The Pact

The Pact: A Love Story

By Jodi Picoult

I’m torn about how many stars to give this one. On one hand, it was well-written and engaging. At no point did I consider not finishing it. On the other hand, it was not a very realistic or believeable story. There was one aspect of the ending that was ridiculously unbelievable and in the “discussion with the author” part at the end of my book, Jodi admitted she didn’t like the ending, but thought readers would hate her if she did something different. I can definitely see that she has matured because I’m sure she would go with her original ending had she written the book now.

Chris Harte and Emily Gold have grown up together their whole lives. No one is surprised when they start dating. When Chris is injured and Emily killed from a gunshot wound to the head, Chris says they made a suicide pact. Emily’s mother believes that Chris killed Emily, while her father believes he’s innocent. We don’t know what really happened until the end (although it’s not a surprise) at Chris’s murder trial.

I found it unbelievable that Emily showed zero signs of suicide and didn’t confide in anyone except Chris. The characters bothered me with their decisions, especially Chris and Emily. I really don’t like the subtitle “A Love Story” because Chris even admits at one point that Emily didn’t love him to do what she did. She didn’t consider the after effects for him. Chris’s story, when the truth was finally revealed, seemed like quite a stretch. I would recommend a different Picoult novel instead. 2 out of 5 chickadees singing.

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The Carlton Square Series

The Carlton Square Series

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I am so excited to share The Carlton Square series with you guys! This was written by one of my favorite authors, Lilly Bartlett, AKA Michelle Gorman. I have already read both books and the second just hit shelves in the USA. Check out my reviews below!

The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square

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I enjoyed this fun book. Thinking it over to critique it, I realized I really had no complaints. Sometimes chick lit books are predictable, over dramatic, and cheesy, but this book was none of those things. This is the story of Emma and Daniel planning their wedding. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and she, well… wasn’t. Daniel’s parents are expecting a huge, elegant ceremony and are willing to contribute financially, but Emma’s father won’t hear of it. Emma has to pull off an almost royal wedding on a shoestring budget. 

This book took me back to my own wedding planning days, which was fun. I also loved both main characters. Emma is desperately trying not to betray where she comes from, even though she’s marrying into something else. Daniel is clueless about his privilege. The secondary characters were very entertaining, yet also heartwarming. 

The plot moves along at a good pace. Emma has a funny “voice.” I am really excited to read more in this series! I would recommend it to any fan of chick lit, and really, anyone who has ever planned a wedding!

The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square

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This book was super cute, just like the first one in the series! Emma starts a cafe in Carlton Square to provide jobs for at-risk youth. She runs into a lot of trouble from a fellow cafe owner who is trying to run her out of business. She is also juggling a new job, her husband, and her twin toddlers!

I could relate to a lot of Emma’s thoughts about motherhood. Emma wants Daniel to step up more and feels like everything falls to her. I think that’s common and I like how it was handled in this story.

Emma is such a likable character. I love that she is trying to help at-risk youth and learned to overcome some prejudices she didn’t even know she had. We see the return of a lot of lovely characters, like her parents, her mother-in-law, Daniel, Kelly, etc. We also get lots of new characters from Emma’s mom group and the other people who frequent the cafe. I loved the diverse range of characters.

It was very enjoyable to visit Emma and her square again! The plot moved at a good pace and the story was well-done. I hope there’s a third book!

*Quotes and photos provided to me by the author. I wwas given copies of these books and voluntarily reviewed them.*

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Glitter and Glue Book Review

Glitter and Glue

By Kelly Corrigan

Genre: Memoir

4 out of 5 chickadees singing! This book was “squarely in my wheelhouse.” I found it at a Goodwill and it was only $2, so I thought I’d give it a shot. As a former nanny/babysitter, I was intrigued by the story of Kelly nannying in another country. This book did not disappoint me.

Kelly goes to Australia as a 19 year old as part of her “seeing the world” tour. She gets a job as a nanny for the Tanner family. The Tanners have just lost their mother, Ellen. John is the father and his children are Millie, 7, and Martin, 5. Not until Kelly starts the job does she find out that Ellen’s son (John’s stepson), Evan, and Ellen’s father, Pop, also live in the house. She’s intrigued about the fact that Evan and Pop stay at the house even though their tie to the other family members (Ellen) is gone. She’s also interested in who Ellen was and how the family will move on without her. She becomes a bit of a surrogate mother to the children for a while. Throughout the story of Kelly nannying, she reflects on her relationship with her own mother. We also get to hear some of Kelly and her mother’s connection after she has her own children.

I was very interested in the Tanners’ lives and how Kelly fit into it. I thought she portrayed a lot of hope, positivity, and appreciation throughout this story. I really have no complaints. It was a well-done and sweet memoir.

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Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore Review

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

By Robin Sloan

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Fantasy

3 out of 5 chickadees singing! I can see why so many people liked this book, but it has everything I’m not interested in. Lol. If I were a different person, I would have liked this book a lot more. Clay gets a job at Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hours bookstore. He notices that the back of the store has a bunch of books that seem to be written in a different language, or a code. Mysterious patrons come in showing membership cards to return books and get new ones. Other than that, the business doesn’t get many customers. Clay becomes more and more curious about the bookstore. When Mr. Penumbra disappears, Clay has to call on the help of his technology genius friends to find out what’s really going on.

This book was part fantasy and part sci fi with a lot of talk about Google, coding, software, etc. I like very few fantasy books, rarely read sci fi, and don’t work in technology. There were a lot of aspects of this story I wasn’t interested in and some of them that I couldn’t fully understand. I love bookstores and I love mysteries, so I did want to know what was really going on at the store. I liked the idea of combining the ideas of ancient mysteries with current technologies. The book definitely had a creative plot.

I would recommend this book if you are interested in fantasy and technology. I think this book would be perfect for you. I feel like others could take it or leave it.

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One Plus One Review

One Plus One

By Jojo Moyes

I really liked this book! I read her “Ship of Brides” and wasn’t a huge fan, but I loved “Me Before You.” This was a really sweet and cute story.

Single mom Jess has everything on her shoulders. She’s trying to make life better for her goth stepson, Nicky, and her math geek daughter, Tanzie. She works at a bar and cleans houses, but is barely making it financially. When Tanzie is given the opportunity to attend a private school for advanced students, Jess is heartbroken because she can’t afford it. When she hears about a math Olympics with a cash prize, she takes her ex’s car and decides to drive the kids there. She is quickly pulled over for having an expired license and expired registration. A man she cleans house for, Ed, sees her on the side of the road and offers to drive them to the Olympics. He feels like doing some good in the world after being arrested for insider training. So this wealthy man ends up spending about a week road tripping with a broke young mom, her two odd (in an affectionate way) kids, and their smelly dog.

I loved that these people from such different worlds were kind of thrown together. Every character was so unique and special. Jess is so relatable. She’s a really good person who cares so much about her kids. She wants to do the right thing, but finds it impossible in her circumstances. Ed made a stupid mistake, but we see him grow and change a lot. Nicky thinks he’s a loner in this world, but her learns to find his “tribe.” Tanzie is a sweetheart who finds numbers comforting.

This book was fairly predictable, but that didn’t bother me. I loved reading about these characters. The story moved at a good pace. The author made me care about these characters and their stories. I was rooting for them all the way. An enjoyable story.

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