JULY 2020 BOOK REVIEWS

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Apologies! This post went out the other day unfinished so if you are a subscriber, it would have dropped into your inbox and looked rather sorry for itself! I had some amazing books to share with you this month and hopefully now, the post is much better!

RAGE AGAINST THE MINIVAN

By Kristen Howerton

The Blurb

“With humor, vulnerability, and heart, Kristen Howerton writes unflinchingly about what it means to be raising children in today’s world and how to liberate ourselves from the myth of perfect motherhood.”—Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed and Love Warrior, founder of Together Rising

In Rage Against the Minivan, blogger, podcaster, and licensed marriage and family therapist Kristen Howerton lends solidarity to those who love their kids like crazy but feel like parenting is making them crazy, too. With her signature blend of vulnerability, sarcasm, and insight, Howerton shares her unexpected journey from infertility to adoption to pregnancy to divorce to dealing with the shock and awe of raising teens.

This book is for
• the parent who had it totally figured out before they had kids
• the parent who said “I will never . . .” and now they have
• the parent who needs a time-out and a nap as badly as their child does
• the parent who looks like they have it all together but feels like a hot mess on the inside
• the parent who looks like a hot mess on the outside, too
• the parent who asks Am I good enough? Doing enough? Doing it right? What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with these children? Are they eighteen yet?

Recounting her successes, trials, mishaps, and hard-won wisdom as a parent of four kids—both white and black—Howerton tackles many of the thorny issues parents face today, like hard conversations about racism, disciplining other people’s kids, the reality of Dad Privilege, and (never) attaining that elusive work/life balance. Whether it’s about toddler tantrums or teen angst, Howerton reveals how she learned to opt out from the pressure to do it all perfectly and opt in to excelling at average. 

Poignant and relatable, Rage Against the Minivan is a permission slip to allow yourself to be a “good enough” parent, learning how to love your kids well while letting yourself off the hook.

What I Thought

Opting out is the new over scheduled

Kristen Howerton

This is the parenting book that every parent needs to read. I absolutely loved it from beginning to end and actually felt I learnt a lot from it too.

Kristen wrote openly and honestly about her life so far, including fertility issues, being an introvert, adoption, marriage, , making friends as an adult, religion, race and parenting. I laughed and cried at this book. The chapter on being an introvert really taught me something about my own personality and has actually led to me making some adjustments and realising I am not some miserable meanie for feeling as I once did! I also learnt a lot about race and racism which is currently a really huge topic in the world, and her words give some great insight.

Kristen talks realistically about being a parent and all that comes with it. That includes the hardships and the positives. She invites us to read her story and allow ourselves to do less, abandoning the idea of perfect parenting, learning from her many challenges and accomplishments. Memorable, poignant, funny and full of advice, one of my favourite reads so far this year.

Check out Rage Against The Minivan on Amazon

Tiny Pieces of Us

by Nicky Pellegrino

The Blurb

My heart is less than 1% of my body, it weighs hardly anything; it is only a tiny piece of me, yet it is the part everyone finds most interesting.

Vivi Palmer knows what it’s like to live life carefully. Born with a heart defect, she was given a second chance after a transplant, but has never quite dared to make the most of it. Until she comes face-to-face with her donor’s mother, Grace, who wants something in return for Vivi’s second-hand heart: her help to find all the other people who have tiny pieces of her son.

Reluctantly drawn into Grace’s mission, Vivi’s journalist training takes over as one by one she tracks down a small group of strangers. As their lives intertwine Vivi finds herself with a new kind of family, and by finding out more about all the pieces that make up the many parts of her, Vivi might just discover a whole new world waiting for her…

What I Thought

I absolutely loved this story and ploughed through it in just a few days. The very sensitive subject was handled beautifully by the author.

I haven’t read any of Nicky’s previous books but will definitely be doing so in the future. I believe that Villa Rosa, the holiday villa in this story, has appeared in other books and I love this style of writing – much like the books by Shari Low.

I really liked the mix of characters in the book and the differences and how they handled their situation was interesting. The plot surrounding making organ donation an opt-out scheme has obviously become a reality in the UK this year and I think that it is great and will help so many.

I would definitely recommend this to all fans of chick-lit who like their stories to have a little depth to them. I also think there is so much scope for continuing the story of some of these characters – Vivi and her sister especially. A fab read.

Check out Tiny Pieces Of Us on Amazon

Life Lessons

Life Lessons: She thought she was learning to be a midwife…she was learning to be herself.

by J.E. Rowney

The Blurb

For fans of “Call the Midwife”, “Hard Pushed” or “This is Going to Hurt”.

Life Lessons is a new adult chick-lit medical drama, with splashes of clean romance. 

Expect an unputdownable emotional page-turner that will take you deep into the life lessons of a student midwife.

Violet wants to be a midwife, but she has struggled with anxiety throughout her teenage years. 

With her best friend Zoe at her side, she gets a place at University and starts training for her dream job. 

Can she overcome her fears and find the self-confidence to make it through her first year? 

Will Zoe’s romance with their housemate spell dating disaster? 

Book one of the Lessons of a Student Midwife series. 

This book is a prequel to Ghosted, the bestselling novel.

What I Thought

When I started reading this book I thought it was a memoir but it is actually fiction. This however, did not dull my enjoyment of the book and I was finished in three reading sessions.

I also didn’t realise this was a prequel to Ghosted, but will definitely be reading that now as I really enjoyed this one and would love to read more about Violet. If you haven’t read Ghosted, you do not need to to enjoy this book.

I was really pleased with the inclusion of a character struggling with, at times, severe anxiety and I thought this was handled well by the author. Sometimes this played into common beliefs about mental illness – the fact that antidepressants make people feel subdued and unable to feel anything – but there are people who experience this with certain medications so I suppose it isn’t an untruth.

At times the book felt a little rushed and I was gutted when it finished when it did – then realised there are more to come in this series! Overall I really enjoyed it though and would recommend. I will be for sure, eagerly anticipating the next in the series.

Check out Life Lessons on Amazon

Little White Secrets

by Carol Mason

The Blurb

A daughter pushing the limits. A marriage ready to crack. A secret that can break them.

For Emily Rossi, life may not be perfect, but it’s pretty close. She has a great career, a house in the country, a solid marriage to Eric and two wonderful children—tennis superstar Daniel and quiet, sensitive Zara. But when her fourteen-year-old daughter brings home a toxic new best friend, Emily’s seemingly perfect family starts to spiral out of control.

Suddenly Zara is staying out late, taking drugs and keeping bad company. And just when Emily needs Eric to be an involved father, he seems too wrapped up with his job in London to care. What’s more, he’s started drinking again.

When a dark secret from the past emerges, Emily’s life is turned upside down. Struggling to protect the people she loves, can she save her damaged family? Doing so may mean keeping a secret of her own

What I Thought

Well I obviously couldn’t go without including a thriller and this one is a good one!

All the best features are included – a relatable situation, drama, suspense and the need to keep reading to find out what is going to happen. All the ‘little white secrets’ build up and show what can happen when it all gets too much.

I really liked the main character, she was very realistic, strong and flawed at the same time. The supporting characters were also well written and they were able to inspire feelings of hatred and sorrow, which I think is always a sign of good writing.

I am surprised that I haven’t come across this author before but will definitely keep an eye out for more thrillers by her from now on. Highly recommend this one, especially if you are a thriller fan.

Check out Little White Secrets on Amazon

We got there in the end! I really enjoyed all four books I have shared with you in this post and would recommend them all. Which one do you like the look of most – let me know in the comments below! Take care and keep safe as always,

2 Comments on “JULY 2020 BOOK REVIEWS

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