Category: book review

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron #review

In The Butterfly and the Violin a mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest areas of Auschwitz and in the lonely hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer, Sera James, watched her whole world fall apart at the altar two years ago and is still suffering from the event. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait that she first saw as a child – a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera’s pat crosses with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul who may be the key to uncovering the hidden artwork. Together they slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject – Australian violinist Adele Von Bron.

Considered a darling of the Austrian aristocracy, a talented violinist and the daughter of a high ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins to smuggle Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat her life of privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places, in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the recesses of her own battered heart.

From the moment I laid eyes on the cover of this novel and read the story line I knew it would be a gem and I was not disappointed. I fell in love with the characters of Sera and Adele – two strong young females both  naive in many ways who struggle throughout the novel but grow in many ways as well. Adele’s story is humbling, saddening and hard to read through at times. It was hard to see her life change drastically especially as she believe those around her would protect her when she was doing something that was right and for the good of human kind. The friendships she forms while in the camps is strong but heartbreaking as well as she could lose them at any time. The way Sera and Adele’s lives cross is fascinating and will keep you guessing throughout the novel.

This is a rare book that you can love for years! I definitely 100% recommend picking up a copy of this book – you will cry, laugh and grow along with the characters.

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse site here. You can purchase a copy of this book here.

Rating: 5/5  (if I could give it more I would – it was that good!).

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Peas and Hambone versus Flesh Eating Zombie Gorillas

Peas, a ten year old boy, and Hambone, a dog who can also talk and walk, sneak into a zoo one morning only to witness a terrifying sight. A mad scientist had turned all of the gorillas into flesh eating zombies! Peas and Hambone know that they need to save the world before it is too late – but how do they do that?

A fun and entertaining read for young readers. My son who is nine had no problem reading this novel. It has roughly 120 pages and well spaced with a large enough font for young readers. It has a fun tone throughout the book that relates to younger readers well. It was fun, full of action and the perfect amount of yuck in it that kept my son turning the pages. While the title may seem like it would be a bit scary (flesh eating zombie gorillas) it is the exact opposite and focuses on the silly actions of Peas and Hambone.

Todd Nichols earned his Bachelor’s degree in cardiopulmonary science (wow!) in 1993 and went on to receive a Master’s in Education. He teaches elementary school students which you can completely see throughout the book as he has the ability to relate to young readers so well!

Peas and Hambone versus Flesh Eating Zombie Gorillas will be the perfect read for your young reader – boys and girls alike!

Rating: 5/5

You can find this book on Amazon here.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Secrets At Court #review

I love historical romances (I can re-read them over and over!). Secrets at Court by Blythe Gifford is definitely one of those novels that I will treasure over and over.

Secrets at Court is based in England. Anne of Stamford has long been the keeper of her mistress’ secrets but when Lady Joan marries the King’s son – court life becomes quite dangerous. Sir Nicholas Lovayne has arrived to uncover the truth about Lady Joan’s past and Anne must do anything to keep him from discovering it.

Nicholas has always longed to escape court but he had never counted on the way that Anne would distract him. She refuses to accept pity for her clubfoot and this touches something deep inside him. He begins to find it difficult to follow his duty when every fiber of his being tells him to protect Anne.

Full of mystery, scandal and romance – Secrets at Court is a fantastic summer read that you will treasure for years to come. Anne is just the type of heroine that you love – she does not let anything stand in her way including a physical disability that causes others to look and treat her differently. She is headstrong, love able, kind and good hearted. You can’t help but fall in love with her and pray that good fortune comes her way!

Rating: 4/5

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Get Started Growing Vegetables! #review #DKCanada

The ability to grow your own garden and have it flourish is so important not only does it provide good food but also helps teach children about the importance of good food and growing your own food.

I fell in love with the easy to read Get Started Growing Vegetables from DK Canada. The guide ranged in difficulty from beginner gardeners to the more experienced. It included raised beds, tips on how to grow plants in pots and hanging baskets (which I loved!). I like to think I am not quite a novice but I definitely have room to grow with my knowledge.

With large pictures, plenty of reminders and tips this guide makes it hard to take a wrong step. There are instructions on how to grow pretty much any vegetable, fruit and herb you can think of – even how to place them to create a visually appealing and fragrant garden. The guide also included plenty of advice on what to do when things go wrong – which they so often can! I even used it this weekend to learn how to ‘pinch’ off my tomato plants that were getting out of control!

I wanted to give you a glimpse of my vegetable garden – one that I am quite proud of and a garden I hope my Grandfather would be proud of too. He was my inspiration on learning how to garden. We have harvested all of our spinach leaves which was the perfect addition to stir fries and omelettes. We have since planted carrots (seen below).

Here are my lovely tomatoes growing in – I am most proud of them.

As well as a little cucumber:

I also tried out cucumbers and radishes in hanging baskets using tips from the book (the rocks on the bottom and holes).

And some potted vegetables using their same tips!

That is my garden! Can you tell how proud I am? Are your growing your own vegetable garden? If so any tips and advices for this novice?


Disclosure: I received the above mentioned guide free of charge in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Here and Now #review

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares is the romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world if she can let go of the one thing that she has found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

These are the three biggest rules that seventeen year old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve must remember. The only thing is that Prenna did not immigrate from a different country. She came from a different time – a future where a mosquito borne illness has mutated into a pandemic killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who have escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules to never reveal where they are from, never interfere with history and never be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she is told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

Where to start with this novel – I loved every moment! Ann Brashares has the most incredible way of writing that has you wanting more (to be honest when the novel was finished I was hoping for a teaser to a second part!). I love stories set in the future and the way they had traveled back in time was brilliant. The romance that blooms between her and Ethan is forbidden but could not be helped. I know that this will be a hit for many young readers!

Rating: 5/5

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book but was not obligated to write a post. I wanted to share this awesome book with you!

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