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review 2015-11-13 23:19
The Casquette Girls - Alys Arden


   Now I see what so many people were raving about! This book was fantastic! So I've heard people say, in regards to advice on writing, to write what you know! And with the Casquette Girls it was clear that one thing Alys Arden knew was New Orleans, but what made it REALLY burst from the pages so vividly was the fact that you could tell that she not only knew this place, she LOVED it. And this story shinned brightly because of it. The plot was a little slow progressing, but honestly I never felt bored or uninterested. The city she took such care in detailing was a character in itself, and it enthralled me, even being so devastated after a major hurricane. This city felt alive and I couldn't help falling in love it, page by page.  


    The supernatural elements to the story kind of snuck up on you, a little at a time, and I actually quite enjoyed the way this was done. Each introduction to something new gave you time to ponder what it meant, where it came from, and all those fun, nagging questions. The mystery just kept building and building, from so many different angles! It also worked brilliantly once you started getting the glimpses into the past, and how much of it was integral to what was happening around Adele now, hundreds of years later. I really enjoyed both the happenings in the past and in the present. I thought it was funny that as Adele was reading Adeline's journal, she developed this bond with her, she couldn't help becoming invested in these people, which was much how I felt while reading this book. I enjoyed each carefully crafted character. I loved how each one of them didn't feel all good, or all bad. They felt flawed, and real, and I loved them more for it. I also loved the brew of mystical, mythical and magical here. Every supernatural thing came together in this story in the most natural feeling way. I don't want to get into specifics because I was actually quite surprised by some of things that came into play here, and I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone else who might not know about everything to expect from this book.


    I could go on and on, but really I think if you are a fan of mystery, magic, the occult/supernatural things, and just great writing in general, you should do yourself a favor and pick up this unique and fantastic book! I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next, and I'll definitely be on the look out for more from her!



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review 2015-07-14 18:42
The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength - Dale Archer MD



     I have so much to say about this book, I just don't even know where to start. Well maybe with a huge thank you to everyone that contributed to this book! I think it's safe to say that most people that pick this book up have a personal interest in this subject, whether it be a medical professional, an education professional (or anyone working with children really), or someone directly or indirectly living with this DIFFERENCE. And make no mistake, that is a much more suitable title for it than disorder. Whichever reason that interests you in this subject, so yourself a favor and please give this book a read. There is a wealth of information, positivity, inspirational stories, and so many tools to help an ADHDer be as successful and confident as they can be.



    Okay, I think the way I will do this is to keep this portion of things kind of straight to the point and non-personal as I can and then if you feel so inclined I will post my personal reasons for being so interested in this subject and very enthusiastic about this book and all that it has to offer.



    I have to say one thing specifically that was brilliantly done in this book was the structure of it. It made this such a fluid read, most especially I would think, for those with a more nonlinear way of taking in and processing information. It's one thing to talk about things to help ADHDers succeed, and it's so much more when you actually do so in a way that is actually tailor made for them to be able to absorb all of that information. Kudos to you. The way that you, seemingly effortlessly, blended the facts and statistics, with personal stories, and suggestions/tools to encourage success, you did precisely what you preached and I commend you for that. The changing focus on different aspects constantly kept things fresh and broke up any monotony. I have read countless articles on ADHD and not one of them that comes to mind were actually set up in a way that spoke directly to someone with that difference.



     One of the absolute best things, in my opinion, was how much positivity there was. How utterly refreshing to focus on the benefits of ADHD, and how to enhance those rather than how to tone these exceptional people down. It's so frustrating to read the statics, and the heartbreaking personal struggles in this book, when a lot of what we need to do as a whole is be better informed, understanding and help build these differences up rather than dull them out with medication. We are failing our kids by not exhausting all other avenues before turning to quick fix in the form of a pill.



     Another thing mentioned numerous times was that there is no "one size fits all" answer/way of dealing with these differences. Thank goodness someone said it! My whole parenting experience is predominately built on loads of trial and error. I have found over the years that not all traditional ways of thinking and doing things can be applied to my daughter. Now some of that probably can't be attributed to ADHD but some of it most certainly can. What works for your child, most likely won't work for mine. But that's also parenting in general, there is no instruction manual and each child is an individual. I think the biggest difference for me personally was learning to adjust my expectations, and shut out those other voices that said that there was this one right way to do things. People's opinions and advice can sometimes be invaluable, but when they have absolutely no clue about the ways that your child is different than others, their two cents isn't always worth much, and I found more times than not made me feel like I was a failure. That I wasn't doing something right. It still can feel like that at times. The sooner you realize that what works for some people isn't going to work for you, and if you keep trying new things, ultimately you will find things that do work, sometimes it just takes awhile to get there.


       There were numerous ADHDers in this book that told their stories, from the struggles they have had in earlier years or still have as adults, to tricks they've found work for them, to the wild success that they've had, not in spite of ADHD but because of it! Some of the names you will surely recognize, Howie Mandel, Ty Pennington, Channing Tatum, Chef Alexis Hernandez, Terry Bradshaw, and many more. But there were also everyday people ranging from entrepreneur, doctor, photographer, truck driver, waitress, etc. I was glad for each one of their stories, and most especially their many different ways of doing things that I hope to try with my daughter in hopes of helping her find her perfect way!


       I also appreciated the part near the end that took time to cover ADHD and relationships. It was told for each parties benefit, which was truly nice. The many tips there can be applied to relationships as a whole, not just romantic.


      I really encourage anyone that works with children or has anyone they know with ADHD to pick this up and learn a little something. I can honestly say I have an even deeper understanding of ADHD, and in turn a part of my daughter that I am still always learning about. I really hope that people take as much as I did from this.




   ****As I am sure you have already put together, my main reason for reading this was my daughter. I was really hoping to get a better understanding of ADHD in general, and more than anything learn some different ways that I could help her be as successful as possible and prevent both of our frustrations as much as possible.



      We have had our own share of disappointing experiences because of people's, I don't know laziness, or lack of understanding. My daughter's 4th grade teacher, having never once spoke to me about any concerns, via email, note, or any other standard method of communication between parents and teachers. He never said anything to me about a concern for her learning, or any problems he was having with her in class. But somehow we had jumped from 0 to 10, at least that's how it felt for me, at conferences when he blurted out that "Your daughter needs to see a doctor" or "I think medication will be key." Apparently her excessive talking in class was grating on his nerves, which is totally understandable. What is not acceptable, is the fact that it never seemed enough of an issue for him to contact me about it, so I don't know, maybe we could all brainstorm on some ways to work with her so there were less disruptions. And most of all what I don't accept is that his concerns never once seemed to be for my daughter, but rather himself, or the good of the whole. While I understand that to an extent, I'm not the whole's mother, and that one kid you're singling out without putting in any effort with, yeah that one is my main concern. I was worried about that girl. But along with being angry, I also felt that twinge of oh god, a professional just said that to us, maybe this is a problem. So I did what most people ultimately do in that situation, I took her to a doctor. Which I am sad to say ended up going straight for the good ole prescription pad. It was the last time I saw that doctor. I told him I didn't feel comfortable with that, and asked if there were any other things we could try before thinking about medication. The reply was "Just give this a try and see how it goes.". It's disgusting to me that I felt like drugs were being pushed on my child without anyone really even taking the time to try and figure out what she truly needs. This was an A student, in honors band, btw.


    Ultimately I did not end up ever giving her any medication. And for better or worse we've been going at everything in our own ways. There are many road bumps along the way, whether ADHD related or not, but we're always adapting and trying new ways to work together for the best solution. Even if sometimes that means learning to let the kid do whatever works for her, even when it makes no sense to me. EX. listening to music, Facetiming or streaming video and doing homework. LOL We would argue about this quite frequently, with me constantly being like "You can't get anything done that way, you need to focus on your homework." Funny thing was, she was focusing on it, she just did that more easily with a few other things going on at the same time. When I would force her into what I deemed a better environment for learning/being productive, she would struggle to get it done, or rush to get through it and ultimately not do as well most of the time. Her chaotic way, it was what worked for her, and as long as it was working who am I to say it's not the right way! Everything is a learning experience being a parent in general.



    The ADHD Advantage just gave me a few more tools to try and a better understanding of ADHD and the many benefits that come along with that. And a million thanks for bringing positive awareness to people about ADHD, and also to the fact that there is a real problem with over diagnosing and over medication. Approximatly 6.4 million American children (11 percent) ages 3-17 are being diagnosed with ADHD and over half of those being medicated . This is a serious problem. Especially if you compare us to other countries, France for instance that is around 0.05 percent of children in that range being diagnosed and medicated. 0.05 percent. We can do better America. ****




   I received a copy of this book from Penguin Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2015-04-04 03:30
The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend - Kody Keplinger


   The DUFF is my new LOVE. I devoured this book in one day. I read while the kids napped, I read while I cooked, did laundry, and ate meals, and then I read through the night into the wee hours of the morning until the very end. Work was grueling to get through the next day, but I didn’t have, not even one, regret!


   Bianca was a fantastic leading lady. She was bold, sarcastic, smart, and unique. She had this cool way of coming across as such a confident person, even when she struggled with the way she felt about herself and her life on the inside. As anyone who is in or has been in high school knows this, poker face, is a handy dandy survival tool. I could sympathize with the way that Bianca kept a lot of her feelings and problems, especially the harder ones, to herself. I have always struggled with that as well.

Wesley Rush was just as awesome, in completely different ways. I loved the way that he looked at people, with no judgments. Maybe it was that he bore the weight of so many other people’s assumptions and judgments about him that he couldn’t imagine passing that weight to another person.


“Bianca, whore is just a cheap word people use to cut each other down,” he said, his voice softer. “It makes them feel better about their own mistakes. Using words like that is easier than really looking into the situation.”


And I liked that his attitude was catching. I was glad to see Bianca eventually realizing the wisdom in this.


everyone is a duff


   I also really appreciated Wesley’s honesty, he was never one to lie to get what he wants. He could be arrogant at times, and I thought initially calling Bianca a DUFF was horrid. But she wasn’t exactly the nicest to him either, so I guess it sort of evened out in my mind.


   Even Bianca’s best friends were like a breath of fresh air. It was endearing how caring Casey was. I love that she had an affinity for sticking up for the underdogs, and I just think that is the bees knees. It takes a certain kind of strength and heart to go against the crowd and stand beside the ostracized. I wish there were a million more Caseys in the world, it would be a better place. Jessica was sweet too, although I feel like she fell more to the wayside in this story. Some of the other characters just shined so bright, I think she was a little over shadowed by them.


duff pics


   I also appreciated the references to some classic literature that the characters were reading, and the parallels they drew between them and what was going on in their current lives. I thought that was pretty neat. All in all this was a fantastic read! I was enamored right from the get go, and it truly never ebbed.


I received a copy of this book from Hachette Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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review 2015-03-24 20:31
Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel - Jessica Knoll


    Wow. Well it's safe to say that this book really surprised me. I have to give credit to this author, the way in which she told this story was so incredibly smart, for so many different reasons. Seriously. The jumping around from past to present was FLAWLESSLY done. The two worked together in perfect harmony to deliver a whole package that was quite fantastic. This book wouldn't have worked even half as well any other way. Bit by brutal bit we got to see how so much of TifAni's past shaped who she was in the future. While, admittedly, the past flashbacks were probably the most interesting parts, I also enjoyed the present more because of them after awhile.

   One thing I've noticed that seems to be a new trend in some contemporary books in the past few years, which I kind of love, are stories where the main character, or voice of the story, isn't exactly the greatest of people. Sometimes they're downright unlikeable. When this is done correctly, it can be brilliant. I think Knoll did an amazing balancing act with TifAni, she wasn't someone I can really say that really liked, on the other hand, she also wasn't someone I hated. The plot was just so well done that I think it was darn close to impossible not to be invested in the story, even if you weren't necessarily that invested in the main character. I know that once the flashbacks started I was glued to the pages. I couldn't wait to get all the answers of what exactly happened back then, and better understand why Ani was the way she was now.


   Say what you will about Ani's sometimes nerve grating strive for her version of perfection, I have to admit that there were times when I thought some of her brutally honest thoughts pretty spot on!


 know what i want


Don't get me wrong, Ani certainly had an overabundance of delusions, but I'm just sayin', at times, she had an uncanny way of reading people and situations.




   Funny enough, Ani vaguly reminded me of a Blair Waldrof type. She was the girl who seemed to easily have it all on the surface, but in reality she worried and worked her tail feathers off to get everything to appear that way to other people. I got the feeling that Ani solidly knew what she wanted, but had very little clue as to what she actually needed. Getting peeks into her childhood was enlightening as well. While I think that the whole striving to fit in with the in crowd thing is something that most teenagers deal with at one point or another.


mean girls meme


   It was kind of sad to see that Ani never really progressed from that stage, even in to adulthood. It was also heartbreaking to see how that same desire for acceptance affected the huge decisions that Ani made in her younger years, that ultimately still haunted her in the present. 


   I think that, at least for me, the fact that almost all of the big events and struggles in this book were so close to things that happen in real life, that this story tugged on my heartstrings even more because of that. And enough to make me sweat considering I have my own young teenage daughter to worry over! All in all this was a thought provoking, rollercoaster ride of a story and I highly recommend it!


I received an ARC of this book from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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review 2015-03-13 02:13
Rusty Nailed - Alice Clayton



   This is my 2nd Alice Clayton book, and she is quickly on her way to becoming a favorite author of mine. All the things that I enjoyed in the first book, Wallbanger, were present again in Rusty Nailed, and the one thing that I wasn't a fan of in Wallbanger was almost non existent in this book! That's right, no more multiple "O" references. YAY!! I couldn't have asked for anything more.


   I think my favorite thing about this book, besides Clive because....I mean Clive is the best!

  OK, so Clive excluded, my favorite thing, is easily the fact that Clayton manages to relentlessly grab your attention and enrapture you with the beauty and the struggle of the mundane. So many contemporary romances now seem to have some huge drama going on, past traumas, stalkers, etc., and while I do immensely enjoy a bunch of those stories, sometimes it's also nice to get something different too.



Sometimes just figuring out how to navigate life, a new relationship, or even just keeping a romance going after the "honeymoon" period is over, can be enough to keep a reader engaged. It was more than enough in this story. I loved seeing Caroline and Simon growing together, learning more about each other, and learning how to progress together, in their relationship and in life. It was through lots of trial and error and I found a lot of it to be incredibly relatable.


   I also enjoy the fact that even the secondary characters are interesting. I just love the whole dynamic of this mashed up group of friends coming together! Even when some of them are at odds with one another they are an absolute riot. That's definitely another favorite thing of mine in this series, the humor. These books are full of honest to goodness laugh out loud moments. You don't even know how many times I burst out laughing while reading this, which of course got me some funny looks from my family, but it could not be contained.  



    I couldn't put Rusty Nailed down! Just like with Wallbanger, I devoured this in one night. It kept me up until the wee hours of the morning, and I wouldn't dare complain about a missed minute of sleep, it was totally worth it. If you're looking for a well written, light hearted, hilarious and fun contemporary romance, than look no further, because this is the series you need to start!





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