Review: It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

This book needs to be required reading for all high school and college kids. I’m not even kidding. It’s graphic and disturbing, but it’s real. As the title says, it happens all the time. That needs to stop. NOW.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

I am in a state of utter disgust and anger after finishing this book. My heart is cracking for the boys and girls who go through this. I swear to God, more parents need to talk to their children about behavior. There are too many people who point fingers at the wrong person and are experts at the blame game.

“Everything about your behavior and your words might have said yes, but the moment you changed your mind, the moment you withdraw your consent either by physically struggling to get away or by telling him no, he was committing a crime.”

This book brought so many things to my attention, I’ll admit, in the past, I may have thought a few of things before. I’m not proud of that. In fact, I’m sick over it. As I watched the suffering that transpired between these two, I realized that so many in this day in age still think like this. The stats alone have me ill. Our culture has this all wrong. It’s been twisted in our minds. Something needs to change.


Buy It Happens All the Time HERE

Review: Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner


I love books by Jennifer Weiner. She has an uncanny ability to take something mundane, commonplace even, and weave an incredible story around it. This older story from her collection of hits is no exception.

This is a story of four women and how their lives come together in a most unexpected way. There’s Jules, a young college student desperate to save her father from himself. Annie lives a simple life as a mother and wife but longs to do more. India is trying to find happiness by remaking herself. And there’s Bettina, probably the most practical of the bunch who knows something is amiss when her very wealthy father takes a new bride. Finally, at the center of it all is a baby. Wanted by some, not expected by others.

On the surface this is a simple enough story, one that could be found in real life often enough. But here’s where the magic of the author comes into play. Jennifer Weiner is able to delve deeply into the past of each of these characters. She makes us understand their motives and even care about them. This is what keeps you reading until the very end.

It’s fairly common for authors to write their stories from different perspectives. Sometimes it works, but just as often it overwhelms the story. That’s not the case with this book. I had no problem switching between characters and even found myself looking forward to a new chapter which brought a new voice. Is the storyline a bit far fetched at times? Of course. But that’s why it’s fiction. It’s okay to suspend your sense of reality and lose yourself in a great story such as this one!



Buy It Now:   Then Came You

Review: The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

51SgHDOF15L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Ah, social media. For better or for worse, it’s part of our society, ingrained into our culture these days. Checking in at favorite restaurants, posting selfies at every opportunity…welcome to 2015. Sure, most of us post only the best of the best for the world to see. After all, who wants to read about the argument you had with your significant other? And why would you want the world to know about that, anyway?

But what if, with one quick status update and a fast click on the “post” button, you could change your path, rewrite history even? That’s the premise of this delightful new book cowritten by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.

Kate has everything going for her. She has a demanding yet highly fulfilling dream job. She has two best friends who have been with her since childhood. And she’s getting ready to marry the man of her dreams in a wedding straight out of a fairy tale.

Everything comes to a screeching halt, though, when Max calls it off the day before the wedding. Kate’s devastated, and of course she goes on Facebook to share her heartbreak with her nearest and dearest friends. But something has happened. Kate discovers that she unexplainably has the ability to change the past, and the future, by simply writing about it in her status.

Her first order of business is to get Max back, so of course she uses her newfound power to go back in time, to the time before things went so wrong. She soon discovers, however, that nothing is without consequence. And there’s a ripple effect to everything. Each attempt to keep Max as her own leads to another unforeseen outcome, and Kate is left wondering if it’s truly possible to change her path in life, her destiny.

This was a sweet story, funny and witty while also serving as somewhat of a cautionary tale. The authors write with humor but at the same time address the issue of presenting a picture perfect life for the world to see. And it serves as a reminder that what you see is often not the true picture. That status update that’s full of cheer and happiness? It may not be telling the whole story. This story, though, is a perfect summer read!


Buy It Now: The Status of All Things: A Novel

Review: Etched on Me by Jenn Crowell

18143763Sixteen year old Lesley has had a tough upbringing, to put it mildly. After suffering years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, she finally found the courage to escape after pleading with her mom for help, to no avail. She’s able to scrap by on her own for a bit, but with the help of a carefully constructed network of concerned adults she is able to eventually make something of herself.

The path to her success is not an even one, however. Dabbling in drugs and alcohol, cutting herself, a suicide attempt, time spent in mental health facilities…these are all obstacles she’s had to overcome. Things are looking bright for Lesley, however, even when she finds herself in the unexpected position of becoming a single mother. She’s confident that she’ll be able to handle it, with the help of the new family she has around her. But her luck takes a turn for the worse when she finds her ability to be a good mother being questioned by those in charge. The battle to retain custody of her unborn child will be her hardest ever.

This one’s a tough read, so tread lightly if you’re adding it to your list. But by no means should you avoid it, because the message within the author’s finely crafted words is just that powerful. She writes with such a wonderful expertise balanced with an attuned sense of storytelling. Add this one to your list!


Buy It Now:Etched on Me: A Novel