book review || "Songs of Willow Frost" by Jamie Ford

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I picked this book up on a whim.

It was in the clearance section at Barnes and Noble, it sounded interesting, and I had a gift card. I honestly wasn’t sure how much I’d like it, but I figured it was worth a shot.

It was a very good shot indeed.

Here’s what I loved about “Songs of Willow Frost”:

  • It pulled me in from the very beginning, which is a must for me.

  • The characters were very, very well developed. Willow Frost herself had an amazing character arc, and I fell in love with a couple of characters, which I’ve written in more detail down below. There wasn’t a character that was under-developed or unnecessary.

  • The book was researched very well. I felt like I was walking through each scene with the characters, which I loved, but it also made me very thankful for our life. Ford did a wonderful job making the reader feel like they were a part of the book.

  • The book flowed continuously without any overly drawn-out or boring scenes.

  • The ending was just what I was hoping for.

Here’s what you might not like about the book:

  • As I said above, Ford is excellent at making the scenes feel real, but that also goes for the graphic scenes, as well. Just off the top of my head, there was a rape scene and a suicide scene that is very detailed. The author does not avoid situations that most of us shy away from but are a horrific part of this world, especially during the era of this book.

  • Along with that, part of the book is set in a children’s orphanage that is severely underfunded, and some of those parts are absolutely heartbreaking.

My favorite character(s):

  • William. One of the main characters in the book, twelve-year-old William captured my heart from the very beginning. He desperately seeks love and gives it so freely. I just wanted to give him a big squeeze throughout the entire book.

  • Charlotte. Best friend of William, Charlotte holds a trait of strength beyond her years, for reasons that might make you tear up near the end of the book. I loved her part in the book.

Have you read Songs of Willow Frost? What did you think of it? Overall, I’m giving it five stars on Goodreads. I’m also planning on diving into Ford’s first novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Check out this book HERE, and read more about the author HERE.


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book review || "Getting Even" by Sarah Rayner

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Well, here I am, writing my first official book review! *does a little dance*

Reviews are so, so important in the writing world, so I’d thought I’d branch out from my quick Goodreads and Instagram book reviews (but don’t leave me on their just yet - I’ll still be posting there, too!) and starting packing some meat onto my reviews on my blog. After all, books are most often sold because of recommendations…hint hint.

Here we go!

“Getting Even” by Sarah Rayner

My synopsis: A set of best friends, Ivy and Orianna, work together as partners in an advertising agency. By all accounts, they appear to be an average set of BFFs. But, when Orianna is promoted and Ivy is not, we very quickly see a green side to Ivy, and her jealously is fast-firing. She quickly sets out to ruin every part of Orianna that she can get her hands on: her shiny new job, her relationship with her boyfriend, her other friendships. Ivy lies and schemes her way through Orianna’s life, but what’s that over there? Oh, Ivy had some big secrets of her own.

But don’t think you have it figured out just yet, because the ending will spin you faster than bad theme park ride.

First thoughts: There’s a broken vase on the cover with pretty flowers protruding from it. Lies disguised as something pretty, perhaps? There’s also the tagline of, “Revenge has never been such fun.” Yes, I’m intrigued. Let’s read it.

It’s a little slow in the beginning. A lot of background, but I realize later on that this background info is necessary for the rest of the story.

But about halfway through, the book picks up speed, and I’m starting to flip the pages faster and faster. I loathe Ivy and her self-righteous behavior. I love Orianna but pity her simultaneously. She really needs better friends.

I finish in five days, which is fairly quick for also keeping my tiny human alive and my own writing afloat. It was good and the twists kept me reading. It could definitely be turned into a Lifetime movie. It has that feel to it.

Overall, I gave it four stars on Goodreads. Do I recommend it? I do, especially if you like saying, “How dare she!” over and over again.

Pick up your own copy HERE. Check out Rayner’s website HERE. (She sounds like a lovely woman - I’d love to meet her in person one day.)


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20 valentine's day books for toddlers under $10

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Happy February 1st AND happy Friday! So many things to celebrate today.

So, can I just say that holidays are freaking great with kids? Lilli is at the age (3) where she’s starting to realize that holidays are extra special days to celebrate, and I love planning out crafts and picking out themed books for her to read.

Speaking of books…we’ve snagged so many cute v-day themed ones this year. It’s all we’ve been reading lately, and I really can’t complain. Today I’ve compiled a list of our top 20 favorites that we’ve read so far this year, all under $10.

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Lilli’s Favorite Valentine’s Day Books in 2019

My Froggy Valentine || This one seems to be her favorite this year. She’s been obsessed with princesses lately, and this one has a special take on what we define as a “princess”. It’s a short, easy read with fun graphics and a cute story line.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch || I think this one is my favorite this year. It’s a little long, so you’ll want to save it for an uninterrupted time. But it’s a sweet story about how a lonely man finds out just how much he’s loved by his friends on Valentine’s Day.

Llama Llama, Be My Valentine! || We grabbed this book at the library because I’ve seen this show previewed on Netflix and thought it might be cute. It’s a Level 2 reader about Llama Llama’s class finding their creative talents while making valentine’s for their friends, and that everyone has their own special ability.

Valentine’s Day is Here! by Little People || Lilli has a big bucket filled with the Little People dolls, and she picked this one out herself. She loves books with open-flaps, and this book has a ton of them. Quick, interactive read that keeps her occupied and interested.

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown! || This is the very first Valentine’s Day book I bought for Lilli, back on her very first Valentine’s Day. It’ll always be special to me, but Lilli adores the Charlie Brown stories, as do I. It’s a decent-length read about Charlie Brown finding out that his friends really do care.

Snuggle Puppy! || So, this book might be best suited for younger toddlers, but it’s one of mine and Lilli’s favorites to read. Every night before bed we sing this song together to say “I love you” before bed. Very quick read with some singing involved. :)

Peppa’s Valentine’s Day || Lilli loves watching this show because of the accents throughout the show. It’s a cute story about Peppa showing her friends how much she cares for them on Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse || This is the same series as “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie), and it’s a great book if you’re looking for one to explain what Valentine’s Day is to toddlers.

Love from The Very Hungry Caterpillar || I adore Eric Carle’s books. I’m slowly stocking them on Lilli’s bookshelf, and she loves them just as much as I do.

I Love You! The Big Valentine’s Day Coloring Book || So, not exactly a book, but we’re really big into crafts around here, and this coloring book is perfect for v-day crafts.

Minnie’s Valentine || We have a Mickey Mouse book for every holiday. They never fail to get Lilli excited to read.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose || Lilli giggles her little head off at the original version of this book (Swallowed a Fly). Love this Valentine’s Day edition.

The Day It Rained Hearts || A cute story about a girl making valentines from hearts that are falling from the sky.

The Biggest Valentine Ever! || If you’ve ever heard of the book, “The Biggest Pumpkin Ever!”, this book might be familiar to you. Written by the same author, it’s a good story with a lesson about teamwork.

One Love || This book is written by Bob Marley’s oldest daughter, Cedella Marley, and is a story revolved around Bob Marley’s song, “One Love” about changing the world we live in for the better. It’s not technically about Valentine’s Day, but it is about love, which is what Valentine’s Day should always be about.

Snowy Valentine || If you live anywhere like me that usually has cold temperatures and snow for Valentine’s Day, this book is perfect.

You Are My Heart || The sweetest story from mom to child about how much we love them, even before they were born.

The Night Before Valentine’s Day || I love how this story entices excitement for the night before v-day, similar to Christmas Eve.

12 Days of Valentine’s || Also similar to Christmas, this book coincides with the song “Twelve Days of Christmas”, just in Valentine’s Day fashion.

The Very Fairy Princess: Valentines From The Heart || A heartfelt story about a little girl showing her friends how special they are to her on Valentine’s Day.

I hope you found some new books to share with your toddler this Valentine’s Day! If you have a v-day favorite that isn’t on this list, be sure to leave a comment so Lilli and I can check it out!


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