Category Archives: book review

Book Review: Surprise Me!

Surprise MeSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited to receive a copy of this book to read and review. I love Sophie Kinsella’s books and couldn’t wait to read this one.

In this book, Sylvie and Dan have been happily married for 10 years, have twin daughters, and are living a good life. They visit the doctor for their annual physicals and he tells them they will live a long time, they’re both so healthy. When they figure out they will be married for 68 more years, it throws them into a tailspin because it seems like forever and how on earth will they manage?

At first, they try to surprise each other to keep things interesting but ultimately this doesn’t work out and over the course of the story, Sylvie realizes that she just needs to keep being fascinated with Dan as she sees something new about him daily.

I loved Sylvie. She reminds me of the zany Becky Bloomfield of the Shopaholic series. I loved watching her shed her Princess Sylvie, daddy’s little girl persona and become her own woman, too.

This is a really fun book. I loved it and highly recommend it!

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Book Review: Where the Wild Coffee Grows

Where the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your CupWhere the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your Cup by Jeff Koehler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a self-proclaimed coffee achiever, I really enjoyed this book. I loved reading the history and culture of coffee. I found the book to be a little slow moving at times but, still, very interesting and worth the read. An ode to my favorite beverage. Well done!

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Book Review: The Trick

The Trick: A NovelThe Trick: A Novel by Emanuel Bergmann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! What a great book! I couldn’t put it down.

The story starts in Prague before WWII and it about a Jewish boy who eventually grows up to join the circus. Moshe does the dirty work at the circus eventually learning how to be a mentalist. With the coming of the holocaust, Moshe adopts the moniker of the Great Zabbatini, has fake papers made, and actually goes about as if he’s truly Persian and not Jewish. This went on until he was turned over to the Gestapo in a revenge move by the owner of the circus where he learned his magic.

Alternately is the story line of Max a young boy whose parents are getting divorced. He’s devastated and wants them to remain together. When his dad is collecting his things to move out, he discovers a record album by the Great Zabbatini. Intrigued, he asks his dad if can keep the record and his dad agrees. As he listens he finds there is a love spell but is unable to understand it due to a large scratch on the album. So Max sets out to find the Great Zabbatini to learn the love spell to save his parent’s marriage.

Here is where the two stories intersect. This is a wonderful story with colorful characters and twists and turns that keep you turning the page. I highly recommend!

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Book Review: Class Mom

Laughing out loud funny, I loved this book!

Jen has two college age daughters and, with her marriage, little Max who is starting kindergarten. She’s been through the class mom thing with her other two and has no desire to revisit that role. However, her best friend is the PTA president and pushes her into it. At the beginning, she decides she not having the parental power struggle that comes with the positions and sends the most hilarious communication to the other parents, some of whom can’t take a joke.

This is a great book. I love the humor and the storyline in general. Two thumbs up! 🙂

Book Review: When We Were Worthy

When We Were WorthyWhen We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wowza. The VERY best book I’ve read all year. I feel like I need to sit and digest it before I’m ready to leave it behind.

Taking place in a small town where football rules, the story outlines the lives of four women after the death of three high school cheerleaders. One of the girls feels she should have been in the car with them except she was doing something terrible at the time. One is the mom of the boy who was driving the car that hit the girls. One is the mom of one of the girls. One is a high school substitute teacher who is targeted by the football players and loses her family because of it.

This is such a good book I didn’t want to go to sleep until I had finished it. I can’t recommend it more!

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Book Review: Fashionably Late

Fashionably LateFashionably Late by Lisa Q. Mathews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this madcap mystery! It was so cute.

A model turns up dead at a fashion show and Summer and Dot are on the case to try and solve the murder. Dorothy (Dot) is an older lady and Summer is her young friend. Dot lives at a retirement home and, as it turns out, the model’s mom is there but it seems not of her own will.

The characters in this book are colorful and awesome. I couldn’t put the book down it was so fun! This book is the 3rd in a series and I’m planning to read the previous books. 🙂

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Book Review: Pieces of Happiness

Pieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope and ChocolatePieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope and Chocolate by Anne Ostby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book started slow but, in the end, it made me cry. I wanted to read it because it’s set in Fiji, my favorite place in the world.

After her husband’s death, Kat invites four of her high school friends to come join her in Fiji and make a new life as a group. For one reason or another, their lives were worth casting aside and taking Kat up on her invitation and they all came.

Kat owns and operates a cocoa farm and, eventually and with great excitement, the ladies decide they should produce chocolate. They are all able to contribute to the enterprise including Maya who is spiraling deeper into Alzheimer’s.

Secrets are shared, bonds are strengthened, and there is plenty of love to go around. Including my love of these characters and this book. 🙂

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Book Review: Radical New Me: A Novel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book so much. Calliope Crown has just learned that her father will lose everything in a malpractice case. She can’t continue going to college for summer school and, instead, will go to work at her aunt’s cupcake bakery. The only problem with this is that Calliope, formerly known as Callie Cow, has been on a weight loss journey and is incredibly attracted to buttercream frosting.

The story talks about the summer, the relationship with her aunt, and Callie’s growth through her experience. Through the use of her YouTube channel and the love of a certain handyman, she realizes that she’s more than the name Callie Cow that was bestowed upon her in high school.

Awesome story, great characters, highly recommend. 🙂

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Book Review: The Sunshine Sisters

The Sunshine SistersThe Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love Jane Green and loved this book!

These girls are seriously dysfunctional. Ronni Sunshine, the mom, is a movie actress. She spends her life making everything about her alienating her three daughters. Nell, the strong one, Merideth, the chubby one, and Lizzy the baby. The three girls can’t wait to get old enough to move out of the house and once they do, they rarely return or have much to do with their mom or each other.

Now Ronni seems to be really sick and calls them all home. Her idea is to connect the three girls again so that she can have them around her when she takes her own life.

There’s a LOT of drama in this book but it’s a great story and I loved to see how it ended. Highly recommend!

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Book Review: To Look a Nazi in the Eye

To Look a Nazi in the Eye: A Teen's Account of a War Criminal TrialTo Look a Nazi in the Eye: A Teen’s Account of a War Criminal Trial by Kathy Kacer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book and read it straight through.

I am very interested in Holocaust history as Jordana is. I didn’t realize until the end of the book that this is a true account and not fictional. While I was reading, I thought it was fiction based on true events.

Jordana becomes interested in the Holocaust when she participates in the March of the Living when she is in high school. There she meets a Holocaust survivor, Hedy. As a college student, she learns that Hedy will be giving her testimony at the trial of Oskar Groening, one of the Nazi’s who worked at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Jordana is compelled to be at the trial and manages to arrange the trip and a place in the courtroom in a short time.

The book is an account of her experience there and the changes she goes through in the process. I think it’s a good book and happy it’s written with the YA audience in mind. This is a topic I worry will be forgotten and was happy to know of this book and to read it.

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