Monday, January 18, 2021

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger


There is a new school opening in Crystal, Colorado.  This school is for the best of the best gifted students.  The Gifted School follows the story of four mom's who are best friends, their husbands and their kids.  These parents will stop at nothing to get their children into this amazing school.  They'll lie, cheat, back stab, and even risk their friendship which previously seemed unbreakable.  Do the kids even want to go to this fancy new school?

On the cover of the book is a quote that reads "The juiciest novel I've read in ages" - J. Courtney Sullivan, The New York Times.  I'd have to agree.  I really enjoyed The Gifted School.  It's a fairly long book with over 500 pages but every page seemed to be revealing a new twist.  The big question is who will get into the school but there are many other juicy secrets revealed before we know who gets in to the Gifted School.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

When Covid first hit and we believed we might be stuck at home for three weeks (hahahaha) I thought I would get a ton of reading done.  I have stacks that I thought I'd get through.  At first I did read a lot.  But then I watched the news a lot.  Then somehow I just couldn't get in to reading which is a BIG deal for me.  

Things You Save in a Fire took me waaaaay to long to read.  This is a great book.  The kind of book I could usually read in a few days.  I was excited to start it but somehow the world's problems held my attention instead.

This week I tried to shut things off for a bit and put real effort into finishing this book and I'm really happy I did.  Once I really started reading I couldn't stop.  I needed to know what was going to happen.

It was Cassie's 16th birthday when her mom left.  Her mom went to live with some other man - not her dad.  Her mom abandoned her and her father.  Worst day ever.  But then this boy she had a crush on invited her to a party.  Suddenly things felt a bit better.  The night ended as the worst night in her life.  Her 16th birthday became a day that would haunt her forever.

But years later Cassie is tough.  Fire fighter tough.  She's worked hard to get there.  She can do the firefighter fitness course faster than any of the guys.  She's also got a hard shell around her heart and no one is coming in.

A sudden event has her switching fire halls.  New crew.  New guys.  She's also moved in with her mother that she's barely spoken to in years.  What is she thinking?  But she knows if she works hard and keeps that shell around her heart she will be ok.

This is the second Katherine Center book I've read this year and I've really enjoyed both Things You Save in a Fire and What You Wish For.  I will be definitely checking out more of her books.  So if you are in a reading rut kick start your reading and pick up this book!


Saturday, October 31, 2020

The End of the Day by Bill Clegg

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There are secrets that have been buried for decades.  Friendships that have been broken over these secrets.  Now Dana Goss is in her 60's and thinks the air should be cleared but maybe things should be left unsaid.  Maybe no one wants to hear the truth anymore.

Dana has grown up incredibly rich.  She lives in the big house with Mexican immigrants taking care of the families every whim.  Dana is used to people agreeing with her.  If she says a horse is a girl named Cindy then most don't argue.  But Jackie, the girl next door, will let her know that horse is clearly a boy.

Although Jackie doesn't come close to the same financial status as Dana's family, her honesty binds the girls in an inseparable friendship.  When Jackie is close to getting the man of her dreams But can a friendship withstand someone like Dana who knows no boundaries?

Hap is a proud new father.  Hap has been raised by his single mother.  His father swoops in from his job in journalism full of stories and excitement.  Now he hasn't seen his father in years but he's in town and wants to meet his new granddaughter and connect with his son.

The End of the Day is full of good people that each made decisions that they question as years go on.  How would things have been different if they'd chosen the other fork in the road but at the end of the day they've got to live with the choices they've made.

Bill Clegg is also the author of Did You Ever Have a Family which I reviewed previously on my blog.  I really enjoyed both Clegg's books and look forward to reading more from him.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty

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Note: I am writing this review without having finished the book.

I am a fiction reader and very rarely do a read non-fiction.  I picked up Think Like a Monk because I have a friend who really enjoys Jay Shetty on social media.  Also, like most people these last few months of Covid haven't been easy for me.  

I began reading Think Like a Monk as I do all books - flipping pages and reading chapter after chapter in one sitting.  Until one day I realized I might not be absorbing some of the wisdom Shetty was imparting.  I decided to slow down my reading.  Going back and rereading chapters.  Really thinking about what was being said and how I could apply some of his messages in my daily life.  This is why I haven't finished the book.  Yet.

I wanted to share my review now though because his book is being released this week.  The book is easy to read and applicable to I would say almost everyone.  This book is written pre-covid but I'm wondering if as I read on there may be an after word or last chapter that references the times we are going through.

I have never tried meditation and I'm not quite sure it's for me.  But I have tried a breathing exercise that Shetty walks us through and I did find it calming.  Also, my kids broke into an argument as I was reading that if you think/say a negative comment about someone follow it with 10 positive.  I quickly put that into practice in the middle of the fight.  Although it didn't work exactly as planned, it did end the argument and had them both forgetting their argument and looking at me like 'really Mom?!?'.

Haven't heard of Jay Shetty?  He studied business in University in England.  While all his classmates were going to parties and getting jobs in big businesses, Jay was taking every spare moment and spending it in a monastery.  When school ended he spent 3 years as a Monk.  Now he his a motivational speaker appearing on tv talk shows.  This is his first book.

Although I don't believe Jay Shetty planned the timing of his book I do believe it could be a lifeline for those struggling with life right now.  Think Like a Monk may not have all the answers but a few strategies that may help.  My advise - don't power through this book.  Take your time.  Also, check out Jay Shetty on Instagram for ongoing interviews and words of wisdom.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Here and Now by Santa Montefiore

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Marigold is accustomed to helping those around her.  She works in the village shop/postal office helping everyone find what they need and send parcels.  At home she takes care of her husband, her elderly mother and her adult daughter Suze.  Now Marigold is happy that her oldest daughter, Daisy, is returning home from 6 years in Italy.  Daisy's nursing a broken heart and Marigold is happy to help her too.

But lately Daisy has caught herself forgetting things.  She's always been super organized.  But now if she doesn't write it down she just might forget.  A quick trip to the doctor tells her that at 60 these things happen - don't worry.

It doesn't take long for her family to realize that she is more forgetful than most.  Maybe it's time for them to start picking up some slack and helping their mother out.

I picked Here and Now to read because I thought the description sounded nice.  But quickly I realized that I had picked up one of her books before and couldn't finish it - it seemed overly descriptive.  I have to admit I almost put the book down and not picked it up again.  But I did pick it up again and I'm glad I did.  I thought Here and Now was a beautiful story.  I loved reading the details of Marigold's beautiful village.  Now I'm begining to think that the last Santa Montefiore book I picked up just caught me on the wrong day and I need to give it another try.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn

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Bear Necessity is about a father named Danny.  He lost is his wife in a car accident nearly a year ago.  He almost lost his son, Will, also but fortunately he pulled through.  Since the accident nothing much has gone right.  Will won't speak - literally not a word to anyone.  His landlord raised his rent and his breathing down his neck.  He's also got a real jerk for a boss down at the construction site.

In a desperate move Danny buys a used panda costume.  He scrapes together a plan to start making money again and maybe get his rent paid before his knee caps get broken by his shady landlord's thug.  But time is running out and he's not sure the plan will be enough.

I thought Bear Necessity was a good story line but although it's not a long book there were parts that I thought dragged a bit.  There was a lot of swearing in the book that I didn't really think was necessary.  Although the cover accurately represents the book, I think it's a little too cute for the story.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Kids are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony


Savannah and Thomas McClair are twins that lost their mom in an accident when they were 13 years old.  They've known their dad but they've got a grandmother, Maggie, that loves and cares for them.  Maggie likes to be surrounded by people and hear their stories so every Friday night she invites a guest for dinner.  When Savannah needs a project at school their podcast is born and it's based on the Friday night dinner guests.  

Thomas has been wondering about his dad for a while so when a Friday night dinner conversation sways that way he gets an idea.  Why not try and do a podcast and see if they can find their dad.  After a few reservations from Savannah and Maggie they podcast begins.

The podcast turns out to be equally loved and hated by listeners but it's definitely gaining a lot of popularity.  The McClair's have teamed up with an agency and attention is getting out of hand.

I found The Kids are Gonna Ask intriguing to begin with but I did find it dragged on a bit too long.  When I found the book it was listed as General Fiction - Adult but I think it might be more appropriate in Young Adult.  Aside from some excessive drinking I think it would be appropriate.  I don't believe there were any curse words.  Perhaps the more appropriate age would be 17 - the age of the McClair twins.  Overall though I did enjoy the plot and I was invested to discover whoever the father is.