Review: When You Read This

When You Read This by Mary Adkins

Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.

Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’ big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

Told in a series of e-mails, blog posts, online therapy submissions, text messages, legal correspondence, home-rental bookings, and other snippets of our virtual lives, When You Read This is a deft, captivating romantic comedy—funny, tragic, surprising, and bittersweet—that candidly reveals how we find new beginnings after loss. 


What I loved about this book is that it is just regular people living regular lives. There’s no catch or hook or surprise murder mystery or magic to make this book more interesting. It is literally just people talking to each other. YES.

Continue reading “Review: When You Read This”
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Review: An American Marraige

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-elusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel. 


Wow. What a beautiful book. The writing was so lush, and lovely, and lyrical. I was expecting this to be a powerful book, but I was completely taken by surprise by how incredible the writing was.

Continue reading “Review: An American Marraige”

Review: Bel Canto

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

bel cantoGenre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆


In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Among the hostages are Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Swiss Red Cross negotiator Joachim Messner comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands. Days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give.


I don’t know how to adequately express how much I loved this book or why. It was so beautiful, and I connected with it so deeply. Continue reading “Review: Bel Canto”

Review: The Winter of the Witch

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

the winter of the witchSeries: The Winternight Trilogy
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.


What a great end to this amazing series! The Winter of the Witch was everything I hoped it would be. It answered all my questions, gave my favorite characters good arcs and development, fleshed out the magic a bit more, and went in a completely different direction than I was expecting! Continue reading “Review: The Winter of the Witch”

Burnout Solution Check-In

So way back in June I wrote a post about how I was getting burnt out on YA, mostly because I was reading sooooooo much of it. I’ve always been a reader who prefers lots of variety, and tend to read any old thing that catches my interest. But since I started blogging I’ve been reading lots of YA books.

My solution that I devised for myself was that I separated my books into loose “genres”, and read one from each before I could do any repeats.

The good news: it’s going GREAT! I’ve read so many AMAZING books this year, and several of them are books I probably wouldn’t have ever picked up if I hadn’t started this process. In particular I’ve read three SciFi’s that I’ve loved, and a couple really good mysteries, which were genres I’d definitely been neglecting. I’ve been very happy with each and every book I’ve picked up in the last six months, and I’ve felt so refreshed. It’s nice knowing every single book is going to be a change of pace!

The things that need to be improved: since I was primarily focused on reading more genre fiction, everything else got sort of lumped together. Historical fiction, chick-lit/contemporary, literary fiction, they all got kind of thrown together. The result is that I’ve read exactly zero literary fiction since then. And while it’s not my favorite genre, there’s a couple of literary fiction novels that have been sitting on my tbr for years, and at this rate I’ll never get to them! I also haven’t read a lot of historical fiction, and that IS one of my favorite genres. Continue reading “Burnout Solution Check-In”

Review: The Baby Plan

The Baby Plan by Kate Rorick

35068764Genre: Chick Lit, Fiction
Maturity Level: 5-
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Meet the mothers…

Nathalie Kneller: Nathalie’s plan: to announce her pregnancy now that she’s finally made it past twelve weeks! But just as she’s about to deliver (so to speak) the big news to her family, her scene-stealing sister barfs all over the Thanksgiving centerpiece. Yup, Lyndi’s pregnant too, swiping the spotlight once more…

Lyndi Kneller: Lyndi’s plan: finally get her life together! She’s got a new apartment, new promotion, new boyfriend. What she didn’t count on—a new baby! She can barely afford her rent, much less a state-of-the-art stroller…

Sophia Nunez: Sophia’s plan: Once she gets her daughter Maisey off to college, she’ll finally be able to enjoy life as make-up artist to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and girlfriend to one of rock’s hottest musicians. But after 18 years she discovers the stork is once again on its way…

Now these women are about to jump headlong into the world of modern day pregnancy. It’s a world of over the top gender reveal parties (with tacky cakes and fireworks); where every morsel you eat is scrutinized and discussed; where baby names are crowd-sourced and sonograms are Facebook-shared. And where nothing goes as planned…


This is EXACTLY what I was looking for in a Chick Lit about three pregnant women! It was funny, touching, light, and just a little over the top. I laughed, I cried (it’s probably just the postpartum hormones…), I couldn’t put it down. Continue reading “Review: The Baby Plan”

Review: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

y648Series: The Herdmans
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction
Maturity Level: 2
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman are an awful bunch. They set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolshed, blackmailed Wanda Pierce to get her charm bracelet, and smacked Alice Wendelken across the head. And that’s just the start! When the Herdmans show up at church for the free snacks and suddenly take over the Christmas pageant, the other kids are shocked. It’s obvious that they’re up to no good. But Christmas magic is all around and the Herdmans, who have never heard the Christmas story before, start to reimagine it in their own way.

This year’s pageant is definitely like no other, but maybe that’s exactly what makes it so special.


This book didn’t age quite as well as some of my other childhood favorites. It has the 70s written all over it, prejudice abounding. Reading it out loud to my class, I had to censor quite a bit. I skipped an entire two pages of Imogene Herdman making fun of fat kids because I didn’t want to make my overweight students uncomfortable. Also a lot of the language and stuff doesn’t resonate with kids anymore. They were completely unoffended by the Herdmans stealing pennies out of the birthday jar, because what the heck are you going to buy with a penny anymore? Continue reading “Review: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”