Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and review Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi! Kai and her parents are consumed with grief over the suicide of her sister Jen. I like how the story covers their grief and how each of them handles everything differently from finding Jen, her letters to each family member, the funeral preparations, their relationships with others and work and school when they try to get back to “normal”. All of this is covered in the first half of the book then Kai hits rock bottom and her friends and family don’t know how to help her, so she’s sent to a grief camp. This turns out to be the best possible choice. Small group discussions and activities help the teenagers learn how to move forward without forgetting the loved ones they have lost. Helping others seems to be the best way to overcome sadness because of thinking about someone else instead of just yourself heals broken hearts. I’m impressed with this book, the realistic feel of it, and I fell in love with the characters and wanted them to heal. The background of the story is interesting also and I appreciate the author being willing to share her personal experiences along with her pain. The resources included at the end will help many readers know where to find the help they need; 5 stars for a beautiful story of experiencing loss and the hope that brings light back into our lives.
I received Release by Patrick Ness through a Goodreads giveaway! Adam is plugging along until he can be on his own in one more year, when he graduates high school and can leave his small town. A strict family and a priest father with a lot of rules make him feel suffocated at times. His perfect brother, Marty, shocks Adam with the news that he got a woman pregnant and she’s not the girlfriend the family knows. Everything is changing and it seems to be happening all in the span of one day. This book contains graphic sexual content and belongs in LGBT and new adult genres, to make the reader aware. The characters are realistic with realistic problems and faults. The story comes full circle and I can see it helping readers deal with acceptance. I never truly understood the ghost part of the story other than making a point with the title. 4 stars for a well-written book with a punch.
Skinny Me by Charlene Carr involves a young woman who has battled her weight her entire life and is dealing with the feeling of hitting rock bottom. She feels that her weight is out of control, she’s unemployed and her mother has passed away. She picks herself up and focuses on what she can do to improve her life and relationships. Little by little, Jenny makes changes starting with a new menu and beginner exercises and a job acceptance. She tries to socialize more and also pushes herself to run. Jenny meets with a personal trainer and sets a possible goal and continues to work on her relationships. She realizes that losing weight isn’t going to stop her insecurities and internal struggles; she has to work on her self esteem also. 4 stars for a realistic story geared toward adult readers. Per author request, I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read and review All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. All the Bright Places cannot be described with one word. This book is tremendous in heartbreak, coping skills, love, loss and grabbing life and enjoying it while you can! The best line of the book is on page 23, “Some people hate him because they think he’s weird and he gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what he wants. Some people worship him because he’s weird and he gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what he wants.” This statement sums up the reputation of Theodore Finch. Finch is a mystery to everyone. Finch and Violet share the narrative through alternating points of view. Finch struggles with depression and Violet suffers from survivor’s guilt. Violet’s sister died in a car accident not long before the story begins. The awkwardness and humor between Finch and Violet pulled me into the story and made me love both of their characters! When the two were paired together for a class project, their lives intermingled in many ways and they helped each other grow and enjoy life. All the Bright Places is a beautiful story of loss, love and what comes after. I appreciate that the author approached the stigma of needing help and the people we all know as fakers. The author’s notes were soul bearing for her and she discussed difficult topics that tend to be overlooked in our society; way to face the tough parts of human nature! 5 stars for this highly recommended book.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Workman Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out – and Never Say Diet Again by Rebecca Scritchfield. This book focuses on body kindness with the following four parts: what you do, how you feel, who you are, where you belong. The journal suggestion is genius and by writing The Body Kindness Manifesto as the first entry, it gives the reader/writer empowerment. The book contains amazing and simple visual ideas to reinforce positive choices and mindset, such as draw a spiral tornado: write one body kindness that makes you feel good and write down what you do and how you usually feel. Keep adding body kindness choices until the tornado is filled, building one positive choice feeling on top of the other. Reflect as you do this! The most helpful comment – “Choose to put yourself first.” Diet, exercise, sleep, emotions, fun, resilience, values, peace, self compassion, connections, inspiration and spirituality make this an invaluable book – 5 stars for the easy to read and follow format and also extreme helpfulness!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review Botanical Beauty: 80 Essential Recipes for Natural Spa Products by Aubre Andrus! This book contains abundant information categorized into different sections of the body: hands and feet, full body, face and hair. Each section contains recipes to pamper and beautify. The recipes go beyond commonly seen to ingenious creations and ideas. The lotion bar is the first recipe I want to make once I get my own copy of this book because, yes, I pre-ordered it! The helpful, natural and easy to follow recipes and instructions are accompanied by detailed photographs and this book includes descriptions of ingredients, container ideas and where to purchase them, thorough directions and it even has diy nail art and nail wraps, which I wasn’t expecting. The do-it-yourself ideas include the chemical (nail serum to toothpaste) and also material (creaseless hair ties to spa wraps)! Botanical Beauty earns a 5 star review from me while I patiently wait for publication and my copy to arrive!