Friday, July 21, 2017

Children's Book Review: Gareth Lucas Noisy Books from Silver Dolphin Books

DIG, DIG, DIGGER!
A Gareth Lucas Noisy Book

By: Gareth Lucas

Published: July 11, 2017

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books

Fiction/Board Book

If your toddler loves construction equipment or watching Bob the Builder (is that show still on?) then this book is just for them.

Each page features an animal driving a different type of equipment such as the dolphin driving the digger or a bear bulldozing or the camel lifting the crane. But the best part is each page-spread also has a special sound to go with that page like the Beep! Beep! of the digger backing up or the music at the end of a busy day. The book shares a busy day with the construction crew using some alliteration in the words to help your toddler focus on the sounds. The illustrations of all the animals are really adorable, with expressions that will make your child giggle. They will pick out lady bugs dancing, a pig playing a keyboard, and a camel snorkeling at the end of a long day. Each page has a different sound so when your child hits the button, you aren't hearing the same sound on every page. It actually goes along with what the characters are doing.

The book is a high-quality durable board book that is a bit over 8 inches square in size. The batteries are replaceable so this book will last through multiple children/multiple readings. This is a book I would highly recommend for gift-giving. I can't imagine a child not wanting to read this book every day!



DINOS ON DECK!
A Gareth Lucas Noisy Book

By: Gareth Lucas

Published: June 13, 2017

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books

Fiction/Board Book

Our boys were dinosaur fans when they were young and I can't imagine any toddler, fan or not, not liking this fun dinosaur-as-pirates book. The dinosaurs are on the ship the Jurassic Jewel and are off on an adventure. Each page-spread offers a button with a different sound like a dinosaur roar, a splash of water, or the sound of digging in the sand for treasure. The story of the dinosaurs' adventure uses alliteration such as the "prehistoric pirates paddle" to help your toddler recognize letter sounds.

I found it funny that as the dinosaur is digging in the sand for the treasure he is digging up the Mona Lisa painting, a vase, and the Daily Dino newspaper. One dinosaur is even holding a tropical drink. Your toddler won't get the humor, but the parents will think it's funny. Since every page has a different sound from the button, parents and kids won't get bored reading it.

Dinosaur fans will especially love this book, but I could see all toddlers thinking this book is fun. The book is a high-quality durable board book that is a bit over 8 inches square in size. The batteries are replaceable so this book will last through multiple children/multiple readings. This is a book I would highly recommend for gift-giving. I can't imagine a child not wanting to read this book every day!

Gareth Lucas - source
Gareth Lucas studied illustration at Brighton and has been published internationally, often collaborating with his wife, who is also an illustrator. His creative talents are not limited to illustration: Gareth teaches graphic design and guitar and, when he has a moment to spare, you can find him in the park with his kids.

To purchase a copy of DIG, DIG, DIGGER and DINOS ON DECK, click the photos below:







I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.



Thanks to the publisher for sending copies of these books for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the books through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Review: Surgeon's Story By Mark Oristano and Giveaway

SURGEON'S STORY
Inside OR-3 with One of America's Top Pediatric Heart Surgeons

By: Mark Oristano with Kristine Guleserian, MD

Published: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Authority Publishing

Non-Fiction




I'm participating in the Pump Up Your Book Blog Tour for Oristano's book, SURGEON'S STORY. I love medical memoirs and this focus on a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon was completely fascinating. The amount of education and training needed, the fact that she is a petite woman with attitude and heart, and the intricacy of her operations likened to sewing a piece of olive onto a macaroni noodle are all amazing to me. The best part is you can enter to win a $25 gift card to Amazon and purchase your own copy if you win!

Mark Oristano is a well-known sports journalist and decides to follow Dr. Kristine Guleserian, a noted pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon who works on tiny hearts of some of the youngest children as well as some of the most damaged and weakest hearts in children. Through her voice, as well as his, we are introduced to the years of grueling training that medical students go through to the day she decides to become a surgeon to the many lives she has saved during her years at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

One of her patients, Rylynn, is featured throughout the story. Rylynn's case begins as an infant, born with a heart abnormality. As a toddler, she becomes Dr. Guleserian's patient and eventually needs a heart transplant. The story of resilience of this sweet girl and all that she endured to be a healthy child is quite amazing. She is a true fighter and reading about the multiple surgeries and near death experiences her and her parents endured brought me to tears.

At just 140 pages, this book is a quick look at the life and career of a compassionate doctor who truly loves being a surgeon. It isn't bogged down in medical jargon, but instead offers the human side of doctors, patients looking for another chance at life, and parents praying to see their children be active and grow into adults. A really fascinating book!



View the book trailer below:



Mark Oristano
Mark Oristano has been a professional writer/journalist since the age of 16. After growing up in suburban New York, Oristano moved to Texas in 1970 to attend Texas Christian University.  A major in Mass Communications, Mark was hired by WFAA-TV in 1973 as a sports reporter, the start of a 30-year career covering the NFL and professional sports.


Mark has worked with notable broadcasters including Verne Lundquist, Oprah Winfrey and as a sportscaster for the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network and Houston Oilers Radio Network.  He has covered Super Bowls and other major sports events throughout his career.  He was part of Ron Chapman’s legendary morning show on KVIL-FM in Dallas for nearly 20 years.

In 2002 Oristano left broadcasting to pursue his creative interests, starting a portrait photography business and becoming involved in theater including summer productions with Shakespeare Dallas. He follows his daughter Stacey’s film career who has appeared in such shows as Friday Night Lights and Bunheads.

A veteran stage actor in Dallas, Mark Oristano was writer and performer for the acclaimed one-man show “And Crown Thy Good: A True Story of 9/11.” Oristano authored his first book, A Sportscaster’s Guide to Watching Football: Decoding America’s Favorite Game. A Sportcaster’s Guide offers inside tips about how to watch football, including stories from Oristano’s 30-year NFL career, a look at offense, defense and special teams, and cool things to say during the game to sound like a real fan.


In 2016 Oristano finished his second book, Surgeon’s Story, a true story about a surgeon that takes readers inside the operating room during open heart surgery. His second book is described as a story of dedication, talent, training, caring, resilience, guts and love.

In 1997, Mark began volunteering at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, working in the day surgery recovery room. It was at Children’s that Mark got to know Kristine Guleserian, MD, first to discuss baseball, and later, to learn about the physiology, biology, and mystery of the human heart. That friendship led to a joint book project, Surgeon’s Story, about Kristine’s life and career.

Mark is married and has two adult children and two grandchildren. For more information, check him out at his website, HERE.




Mark Oristano is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
  • This giveaway ends midnight July 28.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on July 29.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!





To purchase a copy of SURGEON'S STORY, click the photo below:



Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book Review: The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

THE BREAKDOWN

By: B.A. Paris

Published: July 18, 2017

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Fiction/Suspense/Mystery/Thriller




One of the most riveting thrillers I read last year was Paris's first novel, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. It made my skin crawl and kept me turning the pages until I finished it. Her sophomore thriller, THE BREAKDOWN is just as creepy and mystifying, but maybe not quite as exciting.

Cass, a newly married teacher, who after celebrating the end of the school year, drives home during a heavy rain storm. Anxious to get home, she takes the shortcut through the woods, even though she knows it could be dangerous during the storm. Just miles from home, she comes upon a car pulled along side of the road. After some thought, Cass decides the person must be waiting for someone and chooses not to get out and investigate. The next morning, Cass learns that a woman was found, murdered, on the same stretch of road, right near their home. After Cass realizes she also knew the woman, her life is completely torn apart by her guilt at not stopping to help and her fear about whether the murderer is still out there and saw her that night.

Cass's mom has recently passed away from dementia and the stress of the murder has made Cass's own memory lapses more pronounced. She can't seem to keep anything straight and wonders if it is stress from the murder or if she too, is suffering from early on-set dementia like her mom.

Along with Cass, her husband Alex, her best friend Rachel and some other co-workers fill out the main characters in the story. The book chronicles the dates of July 17 through October 2 during the present day. Each chapter highlights the events of that day which mostly includes Cass's paranoia about the murder and her memory lapses. As the dates move along through the summer, I got a little bored with the repeated occurrences of Cass's fear and forgetfulness, Alex's concern and desperation, and Rachel's inability to be there for her best friend. The murderer is eluding the authorities and the reader begins to question every character and conversation, wondering who the murderer could be.

Finally, when you can't seem to stand it anymore and you just want to skip to the last page of the book, the author gives you a little twist and baits you to keep reading all the way to the end. There is a lot of build-up and the characters continue to throw you off. At one point, I even wondered if Cass, as the narrator could be considered as reliable due to her constant confusion. But, once the truth is revealed, you keep reading to make sure that the murderer is caught and revenge has taken place.

I still found this to be a good mystery that held my attention. I just found it a bit repetitive. Paris does, however, create scenes that the reader can feel the panic in the character's voice and actions. Readers will care about Cass and feel sorry for her when she is frantically looking for her car in the ramp or trying to remember why she ordered an item that arrives in the mail. They will sympathize with her fears knowing the murderer is still loose. Cass is likable and easy to root for, even if her struggles to function get annoying. Paris has a way of creating characters with flaws that we will still relate to, root for, and believe in. She also has a way of surprising you once the mystery is revealed. All qualities much needed in a good mystery novel.

B. A. Paris - source

B.A. Paris grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. Follow her on Twitter, HERE

To purchase a copy of THE BREAKDOWN, click the photo below:  




Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com

Friday, July 14, 2017

Children's Book Review: Alphabetter and How I Did It by Linda Ragsdale

ALPHABETTER

By: Linda Ragsdale

Illustrated by: Martina Hogan

Published: April 4, 2017

Publisher: Flowerpot Children's Press

Non-Fiction

Do your kids like making up words? Do you ever wish there was a word to describe the joy your child is feeling the first time they ride without training wheels? Do you like combining words to make a new word?

This new book from Linda Ragsdale adds hilarious new words to your dictionary to offer that perfectly playful word for just the right occasion. These words will be motivational, inspiring and funny. You just may find a new favorite word to use after reading this book.


I already love the word "fabulous" so making the word "fabulastic" by combining fabulous and fantastic is perfect for me! "Legendational" is another fun word that I may have to start using, combining legendary and sensational.

This book is a dictionary of terms all the way through the alphabet starting with "absomendous" (absolutely and tremendous) and ending with "zeticulous", a combination of zen, fantastic, and fabulous. At the bottom of every page is a new impactful word encouraging kids to feel, act, or think about a new way to communicate and encourage peace. Words like "exprassion" (express and compassion) share how to express yourself through love and to always have compassion.

Hogan's illustrations are adorable, crafty, vivid, and fun. Kids will naturally be drawn to the pages and the words on them. Her illustrations are "radazzling"!

This is a fun book for a classroom or a family to read together and find new favorite words!


HOW I DID IT!

By: Linda Ragsdale

Illustrated by: Anoosha Syed

Published: April 4, 2017

Publisher: Flowerpot Children's Press

Fiction

The Letter "I" dares to be different. He dreams of being something more. Could he turn and be like the letter "H" or curve himself to be like the letter "J"? When the letter "I" tries to do something different, all the other letters of the alphabet chime in...some encouraging and supportive, others upset and frustrated. Their emotions go along with the letter of the alphabet like the letter "T" was tickled. "I" peels himself off the page and starts his new adventure only to find that maybe he should have stayed where he was. Or will his new point of view will be just what he and the other letters of the alphabet need?




The illustrations give each of the letters character and show whether they are happy, angry, shocked, or confused. Kids will find this story silly, but there is a hidden message that will hopefully sink in...seeing other's point of view and that maybe doing something a different way is ok. This book offers a really simple way to share an important message and would be great for elementary classrooms.



Linda Ragsdale - source
Linda Ragsdale wants everyone to be a dragon, a Peace Dragon that is! As an author, illustrator, international speaker, and peace teacher, Linda has developed her Peace Dragon series to teach us how to harness our fiery energy into a peaceful and productive outlet by owning our human powers of view, voice, and choice. Linda invites you to be a peace dragon ambassador and join the 30,000 students she has taught around the world! For more information, check out her website, HERE


To purchase ALPHABETTER or HOW I DID IT, click the photos below:






I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.



Thanks to the publisher for sending copies of these books for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the books through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Quick Lit: Mini Reviews of Some Recent Reads

I've read a number of books over the last few months that were for my own reading enjoyment. Not for review, but because I've been wanting to read them or they caught my attention. Most of them have been talked about ad nauseam so they don't really need a full review. But, I'd still like to give them some space here on the blog.




I'll be linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her monthly Quick Lit link up. Be sure to head over to see others link up their Quick Lit posts. 


Listening to the audiobook reading by Rachel McAdams of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES was a delight. Her voice was perfect for each of the characters and I fell in love with this story all over again. At just over 9 hours is was a manageable length and the chapters were the correct length to take me into town for errands. In case you don't know the story, an orphan arrives at Green Gables, but unfortunately, they were expecting a boy to work on the farm, not a freckle-faced, red-headed string bean. "Anne with an E" showed up and turned the Cuthberts lives upside down...in the best way possible. 

Reading Anne as an adult and as a parent is so different from reading it as a child. I appreciated the eloquent writing, the "big words", the quirkiness of Anne, the friendship she shared with Diana, and the love shared by Mirella and Matthew towards Anne. I just couldn't wait to get in the van and listen to Anne's story and found reasons to listen to it in the house as well. It just made me happy! I am anxious to watch the Netflix version of it yet too. 





I first saw this book during Halloween at a Cracker Barrel gift shop. The morbid curiosity got me to look for it on the Bridges ebook system through our library and sure enough, it was there. I read WHERE ARE THEY BURIED over the course of several months. It is set up by categories like athletes, TV stars, etc. Then each person is their own chapter with just a few pages offering a brief bio about their life and then how they died and the directions for how to locate the cemetery and grave. Some people I never knew how they died and others I was reminded of how tragic it was for those stars who died much too young due to addictions. It's one of those books that is nice to keep in the car or on your phone to read a chapter or two while waiting in the school pick-up line or in the waiting room. 



I can't believe it has been 18 years since the tragedy that unfolded before our eyes, the horrific murders at Columbine High School. Sue Klebold is the mother of one of the shooters, Dylan Klebold. In her memoir, A MOTHER'S RECKONING, she attempts to heal by sharing her journals and thoughts with others. But, she also wants to set the record straight and banish some of the judgments placed on her family. Her hope is that by learning from their mistakes, no other parent has to go through this type of horror. 

This book is a MUST-READ for school teachers, administrators, and parents of teenagers. Sue Klebold wasn't the distant, rich, spoiling mother we all were told she was. I admit to watching the news then and placing my own hateful judgments toward her. I couldn't imagine any mother allowing what happened and yet now....I can. This book was eye-opening, heartbreaking, and humbling. It's painful and convicting to read and yet it's message about brain health (mental illness) is so important in this era.


I've heard about Shauna Niequist and her book BREAD & WINE for a couple years and every time it was loaded with rave reviews. When it came up on a Kindle deal, I snagged it. I liked her stories about entertaining and showing her love through the food she made and served. I found several recipes to save and a few I even tried from this book. Each chapter ends with a recipe tied to the story or dinner she prepared. I read this a chapter at a time over several months and it was enjoyable.   






I heard an interview with Kimberly Williams-Paisley talking about her mom and their journey with dementia. I've loved her since I saw "Father of the Bride" and her husband, Brad Paisley is one of our favorite musicians. So, when she discussed her book WHERE THE LIGHT GETS IN, I knew I had to find it. It was available on the Bridges website through our library and I listened to the audiobook. The author reads the book herself and it was a beautiful story of courage and love for her mom. The story is mostly about her mom, but also her siblings, father, and her life as she became a movie star and then met the love of her life.



I've been wanting to read this book after hearing about it and then reading BEING MORTAL
WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR is the memoir of Paul Kalanithi as a young neurosurgeon. He and his wife had put their whole focus into becoming the best doctors they could be, even to the point of hampering their marriage. Then after working exhausting hours and multiple grueling surgeries amid crippling back pain, Kalanithi seeks treatment only to find out that he has lung cancer.  The doctor has now become the patient. The memoir is a way for Kalanithi to express the things he has learned from his father, from literature, from God, from being a student and a doctor, as a patient, and finally as a husband and father.  There was never a point in the book that I skimmed or ignored. Every page held my attention and many pages made me pause and want to capture the words again and again. Even though he left this Earth before his book was actually complete, his wife, Lucy finished it with grace and beauty. Just like so many others have said, I highly recommend.



I've been wanting to read this ever since I saw a story about this book on Good Morning America when it came out. I listened to AN INVISIBLE THREAD on audio, but I have the book on Kindle as well from a Kindle Daily Deal. I really loved the listen and Pam Ward does a nice job of telling Laura and Maurice's story. Maurice was an 11-year-old panhandler on the streets of NYC when Laura walked by and then turned around and took him out to lunch at McDonald's. What happened after that included the beginning of a lifelong friendship that turned into a bond much like a mother and son. I was deeply moved by their stories of hardship and survival. Their meeting was maybe by chance or maybe by destiny. I recommend the listen, but once I finished I also skimmed the ebook hoping for photos or other tidbits not included in the audiobook. I'm glad I looked because the author interview and photos were a treat. If you haven't read this yet, I highly recommend it.





These reviews are my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase a book through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Children's Book Review: If You Were Me and Lived in Middle Ages and Viking Europe By Carole P. Roman

IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN...MIDDLE AGES

By: Carole P. Roman

Illustrated by: Mateya Arkova

Published: July 9, 2016

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Non-Fiction

I would expect that most kids who read this book would feel grateful to not have grown up during the Middle Ages. Life was quite difficult and if you were not a family of power and wealth, then life was pretty difficult for you.

Roman focus's on life as a thirteen-year-old girl of privilege in her examples from the Middle Ages. Life for her consisted of sewing and praying. There were rituals and rules that must be kept every day. Life of others in the village was not quite as comfortable. The peasants lived simple lives full of hard work. Their children also had to work very hard.

Girls who read this might be shocked to hear that most daughters were married off as young as thirteen and there was little choice in who they would be marrying. Girls were also not allowed to go to school unless it was to a convent to read the Bible. I was surprised by the medical treatments when someone was ill, including blood-letting or bleeding out the old blood until new blood could be formed. The patient would be weak for months. Can you imagine if we had to do that now?

Life in the Middle Ages was difficult and yet somewhat simple. But, I would bet most kids reading this would be quite glad they are growing up now rather than 900 years ago. The end of the book includes a listing of famous people from the Middle Ages and a glossary of terms. There are several that will be new to most readers.

These books are meant for upper elementary to middle school-aged kids, but offer lots of information and learning for children that enjoy history and learning.

IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN...VIKING EUROPE

By: Carole P. Roman

Illustrated by: Mateya Arkova

Published: September 5, 2016

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Non-Fiction

In a way, families who lived in Viking Europe seemed to live that idyllic simple life many of us yearn for today. They lived off the land (and sea) and nothing was wasted. Everyone contributed to running the home and helping each other.

There were just two seasons...Summer, a time of light, and Winter, a time of darkness and you determined your age by how many winters you had survived. Winters were harsh and took much preparation during the Summer to survive. Much like the time of the Middle Ages, girls were chosen for marriage after age twelve. Matches were made based on alliances and protection and girls had little say in who they would marry. But, I was surprised to find divorce was possible and abuse or mistreatment was a huge dishonor.
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The end of the book includes a listing of Norse Gods and other important people in Viking history. There is also a glossary of terms to explain the many unfamiliar words used throughout the book.

Roman is extremely talented in her research and retelling of history for children to understand. This book is perfect for older school-aged kids and especially for those who love learning about ancient history. Making it personal by putting the reader in the mind of a child their age makes the learning even more interesting.


Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard-An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life and Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis has been named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2015. Each book in the series has won numerous awards including the NABE Pinnacle Award, IAN Award, Moonbeam Award 2014, National Indie Excellence Award Finalist, Shelf Media Outstanding Series Award, ForeWord Review Five Star and Finalist in the Book of the Year, and Reader's Views Children's Book of the Year 2013.

Carole P. Roman is also the author of the award-winning non-fiction culture series, "If You Were Me and Lived in..." that explores customs and cultures around the world. She has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren. Carole invites readers to connect with her via her website

To see all my other posts on Roman's books, click HERE.


To purchase a copy of these books, click the photos below:






I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.



Thanks to the publisher for sending copies of these books for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the books through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Book Review: The Garden of Small Beginnings By Abbi Waxman

THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS

By: Abbi Waxman

Published: May 2, 2017

Publisher: Berkley Books

Fiction



You would think that a novel about a woman recently widowed by her much-too-young husband's horrific accident and her sudden entrance into the world of single motherhood would be too sad to read. I may have put this one aside except for the vivid colors on the cover drawing me in. This book couldn't be too depressing with a cover like that, so I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised by the light humor the author gave to the story, convincing the reader that even in our darkest moments we can find something to laugh about.

Lillian is a book illustrator, a single mom to two delightful daughters, a sister, and a daughter to a painfully critical mother.  She is just beginning to get the hang of living life without her husband with the help of her sister who spends many evenings enjoying Lilian's cooking and playing with her nieces. Lilian's employer offers her the opportunity to illustrate a vegetable encyclopedia and decides it would be good for her to take a gardening class to get up-close and personal with the vegetables she will be drawing. Lilian, her sister, and the two girls all attend the weekend classes and find joy in new friendships, delicious food, and maybe a new future full of surprises.

Lilian's sense of humor is light and laughable. Her descriptions of drawing whale penises or her snarky thoughts about the hunky garden instructors will keep the reader laughing and wanting more. Waxman created funny and likable characters (even the overbearing mother) and you want each of them to find their way in the story. Waxman will have you laughing in one chapter and thinking deeply in the next with bits of wisdom mixed with emotion.

Yes there is a bit of romance to this story, but it is handled maturely and not overdone with details that will cause you to cringe or skip paragraphs. Lilian shares true feelings as her heart begins to reopen and her fear and trepidation about the future is real.  This quote from Anais Nin fit so perfectly with Lilian and her feelings, "There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom."  Lilian has to decide if the risk is worth taking to feel joy once again.

Another fun feature that I enjoyed in the book was that each chapter started with a vegetable. There would be an illustration, much like what I expect Lilian would draw, and an explanation on how to grow that particular vegetable in your garden. Of course, each description has a bit of humor included like not planting strawberries where you have recently planted tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant "because it freaks them out" or radishes need lots of sun and if they don't get it, you'll have to go out and buy them and "lie about your horticultural prowess".

The book comes with discussion questions at the end and would make for an enjoyable book club choice. Its lightheartedness is refreshing to read even amidst the grief that permeates their lives.


Abbi Waxman - source
Abbi Waxman is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman, who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband. THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS is her first novel. For more on Waxman, visit her website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS, click the photo below:






Thanks to the publisher for sending an ecopy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.