up at butternut lake.

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It’s summer, and after ten years away, Allie Beckett has returned to her family’s cabin beside tranquil Butternut Lake, where as a teenager she spent so many carefree days. She’s promised her five-year-old son, Wyatt, they will be happy there. She’s promised herself this is the place to begin again after her husband’s death in Afghanistan. The cabin holds so many wonderful memories, but from the moment she crocuses its threshold Allie is seized with doubts. Has she done the right thing uprooting her little boy from the only home he’s ever known?

Allie and her son are embraced by the townsfolk, and her reunions with old acquaintances – her friend Jax, now a young mother of three with one more on the way, and Caroline, the owner of the local coffee shop – are joyous ones. And then there are newcomers like Walker Ford, who mostly keeps to himself – until he takes a shine to Wyatt…and to Allie.

Everyone knows that moving forward is never easy, and as the long, lazy days of summer take hold, Allie must learn to unlock the hidden longings of her heart, and to accept that in order to face the future she must also confront – and understand – what has come before.


I decided to take a little break from all the Kristin Hannah books and try a new author. I found her on goodreads because she writes LIKE Kristin Hannah. 😛 I was super impressed with this book! It’s set in a little town in northern Minnesota (Yay Minnesota!!), so that’s what really drew me into it. It’s a perfect book to take outside and read in the sunshine! This book really makes you feel like you could be at the lake, so that was a pretty awesome perk to it too! This is the first book of the series, so I’m excited to read the rest.

This book has quite a few characters! The nice thing about it was that even though it’s told in four points of view.
Allie: A widow of a soldier who died in Afghanistan and mother to Wyatt. She moves from Eden Prairie to her family cabin on Butternut Lake.
Walker: A well reserved man who likes to be alone. He is neighbors with Allie and Wyatt on the lake.
Jax: Allie’s childhood friend. Jax is also the mother of 3 girls and another on the way. Stuff goes down with this lady! (Can’t and won’t give anything away though!!!)
Caroline: The owner of Pearl’s diner! She is also friends with Jax and Allie.

I was able to finish this book in under a day. That’s how much of an easy read this is! It’s another one of those page turners that hooks you from early on, and makes it so incredibly hard to put down. There were some parts in the book, mainly towards the end, where it gave me the “really? this is getting to be a little much…” but over all, it was very good!

(I’m trying something new… I’ve made my own little “rating system”)

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4/5 Stars for this book. Like I said, there was a couple parts where I thought it was getting a little cheesy, so that’s why I docked it one star. Otherwise, I definitely recommend reading this book!

angel falls.

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When Mikaela Campbell, beloved wife and mother, falls into a coma, it is up to her husband, Liam, to hold the family together and care for their grieving, frighted children. Doctors tell Liam not to expect a recovery, but he believes that love can accomplish what medical science cannot. Daily he sit at Mikaela’s bedside, telling her stories of the precious life they have built together, hoping against hope that she will wake up. But then he discovers evidence of his wife’s secret past: a hidden first marriage to movie star Julian True.

Desperate to bring Mikaela back at any cost. Liam knows that he must turn to Julian for help. But will that choice cost Liam his wife, his family, and everything he holds dear? One of Kristin Hannah’s most moving novels, Angel Falls is a poignant and unforgettable portrait of marriage and commitment, of an ordinary man who dares to risk everything in the name of love.


It’s official. Kristin Hannah is by far my most favorite author. I just can’t stop reading her books! I tried, and I just can’t stop! I finished this book in a day.  This story is told in five point of views and has four parts.

Mikaela: A woman who is dealing constantly with the heartbreak of her first love; Julian True. She has an accident and falls into a coma.
Liam: Mikaela’s husband. He is a doctor and is relatives to the towns forefathers.
Bret: Liam and Mikaela’s nine year old son.
Rosa: Mikaela’s mother.
Julian True: A celebrity movie star who was once married to Mikaela, and broke her heart.

This book was fantastic! It’s definitely one of those books where it hooks you in the first chapter and leaves you wanting more page after page. It’s filled with laughter and funny parts, but also has moments of tears and heartbreak. It’s one of those books where you say “NO WAY!” and find yourself yelling at the book. I know I found my self randomly laughing in that sense where all you can think of is “Oh my gosh…”. It’s again, one of those books that makes you think. Thoughts of “How would I deal with something like this?” or “If this happened would I do things differently?”.

There was a part in the book that I ended up having to read it over and over again. It struck a nerve in me, and the more I read it, the more it seemed to “click”.

“The measure of a man comes down to moments, spread out like dots of paint on the canvas of life. Everything you were, everything you’ll someday be, resides in the small, seemingly ordinary choices of every day life. It starts early, this random procession of decisions.Should I try out for Little League, should I study for this test, should I wear this seat belt, should I take this drink?

Each decision seems as insignificant as a left turn on an unfamiliar road when you have no destination in mind. But the decisions accumulate until you realize one day that they’ve made you the man that you are.”

I know I’ve thought about my past and wished I did stuff differently, but what it comes down to is this… If I wouldn’t have made those decisions, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. You know what? I like who I am. Yeah there are things that I want to change, but those will just have to be new decisions I make.

In the end, I most definitely recommend reading this book! (Seriously, haven’t read a Kristin Hannah book I didn’t love…) It’s a quick read that will leave you craving for more. The whole time I read this I kinda wished it was a movie as well. Don’t get me wrong, the movie’s are NEVER as good as the book, but this book made me think about which celebrities would play who… It was kinda fun!

winter garden.

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Sometimes when you open the door to your mother’s past,
you find your own future…

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family business; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, these two estranged sisters will find themselves together again, standing alongside their disapproving mother, Anya, who even now offers no comfort to her daughters. On his death bed, their father extract a promise: Anya will tell her daughters a story; it is one she began years ago and never finished. This time she will tell it all the way to the end.

The tale their mother tells them is unlike anything they’ve heard before – a captivating, mysterious love story that spans more than sixty years and moves from frozen, war-torn Leningrad to modern day Alaska. Nina’s obsession to uncover the truth will send them all on an unexpected journey into their mother’s past, where they will discover a secret so shocking it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.

Mesmerizing from the first page to the last, Winter Garden is that rarest of novels – at once an epic love story and an intimate portrait of women poised at the crossroads of their lives. Evocative, lyrically written, and ultimately uplifting, it will haunt the reader long after the last page is turned.


Can Kristin Hannah write a terrible book – I think not! Another AMAZING read!!! This is the third book I’ve read by her this month… and I can’t wait to pick out another one tomorrow! I honestly could not put this book down. I should have waited a little while after reading Home Front, but I was so excited to read this one as well. I’ve noticed that all three of the books so far, Hannah has made the stories take place in Washington state. (I want to travel there now dang it!!) This book… The middle and definitely the end is where all the action takes place. The beginning talks about the struggles the sisters – Meredith and Nina – faced growing up. They were extremely close to their father, but not at all their mother. Not because they didn’t want to, but because their mother blocked them out. This story, like all of the stories I’ve read by Hannah so far, is told in two points of view; Meredith and Nina.

Meredith: A mother of two girls and a wife to a husband who she is slowly losing. She spends a lot of her time working at her father’s apple business.
Nina: A free spirit photojournalist who is constantly on the move and traveling to new adventures.

Like all of the books so far, I cried hardcore during this one. The story is just so… sad. I really can’t imagine being in any of their shoes. A child who feels like their mother hates them, a mother who just can’t seem to open up to her child, or a father who is stuck in the middle; who loves his children and his wife so incredibly much. It’s truly heartbreaking. Then there’s the story… I will not talk about the story what so ever because I want you to be equally as enthralled as I was! No spoilers!

There was a part in this book that really did stick out to me. When I was a little kid, my grandparents were always apart of my life. I saw them every weekend, and pretty much every day during the summer. I grew up with them. They were closer to me than my parents were some days. I remember going out to the lake where they lived every holiday, and every Sunday night for “family dinner” during the summer. When they died, it’s like it all came to a screeching stop. Everyone in my family kind of went their separate ways. No more Sunday dinners, heck we all haven’t been together for a holiday in who knows how long either. My grandparents were definitely the glue to our family. While reading this book though, there was a part in it that made me realize something, and I love when you “learn with the characters” about life.

“Meredith felt a kind of sadness. It wasn’t what she’d felt before: not disappointment that her kids didn’t call, or fear that Jeff didn’t love her, or even worry that she had lost too much of herself. This new feeling was the realization that she wasn’t young anymore. The days of frolicking with her little girls were gone. Her children were on their own now, and Meredith needed to accept that. They would always be a family, but if she’d learned anything in the past few weeks it was that a family wasn’t a static thing. There were always changes going on. Like with continents, sometimes the changes were invisible and underground, and sometimes they were explosive and deadly. The trick was to keep your balance. You couldn’t control the direction of your family anymore than you could stop the continental shelf from breaking apart. All you could do was hold on for the ride.”

After reading that paragraph, I smiled and started to tear up a little. There were always changes going on. Boy, is that ever true. Things change. Just always have to hold on and continue on.

I STRONGLY recommend this book to EVERYONE! This book is definitely amazing and pulls on the heart strings. It will make you want to hug your family and friends and will make you want to tell everyone you love, that you do in fact love them.

home front.

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All marriages have a breaking point.
All families have wounds.
All wars have a cost…

Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of every life – children, careers, bills, chores – even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonized Jolene to leave her family, but as a soldier she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen.When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own-for everything that matters to his family. At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope.


This book is hands down one of the best books I have every read. I cried throughout the short time I read it. Kristin Hannah… she has a way of writing like I said in the last review. She has such a way with painting out her characters. You fall in love with them from the very beginning and grow with them throughout their journey on paper. I really can’t tell you how much I love this story. This story is told through two points of view – Jolene and her husband Michael.

Jolene – A woman who has seen loss. An American Soldier. A Hero.
Michael – A husband who has lost sight of what matters… Who fights for the woman he loves and his family.

I honestly don’t even want to talk about this story too much, just for the fact that I desperately WANT you to read it! I don’t want to give any spoilers, because this book… It rocked me to my core. I cried so many times… The heartbreaking story of a wife and mother being deployed while having problems in her marriage… The heartbreaking truth of PTSD… There’s a long quote from the book that has stuck with me since I read it –

The brave men and woman standing in front of me are known to all of you. They are our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our parents, our children, and our friends. They are our heroes. To the soldiers, and to the families, and to all of those who are supporting our troops, no words can adequately express the depth and breadth of our gratitude. We left at home, the protected, are acutely aware of and thankful for your courage and your sacrifice.

There are no words that we a grateful nation, can offer except thank you. Your willingness to put yourselves in harm’s way to protect us here at home is humbling. We say thank you, and pray that you will be safe. God bless this unit and God bless America.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Honestly. It’s by far one of the best I’ve read by any author. Kristin Hannah is one of the best authors I would definitely say!

the things we do for love.

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“Years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive a child have broken more than Angie DeSaria’s heart. Following a painful divorce, she moves back to her small Pacific Northwest hometown and takes over management of her family’s restaurant. In West End, where life rises and falls like the tides, Angie’s fortunes will drastically change yet again when she meets and befriends a troubled young woman.

Angie hires Lauren Ribido because she sees something special in the seventeen-year-old. They quickly for a deep bond, and when Lauren is abandoned by her mother, Angie offers the girl a place to stay. But nothing, could have prepared Angie for the far-reaching repercussions of this act of kindness. Together, these two women-one who longs for a child and the other who longs for a mother’s love-will be tested in ways that neither could have imagined.”

This book… where do I ever even begin. Well, to start things off, let me first state that this book is unbelievably good. I laughed and I cried. I’ve always been a huge fan of Kristin Hannah. The way she writes, brings these characters to life. That brings me to the next discussion; characters! This book is written in two points of views – Angie’s and Lauren’s.

Angie: Main character who has had trouble conceiving a child with her husband Conlan, and is also going through a divorce. She moves back to her hometown to help her Mama (Maria) and her two sisters (Mira and Livvy) out at the failing restaurant that her late Papa built.
Lauren: A poor teen living with her troubled mother and preparing for her last year at a catholic high school while also planning to go to college.

There were so many times during this book that my heart broke for Angie. Reading about the loss that she’s had, all the while wanting to be a mother so terribly. There was a part in the book where Angie is in a store (like a CVS), and she sees a mother and her children. The mother was in dirty clothes and carrying packets of cigarettes and a case of beer. The four children that were with the woman, had dirty hair and faces and their shoes had holes. When Angie runs out of the store crying and gets back into her car, she sees that when the children get in their own car, none of them are wearing seat belts as the mom drives away. Angie says a line in the book that really hit home – “Why did some women make babies so easily, while others…” I’ve seen my fair share of women who aren’t able to conceive or have lost babies. In my own family even. I have that same fear of some day not being able to have any of my own children. I, too, have felt that same thing that Angie has felt. It’s a sad feeling to have when you think about all the childless couples and people out there who would give anything for a child… and then you see the individuals who in turn do have children, and they are abusive or just down right bad parents. Take for example Lauren’s mom. Lauren’s mom is an alcoholic who couldn’t give two cents about her daughter. To her, Lauren is the mistake that she made at a high school dance. No child should ever be made to feel like a mistake.

My heart also broke for Lauren as well. I am lucky to have had a family who has always been there for me no matter what. Lauren, however, has never been able to rely on anyone. Her mother, like I mentioned earlier, is an alcoholic who doesn’t work. When the bills need to be paid, it’s Lauren who steps up. I’ve never been able to fully wrap my head around a parent who acts like the child, and the child that has to pick up the slack and be the parent. A kid isn’t supposed to have to grow up fast and be an adult. The whole background on Lauren made me sad. It definitely made me think about my own family, and made me extremely thankful for them!

Again, this book is fabulous. It was such a great read. The way Kristin writes, it’s hard not to fall in love and get hooked, just by reading the first page. I totally recommend this book to everyone!

 

Tangled.

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This is my first ever book review! I decided by doing this it would definitely get me more involved with my blog, and honestly, it would hopefully help me remember some of the books I’ve been reading!

So Tangled is a young adult book written by Carolyn Mackler. This book is told in four point of views by four people; Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen.

Jena: A girl with very low self esteem.
Dakota: The jock who is a major tool.
Skye: The wanna be movie star who has more issues than anyone really knows.
Owen: “The Loser with the Laptop”

The story is about these four young people all getting “tangled” up in life while vacationing in the Caribbean in a place called Paradise. To me, this book is definitely a “coming to age” kind of book. Each one learns stuff about themselves with the help of the other characters.

I actually saw myself a lot in Jena. I related to her quite a bit. She loves quotes. She has a notebook that she writes all of the quotes she loves. There’s a part in the book when she’s asked why she knows so many quotes. Her response in a nutshell was that she thought she liked them because she had no life and that she was living through other people. What she ended up realizing though was that they make her feel less alone. That they make her feel more connected with others who may be feeling the same way she is. I definitely can totally agree with all of that.

The other character I felt connected to was Owen. Owen doesn’t like to take chances. He hides in the background and is somewhat of a chicken. He feels most at ease though when he’s writing on his blog. Again, totally me! Taking chances is scary! What’s great is that he finally learns to take a chance and it is life changing for him.

I loved reading this book. It was so hard to put down! It’s definitely an easy read as well; I finished it in less than two days! My favorite parts about the book were honestly seeing the characters “grow up”. The challenges they went through and how they decided to change their lives for the better.

I would most definitely recommend this book!!

Have you by chance read this book? Did you enjoy it or no? What was your favorite or least favorite part?