BOOK REVIEW: Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation by Karen Cherro Quinones

This review will take a look at the YA nonfiction title Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation by Karen Cherro Quinones. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was released today, February 4th.

Theodosia Burr was the daughter of Aaron Burr, who served as Vice President to Thomas Jefferson. Many readers out there will have more knowledge of Aaron Burr because of his feud (and duel) with Alexander Hamilton that was a plot point in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s famed musical Hamilton.

I found it important that this book acknowledged the lack of information remaining surrounding the life of Theodosia, and other women during this age. Though I understand this, and that the lack of information makes it difficult to write authoritatively on the subject, I had a difficult time digesting this book as a biography of Theodosia. It is a short book, only just over 100 pages, and the author spent much of that time building up to the child’s birth. Because of this it seems much more a biography of Aaron Burr to me, focusing on his relationship with his daughter, which was unorthodox at the time.

The author also makes it clear that Aaron Burr had very different ideas than general society about educating women at the time. Theodosia was extremely well educated, like her mother, and received the same tutoring a boy her age would have had.

What was emphasized throughout the book was how exceptional Theodosia was. Caring for her ailing mother, while pursuing studies. Taking charge of a household at a very young age, hosting parties for politicians, the list can go on and on.

This book just skims the surface of Theodosia through research of the letters between her and her family, though many of the family papers were lost at sea, along with her. While reading, I found myself wishing for more information leading up to her marriage, the birth of her child, and her death. These seemed glossed over in comparison with her unique childhood. I think this book is a good starting block for a pre-teen looking to learn about strong women during colonial times, but not for anything looking to go more in depth.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This review is going to take a look at Ann Napolitano’s new book, Dear Edward. Dear Edward was released earlier this month on January 6, 2020, and has been used by many for January book clubs.

This book is about Edward, who is 12 at the beginning of this story, and how he lost his family in a plane crash. His family was moving from New York to L.A. and the plane went down. Edward was the only survivor of the 191 people on the flight.

Knowing the vague plot going into the story I was surprised to immediately be introduced to several of the victims as they boarded the plane. As I began to read, I understood. The story is told alternating between during the flight and after the crash.

Understandably, it is difficult for Edward to continue on without his family. Especially, his older brother Jordan. And as the book goes on he has more thoughts that Jordan should have lived instead of him.

Napolitano explores several forms of grief, and growth through Edward. As I read the book I had a little bit of a difficult time seeing where we were going while following the other characters, but by the end I was able to figure out how each piece of the puzzle helped Edward move through his grief and relearn how to live.

I thought this was an excellent coming-of-age story that was expertly woven together by the author. I recommend you take a moment and pick up a copy, just be prepared for a heavy read that will give you all the feels.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright by Beth Miller.

This review will take a look at the book The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright by Beth Miller. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was released yesterday, January 9, 2020 from Bookouture.

At the start of the book we meet our leading lady, Mrs. Kay Bright. She has led a remarkably predictable (read boring) life thus far. Her thirtieth wedding anniversary to her dull husband Richard is approaching, and she has come to the realization that she’s done. Done with working at her husband’s stationary shop, done with never traveling, and done with marriage.

Pretty much the beginning of the book is one big–‘what if’ that has Kay in conflict with pretty much every other character in the book, and then working to resolve those conflicts throughout the book. Her biggest fight is with her daughter, Stella, with both of them blowing up at each other in reaction to Kay leaving her husband.

The story unravels in alternating points of view, learning about Kay’s story, and then Stella’s. They are also broken up by the letters that Kay sent her best friend Bear over the years. Bear moved to Australia with her family as a teenager, and since then Kay and Bear wrote letters to each other in alternating months. But something is off–Bear hasn’t replied for a few months now so with a gentle push from their other best friend Rose, Kay decides to travel to Australia to visit Bear.

Upon finding Bear, Kay gets to catch up with her best friend in person, and realizes something is wrong. Only she couldn’t figure out what exactly until Bear decides to travel to Venice with Kay. Bear insists on staying in a fancy (read super expensive) pallazo and going to an exclusive restaurant, paying all of the bills.

Kay’s time spent with Bear helps her realize what she really wants to do with her future. Once home she works to resolve the various conflicts she has with family members, and fulfilling her promise to Bear.

While Kay is traveling and finding herself her daughter is going through her own problems. We follow her through fights with her flatmates and boyfriend. She finds a new love interest in a librarian (yay librarians!), and slowly things become more positive for her.

This book was a slower start for me, since I found it harder to relate to Kay’s story because of my age. However, as the book progressed I was brought into the story and began having a deeper connection with characters and realized the connection between the letters we read, the title, and Bear. I think this was a lovely, heartfelt book and many readers will enjoy Miller’s writing.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson.

This review is going to focus on The Dating Charade, written by Melissa Ferguson. I received an eArc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cassie Everson’s story is an interesting one, and one I feel isn’t written very often. Though the trope of not wanting kids, and ending up with kids is done, but not normally to this scale.

Cassie has had a lot of bad dates. So many that she decides to delete her online dating profile. But not before Jett sees her profile and remembers his childhood crush on her. Jett’s charms, with the help of Cassie’s best friend, seem to be succeeding at winning the girl. Until each feels they need to keep as secret from the other.

Cassie is the director of the Haven, a program to help at risk girls. Her favorite teen is Star, who has two young sisters. After her first magical date with Jett, Cassie become aware of the abuse and neglect Star and her sisters have been hiding as she sees the police and child protective services at their apartment. She takes temporary custody of the girls while waiting to hear if there is a family member able to take them in.

Meanwhile, Jett’s sister surprises him by stopping by with his twin nephew and niece, and surprise, a newborn nephew, TJ before leaving them there with their young uncle. Jett struggles to figure out raising a newborn and two toddlers with the help of his roommate Sunny and their neighbor Sarah.

The problem is, Cassie and Jett are both thoroughly aware that each other’s dating profiles stated that the other does not want children. Afraid of scaring off the other, they try to hide the children from each other coming up with lame excuses as to why they need to cancel or cut dates short.

Though I found both lead characters admirable, I became fed up with how long they kept the truth from each other. There is more drama to this book than romance. It was an enjoyable read, but not what I was expecting, nor what I was quite looking for in a read.

I think those interested in romantic comedies, blended families, and hot firefighters would find this book worth reading 😉 It was released on December 3, 2019, so find a copy and pick up this debut by Melissa Ferguson.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron.

This review is going to take a look into the world of historical fiction and castles. The Painted Castle is the third and final novel in Kristy Cambron’s Lost Castle series. I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was published October 15th and I highly recommend readers pick up a copy.

Kiera Foley had been working on a PhD in Art History when she was ostracized from the art world. She retreated back to Dublin and we find her working in the family pub when a dark and mysterious man shows up and makes her an offer. Little does she know, it’s an offer that she can’t refuse. She arrives in the English countryside and is delivered to a rundown manor housing a painting of Queen Victoria the she must study for authenticity.

This book tells the story of the manor and those that lived there in three different points in history. The life of the viscount and artists in the 1840s, the widow of the viscount and a base full of soldiers during World War II, and that of Keira in modern day, as they work to restore the honey cottage and beautiful library that was found bricked up on the premises.

Cambron does an outstanding job of using the three couples’ stories to create the big picture of one place throughout time. And although this book is categorized as Christian fiction, it is not as heavily based on the Christian faith as some. I think those that love to get lost in the English countryside and read about art would thoroughly enjoy this book. I will definitely be going back to read the first two books in the trilogy to learn more about Keira’s mysterious brothers.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell.

I recently finished reading Songs from the Deep, a debut Young Adult novel written by Kelly Powell. It was a book I selected for the leisure reading collection at the academic library I work at and I was looking for something to read over our holiday break. Songs from the Deep did not disappoint.

Songs from the Deep takes place on the island of Twillengyle which has sirens off its shores. The story centers on Moira Alexander a 17-year-old who follows in her late father’s footsteps in playing the violin, and advocating for the safety of the sirens. It also follows her former best friend, 19-year-old lighthouse keeper Jude Osric. Their father’s were best friends and they grew up very close, until Moira’s father dies and she finds something in his belongings.

Once upon a time the islanders hunted the sirens. But Moira’s father helped create a ban on hunting the creatures and they haven coexisted in an uneasy way since. Many islanders have lost loved ones to the sirens, and still occasionally islanders are injured. However, most deaths come at the expense of tourists who don’t know how to best protect themselves with a piece of cold iron.

But now, a 12-year-old islander is dead, and the sirens have been blamed, but Moira doesn’t by it. She knows how sirens attack, and the cut across Connor’s throat is too clean to be made by teeth and claws. Moira and Jude reunite in order to find the true killer, while trying to protect the sirens from harm by the islanders.

I thought this book was an interesting twist on the typical murder mystery that is ever so popular in books today. The characters were believable with real problems that were handled mostly realistically. It was a good departure from reality and had me wishing sirens were real. Here’s hoping Powell’s next novel is just as good.

Happy reading 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Unmanageable by Lavinia Kent

This review is going to focus on Unmanageable by Lavinia Kent. This is the second book in her Forbidden Cove series. I received an eARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The main character of this title is lawyer Veronica Andersen. She lives in Forbidden Cove and commutes daily to the city. Sometimes it’s hard for her to get back home with work events at night, which makes it hard for her to care for her dog she got from her brother after he passed away in a car accident. She’s hired a neighbor to walk her dog when she needs it.

But when she opens the door she doesn’t find the older woman she’s expecting. She finds the woman’s nephew, the sexy Brian Walsh. The two feel an immediate connection, and after an initial hook-up Veronica invites him to be her date to her sister’s wedding.

The two insist they don’t want anything serious, and Veronica doesn’t take the time to get to know Brian. She even judges him for his current lifestyle of being a dog walker and doing sunset yoga on the beach.

But what she doesn’t know is that he was a star goalie in the NHL until a recent injury ended his career. Eventually the two can’t be kept apart and they work on their differences and learn about each other.

This was a fun, interesting read, and I will definitely be picking up other titles in this series.

Happy reading 🙂