☕ Book Break ☕ | Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

~Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber~ I think this will be my last Christmas book post for the year. I have piles more to read, but I am running out of December.

Ashley Davison gets a holiday bonus at the last minute and decides to head to Seattle for Christmas to surprise her mother. Kevin Tyler needs to get to Seattle for an important job interview. Neither can get a plane ticket and there is only one rental car left. At first, they are at odds, but then decide to share the car trip.Unbeknownst to either of them, Ashley was mistakenly placed on the no fly list. Now the couple is being tracked across the country by an over zealous FBI agent as they make their way to Seattle. The story has plenty of laughs and romantic sparks. This is a cute holiday book, a feel-good romantic comedy. This novel has been made into a Hallmark movie, so if you like Hallmark Christmas movies, you will probably enjoy this short read by Debbie Macomber. A funny, light-hearted, Christmas romance.

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☕ Book Break ☕ | First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

~First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen~

“No matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone love you. You can’t stop them from making the wrong decision. There was no magic for that.”

“It had taken her a long time to realize that a prison sometimes isn’t a person at all. Sometimes it’s simply a door you assume is locked because you’ve never tried to open it.”

“The right men make all the difference in the world. But the wrong men do, too.”

“Maybe you don’t have to be lead into the future. Maybe you can pick your own path. Maybe you don’t fall in love. Maybe you jump. Maybe, just maybe, it’s all a choice.”

First Frost is a delightful read. As with all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books, this story is infused with a bit of magic. This novel is a sequel to Garden Spells, but can be read as a stand-alone.
Each of the Waverley women has a unique talent. Sydney can do magic with your hair, giving her clients a “do” that does much more than empower them. While a good haircut can work wonders, Sydney’s are extra special. Claire has a special talent for cooking. Her candies are becoming famous, the special ingredients promoting happiness and well-being. Bay, Sydney’s daughter, has the gift of knowing where things belong. For instance, she knows that a certain boy belongs with her, but he is not receptive to that idea.

All of the Waverley women get agitated and tense while waiting for the first frost, the only time the apple tree in the backyard blooms. The anticipation of the season’s changing stirs them up.

This book is satisfying and sweet. Sarah Addison Allen’s storytelling is beautiful and unique.
I especially enjoyed the idea of an over protective apple tree that throws fruit at the suitors and husbands of the Waverley women.

Sarah Addison Allen’s stories are unusual, having that special something, and so easy to fall into. Her novels have never failed to capture my interest.

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Book Review|Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you”

“Just because you can’t experience everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything.”

“One thing I’m certain of: wanting just leads to more wanting. There’s no end to desire.”

Maddy is allergic to the world and has spent her entire life isolated. Vigilantly protected by her physician mother and her private nurse, Maddy has no interaction with the outside world. Enter the cute, funny, new next-door neighbor boy.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a young adult novel written in first person present tense and moves along at a fast pace. I liked Yoon’s writing style and the story hook.

I was surprised at how short this book felt. It was a quick, easy read, except for moments of unbelievability that broke the flow of the story. I kept tripping over inconsistencies and had to  re-read passages. Olly, Maddy’s love interest, is a character I enjoyed reading about. He is cute, funny, and has his own baggage. The interplay between the two characters unfolds beautifully and the romance hits just the right note.

I liked the message of the need to take risks and to live your own life. While I could not connect with the main character, I think many young teen girls relate to Maddy and the idea of being confined or isolated, kept apart from the things they desire. What teenager doesn’t feel as if they are somehow outside of the norm?

 

I had to wonder what happened to all of Maddy’s friends. There was a mention of her online friends, and then we never hear from them. In Maddy’s situation, I would assume she would be in online support groups. It seemed a stretch that Maddy bought into her mother’s delusion without question. With a minimum of research, Maddy would have been able to figure out the inconsistencies and become suspicious that she was not really sick. I felt the nurse should have caught on as well, so this part of the story didn’t work for me.

The idea that someone who is ill lives a life completely separated as bubble people from the world and will never find love is annoying. In the story, Maddy is doomed until we find out that she is not really disabled. All along the illness has been a figment of her mother’s imagination. Maddy is “normal” and therefore now she can have a “normal” relationship with the boy she loves. I didn’t care for the message here.  I would make sure to point this out to my teen if they read this book, and affirm that people who have medical conditions or disabilities often find love. I would have rather seen them find a way to overcome, instead of the solution being that illness did not exist.

The teen romance is well written, and the conflict between parent and child echoes typical relationship issues. I read the book in one evening. The storyline was interesting and my attention never flagged. You might like this book if you enjoy short, contemporary teen romances.

 

Issues of concern

Profanity, sex, deception, illness, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, Munchhausen syndrome, mental illness.

 

 

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Beyond Rain Man|Movies and Books for Autism Acceptance Month

ByondRaininMan Books and Movies

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a short list of movies and books for anyone who would like to learn more about ASD by watching movies or reading a good book. Read reviews for content advisories.

Adam(2009) Romance, Drama Rated PG-13 for thematic material, sexual content and language.

Adam, a young man with asperger’s, meets his upstairs neighbor, Beth, and they fall in love. Read a review from Common Sense Media here.

 

Temple Grandin (2010) TV PG Biography, Drama

A Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Awards Winner.

Based on the books “Emergence” by Temple Grandin and “Thinking in Pictures” by Temple Grandin.

 

Fiction

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork

My review of Marcelo in the Real World is posted here.

Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin (for younger readers)

Read my review of Rain, Reign here.

Memoirs-Personal Biographies

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison 

Read my review of Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison here.

I also enjoyed Be Different: My Adventures with Asperger’s and My Advice for Fellow Aspergians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers by John Elder Robison 

Pretending to Be Normal by Liane Holiday Willey 

Do you have any to add? Please comment. Have you seen or read any of these? What did you think?

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Shall I Compare Thee

Recently, I went to a writer’s conference. Since I am having some trouble with my eyes and have not gotten my eyeglass prescription quite right yet, my eldest son drove me. He is not a writer. He writes computer code, but that’s about it. His reading selections tend toward technical nonfiction, the Bible, and a little Sci-Fi.

We were chatting with a writer and I asked her what she wrote. The boy had no idea what Rom Com meant. It kind of rhymes with Comic Con, but he knew they were not otherwise related.

Later he asked me, “What did she say she writes?”

“Romantic Comedy.”

“”Oh,” he says. “Like A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Even though Shakespeare basically invented the genre, for some reason his answer tickled me to no end. Maybe I was fatigued, but for whatever reason it struck me funny.

“Well,” he said, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the only romantic comedy I can think of, except for The Taming of The Shrew.”

I promise, this guy has sat through some chick flicks, but apparently they didn’t cut the mustard.

Maybe all some guys need is Shakespeare. You know, a man could do worse than to borrow from The Bard. If your fella could sing Sonnet 18 to you at a key moment, it would impress.

Old fashioned is still romantic.

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