Tradition by Brendan Kiely

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Realistic fiction with food for thought!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Tradition by Brendan Kiely!
The book opens as Jules is recovering from an attack that she’s trying to wrap her head around. She decides she needs to get up and walk home. Next, James is helping a teen girl to her dorm after he found her unconscious in the woods. Part One: Before- introduces James to Fullbrook, his new school, his dorm and fellow sports players, then Jules as she is trying to hand out women’s health pamphlets to students, since it’s move-in day. Mothers are extremely offended and some are angry about this. As school begins for the year, inequality is apparent in many ways and it’s the way things are and always have been at Fullbrook. James is trying to fit in and mentally recover from a football accident last year that had his Iowa hometown reeling and Jules wants to change the inequality to help more people feel comfortable and accepted. Jules becomes friends with Aileen, a loner, and Javi, who has been her friend throughout high school. The three of them hang out with James and realize they have a lot in common because none of them are snobby, rude, bullies or pushy people. They are relaxed around each other and completely accepting of each other’s differences and they have a great time sneaking out of their dorms and into a college party together. Part Two: The Night at Horn Rock- tells us about Jules’ attack and the girl that James helped get to her dorm and brings the inequality to light in so many ways. Part Three: After- shows the aftermath of the attack and how Fullbrook sweeps problems under the rug for certain people. Part Four: The Winter Ball- brings a new group of freshmen girls into the Senior Send-Off Tradition with all of their naivety and innocence. Tradition addresses many controversial issues intelligently and without being too graphic about any of them. 5 stars for a realistic fiction book and its food for thought!

The Essential Garden Design Workbook by Rosemary Alexander and Rachel Myers

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Helpful and useful for complex garden planning.
Thanks to NetGalley and Timber Press for the opportunity to read and review The Essential Garden Design Workbook by Rosemary Alexander and Rachel Myers!
I thought this book was for a layperson to help with designing landscapes but it’s geared more toward professional landscapers. The design phase section is helpful to both with tips on shapes, patterns and unification of gardens. Helps on furniture and containers are included also. The garden layout plan section helps to visualize what you want your landscape to look like. Some photos are included but most of the book is illustrated. Helpful but a little too complex for the average gardener; still deserves a 5 star rating for the complete directions of landscaping from start to finish!

Be Mindful & Stress Less by Gina Biegel

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Completely helpful!
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review Be Mindful & Stress Less by Gina M. Bigel!
The fifty ways to deal with your crazy life are broken down into parts. Pay attention with senses is part one, part two is self-care, part three is always consider other responses, and each of these focuses on how to handle stress, learning to be mindful of our surroundings and stress triggers and self-care. My favorite stress relief is to “just breathe”! So relaxing. Taking mindful pauses to keep stress in check and to become more aware of our responses to problems is a wonderful tip also. The 5 G’s, gratitude exercises to help express and experience gratitude, and encouragement to treat yourself with kindness are resourceful and beneficial advice sections. Wonderful book for dealing with life’s inevitable stresses, 5 stars!

806 by Cynthia Weil

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Humorous storyline!
Thanks to NetGalley and Tanglewood Press for the opportunity to read and review 806 by Cynthia Weil! The main character, KT, discovers that her unknown father is a sperm donor and she begins the search for possible siblings and for sperm donor 806. She finds out that two of her male school mates are her siblings and they meet 806. After being happily introduced and visiting each other for a while, 806 realizes that he can’t be their father because of his blood type. Back to square one. KT turns the sperm donor card over and thinks the number could actually be 908 instead. After hunting and a few misadventures, the three siblings find their actual donor father and they discover that it was worth the wait. 3 stars for this unique storyline full of humor!

Scream Site by Justina Ireland

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Edge of your seat horror-mystery!

Thanks to Capstone Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Scream Site by Justina Ireland!

The synopsis creeped me out and I started the book with jittery anticipation. Sabrina loves journalism and, as the story opens, she’s trying to figure out the best article to submit for a summer internship with the Daily Sun newspaper. Her friend, Evelyn, tells her about rumors surrounding the website called Scream Site, that’s holding a competition for scariest video. The rumors involve missing young women and the possibility of murder or torture of these women. The more Sabrina investigates, the more danger she’s in and the more she’s threatened. No one seems to believe her concerns, not ever her detective uncle, so Sabrina takes the investigation into her own hands regardless of personal safety. Along with the mystery, online safety is focused on with helpful reminders for all of us. This edge of your seat horror-mystery kept me riveted and I read it straight through in a few hours, 4 stars.

Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder

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Touching realistic fiction!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder! Parker and Charlie are twins. One of them is giving the Valedictorian speech at high school graduation and the other watches from the audience, not graduating because of being held back a year in school, due to a second bout with leukemia. Parker has her future set out for her and Charlie is tired of dealing with leukemia. At the same time, Charlie seems much more confident about what he’s feeling and what he wants compared to Parker, who has uncertainties about everything. Parker crosses paths with Finn, a friend from elementary school that she lost track of. Charlie acts like he has a death wish and it’s upsetting his family and friends so much that his parents send him to a cancer therapy support group. Parker thinks that Charlie hates her and she seems to keep making the same mistakes, over and over, that make him angry. Through the turmoil of figuring out their lives and futures, Parker and Charlie surprise each other with how similar they are but different at the same time. A touching realistic fiction story with Ruby and Finn, dynamic side characters that bring an extra level of maturity to the plot and story line. 5 stars!

The Year of Living Awkwardly by Emma Chastain

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Charming and funny!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year by Emma Chastain!
Chloe shares her daily experiences through diary entries. She lives with her single father after her mother left them. Chloe’s mother went to Mexico with her much younger boyfriend. Needless to say, Chloe is angry at her mother. Chloe and her co-worker Grady have an entertaining relationship. Once school starts, so does the worrying and the drama of high school life. Friendships, dating, the musical and family spin Chloe out of control and she learns about herself in the process. Charming and funny, this realistic fiction is a blast to read with dynamic characters, drama and humor, 5 stars

 

Price of Duty by Todd Strasser

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Heartbreaking, tear-jerking, gut-wrenching reality!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Price of Duty by Todd Strasser. As the story opens, we’re thrown right into a Humvee being hit by an IED! The main character, Jake, narrates in first person point of view, alternating between the present and his active duty as a U.S. soldier. His life has completely changed since he enlisted in the military and he’s holding onto anger from seeing his comrades harmed and killed, feeling deceived by the recruiter, struggling with his own injuries and having to face being reactivated. He’s hiding his anger from everyone and he’s afraid he’ll let it slip and his family and hometown will think less of him. Price of Duty shows us what war is really about in heartbreaking, tear jerking, gut wrenching reality, 5 stars for a book that I’m definitely buying for the library collection!

Modern Macrame by Emily Katz

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An all-inclusive macrame guide!
Thanks to NetGalley and Ten Speed Press for the opportunity to read and review Modern Macrame by Emily Katz!
An informational and instructional guide to all things macrame. From the history of macrame to plant hangers to wall art, and more, can be found in this book of creativity. Photographs accompanying detailed instructions show tools and supplies needed, macrame knots and making macrame ropes and mounting. When I hear the word “macrame”, I think of the 1970’s plant hangers and bell bottom jeans, but the macrame creations in this book are streamlined and not just for hanging plants. The decorations and wall hangings are delicate and trendy. I especially love the swing! The daybed is fascinating and beautiful and the rugs are versatile. An all-inclusive macrame guide, 5 stars and happy creating!

Learning to Breathe by Janice Lynn Mather

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This book still brings tears to my eyes, just thinking about it.  A truly touching story dealing with tough issues!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Learning to Breathe by Janice Lynn Mather. Indy comes from a dysfunctional family except for her loving grandmother who would do anything for her, but she’s not always close enough to help and doesn’t own a phone. Indy has been sexually abused and ended up pregnant and she feels alone, with no one to turn to. She’s living with her Uncle, his wife and her two cousins. Her Uncle cares for her but he’s gone a lot on business. Aunt Patrice treats Indy with disgust. Her cousin Smiley is friendly to Indy but busy being a teenage girl. Her cousin Gary is the one who abuses Indy. This story holds many messages in its pages: you don’t know who you can trust; don’t judge quickly or make assumptions; there are good people in the world; perseverance and resilience are important skills; friends can be found in the most unexpected places and your choices are your own to make. Truly a touching story dealing with some tough issues, 4 stars!