The Pea Patch Jig by Thacher Hurd


Summary: 
 
Baby Mouse loves Farmer Clem's pea patch. As her parents prepare for their big party, she escapes from her bath and gets up past her bedtime to visit the pea patch. Color illustrations.

Release Date: April 1, 1995
Age Group: Preschool to Grade 1
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli & Kaitlyn


Review:

The Pea Patch Jig is a sweet and funny book about a little mouse family who lives on a farm.  Kaitlyn and I enjoyed this book a lot!

Mother and Father Mouse have a daughter, Baby Mouse.  Baby Mouse is kind of mischievous and gets into trouble a couple of times throughout the story.  Mother and Father Mouse must rescue her, but in the end it's Baby Mouse who rescues her family from a dangerous predator.

Kaitlyn's favorite parts were quite funny: one scene where Grandfather Mouses's head gets stuck in a tomato (thanks to Baby Mouse kicking it down from the tomato plant) really got her laughing.  She also liked the part where the party occurs and every mouse dresses up and dances under the moon, actually doing the Pea Patch Jig.  

I loved the illustrations, which reminded me of watercolor paintings.  They were soft around the edges but still bright and engaging.  I did think that the book was a little too long.  I noticed Kaitlyn starting to lose interest towards the end of the story, then it ended and she told me how much she liked it.  So, I guess the length wasn't a deal-breaker for her. 

We enjoyed The Pea Patch Jig and would recommend this book!



The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill

Summary: 
 
It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey...

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.

But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.


Release Date: December 8, 2015
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli


Review:

The Trouble With Destiny was a very fun and funny read.  I highly enjoyed it!  

One thing I love about fiction is when authors don't try to make their books anything more than they are.  And, at its heart, The Trouble With Destiny is a story about a high school band in danger of being shut down due to budget cuts.  The book had a band-camp vibe, which made it even more fun.  I was in the band in high school, and it brought back those feelings of community and belonging.  

Liza is our narrator, and she was a great lead character.  She is the drum major, and is the only band member who knows that the band's future depends on winning the prize money from the cruise ship Destiny.  Therefore, she's under tremendous pressure to push the band members to perform at their best during the week-long competition. 

But Liza goes too far in her zeal to be the best, and the band members start to buck against her authority.  She's forced to let go of her tightly held reins, and let the music happen on its own.  In the process, she learns a lot about herself and those around her.  

In addition to this sweet and fun plot, there was an extra sweet romance in the mix.  I loved that aspect of the story.  And, there was an emphasis on friendship, especially resolving long-held conflicts.  I loved that aspect of the story.

The Trouble With Destiny was a great read.  I recommend it for upper middle grade and all young adult readers.  

Casey's Bright Red Christmas by Holly Dufek, Illustrated by Paul E. Nunn



Summary: 

It's Christmas time at Happy Skies Farm! Tillus the worm, Big Red, Sammy and the rest of the team are excited to celebrate the season. But Casey the farmer is busy working: feeding animals, repairing fences and planning for the year ahead. With so much to do, Casey wonders if she'll have time to prepare for the holidays. That's when Tillus and the team unite to make this Christmas extra special for their busy friend. 


Release Date: October 1, 2015
Age Group: 4-8 years
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli & Kaitlyn


Review:

Casey's Bright Red Christmas is such a sweet Christmas story!  Kaitlyn and I both loved it.  After being introduced to Casey and Friends in A Year on the Farm, we felt like we knew the characters and that made the book even more fun to read.

The story starts with Casey reflecting on all she has to do to get ready for Christmas.  She has to do her normal farm chores, plus all of the decorating and baking.  This feeling of being overwhelmed with a "to-do" list was authentically portrayed for a young girl who runs a farm and also stuck a note of sympathy with me, and probably most other parents who read this book.  Christmas is my favorite time of the year, but it's also the busiest time of the year.  

And then, Casey comes down with a cold and can't do everything on her list.  She plans to go to the shed to start decorating for her farm friends but falls asleep at her kitchen table instead.  Tillus the worm gathers everyone together and they decide to set Christmas up for Casey for a big Christmas surprise.  

As a parent with a chronic illness, I loved the theme of helping those in need, and doing for others when they can't do things for themselves.  Casey deserved a break, and needed help, and when the team recognized that Casey takes care of them all year long and that it was time for them to take care of her, it was a poignant moment for me.  That's the kind of love in action that I love to read about, and of course, experience in my own life!

And so, the theme of the book becomes about the true meaning of Christmas: giving, helping, and sharing.  The farm friends surprise Casey, and they spend Christmas together, singing carols and enjoying cookies and hot cocoa.  Kaitlyn loved the idea of the farm equipment setting up Christmas for Casey, and how each friend had their own way of doing things: playful, distracted, focused, in charge, particular, etc.  That was a nice metaphor for different personality traits and how each worked together to make Christmas special for everyone.  I should note here that while the first Casey book, A Year on the Farm, was geared towards ages 5 and up, this story was more appropriate for a four year old. 

Casey's Bright Red Christmas was an excellent read, and we highly recommend it!    




Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Summary: 
For fans of David Sedaris, Tina Fey, and Mindy Kaling-the new book from Jenny Lawson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED...

In LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: "Some people might think that being 'furiously happy' is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he's never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos."

"Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you'd never guess because we've learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, 'We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.' Except go back and cross out the word 'hiding.'"

Jenny's first book, LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it's about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn't need a bit more of that?


Release Date: September 22, 2015
Age Group: Adult
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kelli


Review:

I read and loved Let's Pretend This Never Happened (read my review here), so I knew that I would really enjoy Furiously Happy.  However, I didn't expect this book to touch my heart the way that it did. 

Jenny Lawson is a well-recognized advocate for breaking the stimga surrounding mental illness.  She opens up about her own struggles in Furiously Happy, and her transparency made me love her even more.  There were so many aspects of her feelings and life that I identified with, and I got a lot of peace in knowing that I wasn't alone.  

I also loved reading about how Jenny copes with her symptoms.  For example, Jenny has several sleep disorders which cause severe insomnia.  Instead of laying in bed fretting about not sleeping, she has cat rodeos in her kitchen at 3:00 am.  She straps her smaller taxidermied animals onto her cats and has them race to see which cat can keep the animal on their back the longest.  This scene was one of my favorites in the book and one that I keep coming back to when I struggle with insomnia. 

One might think that this book is heavy or depressing.  It's the complete opposite.  Jenny strikes the perfect balance between intense and light hearted emotion.  A chapter about her worst struggles is followed by a short chapter about her most recent fight with her husband Victor (these fights are always hilarious, by the way).  

At its heart, Furiously Happy is about making the best life out of your particular circumstances, whatever they may be.  It made me smile, cry, and left me with a feeling of intense hope.  Jenny's blog is a place where people can come together, share their struggles with mental illness, and feel accepted no matter what.  Furiously Happy expounds on this feeling of community and unconditional acceptance.  Even though I was reading this book in my own home, completely alone, I felt surrounded by the experience of all of those who have gone before me, and those going through a hard time with me right now.  And that's an incredible feeling...one that is rarely found in a book.  I can't say enough good things about Furiously Happy.  I highly recommend it! 



Welcome to the Symphony by Carolyn Sloan, Illustrated by James Williamson


Summary: 
Using one of the most famous works in classical music—Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony—here is the perfect way to introduce a young child to the world of classical music. This charming and interactive picture book with its panel of 19 sound buttons is like a ticket to a concert hall, taking readers on a journey from the exciting first moment when the musicians begin tuning up to the end of the first movement (attention newcomers: don’t clap yet!). At each step of the way, readers learn the basics of classical music and the orchestra: What is a conductor? What is a symphony? Who was Beethoven? The different aspects of music: melody, harmony, tempo, theme. And the families of instruments—strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.

But the best part is that every critical idea is illustrated in gorgeous sound. The sound panel allows readers to hear the different parts of the symphony and voices of the music—the famous beginning of the Fifth, what a clarinet sounds like, the difference between a violin and a viola, what a melody is, and what harmony is. Kids will want to match their voices to the A note that tunes the orchestra, dance to the rhythmic passages—and, of course, sing along to da-da-da-daah!


Release Date: October 27, 2015
Age Group: 4-8 years
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli & Kaitlyn


Review:

Welcome to the Symphony: A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 is such a unique and fun book.  This is the first book with a sound bar that isn't just for toddler-aged children.  My daughter is four and loved pushing the buttons (as she always has) but this time she was fully engaged in the story.

Welcome to the Symphony answers the following questions: What is a symphony?  Which instruments are included, and what do they sound like?  And it also addresses melody, harmony, and themes.  On each page, there are sections of informative text, such as:
"A symphony is a long piece of music, usually divided into smaller sections, called movements.  It's played by an orchestra.  Ludwig van Beethoven wrote nine symphonies."  Welcome to the Symphony, page 7.
Also on each page are three cute little mice who are listening to the symphony from the rafters. It's their first time so they have lots of questions.  The mice are asking what the kids reading/listening to the book would ask.  They serve as the child's voice, and I loved that because it kept the book from feeling too didactic.  

Page eight is where the real fun begins: the cue to push the first music button is on this page.  It's the sound of the orchestra tuning, which Kaitlyn thought was so cool.  She pushed each button at least twice per page.  The majority of the buttons correspond to the different instruments included in the orchestra.  But several of them play longer sections of Symphony No. 5, which were our favorite buttons to push (and the ones that got pushed multiple times).  

Welcome to the Symphony was just the right length.  It ended right as Kaitlyn was saying, "Is this book long, Mama?"  It covered the first movement of the symphony, so I'm hoping there will be a sequel.  I've found Kaitlyn picking it up and "reading" it aloud on her own, pressing the buttons as they are numbered on their respective pages.  She loves this book and so do I. It's a learning book that is disguised as a really fun and entertaining read.  I can see Welcome to the Symphony being used in music classes, and also church choirs.  I highly recommend this book!



Book Review: Placebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson

Summary: 
Going Bovine meets Trainspotting in this gritty portrait of at-risk teens gaming the prescription drug trial system.

Meet Audie: Professional lab rat. Guinea pig. Serial human test subject. For Audie and her friends, “volunteering” for pharmaceutical drug trials means a quick fix and easy cash.
Sure, there’s the occasional nasty side effect, but Audie’s got things under control. If Monday’s pill causes a rash, Tuesday’s ointment usually clears it right up. Wednesday’s injection soothes the sting from Tuesday’s “cure,” and Thursday’s procedure makes her forget all about Wednesday’s headache. By the time Friday rolls around, there’s plenty of cash in hand and perhaps even a slot in a government-funded psilocybin study, because WEEKEND!

But the best fix of all is her boyfriend, Dylan, whose terminal illness just makes them even more compatible. He’s turning eighteen soon, so Audie is saving up to make it an unforgettable birthday. That means more drug trials than ever before, but Dylan is worth it.
No pain, no gain, Audie tells herself as the pills wear away at her body and mind. No pain, no gain, she repeats as her grip on reality starts to slide….

Raw and irreverent, Placebo Junkies will captivate readers until the very end, when author J. C. Carleson leans in for a final twist of the knife.


Release Date: October 27, 2015
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli


Review:

Placebo Junkies is a dark and intense book.  I was gripped from the very first pages, and fell deep into the story.  I found Placebo Junkies nearly impossible to put down.

With all of my medical conditions, one would think that I would have stopped to consider the subjects of drug trials.  I certainly take enough prescription medications to warrant the consideration.  But, all I ever really thought about drug trial participants was that people with certain conditions signed up for trials relating to their specific problems and that was it.  I never even thought about people who participate in medical research for money, in addition to or even in lieu of a traditional job.  So, the premise of Placebo Junkies kind of blew my mind, but in a good way.  In a way that made me see the world a little differently and think about things differently.  And that is always huge when a book has that kind of effect on me.

There were periods, sometimes just scenes, of lightness and happiness throughout Placebo Junkies.  But mostly, this book was about its heavy subject matter: the danger of being a human test subject.  And the story was so intense and thought-provoking.  I was rooting for Audie's happiness and storybook ending throughout the whole story.  So the actual ending came as a complete surprise; a twist I never saw coming.  I admire J.C. Carleson for taking that risk and finishing Placebo Junkies in a manner that suited the feel of the book itself.  

Placebo Junkies was a great read.  I would recommend it for the higher end of the YA spectrum, and for adults as well.  The story stayed with me for weeks after finishing it, and as I type this review, I find myself hoping for a follow-up book.


 
  

Things I Can't Explain by Mitchell Kriegman

Summary: 
A complete re-imagining of Clarissa Explains it All as 20-something Clarissa tries to navigate the unemployment line, mompreneurs and the collision of two people in love.

She was a smart, snappy, light-hearted girl who knew it all at fourteen. Now a woman in her late twenties, her searching blue eyes are more serious, but mostly amused by the people around her. The gap-toothed smile that made her seem younger than she really was is gone, but she still lightens up the room. Her unpredictable wardrobe rocks just like when she was a kid, but her fashion sense has evolved and it makes men and women turn their heads.

After leaving high school early, Clarissa interned at the Daily Post while attending night school. At the ripe old age of twenty- two she had it made – her own journalism beat (fashion, gender politics and crime), an affordable apartment in FiDi and a livable wage. She was so totally ahead of the game. Ah, those were the days! All three of them. Remember the Stock Market Crash of 08? Remember when people actually bought newspapers?

All of Clarissa’s charming obsessions, charts, graphs, and superstitions have survived into adulthood, but they’ve evolved into an ever-greater need to claw the world back under control. Her mid-twenties crisis has left her with a whole set of things she can’t explain: an ex-boyfriend turned stalker, her parents’ divorce, a micro relationship with the cute coffee guy, java addiction, “To-Flue Glue,” and then there’s Sam. Where’s Sam anyway?

Things I Can't Explain is about knowing it all in your teens and then feeling like you know nothing in your twenties.
 



Release Date: November 10, 2015
Age Group: New Adult
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli


Review:

Things I Can't Explain was such a fun read!  I loved this both light-hearted and introspective book.

I was a fan of Clarissa Explains It All growing up, so I was super excited to "meet" Clarissa in her twenties. This Clarissa is even more fun, smart, and spunky than I remember.  I loved her narrative voice: she made me laugh so much.  And I loved her outlook on life even more.  She's droll without being dry, and sarcastic without being cynical.  Overall, she's hopefully optimistic, and a great friend.  

Speaking of friends, I enjoyed Clarissa's relationships so much.  I think they may have been my favorite aspect of the story.  Especially her topsy-turvy love life, which always had me guessing.  

Things I Can't Explain ends well, but there was definitely some unresolved conflict there.  I really can't wait for the next book in the Clarissa series! 



A Holiday Break

I've been posting less lately, and that's for a good reason: my husband and I are custom building a house, and it's been an incredibly exciting and busy time for me.  I've been in charge of all of the selections and I'm helping our builder with the design.  My husband is in charge of making the money to pay for it all.  :)  

With that said, I haven't had much time at all to read and review.  This makes me very sad, but I know that this season of my life is temporary.  Thus, I will enjoy the last few weeks of our dream house being built, and try not feel guilty about the temporary shift in my priorities.  

We plan to move in January, pending our house being complete, of course, so I plan to get back to my reading then.  I'm still reading and reviewing here and there but it's very sporadic.  

All this to say, you're going to see fewer posts here, more spread out, and if you're emailing me, I may not reply.  Or if I do reply, it will most likely take days to weeks.  That's not an intentional slight, it's just the simple fact that there aren't enough hours in the day for me to do it all.  And my inbox is one of the first things that I let slide when I get busy like this.   

Thank you, readers and fellow bloggers, for hanging in there with us.  I'd So Rather Be Reading is 5 1/2 years strong and we plan to stay around for much longer.  

Happy Thanksgiving if I don't post again before then, and thank you, as always, for supporting I'd So Rather Be Reading!

 

Incomplete & Complete by Lindy Zart & Wendi Stitzer


Incomplete Summary: 
There are three absolute truths in Grayson Lee’s life:

1. His existence was a mistake.

2. No one is good enough for his best friend, Lily Jacobs, especially not him.
3. He loves her anyway.


Release Date: September 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Kindle
Reviewed By: Nat

Review: Listen, the main character is pretty much Adam Levine plus his black frame glasses. #enoughsaid 

If you are not motivated by the eye candy above, bless your little heart. I was hooked right from the beginning for several reasons (yes, before I realized I was reading about fictional Adam):
  1. Right away I knew I would like the alternating POV of Lily and Grayson. 
  2. The story quickly moved from high school and into the New Adult setting. 
  3. Right when you think you know what is going to happen, either Lily or Grayson screw it up. I wasn't sure if it was going to end HEA or in utter heartbreak. I was actually pretty worried that this series was going to end like a freaking Tarryn Fisher book! #nobueno #tarrynhasnoheartbutweloveheranyway
  4. I liked that Lily and Grayson were both tortured souls but for very different reasons.
  5. And finally, THE PLOT TWIST that comes in book 2: Complete


Complete Summary:
If the truth sets one free, why does Lily Jacobs feel so trapped?

She's learned doing the right thing isn't always best and now she is living the consequences of her greatest sacrifice. Every day since Grayson Lee left is one she wishes he hadn't. Years have gone by since their friendship turned to more and then was eradicated by Lily alone; enough time for their young love to fade. Only it hasn't, not for Lily.

Now he is back and seeing him is devastating to her at the same time it is rapture. She tries to accept that they cannot be together, but everything inside her shouts that they should be; that they only fit with each other. And so she has to accept the greatest truth of all: She loves him still. She loves him enough not to let him go this time.
 


Release Date: March 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Kindle
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:
Just read Incomplete. You will have no choice but to read Complete. #hooklineandsinker



*image sources: google
*book image sources: goodreads

Book Spotlight: The Oracle by DJ Niko

02_The Oracle_Cover The Oracle (The Sarah Weston Chronicles, Book Three) by D.J Niko

Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Medallion Press Paperback; 456p
ISBN-13: 978-1605426273
Genre: Historical/Archaeological Adventure

 Add to GR Button    

In Delphi, the mountain city deemed by the Greek gods to be the center of the Earth, a cult of neo-pagans re-create with painstaking authenticity ancient rituals to glorify the god Apollo and deliver oracles to seekers from around the world. When antiquities are stolen from a museum in nearby Thebes, British archaeologist Sarah Weston and her American partner, Daniel Madigan, are drawn into a plot that goes beyond harmless role-playing: someone’s using the Delphian oracle as a smoke screen for an information exchange, with devastating consequences for the Western world. Pitted against each other by the cult’s mastermind, Sarah and Daniel race against time and their own personal demons to uncover clues left behind by the ancients. Their mission: to find the original navel stone marked with a lost Pythagorean formula detailing the natural events that led to the collapse of the Minoan Empire. But will they find it in time to stop the ultimate terrorist act?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIE BOUND

 

About the Author


Daphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTODaphne Nikolopoulos, photography by Lauren Lieberman / LILA PHOTO[/caption] Daphne Nikolopoulos in an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and lecturer. Under the pen name D.J. Niko, she has written two novels in an archaeological thriller series titled The Sarah Weston Chronicles. Her debut novel, The Tenth Saint (Medallion Press, 2012), won the Gold Medal (popular fiction) in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. Her follow-up release, The Riddle of Solomon, continues the story of British archaeologist Sarah Weston as she seeks the relics—and mystical secrets—left behind by the biblical King Solomon in remote Israel. Daphne is currently at work on The Oracle, book 3 in The Sarah Weston Chronicles, which releases in 2015. Also slated for publication in 2015 is her first historical novel, The Judgment, which is set in Israel and Egypt in the tenth century BCE. In addition to writing fiction, Daphne is editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine and editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group. Prior to that, she was a travel journalist who logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling across the globe, with emphasis on little-known and off-the-beaten-path locales—many of which have inspired her novels. Daphne frequently lectures about her research on the ancient world. She is an instructor at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society, teaching on the subject of archaeology. She has also spoken to audiences at the Jewish Community Center of the Palm Beaches’ Academy for Continuous Education, and several libraries and private groups throughout Florida. Born and raised in Athens, Greece, Daphne now resides in West Palm Beach with her husband and twin son and daughter. You can find her on the Web at djnikobooks.com and connect with her on Facebook (AuthorDJNiko) and on Twitter: @djnikobooks.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 9 Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, November 10 Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, November 11 Review at Back Porchervations  
Friday, November 13 Spotlight at I'd So Rather Be Reading  
Monday, November 16 Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More Tuesday, November 17 Review at Book Nerd  
Wednesday, November 18 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lit Bitch  
Thursday, November 19 Spotlight at A Literary Vacation  
Friday, November 20 Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Monday, November 23 Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews   
Tuesday, November 24 Guest Post at Yelena Casale's Blog
Friday, November 27 Spotlight at Teatime and Books  
Tuesday, December 1 Review at Kristin Un-Ravelle'd  
Wednesday, December 2 Review at Book Lovers Paradise  
Friday, December 4 Spotlight at Diana's Book Reviews
Thursday, December 10 Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf  
Friday, December 11 Guest Post & Giveaway at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
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Book Review: Not Enough by Mia Hoddell

Summary: 

Neve Colvin isn’t good enough. As an introvert, her life is a never-ending list of labels and criticism. Pressures to change come from everyone—including the one person she thought would love her unconditionally … her mother. All Neve wants is acceptance, but surrounded by extroverts it’s a wish that’s nearly impossible to fulfill.

For Neve there’s only one solution: anyone disapproving must go. Even if it means only one person will remain.

That person is her lifelong friend Blake Reynolds. He’s seen the fights with her mum, the breakdowns caused by attacks on her personality, and the battles for acceptance. Each time she is left shattered and questioning who she is, he’s the one to collect the pieces of her broken heart. Shielding her from the cruelty is his only concern. But how can he protect her when Neve is concealing a secret so dark?

Blake thinks he knows everything about her, and with their relationship developing, he assumes Neve trusts him fully. However, there is one memory Neve is too ashamed of to share. Revealing it will test Blake’s loyalty beyond what she could ever ask, and Blake is the only friend she can’t afford to lose. He’s the one person capable of dragging her from the darkness plaguing her, but with pressures to conform increasing, even Blake may not be enough to pull her back this time.
 


Release Date: November 16, 2015
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Kelli


Review:

Not Enough was a fantastic, emotional journey.  I loved this book.

The premise is simple enough, yet touching in its relatability.  Who among us hasn't felt inadequate?  I know that I sure have, and do quite often.  Feeling inadequate is something I struggle with daily, especially given my multiple health conditions which keep me from living the life I want to live.  Luckily, I have an extremely supportive network of family and friends who constantly lift me up and help me out.  

But Neve has no such network.  She has her best friend, Blake, but that's it.  And she's scared to let Blake all the way in, to share her deepest secrets, for fear of scaring him off.  Furthermore, Neve faces constant criticism from the person who should love and support her the most: her own mother.  Every day, Neve has to hear from her mother about how she's doing everything wrong and how she should be living her life.  

What drew me into Neve's story was how easily I identified with her.  Neve is an introvert, one who is more comfortable working on her graphic design business than going out to a club.  She likes one on one interactions but not being in a group of people.  I could relate to all of these aspects of Neve's personality.

A person can be told they're insufficient only so many times before they start to break.  And luckily for Neve, Blake is always there to pick up the pieces of her heart.  I loved that Neve had Blake to lean on.  He was the perfect friend for her, so supportive and understanding.  He accepted her fully and loved her no matter what.  Their relationship was positive and healthy and I loved that aspect of the story.

All of the conflict in Neve's life finally comes to a boiling point and she has a major decision to make about her future.  I really loved how Hoddell resolved the conflict and the fact that things got better over time, not overnight.  

I finished Not Enough feeling encouraged and hopeful.  It's an honest and emotional story that made me appreciate my own special qualities as an introvert.  I highly recommend this book!