No electricity, no family, no connection to the outside world.
For eight years, Cooper and his young daughter, Finch, have lived in isolation in a remote cabin in the northern Appalachian woods. And that’s exactly the way Cooper wants it, because he’s got a lot to hide. Finch has been raised on the books filling the cabin’s shelves and the beautiful but brutal code of life in the wilderness. But she’s starting to push back against the sheltered life Cooper has created for her—and he’s still haunted by the painful truth of what it took to get them there.
The only people who know they exist are a mysterious local hermit named Scotland, and Cooper’s old friend, Jake, who visits each winter to bring them food and supplies. But this year, Jake doesn’t show up, setting off an irreversible chain of events that reveals just how precarious their situation really is. Suddenly, the boundaries of their safe haven have blurred—and when a stranger wanders into their woods, Finch’s growing obsession with her could put them all in danger. After a shocking disappearance threatens to upend the only life Finch has ever known, Cooper is forced to decide whether to keep hiding—or finally face the sins of his past.
“Because if your own child, the person for whom you’ve sacrificed everything, for whom you’ve broken laws as well as your own personal sense of boundaries, has lost confidence in you, and in turn, in themselves and the world at large, then what’s the point of any of it?”
Woooooooow! Wow wow wow wow! This book took me by the best surprise! I had little expectations going into this. I am generally not a fan of thrillers, but this story absolutely swallowed me whole and then some. I cannot believe this story turned into what it did. It still surprises me when I think about it. This doesn’t read like a typical thriller. I’m really not sure how to describe it, to be honest. Thriller-esque with an emotional punch, maybe.
The setting of this book is so calming and cozy. A dad and his daughter are living in a remote cabin out in the woods. They have a routine that they follow and their life together is so simple and relaxing to a suburban like me. Of course, Cooper is struggling with inner demons and such a sheltered life makes for a very curious girl in his daughter Finch. The dynamic between these two characters is palpable and it was so easy for me to fall in love with them and their way of life.
For me, this book actually started off a bit slow. Around 30% I was wondering when/if it was going to pick up. After that, I don’t ever remember looking at how far through I was because I was racing to find out what happened next. There is so much more I could say about this book and some of the other characters, but I really don’t want to give anything away in case someone decides to read it. Let me just say this: I finished this book while enjoying a nice, relaxing bubble bath, but I was NOT calm. I was a sobbing mess and was so unprepared. Real talk, I had to blow my nose into the wash cloth I had just used an hour prior to wash my baby with. I was in desperate need and it was the only thing within reach. So, yeah. I think that scenario explains itself.
I am so thankful I was able to read this book to kick off 2022. I read this along with my book club and I can’t wait to hear their thoughts on it. I am going to assume that this will end up being one of my best reads of 2022. This was my first read by this author and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
To see purchase options for These Silent Woods on Amazon, CLICK HERE.
I read more than I anticipated this year. I met my goal of 35 books! Knowing I would have a newborn this spring, I didn’t want to set an unattainable goal. 35 was the perfect number. I also met another goal of mine that I have been trying to meet for years: I successfully used goodreads for an entire year. I have archaic tendencies when it comes to technology and I have always had a hard time using goodreads, but it plagues me no more! I am now a frequent user. Yay!
P.S. let’s be friends on goodreads?
Here are my top 6 reads of 2021. This is a random bunch of books but they were my favorites from this year. Have you read any from this list? Do we have any in common? I hope you all had a great reading year!
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.
And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.
But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.
This was, without a doubt, my favorite book of 2021. I loved it so much. I laughed, I cried and I probably cried some more. This book felt like a nice, warm hug which was so very refreshing to experience in 2021. When I die, please send me to Charon’s Crossing.
Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules—like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space—her swimming pool—where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies inher dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.
This book… gah this book hurt my heart so much. If you have ever been a little kid (or even an adult) who felt trapped inside a body that didn’t look the way it was “supposed” to, you should read this book. Beautifully written poetry (but don’t let that deter you) this would be a great read for a parent/child to share together. This is one I hope to have copies of both at home and in my future classroom.
While Hilarie Burton Morgan’s hectic lifestyle as an actress in New York and Los Angeles gave her a comfortable life, it did not fulfill her spiritually or emotionally. After the birth of their first son, she and her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the star of The Walking Dead, decided to make a major change: they bought a working farm in Rhinebeck, New York, and began a new chapter in their lives.
The Rural Diaries chronicles her inspiring story of farm life: chopping wood, making dandelion wine, building chicken coops. Burton looks back at her transition from urban to country living—discovering how to manage a farm while raising her son and making friends with her new neighbors. She mixes charming stories of learning to raise alpacas and buying and revitalizing the town’s beloved candy store, Samuel’s Sweet Shop, with raw observations on the ups and downs of marriage and her struggles with secondary infertility. Burton also includes delicious recipes that can be made with fresh ingredients at home, as well as home renovation and gardening tips.
Am I surprised that a celebrity memoir has made it to my top 6 list this year? A little. Am I ashamed of it? Not one bit. This book reminded me of the importance of living your life the way you want to, not the way everyone else does. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the reminder of how a simple life is always the happiest. The tidbits of inside-scoop regarding One Tree Hill wasn’t terrible either. 🙂
On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything…
A friend of mine suggested this book to me and I am SO glad she did. This book swept me up and swallowed me whole. I was completely entranced in this modern-day Christmas story where saving Scrooges is a thriving business. I smiled and cried and was sad when it was over. If you are looking for a Christmas read to add to your TBR for next season, or if you are wanting to keep the Christmas season going for a bit longer right now, I highly recommend this one!
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, a special type of clairvoyant, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she is able to look into the future and see both outcomes. So when her parents tell her they are getting a divorce and she has to pick who she wants to live with, a Search has never been more important.
In one future Addie is living with her mom in the life she’s always known and is being pursued by the most popular guy in school. In the other she is the new girl in school, where she falls for a cute, quiet artist. Then Addie finds herself drawn into a murder investigation, and her fate takes a darker turn. With so much to lose in either future, Addie must decide which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she’s willing to live without.
This was one of my first reads of 2021 and whenever I would go back and look at past reads, I always thought, “man, that was good.” Something about this story intrigued me and kept me invested the whole time. I didn’t find myself having a huge emotional attachment to this story; it was more of a fun journey. There is a second book which I loved as well!
Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?
Upon browsing my 2021 reads, I noticed that I wrote next to this one, “did I just read my favorite book of 2021?!” Interestingly, though, I do not remember much from this book aside from a few scenes here and there. It did not stick with me like I thought it would, apparently, but I felt the need to add it since it made such an impact upon my initial read. I do remember this being an emotional read that grabbed me quick. I also noted how different this was from Emily Henry’s popular Beach Read.
While 2021 had its hardships, there is still a lot to be thankful for. A brand new sweet baby who has the sweetest big sister and lots of time with my family. In 2022, the year where I turn 30, I hope to continue my quest of relishing the simple moments, be kinder to myself, and get a tattoo. 🙂
Well hello, old friends. It feels good to be sitting at my desk with a cup of joe and a blank screen in front of me. Many, many things have happened since I last had a date with WordPress. Let’s play catch up.
While the whole world was falling apart in the year that we now quietly refer to as some kind of God-forsaken purgatory, I was completing my last year of college, doing yoga, nervously watching my husband go to and from the hospital for work, playing outside with my daughter, learning to crochet, binging everything on every streaming service, crying, barely reading anything for pleasure because: ANXIETY, and yes, growing my very own sourdough starter named Mildred. Somewhere in between all of that I also started developing a new life in my uterus. It was quite a year.
Amazingly, I am now a college graduate. When I started this blog, it was an outlet for me as a stay-at-home mom who needed a part of my day to feel more adultish and less kid-oriented. Then I decided to go back to school and that felt very, very adultish and not at all kid-oriented, so this little corner of mine sat on the backburner. But now I am again a stay-at-home mom to a cute kindergartener and a soon-to-be newborn, which is why I have plopped myself at my desk and placed my eager fingers on the keyboard.
So yes, I am back. I want to continue writing so I don’t forget how, and I want to ensure that I have a space just for me when my world feels overwhelmed with diapers and sippy cups and Micky Mouse Clubhouse. Which I am very excited for, by the way. Bring on all things baby!
You can still expect book reviews from me. Maybe the occasional rambling about whatever is currently occupying my mind (like, omg, can we talk about how Machine Gun Kelly brought pop punk back? Oh, and how about freaking Taylor Swift releasing two albums last year?) The person you once knew hasn’t changed much.
With all of that being said, I hope you guys are doing well and making it through this weird, weird time. If you have any book recs for me, drop them in a comment and I will check them out. Happy to be back in this space with you all and I’m looking forward to reconnecting. Cheers!
What is up with the new editing feature on here? I feel like an elderly person trying to figure this out.
Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins.
A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t.
It all started with the Hulu adaptation of the show. My husband had heard that it was good and I had heard that it was good, so we found it worthwhile to sit through the same commercial over and over and over again (thanks to the student discount version of Hulu which requires ads and, consequently, a slight loss in brain function) in order to see what all the hoopla was all about. Oh. My. Gosh. Thank goodness we did. We DEVOURED this show. We were 100% consumed by Marianne and Connell’s story which was pleasurable and sweet at first, but emotional and affecting at last. I think it is safe to say we both ended the show a bit traumatized.
After completing the television series I knew I had to read the book. This review will be based on the book but also tainted with the show. Okay, maybe more than just tainted. I’m not sure I have ever encountered a better book-to-television pairing, if I’m being honest. The two work so well together, and I find it difficult to separate them in my head. Despite the confusing nature that this review might take on, it is necessary for me to share my feelings because if I don’t, I might combust. I’M JUST NOT OKAY, OKAY?
“Life is the thing you bring with you inside your own head.”
My very favorite thing about this story is the depth of the characters and the reality in their flaws. Connell especially is someone I found myself relating to frequently in an almost eerie way. After watching the show, I wanted to read the book in hopes of finding out what was going through Connell’s head. I was suspicious that it would be similar to what goes on in my head, and I was right. It feels as though Rooney jumped into my brain, examined my anxiety, and placed it in Connell’s character without me ever knowing. I feel connected to this character on a deep level because the things he experiences and the struggle he has with his own feelings are the same things I have dealt with and still do. From the everyday struggles to the struggles he has when he is at his worst, I can understand Connell because I have been there. And gosh, it is just so nice to encounter a character like this and receive the comforting encouragement that I’m not alone.
“Marianne had the sense that her real life was happening somewhere very far away, happening without her, and she didn’t know if she would ever find out where it was and become part of it.”
Marianne’s character has as many, if not more, struggles as Connell, but they are different. I felt bad for her a lot of the time and felt like she deserved someone better than Connell, someone who could easily understand their own feelings and voice them candidly. I like her character more as it is portrayed in the show than I do in the book, and I think that is because in the book we are given this portrait of a girl who is slowly losing confidence in herself and accepting her need to depend on men in what appears to be an extremely unhealthy way. In the show we get glimpses of this, but without the narration of her thoughts and choices we have a harder time understanding her. Upon reflection, I think this may have been one of Rooney’s points: how we appear on the outside is often misleading and sometimes contradictory to who we are on the inside.
“All these years they’ve been like two little plants sharing the same plot of soil, growing around one another, contorting to make room, taking certain unlikely positions.”
I am a fan of the writing in this novel. Rooney depicts the thoughts of these characters with true authenticity, and the scenery and rainy weather may as well have been underrated secondary characters. While I found the writing to be poignant and sharp, there is something lacking. In the show, the actors do a beautiful job of portraying realistic intimacy between the two characters. In the novel, though, this feeling is missing and readers are left to interpret this on their own, which I found to be difficult. Even though we get to know the characters’ inner thoughts more often in the book, the small, intimate relations between the two are often left out. The television show includes these minute details creating an even stronger dynamic. The transformation these characters undergo from novel to screen really is amazing. Well done, so well done. All of the awards go to this show.
I loved the writing and pacing of the book up until the end. It’s almost like the story just takes this risky dive off of a cliff and then splats on the ground and that is it. That’s the ending. Splat. The ending of the show, though, is beautifully done and I dare say, better than the novel. This is one of those rare occasions where I have more beef with a book than I do with the television performance. To me this doesn’t take away from the novel, because we wouldn’t have the show without the novel, but it certainly does comment on the craft of the actors and creators of the show.
It may not be clear from my review because I am highly focused on the differences between novel and show, but I really did enjoy both of these pieces. I have not connected with characters in such a way in a long time, making this experience a breath of fresh air for me. I’m a Normal People fan, forever and ever. I’m off to cry buckets of tears because this is now over for me and Connell isn’t real but I am and I have to deal with me for the rest of my life. Buckets, I tell you.
“It’s not like this with other people, she says. Yeah, he says. I know.”
To see purchase options for Normal People through Amazon, CLICK HERE! And don’t forget to check out the television adaptation on Hulu, a complete masterpiece if I do say so myself.
There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves.
For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living.
Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.
Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.
“To dishonor another’s humanity is to bury one’s own.”
You know, sometimes I read a book and will highlight a couple of striking passages and think to myself, “man, that hit me deep.” But other times, like while reading Untamed, I will highlight entire pages of text and then not be able to read the book for days because I need to sit with what I just read. That happened many times while reading this book. It took me about two weeks to finish because it was one of those things that demanded stillness and introspection. This was a delicate experience for me, one I needed to treat tenderly.
“When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.”
Untamed is a series of personal stories and accounts from the author detailing life lessons she has encountered in recent years. Doyle is a fiery feminist who is forging a way for women to rethink what they have been told all of their lives and imagine themselves and the women around them in a different way. Unapologetic in her delivery, Doyle has a lot to say and she intends to step on toes. For this gumption, I have great respect. I found Doyle’s message to be striking and compelling and relevant in my own life.
“Living with anxiety–living alarmed–makes it impossible to enter the moment, to land inside my body and be there. I cannot be in the moment because I am too afraid of what the next moment will bring.”
Doyle touches on many subjects in this novel, but perhaps my favorite is her thoughts on mental illness, specifically anxiety. As someone who has been coming to terms with my own personal journey with anxiety over the last few years, it is always comforting to hear from others who experience the same things as me. Anxiety has this encompassing power to make you feel crazy and consumed and defective ALL THE TIME. I find contentment when I meet someone who gets it and helps me feel less crazy and consumed and defective, and I found that in this book.
“A very effective way to control women is to convince women to control themselves.”
Glennon Doyle reminds me of Tarryn Fisher (one of my favorite authors) in that she is no nonsense in her delivery of who she is and what she believes. I LOVE women who stand firmly on their own two feet and face criticism with a mischievous smile on their face. I keep reading books by these women hoping that their fierceness will rub off on me. All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will forever keep the 5 typed pages which are full of quotes from this book.
“I decided that the call of motherhood is to become a model, not a martyr. I unbecame a mother slowly dying in her children’s name and became a responsible mother: one who shows her child how to be fully alive.”
To see purchase options for Untamed on Amazon, CLICK HERE.
My friend Ashley from Ashes Books & Bobs and myself decided to quit social media for the month of July. For me, that included Facebook and Instagram. I went so far as to deactivate both accounts and delete the apps from my phone. 30 days, no social media, no Facebook, no Instagram, nothin. Just plain ole, simple livin.
My reasons for wanting a break were simple:
My mental health. I struggle with anxiety, and I’ve been learning how to cope with it for the past year or so. I realized that viewing images of other people’s lives and seeing their beautiful vacations, the way they parent, what they wear, how gorgeous their skin is, how successful they are, how nice they are, how happy they are, etc. gave me a near-constant drum roll of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. Despite my best efforts, I was never able to shy away from the nasty green monster that reared its head at times. I needed a break.
Time. Remember a couple of months ago when Apple came out with the new screen time feature where it tells you how much time you spend on each app? Yeah, that was a little frightening. I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I was spending on my phone, but let’s just say it was a lot. I have a 4 year old daughter, am taking summer classes, and my husband has been working full time and attending clinicals since August. My time was stretched thin, yet I was spending so much of what little time I had on my phone. I needed a break.
Curiosity. I genuinely wanted to see what life would be like without social media. I’ve been on social media since I was a junior in high school, so it’s been a part of my life for almost 10 years. Without it, what would happen? Would I become a recluse? Would I miss out on something? Would people even notice I was gone?
So, what happened during my little hiatus? Absolutely nothing. And it was glorious. So glorious, in fact, that I don’t plan on going back anytime soon. I have read 5 books this past month, not including what I’ve read for my required reading in school. My anxiety has been less persistent, and I have felt content for most of my days. My need to be perfect has dwindled, and I’ve been feeling okay with who I am.
I have realized that social media may have been a good idea at first, and it may still be good for some, but in my season of life right now, it’s not good for me. This is all being said by someone who used to argue against those who belittled social media, mind you, because I used to love it so much. I have made a lot of online friends and I do truly enjoy conversing with other book lovers in the multiple book groups I’m in on Facebook. While I do miss that aspect, the negative affect the rest of social media has on me isn’t worth it.
So, if you’ve ever wondered what time away from social media would look like, you now have my experience. I would encourage you to try it, because you may have a positive experience like me.
Have you ever felt like you needed a break from social media? Do you have any of the same issues as me, or do you have different ones? I would love to converse about this, because sometimes it can be hard to find people that are willing to share their thoughts on this subject. Be sure to head over to Ashley’s page where she shares some of her thoughts on the hiatus as well.
I read all different types of books. I read funny books. I read romantic books. I read thrilling books. I read fiction, nonfiction and, since I read one amazing soon-to-be-trilogy, I can say I read fantasy. As a book lover, it’s just what you do. You read everything and anything that piques your interest. But there are certain books that mean something more than all of the others. They’e rare. When you read a book with this magical ability, something inside you stirs, slowly at first, but then fiercely, refusing to leave the confines of your soul, embedding itself in your most intimate crevices. These books open our eyes and widen our worldviews. They change the focus of the lenses through which we see the world, leaving us forever transfigured. As I said before, these books are rare. But I stumbled across one recently, and it’s called Small Great Things.
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.
Racism exists in our country, and it’s a problem. If you don’t agree, then you’re part of the problem. Even if you do agree, you’re probably part of the problem. I’m saying this as someone who’s part of the problem.
Hear me out.
Have you ever heard a news anchor or politician mention the term “white privilege” and thought, what are they talking about? I’m a white person and I’m not privileged. I’ve worked just as hard as anyone to get to this point in my life, if not harder.
Yeah, me too.
Until I read Small Great Things, that is. Jodi Picoult wrote this book in an attempt to show people like me exactly what the term ‘white privilege’ means and how it plays out in our society. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you she got it exactly right. Because truthfully, I don’t know. This is my first tiptoe into the waters, so to speak, so I don’t know if she missed something or if she butchered certain aspects. I know she did something of significance, though. She helped me see the world through someone else’s eyes. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what reading is all about?
“It is amazing how you can look in a mirror your whole life and think you are seeing yourself clearly. And then one day, you peel off a filmy gray layer of hypocrisy, and you realize you’ve never truly seen yourself at all.”
I loved the court scenes in this book. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve come to a better understanding of how our justice system works thanks to the documentaries my husband and I have watched. That knowledge was definitely helpful while reading this book. There was only one term I had to look up, so I’m counting that as a win.
The one aspect of this book that I found to be somewhat unbelievable was the outcome of Turk’s character. I wanted to believe it, I did. But it was just really hard to believe that shift in him without witnessing it.
This will be a book that sticks with me for a long time. Much longer than the ever-dreaded book hangover. I will lend it out to anyone and everyone that wants to read it, because it is powerful. It has already led me to other books, which will then lead me to even more. I’m now on fire for this topic, and I can’t wait to learn as much as I can.
To see purchase options for Small Great Things on Amazon, CLICK HERE!
With loving adoptive parents by his side, Rev Fletcher has managed to keep the demons of his past at bay. . . until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.
Emma Blue’s parents are constantly fighting, and her only escape is the computer game she built from scratch. But when a cruel online troll’s harassment escalates, she not only loses confidence but starts to fear for her safety.
When Rev and Emma meet, they’re both longing to lift the burden of their secrets. They connect instantly and deeply, promising to help each other no matter what. But soon Rev and Emma’s secrets threaten to crush them, and they’ll need more than a promise to find their way out.
This is the second book in a series. I didn’t get to review the first one on my blog, so here is the buy link for that one:
Here’s the thing about young adult literature. The single most important factor that needs to be had in a YA book is that it needs to be about young adults doing young adult things. The icing on the cake is when it provides lessons and thought provoking scenarios that guide young adults down the beautiful road of independent thinking. Let me tell you something, Brigid Kemmerer knows how to write a young adult novel.
More Than We Can Tell is one of the best young adult novels I have read in a long time. I really, really liked Letters to the Lost, but this one, somehow, is even better. It’s sharp, compelling, and all-consuming. It includes multiple different issues that teens face today like parents divorcing, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, depression, anxiety, abuse, and it gently dabs into racism. There is so much that goes on in this story, yet it doesn’t feel overwhelming at all. Everything fits.
Rev Fletcher was one of my favorite characters in Letters to the Lost, and getting to know him on a deeper level in More Than We Can Tell was so very gratifying. While not every reader can relate to what Rev has gone through in his life, a lot of readers (teens, specifically) can relate to his inability to understand the paralyzing feeling of feeling. Emotions run rampant in this stage of life, and the building blocks for dealing with that aren’t always stable. If anything, Rev provides the “yeah, me too” feeling for humans who can’t seem to quiet their inner voice, who often question the thoughts that drive them. Emma’s character was great, too. She plays a vital role in the story and she is every bit as important as Rev. But Rev stole the show, much like he did in Letters to the Lost.
Rev’s parents will also stick with me. If someone were to write a definition of what good parenting is, Geoff and Kristin Fletcher would be that exact definition. I might even go as far to say that they should be the definition of being plain ole’ good humans. I’m so glad that readers get to know them more in this second book. It was also fun to witness Declan from a different point of view. I liked him in the first novel, but I grew to like him even more in this one. Brigid Kemmerer successfully writes intricately woven characters that are real and relatable, and Declan is no different. I tend to read books centered around female characters, which, I guess this one splits it 50/50 centering around a male and a female, but I feel like the males in both of these stories shined brighter.
These stories will stick with me for a while, as will the characters. I can’t wait to see what Brigid Kemmerer does next. Her characters are real, her writing is fluid, her topics of choice are relevant. She is definitely one to watch out for. Hopefully I will be able to have copies of these in my future classroom someday, as well as whatever else she decides to release.
To see purchase options for More Than We Can Tell through Amazon, CLICK HERE!
To see purchase options for Letters to the Lost through Amazon, CLICK HERE!
Two years ago, Billie Tarrow’s husband left her for another woman. Shamed and divorced, Billie retreated to her family home in Port Townsend, far from her old life in New York. After a near-death encounter, Billie decides to return to the city that took everything from her.
But sometimes in the midst of heartache, hope suffocates the pain.
Satcher Gable has carried a torch for Billie for ten years. When she suddenly returns to New York a single woman, he can’t believe his good fortune. But convincing her to walk away from her heartache is proving more difficult than Satcher anticipated. A changed woman, Billie’s only goal is revenge.
There were things that I liked, and there were things that I didn’t like. Neither outweighs the other, which leaves me feeling pretty “meh” about this book. Let’s start with the things that I liked.
I liked Billie for the most part. I found her reactions and her ways of dealing with the divorce to be realistic. Dramatic, yes, but also believable. Tarryn always celebrates the aspects of women that are looked down upon in our culture. Being overly emotional, dramatic or sensitive are often seen as female flaws. Rather than point them out as defects or weaknesses, Tarryn shines light on them and highlights those character traits. It’s one of the things about her writing that keeps me coming back, and it’s the main reason I was able to root for Billie in this novel.
Satcher was okay. I didn’t want to like him for a couple of reasons. One- he’s a known player. Ugh. Players are never attractive in real life, but seeing their hidden vulnerability in books is hard to pass up. Two- his character is one that I’ve read before, multiple times. There’s not much that’s original about him. He’s an ex-player who is secretly in love with his best friend’s girl. What’s new? Despite both of these reasons telling me to not like this character, his genuine and unconditional love for Billie was endearing.
Now, let’s talk plot. This book has a lot going on in certain parts and then hardly anything going on in others. Near the end, it was like ping pong. One decision led to this which led to that which led to this a year later. I think this particular plot line could’ve been executed better near the end. The last 25% of this book felt rushed and unrealistic. Unfortunately, it’s largely what led to my dislike of the novel.
I think this book could be extremely cathartic for someone who is or has gone through a divorce, and I’ve read a lot of reviews that prove this to be true. So, if you are looking for a new love after divorce novel, this may be your new baby.
To see purchase options for F*ck Marriage on Amazon, CLICK HERE!
Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind.
Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.
An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.
I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of The Year I Left by Christine Brae, and it didn’t disappoint. Word on the street is that this is Brae’s very last novel; she plans to step away from the booksphere and focus on her other career. Her readers (myself included) will be sad to see her go, but if there were to be any last words for Christine to leave us with, it’s perfectly said in The Year I Left.
Women face many obstacles. We fall in love, we grow and birth children, we raise them, we work to care for them, and sometimes, if we’re not careful, we lose ourselves in this cycle. Some might say that this is the ideal type of woman, the one who immerses herself so wholly in others that the person in her mirror is a stranger, but I disagree. I’d argue that it’s impossible for a woman to care for others authentically if she can’t face the woman in her mirror. Brae tackles these issues in this novel with bravery and honesty. She tells the truth, and she isn’t shy about it.
“I agreed that nothing made sense when you looked at me from the outside. Everything was so in place, it was ridiculous. I had no secrets, no scandalous past. Just an ordinary life with ordinary joys and ordinary sorrows. At least that’s how it looked to me.”
I had a hard time connecting with Carin for a large portion of the novel. I kept having a feeling that the story was going to move forward in a way that would leave me feeling angry. BUT, I was delightfully surprised that it ended perfectly. I loved witnessing the struggles Carin went through, and the way she came out a better person because of it all.
“Sometimes, life keeps you pretty close to the ground. There are no guarantees that one day you’ll take flight.”
This novel bears Brae’s best writing, hands down. It is really cool to see her grow and experiment and write about different aspects of life. The Year I Left wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but it ended up being even MORE than I expected. If you are looking for a heartfelt summer read that tugs at your insides and makes you question things, this is it.
To see purchase options for The Year I Left through Amazon, CLICK HERE! This novel is currently available to pre-order and will be live on 8/20.