How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

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How to Find Love in a Bookshop
by Veronica Henry
(Pamela Dorman Books – August 15, 2017)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sweet, happy, innocent romance, BOOKS, a quiet English village ~ it all adds up to my perfect feel-good story

Book Description (from Goodreads)

Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers–a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father’s death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia’s loyal customers have become like family, and she can’t imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive.

There’s Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there’s a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage–she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings.

Review

Thank you to Pamela Dorman books for providing me with a finished copy of this title for review – all opinions are my own.

HOW TO FIND LOVE IN A BOOKSHOP is one of those cozy sweater books….a cup of hot tea on a rainy night books….a book that just makes you believe that all is right with the world and let’s you sink into the pages and forget about real life. Emilia and the world of Nightingale Books are an absolute joy to read about, and I’m adding this to my list of favorite books about books……and bookshops. Some books are hard to review because your feelings are visceral and almost inexplicable. That’s how I feel about this one – it’s a personal love for a new favorite story.

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves reading, the English countryside and sweet stories – there’s no mystery or intrigue or drama or literary tricks. Just straight-up happy.

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Blog Tour: The Queen of New Beginnings

Blog Tour (14)

I’m so happy to be a part of this blog tour – I loved this book and was excited to find a new author to follow! 

Book Description

The Queen of New Beginnings by Therese Loreskar
(Bombshell Books – July 31, 2017)

Available from Amazon as a Kindle book and paperback and included in the Kindle Unlimited subscription!

Queen cover 1.1This is the follow-up title to THE QUEEN OF BLOGGING series, but can definitely be read as a standalone!

Kajsa lives in a large house in Stockholm along with her three children and their dog. Since coming clean about lying on her popular blog she no longer has any work. Not only that but she has kicked her husband out because of his sex addiction.

 While her husband is in rehab trying to fix his little problem, Kajsa’s mother in law is thrown out of her retirement home and comes to live with her daughter in law. Then Kajsa receives an unexpected offer to move to a fashionable part of London. But having to look after her mother in law makes life complicated.  Can Kajsa rid herself of her baggage and make a fresh start with her children in England?

This laugh-out-loud comedy looks at the daily struggles we all face with our families and asks if starting again is ever really possible.

Review

Thanks to Bombshell Books for providing me with a digital review copy of this book – all opinions are my own. 

I am an absolute sucker for books written in diary-style and short, stream-of-thought style. This story is written in this exact was and was an incredibly fun read! Kajsa is a riot and narrates the story of her crazy family in both a hilarious and heartfelt way – a way that makes you realize that underneath her funny narrative, she really cares about and wants the best for all of them…….even her mother-in-law! I also loved that she never actually called any of her children by name in her narrative – it was an amusing quirk.

If you like Bridget Jones and reading about the insanity of modern motherhood, this is a great choice for you!

Author Bio

Author Therese Loreskar (2)Therese Loreskär started her career in 2010 as a Swedish author. She self-published her first novel which was very well received and quickly sold out!
 In 2014 she signed up to a publishing house. Her novel called “The Queen of Blogging” was released and the feedback was overwhelming! People referred to the book as a modern “Bridget Jones” and couldn’t get enough of the main character, Kajsa. The next book “The Queen of Blogging 2” was released shortly after to all the reader’s delight.
 Therese has since then published 4 bestselling children’s books as well. She often does tours at different schools and talks about her books. The children love her visits and Therese always enjoys talking to her little readers.
 “The Queen of Blogging 1 & 2” have also been recorded and launched as audiobooks in addition to paper backs in Sweden. Her biggest dream is to have “The Queen of Blogging series” made into films, and she secretly keeps a list in an old drawer of presumptive actors that would do the characters in her books justice.
 Her never-ending energy for writing and entertaining people with her characters is her biggest trait.
 Therese lives in the countryside along the west coast of Sweden. She has a rather big and busy household, with (one) husband, two children, one deaf cat, five hamsters and a grandmother.
 When she’s not busy making up stories and writing silly things, she enjoys the nature, people, history, redecorating the house without asking anyone for permission, and all other kinds of creativity.
Links:
Instagram @loreskar

 

 

Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

Exposed (Rosato & DiNunzio, #5)Exposed by Lisa Scottoline
(St. Martin’s Press – August 15, 2017)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just as good as the entire rest of the Rosato series! I absolutely love these legal thrillers featuring a team of female lawyers in Philadelphia.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the Goodreads giveaway!

I have read every single title by Scottoline in the two different Bennie Rosato series – 11 in the Rosato & Associates series and now 5 in the Rosato & Dinunzio series. They are dependably fast-paced and heavy on the legalese, with lots of friendship, family and romance thrown in. This latest title pits the two partners against one another and is a sprint to the finish in solving both litigation and murder cases – loved it!

View all my reviews

Miguel and the Grand Harmony by Matt de la Pena

This picture book isn’t out until October, but it’s one for librarians, parents, teachers and music lovers to have on their radar……or pre-order now!

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Miguel and the Grand Harmony
by Matt de la Pena

Illustrated by Ana Ramirez
(Disney Press – October 10, 2017)

Book Description (from flap)

La Musica exists in many places – in the twang of a guitar, in the beat of a drum, even in the whistling wind and the morning bird’s song. She brings color and life wherever she goes, connecting people to a grand harmony. And in the town of Santa Cecilia, she is everywhere. 

But when La Musica discovers a boy with longing in his heart and no music in his home, she vows to help him find his passion. 

Review

Thanks to Disney Press for the galley of this title for review purposes – all opinions are my own.

I’ll be honest, Matt de la Pena being the author of this picture book would have made it an auto-purchase for my school library even if I hadn’t had the chance to read it early – I absolutely adore his work and Last Stop on Market Street is one of my all time favorites. However, the fact that I DID get a chance to read it early just means I can get that much more excited about getting this book into my library and sharing it with kids!

Narrated by La Musica, this story is one about the love of music and sharing that love with the world. There is friendship, and family, and definitely a theme of making dreams come true. The illustrations by Ana Ramirez are gorgeous and bring the beautiful story, written in both English and Spanish, to life.

The fact that this is tied to a Pixar movie explains why the full story of the boy, Miguel, is not told, and will entice readers to want to see the movie and learn more about the characters. However, as a school librarian I am incredibly happy that this is a stand-alone title and NOT a picture book adaptation of the movie. The movie logo on the cover is incredibly small and tastefully placed in the lower right corner, and does not distract from the rest of the cover.

VERDICT: 5 STARS – This is a required purchase for school libraries, music classrooms and music lovers of all ages. 

 

Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story by Sonia Patel

Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story by Sonia Patel
(Cinco Puntos Press – September 12, 2017)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Powerful, raw and completely unfiltered mature YA that deals with incredibly complex topics

Thanks to Cinco Punto Press for providing me with an advance reader copy for review – all opinions are my own.

This is a BOOK. You know, the kind of book that gets under your skin and makes you wonder…..did I really want to read about all of that? You know……sex trafficking, rape, drugs, child abandonment? Oh, and parental unacceptance of a teen’s gender identity? And bulimia? And racial and cultural identity and colonialism? I mean, it’s not happy. It’s not pretty. It makes you FEEL things. And THINK about things. Things you don’t want to believe exist. It makes you squirm and hate the world for letting these things happen to our children. So, do you really want to read it? Should there be YA books about these topics?

Well, the answer is yes. Yes, I want to read about all of that. And yes, there should be books about these topics. First of all, as a teacher, these issues need to be in front of me. Books need to open my eyes to what teens in our world are dealing with – and Patel knows this firsthand through her work as a psychiatrist working with teens. She knows what she writes. And yes, there are teens who need to read stories like this one. There are teens going through these exact struggles and needing to know they are not alone.

JAYA AND RASA certainly isn’t a book for every teen (because what book is??), but I do recommend that every teacher, administrator and guidance counselor read it. It should be in library collections and guidance offices because even if there is just ONE student who needs it in any given population, it should be available. And as Rasa shows us in the book, we don’t know which teen needs it. I appreciate the terseness of the writing style and the readability of the text, making it accessible to virtually all levels of YA readers.

I thank Patel for having the bravery to write this story and go where the majority of YA authors don’t (won’t?) go.

View all my reviews

The Locals by Jonathan Dee

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The Locals by Jonathan Dee
(Random House – August 8, 2017)

Book Description (from Goodreads)

A rural working-class New England town elects as its mayor a New York hedge fund millionaire in this inspired novel for our times—fiction in the tradition of Jonathan Franzen and Jennifer Egan.

Mark Firth is a contractor and home restorer in Howland, Massachusetts, who feels opportunity passing his family by. After being swindled by a financial advisor, what future can Mark promise his wife, Karen, and their young daughter, Haley? He finds himself envying the wealthy weekenders in his community whose houses sit empty all winter.

Philip Hadi used to be one of these people. But in the nervous days after 9/11 he flees New York and hires Mark to turn his Howland home into a year-round “secure location” from which he can manage billions of dollars of other people’s money. The collision of these two men’s very different worlds—rural vs. urban, middle class vs. wealthy—is the engine of Jonathan Dee’s powerful new novel.

Inspired by Hadi, Mark looks around for a surefire investment: the mid-decade housing boom. Over Karen’s objections, and teaming up with his troubled brother, Gerry, Mark starts buying up local property with cheap debt. Then the town’s first selectman dies suddenly, and Hadi volunteers for office. He soon begins subtly transforming Howland in his image—with unexpected results for Mark and his extended family.

Here are the dramas of twenty-first-century America—rising inequality, working class decline, a new authoritarianism—played out in the classic setting of some of our greatest novels: the small town. The Locals is that rare work of fiction capable of capturing a fraught American moment in real time.

Review

Politically charged and powerful in its subtlety, THE LOCALS is a thought-provoking look at the post-9/11 years in a small Massachusetts town.

Thanks to Random House for providing me with a free review copy – all opinions are my own.

This book opens with a chapter that is different in every single way than the rest of the book, an introduction that turns out to be important to the overall story, but one that I actively disliked while I was reading it due to its style and brashness. However, once I got past that I couldn’t put this book down. This isn’t a book of suspense and intrigue or even political drama. It is a commentary on our country’s political system and housing markets in the tumultuous period between 2001 and 2009, wrapped in the package of a novel about the citizens of a small town. Time almost seems to melt away as you read, without clear delineations of time passing, and narrators and perspective change almost without you knowing it is happening. I became invested in the lives of the characters and couldn’t stop thinking about my memory of that time period – both in my own life and what I remember happening in the country around me.

I highly recommend this book to readers who are politically charged and like to think about implications of a story far beyond its pages – the fact that this book was written before the 2016 election just blows my mind.

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed 
(Little Brown – July 25, 2017)

Book Description

Years ago, just before the country was incinerated to wasteland, ten men and their families colonized an island off the coast. They built a radical society of ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and the strict rationing of knowledge and history. Only the Wanderers–chosen male descendants of the original ten–are allowed to cross to the wastelands, where they scavenge for detritus among the still-smoldering fires.

The daughters of these men are wives-in-training. At the first sign of puberty, they face their Summer of Fruition, a ritualistic season that drags them from adolescence to matrimony. They have children, who have children, and when they are no longer useful, they take their final draught and die. But in the summer, the younger children reign supreme. With the adults indoors and the pubescent in Fruition, the children live wildly–they fight over food and shelter, free of their fathers’ hands and their mothers’ despair. And it is at the end of one summer that little Caitlin Jacob sees something so horrifying, so contradictory to the laws of the island, that she must share it with the others.

Born leader Janey Solomon steps up to seek the truth. At seventeen years old, Janey is so unwilling to become a woman, she is slowly starving herself to death. Trying urgently now to unravel the mysteries of the island and what lies beyond, before her own demise, she attempts to lead an uprising of the girls that may be their undoing.

Review

OH MY GOODNESS. THIS BOOK. I hate writing spoiler reviews, so can barely write a thing about this without sharing too much.

GATHER THE DAUGHTERS has the most disturbing and haunting premise EVER, while at the same time having strong female characters who you just cheer for as you learn more of their stories. I told my husband about it and he was absolutely horrified. I listened to the audio version, which had EXCELLENT narration, and couldn’t stop listening even as I was disgusted and wanting to personally gather all of the daughters and get them the hell out of there. YUCK. YUCK. YUCK.

What makes the story even more powerful is the author’s background as a psychiatric nurse practitioner who works with traumatized children and has studied child abuse extensively. As a teacher, this issue is one that we hate to even think about but sadly do encounter as we work with children, and as a mother of daughters, I simply can’t get this out of my head. I read this as the August pick for the @saltwaterreads book club on Instagram – what an amazing choice!

I highly recommend this book, but be warned that there are child abuse and sexual abuse triggers.

 

 

Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

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Thank you to the #kidlitexchange reviewer network for the review copy of this book – all opinions are my own.

Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess
Blink Press – July 25, 2017

SOLO is a rip-through-the-pages, can’t-put-it-down poetic YA masterpiece. Told in text messages, song lyrics and conversations in verse, it tells the story of an alcoholic and addict rock star’s son. Blade has been burned by his father time after time and is still actively mourning the death of his mother years before, when he receives life-changing news that sends him on a quest across the world. This book completely blew me away and showed me a side of Kwame Alexander I haven’t read before, and introduced me to the work of Mary Rand Hess. The soundtrack of this book is a who’s who of classic rock and roll and stuck in my head the entire time I was reading. For teen readers, this would be a great introduction to the rock classics they may have not been introduced to yet.

Required purchase for high school libraries.

Hello Goodbye Dog Blog Tour

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I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for this new picture book featuring two of my very favorite things  – dogs and books! I am GIVING AWAY a copy of the book over on my Instagram today as well ~ stay tuned to @theloudlibrarylady for a chance to win!

Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari
Illustrated by Patrice Barton
(Roaring Brook Press – July 25, 2017)

HELLO GOODBYE DOG is an incredibly sweet story about a dog who just does NOT want to stay at home without his girl, since there is nothing he loves more than HELLO! Everytime Zara tells Moose “Goodbye” when she leaves for school, he gets so so upset and expresses things like, “Goodbye was an itch that couldn’t be scratched” and chases after her. After enough attempts, he eventually proves just how wonderful he can be at school and ends up being trained as a therapy dog! He passed tests on temperament, sitting down, staying, being with children, being around wheelchairs and finally is certified as a class reading dog.


This story is just adorable and a perfect fit for parents, children, teachers and librarians who appreciate the power of a dog in creating a warm and welcoming environment for readers. As a librarian with a Read to Rover program, this book has been field tested with the students and dog/handler team – it was met with a resounding HOORAY! The author’s note at the end includes information on therapy dogs and therapy dog reading programs, which I really can’t speak highly enough about. Every single child who has had the opportunity to participate in this program at my school has been overwhelmed with happiness and so so eager to do it again.


I have now purchased 3 copies of this book – 1 for home, 1 for school and 1 for our Read to Rover team – the Read to Rover handler at my school just absolutely fell in love with the book!

About the Author

Maria Gianferrari is the author of the Penny & Jelly books, Officer Katz and Houdini as well as Coyote Moon, an ALA Notable Book, a Junior Library Guild Selection and her first book for Roaring Brook Press. For Maria, hello is sunshine after a snowstorm, the scent of cinnamon, and happy greetings from her beloved mutt, Becca. Maria lives in northern Virginia with her dog, Becca, her scientist husband and her artist daughter.

HELLO GOODBYE DOG BLOG TOUR ~ GIVEAWAYS EVERY DAY!!

*Monday, July 24th:                           Pragmatic Mom + THREE book giveaway!
*Two for Tuesday, July 25th:           Librarian’s Quest + Reading for Research
*Wednesday, July 26th:                     Homemade City
*Thursday, July 27th:                         Kid Lit Frenzy
*Friday, July 28th:                               Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
*Monday, July 31st:                            Picture Books Help Kids Soar
*Tuesday, August 1st:                        Bildebok
*Wednesday, August 2nd:                 The Loud Library Lady
*Thursday, August 3rd:                     DEBtastic Reads!
*Friday, August 4th:                           Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love
*Monday, August 7th:                        Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)
EXTRA: August 25th:                         Kidlit411—Interview with Patrice Barton

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber
(Gallery Books – August 1, 2017)

BOOK DESCRIPTION

The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

REVIEW

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book for review – all opinions are my own.

I absolutely loved the format and premise of this book, with its combination of narrative, podcast transcript, and Twitter and Reddit posts. The ramifications and impact of social media and DIY journalism are fascinating to think about and Barber presents these issues seamlessly with the actual story. While the ultimate reveal wasn’t a complete shocker to me, ARE YOU SLEEPING is a compelling suspense story, and I couldn’t put it down. Recommended for fans of modern thrillers and commentary on the role of media in our lives.