Book Review Index

Book Review: Sweet Southern Hearts by Susan Schild

Sweet-Southern-Hearts

Title: Sweet Southern Hearts
Author: Susan Schild
Series: Willow Hill
Publisher: Lyrical Press Books – Kensington
ISBN: 978-1-60183-889-6

Synopsis:

Susan Schild welcomes you back to the offbeat Southern town of Willow Hill, North Carolina, for a humorous, heartwarming story of new beginnings, do-overs, and self-discovery…

When it comes to marriage, third time’s the charm for Linny Taylor. She’s thrilled to be on her honeymoon with Jack Avery, Willow Hill’s handsome veterinarian. But just like the hair-raising white water rafting trip Jack persuades her to take, newlywed life has plenty of dips and bumps.

Jack’s twelve-year-old son is resisting all Linny’s efforts to be the perfect stepmother, while her own mother, Dottie, begs her to tag along on the first week of a free-wheeling RV adventure. Who knew women “of a certain age” could drum up so much trouble? No sooner is Linny sighing with relief at being back home than she’s helping her frazzled sister with a new baby…and dealing with an unexpected legacy from her late ex. Life is fuller—and richer—than she ever imagined, but if there’s one thing Linny’s learned by now, it’s that there’s always room for another sweet surprise…

About the Author:

Headshot1.jpgSusan Schild has an undergraduate degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree (MSW) from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has used her professional background as a psychotherapist and corporate trainer to add authenticity to her characters. Susan

Susan is a wife, a stepmother, and a dog lover. She and her family live near Raleigh, North Carolina where she is busy finishing up the third novel in the Willow Hill Series.

My Review: (more…)

Audio Book Review: Choices by Michelle Lynn

51dxnoiqbl-_sl300_

Title: Choices
Series: New Beginnings, Book 1
Author: Michelle Lynn
Narrator: Allyson Voller
Length: 5 hours 31 minutes (Unabridged)
ASIN: B01N0FDWIY
Publisher: Michelle Lynn

Synopsis:

Happiness is something you have to choose again and again, each day.

Michaela Matthews wants that more than anything. Standing in her way is a family pushing her down a specific path and the man she loves preventing her from choosing anything different. When she moves to the city for the next step in her parent’s plan, she starts to figure out what she wants – or more importantly, what she doesn’t want. She thinks she has to leave her old life behind to discover a new one. This throws every choice she has made into question. It isn’t until tragedy strikes that she learns that sometimes there is no choice at all. Sometimes you can have it all.

Jason Marks has had the kind of life where things have seemed to just happen to him, no choice involved at all. It’s a struggle for him to keep the past at bay while he tries to move forward. He is no longer the unwanted foster kid. He is a business owner, surrounded by people who love him. But he isn’t in love. He’s not even sure he believes in it. Not anymore. At least, not until a heartbroken girl falls apart in his arms. It’s enough to make him a believer. Make him a dreamer. Enough to force him to answer that question. Do you give all of yourself to someone who might not choose you in return?

My Review:

(more…)

Book Review: The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

(more…)

Book Review: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

9780804141291

Title: Hag-Seed
Author: Margaret Atwood
ISBN: 9780804141291 (hardcover)/ 9780735286580 (audio)
Length: 301 pages / 8 hours 11 minutes 52 seconds (unabridged)
Narrator: R.H. Thomson
Publisher: Hogarth (hardcover)/ Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group (audio)

(more…)

Book Review: Within Reach by Jessica Stevens

25635146

Title: Within Reach: A Novel
Author: Jessica Stevens
ISBN: 978-1-940716-69-51
Publisher: Spark Press

Synopsis:

Dying wasn’t on seventeen-year-old Xander Hemlock’s summer to-do-list. Finding ways to spend more time with his girlfriend, Lila, was the most critical thinking he planned on doing. But that was before he found himself trapped in a realm of only darkness with thirty days to convince Lila he’s not actually dead―well, not completely, anyway.

As Xan tries to show Lila she isn’t alone, she struggles to comprehend how her life has changed so completely. Six months ago her life was perfect: she was on her way to becoming a professional dancer, her parents were still married, and her boyfriend was alive. But now, with her anorexic tendencies stronger than ever, she must decide which is the lesser of two evils: letting go to be with a boy she doesn’t love, or holding on to the unreasonable, yet overpowering, feeling that Xan is still within reach…and trying to show her something.

Within Reach is a story of two soul mates discovering that sometimes it takes more than one lifetime to get it right.  Join Lila and Xan as they struggle to find the inner strength to trust in their intuition.  It will leave you believing in the impossible-and questioning life as you have always known it.

My Review:

(more…)

Book Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

9781101906118

Title: The Vegetarian
Author: Han Kang
Translator: Deborah Smith
ISBN: 9781101906118
Publisher: Hogarth

Synopsis:

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize
ONE OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S “BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SO FAR”
ONE OF TIME’S “BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SO FAR”

A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul
 
Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that’s become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself.

Celebrated by critics around the world, The Vegetarian is a darkly allegorical, Kafka-esque tale of power, obsession, and one woman’s struggle to break free from the violence both without and within her.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Han Kang was born in 1970 in South Korea. In 1993 she made her literary debut as a poet, and was first published as a novelist in 1994. A participant in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Han has won the Man Booker International Prize, the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today’s Young Artist Award, and the Manhae Prize for Literature. She currently works as a professor in the department of creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

My Review:

(more…)

Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

28587957

Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
ISBN: 978-0-345-54495-7
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date: October 2016

Synopsis:

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.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

My Review:

(more…)

Audio Book Review: Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals by Jesse Armstrong

29902094

Title: Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals
Author: Jesse Armstrong
Narrator: Chris Addison
Length: 9.5 Hours on 8 CDs (unabridged)
Publisher: HighBridge
ISBN: 978-1-6816-

Synopsis:

It’s 1994, and war rages on in Yugoslavia—Sarajevo is under siege, and Bosnia’s different ethnic groups are battling for control of the newly independent country.
Hundreds of miles away, in a posh dining room in west London, Andrew is in a similarly precarious situation: the fine balancing act of breathing, blinking, and sipping champagne at the same time. Penny, who may be the love of his life, is about to make the Great Announcement to her parents: that she, Andrew, and a handful of other young idealists are headed to Bosnia to stop the war by performing peace plays from the back of their van.
But more important than peace—does Penny like Andrew, too? Or does she like Simon, who Andrew concedes is “essentially me, only better”? Will this trip across Europe finally bring them together, or will Andrew die in a minefield? And just how long will it take the gang to figure out that Andrew does not, in fact, speak Serbo-Croat?
From one of England’s most lauded comedy writers, Love, Sex, and Other Foreign Policy Goals is a satiric, absurd, and laugh-out-loud romp about tenderhearted, misguided dilettantes traveling through war-torn Europe, with nothing but a half-written script to protect them.

About the Author:

From an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, a laugh-out-loud Waugh-like satiric novel about a band of British dilettantes who try to halt the Bosnian war by performing “peace plays” from the back of their van in Sarajevo.

Jesse Armstrong is a cocreator and writer of the BAFTA Award-winning Peep Show, as well as Fresh Meat and Babylon.  He also cowrote The Thick of It and the Oscar-nominated In the Loop.  Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals is his first novel.

My Review:

(more…)

Book Review: Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther

9781607749318

Title: Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen
Author: Jennifer McGruther
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
ISBN: 978-1-60774-931-8

About the Book:

Broths and stocks have always had a central place in kitchens around the world owing to their ability to comfort, nourish, and heal. In Broth and Stock from the Nourished Kitchen, Jennifer McGruther, author of The Nourished Kitchen and an authority in the traditional foods movement, illustrates why a good broth or stock is the foundation of amazing and wholesome cooking. Included are over a dozen master recipes for base stocks and then 40 recipes using these stocks in complete meals. These accessible recipes are appropriate for vegetarians, pescatarians, and meat eaters alike and showcase the nutrient-dense, real food that nourishes the body and soul. The Whole Chicken Broth is the perfect base for Springtime Risotto with Asparagus, Green Garlic, and Chive Blossoms, while the recipe for Fish Stock will bring new life to a classic dish like New England Clam Chowder. People are catching on to this centuries old appreciation of bone and vegetable based broths, and Jennifer McGruther shows how these can be made quickly and cost-effectively at home.

About the Author:

Jennifer McGruther is a food educator, the creator of the award-winning traditional foods website, Nourished Kitchen (www.nourishedkitchen.com) and the author of The Nourished Kitchen. She teaches workshops on traditional foods, fermentation, as well as food activism. Jennifer lives with her husband and
son in Washington State.

My Review:

(more…)

Book Review: The Lucidity Project by Abbey Campbell Cook

27132519

Title: The Lucidity Project
Author: Abbey Campbell Cook
ISBN: 9781631520327
Publisher: She Writes Press

Synopsis:

“The Lucidity Project” stirs readers to look at life and their abilities in an exhilarating new way. POPSUGAR Depression has haunted twenty-five-year-old Max Dorigan her entire life. After years of unsuccessful treatment and a failed suicide attempt, Max agrees to join The Lucidity Project, a program at a mysterious health and wellness resort in the Caribbean where, she soon finds, the people are just as troubled as she is, only in a different way. They claim to have psychic powers. They claim they can see ghosts. They claim Max is one of them. Max refuses to pay much attention until Dr. Micah McMoneagle, the charismatic head of the project, reveals he s found a way to allow people to enter each other s dreams. Now, instead of discussing their issues in talk therapy, Max and her new gifted friends can symbolically work through their problems on the astral plane. Together they embark on a magical, transformational journey through dreamtime to reveal the causes of the things that are holding them back an adventure that ultimately awakens them to who they really are, and what they came to earth to do.

My Review: (more…)