Goodnight June

May 27, 2014

Goodnight June
By: Sarah Jio
301 Pages

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June,Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.
June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature. --Courtesy of the publisher

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Sarah Jio cannot write a bad book!! It's genetically impossible! Once again, Sarah has a literary delight for her readers to devour! And make no mistake, devour you will. Yet again, she has spun an ingenious idea that will captivate you from the first page. 

I think it's safe to say that the majority of book lovers have heard of the beloved children's book, Goodnight Moon". In her newest book, Sarah finds a way to bring the author of the classic, and the book's creation, into her vision. And I have to say, the combination is so good you don't want to put it down.

June lives in New York. A doctor has recommended she slow her fast-paced life down when panic attacks enter into the picture. Bound and determined to forge on, June doesn't adhere to the advice until she learns of her beloved Aunt's death. All of a sudden, Jun realizes she's been so busy running from her old life, and carving out a new one, that she left her favorite relative behind. The point is driven further home when she learns her Aunt Ruby leaves her the bookstore she's owned, Bluebird Books. 

The intention is to fly out to Seattle and settle the estate. She has no need for a well-known bookstore in her New York executive life. However, plans may change once she gets there. As she goes through the store, deciding what to keep or toss, she finds strategically placed letters. As she reads them, she comes to see they aren't you average letters. These letters are from her Aunt Ruby and "Brownie", MWB. It isn't long before June learns Brownie and MWB are Margaret Wise Brown- THE Maraget Wise Brown. That's right the author of countless children's classics, including the eternally loved Goodnight Moon, and June's Aunt Ruby were very good friends. The more letters she finds, the more of a look into both womens' lives she gets. The love affairs. The struggles with career and family. All of it play out for June to read.

It also hits home, because June has her own struggles with her sister, Amy.  A feud that has yet to be resolved, remains that way 5 years later. June has no desire to forgive her sister, but the letters slowly chip away the ice. June also sees Margaret's struggles with her writing. Having made a name for herself writing books for children, the author desperately wants to write a taken seriously novel. 

One of the most shocking revelations the letters hold for June is the side of her Aunt they reveal. A love affair she never knew about comes to light- and it's aftermath. This comes in handy as June navigates a romance with the owner of the Italian restaurant next door. 

It isn't long before the letters help shift June's world, and what she values and prioritizes. Aunt Ruby and Margaret's letters help her take stock of her life. They give her the courage to really analyze how happy she is- and isn't. Can she and her sister forgive one another before it's too late? Is her fast paced, automatic life in New York really what she wants? And what happened to the child she learns her Aunt had?

Readers will be glued to the pages, eager to see what will happen on the next page. You won't want to stop reading. Fans of Sarah Jio will embrace Goodnight June with open arms. Fans of Goodnight Moon will love how, decades later, the book still lives on. This book is among my favorites from Sarah Jio. I hope you love every word, too.

Camp Payback by J. K. Rock

May 24, 2014


Alex has big plans for camp this year, starting with making it the best summer ever. Having fun and breaking some rules will get her the payback she wants against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. Because of his disgusting texts, she's headed to a super strict all-girls school in the fall. 

Then she meets Javier and revenge doesn't seem nearly as important as getting to know the troubled loner determined to keep a low profile at camp. But Alex's trouble-magnet personality and Javier's need to stay in the background don't mix nearly as well as their irresistible chemistry. 

With her home life eroding under her feet and her last year of summer camp speeding to a close, Alex wants to make her mark on the world and squeeze every bit of fun out of her time with Javier. Too bad her old plans for revenge turn back on her just in time to ruin everything. Will she lose Javier too?

This book was the 2nd in its series but if you didn't read the first one you will catch on perfectly! When I originally read the summary, I thought it would be a cute and fun read. I have never been to a summer camp myself so it seemed like adventures and laughs were in store for the main character, Alexandra. 

There are 2 main characters in this book:

Alex, who is also known as the main character in her family's wholesome blog as being the troublesome teenager, is almost rebellious when she first comes to camp. Knowing that her family would be sending her to a boarding school after the summer is over, she's determined to make the most of her summer! Her plan is to have a fun wild summer would in turn be payback to her parents. 

Javier, on the other hand, has been raised in foster homes while his mom has been in jail for issuing bad checks. He feels responsible and sometimes lets his temper get the best of him. He's been given a second chance working in the kitchens at camp and he looks forward to helping his mom when she soon is released. He already knows he has to be on his best behavior and not get into any trouble. 

Enter Alex! 

The way they meet was shocking and surprising to Javier! Alex was trying to get back at her ex , Vijay, for being a dirt bag by walking straight up to Javier (who she never knew) and planted a kiss on him! However, the chemistry that follows is unexpected and surprises them both! Thinking of someone else than herself, she finds herself and who she wants to be; however, she still manages to unintentionally get into trouble. 

While I found this book captivating at the beginning, it slowly faded as I progressed into the story. Some parts were dragged out a little too much but overall I enjoyed reading this book! I loved the plot of the story and I loved the determination that Javier possessed. He came across as very warm and strong in-spite of living such a difficult life thus far. I look forward to the next book in the series!

The Lincoln Myth

May 20, 2014

The Lincoln Myth
By: Steve Berry
448 Pages
Reviewed By: David Nelissen

September 1861: All is not as it seems. With these cryptic words, a shocking secret passed down from president to president comes to rest in the hands of Abraham Lincoln. And as the first bloody clashes of the Civil War unfold, Lincoln alone must decide how best to use this volatile knowledge: save thousands of American lives, or keep the young nation from being torn apart forever?

The present: In Utah, the fabled remains of Mormon pioneers whose nineteenth-century expedition across the desert met with a murderous end have been uncovered. In Washington, D.C., the official investigation of an international entrepreneur, an elder in the Mormon church, has sparked a political battle between the White House and a powerful United States senator. In Denmark, a Justice Department agent, missing in action, has fallen into the hands of a dangerous zealot—a man driven by divine visions to make a prophet’s words reality. And in a matter of a few short hours, Cotton Malone has gone from quietly selling books at his shop in Denmark to dodging bullets in a high-speed boat chase.

All it takes is a phone call from his former boss in Washington, and suddenly the ex-agent is racing to rescue an informant carrying critical intelligence. It’s just the kind of perilous business that Malone has been trying to leave behind, ever since he retired from the Justice Department. But once he draws enemy blood, Malone is plunged into a deadly conflict—a constitutional war secretly set in motion more than two hundred years ago by America’s Founding Fathers. --courtesy of publisher

In The Lincoln Myth, we return to the action-packed life of Cotton Malone to have Steve Berry challenge some of our knowledge of history. This time the mystery focuses around Lincoln, the American Civil War, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It starts, as usual, with Cotton doing a favor for his former boss (seriously, you would think he would have learned his lesson by now). He needs to meet and help a Magellan Billet agent near where he lives, and... yep, a religious fanatic (there is always at least one in Steve Berry books) causes bad things to start happening. Multiple characters and plot angles are followed, ranging from Europe to the USA, and an agreement between Abraham Lincoln and the leaders of the Mormon faith are discovered.

The book was very much like previous Cotton Malone books int hat the action was well paced and easy to follow, with the the critical information of the plot spread out in chunks which always seem to leave me wanting to know the entire story right away. The plot was interesting and gave a lot of information about the Latter-Day Saints that many people may not know. As always, Berry added a "Writer's Note" at the end to let us, the readers, know where he embellished in the story.

All in all, this books was good. It had me involved in the characters. It had me imagining some wonderful sights in Europe. It also introduced a new interesting character that we may see in later books. It especially had me involved in the plot. I, personally, do not believe this is the best Cotton Malone book I have read, but it was definitely worth reading if you like the character of this genre.

Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched by Kim Barnouin

May 12, 2014


For the second time in just a few short months, Clementine Cooper’s professional reputation hinges on one restaurant review. Clementine’s No Crap CafĂ© is poised to score the Holy Grail of publicity—a mention in the New York Times Sunday travel section—if Clem’s veggietastic lasagna can bowl over the food critic.

Clem has no time for distractions. Or surprises. But when her meat-eating millionaire boyfriend Zach Jeffries shocks her with a sweet and romantic marriage proposal, of course she says yes! Now she has to plan the most important menu of her life while fending off her domineering future mother-in-law’s extravagant plans for the wedding.

As if there wasn’t enough on her plate, Clem decides to open a second restaurant on her parents’ farm—Clem’s No Crap Outpost— against Zach’s advice. Just when she needs his support the most, Zach grows distant. The only person who really seems to understand is Clem’s friend and biggest competition, the cute vegan chef Alexander Orr. Putting out fires in the kitchen is easy—but in her relationship? Suddenly, her time with Alexander feels . . . hotter . . . than usual, and Clem starts to wonder if the charming carnivore she’s engaged to is really the man she should spend her life with

Not going to lie, the second I read the title I KNEW I had to read this book! I was cracking up before I even read the summary, and after I scanned it - I was hooked! This was the 2nd book in its series and you wouldn't have guessed, you catch on the story very quickly and easily. 

Clementine is a vegan and has owned her own restaurant "Clementine's No Crap Cafe" for 2 months. She is dating Zach Jeffries, this gorgeous looking man (or that's how I envisioned him), who is very wealthy with his own company. As she is trying to keep everything moving and flowing, Zach surprises Clem and pops the question with no other response than "YES!" That's when the fun begins: his mother acting as a wedding planner (who she once referred to as "Dominiquezilla"), her idea to open up a secondary restaurant, her newly engaged best friend with a guy Clem's not a fan of, and finally a surprise that shocks both Clem and Zack. 

This book I couldn't put down! I enjoyed it from beginning to end, especially with Clem and her bitchy-yet-polite ways. Some of the comments that were said in the book had me rolling, and the food sounded delicious! I'm far from being a vegan but those dishes I wanted to scarf up myself! This book is a must read!


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