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Take Me to the Willow…by Shelly Brimley-Blog Tour Review

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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

In defending his life-long friendship with Charlie, Will may have inadvertently had a hand in the growing chaos that leads to the horrifying night when his familiar world is shattered. When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity. An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal, Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the journal has been realized – to show his kin how he became the man he is. He will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.

Review:

The book begins by Will explaining that he is writing this’ journal’ to show his kin how he became the man he is .He is inspired to do this after reading his own mother’s journals. The story goes on to detail the events in Will’s life, in his own words.

The story takes place in,Arkansas, in the first decade of the twentieth century. I haven’t read many novels that take in this time period.  The decade falls between great changes in culture and great wars.  Cars where beginning to appear but most people still thought of the horse as the main mode of transportation. Radios had not appeared in homes yet but many homes did begin to have telephones. It was a time of great transition for the country.

My Take:

‘Take Me To The Willow’ took me completely by surprise. Coming into it, I really didn’t know much about the book. Once I started reading I literally couldn’t stop. Even though it is a simple journal of Will’s life, I found his story to be entirely engrossing. This is definitely a character driven novel but the most important theme in this novel is relationships. Symbolism was also important in the story. For example:The symbolism of the ‘Willow’ is important in the story and the importance is not totally understood until the end of the story.

 I believe that ‘Take Me To The Willow’ is an amazing work of historical fiction and should be read by anyone who wants to understand American in the the 1900’s but also those who want to understand more about how wonderful and heartbreaking life can be.

One of my favorite quotes from the story: ‘Daddy always says, ‘aint no sense tryin’ to walk in a man’s shoes when your feet just ain’t the same size.’

I love this novel. Maybe one of my favorites that I’ve read so far this year. I give it five stars.

 

Rating: 📖📖📖📖📖

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About the Author:
Shelly Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent drug treatment center. After acquiring her Master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or considered.

Website link – http://www.shellybrimley.com

 

Author Facebook-https://www.facebook.com/shellybrimleyauthor

 

Goodreads-https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28183223-take-me-to-the-willow

 

Amazon –http://www.amazon.com/Take-Me-Willow-Shelly-Brimley/dp/0997081600

 

 

 

The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe…by C.S.Lewis

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During the bombing blitzes of WWII, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are siblings sent to live in a country English estate . While exploring the mansion, they are transported to the magical land of Narnia (through a wardrobe), where they must help the lion, Aslan defeat the evil witch.

I have been interested in this book since I was a child. For some reason, I had somehow gotten the impression that this story was very scary (perhaps because of the 1970’s animated movie). So I never read it until now. I am trying to read more classics, when I saw a copy at my library, I decided to give it a chance.

Usually classics take me awhile to read since the prose can be hard to understand. This book was very easy to read, and I found the prose to be very fluid. The story is said to have many religious metaphors. These were very subtle and didn’t distract from the story, although you can certainly read between the lines. Although some parts involving the Witch, can be a bit scary, this is still a great book for children.

When a book is so engrained in our culture, that you can’t imagine a time when it didn’t exist, you know it’s a classic. The theme and lessons of bravery, friendship, loyalty and sacrifice are still as relevant today. It’s wonderful descriptions and imagery can still spark imaginations almost seventy years later.

I give ‘The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe’, four and a half stars.

📖📖📖📖 1/2

The Boston Girl…by Anita Diamant

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Addie Baum is a young rebellious girl born to Russian, Jewish immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century. Addie struggles against society and her own family in order to find out what it means to be an American woman. She experiences both triumph and tragedy along the way. The story is told in the first person through Addie’s telling the story of her life to her granddaughter in the 1980’s.

I will start off by saying that I chose to read this novel because Addie’s background is very similar to my late mother-in-law’s. Like Addie she was the children of Russian Jews that immigrated to America at the beginning of the twentieth century. I really wanted to get a sense of what life was like for her.

This was definitely a chapter driven novel. There was little, if any, plot. Even though this is fiction ,the story reads like a really well written memoir. The only exception is the few times when Addie digresses from the story and addresses her granddaughter, Ava, directly.

The ‘Boston Girl’ was very engrossing. I felt as if Addie was telling me the story. I half expected to see her when I looked up from the book. The character development for all the character’s was amazing. A few of the characters even reminded me of some of my own relatives.

Some of the facts in the book were just shocking. For example, I had no idea that very  young children in America worked in sweat shops until the late 1930’s. Many immigrants did not make much money so they had to take their young children out of school so that they could work to help the support the family . This often meant a never ending cycle of poverty.

I highly recommend this novel and give it four and half stars. I plan to have my children read it one day so they can see how lucky they are. After just two generations, they live a totally different world then their grandparents and great-grandparents did at their ago.

📖📖📖📖 1/2

Ivy Pocket Blog Tour Review

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I was given a copy of these books from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Ivy pocket isn’t just your average twelve year old. She is, funny,sassy, witty, and most of all self-important. Her insults are often wrapped up in complements and she is convinced that she is spectacular at everything she does.

The Ivy Pocket series, by Caleb Krisp, is a fun, new, middle grade series set in Victorian England.  So far two of the books have been published, ‘Anyone But Ivy Pocket’ and ‘Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket’.

IP 1 Cover


Title:
Anyone But Ivy Pocket
Author: Caleb Krisp
Series: Ivy Pocket
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: April 8,2015
Genres: Middle Grade
 Pages: 387

ABOUT ANYONE BUT IVY POCKET:

Ivy Pocket is a twelve-year-old maid of no importance, with a very lofty opinion of herself. Dumped in Paris by the Countess Carbunkle, who would rather run away to South America than continue in Ivy’s companionship, our young heroine (of sorts) finds herself with no money and no home to go to … until she is summoned to the bedside of the dying Duchess of Trinity.

For the princely sum of £500 (enough to buy a carriage, and possibly a monkey), Ivy agrees to courier the Duchess’s most precious possession – the Clock Diamond – to England, and to put it around the neck of the revolting Matilda Butterfield on her twelfth birthday. It’s not long before Ivy finds herself at the heart of a conspiracy involving mischief, mayhem and murder.

Illustrated in humorous gothic detail by Barbara Cantini, Anyone But Ivy Pocket is just the beginning of one girl’s deadly comic journey to discover who she really is …
LINKS:  Goodreads  Amazon  B&N

                                                         

IP 2 Cover

 

Title: Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket
Author: Kaleb Krisp
Series: Ivy Pocket
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication date:
May 31,2016
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 416

ABOUT SOMEBODY STOP IVY POCKET:

Are you ready for Ivy Pocket? The wickedly funny, completely unreliable maid of no importance returns—this time as a coffin maker’s daughter—in this action-packed sequel to Anyone but Ivy Pocket. School Library Journal says, “Fans of . . . Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will love Ivy Pocket’s zany adventures.” Featuring extensive black-and-white interior art by Barbara Cantini throughout.

Everyone seems to want a piece of Ivy Pocket. Her adoptive parents keep trying to get her to clean the funeral home, even though Ivy’s certain she’s already the picture of a perfect daughter. A beautiful heiress named Estelle wants Ivy to uncover the dark truth behind her brother’s death. Her new friend, Miss Carnage, keeps asking Ivy the most curious questions (the poor, clueless dear). To top it all off, Ivy must protect the Clock Diamond from the evil Miss Always, who seems to be lurking around every corner! A fast-paced and hilarious follow-up toAnyone but Ivy Pocket, which Booklist praised as “a droll chapter book with a Victorian setting and a one-of-a-kind protagonist.” This is the second of three books about Ivy Pocket!

LINKS: Goodreads  Amazon  B&N

Ivy Pocket

My take: I really enjoyed reading the ‘Ivy Pocket’ books. The story is gloriously funny, while still being cute. The gothic feel of the novels and the characters made them different from any middle grade books I have read previously.The funny lines in the book, literally, had me laughing.

The character of Ivy is often tackless and pushy. She offends everyone she meets. It’s wonderful to see a middle grade character that isn’t  perfect and is still endearing. 

Now let’s discuss the amazing illustrations. The covers are bright and vivid and Barbara Cantini’s drawings complete the story beautifully. The illustrations help bring the story to life without being too scary. There are many illustrations through the novel that are hilarious.IMG_0499

 I found the writing is simple enough for a middle grader but entertaining enough for an adult. I breezed though both novels and am eagerly awaiting the third installment.

Can’t wait for my kids to be able to read these . I am giving the series four stars.

 

Rating:📖📖📖📖

You can win a set of Ivy Pocket books.

Book Signings….C.J.Redwine author of ‘The Shadow Queen’ and author J.A. Souders (THE ELYSIUM CHRONICLES)

I am super excited that NY Times best selling author, C.J.Redwine (DEFIANCE series) and author J.A. Souders (THE ELYSIUM CHRONICLES) are in Central Florida this week. They will be signing copies and holding a Q&A.

C.J.Redwine will  also be signing copies of her awesome new YA fantasy novel ‘The Shadow Queen'(Ravenspire #1).shadow1

-They will be at the Sandlake Barnes & Noble (7900 W. Sand Lake Road Orlando, FL 32819)  this Sunday  May 22@ 2:00pm.

-They will be at the The Muse Bookshop (112 S Woodland Blvd, DeLand, Florida 32720) next Wednesday May 25 @ 6:00p

An Abundance of Katherines…by John Green

Katherines

Colin Singleton is a child prodigy, who has been dumped by 19, yes that’s 19, girls named Katherine. He is so depressed when he is dumped by Katherine nineteen, his friend Hassan talks him into going on a road trip. They end up in Gutshot, Tennessee visiting the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Ok, I’ll start off by saying a few years ago, my first John Green book was ‘Fault in Our Stars’ . I thought it was reasonably good but did not live up to the hype. Then I read ‘Paper Towns’. Let’s just say it has some not very nice quotes about Orlando and those of us who live here ( I heard they left those quotes out of the movie, so I must not be the only one that found the quotes not very nice).  I also felt it had no depth and little plot line. So for awhile I wasn’t interested in reading his other books.
Then I went to a book sale and teenage girls were grabbing up his books like the Zombie Apocalypse was coming and they needed reading material. So when I saw ‘An Abundance of Katherine’s’ at the library I thought, I’ll give a try. It would be an easy read.
I did like most of the characters, especially Hassan. The main character (Colin) though  is a self-centered, ego maniac, and one of the most boring characters I have ever read. He does almost nothing in the book but work out a math theorem to explain his break up with the Katherines  (yawn). The story really had no plot what-so-ever. I also felt like he was making fun of some of the southern characters and their country ways.

There were some parts that were mildly funny. There were also foot notes on most pages that were supposed to be funny  but, to me, they just seemed silly.

 Most irritating of all was the crazy over use of the following words.

  • The Theorem

  • anagram

  • Fug  ( this one especially)

  • “….” (I not even sure what this was supposed to mean)

I have heard other reviews that have said most of John Green’s book are basically the same. The the main character ,in most of this books, is a nerdy teenage boy  (i.e. himself) who wants a girl who doesn’t want him. I tend to agree.

 I may give ‘Looking for Alaska’ a try , but not holding out much hope for it. I am giving this book three stars and I feel that is generous.

 

Rating:📖📖📖

The Society… by Jodi Andrefski-Book Tour Review

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Samantha Evens used to be popular at school. Then her father is arrested for insider trading and her life falls apart. Her former best friend is now her tormentor and she now lives in a trailer with her aunt. Sam vows to seek revenge by using the schools secret society against it’s own members.

This novel was interesting, as it highlights what can happen when bulling gets out of control. Sam is bullied and then becomes a bully herself.

I did like this book and I think it would be a great read for high school students. Something  I liked was the interesting quotes from famous people at the beginning of each chapter.

The main characters were very believable to me. I did emphasize with Sam. I think it’s easy to understand how hard it would be for her in the circumstances she was in. She is portrayed as a flawed but not all together bad person.

I would recommend as a novel for young adults.  Especially those going through a similar situation as Sam was in. I give it four stars.

Rating:📖📖📖📖

Add to goodreads    Buy on Amazon

 

jodie-andrefski-2Jodie Andrefski lives in a tiny town in PA that no one has ever heard of with her teenage daughter. She received her BS in Secondary English Education from Penn State, then taught a few years before changing focus and going back to school for her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Andrefski always loved both reading and writing, and wrote for several websites and magazines before deciding to write novels. She writes YA Contemporary, most of which involves at least some kissing. The Society is her second novel with Entangled Teen.

Author links: Website   Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads

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We Were Liars…by E.Lockhart

Liars

Cadence Sinclair Eastman is part of the privileged Sinclair family. Her family owns an island off Martha’s Vineyard, where they summer every year. The Sinclairs seem to be a rich, beautiful family. However,there is more going on then meets the eye. Early on Cadence has an accident, that she doesn’t remember, and no one will tell here what happened. The rest of the novel pretty much centers around this.

I read this book in one sitting. It was somewhat short and definitely a page turner. At the beginning I was really into the storyline. I loved the idea of a family with it’s own beautiful island. I loved how the cousins were friends. I loved how the introduction of Gat onto the island complicated thinks. However, about the middle of the book, I started to roll my eyes at all the teenage angst.  I began to think this was another of those books about teenage crushes and nothing else. Soon the atmosphere of the story began to change and I literally could not put this book down.

The ending shocked me and made think deeply about what had happened. In my mind, it is almost a parable. I keep thinking about the story over and over. How things aren’t alway as they seem. How a seemingly ‘perfect family’ isn’t alway perfect.  How one decision can change everything.

I feel that I can’t say too much without this being a spoiler. I’ll just say what other reviews have said. Go into this book blindly, you will get so much more out of it that way.

I am giving it four and a half stars, only because it was really kind of  blah in the middle for me. I am sure that teenagers won’t see it that way though.

 

Rating:

📖📖📖📖 1/2