The Next Person You Meet in Heaven

By Mitch Albom

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven: The Sequel to The Five People You Meet in Heaven by [Albom, Mitch]

5 out of 5 stars

Endings are also beginnings, we just don’t know it at the time…..

I don’t know one person who did not love The Five People You Meet in Heaven. And I don’t know anyone that won’t love this book either. It is so needed in the times we live in. It is filled with love, wonder, hope, and faith. I know some people will find it too saccharine because there are always those that scoff at anything with goodness, but I, for one, found it uplifting and elevating to the soul.

This time it is Annie, the little girl from Ruby Pier, that enters heaven. Her journey brings people that have been part of her life, even if in a small way that lead to something more. You know you all want to see Eddie and you won’t be disappointed.

The ending was a surprise and such a tender reminder of how much we miss out on life if  we aren’t letting it happen genuinely.

Mitch Albom is the king of touching your heart and making you think. He reminds us to embrace what we have and who we love. I will always be first in line for one of his books and his wise, heartfelt words.

Thanks to Harper Books for a copy of this wonderful book.

My Squirrel Days

By Ellie Kemper


My Squirrel Days by [Kemper, Ellie]

4 out of 5 stars

This book is a delight! I swear I had a big smile on my face throughout the whole thing. Much needed in these past few days.

I love Ellie Kemper. I am a big Kimmy Schmidt and Office fan and it is good to know that the woman we see on tv is just as funny and sweet as we think she is. Her stories are hilarious, whether it be her staged Christmas plays for her family (darn it Grandma) or trying out for SNL, she will have you laughing. Every mother will relate to her story about becoming a mom and how that changes you. And everyone will relate to her honesty.

This book is just pure fun and I think that is something we all need about right now. It probably would be wonderful to listen to her tell her story on audio. You might want to check that out.

Thanks to Netgalley and Scribner for a copy of this wonderful book.

The Lies We Told

By Camilla Way

The Lies We Told by [Way, Camilla]

4 out of 5 stars

There are lies, lies and even more lies in this twisty little tale.  When Clara’s boyfriend Luke doesn’t return home or even show up the next day for work, she knows something is wrong. He had been harassed by someone but even she did not know to what extent until he is missing. When she opens up his laptop and finds a ton of messages from a seemingly crazy woman, she goes with his best friend to the police. The search begins and there is so much that is uncovered.

Each chapter goes between the search for Luke and a woman writing about her young daughter who seems to be quite the Bad Seed. Little Hannah does a lot of very nasty things with no affect whatsoever. When she overhears her mother talking to another woman about a secret they share, it sets off a chain of events with disastrous results. Is this all tied to Luke’s disappearance? Well of course you think it has to because why are we reading about her.

Then the lies. There are so many lies. Everyone has some to tell. The last little lie at the end threw me for a loop, that’s for sure.

It will definitely keep you reading to see just what craziness is going to happen. Clara is a wonderfully sympathetic character and you want so much for her. Hannah is such a psychotic character, perfectly written. It has more than enough twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. It is a very good read for a cold October night.

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for an advance copy of this book.

A Spark of Light

By Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light: A Novel by [Picoult, Jodi]

5 out of 5 stars

I think so many of us are Jodi Picoult fans. She can weave a story that makes you look at every side of the issue with a better understanding. This has to be my very favorite Jodi Picoult book.

The story revolves around a shooting/hostage situation in a women’s health clinic. It begins at the end and takes us back through the eventful day. It also gives us a look into the lives of the women and men there and why they came to be there on this fateful day. I loved how we saw that they were intertwined in many ways even before this happens.

This is also a book about decisions. What makes us decide to do what we do and the aftermath of our decisions. No one can really tell you what is right for you and as these characters learn, there is more than one side to every story.

It is about abortion. It is about both sides of the argument. It is about choice, religion, family, society, penance, punishment. It will tear at your heart. I felt as if I was crying through most of it with this heaviness weighing on my heart. It did not change my mind about how I feel about abortion but it did make me think about how others feel too. It will make you think and think and think. It will make you feel and feel and feel.

A line that stuck with me and is so fitting for the climate of the country today:

“Laws are black and white. The lives of women are a thousand shades of gray.”

Think about that.

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine book for an advance copy of this wonderful book.


The Exes’ Revenge

By Jo Jakeman


The Exes' Revenge by [Jakeman, Jo]

4 out of 5 stars

Our story begins at a funeral and ends with a funeral. It is the funeral of Imogen’s soon-to-be ex-husband. In front of Imogen sits his latest girlfriend Naomi and behind her, his first wife Ruby. These three women are as different as night and day but they all have something in common, the abusive Phillip. What starts as a disagreement between Imogen and Phillip over their house, ends up with someone locked in a basement converted room and lots of violence.

The book takes us back before the funeral and what leads up to his death.  But in between, there is a ton of action. I definitely could see this being a movie. I have no idea who I would cast but it would be quite the film.

I loved watching Imogen come into her own after years of mental and physical abuse from Phillip. I also loved that the spunky Naomi was not having any of it period. Ruby, on the other hand, seemed to be in a la la land but you have to know that the truth can slap you in the face.

This is definitely a page turner that you will read very quickly. Just desserts are the most delicious.

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for this review copy.

Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by [Owens, Delia]

5 out of 5 stars

This is Reese Witherspoon’s book of September and I see exactly why she chose it. It leaves you feeling a lot of different emotions. It also keeps you turning page after page to see what happens with Kya, the Marsh Girl.

Kya lives in a rundown shack off the coast of North Carolina. Her family is what they call trash. Her mother leaves one day and then all her siblings, leaving her alone with her drunken father. He too leaves at one point. This poor little girl,  just a child, is left feeling that rejection is a part of life. Her loneliness is palpable.  The steeling of her heart is understandable. It was heartbreaking to read. Kya is one with all the water creatures, birds, and plants of the marsh. They become everything to her. The story tells us of her growing up into womanhood, without much help from anyone else. There is Tate, a boy with more ties to her than she really knows. He is such a good man but he does have his faults. There is also Jumpin and Mabel. In a segregated town, Kya finds a family in them, They are two wonderful characters.

A member of the town is murdered, someone with close ties to Kya and the murder trial and her confinement are a big part of the storyline. Everyone blames those who are different, don’t they?

This book had me in knots at times. I just wanted to hug this poor little girl and tell her that she was worth it. As she got older, she reminded me of Debbie Reynolds in Tammy. Maybe she didn’t have the right way of talking but she had some spunk. Watching as she grew into a woman who accomplished a lot, was the purest joy of this book. And I felt some incredible justice with the ending, even if that’s wrong.

The description of the marsh and the surrounding area, made me feel as if I was there. I am going to look up the birds that are mentioned as soon as I finish this review.

This is truly a story of survival and the human spirit. You will fall in love with Kya.

Thanks to Netgalley and G.R. Putnam’s Sons for this wonderful review copy.


The Sound of Gravel

By Ruth Wariner


The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by [Wariner, Ruth]

4 out of 5 stars

I am fascinated by polygamy. I have read many books about it and by people who have escaped it. This is really a terrific book on the subject.

Ruth was raised in Mexico in a group that was founded by her prophet father. He died when she was a baby. Her mother remarried another man from the family named Lane. He was not a good guy, to put it simply. Her family lived pretty much in poverty. They would cross the border to collect food stamps for her family. Her mother having to pretend she did not know who the father was of her children. Their education was pretty lax. They spent a few years in some other cities , even living with her grandparents when her mother left Lane for a while. I was so happy for them during that period and then Lane shows up again.  But there was also some sexual abuse by Lane on Ruth and other kids in the compound. Her mother espoused forgiveness. This I had a hard time with. I am not sure if her mother’s tears were for what happened to Ruth or her fear of not having her husband anymore.  Or were they because she believed so deeply in her faith? That left me very emotional.

The writing is wonderful. I honestly felt like I could taste the dust of the desert and smell the mice droppings that littered their home in Mexico. You could feel the cold in your bones as the wind blew through the thin walls.

For so much sadness, Ms. Wariner seems to have come out stronger and a lot more forgiving than I might be. If you are as absorbed in polygamy as I am, you definitely must pick up this book. If you are looking for a good memoir, you definitely must pick up this book.