Book Reviews, Lists, Discussions, and Displays

Tag: Love (Page 1 of 2)

Book Review: Love From the Crayons

Love From The Crayons – Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (ill.) – Penguin Workshop – Published 24 December 2019

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Synopsis

Love is yellow and orange. Because love is sunny and warm. Love is purple. Because it’s okay to love outside the lines.

My thoughts

From the creators of The Day The Crayons Quit and The Day The Crayons Came Home, comes a new title that features the same band of loveable crayons with a simple story about love.

Love From The Crayons is not as detailed or complex a story as the first two books. Rather, it is a simple book, with one or two lines of text per page that follows the same pattern “Love is brown…because sometimes love stinks”, starring the ironic crayons and matching crayon drawings.

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Book Review: The Healer

The Healer – Donna Freitas – HarperTeen – Published 9 October 2018

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Synopsis

Marlena Oliveira has—mysteriously, miraculously—been given the power to heal all kinds of ailments. People around the world believe she is a saint. But her power comes at a price: she can’t go to school, she can’t have friends her own age, and she certainly can’t date.

Then she meets Finn, a boy who makes her want to fall in love. For the first time, she begins to doubt whether her gift is worth all that she must give up to keep it.

My thoughts

The Healer is a compelling and unique book. It is a very different coming of age story, yet despite Marlena’s special abilities that set her apart in the world, her story of falling in love for the first time, discovering who she is and is meant to be and learning to stand up for herself is universal.

Marlena is a Healer. Some say she is touched by God, others say she is a saint. For years, her mother has decided how she will live and what she will do. But as Marlena begins to stretch her wings, she must decide if being a healer defines her or if she can heal on her own terms.

At first, I was expecting a book similar to The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee, but The Healer is not about plants or potions and is far more mystical and religious. Marlena isn’t sure where her powers come from, some days she’s not even sure she really has powers. But her mother is a firm believer that Marlena has been touched by God and a church and religious group has risen up around Marlena. The constant attention is something that Marlena hates the most. She longs for connection with people not awe and fear from afar. She wants to be able to walk down the street of her hometown without seeing her face on souvenirs in the windows of shops. She wants to live a normal life.

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Book Review: Guff

Guff – Aaron Blabey – Penguin Australia – Published 2017

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Synopsis

A delightful book for anyone who’s ever had a little fabric friend.

My thoughts

Aaron Blabey is the author of many delightful, hilarious children’s picture books, and Guff is no exception. Guff is sure to delight children and parents alike, with its whimsical take on the special bond between child and stuffed toy.

Meet Guff. He is the special friend of one little girl who has known and loved him since she was little. She recalls the adventures they have had together – and sometimes apart.

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Book Review: Flight Season

Flight Season – Marie Marquardt – St Martin’s Press: Wednesday Books – Published 20 February 2018

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Synopsis

Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

My thoughts

Flight Season is a beautiful, heartbreaking book that had me smiling and laughing and crying, both despairing and rejoicing in humanity, and so happy just to spend a little time with these amazing characters.

Vivi Flannigan has returned home from college for the summer to pull her life together. If she can stick it out at her hospital internship she might have a slim hope of passing her semester’s courses. If she can help her mother get back on track, she might be able to save their home. And if she can avoid Old Town, she might have a slim chance of forgetting that one night she lost total control. TJ Carvalho has one last clinical placement to pass before he is done with his nursing studies. So when Vivi turns up in his ward, the girl who he witnessed have a complete meltdown, he does his best to avoid her. But when TJ and Vivi are forced to work together to care for heart patient Ángel, the three of them form a beautiful, if challenged, friendship, which just might change their lives in ways they could never have expected.

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Book Review: A Family Under the Christmas Tree

A Family Under the Christmas Tree

A Family Under the Christmas Tree – Terri Reed – Howard Books – Published 4 October 2016

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Synopsis

In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog—but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom.

David Murphy never knew much about kids. But when his brother dies unexpectedly, David is granted custody of his six-year-old nephew, Troy, who he’s only seen once a year since he was born. He already has his hands full running his business, and he has no idea how to help the grieving boy. When Troy runs off one day, David finds him at a park playing with an adorable and rambunctious Bernese mountain dog—who leads him to Sophie.

Sophie Griffith has spent her life travelling around the world as a photojournalist. She has never stayed in one place for long, and her new assignment—helping her grandmother for a few weeks—is just temporary. Once Christmas day comes, Sophie is off the hook and can leave for a new adventure. Caring for her grandmother is a piece of cake—but caring for her new Bernese mountain dog, Riggs, is a different story. It doesn’t help that Riggs strikes up a friendship with a lost little boy one day at the park—and leads her to David.

Neither David nor Sophie have time for romance. But as they spend more time together, they start falling for each other even though they know it can’t go anywhere. Sophie will be gone after Christmas, and the last thing David needs is another distraction as he tries to comfort Troy. But as their faith and growing love for the boy and dog unites them, they wonder whether it’s more than a holiday romance…and maybe Troy might finally get his Christmas wish for a family.

My thoughts

A Family Under The Christmas Tree is the perfect book for winter (and thanks to living in the Southern Hemisphere and an advanced copy, everything was timed perfectly so that I could enjoy this in the cold months of the year). I adore that cover, especially that cute Bernese you see, who I would like to steal and take home. And I loved the setting, a wintry, snowy Washington. The romance was very sweet and the family aspects heartbreaking, all of which combined to create a charming and enjoyable novel.

Sophie is visiting her grandmother, staying for Christmas only. She is a photographer with a career that is blooming, so she doesn’t have much time for family or holidays, and she especially doesn’t have time for creating a family of her own. Which is why she is more than a little surprised to be so attracted to her grandmother’s neighbour, David. David has recently taken in his nephew after the tragic loss of his brother and sister-in-law. The little family has been shaken by the tragedy and David is struggling to balance work, a home and a rambunctious little boy. Sophie and her grandmother step in to help out and David, too, is shocked to be fighting off attraction to the beautiful photographer. He knows Sophie is leaving soon and can’t risk any further damage to his or his nephew’s heart.

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Book Review: Can’t Help Falling

Can't Help Falling

Can’t Help Falling – Kara Isaac – Howard Books – Published 11 October 2016

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Synopsis

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.

Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter façade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.

Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.

When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.

My thoughts

A truly magical story. From the cover and the title to the summary and the fact that I absolutely adored Close To You, I just knew that I was going to love Can’t Help Falling. And I was right, because this book is fantastic.

Emelia longs for a second chance. She has moved to England, left her old life behind and intends to make restitution for her past. But she doesn’t expect it to be so hard and when hiding in an antique wardrobe she happens to meet Peter Carlisle. As they continue to meet, they cannot deny their attraction, but the secrets of Emelia’s past may prevent a future between them.

This book might start with a teacup, an antique shop and a wardrobe, but there is so much more to this story. Can’t Help Falling has a magical quality, much like pushing through the coats at the back of the wardrobe and finding yourself in a magical wood. There are a number of Narnia quotes and references in this book, as to be expected, but even someone who has only seen the movies or has a faint idea of Narnia will understand and love this book. And, of course, the avid Narnia-obsessed reader will adore the way this story is steeped in all things Narnia. Then there is the romance. Beautiful, complicated, meant-to-be, irresistible, sparks-flying romance. It weaves through all the other details to bring together this story of family, second chances, friendship and the rough and tragic sides of life. 

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Book Review: When Love Arrives

When Love Arrives

When Love Arrives – Johnnie Alexander – Misty Willows #3 – Revell- Published 20 September 2016

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Synopsis

Dani Prescott came to the children’s hospital to spy on Brett Somers–so how did she end up on a date with him? Weeks earlier she’d seen an interview in which he blamed her mother for the plane crash that had killed his parents. But the crash had killed her mother as well, so Dani can’t believe the story Brett’s trying to sell to the media.
Vowing to find a way to discredit the privileged–and maddeningly handsome–Brett, Dani has been following him and taking photos, hoping to find something she can use against him. But when she catches his eye instead, she quickly finds herself offering up a fake name and agreeing to a date. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something–but he’s got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is? Will Dani and Brett look beyond their own heartaches to discover a love that could heal their deepest pain?

My thoughts

When Love Arrives is a fantastic story of the moving and sometimes tumultuous journey through anger and guilt to friendship and then love. I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t sure at the start, grew addicted in the middle and by the end I was gingerly turning the pages hoping, begging for one more chapter and that, please, don’t let it be over.

This is the second book in the Misty Willows series. It would be best to read these in series order. I enjoyed When Love Arrives more than I did the first book, Where She Belongs, but it is worth reading the first book first, not only because it is a great story in its own right but because it perfectly sets up this story to follow on.

Dani Prescott is stalking the man that ruined her mother’s reputation. She is determined to have her revenge, but she certainly doesn’t expect to get caught by the man in the focus of her camera lens – nor to be asked on a date by him. Brett Somers has a past he is starting to wrestle with and a future that seems undetermined. The brunette taking photos outside the hospital catches his eye. She is unlike the many girls he has wined and dined before, so he’s not sure why he asked her out. Both Brett and Dani are hiding things from the other. They agree that their relationship will never be anything more than a casual friendship.

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Book Review: Summer of Supernovas

Summer of Supernovas

Summer of Supernovas – Darcy Woods – Crown Books – Published 10 May 2016

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Synopsis

When zodiac-obsessed teen Wilamena Carlisle discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love.

But when Wil falls for a sensitive guitar player hailing from the wrong side of the astrology chart, she must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her dead mother’s legacy and the very system she’s faithfully followed through a lifetime of unfailing belief.

My thoughts

I usually steer away from books with love triangles and this book is centred around a girl who is torn between two guys. So I’m not sure why I was so excited to read it. Maybe because of that beautiful cover. Or maybe it was the many glowing reviews. Or maybe just because it sounded fantastic. Whichever reason, I am very glad I did because this was a great book., fun, exciting and romantic. Summer of Supernovas has a slightly crazy but loveable protagonist, a supportive and eccentric best friend, a few family secrets and complications, a warm summery setting and two very charming love interests.

Wil, short for Wilamena, has always believed the stars hold the answer to her destiny. By looking at the stars she feels closer to the mother she tragically lost. And a current planetary alignment means she has just one month to find her soul mate. So when she meets two brothers, one who she is irresistibly drawn to and the other who the charts say is perfect for her, she knows chaos is likely to ensue.

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Book Review: The Love That Split the World

The Love that Split the World

The Love That Split the World – Emily Henry – Razorbill – Published 26 January 2016

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Synopsis

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

My thoughts

Ahhhh. That ending. Perfect, yet… Arhhhh. Read it. It is so worth reading. Clever, frustrating, sad and charming, The Love That Split the World is an epic story.

It is Natalie Cleary’s last summer in her home town of Union, Kentucky, before she leaves for college. She can’t help but reflect on her friendships, her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and the way she has withdrawn from her life-as-it-used-to-be over the last three years. Natalie is accustomed to being different, both because she is the only Native American in the town and because throughout her childhood she saw and spoke to people no one else could see. It was the sudden absence of these people, particularly the loveable ‘Grandmother’, that changed her life. But when Nat once again starts to see things that ‘aren’t there’ and Grandmother returns to issue a warning “You have three months to save him”, things get complicated, fast, especially when she meets the gorgeous and mysterious Beau who seems to exist as if in another world.  Continue reading

Book Review: Ice Like Fire

Ice Like Fire

Ice Like Fire – Sara Raasch – Snow Like Ashes #2 – Balzer + Bray – Published 13 October 2015

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Synopsis

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

My thoughts

I loved Snow Like Ashes, the first book in this trilogy. Now having had the pleasure to read book two, I found I struggled at first to engage with Ice Like Fire. Second books in trilogies are always hard reads for me – I find they are often just setting up the main events that will occur in the third book. But slowly working through this book was worth it and by half way I was once again absorbed by the suspense and action of this continuing story. Bring on book three!

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