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THE GOODBYE YEAR: A Novel ~Kaira Rouda

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Four families from a wealthy community in California are the focus of this story.  Each family has a senior in high school and they are starting that last year.  There are some funny scenes for sure in this book, but primarily it is about the frantic moments of thinking about the future and worrying about empty nest.

The voices are both from the children and the adults and some of the fears and concerns are just amazing to behold.  All of their lives are filled with extra meetings and college representatives and for some the cost of future training is so expensive – crisis.  One mother drives her son to be just like his older brother, as she worries about what she will do after her last child leaves home.  She begins drinking.  Dad becomes a voice of reason and opens the door for son number two to find his own passion.

The perfect mom realizes that she has made her daughter her best friend and made up for her husband’s huge travel schedule with this connection.  The daughter is feeling some pressure about being the “perfect” girl at school and working around her pre-acceptance to Harvard.   A strange boyfriend is part of the scene and of course Homecoming King to this Queen.

We have a family on a tight budget and they do not know how their child will afford college, and mom has the whole family on an incredibly rigid calendar schedule, which would knock anyone to the floor in protest and yet for half the book this family muddles forward.

The step mom well is just a selfish mess and yet daughter finds away to keep her caring for her father after she leaves for college!  Actually, all the support characters are fairly fun to read in this story and even the drug problems are an interesting encounter.

TLC Book Tours sent along this fun read and I enjoyed it very much.  THE GOODBYE YEAR has over 70 4-star reviews on Amazon.

“Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that sparkles with humor and heart including HERE, HOME, HOPE and IN THE MIRROR. Her latest novel, THE GOODBYE YEAR, will be released in May of 2016. Her modern romance novels are set on beaches, including the Laguna Beach series, the Indigo Island series and coming soon, the Malibu series.

She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.” (TLC Book Tours)

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Related:
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SWEET TOOTH: A Memoir ~Tim Anderson

Monday, June 30th, 2014

“I was on my bed reading, toggling between Stephen King’s IT and a diabetes pamphlet Mom had picked up at the pharmacy and forced upon me when she got home.  Both were horrifying, so whenever one of them became too much for me, I would put it down and pick up the other.  IT, of course, featured a murderous clown who loved to eat children, and the diabetes pamphlet covered in explicit detail all the possible complications that could arise later in life for a young diabetic who didn’t take care of himself: glaucoma, cataracts, foot infections and disorders, hypertension, heart disease, impotence (what’s that?), nerve damage, and amputation.  And obviously, depression.”

SWEET TOOTH is about a double whammy being delivered to a 14 year old boy living in North Carolina; diabetes and hormones.  We are talking about the late 1980s and the 1990s and the reign of Jesse Helm’s negative conservatism.  It was a scary time to be young and possibly sexually different.  Though the author always had girl friends who were best friends, while visiting his Grandmother in New York he is attracted to a gay men’s magazine which he steals from the newsstand.

Anderson is an active member of Young Life at his high school and enjoys singing enthusiastically at each session.  He has not questioned the religion of his parents, but lots of confusing thinking is beginning to foment in his mind and his friends are offering up different ideas at their weed, pill, and drinking parties.  His hormones are going crazy and he is fantasizing about the college student who led the Young Life group and persuades him to raise money to go to summer camp in New York.  The bus load of kids is in Washington DC on their way to camp and our author goes into a diabetic coma and he can no longer ignore the symptoms.    No camp, no fantasizes resolved and Anderson’s parents must drive to the rescue.

What my words so far do not tell you is that the author is a very funny writer.   I thought I would just speed read through some of the raves, swearing, attempts at finding a partner, Little Debbie episodes and scary blood sugar drops; I could not because I did not wish to miss out on a good laugh.  Seriously, the guy has a great sense of humor and some scary diabetes episodes that will teach any parent a thing or two.   Type I Diabetes needs to be managed and you have to pay for all the supplies, which is very hard on a college student (except for the year in England) budget one is not likely to manage the disease very well.

SWEET TOOTH had a very nice format.  Each of the dozen chapters were proceeded by an episode called  HE’S LOST CONTROL #2 or #5, you get the idea, and they each have a title also such as ‘Glorious Pastries’ (#5)  These are moments when he has had a seizure or sugar meltdown that are death defying.  The next chapter then shares the next part of his life and what he is learning about school and society, hiding and being seen.  He is analyzing his questioning behaviors and his sarcasm and self-deprecating events are strange and funny as he sorts out life.  He is really lucky that he had such good friends who stuck with him through this process.

tlc logo TLC Online book tours sent me a copy of this book for review and it proved to be a good read and one that could be very helpful to folks with Diabetes I and gay children in discovery.  Thank you to TLC for this opportunity – SWEET TOOTH is a funny read.

The language, sexual references, and music are definitely of a teenage boy’s thinking through high school and college and this might offend some readers.  “Perfect for fans of David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell” or those people who want to understand.

From the book cover:

“Tim Anderson is the author of Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, which Publisher’s Weekly called ‘Laugh-out-loud funny,’ Shelf Awareness called ‘so much fun,’ and Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times completely ignored.  He lives in Brooklyn with his husband, Jimmy; his cat, Stella; and his yoga balance ball, Sheila.  Tim also writes young adult historical fiction under the name T. Neill Anderson and blogs at seetimblog.blogspot.com.  His favorite Little Debbie snack cake is The Fudge Round.”

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HAVEN: The Apocalypse Chronicles Book 1 ~Laury Falter

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013


HAVEN is quite the read and I had a hard time putting the book down once I got started.  I did have to put it down and read it over several days and it gave me quite a few ideas to think about and ponder. This is about surviving after a horrid virus infects the planet with rapid body changes and massive destruction.  I feel as though I know what young people are worried about in their world.

That the adults in their lives are leaving these young adults, abandoning them, and creating messes (disease) that they cannot clean up or are not around to be responsible for their actions, and HAVEN is about the high school students who have the skill and knowledge to correct and heal the situation.  One parent has done his job and has trained his daughter to use her knowledge, be a top marksman, run, offer first aid, and has mastered survival skills.  Emotions, training, guns, and control are large issues in the story line.

It is a worldwide infestation and thank goodness the young male in the story is brighter and wiser about what needs to be done to overcome the immediate circumstances.  He is the handsome amazing hero.  Our female lead is no slouch either, as she can do it all and hit the mark.  Bull’s-eye!   We have a winning combination, with the researcher and jock right by their side.   I must not forget Mean Girl as she is charming in her own right, providing diversity and other critical skills to the mix.

In HAVEN the crew is safe inside their high school for 74 days and we learn about what one needs to survive a virus.   There are lots of tense moments and good discussions.  I should mention that the school cafeteria lady is one smart cookie and leaves the 5 survivors plenty to eat, solar cooking, and they create gourmet meals from her ordered pantry.

Our book is the first in a three part series and the cliff hanger dilemma at the end makes the reader thrilled that book II will be released on January 18th 2014!

HAVEN has a good writing style, although I did not need to look up any words, and the explanations teach well about safety, security and problem-solving. Although the narrator is the female hero of the story, I think fellows would enjoy this book very much.

Reading is important for brain development and I think this book is interesting and inspiring.  Get it on your gift list, share this review with others you know would enjoy this book, or donate a copy to a school library – HAVEN.

tlc logo TLC online book tours sent me a copy of HAVEN to review and the author sent me a personal message on the front page of the book.  Aren’t I lucky? I think so!

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s (giving away a free tote bag this season with all orders) from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Laury Falter’s website
Laury Falter’s Facebook

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The Fault In Our Stars
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