Heather’s Review: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale
written by Margaret Atwood
published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1986

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Did I enjoy this book? Yes. It was an engaging and interesting story. Even though it was written in 1986, the story is still relevant today, maybe even more so. It’s not hard to imagine this same thing happening in the US today.

Ms. Atwood’s storytelling is full of imagery and details that bring the story and characters alive. It wasn’t hard to put myself in Offred’s place and imagine walking down the street with her partner or viewing the hanging bodies at The Wall or even the disturbing and awkward private dates with the Commander.

I didn’t appreciate the way Ms. Atwood ended the story. If she’d ended with Offred’s capture/escape, I could have gotten okay with it. But having a professor, one thousand years in the future, discuss the “recording” was too much of a distraction and disappointment that it took me out of the story.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely, it’s a good book and I highly recommend reading it before watching the show on Hulu.

 

Heather

About the book – from Goodreads: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

 

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2nd Annual Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop

 


If you thought hopping was only done by bunnies at Easter, you haven’t experienced Chick Lit Chat HQ’s annual Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop! 62 bestselling and award-winning authors in the Chick Lit and Rom Com genres are participating in this year’s fun-filled event and each one is doing a fabulous giveaway. Books, swag, and assorted holiday treats are all up for grabs! In addition, you can enter to win one of three Grand Prizes ($100 Amazon gift cards) on the hop’s group page.

 

The celebration runs from Monday, Dec. 4 thru Friday, Dec. 15, so strap on that mistletoe and fa-la-la-ollow along on Facebook. This hop is guaranteed to fill you with the Christmas spirit!

 

Join the party at the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop Facebook group where you’ll get to interact with readers, as well as the authors themselves. You’ll find each day’s featured authors, along with the links to their pages/giveaways, in the pinned post at the top of the group. Can’t wait to see you there!


 

Jaclyn’s Review: The Ladies’ Room by Carolyn Brown

The Ladies' RoomThe Ladies’ Room
written by Carolyn Brown
published by Montlake Romance, 2012

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook DepositoryGoodreads

Did I enjoy this book? I liked this book–it was a quick, cute read. During her great aunt’s funeral, Trudy accidentally overhears some devastating information about her husband. Trudy’s great aunt leaves Trudy her house, so Trudy leaves her husband and moves into the abandoned home. Trudy then discovers that she has also been left a fortune and uses the money to restore the old home to its former glory, with the aid of her neighbor and town recluse, Billy Lee. The rest of the story is completely predictable.

This was an innocent, happy read. No plot twists, nothing shocking. You could read this book, or you could watch the movie Hope Floats. It’s essentially the same thing.
(loses 0.5 stars for originality)

 

Would I recommend it? I paid $0.99 for this book, and it was totally worth it. I wouldn’t pay more than that; however, I’m glad I read it. If Amazon runs another special on it, then I would recommend it.

 

jaclyn

About the book – from Goodreads: Secrets told in the church ladies’ room are supposed to stay in the ladies’ room. But that doesn’t mean that what Trudy overhears there during her great-aunt Gertrude’s funeral won’t change the rest of her life.

Trudy has a daughter in the middle of a major rebellion; a two-timing husband who has been cheating for their entire married life; and a mother with Alzheimer’s residing in the local nursing home. She doesn’t really need a crumbling old house about to fall into nothing but a pile of memories and broken knickknacks.

Billy Lee Tucker, resident oddball in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, lived next door to Gert, and in her will she leaves him the funds to help Trudy remodel the old house. That’s fine with Billy Lee, because he’s been in love with Trudy since before they started school. And just spending time with her is something he’d never ever allowed himself to dream about.

A beautiful home rises up from the old house on Broadway, and right along with it rises up a relationship. But is Trudy too scarred from what she heard in the ladies’ room to see a lovely future with Billy Lee?

 

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Pop-Up Blog Tour: I Like You Like This by Heather Cumiskey (Chrissy’s review)

I Like You Like This
written by Heather Cumiskey
published by She Writes Press, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I really did. I finished this book in two days. I would have finished it in one day, but I didn’t have the opportunity to binge read it.

Anyway, back to the book. This story moved. I felt for Hannah. Her father was unkind to her, her mother was an addict, and her little sister really knew how to play the favorite. I liked that she seemed like your average teen . . . bad complexion, out of control hair, and not in the popular crowd. I totally understood why she went for the drug dealer, the bad boy. She wanted to fit in, and she wanted to be wanted. I also liked that it wasn’t text messages, social media, cell phones, etc. The book takes place in 1984, which made it a nice change of pace for this reader.

I Like You Like This isn’t a happy-go-lucky book. It isn’t a happily ever after book. It’s heartbreaking. It’s disturbing. It’s a bit horrifying. But it is a story that will grab you and make you finish it.

Would I recommend it? Yes, if you like YA contemporary. This is a quick, engrossing read.

 

Chrissy

About the book – from Goodreads: 
In 1984 Connecticut, sixteen-year-old Hannah Zandana feels cursed: She has wild, uncontrollable hair and a horrid complexion that she compulsively picks, and as if that weren’t bad enough, her emotionally unavailable parents mercilessly ridicule her appearance and verbally shame her.
Wanting to change her pathetic life, Hannah attempts to impress a group of popular girls–an ill-fated effort, except that it gets her the attention of Deacon, a handsome and mysterious boy who also happens to be her school’s resident drug dealer. Suddenly, Hannah’s life takes an unexpected detour into Deacon’s dangerous and seductive world–but when her relationship and family unravel around her, she is forced to reexamine what she believes about herself and the people she trusts the most.

**Disclaimer: this book includes material that could be sensitive to some, including drugs/alcohol, emotional abuse, explicit language and sexual content.

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving – 2017

Jaclyn’s Review: P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy

P.S. from ParisP.S. from Paris
written by Marc Levy
published by AmazonCrossing, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads


Did I enjoy this book? 
This book was slow, but I did eventually like it. Mia is a movie star whose husband is cheating on her. She escapes to visit a friend in Paris and uses the friend’s online dating profile to meet a new friend. Paul is a recluse author living in Paris. His friends try to convince him to socialize more and set up an online dating profile against his wishes. After the world’s most awkward blind date, Paul and Mia decide to continue their friendship. After a number of different mishaps, the two friends decide to try a romantic relationship instead.

This book is a cute romantic comedy. It’s got a different premise than a standard romance, and you are genuinely pulling for the characters throughout the story. The story was very well written. It’s obvious why this author is so popular.

 

Would I recommend it? Absolutely. This was a good summer read while I was on vacation.

 

jaclyn

About the book – from Goodreads: From Marc Levy, the most-read French author alive today, comes a modern-day love story between a famous actress hiding in Paris and a bestselling writer lying to himself. They knew their friendship was going to be complicated, but love—and the City of Lights—just might find a way.

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.

Paul is an American author hoping to recapture the fame of his first novel. When his best friend surreptitiously sets him up with Mia through a dating website, Paul and Mia’s relationship status is “complicated.”

Even though everything about Paris seems to be nudging them together, the two lonely ex-pats resist, concocting increasingly far-fetched strategies to stay “just friends.” A feat easier said than done, as fate has other plans in store. Is true love waiting for them in a postscript?

 

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Chrissy’s Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything
written by Nicola Yoon
published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book? 
I didn’t enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, but it was very predictable and inconsistent.

We meet Maddy in her house, a house she has never left since she was an infant. Apparently, she has a rare disease that prevents her from ever leaving her house because she is allergic to EVERYTHING. She goes to school online, has a home nurse, and spies on her neighbors from her window. Of course, she falls for the cute boy who moves in next door and knows nothing about her. Don’t the neighbors talk?

Here’s the thing, I finished the book. It kept me reading despite knowing/guessing the ending very early in the story and despite me being angry with the adults in this book.

Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the book, so you can stop reading here.

 

However, if you want to read some of why I didn’t like the book, continue reading. There will be spoilers!

SPOILER ALERT

I figured out the ending/”twist” from almost the beginning. There were so many red flags throughout this story that told us the ending. It wasn’t hard to figure out. I get the mom was distraught and upset and wanted to protect her only child. But did no one question anything? Really? Why did Maddy never question her diagnosis? She never researched her disease? Seriously?!?!?! She has internet access. She never looked anything up? She never checked her symptoms? And the nurses never questioned anything? Especially Carla??? She had an inkling but did NOTHING to help. And Maddy never saw a doctor. I don’t care if her mother is a doctor, she should have been seeing specialists as well as general practitioners. Just, no. It was too convenient and not that surprising.

SPOILER OVER

Would I recommend it? I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to tell you not to read it.

 

Chrissy


About the book – from Goodreads: 
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

 

 

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Jaclyn’s Review: The First Word by Isley Robson

The First Word (The Visionaries, #1)The First Word
written by Isley Robson
published by Montlake Romance, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really liked this book! I thought this was sensitive subject matter since the whole story is about interacting with a child who has autism. I was concerned that the child would be portrayed in a negative or inaccurate light. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the author handled the subject matter perfectly.  The story is told from the point of view of an emotionally scarred social worker who is hired to work privately with an autistic child of a wealthy man. There is a backstory that unfolds slowly–painfully slowly. Just when I would think that I couldn’t stomach another vague reference to a past issue, the author finally started to reveal the story. The overall plot was interesting and handled well.

 

Would I recommend it: Yes, this was interesting enough that I would recommend this one. This is definitely for a more mature crowd. There were some spicy scenes, but the real motivation for my age recommendation is the general plot. So much of this book revolves around a parent’s interaction with a child–I think it would be difficult for a younger reader to understand this.

 

jaclyn

 

About the book – from Goodreads: To stay sane, Andie Tilly must keep her mind on her work. Her job as a pediatric occupational therapist is the perfect distraction from the unspeakable tragedy she experienced as a child. But when she meets alternative-energy magnate Rhys Griffiths and his autistic toddler, Will, she quickly realizes her heart will never be the same. Especially when her name becomes Will’s first word.

After accepting a position as a live-in therapist for Will, Andie steels herself against the appeal of the disconcertingly attractive—and attracted—Rhys. But their chemistry can no longer be denied, and their heated affair seems destined for happily ever after. A destiny Andie’s terrified to embrace.

When Andie’s guilt, Rhys’s awkwardness, and the abrupt appearance of an erratic ex threaten to dismantle their delicately blooming relationship, they must decide if love is worth the challenge. Can Andie and Rhys find their way back to each other? Or will the demons of the past simply prove too strong?

 

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Jaclyn’s Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorn and Roses #3)
written by Sarah J. Maas
published by Bloomsbury Childrens Books, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, Walmart, Book Depository, Goodreads


Did I enjoy this book? 
What a climax! What an ending! (or is it???) Our heroine is back and better than ever. Our hero is still the greatest hero of all time. The friends, the enemies, the battles–is there anything this book doesn’t have? Every book in this series has gotten progressively better, and I loved the first one! My husband didn’t read these books, but he knows all about them because I couldn’t stop talking about them while reading them. I should have tracked my blood pressure throughout this book. There were a number of times I had to set the book down and take some deep breaths just to get through. I’m a little embarrassed to admit how late I stayed up reading this one, especially when I got to the end of the book.

 

Would I recommend it? I can’t recommend this enough. Loved, loved, LOVED this book and the whole series! Apparently there is another book coming out in 2018 and I’m DYING to get my hands on it! Go read these books and then let me know what you think. I need to discuss/obsess over them with someone other than my husband!

 

jaclyn

About the book – from Goodreads: Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

 

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Chrissy’s Review: In a Blink by Kiki Thorpe

In a Blink (Disney: The Never Girls #1)
written by Kiki Thorpe
published by RH/Disney, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book? 
I really did. This was a cute read for your Disney Fairies fans out there. I love the Disney Fairies movies, The Legend of the Neverbeast being my favorite.

Anyway, on to the book. We meet Kate, Mia, Lainey, and Gabby playing in their backyard when they suddenly find themselves in Never Land. It was great to see a different side to Pixie Hollow and the fairies. I did find it funny that Tinker Bell wasn’t all that excited to be with the “Clumsies.” In the Disney Fairies movies, she seemed so curious about the humans. Maybe she got over that fascination by the time we hit these books. 😉 Anyway, the story is good. The pictures are cute. The girls go on quite an adventure. I don’t know if I will read the rest of the series myself, but I have a feeling my daughter will be reading it in a few years.

 

Would I recommend it? Sure! I think your young readers who are Tinker Bell fans would like this one.

 

Chrissy


About the book – from Goodreads: 
The Disney Fairies star in a magical all-new early chapter book series for kids ages 6 to 10—The Never Girls!

The smell of salt water, a gust of seabreeze, and the bell-like ringing of a fairy’s laugh are the only hints that something magical is happening to Kate, Mia, Lainey, and Gabby. In a blink of an eye, the four friends are whisked out of their ordinary lives to the most wonderful place of all—Never Land, home to fairies, mermaids . . . and now four lost girls. The girls don’t want to leave right away, but Queen Clarion and Tinker Bell have figured out a way for them to get home. Will Kate, Mia, Lainey, and Gabby’s fantastic adventure end before it’s barely begun?

 

 

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