Book review

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers book review

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers book review @ Chocolate and Chapters

Fallen AngelsFallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars ★★★★★
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Purchased

Richard Perry joins the Army during the chaos of the Vietnam war after his plans for college fall through. He leaves behind his gentle younger brother and alcoholic single mother in Harlem, NY. Upon arriving in Vietnam, Richie’s not sure what to expect. Soon, he sees the war up close for himself. The blood, brutality, panic, and terror. He forms deep friendships with the men he fights beside and has good reason to wonder if he’ll ever make it back to Harlem alive.

I have an extremely difficult time writing books review for books I love. I feel like anything I might say about the book would be trite; that I couldn’t possibly explain my thoughts well enough to convince people of just how special a particular book is.

And this book is no exception.

I finished this book last night and this is still how I feel:

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers book review @ Chocolate and Chapters

The story starts out quickly. We’re thrown into the action with Richie as he arrives in Vietnam. He’s getting to know the men he’s going to fight beside, getting used to Army life, and thinking often about his brother and mother back home.

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Book review

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves book review

On the Island (On the Island, #1)On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

My rating: 3 of 5 stars ★★★
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Source: Library

Anna Emerson is 30 years old. She’s an English teacher and in a stagnant relationship. When she’s offered a job as a private tutor for the summer for a rich family, she accepts. Her student will be 16-year-old T.J., who isn’t happy to be spending his first healthy summer with his family on a far-away tropical island. Unfortunately, Anna and T.J.’s seaplane crash-lands in the ocean on the way.

The current pushes them in the course of a uninhabited island. They must find the basic necessities that we take for granted in our daily lives: water, food, shelter. They battle storms, injuries, animals, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could come back. Neither are prepared for the danger that is now a part of their everyday lives.

So you’ve probably wondered something while reading the above summary: “So the kid is 16 years old, the woman is 30 years old, and this is in the ‘Romance’ genre???”

Believe me, I wondered the same thing. So for the sake of lessening the creep-factor, let me tell you something that some people might think is a spoiler, but I think is necessary information: They are on the island for a long. time. He gets older. So that’s good news.

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Book review

How Toddlers Thrive by Tovah P. Klein book review

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How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong SuccessHow Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success by Tovah P. Klein

My rating: 3 of 5 stars ★★★
Genre: Nonfiction, Parenting
Source: Purchased

How Toddlers Thrive explains why the toddler years are different from any other period during childhood, what is happening in children’s brains and bodies at this age that makes their behavior so turbulent, and why your reaction to their behavior—the way you speak to, speak about, and act toward your toddler— holds the key to a successful tomorrow and a happier today. (From the Goodreads summary)

I am very aware that this book will only interest a limited audience. But as a mother of a squishy toddler, I thought I’d throw my opinion in the ring anyway.

This parenting book is different than all the other ones I’ve tried. It’s low-key and provides detail into how toddlers’ brains are developing and how that affects their behavior. She gives plenty of every-day, relatable examples.

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Book review

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey book review

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey book review @ Chocolate and Chapters
The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars ★★★★★
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Source: Purchased

When a series of massive catastrophes hits Earth, society is flung back into the Dark Ages. Everyone is terrified. Most people are dying. Only a few months ago, Cassie was a silly teenage girl. Now, she has to find a way to survive on her own while running from “Them.”

At the same time, a young man known as “Zombie” lives through the devastatingly fatal plague. When he recovers, he struggles to find his place in the world while grappling with debilitating guilt.

You know those books that you’re not super excited to read, but they have good reviews so you finally pick it up? You start the book sort of grudgingly, expecting something petty, trivial, and dull. This usually happens to me with YA dystopians: Legend, The Selection, and Matched, just to name a few. I was not impressed with any of them.

I expected the same thing from this book.

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Book review

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman book review

A Man Called Ove review @ Chocolate and Chapters

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars ★★★
Genre: Contemporary, Humor
Source: Gift

Ove is an older man who lives alone. He is a grouch. Since the death of his wife, he’s not sure what to live for. He cares very much about things being done “the right way,” which he believes the new generation fails miserably at. In fact, he feels everyone fails miserably at basically everything. One day, a chatty couple with two chatty children move in next door. The young mother, an Iranian immigrant, immediately sees through Ove’s tough exterior to the little bit of jelly in the middle. And Ove’s life becomes a roller coaster ride from there.

I believe I’m one of few people who didn’t quickly give this book 5 stars after finishing it. Because honestly, I didn’t love it. Trust me, I am more surprised about this than anyone.

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Book review

A Strange Companion by Lisa Manterfield book review

A Strange CompanionA Strange Companion by Lisa Manterfield

My rating: 1 of 5 stars ★
Genre: Contemporary, New Age (Is that a thing?)
Source: Purchased, Once Upon a Book Club box

Kat has been trying to escape her past for two years, ever since her boyfriend Gabe died in a tragic accident. She has met someone new, but she can’t let go of the past. When her brother adopts a two-year-old girl named Mai, Kat goes back to her hometown to meet her. When she meets Mai, she feels a strange, deep connection to her. As if she’s met Mai before. She starts to wonder if it’s possible that her boyfriend has, in fact, come back to her.

Let me say this first: I have lost someone very close to me. It will never be something I am “at peace” with or something I get over. I have gone through major life events without the person I needed the most. I am familiar with and understand Grief because even years later, we hang out fairly often.

I am also aware that people grieve differently.

But with that said, Kat’s grieving goes far overboard.

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Book review

The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel book review

the summer that melted everything

The Summer that Melted EverythingThe Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars ★★★★
Genre: Literary Fiction, Magical Realism
Source: Author
Read my interview with the author!

Being the devil made him a target, but it also meant he had a power he didn’t have when he was just a boy. People looked at him, listened to what he said. Being the devil made him important. Made him visible. And isn’t that the biggest tragedy of all? When a boy has to be the devil in order to be significant? (207)

In the stifling hot summer of 1984, Fielding Bliss’ father puts out a newspaper advertisement inviting the devil to their small Ohio town. He says he wants to “see for himself” what the devil is really like. Soon after the ad is released, 13-year-old Fielding walks by a boy in town who to claims to be the devil himself. Assuming he is a runaway from a nearby town, the Bliss family takes him in while the local sheriff conducts an investigation to figure out where the boy came from. The boy is wise beyond his years, making everyone unsure if he’s really the devil or if he’s just an ordinary thirteen year old boy.

As the summer progresses, strange accidents begin happening to the townspeople, resulting in fatalities. One of the Bliss’ neighbors takes a personal dislike for the boy and once fear begins to run rampant, no one’s lives will ever be the same.

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