I’m a Giver (22 Books Recommended Just For You)

In less than 72 hours I will end my 22nd year and begin my 23rd. Eeek!! So as to celebrate this not so momentous occasion, I am giving back to you my fellow book addicts at The Never Ending Book Basket.when-it-comes-to-advice-i-m-a-giver-170

What can I say, I’m a giver.

So how am I going to give back on here, you ask?

Well we all know I love to recommend books until the cows come home, so in honor of that sense of giving I am composing a list of 22 books that I HIGHLY recommend you read. I picked 22 since I am officially “ending” my 22nd year. (How cyclical, right?)

Yeah, I know I’m weird. Get over it.

Some of these books I’ve blogged about on here, and some I read well before I started this blog thing, but you need to read all of them ASAP. No joke. (If you look closely, you may even see a few of these books in the cover image for this blog…) This list represents a pretty wide range of books. It’s a little all over the place, but so am I, so it works.

And don’t let my horridly brief descriptions of each one deter you from these books. They are all oh so very worth a read!

(Be sure to click on the titles and authors in the list because they’ll take you to the Goodreads page for the book and the authors’ websites respectively. Click away!)

22 Books You Have Got to Read Today: (In no particular order…)

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: A coming of age story that I’ve loved since I was in high school. It truly is one of the best, and I will defend that this book isn’t a depressing one until the day I die.

    Books by Sarah Pekkanen

    Books by Sarah Pekkanen

  • Falling Home by Karen White: This one’s set in the south, has tons of family drama, and it’ll suck you in right away with its plethora of engaging southern charmers.
  • These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen: I’ve never connected to a book so personally as this one that follows 3 young women as their lives begin to intertwine while they build a friendship with one another. (It’s also got some multiple perspectives!!)
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: This book is worth all the hype. I read it in one sitting, and my cheeks hurt from how much I was smiling throughout its reading. Literally.
  • 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher: This book is unlike any other book I’ve ever read. It follows Clay who is listening to a recording of 13 reasons why his classmate Hannah took her own life. It’s extremely emotional and it all connects in some really interesting ways.
  • On My Knees by Meredith Wild: Get ready for an emotional roller coaster full of some serious ups and downs that will tear you apart and put you back together all in the same breath. You’ll feel it in your core, and you’ll love it.
  • I Couldn’t Love You More by Jillian Medoff: A moving story of a blended family full of some seriously quirky and unique characters. This one also takes a major turn in the middle that you will NOT see coming, but will seriously love.
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom: I heart me some Mitch Albom books something fierce. This one was particularly touching, and it just makes you feel like there’s some kind of purpose to all of this madness that we call life.
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck: Two families. Multiple generations of turmoil. Good and evil. It’s all there and more in East of Eden.
  • Such a Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb: Stevie Barret has just had a major life change. She just lost over half her body weight, and is discovering that she’s now got to face what led her to this point in her life. And what led her there is hugely raw, and will make you adore Stevie and all her vulnerability.
  • Pieces of Perfect by Elizabeth Hayley: You gotta love a love triangle. Add in a heavy dose of sarcasm and you got Lily, Adam, and Max, and their overall awesomeness. I’m sworn to not reveal who I root for, but rest assured this one will suck you in until you figure out who you want to root for.

    Books by Emily Giffin

    Books by Emily Giffin

  • Where We Belong by Emily Giffin: I adore all of Emily Giffin’s book, but this one truly stands out. It’s got a love story, mixed in with secrets and tons of OMG moments. And there’s a gorgeous character named Conrad who loves the Great Gatsby, so there’s that too. 🙂
  • Bared to You by Sylvia Day: Two extremely dynamic characters with some very rough pasts come together in this book and it’s electric. You can’t help but feel the heat, and you’ll just eat up some Gideon Cross.
  • The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley: One of the most emotionally charged books I have EVER read, and pegs a question: What would you do? This book will make you wonder how you’d answer that very question and more.
  • Still Missing by Chevy Stevens: Tons of mystery, some seriously jaw dropping moments, and a main character with some serious flaws. This one was initially out of my comfort zone, but I loved it, and am so glad I took a chance on it.
  • Fade In by M. Mabie: This one is a new contemporary romance book that coupled a truly fantastic love story with tons of quick witted banter from some seriously engaging characters. I’m sold, and I know you will be too!
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: Melinda Sordino is a character I will never forget. She begins her freshman year of high school rougher than most for a lot of reasons, and getting to read her story and seeing her evolve is simply moving.
  • This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper: This book is partially responsible for my love of Yiddish terms. It’ll have you loving this crazy ass family as they come together to sit shivah together after the passing of a family member in this truly hysterical book that personifies what it means to have an out there family.
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: Living the day you die over and over again is what you’ll find in this one. It’s a rougher version of groundhog’s day, but it really is something.

    A little Meredith Wild and Elizabeth Hayley...

    A little Meredith Wild and Elizabeth Hayley…

  • These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf : This one was another leap outside of my typical comfort zone. Told in multiple perspectives, each chapter is a piece to the overall puzzle that’ll leave you guessing until the very end.
  • All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg: Cancer. It’s something we’ve all seen in some way, and this book focuses on 3 very different women and how come together in the face of something they never wanted or expected to have.
  • Two Kisses for Maddie by Matt Logelin: On the day Matthew Logelin’s daughter Maddie was born his wife passed away suddenly. This book follows the first year of Maddie’s life, and how they moved through that year together. I told myself I wouldn’t cry reading this book, and I was successful until the very last page.

And one more for good measure…

  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch: I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with so many fantastic messages than this one. Its chalk full of them, and once you read this book and embrace its message, you will be better for it. Trust me.

So there you have it. My gift to you. A list of 23 books you should plan on discovering today.

A little Perks of Being  a Wallflower love...

A little Perks of Being a Wallflower love…

They are all out of this world for very different and distinct reasons, and while I could never pick one favorite book, rest assured that all of the books listed above would make my list of favorites any day of the week.

Now go off and enter the wonderful world of any of these books.

Ready, set, go!

p.s. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to enter to win a FREE SIGNED copy of Sarah Pekkanen’s newest book by clicking the following link:

http://tinyurl.com/loj7sm9

(I’m trying to spread all of the book love I can, so be sure to enter!)

 

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I Love Me Some Complicated (You Knew Me When)

I love me some complicated. And that is putting it lightly.

What I mean when by that is when I am reading a book, and delving into its story and characters, I absolutely love finding myself knee deep in the complicated. I just adore characters who do not have their shit together. I also find myself liking stories with plenty of bumps in the road.

Like I said, I love me some complicated.

Complicated is real life. Complicated is messy. Complicated is any TV show Shonda Rhimes has ever created. (Click that link, and you’ll get that…) Complicated is full of twists and turns that leave you laughing hysterically one minute, and have you in breathless tears the next. Complicated is interesting, and is entertaining as hell. Complicated is what I live for when I read.

Complicated was the first descriptor I thought of when I read about the book I am about to oh so wittingly tell you about in this blog post. In fact, after reading the book’s synopsis, I told the author that very thing.

So are you ready to dive head first into the complicated? I hope so, because there’s no turning back now.

This week at The Never Ending Book Basket, it’s sink or swim time as we discuss You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert.

You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert (If you look closely, you'll see some pictures of some of my closest friends.)

You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert (If you look closely, you’ll see some pictures of some of my closest friends.)

You Knew Me When is a story about friendship. It’s about what happens when true friendship is allowed to cultivate and grow. It’s also about what happens when friendship hits the many challenges that seem to come up in life.

Laney and Katherine were the best of friends since the day they met at the tender age of 11. The friendship that cultivates between them as they grow in age is natural, extremely real, and captures what it means to have a best friend at different stages of your life.

Flash forward to present day, and some pretty big bumps in the road of life have led them to not speaking for the last 12 years. They’ve both held grudges, they both are pissed off as hell, and they both are hurt beyond words for a lot of reasons.

But that whole not speaking to each other thing is about to end, like now. Their dear old charming and extremely lovable neighbor, Luella, has left them her house and all its belongings worth a fortune in sentiment and emotion. (It’s also worth a little bit of money too.)

It’s all theirs, but to claim what they’ve been given, they have to work together to go through everything and fix up the house. Together, every single step of the way. (And much to their chagrin I might add.)

What happens when these two former friends are thrust back together into the complicated makes for a story that’s hysterically real at times, hurts your hearts at others, and will definitely leave you thinking about what it means to have ever had a true, honest to god, best friend.

What I just loved about this book:

  • The characters different voices. There are two very distinct and dynamic voices in this book, which also happen to be the two perspectives you get to read. (Yay you!)
    • You have Laney, the spitfire who puts everything into what she feels. She’s unforgiving about a lot of things, and she’s definitely someone you’re gonna remember. (Laney had me cracking up for a lot of reasons while reading, but she is severely honest, which made her all the more better to read.)
    • Then you have Katherine. She’s definitely more reserved, and is definitely a tad subtler, but she goes through some pretty defining moments in this book. In those moments, her character truly shines, and you get a glimpse into her spectacularly pensive self. (She also dresses really really well, so god knows I heart
      Clearly, I love me some complicated, and that was the first thing I thought of when I found this books.

      Clearly, I love me some complicated, and that was the very first thing I thought of when I found this book and its talented author.

      her and her subdued beautiful self.)

    • The flashbacks. You Knew Me When is told in both present tense and through flashbacks. I adored those flashbacks. They start off from when Laney and Katherine are young, and go up all the way until the girls are older. Over these flashbacks you get to learn so much more about these characters, and you get to see exactly what shaped them to be who they are in the present. Basically, they give you a ton of insight you’ll just love.
    • The evolution of voice. In this story, you get to see firsthand how Laney and Katherine develop physically and emotionally over the years that the book follows. You also get to see how their voices evolve over the story, given their different ages at different points the novel focuses in on. I loved how the essence of their characters carried through the story, but how they naturally and logically grew over time. It just worked.
    • The capture of true friendship. This books does a phenomenal job of characterizing what it means to have a true best friend. All the little nuances of female friendship are captured beautifully, and they will resonate with you every step of the way. (There is one scene in particular involving a tampon that had me cracking up, and will definitely make you think of your best friend.) This story takes you on the journey of the ebbs and flows of friendship, and will honestly just make you smile even through the hard times. (Hey, isn’t that what friendship is?)
    • The little bit of romance. We all know I love me a little romance, and this book has just enough to make your mouth water. It also fits seamlessly into the story, and doesn’t overtake the other events that are going on.
    • The subtle, yet not so subtle theme. Clearly this book is about friendship, and this theme resonates throughout the every page of the book. It’s subtle in a way, which makes the story and theme even more incredible, but it is there fully and you feel it whole heartedly. Essentially, this theme is well represented and balanced well throughout this book’s pages.
    • Hello, the complicatedness! This book is complicated and I LOVE it. It has characters who have complicated pasts and presents, and have some idiosyncrasies that make them wholly unique, lovable, and charming. You Knew Me When also presents a story that is full of well thought out complications that put these characters just where they need to be. It’s also just complicated enough to make you want to dive head first into it, but not too complicated that things get lost and you start to drown.

You Knew Me When is a wonderfully complicated story that will remind you what it means to have a best friend. It will take you on a journey with two remarkable women who have a lot they need to deal with over this story. They’ve got their problems, but delving into their minds as they address these problems makes for an entertaining as hell reading experience.

By the end of this book you will be loving the complicated, and will be truly glad there is such a thing as true friendship. Believe me, this book will show you what is worth fighting for, and what it means to have another half that you can call your best friend.

So there you have it folks. I love me some complicated, and this book is complicated in the best possible ways, so be sure to check it out ASAP.

(It’s definitely worth your while, and this one definitely spent too much time in my Never Ending Book Basket, so don’t make my same mistake by waiting to read this phenomenal book!)

To learn more about Emily Liebert and her books, check out the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/authoremilyliebert  (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/EmilyLiebert (Twitter)

http://www.emilyliebert.com/ (Website)

The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books: #1

Are you ready for this?!

(Didn’t clicking on and listening to that song just put you in the best mood? C’mon admit it. You love it, and now you’re pumped, and really ready to watch Space Jam.)

It’s time to reveal the number 1 spot on The Never Ending Book Basket’s countdown of The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books!

I hope this countdown has brought you some pretty darn fantastic places to find books. Us book addicts have to stick together, so I hope at the very least you discovered yet another way to feed your book addiction. (Because you should really keep feeding that addiction on a consistent basis.)

This countdown has been solely based upon my utterly biased logic of finding books, but the time has come to reveal the countdown in its entirety, by exposing the coveted number 1 spot.

The previous posts on the countdown were:

#5 Target (Aka my own personal hell)

#4 Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million (The big name book stores)

#3 The Miscellaneous Grab Bag (Flea markets, yard sales, and the good old Goodwill)

#2 Amazon Books (Also known as one of the reasons I have no money)

And without further ado….

Number 1: Used Book Stores (A book addicts own personal paradise)

Used book stores are pretty fucking fantastic. They have a lot to offer us book addicts, and god knows that I have been in my fair share of these fine establishments over the years. While there are a wide array of extraordinary used book stores out there, for the purpose of this countdown I am going to focus in on my very favorite one:

Ukazoo Books

(Before you ask, yes that is the name of the store, and yes the store is as out of this world remarkable as its name.)

Ukazoo Books located in Towson, Maryland. (photo credit: Ukazoo Books)

Ukazoo Books located in Towson, Maryland. (photo credit: Ukazoo Books)

Ukazoo Books is located in Towson, Maryland just up the street from my alma mater Towson University. It offers a varied selection of books across many genres, and has more books in it than you can shake a stick at. This book store has some pretty great features to it, and it honestly is the very best place I have ever found books at in all of my book buying days.

This store is also responsible for at least half of the books currently residing on my bookshelves. (And we all know I have a lot of books…)

Like most used book stores, Ukazoo is locally owned, and it is just waiting for you to walk into its doors and frolic. While my list of reasons supporting Ukazoo is specific to this particular used book store, the reasons of why this store is pretty darn magnificent can be applied to many used book stores out there.

Why YOU should visit Ukazoo Books as soon as you finish reading this blog post:

  • The book selection. Ukazoo Books offers every genre of book your little heart could desire. It has books on music, books on film, traditional fiction, a huge mystery and thriller section, memoirs, humor books, a plethora of kids’ books, new books, bestsellers, books by local authors, and so many more genres and types than I can even list. Suffice to say it’s got a lot to offer.
  • The best book deal this planet has ever seen. Ukazoo Books offers a lovely little deal that all their used books are buy 3 get 1 free. I have never left this store without taking advantage of this deal. Be warned that if you find more than one book, you just better find two more books to take advantage of this deal. (This is also why my book shelves are full of books from this fine establishment.)
  • The support of the local author and artist. Ukazoo is huge supporter of local authors and artists. The store is chalk full of books written by locals (it has its own section!), and the walls of the store are covered in art for sale. Be sure to check out all these little gems ASAP because you’re sure to find something brilliant.
  • The staff.  The staff at this store is beyond helpful. Looking for a specific book? They can help you. Want a recommendation? They have plenty! Need help with anything? They will seriously do anything to help you. Honestly, the staff at this store makes Ukazoo feel like you’re walking into the most welcoming place around. (On a side note, the other customers who shop here are pretty cool too. Just saying.)
  • The prices of the books. Not only does Ukazoo have that amazing aforementioned book deal, it also offers amazing prices on used and new books. I kid you not, I have regularly gotten 4 books for what 1 book at the big name book store will typically cost you. (That’s a lot of bang for your buck people!)
  • The wonderful books you’ll find here. I’ve already shared that Ukazoo offers a wide variety of books. What you may not know is that this store is full of some amazing finds. I cannot tell you how many phenomenal books and authors I have discovered in the walls of this store. Some of my all-time favorites were found here, and for that I will truly be eternally grateful.
  • The name. The name of this store just works, is wholly unique which completely fits this store, and I just love it.
  • It’s organized. It’s organized. It’s organized. IT’S ORGANIZED!

Suffice to say, Ukazoo is hands down my #1 choice on The Best Places to Find Books countdown. This store has so much to offer, and it is one of my favorite places

As you can see this thing is completely full, and at leas t half of these books are from Ukazoo.

As you can see this thing is completely full, and at least half of these books are from Ukazoo.

to visit and shop for books. I have so many fond memories of this place, and I still continue to visit it to this day. (And that’s with me living an hour and a half away now!)

Ukazoo is the cream of the crop. It’s the best of the best, and there’s no doubt in my mind about that.

While I focused specifically on this used book store, you should know that this is only one of many wonderful places like this out there, and the reasons of why Ukazoo is incredible can also be found in many other stores across the country.

I challenge you to find your own amazing used book store to explore, because believe me, it is just waiting to be found, and you will be oh so happy when you finally find your favorite book finding place.

After all is said and done, you may be wondering why this countdown turned out the way it did. You may think, how did a place like Ukazoo beat out big name book stores like Barnes and Noble? Well let me explain my madness a little:

The title of this countdown is aptly named the best places to FIND books, not just buy them. My goal for this countdown was to give fellow book lovers and addicts’ places to find the books and authors that are just waiting to be discovered. If you want to go buy any old book, you can do that just about anywhere. But if you’re looking for a one of a kind experience where you can explore and find truly extraordinary books (that you might not have found normally), these are the places you need to go.

Ukazoo will provide you with something like that every time, which is why it found its way to the top of this countdown.

So there you have it folks. This post concludes the countdown of The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books. I hope you found these posts helpful, and that someday very soon you’ll find yourself perusing some of these marvelous places in search of that next great book experience.

To learn more about Ukazoo Books check out the links:

http://www.Ukazoo.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ukazoo-Books/6091694731

ps. If you’re wondering when the hell I’m going to talk about that pesky little ½ thing, don’t you worry your pretty little head. That post is on its way. 😉

Sharp Objects

Ready to take a walk on the dark side book addicts?

I do certainly hope so, because today’s book review definitely dives head first into the vast sea of darkness.

Now I know I usually keep it on the lighter side here. I typically find myself within the throes of a good love story or yet another book set in the good ole south, but every once and awhile I like to break it up a little bit.

Variety is the spice of life people!

Thus I decided to dig deep into The Never Ending Book Basket, and find something a little out of my ordinary reading repertoire. (Now in all honesty, I have read another book by this same author, so it wasn’t too much of a leap of faith into the darkness. But it’s the thought that counts, right?)

Grab your flashlights people, because today we dig into the deliciously dark and fantastically crazy thriller Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects follows Camille Preaker as she embarks on a journey she never wanted to really take. Camille finds herself back in her hometown, reporting on the murders of two little

girls. Even worse she finds herself surrounded by her overbearing and downright out there mother, her bat shit crazy half-sister Amma, and a plethora of old classmates who definitely show why you really shouldn’t go home again.

Throughout Sharp Objects, Camille finds herself sinking fast into the grimness of her small town’s murders, and she soon comes face to face with all the reasons of why she should make her escape as fast as she possibly can.

The mystery of this book revolves around who could have possibly committed such a heinous crime to harm these two little girls. Is it the older brother who everyone is pointing the finger to? Is it an outsider hell bent on destroying this “sleepy” little town? Or is it one of the many out there residents of this small Missouri town? (And let me tell you, the answer is not as easily found as you would think.)

During this whole foray into the darkness, Camille is also battling some pretty deep personal issues. Her family life is a little off beat to say the least, her personal life is basically nonexistent, and her mental state may come into question more than once.

(I won’t reveal what those personal issue are, but let’s just say it ain’t just skin deep. And just so you know, that last sentence holds way more meaning once you read the book.)

What I LOVED about this book:

  • Camille’s issues are hers, and are actually believable. When I say that Camille’s issues are believable, I mean that based on all the crap she went through (and that’s putting it lightly), her issues are authentic. I have never been where Camille has been, but the author did an amazing job of creating some plausible issues and nuances for her that I felt were wholly realistic.
  • The weird factor. So this is the second book I read by Gillian Flynn, and let’s just say both those books had a pretty fucking big weird factor. But I absolutely got into that weirdness. That weirdness/creepiness/out there factor is what sets Gillian Flynn’s books apart, and it will leave you with a pretty memorable read.
  • Camille’s fantastically crazy family. I could write a 10 page essay on how out of this world crazy Camille’s family is. Her mother’s picture is probably out there somewhere underneath the definition of a mental disorder. Camille’s sister Amma is a hot and cold mess that will have you wondering what the hell is going on in her brain. And last but not least you have Alan, Camille’s strangely preppy stepfather who is as banal as they come, but who is probably the craziest one of them all because he accepts his family as “normal”.
  • The mystery. It wouldn’t be a thriller or a Gillian Flynn book if there wasn’t some sort of mystery to solve. In this case the mystery revolves around the brutal murders of two precocious little girls. This mystery is full of twists and turns, and will have you guessing until the last page. (Because that is literally when you finally figure it all out!)
  • The little air of optimism. I won’t add a ton to this little nugget, but let’s just say that I enjoyed that this book wasn’t a complete downer. Don’t get me wrong, almost all of it was, which totally fit the story, but I was happy to see a little sliver of sunshine in that sea of darkness.
  • Wind Gap. This is the town Camille returns to, and it honestly is a character unto itself. It has its own distinct personality that weaves its way through the story. Wind Gap’s residents are ones you soon won’t forget, and the eerie foundation of this town will make you happy that it’s not somewhere that actually exists.
  • The title. It just works. It’s as simple as that.

Sharp Objects is definitely a walk on the dark side, but it’s assuredly worth the trek. This book will take you on some pretty crazy twists and turns, but at the end you will be happy you at least figured it all out. (And when I say figured it all out, you’ll know who did what, but FYI you’re still gonna wonder what goes on in the brains of some of these fantastically crazy characters.)

It will also have you feeling really ecstatic that this is a book, and you’re not surrounded by these people on a daily basis. Or ever for that matter.

So there you have it book addicts. Take the plunge into Gillian Flynn’s thrillingly dark world, and feel the tangible creepiness.

You won’t be sorry, and at the very least you’ll have a newfound appreciation for “normalcy” and your teeth. (Don’t worry you’ll figure that one out soon enough…)

Until next time fellow book addicts. Enjoy that walk on the dark side, but stay away from those sharp objects. Sometimes their marks are permanent.

ps. If you’d like to learn more about Gillian Flynn’s books check out them out here:

http://gillian-flynn.com/ (Website)

https://www.facebook.com/authorgillianflynn  (Facebook)

(Be sure to check out her newest release Gone Girl. If you think Sharp Objects is creepy you haven’t seen anything yet. Believe me, Gone Girl is one crazy ass ride.)

If I Stay

Welcome back fellow readers. I hope time has found you well, and that you’ve found yet another good book to sink your teeth into.

Lately I have been on a big love story kick. What can I say? I am a huge sucker for love stories. They just reel me in. (Hence, I am a sucker, but I love it and accept it fully.)

Though I love me a good love story, as a book reader I also have a touch of ADD, so I often jump from one genre to another. Literally. I read a little bit of anything and everything.

That ADD is what brings us here today. I decided to dive deep into my Never Ending Book Basket and pull out something different. I was in the mood for a change.

(In all honesty the book I read was right on top, but in my defense, my book basket does contain a little bit of everything.)

The book I read today has been on my to buy list for a while, and in a surprising twist of fate I was able to find this book at one of my Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books! (Since I haven’t finished the countdown yet, I won’t reveal where. Yet. But I will let you know this book was found in that pesky little ½ place I keep mentioning!)

So in my never ending battle to listen to my book ADD I read the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

If I Stay is a very emotional book, and I did not know what to expect going into reading it. The book is told from Mia’s point of view as she decides if she is going to choose to “stay” after her family is in a horrific car accident.

The book opens with a brief glimpse of Mia and her extremely adoring family, before segueing into the accident. If I Stay follows Mia from that accident as she is taken outside of her body, and must go through the painful decision of staying or going. To move on to whatever comes next, or stay and face the not so nice music of her new reality.

She’s not a ghost per say, but she can see and hear everything going on around her, while looking down at her battered body.

Interwoven with Mia’s current state are flashbacks telling brilliant stories about her family including her mother, father, little brother, Gran and Gramps, best friend Kim, and her boyfriend Adam. These flashbacks flow naturally into the story, and creates an excellent stream of consciousness effect in the book that lets you know exactly how Mia got to this point in her life and the story itself.

What I liked about this book:

  • The rawness. This book is full of emotion and thought, and it is all raw and out there for everyone to see. I loved that the emotions put forth were believable for the situation, and nothing was shielded or censored. When going through something as horrific as Mia is, everything is messy and raw and complicated, and that emotion was brilliantly conveyed.
  • Mia and her internal struggle. Mia is a gem of a character. Throughout this book she is either looking at her helpless injured body, or
    If I Stay by Gayle Forman (I found it only fitting to take this picture as there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Read the book and you'll see why.)

    If I Stay by Gayle Forman (I found it only fitting to take this picture as there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Read the book and you’ll see why.)

    remembering the many events of her life that bring her straight back into her harsh reality. (Those past events made me love her even more!) The internal struggle she battles throughout this book is phenomenal. Reading and watching as Mia struggles to decide whether to stay or go is heart rendering, and will really make you think: What would I do in the same position when the only choice I have is to live or die?

  • The structure of the book. I loved the way this book was told in a stream of consciousness like format, where Mia interweaves her present state with stories from the past. This structure fits the book, and it makes it easy to flow between the past and present worlds. It also makes it really easy to like the characters from the small glimpses you see of them.
  • The music. Music is a big part of this book. Mia is an accomplished cellist, and she comes from a world and family that loves, lives, and breathes music. Music is almost its own character in this book, and it finds its way into almost every character, sub story, and crevice. Music is the glue that really brings this book and its characters together.
  • The pace. I don’t want to reveal any major plot points in this story (We don’t do that shit here!) but I will say the pace of this book is very good and well matched for the story being told. I read this book in one sitting, and the pace along with the great plot of the story was the reason why. You hit the ground running, and you don’t stop until the very end.
  • The plethora of endearing characters. I cannot even begin to describe how much I love all the characters in If I Stay. Mia’s parents are the parents we all wish we had. Her little brother, Teddy is about as adorable as they come. Her best friend Kim, and her realness stand out in a sea of rawness. Adam, Mia’s boyfriend, adds another layer as well. (I think in the present tense of the story, he is only in the book less than 25 pages, but those pages and his searing emotion stand out.)

If I Stay is a book about a choice. Mia has to decide if she is going to stay and face the harsh reality of what she’s left with after a terrible accident, or if she’s going to go and let it all fade away.

The road to that choice is the pulse of this book, and the author does a fantastic job of creating a story where you honestly don’t know what the “right” answer to that choice is.

Watching Mia struggle with that choice takes you on a phenomenal journey that will make you wonder what you would do if asked the same question: Do you stay, or do you go?

This book is definitely an emotional and very raw ride, but it’s highly worth it. (And don’t worry, it’s not all dark, sad, and gloomy. I did smile and chuckle at some parts while reading. More than once, too!)

So, fellow book addicts I dare you to take a walk with me on the dark side.

Embrace your book ADD, and give something new and different a chance.

You’ll be glad you did.

I know I am.

ps. If you’d like to learn more about If I Stay and/or its author Gayle Forman, click one of the links below.

http://www.gayleforman.com/ (Website)

https://twitter.com/gayleforman (Twitter)

https://www.facebook.com/GayleFormanAuthor (Facebook)

The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books: #5

Welcome back fellow book addicts!

I hope time has found you well, and that you’ve had plenty of opportunities to dive into some fantastic books. (I know I have!)

Since clearly all of us here enjoy books, I thought it only fitting that we have a discussion about the best places to find those books. I mean let’s be honest: you have to know where the best place to buy your drug of choice is. You can’t just go anywhere. (And I am referring to books there people. Get your minds out of the gutter, folks!)

Now there are a million places to buy books, but I have to say that I have my certain favorite places that I love to purchase a good read. (I may have slightly over exaggerated with the use of the term “a million places” when describing where to buy books, but it’s all the same. There are many great places to come across that one book you’re looking for.)

These are also the places that have the ability to suck me in for hours on end if I let them. That isn’t even a slight exaggeration. It’s happened.

So here at the Never Ending Book Basket, I will be counting down The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books.

These places will be the cream of the crop. The best of the best. They’re the places you just gotta go to get the books you need.

Why 5 ½ places? Well that’s the number I came up with and I’m sticking with it. Tough shit. (And don’t you worry, I’ll explain that ½ thing later.) Each spot on the countdown will have its very own post, and these countdown posts will be interspersed with the normal book reviews you find on here.

So without further ado, The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books:

Number 5: The Big Name Retailer That Sucks You in for Everything You Got (aka Target)

Target is my own personal hell in a lot of ways. If you’re American, you’ve probably seen that e card making fun of the fact that most people go into Target looking for one thing, yet they leave the store with 5 different things. (Not one of which was on their intended list of things to buy.)

Gotta love this!! And it is absolutely true! (photo credit: Pinterest)

Gotta love this!! And it is absolutely true! (photo credit: Pinterest)

I am so guilty of that. I go into that place, and I am lucky to get out without buying something I did not need. I mean, does anyone really need as many storage bins as I’ve bought in that place?

Don’t even get me started on walking up and down the aisles looking for clearance items. That is a bad place.

I am also extremely guilty of the fact that I NEVER leave Target without visiting the book section. NEVER. Not even once since the time I was in high school. (Yes, I admit it. I have a problem.)

Target is one of my favorite places to look for books. In fact almost every book on my to buy list, and probably half the books currently residing in my Never Ending Book Basket originated from a visit to Target.

Now as I always I have to justify my reasoning’s on here, the following is why I think Target is a great place to buy books:

  • It has the newest releases of the most popular books out there. That huge, new, gotta have it book that just came out? Target most likely is a place you can get it.
  • It has a wide range of well known, and not so known books. The books Target carries range from New York Times Bestsellers, to romance, to teen, to some random book you’ve never even heard of. The variety of Target’s selection, at times, is superb.
  • The Target Book Club. If you’ve ever perused the book section, you’ve probably seen some books with the logo “Target Book Club”. These books are not ones to miss. They are fantastic, and a ton of them are even signed by the damn author. I can personally say one of my favorite books that I read last year was from this club. That books cover is even in the header image of this blog. (It’s called The Promise of Stardust and you need to go to Target and buy it now. Do it!)
  • The discounted prices. Now it isn’t like Targets books are seriously discounted, but most are 20% off list price, and as someone addicted to buying books, every little bit of money saved is big.

Now I am not trying to be Negative Nellie on here, but there are a couple drawbacks to doing your book buying at Target:

The 5th best place to find books!

The 5th best place to find books!

  • The book section contains only about 2 aisles worth of books. What this means is that while Target might have a book section, it’s still a big store that sells only a little bit of everything. This means that if you’re looking for a specific book that isn’t a new release, insanely popular, or part of the Target Book Club, you’re probably not going to find it there. (But what do you expect from a book section that contains 2 aisles?)
  • It can be hit or miss. As much as I love Target, and its book section, I find that it can be hit or miss in there sometimes. The range of books is marvelous, but often the shelves are either filled to the brim or filled with more empty spaces than my brain is when it comes to math skills. Either way, I always go the section no matter what, but I am sad to say I do not always come away with the next best book.

Target is a great place to buy books, and find books that you might want to buy at some point. As I said earlier, I have added so many books to my to read list from just perusing the book section at Target.

When I look in the Target book section, I don’t always buy a book, (Yes, that does actually happen mother!) but I do usually come away with a new book I plan to read at some point.

If anything, Target is always good for a fun time spent searching through books, and the high likelihood that you will buy at least one thing you will never use or need.

Please stay tuned for more on the Never Ending Book Basket’s countdown of The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books. (I know you just can’t wait to find out what that ½ thing means!)

Next up on the countdown is a place that I refer to as the old-school place to get the books you have to have, so keep your eyes open for the post!

Until next time book addicts, and as always, Happy Reading!

Ps. If you have a comment or opinion about buying books at Target, I would love to hear from you!

Bloom

Happy New Year fellow book readers!

I hope you were all able to ring in the New Year in the best possible way!

How did I ring in the New Year you ask? Well I did what I love to do: I thought about everything I love and hold dear. In that thought process, my mind drifted off (as it often does) to the most recent book I was able to read.

This book stayed in my mind over the last few days of 2013, so I found it only fitting to bring its fantastic message into the New Year and to you!

I find that the book I most recently finished is the best possible choice for my first post of 2014, as it is all about finding beauty and happiness in unexpected situations. I am thinking that discovering more beauty and happiness is something we could all use a little more of in our lives.

Thus in my first official post of 2014 we will explore Bloom by Kelle Hampton.

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Bloom is a magnificent memoir that follows a mother’s journey from the day that she welcomes her second child into the world. On that day the mother is as excited as anyone would be at such an event. That day becomes something much more when her baby girl is born, and she learns that her new baby has Down syndrome.

Bloom begins as Hampton describes the day her beautiful baby girl Nella came into the world, and all of the events and emotions that surrounded her as her life changed before her very eyes. After pouring out all she felt and thought in those first few moments and days into a truly moving piece of writing, Hampton begins to discuss the first year of her new baby and family’s lives.

What ensues in this memoir is a poignant story about a mother’s love for her child and family, and what happens when the unexpected occurs and she finds herself on a path that she never knew she’d be on, but is one filled with true beauty, happiness, and love.

I have wanted to read Bloom for quite some time now. I first read of Hampton’s story almost two years ago, when I read her original blog post detailing her daughter’s birth. I came across the post on one of my favorite websites, Pinterest, and I was instantly taken in by Hampton’s words describing how her daughter came into this wondrous world. There was also one line that really stuck with me, one that I could not get out of my head, and one that I would emphasize when telling people about this amazing story I had read on the internet. (I promise to tell you that one later.)

Flash forward a little over a year later and I was in the book store (very shocking, I know) and I came across a gorgeous book cover that drew me in. Turning that book over and reading the summary on the back had me realizing that the very book I held in my hand, was the memoir of the woman who wrote that moving story I so long ago read.

Suffice to say that book made it to the top of my infamous to buy list. (I probably should have gotten it then, but at that current moment I was still in college selling children’s shoes to feed my caffeine and book addictions. And sadly, buying books then was something I unfortunately had to wait to do.)

Flash forward even more time, and I finally was able to find that striking book again, and I devoured it cover to cover in less than a day.

(My advice on this one: if you find a book you think you’re going to really love, buy it then. Don’t put it off, because the joy you find in reading a truly mesmerizing book like Bloom, is well worth sacrificing a week’s worth of coffee for.)

What I simply adored about this book:

  • Hampton’s poignant point of view. Kelle Hampton’s original blog post radiated all of her poignancy. That effervescent poignancy continues in her memoir as she pours everything into this book, and leaves nothing behind, which creates a book that is truly unforgettable. The way that she shares her and her family’s story truly comes from the heart, and will give you a glimpse into what it means to find true and heartfelt beauty in the unexpected. This story is hers to tell, and you won’t soon forget experiencing what she details in her memoir.
  • The pictures. This is truthfully the most visually appealing book I have ever read. There is a reason that this book’s cover drew me in. The photography taken and provided by Hampton documenting her and her family’s story is absolutely stunning. Pages and pages of this book are filled with these vibrant pictures that connect and magnify every emotion and event that Hampton describes. By the end of this book, you will have heartfelt appreciation for pictures and what they can truly show.
  • The joy and beauty that is tangible. While reading, I felt as if I could almost touch the joy, happiness, and beauty that Hampton describes throughout everything documented in her memoir. There are plenty of places in this memoir that Hampton conveys what her and her family’s journey was like, and it certainly isn’t always sunshine and roses. Though when Hampton describes many moments that were filled with joy and beauty, she does it with so much detail and feeling that you can almost touch it. She simply shows you what it truly means to find the beauty and joy.

Suffice to say, I truly enjoyed reading Bloom. The author presents her wholly authentic experience, as she welcomed the unexpected into her life. Her extraordinary memoir documents all of the ups and downs her and her family go through, but truly demonstrates what it means to love a child.

I have probably done a horribly inaccurate job of describing how wonderful this book is, but it is truly a book you will not soon forget. This is the author’s story. It’s her point of view, it’s her life, and it’s real, and as I’ve said before on here, I think we can all learn a lot from one another. I sure learned a lot from her.

As Hampton points out, we are all truly more alike than different, and beauty and joy are all around us, even in the unexpected.

I want to end this post with the words that stuck with me the most from Hampton’s original post, and her memoir. In both, Hampton describes how she knew the moment her daughter was born that she had Down syndrome, and then she continues to describe what happened from that point until her pediatrician came in.

Her pediatrician comes to her and tells her what she already knows, but before that she tells her the very most important thing: “The first thing I am going to tell you is that your daughter is beautiful and perfect.” (pg. 8, Bloom)

That is what I will always remember from reading Hampton’s story. Her daughter, and every other child/person/human being on this planet is beautiful and perfect, and that is the descriptor that matters and comes first every time. Throughout her writing, Hampton personifies that sentiment, and it is truly beautiful to read and experience.

I think we need to remember that as we begin this New Year. We are all different, and that makes us unique, but we are all human and we are all beautiful no matter what else might go into the equation.

Thus as we begin 2014 I encourage everyone, and especially myself, to find the beauty and to find the joy in all the expected and unexpectedness we will come across in this wondrous coming year and life.

 Bring on the beauty and joy of 2014!

ps. If you would like to learn more about Kelle Hampton and her amazing memoir you can find anything and everything here:

http://www.kellehampton.com/  (Blog)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Enjoying-the-Small-Things-Kelle-Hampton/160436387376707 (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/KelleHampton  (Twitter)

Belong to Me

Thank the lord for snow storms. Or more accurately, thank the weatherman for predicting 3-5 inches of snow and only producing about 2 inches of slushy ice mix.

Thanks to that 2 inches of slushy ice mix, I was able to enjoy a couple of snow days. (The ability to do this may or may not have been a driving factor in my career choice as a teacher. Just kidding, but it is a nice little perk.)

So thanks to the couple of snow days I have been able to enjoy, I was able to continue my never ending quest in finding the “end” to my Never Ending Book Basket by finishing yet another great book.

The book up for discussion this week is Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos.

Belong To Me

Belong To Me

This was the third book that I have read by this author over the past year. I stumbled across her first book Love Walked In, in my favorite used book store and was captured by the warm and inviting characters she created.

Fast forward almost a year later, and while perusing the shelves of another books store, I came across Belong to Me, which was a follow up book to Loved Walked In. I couldn’t pass up the chance to sink in with those inviting characters again, so I quickly added the book to my book basket.

Let me start off by saying that Belong to Me can be read as a stand-alone book. It does connect to Love Walked In, but you can connect and love this story and its characters without having read the aforementioned book. (Though I highly recommend reading both.)

Belong to Me is a story about people and connections. And believe me, you will feel those connections throughout every page of this book.

This book, like others by Marisa de los Santos, is told in alternating perspectives. This book presents the perspectives of three very different and unique characters. I’ll break it down for you easily:

  • First you got Cornelia. She was also one of the perspectives in Love Walked In, and is by far my favorite character in both books. Cornelia is not your average modern woman, and she is a breath of fresh air to this story and its characters. She quotes old books and movies, moves to her own little beat, and doesn’t give two shits about what people think of her. (Hence, why I love her character so much!) In Belong to Me, she has recently moved with her husband Teo to the suburbs from the city, and is busy navigating what that move entails as she is thrown into the shark infested waters of suburbia.
  • That’s where Piper comes in. She’s one of those above-mentioned sharks. I wanted to not like Piper, because she can be the epitome of a mean girl who says and does some not so nice things. By the end of this book though, Piper had weaseled her way into my heart. Piper is the typical mother, doing it all, while balancing taking care of her ailing best friend who is slipping away to cancer. Throughout this story, Piper tries to find the balance in her life while taking care of her family, her ailing best friend’s family, as well as trying for once to take care of herself.
  • Last but not least is Dev. Dev, short for Deveroux, is a fourteen year old boy new to the same suburb where Cornelia and Piper live. He moves to town with his mother, Lake, who has brought him here to attend a school for the gifted. Dev is clearly very gifted, and is a very smart and intuitive young man. Dev’s point of view in the story offers a look at these characters that as a reader you do not expect. Let’s just say, looking at the world through Dev’s eyes is very interesting to say the least, and will have you really thinking about what this wonderful boy has to offer to this story.

So there you have all three very distinct and wonderful perspectives of this book.

I won’t reveal too much of the plot line of this story, but again I will say that this story is about connection. It is about how people come together in the strangest of situations and times. Watching and reading of these connections throughout Belong to Me created an fantastic experience.

Reading how Cornelia, Piper, and Dev’s stories intertwine together is breathtaking. There is even a little bit of mystery to solve with their stories, as you try to piece together how all three of these characters come together and connect. And believe me, the way they connect is mind blowing in a lot of ways.

As per most of my posts, I will give a lovely little list of what I adored in this book:

  • The very well described and developed characters. As I mentioned earlier, I love the characters in this book. They are all warm and inviting (even Piper, eek!) and will draw you in immediately. The author does a simply spectacular job of describing and developing each character in this book, even if they aren’t providing their own point of view. By the end of this book you will feel as if you know each and every one of these characters, and you will most definitely care wholeheartedly for them.
  • The multiple perspectives. I LOVE when books are told in multiple perspectives. I think it adds a new side to the story, and provides an insight into the characters and the story itself. This book was no different. Each perspective in this book is different and unique, and provides further insight into the connections laced throughout the book itself.
  • Authenticity. This book and its characters ooze authenticness. What I mean by that is that these characters are described so realistically that I am pretty sure they could and actually do exist somewhere in some form. The feelings and emotions portrayed by the characters in this book are wholly authentic. We have all felt at one time what they feel. We have all been (or will be) in one of their shoes at one point in our lives. In essence, these characters are authentically real in every way.
  • The theme of connection. Throughout this book there is a theme of connection. I haven’t exposed all of that connectedness yet, but if you read this book you will so totally feel connected. Connection is a powerful thing, and this book presents connection at its best. It shows what happens when people from all walks of life come together, and find how connection can change them in ways that they never knew how.

In the end, Belong to Me is a story about connection. It’s about how we all connect to those we love, those we know, and even those we don’t know.

This story presents three very distinct characters who are all searching for that connection, even if they don’t know it yet. The connection they find will lead them to places they never knew they’d be, but where they truly do belong.

Thus, this story is about finding those who truly belong to you, and what it means to call them yours.

Belong to Me will have you reading and feeling that connectedness until the very last page, and in the end will make you ecstatic to know there is such a thing as true connection.

The Best Advice I Ever Got

I have a bit of a secret to admit. Some of you may know this already. Some of you may not. (And before you ask, I am not admitting to book addiction again. You clearly already know I have that “problem”)

I am an advice/self-help/inspirational book junkie.

I adore and savor books that have any kind of positive message, whether it be from someone’s own personal experience or a fictitious story.

And do not even get me started on my love of quotes. I have those everywhere. (I may even have a notebook full of them…shhh)

Suffice to say, I love books that offer one person’s advice to another. I love to read other people’s ideas about life, love, adventures, TV, family, etc.

What can I say? I am an optimist and I hope to live the best life possible, so I figure reading what other’s think might get me to that best life may actually help. I have my fingers crossed on that one at least.

So in my never ending quest to create myself a lovely little life, I decided to pick up the book The Best Advice I Ever Got by Katie Couric.

The Best Advice I Ever Got

The Best Advice I Ever Got

Let me tell you, I am very happy I did. This book weaves in a multitude of what I love best: inspiration, advice, great words, and of course thought provoking quotes.

The Best Advice I Ever Got presents many stories by some pretty amazing people. The book is separated into different chapters, with each one focusing on a different topic. Anything and everything is included in this book including topics that focus on never giving up to finding the joy in life. Each chapter begins with a story by the author, Katie Couric, which adds a personable touch to each of the stories that follow. The stories that follow come from a wide array of celebrities, businessmen and businesswomen, as well as some amazing writers.

This book is filled to the brim with words of wisdom.

Don’t worry though. It is a very quick read, as some stories are just a few sentences long, while others span pages. But each one is unique and offers a dynamic piece of advice or viewpoint that you will love.

I was so in love with this book, and all of its advice that I decided rather than say what I like and what I might not like so much about the book, I concluded I should just share some of my favorite quotes. (I also just truly enjoy sharing really great quotes!)

There were many great stories in this book, and quotes to choose from, but the following are some of my favorites:

  • In the end, your finest moments in life aren’t necessarily those in which you finish first but, instead, the times when you know that you simply gave it your best-when you did it heart and soul, and held nothing back. –Michelle Kwan
  • So live your dreams and remember, whatever you choose to do with your life, you must also be a citizen of you country, your nation, and our independent world. Because while our differences make life more fascinating, our common humanity matters more. –Bill Clinton
  • So get out of the harbor. The territory may be uncharted and the water may get pretty choppy at times, but you’ll be amazed at what you can learn, especially about yourself.
  • Never be something that you’re not. To live your life as an honest and compassionate person. Those are the most important qualities to me. Stay true to yourself. –Ellen Degeneres
  • A boat is always safe in the harbor, but that’s not what boats are built for.
  • If the world puts you on a road you do not like, if you look ahead and do not want the destination which is being offered and you look behind and you do not want to return to your place of departure, step off the road. Build yourself a brand new path.
  • Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it. –Groucho Marx

So there you have it. Now you know my junkie status of with advice books, and quotes for that matter.

Before I depart again to read another book from my Never Ending Book Basket, a few parting words:

Yes, self-help/advice/inspirational books are from one person’s point of view. It is that person sharing their thoughts and wisdom on a topic. While you may not agree exactly with what they say, be aware that each of us as human beings have a very unique perspective to share with the world. And that perspective should be valued.

We are all in this thing they call life together, so why not look to others to find a way to make our lovely little lives just a tad bit better and happier.

Until next time book addicts. Happy reading, and good luck on that never ending battle to find the bottom of your book basket. (Yeah, good luck with that. I only have about 1,000 more books to go….)

p.s. Remember, some of the quotes and pieces of advice we find are worth remembering, so be sure to write them down. It’s worth it!

This is a picture of my quote book where I write down any and every quote/piece of advice that strikes me. (It's almost full, too!)

This is a picture of my quote book where I write down any and every quote/piece of advice that strikes me. (It’s almost full, too!)

Sea Change, By Karen White

The time has finally come for the egg to hatch. It is now time for my first book review on The Never Ending Book Basket. If you’re new to the blog, please feel free to peruse the site to learn more about what is going on up in here. (Insert DMX song lyrics here… Now can’t you here that song in your head, or is that just me?)

But without further ado, let the book talking begin.

Sea Change, By Karen White

Sea Change, By Karen White

I will preface this review by saying that this is not the first book that I have read by this author, Karen White. It is actually the fifth. I stumbled across one of her books in a used book store a few years ago, and fell in love with the fantastic characters she created in her book Falling Home.  Since then I have been hooked, and I have slowly been making my way through the many wonderful books she has written. (Let’s just say I am really happy I stumbled across that first book, because she is by far one of my favorite author’s currently, and pretty much has been since I read that first book)

This time I found myself reading her book Sea Change, which was published in 2011. Sea Change follows two interwoven stories set on St. Simons Island in Georgia. The book presents two love stories two hundred years apart: Pamela and Geoffrey in the early 1800s, and Ava and Matthew in the present day. The way that these characters love stories intertwine together is simply breathtaking, and will have you reeling to figure out how everything and everyone fits together.

One of the most notable characters in the book is the setting of the story itself. Karen White does a simply remarkable job of describing the south, and how life works there. As someone who has lived in the grey area between the north and the south, it was easy as taking in a breath to feel as if you were standing there with the characters in the setting that Karen White describes. (Though I will point out Maryland is below the Mason Dixon line, technically making it apart of the south) The setting of the book is a character unto itself, helping set up many of the story lines that occur, as well as just being so thoughtfully described that it is easy to imagine you can taste the salt of the St. Simon’s air on the tip of your tongue.

Sea Change, like many of Karen White’s books is told in multiple perspectives of women who are interconnected throughout the story. Ava, her mother Gloria, and Pamela’s stories are seamlessly created and connected together over the course of the book. Each of their stories presents an intricate puzzle piece that helps make the big picture clearer by the end. One thing I love about the books I have read by Karen White is that she does a glorious job of meshing a little bit of mystery, and a whole lot of love together to make a story that will hook you in until the very last page.

I won’t get too deep into the actual plot line of the story, to find that out you’ll just have to read the book. Now before you get all pissy, didn’t I tell you I wouldn’t be revealing anything on here, but I will be super sweet and give you a smidge of a tease. 🙂

This story follows Ava as she embarks into a new chapter in her life after marrying Matthew after a rather short, but meaningful courtship. She then finds herself living in a new place, surrounded by people who know more about her husband and his past then she does, while she still finds herself looking for something she doesn’t yet know how to describe. Ava is searching for something, has been all her life, and this story captures that journey at its most mysterious peak.

Along with her story, you will get to see inside the head of Gloria, Ava’s mother, and will begin to understand more about Ava’s past, and how present events came about. And if that isn’t enough to get you hooked, the book then presents Pamela’s story, told 200 years prior to present day. Pamela’s story in itself is enough to make you swoon, and will have you desperately trying to connect all the puzzle pieces you will receive while reading this book.

Let’s just say, the finished puzzle is well worth making your mind go into overdrive to connect it all. Once realized, the connections and stories created throughout the book are simply magical, and will probably make you want to call your mother. (You don’t have to do that, but let’s just say you’ll probably want to.)

I must say that when I often describe Karen White’s books to others, I usually say “Her books are what I imagine a Nicholas Sparks book would be like if I ever actually read a Nicholas Sparks book.”(I only say Nicholas Sparks just so that the people who are more familiar with his books, can begin to have a frame of reference for what I am saying)  I have said this quite often as I adore her books, and while I have actually read one Nicholas Sparks book, I’m not sure my descriptor of this author’s books is doing her enough justice. Every single one of Karen White’s books that I have had the joy to read has been simply unforgettable. In each book she presents a dynamic group of characters all linked in some way, while setting her stories in various mesmerizing locations in the south. If you never considered loving the south, be warned, you will LOVE it after reading any one of her books.

Simply put, Karen White’s books are the go to for brilliant stories filled with vibrant characters set in the charming south.

In closing, Sea Change presents a moving story told by a dynamic group of connected women who will go to extraordinary odds for those they love. That is honestly what I took away most from reading this book. Love. This story demonstrates the power within love, and within those who will do anything in their power to show it, create it, find it, and spread it to those who matter most.

If you would like to learn more about Karen White and her books, the link to her website and Facebook page is below. (And I truly recommend any of her books. This was my fifth time reading a book of hers, and I cannot wait to read the rest. Be assured, this will not be the last time one of her magnificent books is on this page.)

http://www.karen-white.com/

https://www.facebook.com/karenwhiteauthor

Until next time fellow book addicts, may your desire to read far outweigh any errant thought that could drive you to stop.