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review 2018-06-22 02:16
The Little Things by Jay Northcote Review
The Little Things - Jay Northcote

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make you appreciate what you have.

There are lots of things that brighten Joel’s life. His three-year-old daughter Evie is one. His close relationship with her mother, his best friend from university, is another. Joel’s boyfriend, Dan, adds spice to his child-free nights, and Joel is pretty happy with how things are.
Then one cold and rainy night, everything changes. Joel’s life is turned upside down when he becomes a full-time dad to Evie, and his previously carefree relationship with Dan cracks under the strain.
Meeting Liam, who acts as if getting hurt isn’t a foregone conclusion, shakes Joel to the core. Their attraction is mutual, and Liam makes no secret of how serious he is about Joel. But Joel is wary. He tells himself he’s keeping Liam at a distance for Evie’s sake, when really he’s protecting his own heart. Taking a chance on this new relationship with Liam may seem a small step—a little thing—but is it one Joel can take after losing so much already?

 

Review

 

This is lovely book in so many ways especially how it address how hard parenting really is especially by yourself. 

For me, the book started in the wrong place or it needed to keep going. We get Dan and the shared custody for a long time. And then when things change, we get a middle section and then Liam coming in but we don't get enough time in the romance. 

So, not my favorite of Northcote's but a tender tale.

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review 2018-06-20 17:43
Selling Dead People’s Things by Duane Scott Cerny
Selling Dead People’s Things - Duane Scott Cerny

Ok I picked this book by its cover. Not a good move this time. The cover picture had nothing to do really with the text inside of the cover. The book was ok for what it is about. But at time is was disjointed and it seemed like Duane Cerny rambled on. Chapter 3 really made little since to me other then the fact that he would of loved there to have been a yard sale after the deaths of the sister but there was not, so why have a whole chapter on it. 

 

The book  is about Duane Scott Cerny's love of vintage, antiques, and thift stores. I love all 3 things as well. He is a collector and seller of as the book is named Dead People's Things.  His love for vintage started as a child, on his front porch buying, selling, and trading his friends old cast off toys. The book follows him from Childhood to adulthood and his life long hobby and career in the 2nd hand business. 

 

I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.

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review 2018-06-19 18:47
Friendly advice
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar - Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed is a collection of the letters and responses that were printed in the advice column, "Dear Sugar", from The Rumpus. The topics range from love and marriage, cheating, identity (sexual and otherwise), parenting, relationships with parents/children, grief, and abuse. Strayed does not pull her punches and she doesn't apologize for it either. She somewhat softens the blows of her blunt advice and observations with endearments like 'sweet pea' and 'honey bun' but instead of sounding condescending it feels like it could be delivered by a trusted confidant. Lest you think that she gives this advice from a rather standoffish perspective it is often conveyed through her own personal experiences and struggles. When the column was originally written her identity was unknown which makes the intimacy and the rawness of the letter writers and her response to them such a unique and wonderful thing. If you've ever experienced turmoil in any area of your life (and you'd have to because that's just a natural part of things) then reading such real, honest advice delivered with love and respect is a welcome breath of fresh air. I laughed, cried, and goggled with incredulity while reading this book. It's an excellent palate cleanser if you're in a book reading rut or a great way to kick start your summer reading adventure. ;-) 10/10

 

The inner flap contains some great quotes. [Source: Cook, Wine, & Thinker!]

 

What's Up Next: The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Condoleezza Rice: A memoir of my extraordinary, ordinary family and me by Condoleezza Rice

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-06-19 01:30
Finding the right person is hard at the best of times, but when you've got a kid...
The Little Things - Jay Northcote

it's a whole other level of challenging. 

 

Joel's life isn't quite what he imagined but still he wouldn't change a thing especially the part that gave him an adorable daughter named Evie.  He's got a boyfriend named Dan that Evie seems to really like. So while life's not quite what he'd imagined Joel's got a job he enjoys, a boyfriend he thinks might be the one, he shares custody of his daughter with her mom and while it wasn't what he thought it would be, life was turning out to be ok for 23 year old Joel.

 

But it only takes a moment for things to change and when that moment comes Joel finds that he's suddenly the sole guardian of his beautiful little daughter and that maybe Dan's not the one, as the pressure of full time parenthood begins to shine a bright light on the cracks in their relationship and an accidental encounter with a stranger named Liam gives him more comfort than all the time with Dan possibly could. After yet again encountering Liam, Joel comes to the realization that he and Dan really weren't meant to be and ends things. After encountering Liam yet again Joel gives in to his attraction and he and Liam begin to get to know each other.

 

'The Little Things' isn't a love story or even a romance in the typical sense of the word but what it is, is a story about finding love and not the magical romantic stuff of fairy tales no this is the love that exist in the everyday world and sometimes it's scary and it doesn't always fit into our lives but if we want it than we find a place to squeeze it in and we work at keeping it.

 

Joel's got his hands full and truthfully while he may have wanted a relationship between his job, shared parenting duties and the other demands that life makes on us actually having a relationship is more than a bit challenging but if it's worth having it's worth the effort and he's certainly willing to try but when things change and he's suddenly a full time working parent, Joel begins to think that maybe he's not relationship material...but then there's Liam...Liam's a temptation that Joel just can't ignore and really does he want to? Hell no.

 

I loved this story. Joel's a real person with real problems. I've known more than one single parent trying to do the juggling act with life where they give everything they've got to their kids, to being good parents and then they're left trying to squeeze just a little something out for themselves from the time that's left and it's hard, seriously freakin' hard.

 

Partially because of the whole time issue and partially because most single parents have a story to tell and more often than not that story isn't a sunshine and roses story with a cutesy happily ever after. It's a story that has some level of pain, struggle and heartache in it. Sure some people choose to have kids without a partner but more often than not the  reason that a single parent is a single parent is one that's not entirely of their own making as was the case for Joel. So by the time Liam came into Joel's life...well, Joel was well into having issues about people leaving his life, so I have to admit I found Joel's treatment of Liam frustrating at times to say the least but as frustrated as I was I could see where Joel was coming from and basically I sat on my hands and growled at Joel to man up.

 

One of the things that I liked the most about this story was surprisingly...Dan. I admit when I read the blurb I was anticipating not liking Dan...yep, Dan was going to be my bad guy...well, surprise, he wasn't. Dan was 19 to Joel's 23 and he and Joel had very different backgrounds so realistically Dan was an average 19 year old. He wanted to go out and have fun. But he did man up a couple of times when Joel really needed his help and support and he did it of his own accord but I have to admit I honestly can't find fault with a 19 year old who isn't ready for the kind of responsibility that a relationship with Joel would entail so I liked the way Dan and Joel's relationship went. I liked that there was no over the top drama between the Joel and Dan even when things were ending between them.

 

'The Little Things' was a warm and heart melting story about someone that felt like they could have been your neighbor or mine, an average person that we might all know. It's an everyday story about an everyday person...that any of us could know and sometimes those are the best kind of stories to read.

 

This is a re-edited, re-released copy of 'The Little Things' and aside from the new cover the book blurb tells us that there are no real changes made to this story.

 

*************************

A re-edited copy of 'The Little Things' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-06-15 22:55
All Things Bright & Strange by James Markert
All Things Bright and Strange - James Markert

In the wake of World War I in the small, Southern town of Bellhaven, South Carolina, the town folk believe they’ve found a little slice of heaven in a mysterious chapel in the woods. But they soon realize that evil can come in the most beautiful of forms.The people of Bellhaven have always looked to Ellsworth Newberry for guidance, but after losing his wife and his future as a professional pitcher, he is moments away from testing his mortality once and for all. Until he finally takes notice of the changes in his town . . . and the cardinals that have returned. Upon the discovery of a small chapel deep in the Bellhaven woods, healing seems to fall upon the townspeople, bringing peace after several years of mourning. But as they visit the “healing floor” more frequently, the people begin to turn on one another, and the unusually tolerant town becomes anything but.The cracks between the natural and supernatural begin to widen, and tensions rise. Before the town crumbles, Ellsworth must pull himself from the brink of suicide, overcome his demons, and face the truth of who he was born to be by leading the town into the woods to face the evil threatening Bellhaven.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING: This novel includes scenes of lynching and other hate crimes, suicide, suicide attempts, and demonic possession / exorcism.

 

 

Post-World War I, there is a special little chapel in the woods behind the quaint town of Bellhaven, South Carolina. This chapel provides visitors with an otherworldly kind of peace and healing as well as offering the opportunity to communicate with deceased loved ones. But as people start to, shall we say "overvisit", the citizens of Bellhaven actually begin to turn on one another. The shimmer of the place starts to wear off, leading people to act out in varying degrees of animosity and violence... and it all seems to be connected to the arrival of Lou Eddington, the new owner of the previously abandoned Bellhaven plantation.

 

Lifelong resident Ellsworth Newberry, scouted by the Brooklyn Dodgers in his youth, once looked forward to a shot at becoming a MLB pitcher. After fighting in the war, Ellsworth returns home an amputee. Not long after, his wife, Eliza, is tragically killed in a church fire while trying to save a mother and child from the flames set by the KKK. Raphael, the little boy, survives, but his mother does not so Raphael is taken in to be raised by Eliza's best friend, Anna Belle. 

 

Ellsworth does notice odd occurrences around town -- namely plants everywhere blooming all at once and out of season -- but he is hesitant to fall in with the chapel adoration crowd. Maybe it's his military experience, but he can't help but be guarded around that which he can't quite understand or logically explain. Such is the case with Lou Eddington. While Anna Belle finds the man nice enough, Ellsworth isn't so convinced. Will time prove Ellsworth's suspicions correct? All I'll say is that the stunt Lou pulls with the "gift"... yeah, pretty jerk maneuver in my book. 

 

Then there's young Raphael. "No last name, just Raphael", as he explains. Ellsworth starts off having a bit of a grudge against Raphael, as Ellsworth sees the child as the reason for his wife's death. Raphael is aware of this wall, but he is determined to develop a relationship with Ellsworth. Over time, Ellsworth grudgingly begins to accept Raphael's presence and does start to converse with him, allowing for important healing conversations to begin.

 

Raphael continues to remind the townspeople that the chapel is "bad medicine" (thanks Raph, now I can't get Bon Jovi out of my head). With the help of Anna Belle and Raphael, Ellsworth works to push through his sometimes suicidal depression to come forth and lead his neighbors away from the "fools gold" chapel (as some dubb it), urging them to find strength in numbers so that they may fight the evil that has consumed the once peaceful town. 

 

"Our town gathering place was burned down three years ago because of hatred. Then we got muddled up with the war and its repercussions. It's long past time now that we find a way to gather again. Our beliefs may be different. Some may not believe at all. But we have the same questions, the same needs, the same desire for good to prevail. And it's time to focus again on what brings us together instead of what could tear us apart." ~Ellsworth

Within its plot, All Things Bright and Strange incorporates historical topics such as 17th-18th century slavery, racism / race riots throughout the 1920s, and the long running fight against the hate crimes of the KKK. Portions of the story also touch upon Prohibition and labor union issues. Additionally, the book quietly interjects important topics such as the aftermath illnesses and struggles -- emotional and societal -- of war veterans (in this case, WW1 vets, but much of what is described is still very much a reality for modern day vets). 

 

Keeping in mind that the character Ellsworth is a military veteran, be aware that portions of the story do depict some graphic violence. In fact, in terms of plot, I'd even say this novel skims the borders of the horror genre (even being published by a Christian publishing house). It's still tame compared to the darker works of Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti, but still. 

 

Markert keeps on with his trend of crafting wonderfully unique plots with just the right touch of otherworldly, magical realism-style storytelling that stir up that sense of wonder in me and make me eagerly anticipate any new release from him. 

 

 

FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

 

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