Thursday, May 25, 2017

Author Interview : Connie Ann Michael


A new resident of Montana, Connie Ann Michael grew up in a close family on the outskirts of Seattle. 

Drawn to the Lord she's followed her calling of service and has taught for twenty-six years, currently the fifth grade teacher at Crow Agency Public School, on the Crow Reservation.

 Connie loves her family and is lucky enough to have two grown boys

. Living with her husband and two dogs in Big Sky country, Connie enjoys any activity that takes her outside and is working hard to overcome her fear of being eaten by a bear to enjoy more hiking trips in the mountains.



Connect with Connie Ann at the links below:

Blurb:

Eighteen-year-old Oli cannot remember life outside the barrier, a life before the oil spill that poisoned human kind, killing half the population and infecting the other half until they deteriorated from the inside out, forced to walk the earth as Screamers. It’s a dangerous new world in which barely anyone makes it past the age of twenty, and Oli’s time is running out.

Studying the Bible, Oli searches for words to help restore faith in a lost world, and when she receives a message from God telling her to leave the barrier, she knows what she must do. There’s only one problem: Her best friend, Coi, doesn’t believe her, and he’s showing the first signs of infection. But before she can convince him to leave with her, the Governor quarantines Coi and orders his execution.

Oli risks it all to rescue Coi, and they set out to find sanctuary away from the safety of the compound, not knowing who or what will get to them first: the Governor, the illness, or the Screamers. When they stumble upon a group of uninfected humans hidden among the rubble of an apartment building, they think they’ve found their salvation. But not everything is as it seems, and their enemies are closer than they thought.  

Synopsis:
FORSAKEN SYNOPSIS

In the after math of a toxic spill the oceans have died and
civilization begins to falter.  It then spreads through air, soaking
into the skin and mutating the infected into “The Screamers”.

Generations pass and OLI, an eighteen-year-old survivor, cannot
remember life before the barriers.  Venturing out only in the safety
of the sunlight, Oli craves knowledge from the past. She searches
for answers to the illness in old books because she’s not willing
to give up on a society who has turned their backs on their faith.

The Governor of the Barrier sets his eyes on Oli, and her best
friend, showing the first signs of infection. They escape the
barrier in the middle of the night, leaving behind the only home
they’ve ever known. Oli hopes they will find a safe haven before
The Governor or the illness takes her best friend from her.

In the desolate landscape, they find refuge in a small settlement
where they take shelter, but not without catching the attention of
the Guard. Oli stumbles upon a hidden group among the rubble of an
apartment building, where she meets MATTY, a boy whose body is
mutilated and disfigured. But he’s gentle and carries a faith that
shows it’s never too late to believe in hope.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Review: Murphy Boys


Today I am going to be starting a series about a topic that is very important and interesting to me. I love learning about mental health and helping to education and create change in the world. This year every few months I will be reviewing books that fall into this category. You can check out this series here. You can check out all my series here. 


I have mixed feelings about this book but will take it at its merit. This is a "supposed" personal true story told by a therapist. Does anyone but me think that it is unethical that this story was told? or published. Maybe I am silly 

I disliked the way the author expressed her view in this book. She was judgemental and at times rude in her talking about Kevin. She says shes helping him, but then talks about him the next moment. I felt she lacked compassion, which she was supposed to provide these children, and she gets paid to be compassionate. 

I disliked her writing style. While some of it is heartfelt, her repetitive inner monologs are entirely annoying and unnecessary. I also feel like this is when she is the rudest. I wanted to skim the chapters and completely ignore her thoughts. The best writing was when Keven was involved it made them interesting and heartfelt. I disliked her second side story also. 

I thought Kevin's story was so heartbreaking. It was really crazy to see how much someone can fall between the cracks of the system. He was transferred from care facility to care facility. It was so powerful and crazy. I would hope that his life gets much easier from here on out.

Links for purchase: Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Abe Books // Book Depository 


Goodreads Description: 


His name was Kevin but his keepers called him Zoo Boy. He didn't talk. He hid under tables and surrounded himself with a cage of chairs.

 He hadn't been out of the building in the four years since he'd come in. He was afraid of water and wouldn't take a shower. He was afraid to be naked, to change his clothes. He was nearly 16.

Desperate to see change in the boy, the staff of Kevin's adolescent treatment center hired Hayden. 


As Hayden read to him and encouraged him to read, crawling down into his cage of chairs with him, Kevin talked. Then he started to draw and paint and showed himself to have a quick wit and a rolling, seething, murderous hatred for his stepfather








A Little Bout the Author: 

Victoria Lynn Hayden, known as Torey L. Hayden (born May 21, 1951 in Livingston, Montana) is a child psychologist, special education teacher, university lecturer and writer of non-fiction books based on her real-life experiences with teaching and counselling children with special needs.
Subjects covered in her books include autism, Tourette syndrome, sexual abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome, and elective mutism (now called selective mutism), her specialty.


Hayden attended high school in Billings, Montana and graduated in 1969. She then attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

A little time after having written her most famous book One Child, Hayden moved to Wales in 1980 and got married to a Scot called Ken two years later. In 1985, she gave birth to her daughter Sheena. Hayden is now divorced.


She has also written three books of fiction in addition to her non-fiction books.

Author Links: Website // Goodreads 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Book Review: Maus I- A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History




As someone who loved comics, my favorite Sunday memory outside of going to church, is reading the paper with my grandfather, although I would just read the comics. Denis the Menace, Donald Duck, Family Ties, and a bunch of adult ones that I didn't understand but loved the look of them. These were what I like to call easy safe for children comics. It's the happy stuff, no one really likes to talk about the bad stuff. Heck, I don't like talking about the bad stuff. This is a dangerous mindset when it comes to history though. We are bound to repeat what we don't learn from. That's where this painfully beautiful graphic novel or comic comes in.

I have read this novel once a month since January because it really is a painful comic. I believe you need to enjoy it in chunks.

The issue with comics that are safe for children is that they are stripped of any pain, they make us believe that life is always going to be a grand adventure, or that bad stuff never happens. Which is so far from the truth. I don't believe that children should necessarily be exposed to gruesome elements of life every day, but I don't believe she should completely shelter them either. Of course, parents can use their best judgment. This book or comic books, in general, will give us the ability to do that without forcing children to sit in the corner, or entirely saturate them in the pain.

Actually, in the past comic books have been used to do just that. Think about DC comics and you will see their point, to explain a little about what war is in a child-like way. I don't wish to state anything about whether this is right or wrong, just pointing out an interesting piece of American literature.

On of the biggest reason why men like Hitler or groups like the Nazi's tend to take hold is because they try and occasionally succeeded at dehumanizing their perceived enemy, in this case, it was the jews. The famous quote of Adolf Hitler is, " The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but not human." They nearly succeeded at this. This comic book tells us the human story of a dark era, thus breaking the mindset and breaking light to the subject. The book is to from a very personal side, that of his father, yet it is distant and factual. It is extremely emotionally gripping.

This is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, who is a Jewish survivor of the horrible holocaust. He survived Auschwitz and has also had an extremely troubled and possibly at times complicated relationship with his son, Art Spiegelman. He is a man who is so detailed, and almost obsessive about things, which seems to create quite a rift. They tend to have such a love- almost hate relationship. On thing I loved about this book is it wasn't just the holocaust, it was also a story about how much pain and abuse can affect you and those that you love. He saw unimaginable suffering and struggled with coping with his son how was born after the holocaust had occurred. I believe this is also the tale of exactly how survivors guilt can take on the human soul.

This story is painted about Art's parents, up until their incarceration, if you want to call it that in Auschwitz. It is interestingly narrated by a handsome man, an entrepreneur of sorts, living in Poland. The story also talks about his blissful, and enjoyable life with his wife Anja. This is until the war, and holocaust turn their life upside down. The story is mainly about how Nazism really gained a strong hold in German and then moved through most of Europe. The story about how life for the jews, became very unsafe. You can feel the fear, and stress as you turn the pages.

Ultimately we see that Vladek is captured as a prisoner of war. He observes the way that they are treated. They way that it is so different from that of other prisoners of war. That ultimately the Nazis just want to see them in the ground. As you flip through the pages you see how Poland is changed,  how this hate spreads across their homeland like wildfire.

This book will break your heart in unimaginative ways. Prepare to experience a variety of mixed emotions as you read through this important illustrated narrative of unimaginative human strength and overcoming unbearable pain. I can not recommend this comic enough. Even if you never read another comic this is one you just cannot afford to miss.

Book Links: Amazon and Goodreads 

Goodreads Description: 

This is a 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrated narrative of Holocaust survival.

Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in “drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust” (The New York Times).

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Author Interview: Preeti G


A little bit about the author: 

Preeti G is a freelance Content Writer, ebook author and poet. Her writings have appeared in
several journals. She’s a member of the writer’s group CRWROPP-B. Born and brought up in
Hyderabad, she's done her MBA in Human relations and currently resides at Pune with her family. Her ebook on poetry ’22 poems On love and Life!’ published on Amazon can be found Here. Her upcoming ebook ‘The little girl and the river; Other poems’ is a beautiful collection of poems that is soon to be published on Amazon.

Her hobbies include reading and writing short stories, traveling and cooking.

So let's get to know Pretti G a little more: 

 Where do you get your ideas? 

My inspiration comes from my surroundings – people, incidents, memories, current events in the world – something that connects to my inner self, which prods me to bring out my thoughts through my writing.


What is your writing process like?

There’s no specific process as such – but, once I sit down to write, I do so, irrespective of the din around. I prepare a draft of my thoughts, and then revise it, re-revise it until I am sure this is what I want to say and write!


What are the upsides and downsides to being an author/poet?

Being an artist, for that matter and not just a poet or writer, is a liberating experience – a natural channel to vent out your emotions productively. At the end of creating your ‘masterpiece’, you take a step back to admire your work, and feel content that you’re blessed with something many people can only aspire of. On the other hand, personally when I’m stuck with a writer’s block, I find it tough to be normal otherwise – whenever the thought of that unfinished work comes to my mind.


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer/poet? 
I’d never planned to become one! It was a natural extension of myself as a person. One of the earliest memories I have about writing is those long summer vacations I spent doing what I loved doing most – reading comics and other literature and writing poetry. I feel it’s in my blood!


Tell me about your new book of poetry 
‘The Little Girl and the River & Other Poems’ is a passionate portrayal of human emotions – love, joy, sorrow, and hope. The poems talk of the power of love over loneliness, hope and optimism during tough times, the strength of a dream and how the grit of the human spirit ultimately triumphs over the pervasive malice around. Also included are poems on women power, fighting adversities with courage – an ode to their remarkable endurance and spirit.
How did you come up with the title of your book?

One of the poems in the book ‘The Little Girl and the River” is about a girl carrying a heavy heart finding comfort and hope as she watches the river flowing by. How the modest river fills the girl with courage in its own simple way is the gist of the poem. I felt this poem to exactly bear what I wanted all my poems to convey – hope and optimism. Hence, I based the title of this book based on this particular poem.

  What does “being creative” mean to you?
       When I can breathe life into the most mundane things, add to its beauty and charm and    
       give it an altogether different life, that’s what is being creative to me.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

If reading my poems could make someone feel better and more optimistic, I would consider it a privilege. Spreading happiness and hope through my work is my sole aim.

What would you say your mission is as a writer?

I want to grow better as a person through my writing and to convey to more and more people the message of love and hope.

Thank you so much for agreeing to interview with me, We loved getting to know more about you. 

Connect with her at:

FB: preetivandana

Twitter https://twitter.com/PreetiGauthor

Email:preetivandanamba@gmail.com


Book Blurb: The little girl and the river; Other poems


The little girl and the river & other poems is a refreshing take on human emotions – love, sorrow, happiness and much more. The collection of poems is a passionate portrayal of the vitality of love that supersedes loneliness, of hope and optimism in difficult times, of the power of dreams, and of how courage and the determined human spirit ultimately triumphs over the pervasive malice around. 


It is also a beautiful ode to women power, fighting adversities with hope and courage, of their remarkable endurance and selfless devotion. 

The poetry is inspiring and uplifting, in that it celebrates the power of the human spirit - of dreams and optimism and the ultimate victory of the resolute human soul over the vagaries of life.


Find the book on Amazon and Goodreads. 






Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: GRIT



This is such a fascinating concept. One that was introduced to me in my developmental psychology class at University. It really was a fascinating book that intrigued me and surprised me. I really was sort of skeptical of how all this worked at first, and really thought that everything in this book would be relatively common knowledge. What surprised the most was how much I genuinely enjoyed reading about the research conducted on how important effort and perseverance is to being successful. Sure, at the surface this is such a basic concept, but the book and study really dives to the nitty-gritty scientifically on how we become successful and maintain it. 

I really believe the point of this research at first was to figure out how people become successful. Is it a deck of cards, a mix of our upbringing and resources given to us. Or by chance to we actually, make our own success? What role does luck play into all this?

"You can grow your grit 'from the inside out': You can cultivate your interests. You can develop a habit of daily challenge-exceeding-skill practice. You can connect your work to a purpose beyond yourself. And you can learn to hope when all seems lost. You can also grow your grit 'from the outside in.' Parents, coaches, teachers, bosses, mentors, friends -- developing your personal grit depends critically on other people."

That's where the book grit comes in. Duckworth calls perseverance and effort, grit. A gritty person is just simply someone that puts in a ton of effort, never gives up, and tries their best. In the end, her findings are that so-called natural talent can be helpful, but ultimately, of course, effort matters more. 

When you learn about developmental psychology, the topic of education often plays a prominent role. The current education research is almost solely based on grit. An example would be how grittier students do better, how effort matters, how teachers can cultivate grit and develop a better learning approach. Duckworth also stresses that it really isn't about those pieces of paper or grades, it's about what you really enjoy. 

I really enjoyed how this book explores the way so-called "gritty" people feel on some topics. Such as missions, or purposes in life. About how your mission outlook will directly affect your work. As a person hopefully going into the field of psychology, this was truly a fascinating topic. 

Also. One of my favorite parts of this book is when the author uses a humblebrag as a rhetorical device, '"My dad always told me I was no genius. Then I won a MacArthur Fellowship 'Genius Grant' on my research showing that hard work is more crucial to success than genius." This made me laugh a lot. The author is a little quick to pat herself on the back, it is amazing that she got an Ivy League education, but maybe she doesn't need to reference it so often in her book. There is a little name-dropping in this book, but it doesn't take away from the research and point in my opinion. 

Also, I can't finish this review without mentioning that she didn't thank her collaborators until the very end of the acknowledgments. This may be a super petty thing for me to be pointing out. It just doesn't feel very authentic and almost seems thrown in to avoid backlash. Below is what I am speaking about. 

"First and foremost, I want to thank my collaborators. I wrote this book in the first-person singular, using "I" when, in fact, pretty much everything I've done as a researcher or writer was accomplished by a plurality. The "we" who deserve credit -- in particular coauthors on published research -- are named individually in Notes. On their behalf, I extend a heartfelt thanks to our research teams who, collectively, made this research possible."

With all these useful features it is important to point out areas I feel this book could have improved on. So one of the biggest problems this book has, and a lot of psychology, self-help, productivity based books have is that they are repetitive. It is sort of a trap they fall into. They are really trying to prove their point, so they just say the same thing, over and over, again. Along the same line, this book gets a little "coach-y" it becomes a little fake and sugary at times. It isn't something that made me stop reading, but you do need to read it with the use of critical thinking. I recommend this to parents, teachers, college students. Anyone who is interested in education, psychology, theory, or research. 



Goodreads Description: 


In this must-read book for anyone striving to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, educators, athletes, students, and business people-both seasoned and new-that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called “grit.” Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur “genius” Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments.

Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently bemoaned her lack of smarts, Duckworth describes her winding path through teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a special blend of passion and long-term perseverance. As a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth created her own “character lab” and set out to test her theory.

Here, she takes readers into the field to visit teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers-from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to the cartoon editor of The New Yorker to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that-not talent or luck-makes all the difference


A Little Bout the Author: 



Angela Duckworth, PhD, is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. An expert in non-I.Q. competencies, she has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Prior to her career in research, she taught children math and science and was the founder of a summer school for low-income children that won the Better Government Award from the state of Massachusetts. 

She completed her BA in neurobiology at Harvard, her MSc in neuroscience at Oxford, and her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. More recently, she founded the Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development in children. 

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is her first book.




Author Links: 

Goodreads // Amazon // Twitter // Website // Ted Talks 




Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review: Max at Night



This is a series I will be running for a little while, highlighting some excellent children's literature. During the coming months, there will be many children's books. Stay tuned to learn more about it. Read previous posts in this series here. 



Honestly, I should not be this excited for a children's book. I love the max series, so when I saw Max at Night I knew the children's self needed it. I can't express how cute and adorable this book is. Seriously, if you don't check out any children's literature, you need to pick up this one. 

Max is such a cute, and sweet little cat. All he wants to do is to say good night before going to bed, he wants to do this to the Moon. Unfortunately, when max goes to do it he can't find the Moon anywhere. He goes to check out where the moon went to. He climbs trees, on top of some buildings, and so much more. He asks questions of the night, the rooftop, the hill, anywhere and anything he comes in contact. Do you know where the moon is? Finally, the wind knows where the Moon his and decides to blow the cloud cover. And then bam out comes the moon. So Max can go to sleep. 

This is a quite little book, with very little story to it. So it is better for younger little ones. Surprisingly,  it is very slow paced and quite repetitive so this is perfect when tucking those little ones in. 

While the illustration are very simple and minimalistic. These lovely images are perfect for bedtime because they are not bright or shiny. Recommend this to all. 


Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest and completely unbiased review. All thoughts are my own.




Meet Max - the mighty kitten and New York Times bestseller.

This is Max. Max is very sleepy. It's way past Max's bedtime. Max has drunk his milk. 

Max has brushed his teeth. Max has cleaned behind his ears. Now Max just needs to say goodnight...

Max is tired and all ready for bed, but when he can't find the moon to say goodnight to, he sets out to find it. But that's not as easy as Max had hoped...

 Witty and heart-warming, this stylish and beautifully illustrated book is the perfect bedtime read.





A Little Bout the Author: 

Ed Vere has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 1999. He is also a fine art painter and is represented by galleries in London and Los Angeles. He lives in London.




Book Review: 'The Little Girl and the River & Other Poems'



Recently I have been trying to get into reading more poetry when I got the opportunity to read such an excellent collection of poems I jumped at the chance. Poetry is such a personal thing and can be interpreted in many interesting and different ways. So this is my take on this collection, I hope you will check it out for yourself. 

Love is the first topic explored in this collection. The first poem is rather beautiful and is titled Nothing but love. When I read this, I instantly knew I was going to enjoy this collection of poems. I love the imagery used and symbolism of the words. The whole theme of love is echoed throughout the book. 

I also really enjoyed the poem titled When Love Became Saviour, this one really spoke to me. As a foster child, this one had a message that hit really close to home. The way the author write is so inspiring, captivating, and honest. Some of the words of this poem were beautifully chilling. 

This collection is a mix of emotions, they range from love all the way to sorrow. It is a beautiful expression of the mix we have in life. There is so much passion written into this collection. The author has such a love for poetry, her craft is very well written. I enjoyed this more than I can express. I will be picking up any other works completed by this author. I recommend this book to those that love poetry, and those just exploring the genre. 



Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest and completely unbiased review. All thoughts are my own.

Links for purchase: Find the book on Amazon and Goodreads. 

Goodreads Description: 

The little girl and the river & other poems is a refreshing take on human emotions – love, sorrow, happiness and much more.

 The collection of poems is a passionate portrayal of the vitality of love that supersedes loneliness, of hope and optimism in difficult times, of the power of dreams, and of how courage and the determined human spirit ultimately triumphs over the pervasive malice around. 
It is also a beautiful ode to women power, fighting adversities with hope and courage, of their remarkable endurance and selfless devotion. 

The poetry is inspiring and uplifting, in that it celebrates the power of the human spirit - of dreams and optimism and the ultimate victory of the resolute human soul over the vagaries of life.

A little bit about the author: 

Preeti G is a freelance Content Writer, ebook author and poet. Her writings have appeared in
several journals. She’s a member of the writer’s group CRWROPP-B. Born and brought up in
Hyderabad, she's done her MBA in Human relations and currently resides at Pune with her family. Her ebook on poetry ’22 poems On love and Life!’ published on Amazon can be found Here. Her upcoming ebook ‘The little girl and the river; Other poems’ is a beautiful collection of poems that is soon to be published on Amazon.

Her hobbies include reading and writing short stories, traveling and cooking.

Connect with her at:

FB: preetivandana

Twitter https://twitter.com/PreetiGauthor

Email:preetivandanamba@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book Review: Smell My Elephant (Children's Series)



This is a series I will be running for a little while, highlighting some excellent children's literature. During the coming months, there will be many children's books. Stay tuned to learn more about it. Read previous posts in this series here. 

This book is seriously my jam. For real, this book is perfect for any child that has any sort of special attachment to sentimental items. I was that little girl, that always carried around a doll. A very special doll that my birth parents gave me. It meant the world to me and I can't say I ever left home without it. I even have a school picture holding the doll.


So when I heard about a kids picture book about a special elephant I knew it would be one of my favorites. This is a fun, and somewhat silly little book. Fletcher is a special little boy with a very important and cute elephant. It is stuffed but that's okay. Everyone knows that elephants are supposed to smell like the places they have been,  such as a laundry basket, under the bed, the hamper, the sandbox.

So it was pretty alarming for little Fletcher when he couldn't place his favorite animals scent. So he sets out to ask everyone in his family about what they think the elephant smells like, and thus smell my elephant was born.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Sleeping Bear Press in exchange for my honest and completely unbiased review. All thoughts are my own.



Goodreads Description: 




Everyone knows that stuffed elephants always smell like all places they've been, the laundry hamper, the sandbox, the foot of the bed.

 But when Fletcher smells his elephant this morning, he just can't place its scent, so he heads off to ask his family if they might know what Elephant smells like.











Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Book Review: Dessert First




Ouch, this book really hurt. This book is so emotional raw I am struggling to explain the way this book made me feel. This book looks like your average sweet YA novel but it is not. It is a powerfully moving book about some of lifes hardest challeges.

With that said it wasn't my favorite book. 

Desserts First caught my attention because of the title. I mean of course I want dessert first!! I am sure at some point I read the blurb when I requested it but I don't look at it again before I read it. Well, I was surely surprised when this book was not really about food but about cancer and how our MC (and her family) deals with her brother having it.

This book had way too much going on. There was so much more than just her brother having cancer. There were other people with cancer, her crush on a friend, catfishing of a friend, an online friend who she was scared would kill herself, lots of bullying at school and dealing with school in general with all the other stuff going on. While I appreciated these tough subjects being tackled, I think it was one (maybe three) too many to properly address them.

Then our MC Kat is a wee bit abrasive. Totally get she has a really hard situation but it was almost hard to like her at times. She did start to recognize this and grow during the book which was something I loved to see. There were other characters that I did enjoy quite a bit including her  brother and her crush. Then there were characters who were awful including the mean girl bullies. Man they were rough and the bullying seemed so over the top.

This mostly sounds negative I know but honestly, I found it got better as it went on and I was pretty invested in the story. While a bit predictable I still wanted to see how it played out. And it played out with me sobbing more than once. This was a debut so while I had my issues with this I am definitely looking forward to more from this author.

This was a great story, it was much better as I got further and further invested in it. 


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Merit Press in exchange for my honest but completely unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Links to purchase: Amazon // Barnes&Noble 


Goodreads Description: 

Upbeat--that's Kat, the girl in the family who everyone turns to when things get difficult. Especially now, when her beloved younger brother Beep is in his second leukemia relapse, and a bone marrow transplant from Kat may be his only chance.

But Kat's worried that she and her bone marrow may not be up to the task: She can't even complete homework, and she's facing other rejection--lost friendships, a lost spot on the soccer team, and lots of heartache from her crush on her former best friend, Evan.

 Kat doesn't know if her bone marrow will save Beep, or whether she can save herself, let alone keep her promise to Beep that she'll enjoy life and always eat dessert first.

Dessert First is a funny, moving story about coping, appreciating sweetness, and learning to forgive





Author Information: 

Dean Gloster is a former law clerk to two U.S. Supreme Court Justices and a former stand-up comedian. When not writing YA novels, he ski races during the winter (Super-G is his best event) and is enrolled in the low-residency MFA program in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he has the most amazingly wonderful classmates in the world. 

His wife Nancy Ricci works at the children’s hospice and respite care facility, The George Mark House in San Leandro, California, which inspired Dean in part to write his first novel. When Dean is not at home in Berkeley, California, Saucy the dog guards the commas in his manuscripts. 

Writing, flying, and ski racing have lots in common: According to Douglas Adams, all you have to do is throw yourself at the ground and miss.