Early Decision by Lacy Crawford

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Anne is an admissions coach for students preparing to start the process of getting into the college of their choice.  Or, in some cases I should say their parents choice… This book is a fictional telling on the authors non fictional 15 years of being a college admissions coach, helping students (and parents) come to terms with that next step.

In Early Decision, Anne is starting another season of coaching as her students she has accepted line up from all walks, parents for the most part, eager to make sure their child has the best possible chance to get in the ever narrowing gates of admission to the big name colleges.

Hunter, a kind boy trying hard to reach his parents level of expectations for him, but really has his own dream of his future.  Sadie, the daughter of wealthy well-known parents who feels her future is all cut out for her no matter what she does.  William, a brilliant young man who is constantly dodging his father’s anger.  Alexis the overachiever from Minnesota (Minnesota!), and Christina who has everything it takes to succeed.. just not the means to do it.

As Anne works with each of these students as they write their first drafts of their college essays, she helps them realize who they really are and what they really want to say – not always to the parents approval.  Anne meets with the students and talks them through the possibilities as they continue to work on the application essay that will hopefully set them apart and provide that acceptance letter into the college of their choice; but not always.

As Anne works with this latest group of students she finds herself contemplating her own life.  Is this where she thought she would wind up?  Was this her big plan for after college… thirty is just around the corner for her and some how she feels like she has never taken the steps she is coaching the students to take, herself.

 

 

 

 

 

Early Decision is a look into the world of college acceptance and the students applying as well as the parents prodding anxiously behind them, in many cases as though the decision of acceptance defines them as parents as well.  Anne’s job comes with high expectations on her from all of the above.

I found Early Decision to be very interesting.  I, myself did not take the college route, and sometimes really wish I would have.  At the time of my own graduation, my mom had been raising me alone for years after my father’s early death due to an accidental fire, and my goal was to make my transition from High School to the real world, as easy on her as possible.  Now reading about how intense parents can be about the process was fascinating and a little scary all rolled into one.  In this book, you get a real taste of where the parents are with their dreams for their children – but you also get a real look at what the children want for themselves.

What is interesting is that author Lacy Crawford wrote this book based on her real life experience as a college admissions councilor.  While this book does not point out actual people – the results of this book is a combination of her years in this position and the tiger moms and the helicopter parents are all too real.

I enjoyed looking into this world of intense college application prep; a world I knew little about.  I felt for the students being pushed and prodded.  In some cases I felt for the parents as they wanted what was best for their child…. but mostly I felt for Anne, who had her work cut out for her between working with the students and battling the parents who were either too pushy, or too needy…

A wild look into the college side that I feel would be a great read for parents and students alike as they approach that time of college decision.  In fact, I think both the parents and the students should read this book before they start the process – hopefully giving each an insight into the other side and therefore taking on this step with a little more empathy for each other – and a little more understanding.

A fun and thought-provoking read.

 

 

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 26, 2014)
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to tag along this road to College applications and acceptance.  It was truly an interesting adventure in reading! 

 

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The Roses Underneath by C. F. Yetmen

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In 1945 a war-torn Germany struggles to get a foot hold on some sort of stability.  Anna Klein and her six-year-old daughter Amalia are among those struggling as well.  Separated from her husband for their own safety, Anna finds herself working for the US Army’s Monuments Men as they search for art and other stolen treasures.  When it is discovered that Anna speaks English, she is recruited as a translator for American Captain Henry Cooper, a laid back man who likes opportunities to bend the rules.  When a mysterious stash of art is found, secrets are created causing Anna to question where the truth really does lie and look closely at the secrets she herself keeps….

 

 

The Roses Underneath is one of those books that you want to read slowly and cherish as one would a favorite candy.  Savoring each word as it dissolves into the next.  Reading this book caused me to slow down and really take it all in, which is not always the case in my reading style.  I often find myself reading fast paced books that flow with activity and crackle with adrenaline.  I was pleased when I started this read and found that this was a book that I needed to take my time with.

I am careful when I choose to read a book that involves war.  I tend to become so engrossed in the heaviness of the subject that I usually choose to pass on these books.  Yet there was something that called to me about The Roses Underneath that caused me to take a chance on it and I am glad I did.  Anna was a protagonist that I found myself hoping for things to turn out well. 

I enjoyed this book, even if it did make me slow down and well… smell the roses. 🙂

The In Between Hours by Barbara Claypole White

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When bestselling author Will Shepard’s young son is killed in a tragic car accident, Will is left with a tremendous amount of grief that he can not seem to get out from under.  As Will’s aging father memory fades, Will uses his talent of writing to rewrite the truth.  Amazingly enough, the fictional version of Will’s life brings relief that he never expected. 

Hannah Linden rents a cottage next to where Will and his dad lives.  Hannah comes with her own cross to bear as she deals with her grown sons struggles.  As a holistic veterinarian  and healer, she uses her gifts to try to bring peace to Will and his dad’s lives, finding her own solace in putting her energies into someone else.

 

 

 

The In Between Hours is one of those books that just makes me feel warm inside.  I liked reading this book and perhaps, for a while, feeling like I too lived in the neighborhood and seen everything play our first hand as I watched Will, and his dad, and Hannah. 

I am especially impressed on what an additional layer to the book Will’s dad brought to the read.  While the book could have worked with the focus being on Will and Hannah, Will’s dad made me smile… he brings the icing on the cake, or in this case – the filling to an already engaging read. 

I enjoyed The In Between Hours and will think about this one for quite a while. 

TLC Book Tours
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to spend time with a group of amazingly three dimensional characters!

 

 

 

I am at the end of the tour on this one – but please feel free to stop in and see what others though of this book:

Tuesday, December 31st: bookchickdi
Thursday, January 2nd: Bibliotica
Monday, January 6th: cupcake’s book cupboard
Tuesday, January 7th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, January 8th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, January 9th: Chronicles …
Tuesday, January 14th: Becca Rowan
Wednesday, January 15th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, January 17th: Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, January 17th: Not in Jersey
Monday, January 20th: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, January 21st: Sweet Tea and Lollipops
Wednesday, January 22nd: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Friday, January 24th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, January 27th: As I turn the pages
Tuesday, January 28th: Book Journey
Wednesday, January 29th: Found Between the Covers
Thursday, January 30th: Good Girl Gone Redneck

 

 

 

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

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32 year old Holly Brennan was never what you would call a small girl.  When her husband at a young age suddenly became ill, Holly comforted herself with food.  When he passed away, the food addiction did not go away.

Then Holly meets Logan Montgomery on a plane.  Logan is fit, self-assured, confident, and good-looking.  Everything Holly feels she is not.  When Logan shares with Holly that he is a personal trainer and would like to work with her at a discounted rate to get her moving in the right direction, Holly figures why not, after all… she is not moving in any direction currently.

Turns out, Holly has some natural-born skills when it comes to working out.  She is hard-working, determined, has great strength and is flexible.  Before long Holly is shaping up and more than one guy is noticing, including Logan.  But is it really in the cards for Holly and Logan to be together?

Big Girl Panties for me, was a fun read with a great protagonist.  I really enjoyed Holly, who is funny, quick-witted, and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to her weight issues.  She was an easy girl to cheer on as she reaches her goals.  I even enjoyed Logan who is not perfect by far, and has a few strange habits but deep inside, despite this, I liked him.

Big Girl Panties was one of those books that I picked up planning to read a few pages and then just kept reading to the point I carried it around the house with me while I made dinner, let the dogs out, and propped it up on the bathroom sink while I styled my hair.  It was quick and it was fun.

One word of advice, Big Girl Panties is a book that can easily be taken offense too.  It deals with weight issues and eating disorders and not always kindly.  There is talk of using liposuction to improve Holly’s body.  There is also some odd interactions regarding sexual activities that mainly comes from the direction of Logan’s friend Chase, but in some cases, Logan too.

Over all, I liked the book.  It’s not perfect, but I would probably be bored if it was.  I do not have to like all the characters in a book – and in this book I didn’t.  Holly is what keeps this book moving forward.  She was someone I wanted to root for, I wanted things to go well for her and you will too. 🙂

TLC Book Tours
Thank you to TLC book tours. It was a pleasure meeting Holly!

Playing St Barbara by Marian Szczepanski

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1933 Southwestern Pennsylvania is a hot spot of activity.  The coal miners are on strike and the Klu Klux Klan is gaining momentum and both are striking fear into many hearts.  The Sweeney family:  Fin, Clare, and their three daughters; Deidre, Katie, and Norah are right in the midst of it all.  Fin, who coal mines for a living is an angry man who fights for the rights of his fellow miners by day and then takes his anger out on his wife and daughters by night. 

Secrets are held within each of the Sweeney women and as each shares their story, you see that what is happening within these stories, mirrors the legend of the 7th century St. Barbara, patron of miners, which plays out annually at the town pageant. 

Sometimes…. historical fiction blows me away.  I felt as though I had donned my own pair of coal mining boots as I sunk dust deep into this amazing read.  This was such a change from what I have been reading so far this year and I enjoyed it so much.  Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy good historical fiction.  And really, who better to tell it?  Author Marian Szczepanski whose own grandparents were immigrant miners. 

I have a feeling I will be gushing about Playing St. Barbara for some time to come.  It was amazing to me, who honestly knew little of this history, how the KKK played a role in what happened.  Exasperating, breathtaking, and awe inducing…. Playing ST. Barbara is a must read for lovers of historical fiction novels.  I want to say more, but more than that, I want YOU to read this book.

Authors Website

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Author Marian Szczepanski
TLC Book Tours
Thank you to TLC Book Tours who sent me this amazing book for my honest review.
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Playing ST Barbara is set in Pennsylvania

Platform 21 by T. R. Patrick

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It is 2052.  Luke Gibson, his sister Laura, and his parents are excited to be at the first ever World Evergy Initiative Conference.  This conference is a celebration of energy and thousands of people fill the stadium to be a part of this monumental event.

Suddenly the earth rumbles and a massive earthquake takes place.  As Luke struggles to understand what is happening as he sees people dieing all around him and his own life is ebbing away, he sees a gurl reaching for him.

And then all is black.

Death… as it turns out is not the end.  Luke awakens to a world that is not the one he knew… as life (is that what this is?) plays out Luke is left to try to figure out what sort of conspiracy is going on and what can he do to stop it before it is too late.

Ok.  Seriously.  If that synopsis did not give you chills you need to go back and read it again.  I will wait.   ……

🙂

Platform 21 sold me on the description of a teenage boy in a futuristic world that takes on a twist that is new to me – and if you know me… that is always a draw.

It is shocking, fast paced, adrenaline creating and once into it…. I had to know how this was all going to go.  I enjoyed Luke, love that he is a writer and a protagonist that I could cheer on.  In this style of book… you need someone to cling to…. Luke was that guy.

I really enjoyed this and look forward to see where this new series will go.

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Would you like to win a copy of this book?   Click the link below.

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Restrike by Reba White William

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Cousins from North Carolina, Coleman and Dinah know how to find trouble.

 

When the cousins move to New York to follow their love for art, Coleman finds herself in the position of editor of a sweet and popular arts magazine, while Dinah becomes owner of a Gallery in Greenwich Village.  The jobs are of course exciting and cause the girls to feel on top of their game until trouble brews within the integrity of an employee at the magazine and due to a poor location, sales are floundering at the art gallery. 

Enter Hayward Baine, a millionaire in the art field and possibly (hopefully) the answer to the cousins prayers.  Yet once again trouble strikes as an art dealer turns up dead and Baine suddenly is posing questions as to him possible involvement…

Life…

is never dull.

 

 

 

Restrike was brought to my attention by its fun cover and quirky synopsis.  Easily labeled a cozy mystery, Restrike poses an occasional “snort out loud” fun humor with an engagingly light story line.  Being from a small town and having had the opportunity to see New York as well, the story was interesting to see this huge change in zip code play out. 

Coleman and Dinah are fun characters and Restrike is their debut…. from what I hear, there is more to come and for that I am glad. 

Restrike makes for a good summer read that is not overpowering, but light and enjoyable as a beach read or one to definitely toss in with the luggage for vacation.  Versatile as it is – enjoy it curled up on a stormy night as well with a really good bowl of popcorn.

 

Thank you to TLC book tours who brought me to a world

that was fun to walk through with the cousins.

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