Monday, June 24, 2019

"Surside Sisters" by Nancy Thayer

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✰

A perfect beach read! Surfside Sisters follows the life of Keely Green who grew up on Nantucket with her best friend Isabelle Maxwell. Both girls had always dreamed of being writers and now Keely is living that dream in NYC, but she misses Isabelle. Due to a falling out, the girls are no longer speaking and it's left a hole in Keely's life and kept her from finding true happiness.When Keely returns to the island to help her mother she has to face Isabelle, the choices that they both made and Isabelle's brother Sebastian who Keely has always harbored feelings for. I breezed through this one in one weekend. The perfect summer beach read. Light and entertaining.

Thank you to #NetGalley and Random House Publishing for allowing me to read an advance copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

Unputdownable-ness: High
Ugly Cry Potential: Medium-Low
LOL: Low
Steaminess: Medium-Low
Character Development: OK
Originality: Low
Quality of Writing: Good
Intellectual Depth: Low
Emotionally Trying/Hard to Read: Easy Read

Sunday, June 23, 2019

"Castle of Water" by Dane Huckelbridge

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✰

I found this novel to be thoroughly engrossing. Sophie, a French architect was heading off on the second leg of her honeymoon. Barry, an American business man had just quit his job and was heading off to start a new life as a painter. The small Cessna they were both in didn't make it to their intended destination and Barry and Sophie washed up on a very remote, un-charted island. This story is told from a third person, narrator-style view point which adds to its allure. The narrator is able to share insights and keep us up to date on things happening off the island that wouldn't be possible through a traditional first person view point.

Unputdownable-ness: High
Ugly Cry Potential: Medium
LOL: Medium
Character Development: Good
Originality: High
Quality of Writing: Good
Intellectual Depth: Medium
Emotionally Trying/Hard to Read: Easy Read

"The War that Saved My Life" by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The kids and I devoured this story. I wasn't sure that my 8 year old son would get into it but he loved it. This is the story of Ada and her brother Jamie who were sent (along with many other children) to live in the country at the start of WWII to avoid the bombings that they feared would be eminent in London. Susan, the woman that Jamie and Ada are placed with never wanted children and isn't thrilled about this situation. Themes of family ties (both good and bad), overcoming obstacles and persevering even when times are hard.

Enjoyable by kids and parents: Yes
Kids chose reading over extra screen time: Always
Offensive Language: None
Violence: Some (the mother is abusive and people die during bombings)
Age Range: 8 and up

Monday, June 17, 2019


"Mrs. Everything" by Jennifer Weiner

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Validating on so many levels. This sweeping novel spans three generations in the lifetime of sisters Jo and Bethie Kaufman. It begins in the fifties and follows the lives of the two very different girls down two very different paths. This is a story about women. Mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and lovers - how we build each other up and tear each other down, the issues we face, and how we ALL struggle with finding our place and discovering who we are. If you loved "The Hearts Invisible Furies" by John Boyn, you'll love this one.

Thank you to #NetGalley and Atria Books for allowing me to read an advance copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

Unputdownable-ness: High
Ugly Cry Potential: High
LOL: Low
Character Development: Amazing
Originality: High
Quality of Writing: Great
Intellectual Depth: Medium-High
Emotionally Trying/Hard to Read: Medium-Low

Sunday, June 9, 2019

"Forever Neverland" by Susan Adrian

Rating: ⭐⭐

This is definitely going to the top of my list of favorite read-alouds for 2019! Packed with page-turning action and adventure and sprinkled with a generous helping of Greek mythology, you don't want to miss this one. My 8 and 11 year old loved it so much they frequently chose reading over screen time and bed times got pushed a little later because I couldn't say no to "one more chapter" since I wanted to see what would happen next just as much as they did!. 

Fergus and Clover are the great grandchildren of Wendy Darling which they only discover after traveling to England to spend a few weeks with their grandparents while their mom studies for the bar exam. The two are quickly swept off to Neverland by the ageless Peter Pan for an amazing adventure that will challenge them on many levels. Fergus especially enjoys Neverland because he can be himself there. He's autistic and is frequently looked at strangely and ridiculed back home in California. In Neverland though, the Lost Boys (and girls) take his quirks in stride and he is treated as one of them. 

Great themes of friendship, compassion and kindness without any questionable language or violence. I highly recommend this story for ages 6 and beyond.

Thank you to #NetGalley and Random House for allowing me to read an advance copy of this delightful story in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own (well...and those of my children).