The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What I Loved: Amy Byler is a bookworm and I loved that! Reading about a character that enjoys books the way I do, I absolutely connected with her. I loved that she is a down-to-earth mom that puts all her love and life into her children (and books) and there just isn’t time for anything else. Her character was relatable and understandable and that made me love her.

How I Felt:

The family dynamic mixed with Amy’s adventure in New York made for a fun story. I connected with Amy and her daughter, but really enjoyed Amy’s two friends as well. They were a fun balance of down to earth and completely over the top!

Amy’s daughter was fabulous. Amy has her daughter write in a journal to capture her thoughts while Amy is away and the way that she writes in her journal had me cracking up. She is a bit snarky, but also lovable and sweet at times. I really enjoyed these sections of the book.

The romance in this book was a good one. I felt the connection between Amy and *name to be left unsaid (no spoilers!)*. It felt real and natural in all the right ways.

I enjoyed this book overall and was content reading it. I’m giving it a 3 star, not because it was a bad read, but because I just felt like the story was good, not stick with you forever great. It was well-written with characters that were well-developed.

To Read or Not To Read: If you enjoy reading romances and stories of family, motherhood, and new life experiences, you would enjoy The Overdue Life of Amy Byler!

Amy Byler has been a single mom since her husband went on a work trip to China and decided not to come back. Her two children are her entire life (and books). Like many mothers, she puts any type of love life, friendships, and nights out on hold to raise her children.

Then, her husband shows back up in her life and wants to spend a week with his kids. He’s so sorry, and wants to get to know them. Amy, completely against the idea, is overruled by her children’s requests to spend the time with their dad.

Amy is now looking at 7 whole days with no responsibilities (school’s out for summer) and no kids. She takes a trip to New York City for a book convention and to spend some time with an old girl friend.

7 days turns into an entire summer as her husband spends the time with their children. She experiences all the free time and work outs and make overs that she has been without all these years. Her dating life is back up and running and she is finding that she is having a wonderful time until she realizes she is missing out on everything at home. Can she find a way to have the best of both worlds?

  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
  • Publication Date: May 1, 2019

All Amazon links are affiliate links.

#shejustlovesbooks #bookreview #bookblog #theoverduelifeofamybyler #kellyharms #chicklit

Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon

Rating: 2 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: The authors descriptions and knowledge of the Olympic Peninsula, the wilderness, hiking, and the American Indians set up a beautiful pictures for me. Charlie Sheldon clearly has a strong and detailed knowledge on a variety of subjects, these included. His writing of these things was a positive in this book.

How I Felt: I did not feel like I was able to get to know the characters. Most of the book is written as dialog, making if feel like a script instead of a book. This led to a disconnect between the characters and I. I could only ever guess at their emotions or inner thoughts, as they were not described in the book. This was such a huge negative for me. There was also a lot of repetition in the story and I get really frustrated with that. If the book told me something earlier in the story, a second reference to remind me makes sense, but more than that makes me think there should have been more editing involved. I had to put this book down multiple times and pick it back up later, as I really wanted to finish it.

To Read or Not To Read: I hate giving a book a less than 3 rating because my star rating may not be your star rating. Take a look at the synopsis below, and if it sounds interesting, give it a try! There’s a book for every person, this one was just not for me.

What’s This Book About Anyway?

As Tom Olsen prepares for his hike into Washington’s wilderness, Sarah Cooley, a 13 year old girl knocks on his door. She tells him she is his granddaughter and she seems to be having visions of his upcoming hike. Tom offers to take her on the trek instead of cancelling his trip. During the trip Sarah goes missing for over a week, creating some thriller and mystery to the story.

Where To Find This Book:

Amazon

Goodreads

Footnotes:

I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

All Amazon links on SheJustLovesBooks are affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales from these links with no additional cost to you. This helps to support running this blog.

#shejustlovesbooks #bookreview #bookblog #strongheart #charliesheldon

Nineteen by Arly Carmack

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: Nineteen is a book so stuffed with emotions, you cannot help but be completely sucked in. Arly Carmack writes with such real love, sorrow, and passion, I felt everything the main character, Cameron was feeling. The story was written so vividly and Cameron’s experiences were so authentic, it just connected with me. I expect that it will connect with many other readers as well.

How I Felt: This book slightly wrecked me, to be honest. Cameron’s life is full of so much disappointment, and yet, HE is such a bright, shining light that I couldn’t stop reading. I cannot praise enough Arly Carmack’s ability to create this character that I fell in love with. I wanted to hug and support him, but I was also in awe of his strength and determination.

I discovered there would be a sequel to this book about halfway through completing it. I’m glad I knew, so I wanted to make sure that you were also aware. The story does not tie up loose ends, and I was a bit disappointed in, what I felt was a bit of an abrupt turn of events into the ending. I felt it was a bit rushed, and I actually went back and re-read it just to see if I could slow it down at all. I’ve considered the ending over the last few days, and I have decided that while, I wanted more, I’m not letting the ending affect my rating of this book. Nineteen is beautifully written with fabulous character development and while the ending felt hurried, I would not have been as upset if I had already had book two in my hands.

Content Warnings: Scenes and references to abortion and sex.

To Read or Not To Read: I have categorized this book as YA, but also general fiction, because I believe that it applies to all readers. If you enjoy stories of people growing up and growing into themselves, this is a great book for you.

What’s This Book About Anyway?

Cameron is nineteen. He doesn’t fit in with his family and doesn’t really have friends. His parents are disappointed in him for not choosing to go to college. The book takes us through his life at nineteen, but it also flashes back to his earlier years. These flash backs give us insight into the experiences that have shaped who he is today; the secrets he kept and the emotions he buried. As his parents decide that it is time for him to move out, he must strike out on his own, making a way for himself in life.

Where To Find This Book:

Footnotes:

I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

All Amazon links are affiliate links.

#shejustlovesbooks #bookreview #bookblog #arlycarmack #nineteen #YA #yabook #yanovel #romance #romancenovel #romancebook

Summer at Enid’s by Britt Laux

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved: This book’s story was so simple and beautiful. I loved the relationships between each of the characters and I found myself stepping back and thinking about the relationships I have with my own family while reading. Britt Laux’s writing was so real, I was attached to each character quite quickly. Enid was especially touching, you fall in love with her on page 2 and she stays with your heart the whole way through.

How I Felt: This was a beautifully written story. I was drawn in from the first chapter with meeting of the first two characters. The book moved along at a fairly fast pace, not lingering too long on each scene, however, I felt as if I had spent the entire summer with this group, not just two days.

To Read or Not To Read: This is a great book for any readers that enjoy a love story, books about family relationships, and adorable grandmas that are feisty and amazing!

Lydia’s just quit her job and broken off her engagement. She’s heading to her grandmother Enid’s country home for some rest and time to escape.

Weston was taken on caretaker of Enid’s estate two years ago and has become like family to Enid. She accepted his past and has helped him to find how strong he is. The addition of Lydia into his daily routine has caused him some discomfort. She’s cute, but grumpy and he hasn’t quite worked out his feelings yet.

Enid is a ninety-something feisty woman who is full of love and hope and spunk. She’s determined to steer Lydia to the path of her future, whether Lydia sees it or not.

Where to Buy:

See the source image
See the source image
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Footnotes:

This ARC was provided to me by the author in exchange for my honest review.

#shejustlovesbooks #bybrittlaux #brittlaux #summeratenids #romance #lovestory #bookreview #bookblog

The Wanderlust Diaries by Maria Martinico

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved: I LOVED this book from start to finish! The author’s writing style was so captivating! Have you ever sat down with a friend and they told you the craziest story? That’s what this felt like. I sat down with a friend and they told me of their travels. I got to hear the ups and downs and her side commentary. We laughed and cried together. It was amazing!

How I Felt: I have this book categorized as romance, and it definitely is, however, it is so much more than that. There are a lot of sex scenes in this book to be clear, but there is so much character growth. It was a journey for the main character, Charlie, and I was so drawn in. Her travels take her all over the place and she has so many experiences along the way. She meets an elephant, she learns to surf, she lives in a hut on the beach…I loved every step of her journey. This is the kind of book that I will read again and again.

I got the window so I could see the Pacific. I read once the Pacific Ocean has 75,000 volcanoes. I hope I see at least one. The joker in the middle seat is gorgeous and I’m trying not to look. He passed out right away and I’m going to have to wake him up soon to pee. Should I shove my crotch or ass in his face? These are coach choices.

Damn, he’s cute. Long, legs all scrunched up in the tiny seat. Eyelashes curled into a perfect semi-circle, like the smile on an emoji. Honey skin, and I caught a flash of greenish eyes while he settled in. Pile of nappy curls, bleached at the tips, either from sun or surf…or a kit. I snort, realizing my opinion of him will change entirely depending on which one it is.

I also am realizing I might think he’s cute cause he kinda looks like me, like we could be cousins. OK, I really have to pee, but waking people up is so intimate. Good morning baby, how’d you sleep? Focus on the spray of blackheads on his big nose and the stream of drool.

Turns out his name is Gabriel. His t-shirt was crazy soft. And I went crotch first.

Excerpt from The Wanderlust Diaries, Part 1 The Jungle, Chapter 1 Bangkok

To Read or Not To Read: The journey that Charlie goes on in this book has me suggesting this for anyone, however, there are many M rated scenes, so if you are ok with the dirty details of Charlie’s sex life (which were written VERY well), you should absolutely read this book. It was fabulous and I cannot recommend it enough.

Where To Find This Book:

Amazon Kindle | Amazon | Goodreads

We meet Charlie as she hops on a plane for a planned year of travel. She’s heading to Bangkok as her first stop. She gets the chance to assist in the rescue of an elephant before heading to her next stop. She journeys from place to place telling us of her escapades along the way and then she meets Malakai. She finds herself in a blissful world where she hopes to never walk away from, but she has secrets. Her past catches up to her and her world is flipped upside down.

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I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

All Amazon links on SheJustLovesBooks are affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales from the use of them. If you fall in love with a book because of my review and you want to buy, I would greatly appreciate the use of the link on my page.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: The mystery surrounding this story had me hooked. I really needed to understand what happened! Jodi Picoult’s writing is always so gripping and full of questions you just need to have answered and this one did not disappoint.


How I Felt: Shattered. Utterly shattered. This book surrounds a school shooting, which is just a terrifying story line. I was devastated for the families, but sucked into the aftermath’s story.


To Read or Not To Read: With the caveat that this has trigger warnings with school shootings, gun violence, and teen death, this was a great book. Jodi Picoult fans will not be disappointed. If you haven’t read Jodi Picoult, this one does not stray from what readers love so much about her. It is a great book, and I highly recommend it.


What’s This Book About Anyway?

A school shooting has taken place in a small New Hampshire town. This book follows the aftermath of that shooting, including the trial for the shooter. There is an eye-witness that cannot remember what she saw, and she happens to be the judge’s daughter. There are a lot of mysteries to be solved throughout the story, keeping you turning the pages long into the night!


Footnotes:

#jodipicoult #nineteenminutes #shejustlovesbooks #contemporaryfiction #bookstagrammer #bookblog

Leaving: A Novel by Richard Dry

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: The stories follow three generations of a family in American really giving the reader a full view of the initial events in the timeline and the reactions to event caused, even generations later.


How I Felt: This book is full of sadness. This is not a book meant to make a person happy, however, I felt everything the author intended us to feel.

Additionally, I noticed on Goodreads that this has a total of 13 reviews! I was so surprised. This book was at least nominated for awards, and just has not been found by many people. While I gave it a 3 star, it was still a good read, and I would recommend it to people.

My reasons for 3 stars: The book jumped around a lot in time. The writer tells the story in bits and pieces so that each story is in chronological order, but each chapter is a different part of one of her family’s lives. The reader jumps from 1950 to 1998 and back. It was an interesting way to write the story, but it did bother me. I got used to it and was able to get through the book, and I did appreciated the way the story unfolded by the end.


To Read or Not To Read: If you enjoy historical fiction, or Civil Rights books, this would be a great read for you. It’s definitely worth picking up and trying it out!


What’s This Book About Anyway?

This book tells the story of one girl’s life, along with her brother, daughter, and grandsons. Ruby Washington is newly widowed, and pregnant, and leaves South Carolina, heading to California with her brother. We follow her struggles through the 1960’s: her brother becomes a Black Panther and Lida, her daughter, has secrets that become detrimental to her. The third generation in this book is Lida’s two sons. They are constantly moving from one place to another trying to survive and find a place to call home.


Footnotes:

#leavinganovel #richarddry #shejustlovesbooks #historicalfiction #civilrightsfiction #fictionbooks

When We Believed In Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal

Rating: 2 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved: I loved the cover of this book. Fair warning, this was not a well-liked book for me.


How I Felt: The beginning of this book had me completely hooked. “My sister had been dead for fifteen years when I see her on the TV news.” I was like, “Yes!” This book is going to be awesome!” I felt so let down from that point on. I, in no way, ever want to bash a book, and I am usually finding myself handing out 4 and 5 star reviews because I “justlovebooks”, but I was on the Struggle-Bus for this entire book.

My Gripes: I was bored with the story line and completely unconnected with the characters. O’Neal’s writing was beautiful and descriptive, however, it was overly fluffy for the story. There is an entire story line surrounding a house and it has all this mystery about a murder, and I kept waiting for that part of the story to flesh out, but it just fizzled into nothing. It could have been completely removed from the book and it would not have affected the story at all. It would have improved the length of the story, however.

The two main characters are sisters, and one is thought to be dead for 15 years until her sister catches a glimpse her on TV. There was so much side-fluff happening, and I couldn’t understand why. If I thought my sister had been dead for 15 years, and then I see her on TV, I wouldn’t be traipsing around New Zealand, I would be so focused on finding her. Ultimately, this book missed the mark for me because the characters were not written in a way that made you understand their actions enough. I was constantly questioning WHY this or that issue was the thing ruining their lives.

Additionally, I felt that the placement of when I was given a “big reveal” about what had happened to a character, it was truly the third or fourth time it had been referenced, and I just wasn’t surprised about it. I was, however, frustrated that I had to read it again.


To Read or Not To Read: For me, this is a big fat not to read. However, I have scanned the Goodreads comments, and while there are people like me, there are a lot of people that really did enjoy this book. Many of the 4+ star comments also note that they almost did not finish this book, so most readers and I agree that it’s a struggle. For some, however, the book redeemed itself, for me, it did not. So, I’m suggesting that if the synopsis sounds good to you, pick it up and give it a try. Maybe you’ll have a better experience than me!


What’s This Book About Anyway?

Kit’s sister has been dead for 15 years until she spots her on a news reel on TV. At her mother’s instance, Kit hops on a plane to New Zealand where the news came from, checks into a hotel and starts looking for her sister. Kit finds an unexpected romance in the middle of all of this. She must break down her barriers built up from her childhood to be able to truly let love in. There are many childhood secrets and the memories begin to pop up for Kit.

The book is written from the perspective of Kit, and her sister Josie. Kit will be one chapter, and then it will change to Josie. The perspectives were nice to help understand why each character felt the way they did. There are a lot of flashbacks to help us see all the secrets from their past. They will need to understand each other and their childhood to move forward.


Footnotes:

#whenwebelievedinmermaids #barbaraoneal #fiction #shejustlovesbooks

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I loved: I happen to be a pretty Undomestic Goddess myself, so this book really resonated with me. A character that works hard and finds herself in a situation where she needs to keep house for someone. I would be pretty screwed. I loved reading about this character going through that situation.


How I Felt: This was such a light-hearted, easy read full of comedic situations and a little love. It made me smile so much, and felt so good to read.


To Read or Not To Read: I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys easy, fun books. Fans of Sophie Kinsella (or Madeleine Wickham) won’t be disappointed either!


Quoted:

“There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out.”
― Sophie Kinsella, The Undomestic Goddess


What’s This Book About Anyway?

Samantha Sweeting is an attorney at a law firm hoping to make partner. She spends all of her time focused on work, trying to attain that *partner* status. She makes a mistake at works, and loses it a bit. She leaves work and jumps on a train to anywhere. One arriving to the middle of nowhere, she walks up to a house to ask for directions, and they think she is there for the housekeeper interview. She nails the interview and ends up hired. For a job as a housekeeper. She can’t cook, clean, sew, or do anything that resembles taking care of a household. The adjustment and learning period for her are full of hilarious situations and a little romance, but we do find that she begins to adapt. This story is a great adventure into trying something completely different and finding who you really are.


Footnotes:

#theundomesticgoddess #sophiekinsella #shejustlovesbooks #contemporaryfiction

My Heart from Inside by Aviva Gat

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved: The way this book made me think I knew what I would do, then change my mind, and re-think, and re-think again. I was torn between two perspectives of these families and I agreed with both of them.


How I Felt: I felt such sadness for each of the families. Their situations were unthinkable, yet understandable, keeping me up at night trying to find out what happened. Finishing the last page of this book, I felt such a love for this book. The author was able to write this story with such a realistic view, I felt like I was right there with each family.


To Read or Not To Read: A definite must-read. It’s a thought-provoking book, which had me having dinner conversations over what I would do!

Where To Find This Book: Amazon Goodreads

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The story takes us through the IVF (in vitro fertilization) process for two women, Cameron and Avery. We follow their elation and joy at finding out they are pregnant, their struggles with morning sickness and tired bodies while pregnant, and their birth stories. Then, the unthinkable happens, Cameron and her husband Andy, realize their daughter has a blood type that does not match theirs. This baby is not their genetic child. Tests confirm Cameron has carried Avery’s genetic baby, while Avery carried Cameron’s. 


What now? What would you do? I kept asking myself these questions throughout the entire book. Avery and her husband had their baby a few weeks early and have started to bond with their child, while Cameron and Andy discover the problem soon after birth, choosing to keep the baby at a distance until they can switch babies. This turns out to be harder than Cameron and Andy would have thought, as Avery and Graham would like to keep the baby they have. 
This book takes you on a roller coaster of emotions and keeps you wondering what will happen next. It is a book that I recommend to everyone! 

I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

#myheartfrominside #avivagat #shejustlovesbooks

Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My Thoughts:

What I Loved:  The mysteries surrounding the story were amazing!  I wanted to know all the answers.  I love when a book jumps back and forth in time to tell the story and this one did it so well.

How I Felt: I was surprised as I uncovered answers to secrets.  There were a few things I was able to guess, but some that definitely caught me unaware. I connected with some characters more than others, but really loved a few.
To Read or Not To Read: This is a good story with some family secrets to unravel.  It’s worth the read and there’s a sequel if you love it!


What’s this book about, anyway?

Lucy, after the death of her mother, travels from Nashville to Cape Hudson with her dog, and her car.  She knows her mother was born and raised in Cape Hudson, but that’s it.  She’s hoping to find out who her father is (her mom never told her) and who her mother was when she lived here.
What she gets – a house from a will of a woman she has never heard of and an executor that would prefer to take the house off her hands.  This house is really more of an estate with acres of land, a light house, and an additional smaller home on the property. With no real home or family to go back to, she chooses to stay and try it out.


Some of my favorite parts surround a young girl repeatedly sneaking into the house for a safe place to stay. The interaction between the two is adorable and fun. The big mysteries start to have answers when Lucy discovers some old videos tucked away in the house featuring her mother interviewing an old woman. She begins to unravel her past and the secrets of her new home, Winter Cottage.


Footnotes:

#wintercottage #maryellentaylor #shejustlovesbooks #book series

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What I Thought:

What I Loved: The way the story unfolds for the reader just blew me away. There are books where I can guess what is going on, but this was not one of them.

How I Felt: I was quite the detective trying to figure out what had happened in this story! Well, I tried to be, but quite honestly, I failed. The narrator had to tell me! Jenna’s story took me through sadness and shock, lot, but a good book will do that to you.

To Read or Not To Read: This is a must read for me. The story did not disappoint!


What’s This Book About Anyway?

Jenna Metcalf’s mother mysteriously disappeared over 10 years ago, but Jenna has never given up searching for her. She has her mother’s old journals, full of stories of her elephants, but Jenna is looking for clues about the disappearance, not the elephants. Jenna’s memory is jogged by her mother’s journal entries though, and these memories lead to a fast-paced, whirlwind of activity that left me pausing to just absorb what had happened before moving to the next chapter!


FootNotes:

#leavingtime #jodipicoult #shejustlovesbooks