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Purrrfect

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MISS MINK: LIFE LESSONS FOR A CAT COUNTESS BY JANET HILL

// BOOK REVIEW //

Thank you to Tundra Books for this beautiful, complimentary review copy!

Miss Mink is a cat Countess who turns to her happy, content cats to learn their lessons for living a purrrfectly satisfying life. This book offers twenty positive life lessons that are applicable to both children and adults alike. The lessons include: “make your goals bigger than your fears”, “chase your dreams”, “build strong friendships and you will always have the support you need” and “love others, but don’t forget to love yourself too”. The illustrations add a whimsical, creative and charming air to the story. Although this book is recommended by the publisher for kids 4-8 years old, Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess would be a wonderful addition to any cat-lover’s library!

Additional photos of the beautiful cover, end paper and illustrations are featured below…

Book Details:

Title: Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess

Author: Janet Hill

Illustrator: Janet Hill

Publisher: Tundra Books

Format: Hardcover with dust jacket

ISBN: 9781770499225

The hardbound cover beneath the dust jacket is beautiful!

The hardbound cover beneath the dust jacket is beautiful!

The cat print end papers are a purrrfect addition!

The cat print end papers are a purrrfect addition!

The artwork is delightful and charming!

The artwork is delightful and charming!

I love Lesson 6: Make your goals bigger than your fears!

I love Lesson 6: Make your goals bigger than your fears!

The life lessons presented are great for children and adults alike!

The life lessons presented are great for children and adults alike!

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A Basket of Raspberries

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Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

// Book Review //

Thank you to Flatiron Books for this beautiful, complimentary review copy!

For the photo, I tied this book in a bow but not the big, fluffy, glittery bows I prefer. I am hoping (much like the characters in the story) that my writing of this review will help me better understand why I have such mixed feelings about this book. 

I’ll begin my review with what I enjoyed about Anne Youngson’s epistolary novel, Meet Me at the Museum.  First, I thought Anne’s writing was thought-provoking, reflective and authentic. I love her analogy of raspberry picking. She writes, “Whenever I pick raspberries, I go as carefully as possible down the row, looking for every ripe fruit. But however careful I am, when I turn round to go back the other way, I find fruit I had not seen approaching the plants from the opposite direction. Another life, I thought, might be like a second pass down the row of raspberry canes; there would be good things I had not come across in my first life, but I suspect I would find much of the fruit was already in my basket.” Our path in life is the result of the choices we have made. By choosing one direction we are in essence not selecting another. Our reflection (and that handy post- 20/20 vision), can be both celebratory and somber. This little book makes a big statement to live life with no regrets. The author also  includes themes of self-reflection, loss, grief, second chances, remembrance, role fulfillment, self-discovery, friendship, being present in the moment and finding joy in the small things.

So what is there not to love? The premise could be charming from a simplified description… Two strangers meet via letter writing and form a bond of friendship (which ultimately could lead to love)… however, the subject that brings them together is a dead, preserved ancient criminal with a noose around his neck? Every time the Tollund Man was mentioned (and physically described) I kept thinking that it felt like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom meets Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail? It just didn’t work for me.

All-in-all, I will read Anne Youngson’s next novel. Her writing is lovely and her themes are heart-felt.

How about you? Have you read Meet Me at the Museum? What are your thoughts on this book?

Trigger Warning:

If you are uncomfortable reading books that contain adultery, you may want to avoid reading this book.

Favorite Quotes:

“Whenever I pick raspberries, I go as carefully as possible down the row, looking for every ripe fruit. But however careful I am, when I turn round to go back the other way, I find fruit I had not seen approaching the plants from the opposite direction. Another life, I thought, might be like a second pass down the row of raspberry canes; there would be good things I had not come across in my first life, but I suspect I would find much of the fruit was already in my basket.” 

 “Our letters have meant so much to us because we have both arrived at the same point in our lives. More behind us than ahead of us. Paths chosen that define us. Enough time left to change.”

“I am writing to you to see if you can help me make sense of some of the thoughts that occur to me. Or maybe I am hoping that just writing will make sense of them.” 

“You have a gift for finding joy in small moments, which is a thing I used to have, but have lost…” 

Book Details:

Title: Meet Me at the Museum

Author: Anne Youngson

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781250295163

 

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A Cool Mystery

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The Greenglass House by Kate Milford

// Book Review //

A wonderfully charming, rambling old inn adorned with unusual green stained glass windows, an unexplored attic filled with undiscovered treasures and a host of suspicious guests sets the stage for this cozy, middle grade mystery. If you enjoy atmospheric settings that correlate with your current season, this book would be a perfect match to read on a cold, wintery day.

I do not want to spoil the story for you, so I will limit this review to the themes of the book. Kate Milford expertly incorporates themes of truth, lies, loyalty, mystery, thievery, vendettas, friendship, camaraderie, self-identification, the need to belong, anxiety, trust, competition, role playing and problem solving. One aspect of Greenglass House that I absolutely enjoyed was the relationship between Milo and his parents. Mr. and Mrs. Pine were always attentive, loving and encouraging to Milo while still providing the necessary space he needed to explore, uncover and investigate his feelings. I also appreciate the authenticity and honesty that Kate Milford brings to the subject of adoption as we, the reader, experience Milo’s apprehension combined with his need for discovery as he searches for an understanding of his place in both his family and the world. Don’t miss the author’s note at the end of the book which provides background information regarding Kate Milford’s personal connection to international adoption. Her thoughts and perspective are amazing!

I am still processing the ending of this story which completely surprised me and caught me off-guard. In all honesty, I enjoyed the majority of this book, however, I have a few issues with elements in the ending. I do often find that my analysis of a book will change as I spend some time reflecting on it so I am curious where I will ultimately land on this one. How about you? Have you read Greenglass House? If so, what are your thoughts?

Favorite Quotes from Greenglass House:

“Nobody said it had to be a story with an ending all neatly tied up like some ridiculous fairy tale. This story's true, and true stories don't have endings, because things just keep going.”

“It is not merely our adversaries we must investigate...We must always work to know ourselves better, too.” 

“... The thing about attics and basements was, everything in there had once been a treasure to someone.” 

Book Details:

Title: The Greenglass House

Author: Kate Milford

Publisher: HMH Books

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 978-0544540286

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The Beauty of Friendship

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84, CHARING CROSS ROAD BY HELENE HANFF

// BOOK REVIEW //


In simple terms, I thought this book was very good but not outstanding and I’ll do my best to explain why.

First, I absolutely love the premise... two unrelated people on opposite sides of the Atlantic form a lasting friendship for 20+ years over their mutual love of books. How could I not be completely enamored by this premise! I was initially apprehensive that Helene’s brash, New York-style humor would be positively received by a formal, professional London bookseller and then so relieved when Frank responded to Helene’s letters with his kind, endearing, accommodating nature.

Second, I love that kindness is a key theme that runs through Helene and Frank’s friendship and even extends to other family members, friends and co-workers. Kindness can never be undervalued or unappreciated!

Third, although letter writing is sadly a lost art, the opportunity to create long-distance friendships is not! The spirit of Helene and Frank’s relationship is alive and well through the medium of Bookstagram!

Finally, you may be wondering what element I think is missing in order to elevate this book from good to outstanding? My answer is that I want more! The amazing reviews and high accolades for this book set my expectations at the level of an 8-course gourmet meal and, in my humble opinion, the book ended after the appetizer was served. I simply wanted more!

If you enjoy books about books and book lovers, don’t miss this gem!

❤️

Book Details:

Title: 84, Charing Cross Road

Author: Helene Hanff

Publisher: Penguin Books

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 978-0140143508

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A Writer's Dream

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The Emily of New Moon trilogy by L.M. Montgomery

// Book Review //

L.M. Montgomery has been a favorite author of mine since I was a young girl primarily because I adored Anne Shirley and watched the Megan Follows movies over and over. My love and devotion to Anne kept Emily on my unread shelf until recently. I am so happy that I now know and love Emily too! Emily and Anne share similarities - they are both orphans with bright imaginations - yet they are distinctly different characters. It is understood that Montgomery closely identified with Emily which is an analysis worthy of its own separate post. My wish is that Montgomery would have written more of Emily so we, the reader, could know her to the depth we have known Anne. I know you will ask which of the two series - Anne or Emily - are my favorite and my honest answer is they are both my favorite. Anne and Emily are like two sisters with different strengths and weaknesses that are love equally.

💗

In the first book, we meet Emily as a young girl and follow her heartaches and triumphs as she moves to New Moon. Her story continues through book two and three as she forms new family bonds, develops her love of writing and grows into a young woman. Montgomery weaves themes of isolation, loss, grief, individualism, the necessity of imagination, writing for therapy and exploration, the bond of friendship, familial expectation, love, acceptance, ridicule, loyalty and the benefit of following one’s heart. Of the three books, ‘Emily’s Quest’, the third book, was my favorite as I didn’t want the series to end!

Trigger Warning:

I do think it’s important to mention that there is an uncomfortable relationship that could be a trigger for some as it pertains to childhood grooming. I don’t want to give spoilers but I will say that the situation is positively resolved.

Favorite Quotes:

From Emily of New Moon (Book One) by L.M. Montgomery:

“Tell me this--if you knew you would be poor as a church mouse all your life--if you knew you'd never have a line published--would you still go on writing--would you?'

'Of course I would,' said Emily disdainfully. 'Why, I have to write--I can't help it at times--I've just got to.” 

“To love is easy and therefore common - but to understand - how rare it is!” 

“She will love deeply, she will suffer terribly, she will have glorious moments to compensate.” 

“But I don't want to be a different girl," said Emily decidedly. She had no intention of lowering the Starr flag to Aunt Ruth. "I wouldn't want to be anybody but myself even if I am plain. Besides," she added impressively as she turned to go out of the room, "though I may not be very good-looking now, when I go to heaven I believe I'll be very beautiful.” 

“But I don't want to be a different girl," said Emily decidedly. She had no intention of lowering the Starr flag to Aunt Ruth. "I wouldn't want to be anybody but myself even if I am plain. Besides," she added impressively as she turned to go out of the room, "though I may not be very good-looking now, when I go to heaven I believe I'll be very beautiful.” 

From Emily Climbs (Book Two) by L.M. Montgomery:

“My pen shall heal, not hurt.” 

“As she walked along she dramatized the night. There was about it a wild, lawless charm that appealed to a certain wild, lawless strain hidden deep in Emily’s nature—the strain of the gypsy and the poet, the genius and the fool.” 

“Well, it all comes to this; there's no use trying to live in other people's opinions. The only thing to do is to live in your own. After all, I believe in myself. I'm not so bad and silly as they think me, and I'm not consumptive, and I can write. Now that I've written it all out I feel differently about it. The only thing that still aggravates me is that Miss Potter pitied me -- pitied by a Potter!” 

“I've a pocket full of dreams to sell," said Teddy, whimsically,... "What d'ye lack? What d'ye lack? A dream of success--a dream of adventure--a dream of the sea--a dream of the woodland--any kind of a dream you want at reasonable prices, including one or two unique little nightmares. What will you give me for a dream?” 

“It was a lovely afternoon - such an afternoon as only September can produce when summer has stolen back for one more day of dream and glamour.” 

“Fear is a vile thing, and is at the bottom of almost every wrong and hatred of the world.” 

From Emily’s Quest (Book Three) by L.M. Montgomery:

“Never be silent with persons you love and distrust," Mr. Carpenter had said once. "Silence betrays.” 

“Night is beautiful when you are happy--comforting when you are in grief--terrible when you are lonely and unhappy.” 

“Don't let a three-o'clock-at-night feeling fog your soul.” 

“This afternoon I sat at my window and alternately wrote at my new serial and watched a couple of dear, amusing, youngish maple-trees at the foot of the garden. They whispered secrets to each other all the afternoon. They would bend together and talk earnestly for a few moments, then spring back and look at each other, throwing up their hands comically in horror and amazement over their mutual revelations. I wonder what new scandal is afoot in Treeland.” 

“It is hard to understand why work should be called a curse—until one remembers what bitterness forced or uncongenial labour is. But the work for which we are fitted—which we feel we are sent into the world to do—what a blessing it is and what fullness of joy it holds.” 


Book Details:

Titles: Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, Emily’s Quest

Author: L.M. Montgomery

Publisher: Tundra Books

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: Emily of New Moon 978-1770497467; Emily Climbs 978-1770497481; Emily’s Quest  978-1770497504

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