Reasons I’m Thankful for the Book Community

I kept thinking what I wanted to post for today since my typical posting days are Mondays and Thursdays. I was going to post a book review like any other day but I felt that this would be a great opportunity to thank all of you and the bookish community for what I’ve been given this past year. There’s so much I’m thankful for this year so ima highlight a few.

Reignition of my love for reading

I have always loved to read but there have been times when I put the books aside due to school and lack of motivation. The book community introduced me to so many new books and made me want to read a lot more to keep up with new releases.

A sense of Community and Belonging

As an adult who is no longer going to school and wasnt working I felt like there wasnt a place for me. The bookish community embraced me and gave me new friends. I feel supported and encouraged to keep making content.

New Perspective

As I kept reading so many books across many genres I gained new perspectives on different things. Things I had seen as negative or something harmful in my life are now seen as just something that taught me something. I gained new views on genres I wouldnt have picked up before.

Strength to Move Forward during Rough Times

I started my bookstagram and book blog when I was unemployed and struggling to land a job. The times I was engaging in bookish activities or with my new community I forgot that I was struggling. I was able to put that aside for a minute and return to the job search refreshed. It wasnt too long before i found a job and this community kept my spirits up.

I hope you all have a great holiday. What are you all thankful for?

Cursed by Karol Ruth Silverstein

I got a ARC of this book at Yallwest and was so excited to read it since it was a #ownvoices book. I hardly see own voices when it comes to books about chronic illness, chronic pain, or disabilities so I love that this is one of those books.

Summary: Ricky has been recently diagnosed with a chronic illness and is pretty angry about it. Not only does she now have to deal with constant pain but her family is a mess, and the boy she likes doesn’t even know she exists. The only way she can think of to cope with this is through cursing and skipping school. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for her through her lashing out it is reveled to her parents that she has been skipping school and has a lot to make-up for if she plans on not repeating the 9th grade. Is Ricky going to make-up for lost time and is she gonna learn the importance of asking for help?

Thoughts: I will always appreciate a #ownvoices book because I don’t have to wonder if you know what the character feels like. While I know this is one person’s experience at least it is someone’s experience rather than information gathered from the internet that can sometimes be inaccurate.

I really enjoy how angry Ricky is at the world and how sometimes she even recognizes that her anger is misplaced. I know that this can sometimes throw you off as a reader but more me it made me find her relatable. She reminded me of having to go through multiple doctors and many tears before someone finally realized that the problem was asthma and that it wasn’t going away.

I love when she doesn’t want her arthritis to keep her from enjoying things and how hard she tries to keep doing things even if she’s in pain. In addition to this I love how she keeps thinking of others as brave and how this book shows her looking at other people with disabilities because I think that’s very realistic. This book does a great job at portraying the different levels in identity development when it comes to disability and it reminded me of my process through that.

Something that I loved and couldn’t get enough of was the friendship between Ricky and Oliver, and the relationship between Ricky and her public speaking teacher. Oliver and Ricky, WOW those two made me laugh, cry, and smile. I love the complexity and simpleness of their friendship and how that develops over time and becomes much more than just a friendship due to understanding pain.

Overall this book is an amazing read and I love so much about it. It was just something that made me feel less alone even if the disability is different than mine. I read it after I got too sick to enjoy a baseball game with my friend and hated myself for having to pace myself and take it slow in the heat. I told myself I should’ve known better, that it’s happened before and the doctor already warned me but I was still upset that I missed out. This book was my companion as I sat out the game and then as I had to stay in bed the next day to let my body recover, so thank you Karol Ruth Silverstein because during that time your book made me feel like I was gonna be okay and I didn’t ruin anyone’s day.

I recommend this to those of you who want to know about chronic illness and chronic pain, and for those of you who enjoy books about illnesses, here is one that doesn’t romanticize any of it.

You can purchase this on Amazon or look for it at your local library. I would love to talk to all of you about this book.

Athena’s Choice by Adam Boostrom Book Review

I received this book from Adam and CO in exchange for an honest review.

4 out of 5 Stars

Summary: Athena is just like every other girl living in the year 2099, a year that exists without men due to a outbreak that killed off all men including Trans men and even some woman. It’s been years since men have existed in this world and many people think it’s time to bring them back. There is one problem though, someone stole the genome that was going to help with this process. Athena’s help is enlisted in finding out who stole this genome and through this process she comes to find the truth about things that lead her to a choice that can alter her future forever.

Thoughts: I love all books that deal with a virus, outbreak, disease, contagion, etc. so I expected to love this book just as much as the others. While I enjoyed this book I kind of wanted a little more about this virus in the beginning, like at least a scene to get what actually happened to these men. I like that they include a little more of it the further you get into the book but I still wanted more so that I could feel bad for the men.

The first half of the book takes a while to set everything up but what I was fascinated by was the advanced technology. I love how there’s mock Wikipedia pages included for some of the more important pieces of technology in order to explain how things work. I thought it was cool because if I lived in that time I would be searching to see what these things are, and I liked how some AI systems are described throughout the book.

Something else that I enjoyed was the changes in font that were included throughout the book. It made it so that the transitions were smooth and I was able to follow who was speaking or whose perspective you were reading. It also made it easy to see which portions came from Wikipedia, the government, or the newspaper and that added to the story.

While I really enjoyed this book and the commentary that it makes about the future and technology there was one part that I wasn’t a fan of and that is the ending. I know that the author explains himself in the closing of the book but I still longed for a more conclusive ending. I do understand though that this book was more about what do we decide to do versus what Atena is going to do.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy Science Fiction or books that are about technology and the consequences that it can have on our lives.

You can purchase this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

In the Deep End Book Review

Thank you to Kate Davies, HMH Books, and Bookish for sending me an advanced reading copy of this book.

I had the chance to read a short excerpt from In the Deep End on Bookish and then write my first thoughts in order to enter a giveaway for this book. I read that first chapter and instantly wanted more, that first chapter grabs you and already has you rooting for Julia before you even really know her. I was glad to receive a copy so that I could read more instead of waiting for so long to find out what ever happens to Julia.

This book tells the story of a woman, Julia, who was looking for love in a all of the wrong places. Fortunately the wrong places were just men and after a one night encounter with a woman Julia declares herself a lesbian. She instantly emerges herself into the Lesbian scene where she meets Sam, her soon to be girlfriend.

TW: Abuse, Drugs and Alcohol

Before I begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this book I think something I kept in mind when reading was that this was meant to be humorous and not taken seriously. I think at first I started taking some things seriously and had I not reminded myself of that fact I would’ve put this book away. Julia suddenly becoming a lesbian was taken as a joke not just by Julia but by everyone around her. So when you read it just know it’s an enjoyable light not to be taken seriously.

Normally I would read the description of this book, get embarrassed and put it down looking for something a lot tamer but after reading one chapter I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t even put it down once I read more so I put my embarrassment aside and read it everywhere that I went. Who cared that my face would betray me and let everyone know that I was reading something that made me blush? When you enjoy a book you want the world to know and read along with you.

I love how the author describes each scene as if you are a fly on the wall watching Julia’s every action but not only do you see the scenes you even get to know what’s happening in the mind of Julia. I really liked the fact the story was told in first person because it made everything sound so personal, it was as if I was reading this woman’s diary entries.

Now these thoughts were all my opinions based on the first half of the book, you know before things got serious with Sam. Let me give you all what I think about the book during the second half.

There were red flags from the instant that Julia got with Sam and all of the people surrounding her were warning her about the way that Sam was manipulating her. Julia failed to see any of this because she was so in love with Sam and while I was disturbed by Sam’s actions I understood Julia’s feelings. It was a good portrayal of what it is like to be enamored with someone to the point that you excuse their abusive tendencies and manipulative behavior.

While I understood Julia’s response to Sam’s behavior I still wasn’t fond of it. I found those parts difficult to read because it sounded very much like things were taken as a joke, like you were supposed to find humor in Sam’s behavior and Julia’s response. I did not like how so much of the sexual scenes were not based on consent from Julia and how the novel made it seem that this was just the way it is for poly-amorous couples and anyone in the BDSM scene.

There’s a scene near the ending of the book that actually stuck with me and I was glad it was included. Julia talks about having nightmares about Sam and she says “it’s hard to accept that you’re the villain in someone else’s story.” I really resonated with this scene and found that it was a nice way for Julia to deal with that break up.

I think that people will enjoy this book if they can ignore some of the parts that made me cringe and just take it for a light read. I think you need to make sure that you just read this as a humorous novel before anything else. Don’t take any of what you learn about polyamorous couples or BDSM from this book to heart because this is one fictional experience and while it may mirror some people’s experience in the end it still is 1 experience.

About the Book: A fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones–like twenty-something who discovers that she may have simply been looking for love — and, ahem, pleasure — in all the wrong places (aka: from men)

Julia hasn’t had sex in three years. Her roommate has a boyfriend—and their sex noises are audible through the walls, maybe even throughout the neighborhood. Not to mention, she’s treading water in a dead-end job, her know-it-all therapist gives her advice she doesn’t ask for, and the men she is surrounded by are, to be polite, subpar. Enough is enough.

So when Julia gets invited to a warehouse party in a part of town where “trendy people who have lots of sex might go on a Friday night”—she readily accepts. Whom she meets there, however, is surprising: a conceptual artist, also a woman.

Julia’s sexual awakening begins; her new lesbian life, as she coins it, is exhilarating. She finds her tribe at queer swing dancing classes, and guided by her new lover Sam, she soon discovers London’s gay bars and BDSM clubs, and . . . the complexities of polyamory. Soon it becomes clear that Sam needs to call the shots, and Julia’s newfound liberation comes to bear a suspicious resemblance to entrapment . . . 

In at the Deep End is an unforgettably frank, funny, and racy odyssey through the pitfalls and seductions we encounter on the treacherous—and more often, absurd—path to love and self.

About the Author: Kate Davies was born and brought up in north-west London. She studied English at Oxford University before becoming a writer and editor of children’s books. She also writes comedy scripts, and had a short-lived career as a burlesque dancer that ended when she was booed off stage at a Conservative club, dressed as a bingo ball. Kate lives in east London with her wife. In at the Deep End is her debut novel.

About the Book and About the Author are borrowed from Goodreads.

You can purchase this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

On The Come Up Book Review

On The Come UP

5 out of 5 stars

I read The Hate U Give a while ago so when I saw that Angie Thomas had come out with a new book I knew I had to read it. I’ll admit that it did take me a while to pick this book up and that was mostly because it took me a month to get through The Hate U Give. I didn’t really want to pick up a book that was going to take me the same amount of time as that one did. I am glad that I finally decided to pick this book up though and give it a try.

Now it isn’t that these books take long because they are difficult to get through or I don’t enjoy them but the subject matter that they cover is heavy. I take a while to read her books because I want to take everything in and really see things rather than brush past them. I think that when books are discussing heavy topics you owe it to the author to spend some time thinking about the things that are brought up in their books.

On The Come Up is about a young girl, Bri, who is an aspiring rapper like her father who died before he made it big. Bri lives in Garden __ but goes to school in a different neighborhood. She lives with her mother, a former drug addict, and her brother but they are struggling to pay the rent and keep food on the table. Bri is hoping that her rapping career will take off and she can help her family escape poverty and the neighborhood. Unfortunately being successful may come at a cost to Bri and she might have to change who she is to fit the public’s image of her. Will she do that?

I think something I found hard about this book was watching Bri struggle through everything. She wants to succeed so much to be able to save her family and it was so hard to watch others take advantage of that. While I found it hard to read those parts I thought they were good and very realistic and that’s what I love about Angie Thomas’s books. I love how she’s real with you and while this book is set in the same place as The Hate U Give it is a different story. You see two different girls growing up in different circumstances and how that affects their lives.

I love the way Thomas writes each of her characters including minor characters. Each of the characters that are introduced throughout the book develop even if it’s only by a little bit. I love how they develop through interactions with each other and how much Bri develops not only due to positive things but negative things that happen to her.

Something that I wasn’t fond of was the amount of questions that this book left me with. I want to know so much about what happens next and hope that there is a sequel to this book. The questions didn’t make me like the book any less though it just made me disappointed that they weren’t answered and longing for more.

I found it hard to write a review on this book because I have nothing to critique and no words to say how beautifully written I find this piece.

About the Book: Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

About the Author: Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

About the Book and About the Author are borrowed from Goodreads.

You can find this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

There is no Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love Book Review

4 out of 5 stars

The challenge said I had to pick a self-help book and so I walked into the library’s section for self-help books and pulled out several trying to see which one I was interested in. After all if I was going to read a self-help book I wanted it to be something that could help me in the long run. I was pretty excited when I came across this book and not just because of all the pictures that it has, but if I’m being honest that was part of the draw. I was more excited because I think this book tackles something that everyone goes through at some point in their lives.

This book goes over why we may be hesitant to reach out to those around us who may be having a hard time, our expectations of others when we are having a hard time, and how to be there for others. It talks about the small things we can do in order to support one and other, and helping us gain confidence in difficult situations when dealing with others who are struggling. This book is a self-help book which means there is exercises throughout the book that need to be done. I mean you can read this book without doing the exercises but then are you really helping yourself.

I have a difficult time with books that tell me to take a step back and actually deal with emotions. My thoughts are always how is this going to help, you aren’t exactly my therapist and you can’t give me feedback. My other issue is that those books remind me of college when we had to do in book exercises so I’m like no I just finished school and am no where near ready to go back. So that being said I read through some of this and refused to do the exercises but then I went back and thought I can’t tell you all to take those seriously if I refused to do them.

On the subject of honesty, I have to be honest with you about this, this book made me cry within the first chapters. It wasn’t because of anything that they outright said but it was because of those exercises they have you do. It was the empathy workouts that were included all in that first section, they made you forgive yourself and not be so harsh on yourself and those kinds of things are hard on me so it was a nice reminder.

I loved the images that were included throughout each section because I could relate to the things they were saying. I loved how the images were telling other people’s stories in relation to what the authors were discussing. I loved how this book read as if the authors were in a therapy session with you and how the feedback given can apply to anyone not just one person.

I recommend this book to anyone who knows someone who is going through a hard time but isn’t too confident on how they would respond in those times. I think this book gives you ways to handle difficult situations in a great manner and Chapter 7 is a great review if you don’t have time to read through the whole thing.

About the Book: The creator of the viral hit “Empathy Cards” teams up with a compassion expert to produce a visually stunning and groundbreaking illustrated guide to help you increase your emotional intelligence and learn how to offer comfort and support when someone you know is in pain.

When someone you know is hurting, you want to let her know that you care. But many people don’t know what words to use—or are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. This thoughtful, instructive guide, from empathy expert Dr. Kelsey Crowe and greeting card maverick Emily McDowell, blends well-researched, actionable advice with the no-nonsense humor and the signature illustration style of McDowell’s immensely popular Empathy Cards, to help you feel confident in connecting with anyone experiencing grief, loss, illness, or any other difficult situation.

Written in a how-to, relatable, we’ve-all-been-that-deer-in-the-headlights kind of way, There Is No Good Card for This isn’t a spiritual treatise on how to make you a better person or a scientific argument about why compassion matters. It is a helpful illustrated guide to effective compassion that takes you, step by step by step, past the paralysis of thinking about someone in a difficult time to actually doing something (or nothing) with good judgment instead of fear.

There Is No Good Card for This features workbook exercises, sample dialogs, and real-life examples from Dr. Crowe’s research, including her popular “Empathy Bootcamps” that give people tools for building relationships when it really counts. Whether it’s a coworker whose mother has died, a neighbor whose husband has been in a car accident, or a friend who is seriously ill, There Is No Good Card for This teaches you how to be the best friend you can be to someone in need.

About the book is borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at
Amazon or look for it at your local library.

God Help the Child Book Review

God Help the Child

3 out of 5 stars

I selected this book because of a challenge on bookstagram that said to pick a book where the only image on the front cover was the title of the book. I searched the library for what felt like forever to find a book that fit this description. It was a lot harder than it sounds. I finally came across this book and decided to take it.

Normally I wouldn’t even venture into the adult section of the library unless there was a book I knew I needed there. Even when looking for non-fiction books in that area I make sure it has a YA sticker on it but I knew that YA was going to have beautiful covers not simple ones. I definitely didn’t want a classic so I knew adult fiction was the way to go for this challenge.

God Help the Child is a book told through many different perspectives all whom encounter the main character, Bride. This is a story of the ways that childhood shapes who you are as an adult and continues to affect you beyond your childhood years.

I got halfway through the book and am feeling very neutral about it, not great but also not hating it. I mean at the halfway point I feel for Bride and what she witnessed as a young child but I’m not really sure what the plot of the book is. As I read further on I start to think that maybe this book doesn’t need a plot. It’s more so showing you how childhood trauma can affect an adult.

I like how the story is told in different perspectives and shifts from first person and third person. Normally I would find that confusing but I think in this book it lends well to the story. I enjoy hearing first hand from Bride about what is currently happening in her life and then having it shift so that there’s a narrator telling you her story.

I love how descriptive each scene is without having too much narration and how all dialogue really moves the story along. I love being able to picture how each of these characters look and like how their skin colors are described.

Something else that I enjoy in the book is the way that the author illustrates childhood trauma affecting you later in life. I don’t want to spoil the book so you’ll have to read it to see what happens to Bride as she remembers her childhood.

There are moments in this book in which I am appalled by the way Bride has been treated throughout her childhood and by the things she has witnessed. It is in these moments that I wonder if this book is set in the past but I read the description and it reminds me that this is current time. I wonder if these occurrences happen because of the city it takes place in or maybe I’m just naive?

It’s hard for me to say the kind of people who I would recommend this book to because I think any adult who enjoys reading would enjoy this book. It’s a short quick read but the message in the story is profound.

About the Book: Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.

Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish … Booker, the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother … Rain, the mysterious white child, who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she’s suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother … and Sweetness, Bride’s mother, who takes a lifetime to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”

About the Author: Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), is an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” 

Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters; among the best known are her novels The Bluest Eye Song of Solomon , and Beloved , which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. In 2001 she was named one of “The 30 Most Powerful Women in America” by Ladies’ Home Journal.

About the book and about the author are borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at Amazon or look for it at your local library.

Lost in a Book- Book Review

Lost in a Book
An Enchanting Original Story by Jennifer Donnelly

“Keep being the author of your own story. Never let anyone else write it for you again.”

I picked this book up as part of a challenge on Instagram and am really glad that I decided to read it. I love all things Disney so when I saw that Disney now publishes books and they aren’t just the retelling of the movies, I wanted to read them all.

Lost in a Book is the story of the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast with a twist. Early on in her stay at the castle, Belle encounters a enchanted book in the Beast’s library and rather than sharing her findings with others she keeps it to herself. Through the use of this book, Belle visits the land of Nevermore which offers her a separate life than the one she would have at the castle. In Nevermore Belle can have all of her dreams come true, after all this is a story written just for her, but staying here would mean leaving behind what she has at the castle. What would leaving her friends at Beast’s Castle mean for belle and for her friends?

I love how the prologue for this book is two sisters who are watching Belle’s life unfold at the castle and decide to bet on what she is going to decide. I like how this opening shares the relationship between these two sisters because it sets a precedent to the rest of the story. Their relationship causes issues not only among themselves but for others who come into their lives, such as Belle.

As I continued reading more I couldn’t put this book down because I wanted to know what would happen to Belle and her friends. I wanted to know if she was going to have the same ending in this book as she does in the movie, and if she didn’t, then what was her new ending?

Near the end of my book I found myself in tears as I started to feel sympathy for the bad characters in the story. I think a story is good when you not only cheer for the good characters but feel for the bad ones. I love that the bad characters have reasoning behind their actions and the author has given them feelings beyond what one would expect.

I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Disney especially if you enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast movie.

About the Book: Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever. 

About the Author: Jennifer Donnelly is the author of twelve novels –StepsisterLost in a BookThese Shallow GravesSea SpellDark TideRogue WaveDeep BlueRevolutionA Northern LightThe Tea RoseThe Winter Rose and The Wild Rose – and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She is a co-author of Fatal Throne, which explores the lives of King Henry VIII’s six wives, for which she wrote the part of Anna of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife.

She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History. 

Jennifer’s first novel, The Tea Rose, an epic historical novel set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was called “exquisite” by Booklist, “so much fun” by the Washington Post, a “guilty pleasure” by People and was named a Top Pick by the Romantic Times. The Rose trilogy continued with The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose.

Her second novel, A Northern Light, set in the Adirondacks of 1906, against the backdrop of an infamous murder, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. Described as “rich and true” by The New York Times, the book was named to the Best Book lists of The Times (London), The Irish Times, The Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the School Library Journal. In 2015, TIME Magazine named it one of the 100 best young adult books of all time.

Revolution was named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. The audio edition was awarded an Odyssey Honor for Excellence.

In 2014, Jennifer teamed up with Disney to launch the bestselling Waterfire Saga, an epic series about six mermaids on a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil. The first book in the series, Deep Blue, was released in May, 2014; the second, Rogue Wave, launched in January 2015; the third, Dark Tide, came out in October 2015; and the fourth, Sea Spell, is scheduled for release in June 2016.

In November 2015, Jennifer released the historical novel These Shallow Graves, which received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness, and was named a Junior Library Guild Selection. 

Jennifer worked with Disney again in 2017, when she published Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book, an original story to accompany the blockbuster Beauty and the Beast film. Lost in a Book expands on the classic tale, exploring the growing friendship between Belle and the Beast as well as Belle’s ordeal within the pages of Nevermore, a magical book from which she narrowly escapes. 

Jennifer returned to historical fiction with Fatal Throne, a book about Henry VIII and his six wives published by Random House/Schwartz & Wade in 2018. For this project, Jennifer joined six other authors (Candace Fleming, M.T. Anderson, Stephanie Hemphill, Deborah Hopkinson, Linda Sue Park, and Lisa Ann Sandell), each of whom wrote the part of Henry or one of his wives.

About the Book and About the Author are borrowed from Goodreads.

You can find this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

The Woman in Cabin 10 Book Review

The Woman in Cabin 10

This was the library’s book club pick for the month of May and I was so excited to finally have a chance to read this. I don’t really read adult fiction because I find the plot lines too dense for me to follow. Honestly, adult fiction scares me because I can’t decipher what I’m supposed to get from the book without discussing it with others. This is the main reason I only read adult fiction when it’s a book club pick.

The Woman in Cabin 10 tells the story about a journalist, Lo Blacklock, who has recently been given an assignment on a luxary cruise. Before going on this assignment, Blacklock, has her home broken into and her sense of security is damaged. When Blacklock first arrives on this cruise things seem perfect and smooth until one day she is certain that she has seen a woman being thrown off the ship. The only problem though is that all the passengers and the crew are all accounted for so did someone actually get thrown overboard or is everything Blacklock’s imagination.

This book starts off very slowly and halfway through I still didn’t have any idea as to what was happening. Now normally this would throw me off and I wouldn’t want to continue reading because my opinion of the book would be ruined but it was different in this case. I think since this book already told me there was a mystery aspect to it and it wasn’t an obvious case I wanted to keep reading. You’ll find yourself guessing along with Blacklock as to what occurred that day and then second guessing yourself as to if the events are real or not.

I actually loved the pacing in this book because it uses more than half the book to build up suspense. I love that we get time to actually meet the main character along with the others who are on the cruise with her. Because you get to know everyone on the ship you can guess who it is and there is more of a shock when things start to get revealed.

Psychological Thrillers are a genre that I haven’t read in quite a long time, not because I don’t enjoy them but because I don’t venture into adult fiction often. When it comes to movies, psychological thrillers are one of my favorites because it makes you think and actually pay attention to what is going on. Maybe that’s why I worry about reading them, I’m always worried that I’ll forget the plot of a book if I don’t get through it quick enough but this book was such a good read once things started unraveling that I couldn’t put it down.

I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of thriller, mystery slightly horror books. I find that if you are looking for something to kind of scare you and keep you up at night, this book is perfect. This book made me slightly curious about the movie coming out in the future but not so sure if I want to ruin this book by watching the movie.

About the Book: Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong

About the Author: Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.

About the book and about the author are borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at or look for it at your local library.

Fish in A Tree Book Review

Fish in a Tree

4 out of 5 stars

“Well…alone is a way to be. It’s being by yourself with no one else around. And it can be good or bad. And it can be a choice…. But being lonely is never a choice. It’s not about who is with you or not. You can feel lonely when you are alone, but the worst kind of lonely is when you’re in a room full of people, but you’re still alone. Or you feel like you are anyway.”

I saw this book on a pinterest lists of books that all teachers should read. I already had checked it out of the library and had it sitting in my to be read pile for May. Originally I picked it because it had a fish on the cover and fish in the title and I love fish. I decided to read it before other books because of that pinterest list, you see I’m an aspiring educator so I felt this book might make me feel better about that. I’ve been a little discouraged about the path that I decided to pursue.

Fish in a Tree is the story of a 6th grade girl, Ally, who struggles in the classroom due to inability to read. Rather than ask anyone for help she becomes the class clown and continues to get herself sent to the office. It isn’t until one teacher notices her individuality and decides that he is going to bring to light her talents. Because of this teacher, Ally feels comfortable to stand out and use her talents to succeed in the classroom around others who don’t fit in.

I cried while reading this book because of how much I could relate to the characters who didn’t fit in. I really wish that I had found books like this when I was in middle school because it would’ve helped tremendously with my self esteem. I love how this book celebrates each characters differences and includes a teacher who helps them learn to love themselves not despite these differences but because of them.

I recommend this book to anyone who had a rough time growing up and being different, and to anyone who is currently going through not fitting in. Even though the book is written for a middle school audience I think adults can still enjoy it as they remember their years through middle school.

Another audience that I recommend this to would be educators and aspiring educators, especially those that may be questioning why we go into this profession. It really motivated me to continue working with students and not give up on pursuing that career because of the difference just one of us can make.

About the Book: “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

About the Author:

About the book is borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at or look for it at your local library