Monday, September 23, 2019

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill; Abbi Waxman

AUTHOR:  Abbi Waxman
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING: Los Angeles, CA
FORMAT: trade softcover/Library
RATING - 4/5

Nina Hill is happy with her life overall. She's the only child of a single mother. She is an introvert who works at a failing independent bookstore, she great at trivia, enjoys her book groups and, she likes her safe predictable life with her cat Phil who she converses with on a regular basis.

When her biological father, who she never really knew, dies, Nina learns that she has quite a few dysfunctional, biological siblings who live close by and want to get to know her.  They have nothing in common with Nina except for the bright red hair.

Bit by bit Nina is taken out of her comfort zone and her predictable life. It happens gradually so she's not overwhelmed. Then there is Tom, a smart, patient and attractive trivia buff who tries to understand Nina and help her through her life stresses.  She gradually lets him into her life and, neither tries to change the other person.

The story is told mostly from Nina's POV but we do see other perspectives along the way. I loved Nina as she was just so entertaining; her sarcasm was so funny as well. I found her story entertaining, heart warming and light enough to breeze through in no time.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Truth About Grandparents; Elina Ellis and Hide and Seek; Katie May Green

AUTHOR:  Elina Ellis
PUBLISHER: Little Brown & Co.
PUB. YEAR: 2019
FORMAT:  print
RATING - not recommended

At the heart of this story for young children are (pardon my bluntness) 2 extremely funny looking, old grandparents. The grandmother is obese and the grandfather very slim.  The story uses statements and adjectives like: GRANDPARENTS are: slow, clumsy, not bendy, scared of new things. don't dance, not into romance, not adventurous etc.  Each picture then shows the grandparents doing the opposite of what was initially stated about them and, then the story ending on a positive note stating: grandparents are amazing.

Even though the book definitely shows grandparents in a positive light, I didn't care for the negative tone/cues throughout.  In my opinion, there are much nicer grandparent books out there for young children. The illustrations are quite comical.

AUTHOR:  Katie May Green
PUBLISHER: Candlewick
PUB. YEAR: 2019
FORMAT:  print
RATING - 4/5

Shiverhawk Hall is the setting for this semi-spooky but, not scary game of Hide and Seek.

The DeVilleechild twins live in pictures framed and hanging on the walls. However, when the moon comes out, the twins disappear from their frames and the other children: Percy, Lily and Billy set out to search for them.

They hunt through elaborate mazes on their large estate as their black cat follows along.  As they search they find many interesting things including the twins who are on the run but, once a rain storm hits the twins pop back into their wall frames until the next time the moon is aglow and it's time for another game of Hide and Seek.  

Cute imaginative story with incredibly beautiful and detailed illustrations.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Dearly Beloved; Cara Wall

Each Tuesday, Vicki, from I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where readers post the opening paragraph(s) of a book that they are reading or plan to read.

The Dearly Beloved; Cara Wall
Simon & Schuster - 2019


"On the day Charles Barrett died, James MacNally closed the door to his study, sat down in his chair, and laid his head on the thick edge of his desk so he could weep.  His wife, Nan, did not knock to be let in, though his rough, heavy sobs hit her like stones. She knew Jame's own death would wring the same sounds from her, if he went first and her adrift in the world, unmoored."

I'm really enjoy this one and so happy that Kathy @ BermudaOnion's Blog raved about it.  What do you think?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Drawing Home; Jamie Brenner

AUTHOR:  Jamie Brenner
PUBLISHER: Little Brown & Co.
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING: The Hamptons, NY
RATING - 4/5

Henry Wyatt was something of a fixture at the iconic American Hotel in Sag Harbor. As an artist, he preferred the slower pace, familiar friends and quiet times to the times he spent in New York City.  So when Henry dies suddenly on Memorial Day weekend, everyone who knew him is shocked and saddened.

Even more shocked is his former Manhattan business partner Bea, and Emma, the American Hotel's front desk manager. It seems for some reason Henry chose to leave his elaborate waterfront home and estate to Emma's teenaged daughter Penny Mapson to whom he had given informal drawing lessons while he spent time at the hotel. Why would Henry make such an unusual bequeath? Bea is furious and determined to get to the bottom of this.

Part mystery, Drawing Home, was an unexpected treat. I loved the charming setting of this idyllic island town and it's small town life. I thought the characters were well drawn as well, but, at times there was a bit too much unnecessay detail. The added mystery element added to the overall charm of this one.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

31-Day Food Revolution; Heal Your Body, Feel Great & Transform Your World; Ocean Robbins

AUTHOR:  Ocean Robbins
PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing
PUB. YEAR: 2019
FORMAT:  print
RATING - 4.5/5

I've never been much of a meat eater with the exception of an occasional burger and turkey on Thanksgiving. I prefer pasta dishes, soups and every type of veggie. I often thought it would be easy for me to become a vegetarian but, I just never took the plunge. 

I borrowed this book from the library and was intrigued after listening to the first few chapters on audio. So I decided to order the print edition realizing that there was lots of info I'd like to highlight and refer back to afterward. 

The book is written by the vegan grandson of the founder of Baskin Robbins ice cream. So much of what he writes just made sense and the book has also been promoted by people like: Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Mark Hyman, Paul McCartney and several others.

If you are interested in healing your body, losing extra weight and freeing yourself of toxic foods this book provides some easy enough to follow guidelines.

The book is divided into (4) parts -- 1) Detoxify, 2) Nourish, 3) Gather and 4) Transform.
  • Detoxify - discusses what foods to eliminate (think all processed foods) from our diet and our shelves.  
  • Nourish - discusses how to go about fueling our bodies to beat breast cancer and heal your gut by focusing on healthy super foods.  
  • Gather - discusses the social aspects of food and how lonely people are often negatively impacted by poor food choices as opposed to people who are socially involved. 
  • Transform - educates us as to how to be part of the solution by choosing organic foods and making our food choices cruelty free.
I the book was well-organized with great ideas for changing your eating habits bit by bit. I learned several interesting things and, I was surprised to learn that eating a high-protein after age 50 just might contribute to cancer and, how eating lots of greens can ward off dementia.  The book does not promote a specific diet, it's not preachy and it includes some pretty easy and delicious sounding recipes as well.  I really liked this book a lot and, I have already taken steps to purge my pantry and restock it with healthier alternatives as I get ready for beginning the 31-day challenge.

Never Have I Ever; Joshilyn Jackson

AUTHOR:  Joshilyn Jackson
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING: Florida
FORMAT:  eGalley
RATING - 4/5

Jackson's newest book, Never Have I Ever,  was somewhat of a departure from her earlier southern fiction novels.

This story starts out innocent enough as Amy Whey hosts the book group gang. However, when an unexpected newbie, Angelica Roux (Roux), who is new to the neighborhood shows up, the evening takes a darker turn.

Roux quickly takes over and, as the wine keeps flowing, the guests begin to feel a bit loose-lipped. Roux initiates a game, "Never Have I Ever",  where each person confesses the worst thing they've done that day, past week, past month or in their entire lives.  As uncomfortable secrets are revealed, the game takes a darker turn.

It seems Roux knows a lot more about the hostess, Amy's past than what she has revealed. to those closest to her. Amy has built a nice comfortable life and intends to keep it that way. Just how far will Roux go and just how will Amy deal with her blackmailer?

Told primarily from Amy's POV and moving back and forth in time, this is a psych thriller that moved at a good pace. They story was suspenseful and although some parts seemed a bit unrealistic, the story kept me reading and curious.