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Book Review: The Stepsister's Tale

The Stepsister's TaleThe Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this as an early-read on Netgalley.

I was impressed by this book.  It was a lovely, light, clean fairytale that reimagined "Cinderella".  Even though there were a lot of changes to the story it was more believable, more real, more heartwarming than the original fairytale/ Disney movie, etc.

I want a copy of this book for my own.  I love a good fairytale and am always looking for well-written ones.  It can be harder to find them than one would think.  This was well-written, not cheesy, sweet, sentimental, and believable.

Definitely worth a read.


Book Review: What Alice Forgot

What Alice ForgotWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. I mean.... wow. This book is a book that maybe every married lady (and man!) should read. Especially in a marriage that is struggling. Just.... wow. Deep and moving and tragic and full of hope...

A story of a marriage that is basically over when the wife has an accident that causes severe memory loss (i.e. the last ten years of her life) which puts her in a position to see her marriage and (soon to be ex) husband in the light of a newly-married and very much in love wife instead of the hard, jaded, angry, hurt, and bitter wife, sister, and mother she has become.

Alice finds a way to find the middle ground where forgiveness, love, understanding, and lightness exist and it is magnificent in its way.

What if in our lives we were granted to opportunity to see ourselves now through younger, more optimistic eyes... what if we were able to forget the hurts and frustrations towards others that we let get in the way of a fulfilling relationship? What if we could see our spouses as they are without the years of little nit-picky things that irritate us and be reminded about why we fell in love in the first place? BUT THEN!!! To be able to remember and come to a place where we could forgive because we have been reminded of how important our love is?
Liane Moriarty presents these ideas and a lovely story that includes the best-possible outcome forging the blindness of early love with the depth of shared-experience and forgiveness.

Worth a read. But... watch out for some swears.

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Book Review: The Wednesday Wars

The Wednesday WarsThe Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some books catch you within the first few lines and hold onto you until the book is finished. This is one of those. I have struggled lately to be interested in a book and keep reading after the first few pages... I've just lost interest. Then I picked up this book and immediately felt invested and happy to be reading it. I fell in love.

The voice of this book is so strong and well done. The characters are real and believable and complex. The plot is a mish-mash (but with constant and continuing elements that keep it cohesive), but in a way that fits. After all, it is the story of a teenage boy's life in seventh grade.

I just... I'm so impressed. The main character, Holling Hoodhood (silly name, yes?)is such a well-rounded character who is silly and serious and juvenile and mature and just everything you think a teenage boy really is. He grows and learns to stand up for himself, he learns to forgive, he learns empathy and adventure and compassion.... just. Tsk. SOOOO GOOD.

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Book Review: Wrapped

WrappedWrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Inventive addition to the typical paranormal - Egyptian paranormalcy in a Regency setting. I enjoyed the book, really I did, though what I have to say next might make it seem otherwise. The intrigue was a little dry for a long time and the author failed to capture a spirit of nervousness and danger (that one would expect to go along with her plot) with her writing. It was an adventure-filled book with the genteel feel of a much tamer story. That disappointed me, the feel of the book being all wrong. I wanted to feel anxious and to be on the edge of my seat to find out how these characters could possibly survive.....! But. I never did. However, I did like it and am definitely anxious to read the next.

As for the cover... Personally I like the following best.  How about you?


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Book review: Crescendo

Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A little dirty. Not my thing, but not enough to make me feel like I had to put the book down. A few bits I had to skim...

A well-written story, for the most part, but not written well enough that it was particularly memorable, either. I don't know. I liked it. It wasn't anything special or spectacular, really, but I liked it. The author has some neat, fresh ideas (scars that when you touch them show you someone's past... I thought that was particularly inventive) and a fast moving plot that keeps you reading.

A lot of the romance stuff in the book and she made the love interest seem like a REALLY BIG MEANIE HEAD. Then all of a sudden after everything he does to the main girl she just... forgives him. Meanwhile she's also been throwing herself at him and acting crazy and obsessed and then throwing herself at other guys too. That whole middle part of the love story and the book... really ridiculously immature and somewhat irritating. Could have done without it. There were other ways he could have pulled away while not being such a poop and making us hate him. It makes her feelings and obsession towards him unbelievable and made me, as a reader, think she was acting like a doormat. It also made it very unbelievable when they were all-of-a-sudden back together.

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Book Review: The Grand Tour

The Grand Tour (Cecilia and Kate, #2)The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had a hard time staying interested in this book. I really struggled with the writing of the author that was Cecelia's voice. In both books,actually, we were supposed to believe she loved James, but she barely said two words in any sort of loving sentiment. I felt that was extremely disappointing as it took a lot of the reader's ability to believe the character as a narrator away.

The intrigue was interesting, but not particularly spectacular. The plot was well-arranged and ended without loose ends, which was satisfying, anyway.

Not a terrific book, but not terrible. If you read and enjoyed the first you would most likely enjoy this book.

I wouldn't know which audience to suggest this book to. It is written somewhat simply that would imply it is for a middle-school audience, but some of the words and some of the hints at romantic encounters between a husband and wife put it a little older than that. The cover also seems more juvenile.... I don't know. Maybe a mature middle schooler.

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Book Review: Frannie in Pieces

Frannie in PiecesFrannie in Pieces by Delia Ephron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the question posed: what rules, your head or your heart? And the conclusion that it's your heart. Life is an illusion because what we see is always filtered through what we feel. We see what we feel -- not always facts.
When fifteen year old daddy's-girl Frannie's dad dies and leaves everything to her she has the sad task of going through his house. Her dad is an artist and his medium is wood. He created a puzzle from a picture of a coastal Italian town. When Frannie starts putting it together she gets sucked in more than once. As she gets closer to putting the puzzle together she finds out a little more about her dad. It isn't until she finds him in the puzzle, though that she can piece everything together and realize that even though her parents are divorced, they loved each other and it seems to give her peace in dealing with her dad's death and in her relationship with her mom.
Meanwhile she's working as an arts and crafts counselor at a kids' summer camp and she meets a cute boy who is soooo not her type -- until he just might be.
This book has a cute voice with real characters. It's a quick read with deep thoughts. Overall really enjoyed the book.

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Book Review: Red Harvest

Red HarvestRed Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not as good as Maltese (or at least, I didn't think so), but as always I am blown away by Dashiell Hammet's talent in writing a novel.  He's just.... amazing.  Truly.  His descriptions create a vivid picture and never, ever feel cliche.  His dialogue and use of slang fitting the setting (time period and crime etc.) is believable and authentic.  The story is always intricate and gripping.

If you like crime novels, or just really, really amazingly well-written books then pick up something by Dashiell Hammet.

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Two Free Amazon E- book downloads!

Heads up, readers!  Free e-book downloads.  The links are here:

Fall For You - Jane Austen Academy


A Little Bit Cupid