Lucy Score, One of my New Favorite Authors

Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score

 

Contemporary Romance

rock bottom girl

Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

Quick Summary: Marley’s been desperate to get away and stay away from her small hometown ever since she graduated some odd-years ago. So she’s feeling pretty down and out when she moves back home at 38 with no job, no savings, and no plan. When her mom signs her up to coach soccer and teach gym, Marley is horrified to run into grownup teenage heartthrob Jake Weston. Jake’s a great teacher, a great cross-country coach, and a great fake boyfriend. Wait, what?

This book is so much fun to read. There were parts that I cringed (um, meet cute involving puke?), there were parts where I laughed (I enjoy pranks just like the next gal), and parts were I fanned myself (bow-chicka-wow-wow) and I loved every minute of it. I loved it so much I immediately downloaded another Lucy Score book that I enjoyed, but not as much as this one.

Sometimes I thought Marley was a little crazy, but I really enjoyed Jake’s steadiness. On some level he was immature, but that made him a more realistic character to me. On another level, I really liked how being a good teacher was important to him. My husband is a teacher, so maybe I’m a little biased when it comes to male teachers, but making history come alive for teenagers is so hot.

This book also had some of the most realistically written teenagers I’ve ever read in a romance novel. They were smart, insecure, confident, tech savvy, and sweet. They made the story come alive for me. I’ve read a few books where the main character has trouble facing her teenage self, and I thought this one was well-done. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s so much fun to read.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $4.99)

It’s on Kindle Unlimited, so if you have a membership snatch this book up and begin reading immediately! Not a Kindle Unlimited member? $5 is a bit steep for me, but if you’re going to the beach, going through a mid-life crisis, or just really need a break from the daily grind, I think it’s worth it for the laughs.

Something else you might enjoy:

In some ways this book reminds me of Maggie Dallen books. Dancing Queens and Biker Kings is one of Dallen’s contemporary novels and the plot is vaguely similar.

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Characters Drive the Ice Cream Lover by Jackie Lau

Ice Cream Lover by Jackie Lau

Book 2 in the Baldwin Village Series

 

Contemporary Romance

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Overall Rating: 4

Quick Summary: Drew hates ice cream ever since his ex-fiancé ruined ice cream for him. However, he loves his foodie niece so winds up spending a lot of time in a newly opened Asian-style ice cream shop. Chloe opened the ice cream shop in memory of her mother and is working hard to develop unique flavors to keep her shop afloat. She doesn’t really have time to convince Drew that her ice cream is better than the bad memory of his ex-fiancé. But with her sugary sweet personality and Drew’s gruff exterior, their chemistry is unavoidable.

First, I’d like to acknowledge that the characters in this book are not white. Drew is Chinese-Canadian and Chloe is half Chinese, half Caucasian. The flavors Chloe dreams up pay homage to that culinary background with green tea and durian making appearances. The connection between the flavors of Chloe’s ice creams and her mother’s culture is deeply compelling for me. Food is such a part of how I connect with my own culture, that I loved reading about characters who have similar experiences.

Second, I’d like to acknowledge that Drew is a super-hot Chinese-Canadian hero. In a way he reminds me of the quintessential Victorian romance hero who is brooding and gruff, with a heart of gold. It’s fun to see some of those same characteristics wrapped up in a sexy Asian guy.

Third, Chloe goes through much of the book coming to terms with the loss of her mother, her relationship with her father, and her own biracial background. This is not light and fluffy stuff folks! Sure there are sex scenes, humorous banter, and cute kids, but there is a lot going on in terms of character development. As a woman who is also biracial, Japanese-Caucasian American, I related a lot to Chloe’s turmoil. I am lucky that my mom is still alive, but it’s hard to navigate those waters when you feel isolated.

The primary reason the book wasn’t rated higher for me was due to the pacing of the novel. The language and dialogue flow well, but there were parts of the novel that I really had to work up the energy to read it. I thought Drew’s resistance to ice cream went on a little long, and there was a gap in the middle of the book where the plot seemed to stall.

This is the second book in a series, but you don’t need to read the first book in order to enjoy this one. I haven’t read the first book, although I intend to go back and read it, and I was completely satisfied with the way the secondary characters interacted with the hero and heroine of this novel; no backstory necessary.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $3.99)

I really enjoyed this book and I think it’s worth the $4. If you’re on the fence, encourage your local library to buy the book (if they don’t already own it). It’s always nice for the library to stock diverse romance novels so more people can enjoy them.

Something else you might enjoy:

I also read He’s Not My Boyfriend by Jackie Lau and recommend it. It’s a completely different storyline, but it’s full of secondary characters that deliver a lot o

Must-Have Children’s Book

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My kids get books from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and it has been one of the best programs we’ve ever been a part of. They do a great job of selecting books and my kids are always excited to get a book in the mail. The most recent book is called The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld and it is a must-have for any child’s library.

The book is about a young child, Taylor, who experiences a tragedy. The animals around Taylor approach the situation in different ways. Taylor does not feel comforted by their efforts. It is only with the bunny, who approaches in silence, that Taylor is able to find solace.

The illustrations in this book are beautiful. The language is appropriate for young children. My 2 year old and my 4 year old both ask for this book constantly since it arrived. And honestly, I love reading it to them as much as they love hearing it. It’s neither too short, nor too long and it’s a lesson that I need to be reminded of.

If you can find an independent book seller, please request this one. If not, here’s a link to Amazon.

2019 Reading Challenge

Our first 2019 Reading Challenge from Professional Book Nerds’ List is here!

Fallon and I completed: Children’s Book You’ve Never Read

We both chose adventure novels, perhaps inspired by our own children who are about the same ages. Did you read a children’s book recently that you would recommend? Please share with us!

Fallon

Swiss Family Robinson

The Swiss Family Robinson

By Johann Wyss

Synopsis: The six members of the Robinson family survive an awful storm and are abandoned by the rest of the crew when their ship wrecks. Luckily, they float to a nearby island and never see the cowards that left them behind. Luckily, they find ample food supplies, including sugar-cane and potatoes, so they never feel the pangs of hunger during their 10 years of isolation. Luckily, they train and domesticate several types of wild animal to ease their labor. Luckily, they have shelter to get them through monsoon season (including a cave that they are able to chip windows into so they feel less like they are living in a cave). The Robinson family, from Switzerland, are lucky to be alive.

Review: I’m sorry, but what you’re about to read is not positive. I have never seen the Disney movie, so if your nostalgia of this story is connected to your memories of playing make-believe after seeing that movie, I cannot relate. I can understand as a novel written in the 18th century with many translations into and from many languages, that things get lost. My initial reaction when our protagonist (of course, the head of the family, the father) first introduces his family, he named all four of his sons, but referred to their mother as “his wife”. This continues throughout the entire novel, never once saying her name. Per Wikipedia, I see she is given the name of Elizabeth, which possibly happened in another translated version. In the version I read however, her only identifier seems to be her relationship to William. Even the two dogs, orphaned monkey, and adopted Jackal are given names. Other than that, I just don’t think this story has aged well. When it was written, and people had a very small world view; the world Wyss created would have been exciting and exotic, but I couldn’t help but “pshaw” that the island had monkeys, jackals, kangaroos, flamingoes, buffaloes, eagles, and elephants to name a few. And I can overlook one or two things, like finding a potato farm ready to harvest, without it ruining the whole experience. I wish I would have read Robinson Crusoe instead, which I still might do so I know whether to recommend it to my kids.


Christine

treasure island cover

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Deidre S. Laiken

Synopsis: Jim Hawkins’ family runs a small inn, mostly catering to sailors. When his father dies, an old man seems to move into the inn, babbling about pirates and lost treasure. When Jim finds a treasure map, he and his friends decide to follow the map to recover treasure. He must outwit pirates and wild men in order to survive his adventure at sea.

Review: This adaptation is very fun and age appropriate. It is somewhat scary, just enough to be exciting, but not so much to scare children. My 6 year old has read this book at least twice and was not scared. In fact, he’s the reason I decided to read it. I’ve never read the full-length, unabridged version, so I cannot tell you the differences. However, I think if you want the broad strokes, this version by Laiken is pretty good.


Join us for our next challenge: Book by an author of a different race, ethnicity or religion than your own. Select your own book and then share what you read with us!

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Cover Reveal for New Book by Ginger Scott

Check out this gorgeous cover for BRED by Ginger Scott! BRED is a coming-of-age romance inspired by Great Expectations you won’t want to miss!



Bred by Ginger Scott

Mature Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Release day: May 10, 2019
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2TwSsER

BRED
A coming-of-age romance inspired by Great Expectations
By Ginger Scott

My life was irrevocably changed the moment I stepped foot inside Elena Alderman’s grand front doors. A lifeless tomb on the edge of Chicago’s South Side, the Alderman home sat in one of the city’s oldest and wealthiest neighborhoods, and Elena Alderman was the queen.

She was also mad.

Not the kind of madness that’s readily apparent. No, her psychopathy was far more surgical—more…insidious. She was surrounded by beautiful things—most notably her grand piano and her adopted son, Henry.

I fell in love with both.


My gift blossomed when my fingers touched her black and white keys. But my life began when I became haunted by the boy. Henry Alderman was a handsome blend of arrogance and seduction, and as we grew up together, I found it more and more impossible to separate him from my thoughts. I envied his life. I imagined how my name—Lily—would look with his. I became his closest friend…and more. I gave him my kiss, locked away his secrets, and loved him even when it was hard to.

But we were just a game. Elena Alderman made the rules. And when she decided to change them, she broke everything.

Almost.


About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, The Hail Mary, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, A Boy Like You, A Girl Like Me, Memphis and Cry Baby.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

A Secret Sisterhood Revealed!

A Secret Sisterhood: The Literacy Friendship of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney

Non-fiction/History

A Secret Sisterhood

Overall Rating: 3.5

Quick Summary: Popular conception of many beloved female authors is of them working away in solitude on their books. Midorikawa and Sweeney complicate this picture by revealing correspondence between the authors with other female authors. Jane Austen corresponded with Anne Sharp, Mary Taylor corresponded with Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot corresponded with Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Virginia Woolf corresponded with Katherine Mansfield.

This is a very interesting book, especially within the context that the authors establish in the introduction (hint: read the introduction). Being a female author at this time was difficult. There was a lot of social pressure to be a certain kind of (respectable) woman. The fellowship and friendship between female authors is fascinating and inspiring.

There are some serious problems with the first chapter in the book on Jane Austen and Anne Sharp. If you only read this chapter, I think you’ll be disappointed. It is weak on the historical evidence and the conclusions the authors draw are not very compelling. But, if you press on (or skip that chapter all together), the book is very worthwhile!

I really enjoyed the complexity in which the authors present the literary friendships. They aren’t magical, perfect friendships. The women are not perfect individuals. There isn’t an attempt to whitewash the women to prove how great they are, which is terribly important in recounting history. My favorite chapter is the last chapter because of this reason.

Also, please read the conclusion. It’s interesting and it’s worth it.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $9.99)

If you’re like me, you’ve probably read books by all of these authors. If this is the case, then I think you’ll enjoy the book. It’s great to get some background on what was going on personally for the authors as they were writing their books. This is saying in a long about way, yes, buy it or borrow it from the library.

Something else you might enjoy:

I don’t have any suggestions. Do you?

Brave, Not Perfect

Brave Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani

Self-Help

I received a copy of this book. I liked this book and think it’s important for others to know about it and read it.

Brave Not Perfect

Overall Rating: 4

Quick Summary: Reshma Saujani asserts that we are raising boys to be brave and girls to be perfect. This means boys are more likely to take risks than girls. By pointing at ways in which girls hold back in their quest for perfection, Saujani suggests ways we can help girls and women shift from a quest for perfection to a quest to be brave.

I’m not a scientist, however I safely say that if you’re a scientist and you’re waiting for some powerful evidence to prove that girls are raised to be perfect, you’re going to be disappointed. There are interesting points to this idea, but it’s not strong. The argument that girls are raised to be perfect is less than compelling, except in an anecdotal way.

What is compelling is a larger social focus on perfection. I’m not convinced it’s a gendered problem, but I do think it’s a problem. It may be generational, it may be that just the people I know are like this, but I know so many people who strive for perfection. I am definitely one of those people.

This book is worthwhile for the tips on how to be braver, whether you’re a man or a woman. It is a powerful message to tell people that it is okay to fail in today’s world of photo filters and 4.6 GPAs. A lot of us are pushing back about being social media perfect, now it’s time to take the next step to be brave and try and (potentially) fail and this book helps in this quest.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $12.99)

Amazon link

I think this price is very, very steep. The book isn’t terribly long. Saujani did a TED Talk on this subject, which I watched. There is a lot more information in the book. If this is something you’re really passionate about, then by all means, by the book (other formats may be cheaper). But, even if you’re not passionate about this issue, perhaps even skeptical, you should read this!! Borrow it from the library and see what it’s all about.

Something else you might enjoy:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is a nice addition to this conversation, mainly because it’s about one woman’s quest to finding what makes her happy. There’s no sense in being brave if you aren’t going on your quest for something amazing on the other side.