Friday, August 26, 2016

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett –by Chelsea Sedoti


Fiction / Teen & Young Adult
400 pages
5 Stars

Legalities: I received a free copy from in exchange for an honest review.

O. M. G. This was a one-sit read. It's been more than a few years since I've been a senior in high school, and I had forgotten all the teen angst over being, well, a teen in high school. This book brought all those marvelous memories back and then some.

Hawthorn Creely is our heroine, and also our narrator. Her voice, as she tells her story, is both funny and when necessary, poignant. I laughed out loud in places, and yes, shed a tear or two.

When Lizzie Lovett, a beautiful and popular girl goes missing, Hawthorn comes up with her own theories, as outrageous and oddball as they may seem. Never one of the "in" crowd at school, she finds herself ridiculed and teased even more once her ideas become fodder for the school gossip machine. Amazingly, Lizzie's boyfriend is one of Hawthorn's staunchest defenders.

Yes, this is a coming-of-age book, and one of the most engrossing ones I've read in a long time. Hawthorn is believable, her family is believable (if I didn't know better, I'd swear they were my neighbors!), and her teachers, were produced by the same teacher cookie cutter as were mine. 

The saddest thing about The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is it won't be released until after the Winter Gifting Season is over. This book would make a fantastic Winter Gift not just for any teens on your list, but for any of your friends who may have, at one time or another, been a teen.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Buddhist Grief Observed –by Guy Newland

Nonfiction / Death and Grief
136 pages
5 Stars

I preordered this book, and frankly, forgot about it until it arrived in my mailbox. Timing, they say, is everything, and the timing of this arrival was perfect. To be honest, I'm not sure why I ordered it, other than it looked interesting, between that date and the date of it's arrival, much changed in my life. Three of my friends announced they had received diagnoses of terminal illness. One has since died.

So, when this book came, it was like water for the parched.

This is not a book to tell you how to work through your grief. This is a book that tells you how Guy Newland worked through his grief. It is a book of guideposts one is free to follow, or not, depending on their own situation. It is also a book for caregivers and friends of those who are dying or friends of the bereaved.

This is not a book for Buddhists, it is a book for those who suffer a loss. It is well written, and accessible. It is a book about coping, surviving, and growing through grief. I highly recommend it to everyone who has suffered a loss, or who will suffer a loss.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Things We Wish Were True –by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen [AVAILABLE 1 SEPTEMBER 2016]

Fiction / Modern Woman
288 pages
5 Stars

I chose this book as my August Kindle First Read. I love the opportunity to try a book in a genre I don't normally read, and this was delightful.

This book is, in a word, delightful.

The story is told through several different points of view, each identified as the chapter heading. It is what I'd call, "women's fiction" for lack of a better term. In other words, I think women will enjoy it far more than men will. Women will be able to relate to the women in this story, and it is mostly about women.

It's almost a coming of age story for a small, close knit community instead of a child. There are a couple of mysteries—who stalked the girl in high school?—what happened to the girl who disappeared a couple of months ago?—why did the wife run off and leave husband and children? And, of course, there is the unlikely heroine who solves them.

I read this book in two days. Although it was not an adrenaline gusher, it compelled me to keep reading. I could relate to the characters, I cared about them, all of them, and wanted to find out how they, and the story, ended.

I have a single criterion for liking fiction (book or movie)—I want to feel better when I close the book than when I picked it up. This book meets that criterion.

This is a perfect book to read at the beach—or in the hammock under the shade tree.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Bone Witch –by Rin Chupeco [AVAILABLE 7 MAR 17]

Fiction / High Fantasy

400 pages
5 Stars

Legalities First: I received an Advanced Reader Copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am reviewing the words, not the formatting. There are some issues, at this time, with the formatting, which I am confident will be taken care of by next March ;-)

This was one of the hardest books I've ever had to put down for such mundane things as sleep, travel, and other adult responsibilities. I am truly so very sorry you will have to wait until 7 March 2017 to buy your own copy, but you can order it now! Do so. You'll forget you've ordered it, and when the book comes in March it will be the most fantabulous surprise present you've ever received. Honest. Trust me.

Chupeco has created a universe unlike any you've ever visited. She has populated it with not only fascinating people, but with some of the most amazing animals ever. She has done a marvelous job of taking the old myths of Asia and Asia Minor and reworking them into the most lyrical and beautiful fantasy.

Tea discovers, quite by accident, she can raise the dead, when as a child she raises her newly killed brother from his grave. And her ability to do so comes at a price, which she must pay. She is taken by another witch, who is also a dark ashe (witch) to the headquarters where she will be trained in may forms of witchery from the dark arts to dance, song, and conversation.

Unlike the wielders of magic of many fantasies who must remain celibate in order to work their magic, the ashe are trained almost as a geisha. They are allowed to love, to mate, to be human. In fact, they are encouraged to take patrons—as patrons pay and bring money to the different houses.

By the time I got to the end of the book, I was pretty sure I had it figured out. Boy Howdy! Was I ever wrong!! There are still a couple of questions I need answers to; however, as thorough as Rin Chupeco is in her writing, I am sure they will be answered in the next book. Although this book is the first of a series, it does end, and it ends very well, and with satisfaction. You will not be left hanging wondering what comes next. You will be left hanging as you wait for more of the story, though. If it helps, the rope with which she hangs you is highest grade silk. I hope she is a fast writer!

It has been years since I've read High Fantasy as well written, as engaging, as original as this book. I will buy and read her other books, and look forward to the rest of this series. I am eager to once again enter her universe.

The Dragon in the Garden (The Watcher Rising Series, #1) –by Erika Gardner

Fiction / Urban Fantasy
272 pages / 2009 KB
4 Stars

Legalities first. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The characters of this story were great fun. I was a little put off by the Angels, thinking I'd inadvertently picked a book from Christian Lit. Not that I mind CL, but I was concerned if it was CL, then Daisy Dragon would have to die. I'm relieved to say, it wasn't. What is there is very germane to the story.

This is an adult fantasy, with some sex, and some violence, though none of either is added gratuitously. Could a young adult read it? Depending on their maturity level, I'd say yes, even though the protagonist is in her 20s.

This is the first in a series, but it is a complete story, so don't hesitate to pick it up on that account.  I do hope the main characters will return in future books. I think this series will go on my shelf, right along with Tricia Owens, Patricia Briggs, and Anne Bishop. Gardner has brought new and amazing characters to life, and allowed us the opportunity to come into her world and play with them.

I can hardly wait for Book 2! Are you reading this, Erika Gardner? Well, stop it, and go finish Book 2 – and 3 and 4 and....