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THE SIMPLE SOUL OF SUSAN BY NOEL BRANHAM

SimpleSoulSusan Combs had long ago found the love of her life. The only problem was the other party still didn’t know he had been found.

Every day Susan saw Calder Hurtz, her next door neighbor and childhood best friend. They always enjoyed the short drive to school down the dusty streets of their small Texas town. She was happy in those perfect moments, for her life at home was most imperfect. The challenging homestead she inhabited was also the favorite subject of local gossip.

But one autumn day she overhears Calder and another boy having a conversation. This occasion of accidental audience sets Susan’s life on an unforeseen path. In the seasons to come, her future will be changed by two hospitalizations, two confessions of love, and one betrayal.

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I’m not too big on romance novels but every once in awhile there’s a book that grabs ahold of my heart and The Simple Soul of Susan was definitely one of them. This is the kind of book where you can just sit back and read while on your front porch swing (if you have one) sipping a freshly brewed cup of iced tea. It was simple in the best way possible. The characters were charming and relatable and I loved the simplicity of Noel’s writing. There have been too many times where I’ve read books that overdue it when it comes to telling the story and making it flow smoothly. This is definitely one that I can see myself picking up and reading again.

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THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS BY MARIEKE NIJKAMP

WhereItEnds

PUBLISHED JANUARY 2016

4 / 5 STARS

This #1 New York Times Bestseller chronicles the 54 harrowing minutes of a school shooting and follows four students who must confront their greatest hopes, and darkest fears, as they come face-to-face with the boy with the gun.

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

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This was INTENSE! I don’t even know where to begin with this book. With all the massacres that have happened this year, the story hit me hard. I even had to put the book down a few times and read something a little lighter because it became too much at times. I felt as though I was in the room too, wanting to escape like everyone else. Even though it was hard to read at times I liked how Marieke brought all her characters to life, even the ones who weren’t main characters. The different point of views and stories between the characters are very real and raw.  I felt their pain and their struggles (even the shooters). They all had their own demons but only one of them let their demons take over, causing a very horrific school shooting. This book will have you thinking about your own interactions and connections with other people. No matter how long or how brief it may be it can leave a mark, so make sure it’s a good one. Because everyone just wants the same thing in life, to be loved and accepted. So in the words of Ellen DeGeneres, “be kind to one another”.

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SATURDAY AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: The Body On The Barstool by Lolli Powell

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BarstoolBodyNew Yorker Erica “Ricki” Fontaine’s n’er-do-well uncle has dropped dead and left her a dive bar in a small Ohio River town. With a lousy apartment, less-than-promising job prospects, and even worse romantic ones, the inheritance comes at just the right time. Ricki packs up her cat and heads for the Buckeye State.

Now she’s trying to change the Top Shelf from a bar known for its Friday night fights into the kind of drinking establishment where you can bring your granny. But finding her ex-husband dead on a barstool at opening time one morning just might put a kink in those plans.

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I absolutely enjoyed reading The Body On The Barstool by Lolli Powell a.k.a Laurel Heidtman. It had the three things I feel make a great book: humor, mystery, and a little romance. I instantly fell in love with the main character Ricki. Her sarcastic humor and ability to think about the most inappropriate things at the worst possible times made me smile and think of my own sarcastic personality. Besides the fact that the author kept me laughing the whole time, she also kept me curious and intrigued with wanting to know who killed her ex-husband. I even became invested in the somewhat love triangle between Ricki, Detective Gabe Russell, and reporter Logan Parker (team Gabe all the way) and I’m not a mushy romance kind of girl. This is a great weekend read to cozy up with, a lot of twists and turns and an unexpected killer. I can’t wait to get into the next book in the Top Shef Mystery series.

 

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SATURDAY AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Gregory and the Grimbockle by Melanie Schubert

SATURDAYSPOTLIGHT

GrimbockleThis is a tale about another world within our own.

It’s a world of mysterious magical devices, cockroach steeds and the invisible threads that connect all of humanity.

This is the tale of Gregory and the Grimbockle.

Gregory is a young boy of ten who thinks he must be the most unfortunate boy who ever lived. He barely has any friends and is the object of jokes and jabs from his, often disagreeable sister. If that isn’t bad enough, poor young Gregory has recently developed an enormous and most peculiarly shaped mole beneath his nose.

Imagine Gregory’s surprise when he finds out that his mole is not just a mole, but is actually a humpy crumpy portal of skin that hides a creature called the Grimbockle.

What is the Grimbockle? A very fine question, indeed.

The Grimbockle is just one of the many strange little creatures called Bockles tending to the mysterious threads that connect all humans from one to the other. It is a very important job, and one that has long been carried out with incredible secrecy. That is before this one particular night and a most extraordinary turn of events.

Thus begins a most peculiar sort of adventure where Gregory learns all about the creatures called Bockles and the mysterious threads called exoodles that connect us all to one another.

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I am not one to look for children’s books to read and review but when I received an email from the author Melanie Schubert to review her book Gregory and the Grimbockle, I thought it would be a good book to read with my kids. I can honestly say that I was very invested in the story as much as my kids and they made sure I didn’t miss a night of reading. I read one chapter a night to make the story last a little longer, but after a while I decided to read ahead because I really wanted to know what happened next(Shh…they still don’t know I did). This was fun, sweet, and inspiring book about how we all connect to one another (literally). Once I finished it really had me thinking about my own bonds and connections with all the people in my life and how I can make them better. It’s a great book about love and friendship, something everyone young and old can learn from.

 

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WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY BY LESLEY NNEKA ARIMAH

WhenManFallFromSky5 /5 STARS PUBLISHED APRIL 2017

 

A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home.

In “Who Will Greet You at Home,” a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In “Wild,” a disastrous night out shifts a teenager and her Nigerian cousin onto uneasy common ground. In “The Future Looks Good,” three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war, while in “Light,” a father struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And in the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to “fix the equation of a person” – with rippling, unforeseen repercussions.

Evocative, playful, subversive, and incredibly human, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky heralds the arrival of a prodigious talent with a remarkable career ahead of her.

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This was an amazingly beautiful read, I couldn’t believe how fast I flew through it. Each story pulled me in and didn’t let go. From the first story, The Future Looks Good, I was almost in tears and it didn’t stop there. From War Child to Light to Buchi’s Girl, Arimah brings each character to life in a way that connects you to them and whatever they feel you feel it too. Love, betrayal, family, loneliness, courage, and fear. Every emotion will be pulled out of you. I loved every bit of this book and it’s definitely one that will have a forever spot on my shelf.

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BLOG UPDATE

Hey guys!

So as you can tell I’ve been doing a pretty horrible job posting reviews on a regular basis. I’ve been crazy busy trying to keep up with kids, work, emails, and finding time to read. Hopefully I can get my organizing skills working again. So to keep myself focused and on task I decided to have a Saturday Author Spotlight. Since I’ve been receiving A LOT of emails from authors wanting me to read their books, I wanted to give them their own day! Every Saturday I will post a review from a new or unknown author that’s trying to get their book out there and have them in the spotlight for the whole week until the next Saturday. These post will of course, have a review on the author’s book but could also include a Q&A, cover reveal, a guest post, or anything else I can think of to help promote their book. There are some great authors out there that deserve a chance to be heard and have their books read. And I’m always up for suggestions on how I can make my blog better for readers and authors alike, so don’t be afraid to shoot me an email!

SATURDAYSPOTLIGHT

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DARK MATTER BY BLAKE CROUCH

DarkMatter5/5 STARS PUBLISHED JULY 2016

 

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”  

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

 

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I absolutely loved this book! There were plenty of OMGs and WTHs throughout that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I completely feel in love with Jason’s character but how can you not love a man who will stop at nothing to get back to the woman he loves (heart strings pulled). And we’ve all had those moments where we’ve wondered what life would have or could have been like if we’d done some things differently. Like saying yes to something instead of saying no. Leaving someone instead of staying. Or even staying at your ‘safe’ job instead of quitting and following your dreams. I know I definitely have had those moments. This book was more than just a good thriller, Blake Crouch made you think about your own wants and dreams, plus the possibility of having a do over. I feel like that is what made it such a great read.