives since they were born. Imagine all those cute but so embarrassing details open to strangers’ scrutiny just a click away.

One day their Mum sets up a Youtube channel for them and off they go making their own name and building up their own brand. While Poppy loves it and sees the fame as a way of gaining power, Claire, the geeky web designer part of the duo, hates the pervasive lack of privacy brought by their stardom.

When she meets a new boy during the school lunch hour, she can’t believe he doesn’t know who she is. For the first time in her life Claire has a clean slate and can finally satisfy her ‘craving for freedom and anonymity’.

I loved the way this book touches on many issues relevant to teenagers.

First, there is the issue of identity. People who read the blog think they know who Poppy and Claire are, but Claire is conscious of the fact that the image, the brand, is carefully constructed. So, she rightfully questions ‘If I am not that, then who am I?’

We are so much more than a mere sum of other people’s opinions and images of us.

Then, there is the issue of privacy and consent. Claire’s mother chose to tell her story in her blog because it was her life, but she also involved her children and imposed her choice on them.

Thirdly, the issue of family: how do I stand out? How do I fit in? Does my Mum prefer my sibling to me? and if yes, should I feel resentful? Am I being selfish if helping my sister achieve her dream makes me feel miserable? Is family more about shared genetics or years of shared life? Despite the dark secret and evident lack of communication, family relationships in this book do ring true.

There were quite a few twists in the story which made this book so gripping.
I loved the slow-burn romance: the getting-to-know-you-as-well-as-myself’ part opening oneself up to rejection and the sweetest delight of being really listened to and understood.

Although I did feel the ending was a bit rushed, and some of the secondary characters were flat and sketchy, this did not take away from my enjoyment of the book.
I found this book refreshing and original and would definitely recommend it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Amberjack publishing for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

How do you feel about parenting blogs and parents sharing their children’s lives on social media?


WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm and was revived by Sam from Taking on a World of Words. It’s a weekly meme to talk about the books you have just finished reading, currently reading, or plan to read.

Just finished reading

Red at the bone by Jacqueline Woodson

A beautifully written, poignant story about how an unexpected teenage pregnancy is experienced by different people in a family, with everyone having their own history, dreams, ambitions, longings and desires.

From the book blurb: Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives—even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

What Rose forgot by Nevada Barr

From the Book Blurb: In New York Times bestselling author Nevada Barr’s gripping standalone, a grandmother in her sixties emerges from a mental fog to find she’s trapped in her worst nightmare

Rose Dennis wakes up in a hospital gown, her brain in a fog, only to discover that she’s been committed to an Alzheimer’s Unit in a nursing home. With no memory of how she ended up in this position, Rose is sure that something is very wrong. When she overhears one of the administrators saying about her that she’s “not making it through the week,” Rose is convinced that if she’s to survive, she has to get out of the nursing home. She avoids taking her medication, putting on a show for the aides, then stages her escape.

The only problem is—how does she convince anyone that she’s not actually demented? Her relatives were the ones to commit her, all the legal papers were drawn up, the authorities are on the side of the nursing home, and even she isn’t sure she sounds completely sane. But any lingering doubt Rose herself might have had is erased when a would-be killer shows up in her house in the middle of the night. Now Rose knows that someone is determined to get rid of her.

With the help of her computer hacker/recluse sister Marion, thirteen-year old granddaughter Mel, and Mel’s friend Royal, Rose begins to gather her strength and fight back—to find out who is after her and take back control of her own life. But someone out there is still determined to kill Rose, and they’re holding all the cards.

Currently reading

Educated by Tara Westover

From the Book blurb: Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.

What do you think you will read next:

I have a few lighter reads coming up:

Not the Girl you Marry by Andie J. Christopher

From the blurb:

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days gets a millennial makeover in this romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Andie J. Christopher.

Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.

Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.

Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal and “rising star in the romance genre” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a dazzling new novel about a spontaneous holiday vacation that turns into an unforgettable romance.

Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.

Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.

Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they?

Have you read any of these books or are they on your tbr list? What did you think or what do you expect them to be?

Thank you for coming by and Happy reading!

#Sunday Morning Reading for Kids # Munchy Munchy Cookbook for Kids by Pierre Lamielle

What makes good food taste good? A team of tastes and flavors of course!

Fun illustrations and quirky characters bring the kitchen to life. Join Pierre Lamielle on a kitchen adventure as he introduces you to the Munchy Munchy Gang, a team of characters here to educate kids on the art of cooking and the range of flavors they’ll encounter. Learn how to make over 28 different recipes, including ketchup, pancakes, and other kid favorites with simple instructions and illustrations for every step. Pierre’s characters make complex cooking theories, like balancing the five tastes, accessible to kids of all ages. The perfect manual for a budding chef!

(From the Book Blurb)

My little one has just first made his first omellette from scratch! and although it might be lacking in presentation, it actually tastes pretty good. As he is becoming increasingly more and more interested in food preparation, I decided it was time to let him browse a cookbook for kids and have a chat about what he can see in the pictures.

Pierre Lamielle’s book is a fun introduction to cooking techniques, flavours and basic recipes. I loved the way the book started with safety and dealt with it in a very clear and visual manner. It also has little warning symbols (hot, sharp, germs) throughout the book, so little chefs wouldn’t forget to pay attention to safety issues once they get super-excited about making their own ketchup, volcano eggs and bananamole. The suggested age range is 8 to 13 years old, although it will depend, of course, on the support you are providing your child with.

The difficulty level increases as the book progresses, but the recipes continue to be fun! The chicken herby stew looked simply gorgeous.


I wish I’d had a book like this when I was a child. I would have had such great time with it and possibly would have avoided quite a few cooking disasters my family still keep quietly chuckling about whenever the topic comes up at family reunions.


Thank you to Edelweiss and Familius LLC for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

The expected publication date: the 16th of September 2019.

# Sunday Morning for Kids is a variation on the meme started by Rae Longest at Powerful Women Readers.

  • Do you like cooking? If yes, who taught you? was learning to cook fun?
  • Do you use cookbooks or do you prefer watching recipes on the Internet?

#Teen Tonic #Book Review #Lost and Found by Orson Scott Card

“Are you really a thief?”

That’s the question that has haunted fourteen-year-old Ezekiel Blast all his life. But he’s not a thief, he just has a talent for finding things. Not a superpower–a micropower. Because what good is finding lost bicycles and hair scrunchies, especially when you return them to their owners and everyone thinks you must have stolen them in the first place? If only there were some way to use Ezekiel’s micropower for good, to turn a curse into a blessing. His friend Beth thinks there must be, and so does a police detective investigating the disappearance of a little girl. When tragedy strikes, it’s up to Ezekiel to use his talent to find what matters most.

Master storyteller Orson Scott Card delivers a touching and funny, compelling and smart novel about growing up, harnessing your potential, and finding your place in the world, no matter how old you are.

(From the Book Blurb)

My thoughts:

Ezekiel Bliss (or Ezekiel Blast as he keeps calling himself -names are important to him) is an outsider. In fact, other teenagers give him a wide birth and even cross to the other side whenever he approaches. The reason for all this is that Ezekiel has a reputation of being a thief and who would like to be friends with somebody you cannot trust?

One day a girl from his school, short enough to seem to be a six or seven year old, although she is actually 13, starts walking next to him. She also tries to engage him in a conversation and break through Ezekiel’s ‘shunning bubble’. Beth is the first and the only person who actually wants to know his real story. It turns out Ezekiel has never stolen a single thing in his life. It’s just that he has a special talent. Lost objects seem to call to him and ask to be returned to their rightful owners. When it started happening, Ezekiel was just six and when he returned his first lost and found object (a new and shiny bike), he was promptly accused of having stolen it in the first place and then beaten up. Years and years of police interviews and pages and pages in his police file made Ezekiel learn a few survival techniques. First of all, never return the object directly. Secondly, do not trust the authorities, including teachers, school counsellors and police officers.

When a new counsellor suggests that Ezekiel should join a scientific study, his father first checks this is not a new attempt to make his son have therapy ‘to cure him of something’. The Group of Rare and Useless Talents (GRUT) meets once a week and does resemble group terapy sessions, although the main objective is to let the teenagers understand better the limits of their micropowers (as opposed to ‘superpowers’). Some of them are uttely bizarre, such as knowing if somebody’s navel is of an in or out kind or being able to make people yawn in an uncontrolled manner. Beth encourages Ezekiel to do a few experiments of his own to see how far his unusual talent extends. Unfortunately, Ezekiel and Beth fall out and she walks away without the protection of Ezekiel’s company. Because this is exactly what she needed him for when they first met – to give her a protection from school bullies ready to pounce on a little person, because she is utterly defenceless. This was at first, only then, they also became friends, unlikely, improbable, mismatched friends, who would do anything for each other. When Ezekiel is asked by a police officer to help him find a kidnapped eight year old girl, he cannot even share the story with Beth, who appears to have gone somewhere on with her mother and isn’t home. But has she really gone on holiday?


The story makes a compulsive reading. There are twists and turns, and dark discoveries that made me revise my initial idea of the target audience. It did raise a question of what kind of topics we should include or exclude from YA books. The content warnings for this book include: an unexpected death of a parent, child kidnapping and child pornography. There are no graphic descriptions and the issues are dealt with maximum sensitivity. Should we let our children that, although mercifully rare, these things exist? We do not learn much about the main villains in the book (apart from a few details about one of the kidnappers), so the picture is quite black and white here.


Ezekiel and Beth make fantastic protagonists. Despite the dark things that happened to them, they are still typical teenagers: smart and sarcastic, looking for love and friendship, exploring what their limits are and what they can do to make a difference in other people’s lives. The relationship between Ezekiel and his father was so loving and tender, that it brought tears to my eyes. The police officer who trusted Ezekiel to help him with the investigation is a secondary character, but he also helps to explore some very important questions, such as: what does it mean to be friends with somebody, especially if there is an age difference. The GRUT guys deserve a special mention. I would have loved to get to know them better, but I do understand that to keep the story focused and streamlined, the author needed to make some sacrifices.


A compelling read, written in a very simple and engaging way, the book touches upon some very dark topics, so I probably wouldn’t recommend it to middle graders, but rather to slightly older teenagers. The protagonist Ezekiel is 14 years old, so perhaps this is the target age, although the story flows so easily, that you might first think it was written for younger audience.


Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the DRC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read Lost and Found or is it on your tbr? Is it important to provide content warnings for books like this?
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