Daddy Makes the Best Spaghetti

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Daddy Makes the Best Spaghetti

by Anna Grossnickle Hines

June 2017

This book took me down memory lane. My parents read this one to me when I was a little girl and I loved it! Now I’m reading it to my two boys and they love it! I was so happy after I’d read Daddy Makes the Best Spaghetti and my boys said they liked it. It’s a very simple story of a little boy’s night. It starts with him and his dad making spaghetti (because his dad makes the best spaghetti).

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Then after he helps his mom do the dishes, his daddy gives him a bath.

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Once bath time is over, it’s time to get in pajamas. I love how silly the dad is in this book (definitely like my own daddy)!

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Finally it’s time for stories and bed with mommy and daddy. I love the roles of the mom and dad and how they divide chores and childcare. It’s such a silly book to read and I’m so happy I found it at the library!

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Summing it up: this book is funny and fun to read. I highly recommend it!

All the best, Abbey

 

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart

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The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart

by Anna Bell

March 2017

Back in March I flew out to California to visit two of my best friends and I decided to get a new Kindle book for the flights. This one looked so cute and funny, so I didn’t hesitate in getting it. Well, The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart was hilarious and sweet. I loved the humor and I thought the plot was quite clever.  The only thing I didn’t really love was how the main character, Abi, was rather blind to reality. She doesn’t realize how horrible her ex-boyfriend is and she doesn’t realize that she is a strong, capable young woman who is worth so much more that what she thinks. The ending is worth these annoyances though and I really enjoyed this book.

Abi is a young working woman who has the perfect boyfriend (or so she thinks until he breaks up with her). After Joseph dumps her, Abi gets depressed until she finds a bucket list that he wrote. She decides to do everything on the bucket list, documenting it all on Facebook, in order to win Joseph back. Along the way she meets Ben, a young bike shop owner, who agrees to help her with one of the items: a bike race. Spoilers: Abi chips away at the list always hoping to gain Joseph’s attention. By the final item: an abseil down an enormous building, Joesph has noticed Abi and asks her to get back together with him before she starts the abseil. He even tells her how impressive it is that she’s doing this. She offers for him to join her, but he declines. It’s then that she FINALLY realizes that he’s a loser! She doesn’t get back together with him and proceeds to do the abseil (which she was deathly afraid of doing). She also finally realizes that she wants to be with Ben. They’ve just had a misunderstanding, so he’s not there to support her. But when she finishes the abseil, Ben’s surprises her by being at the bottom waiting for her! It is a beautifully sweet ending and my favorite part was when Abi stood up to Joesph.

Summing it up: even though Abi’s slow growth and inability to see through Joseph got on my nerves, I ended up really liking this book and I recommend it!

All the best, Abbey

Me Before You & After You

Me Before You & After You

by Jojo Moyes

Spring 2017

I read Me Before You months ago now and I have never been the same.  It really struck a chord with me. I absolutely loved the book and yet was broken-hearted over it. It was moving, intense and absorbing from start to finish. I really liked Moyes’ tone and style of writing, which made me immediately love Lou and root for her.  It’s the best feeling to fall right into a book and enjoy it from the start. Ironically, when I read After You I did not really love the plot and had a hard time getting into it. I was won over in the end, but it definitely took a while. I’m really hoping Moyes will make this a trilogy because the second book left off in a bit of a cliff hanger.

Me Before You is a heart-wrenching  novel about a man who wants to end his life and the woman who tries to stop him. Lou is a a twenty-something woman working at the local bakery until the day it closes. At a loss for where to work, Lou goes to a temp agency where (after several failures) she lands a job as a home care professional for a parapalegic. What she doesn’t know right away is that the person she is caring for is young man who had everything going for him before he got in the horrific accident that took his mobility. Will is determined to end his life because he is unsatisfied with his quality of life. Spoilers: when Lou finds out that Will doesn’t want to live, she is horrified and does everything in her power to change his mind, including taking him on an amazing holiday where she tells him she loves him. In the end, her love and determination to show Will that his life is worth living, even in his handicaped state, is not enough. He goes to Switzerland with his parents and sister (Lou coming at the last minute because she originally thought she couldn’t be there) to peacefully die. He leaves Lou some money so she can go to university, and a letter explaining how he couldn’t stay and how he wants her to live her life to the fullest. Heart. Wrenching.

The sequel picks up where the first one left off. Lou is living on her own and is horribly depressed. She hasn’t done what Will wanted and gone back to school. Instead she works at an airport bar/restaurant. In this novel, Lou has to learn to pick herself back up, even though she is heartbroken and angry at Will for leaving her. She meets Will’s troubled teenage daughter (that he never knew existed) and helps her reunite and reconcile with Will’s parents. In doing so, Lou finds healing and new love in a stranger. She is able to open up and find love, while also letting go of the past in order to move forward in life. At the end of the book, she decides to take a job in New York, leaving her new boyfriend behind, because it is the experience of a lifetime. He’s supportive, and she flies away. Which is why I’m hoping for a third book!!

Summing it up: I enjoyed Me Before You more than After You (though I did like it by the end). I’m still processing Will’s choice in the first book, but I highly recommend it! I recommend the second book too, and maybe you’ll enjoy it quicker than I did!

All the best, Abbey

Trainstop

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Trainstop

by Barbara Lehman

June 2017

My little boy, Lime, picked out this book the other day. He loves trains (well, he loves anything that ‘goes’), so he was naturally drawn to this one. I hadn’t read it before and was pleasantly surprised by how endearing this little book is! It is wordless book and the illustrations are delightful.

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The story follows a girl and her parents as they get on a train in the city and journey into the country. The train stops when all the adults are sound asleep. The little girl gets off when she sees that these tiny people need her help.

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She rescues their friend and then gets back on the train and returns to the city.

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She’s in for a surprise because the little folks visit her with a gift of a little tree. It is a beautiful spot of green in the dark city.

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Summing it up: this book is beautiful, sweet, and perfect for teaching little ones about kindness and love.

All the best, Abbey

 

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians

by Rick Riordan

Spring 2017

I read the entire Percy Jackson series over several months and I really liked each of the five books. I loved the characters, the style and the story. I like that the books are not graphic or extremely romantic. They are perfect for middle graders and a great reprieve for older readers. There’s a nice blend of adventure and relationships that makes each book interesting and fun to read. I’ve always loved mythology, so to see it interpreted in a new way and made appealing to a new generation is awesome. I won’t go into each book’s plot because they are all very similar. In the first book Percy Jackson finds out that he is half-human, half-god and as a result is being hunted by monsters and needs training in order to stay alive. He goes to a camp just for half-bloods like himself. There he makes friends and they work together to battle monsters. Each book starts with a dire situation, like the world being taken over my monsters, then Percy and his friends have to accomplish some goal in order to prevent that from happening. Finally, they save the day. Each book incorporates new mythology and characters. The books are engaging, fun and have the perfect amount of suspense. I loved each one and look forward to reading them to my boys!

Summing it up: These books are fun, full of adventure and ones I highly recommend!

All the best, Abbey

Stanley the Farmer

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Stanley the Farmer

by William Bee

June 2017

Have you heard of the Stanley the hampster books? They are adorable! The illustrations are fantastic and the writing is beautifully simple. My boys love this series and often request them at the library. In this book, Stanley is farming. The book follows him from the planting to the harvest and beyond.

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Stanley has friends as well. In this book Shamus and Little Woo help Stanley with his farming work.

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The end of each book is always the same: Stanley eats dinner, takes a bath and goes to bed!

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Summing it up: these books are super cute and I can’t recommend them enough!

All the best, Abbey

All the Bright Places

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All the Bright Places

by Jennifer Niven

June 2017

All the Bright Places is a soberingly beautiful novel. It is told from two different perspectives and I enjoyed the back and forth commentary. I quickly got wrapped up in the love story and was completely shocked by the ending. I’m still processing it. That being said, I thought it was a phenomenal book. All the Bright Places deals with teenage suicide. I think it’s such an important topic to be aware of and to talk about. Especially when depression is something that can be hidden, even from closest friends and relatives.  I keep thinking about this book and I highly recommend it.

Fitch and Violet are two teenagers who meet at the top of their school’s bell tower when they are both contemplating suicide. Fitch has been an outcast throughout high school. He has a tough home life (his father left him, his sisters and his mom to be with a new family) and has struggled with depression and wanting to kill himself for years. When he sees Violet on the bell tower, he abandons his plans and helps her down instead. Violet is mourning the untimely death of her older sister. They had a successful online magazine and ever since her sister’s death, Violet hasn’t written and has struggled with wanting to keep going. When Fitch helps her down, their school mates interpret it as Violet saving Fitch and they don’t correct them. Violet and Fitch get paired together for a school project and before long fall in love. Spoilers: Fitch and Violet fall hard for each other and for a while everything is great. Fitch helps Violet come out of her depression and find herself again. She starts writing and forms a new online magazine. Nothing is able to keep Fitch from his dark place though and ultimately he kills himself. Violet is left to carry on without him and struggle with why she wasn’t enough to keep him alive. It is harsh, sobering and difficult. But it’s also a very important topic.

Summing it up: it was hard to read this book at points, but it was very good and very well written and I highly recommend it.

All the best, Abbey