*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Monday, March 26, 2018

"Because I Had To" by David Bulitt Book Tour

Because I Had To
by David Bulitt
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Jess Porter spent her childhood bouncing from therapist to therapist and prescription to prescription. An outcast at school and a misfit at home, the only solace she ever found was in her relationship with her dad, Tom. Now he's dead. Feeling rejected by her adopted mom and her biological twin sister, Jess runs off to South Florida. But she can't outrun her old life. Watching the blood drip down her arm after her latest round of self-inflicted cutting, she decides her only choice is to find and face what frightens her most. Because I Had To takes the reader inside the worlds of adoption, teen therapy, family law, and the search for a biological family. With a cast of finely drawn, complicated characters, it asks us to consider: can the present ever heal the past?

Family law specialist David Bulitt has been praised as the lawyer who “epitomizes stability and old fashioned common sense” by Bethesda Magazine and routinely makes every top Washington DC Metro lawyer list. His clients say that he is “the best non-shaving, motorcycle-riding, bourbon-drinking, non-lawyer, lawyer” they know. 

The grandson of a New Jersey bartender, Bulitt was the first member of his family to get a professional degree. After years of raising kids and focusing on family responsibilities, Bulitt Bulitt now spends much of his spare time discussing world issues with his dogs and working on his novels. His first book, CARD GAME, was published in 2015 to a bevy of five star reviews. His new novel, BECAUSE I HAD TO, is available now on Roundfire Books.

Bulitt is the Assistant Managing Director of Joseph, Greenwald and Laake, PA, one of Maryland's largest and most prominent law firms. His practice focuses on all areas of family law, including cases that involve complex financial and property matters and property distribution, divorce, and child custody disputes. He is often appointed by local courts to serve in one of the most difficult and demanding legal roles, as a Best Interests Attorney for children whose parents are embroiled in high conflict custody disputes. He also has extensive expertise working with families that have children with special needs.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

"Dawn and the Impossible Three" by Gale Galligan, and of course, Ann M. Martin

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51HmwfDtKJL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI have a confession. I want to do my Baby-Sitters Club reading challenge again. I don't have the time of course. My reading time has shrunk considerably since becoming a mom and I barely have the time to read new books, let alone the 200+ Ann M. Martin books I read when I did the challenge a few years ago. What can I say, I miss the BSC.

I have been trying to get my hands on the new Graphic Novel version of Dawn and the Impossible Three for awhile now. It's popular at my library (which makes me so happy) and whenever I'd think to check for it, it was always checked out. However, the library recently acquired the e-book version (*insert me babbling about how amazing the Libby app is here*). While I wasn't amazed by it, I did have a good time reading it.

Dawn is new to the BSC and new to Stoneybrook. She becomes the very regular sitter for Buddy, Suzy, and Marnie Barrett (some of my favorite of the BSC charges). They are awesome kids, but as their parents are going through a messy divorce, things in the Barrett household are crazy. The house and kids are often a mess, they have some behavioral issues stemming from the divorce, and it's usually a little more than thirteen year old Dawn can handle.  But if anyone can solve the problem, it's the Baby-Sitters Club!

First, to address the biggest change, the art isn't by Raina Telgemeier. As a Telgemeier fan, this made me sad, but Gale Galligan's style is very close. I suspect that children reading this book wouldn't be bothered that the style isn't identical and as an adult, I appreciate that someone new is continuing the series for new readers to discover. As for the adaptation of the original novel, I'm a little put off by the plot. When the graphic novels first came out, the books adapted were Kristy's Great Idea, The Truth About Stacey, Mary Anne Saves the Day and Claudia and Mean Janine (books 1, 3, 4 and 7). Because it wasn't the first 4 books, I remember there being some adjustments to make up for the plot points that were from other books. Okay, works for me. However, Dawn and the Impossible Three is book 5 in the series. Meaning we have jumped back in time chronologically of the old series, but not for the new. If I was completely new to this universe, it would have been fine. But as an avid (okay, obsessed) fan, my head hurt. On top of that, this adaptation addresses plot points that weren't brought up until Hello, Mallory! (book 14) in the original series so now my head is really spinning. I read this knowing that the adaptation of Kristy's Big Day is in the works, so I'm already wondering how that plot will differ. This was really my only complaint about the book. It works just fine within the graphic novel universe, so new readers shouldn't have any problems. However, the parents who grew up on the original series may be confused- especially if they have only read the old books and not kept up with the new. But I am on board with these adaptation because I love that they are introducing my favorite baby-sitters to a whole new generation of readers.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

"Caroline: Little House, Revisited" by Sarah Miller

My love for The Little House started at a young age. I believe I was in the first grade when I first read Little House in the Big Woods, and I was immediately hooked. While I am selective about which parts of the legacy I love, that love runs deep. I'm far more interested in the historical side of Laura Ingalls Wilder than the various spin-offs and the "extras" such as the television show. Unfortunately, I don't currently have the means to travel to the various sites where Laura and her family lived, it is a dream of mine to do so one day. I did get to visit some of the sites in DeSmet a few years ago, and it was AMAZING. I just wish that my trip had allowed for a more in depth visit. For all of this, I was very curious when I heard about Sarah Miller's Caroline: Little House, Revisited. I have read all of the Caroline Years and enjoyed them, but this was different and I am so glad that I managed to make this one of the books I read in 2017.

We all know Caroline Ingalls. She is one of the world's most famous mothers, whether it be in history or fiction. We know how she calmly raised the feisty Laura. We all know about her amazing cooking and how she seemed to be able to create wonders from absolutely nothing. But I don't think I had given a lot of thought to her perspective of the Ingalls' journeys and various living locations. Sarah Miller made me appreciate just how nice my life is and how thankful I am to live in this era. Caroline gives insight into the difficulties of being a pioneer woman and mother, the struggles of being pregnant while crossing the country and settling a new homestead, and just how tough things really were without today's modern conveniences. While the writing style was a little slower than I normally like, it worked for this particular novel. It was very interesting to see those famous moments from Little House on the Prairie through the eyes of an adult. Much of the emotion was the same as in Laura's novel. There was fear at the same moments, joy, sadness. But it was still different. This is very much tied to the fact that Caroline had a much better grasp of what was at stake each day. As an adult, there wasn't someone else to rely on to make things better. She and Charles didn't have someone to see that "all's well that ends well." It was up to them to make that ending well. Miller captures these emotions so beautifully, that I was sad when I finished this book, because I knew the story wasn't over, but that this perspective was.

Sadly, I don't have nearly as much time for reading in my life (that's okay, mommyhood is better), but out of the few books I actually got to sit and read in 2017, this was by far the best. It's the perfect read for those that enjoy historical fiction that really focuses on the way things were. It's great for mom's (trust me, I was so beyond thankful for my birthing experience after reading this book). And above all, it's great for fans of The Little House.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Dog Man" and "Dog Man: Unleashed" by Dav Pilkey

The Captain Underpants books are insanely popular at my library. As in, almost always checked out because the kids love them that much, popular. However, they just aren't for me. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the concept and love that they get kids (especially boys) excited about reading. But for my personal enjoyment, I just can't get passed the potty jokes. However, I had enough kids ask for Dav Pilkey's Dog Man books, that I decided to give them a try- and I sure am glad that I did!

The premise of the series is simple: George and Harold (of Captain Underpants fame) have teamed up to write comics about a police office who has the body of a cop and the head of a dog. His nemesis is an evil cat. He does great deeds for the community, but has a problem with getting distracted by simple pleasures like dead fish and playing ball. Told in comic style, the books follow Dog Man and crew on zany adventures to save the day. The writing is simple, but appealing. There are several jokes here and there that I know would go over the heads of children, but as an adult I chuckled (so parents who are looking for something to read with your kiddos, this one is for you!).

My only complaint about the books is that some elements do not work while reading digitally. Lately, I have been reading more and more books on my phone (insert exclamation about the amazing Libby app here) and there are quite a few instances of "Flip-O-Rama" (turning the pages back and forth to get a movement effect). This idea works great in a book, but didn't do so much for me in the ebook world. However, this is a minor thing that doesn't take much away from the experience as a whole.

Though I think this series will appeal to more boys, I can see both boys and girls enjoying this book. It would also be a fun read-aloud for the whole family (as long as everyone can see the pictures). THe third book is currently checked out at my library (all ten copies!), but I know I will be reading it as well, very soon

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

"Aphrodite's Closet" by Suzy Turner

Aphrodite's Closet
Displaying Aphrodite's Closet Final.jpg 

Agatha Trout didn’t even know she had a Great Aunt Petunia, so imagine her surprise when she finds Petunia left her a corner shop in her will. But it’s not just any old corner shop—it’s a corner shop that needs something unique, something the town of Frambleberry has never seen before. Influenced by her confident best friend, Coco, Agatha is soon convinced that there’s only one way to go: an adults-only sex shop.

While some of the townspeople are clutching their pearls in horror, others are open to the new experiences this shop offers. But not everyone in Frambleberry is convinced. Will the women soldier on in the face of violent threats or will their fears get the best of them—and their new venture—before it even gets off the ground? 

Displaying Author Suzy Turner.jpgAbout the author
Born in England and raised in Portugal, Suzy lives with her childhood sweetheart Michael, two crazy dogs and a cat.
Shortly after completing her studies, Suzy worked as a trainee journalist for a local newspaper. Her love of writing developed and a few years later she took the job of assistant editor for the region's largest English language publisher before becoming editor of a monthly lifestyle magazine. Early in 2010 however, Suzy became a full time author. She has since written several books: Raven, December Moon, The Lost Soul (The Raven Saga), Daisy Madigan's Paradise, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, The Temporal Stone, Looking for Lucy Jo, We Stand Against Evil (The Morgan Sisters), Forever Fredless,  And Then There Was You, Stormy Summer and her latest, Aphrodite’s Closet.
In 2015 she launched her popular 40+ lifestyle blog which continues to go from strength to strength, while just over a year later, she trained to become a yoga instructor. Suzy continues to write, blog and teach yoga in one of Portugal’s loveliest settings - the Algarve.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

"Last Semester" by Corine Mekaouche

Last Semester
by Corine Mekaouche
Genre:  Comedy, New Adult, Romance

College. Party. Drama. Life.
When Johanna ‘Jo’ Gold, witty college life blogger and senior at Rutan University, decides to move in with three male strangers her last semester of school, her life unexpectedly turns upside down. While dealing with her new roommates, A.J., the pompous rich kid who feels trapped in following his father’s footsteps; Rob, the prematurely engaged former womanizer who tries to force Jo out of the house at all costs; and Drew, the 21-year-old virgin genius whose encounters with women have been more than limited, Jo learns that change isn't always easy and it's up to her to learn how to survive the remainder of her time at Rutan the best that she can. Along with searching for her missing mother, figuring out a clever way to pay for school tuition on her own, and dealing with the childish pranks brought on by a certain roommate, Jo’s issues seem more complicated than the average 21-year-old. Can Jo endure the dramatic perils of college while planning for life after graduation?
Navigating through college isn’t easy especially when you don’t know what the future holds, but Jo is determined to conquer her present even if it means figuring out what being an adult is all about. With graduation around the corner, Jo and her roommates have some growing up to do and the last semester is all they have.
College is complicated.
Partying is a necessity.
Drama is guaranteed.
Life is just beginning.

The geek and the dreamer, Corine Mekaouche has always had the vision of becoming a writer. While growing up in the New Jersey suburbs, Corine spent her childhood immersed in music, novels, and writing. To her, the arts was the best escape ever. For college, she attended Rutgers University majoring in English and minoring in Theatre Arts. Somehow, Corine survived the college experience and became somewhat of a grown-up yet still kept the vision of being a writer alive because it may be all she’s qualified for. So, she wrote and wrote until Last Semester, a new adult novel about college life and growing up, was born. Currently, she is writing other novels and plays for future release. When she’s not writing, loudly singing to songs in her car or dancing in random places for no apparent reason, Corine is being an awesome wife and a mom residing outside of the wonderfully flawed New York City.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and giveaways!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

"Play Dates" by Maggie Wells

Play Dates
by Maggie Wells
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017

For single parents, life is often more diapers and daycare dilemmas than dating. But for three dads going solo, a little flirting can lead to a whole lot more than a fling . . .

Colm Cleary lost his wife just moments after his son Aiden’s birth, and it’s been just the two of them ever since. Dating is his very last priority—until he spots gorgeous Monica Rayburn on the playground with her little girl. Suddenly finding a woman sympathetic to the demands of single parenthood seems like a great idea—especially if they agree to a no-pressure, no-strings date . . .

Dazzled by the hot “Saturdaddy” who asks her out, Monica doesn’t get around to mentioning that little Emma is her niece. She’s in commodities, not children. A gambler to the bone, she’s going to take a chance on an adult evening with Colm—and worry about the details later. But when their casual connection deepens into something more solid, the truth will have to come out—and both Colm and Monica will have to throw caution to the wind to hold on to a future together . . .

Maggie Wells is a deep-‐down dirty girl with a weakness for hot heroes and happy endings. By day she is buried in spreadsheets, but at night she pens tales of people tangling up the sheets. The product of a charming rogue and a shameless flirt, this mild-‐mannered married lady has a naughty streak a mile wide.
Fueled by supertankers of Diet Coke, Maggie juggles fictional romance and the real deal by keeping her slow-‐talking Southern gentleman constantly amused and their two grown children mildly embarrassed.

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