In A Holidaze
By Christina Lauren
For as long as she could remember, Maelyn Jones has celebrated Christmas with her family and close family friends in a snowy mountain cabin in Salt Lake. Many things have changed over the years, but the constant in Mae’s life is the week with everyone together each December – that is until this year. The devastating news that the cabin is going to be sold is bad enough, but on the way to the airport, Mae and her family are in a serious car crash – but did it really happen?
Waking up on the plane after the car crash, Mea is confused. Her family tells her that they are on the way to Salt Lake, not on the way home and there was no accident. Mea knows better – she knows the details of the week, including a hookup with one of the guys she now regrets. Just like the funny movie Groundhog Day, she has to redo the week – this time hopefully getting it right. Everyone thinks there is something wrong with her except Benny, a college friend of her parents. He believes Mea but tells her she has to figure it out herself in order to stop the time traveling loop she seems to be caught in.
In A Holidaze is cute, funny, sexy and has a satisfying end. All of the characters are developed with interesting backstories binding them all together since the parents of Mae and her contemporaries met in college. Marriages, divorce and children have not stopped them from celebrating the holidays together each year. They are perfectly suited for a Christmas story. Mae is at a crossroad in her life and the author allows her to flounder as she learns the important lesson of growth and stepping out of the shadow of others to become the person she wants to be.
I love all things Christmas. I could picture this as a blockbuster Christmas movie – but be sure to read the book first, the book is ALWAYS better! This is the first book I have read by the dynamic duo of Lauren Billings and Christina Hobbs – who write under the pseudonym Christina Lauren. These best-selling authors have a long list of books just waiting for you to discover.
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman
By Dover Publications
Origami Animals features twenty designs, eight of which are easy to make. If you are an expert or new to Origami you will enjoy this book. From kittens to caterpillars the step-by-step instructions will help you fold the included origami paper into over a hundred animals.
After you get comfortable with the folds and following the directions, there are more complex animals to create. Turtles, owls and even a crab will delight your children after following a few simple steps.
The book also included 200 sheets of origami paper, cut to the exact size needed. Rich solid colors as well as beautiful floral and geometric designs are included. One of my favorites is a butterfly/floral pattern that would be lovely made into a butterfly.
I recommend this book for novice folders. Children could easily learn to create the easier animals, perhaps with a little guidance from an adult until they get comfortable making the folds.
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman
Somebody Else’s Troubles
By J. A. English
Travers Landeman is not a happy man. He has always done what is right, often at the expense of his own peace of mind and happiness. On the day he decides to disappear he doesn’t hesitate or have regrets about leaving. He does have regrets for some of the choices he made in life. Guilt can be overwhelming and is one of the demons that haunts him. Becoming a man of action instead of reaction was not an easy journey, but he is willing to take the first step. While most of the people in his former life don’t really care that he is gone, there is one man that is determined to find him. If he succeeds, this could ruin the new life that Travers has created.
On the tiny island of Mabuhay, he meets Marguerite. She spent time in the United States going to school and learning how cruel life can be. She does not talk about what happened, but does not trust white men.
Somebody Else’s Troubles is interesting and complicated. Amidst self-loathing and regret, peace is found by forgiveness and love. It is easy to read but hard to forget. J. A. English brings his characters into controversial situations, then shows the consequences of how they deal with them. He makes the reader think about situations they may have encountered or will encounter; he brings a realism into the story that will resonate with readers on a deep level. This is the best work of literary fiction I have read in years, I loved it.
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from publicist Maryglenn McCombs in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman