The Nerdy and the Dirty by B. T. Gottfred

I loved this story about love and being who you are.  Benedict is the definition of a nerd or a geek, from this choices in reading material to his wardrobe he is not liked by his fellow students.  Pen is well liked among her classmates and has a steady boyfriend who she thinks she will marry one day, but her safe comfortable life feels like a lie to her because she is afraid to say and do what she thinks she is caught up in being who she thinks other people want to be and does not feel that she can be herself.  In a short time Pen and Benedict will cross paths often and each time they begin to see each other differently but when they realize there may be more to this than they thought things get very interesting very quickly.  I loved these warm and quirky characters who were honest and open from the first page.  I was sorry to have to leave them on the last page.  A great story about high school and growing up and being who you are.

 

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In the Heart of Texas by Ginger McKnight-Chavers

After 24 wild and crazy hours Hollywood actress Jo Randolph looses her job, gets arrested and turns her life upside causing her publicist and friend to send her home to Texas to stay out of trouble till things quiet down.  While she is sequestered in Midland she takes on a job teaching for the summer, which her parents hope will give her some cash, something to do and may-be widen her world view.  Midland Texas is everything Jo remembers, but as she settles back into her home town she realizes she is not the girl who left so many years ago and she might now know just the girl she wants to be.  I loved the dynamics between the characters in this story.  There is Jo who is home after oh so long, her mother who is an important person on the social scene and has strict rules about how one behaves and what they wear in any given situation.  Her sister shares many of her sister’s traits and attitudes while wrangling her sons and Jo’s father is hoping not to rock the boat.  Then there is her uncle that she adores and many former class mates who cross her path, it seems Jo is always involved in something, but I loved her work with the kids and joy and trauma that brings her.  This novel has it all Beach Houses, presidential visits, garden parties, and for Jo a chance to make a difference in ways she never imagined.  A laugh out loud look at growing up at any age told with honesty and warmth.

Everything We Keepby Kerry Lonsdale

Aimee has the perfect life planned out she will marry her sweetheart James whom she has known since they were kids and take over her parents restaurant.  James will leave the family business and paint full time and they will lead a quiet happy life.  Amimee’s happily ever after is destroyed when James does away on a business trip and does not come home, instead of a wedding there is a funeral and for Aimee there are oh so many unanswered questions.  Aimee does as James would have wanted and goes after her dreams, but she can’t put the questions she has about his death to rest but the answers she finds may not be the ones she longs for.  A touching and warm story about moving on after tragedy and finding the answers that let you leave the past behind.  Aimee is honest and true and her group of friends are loyal and supportive and stand on their own.  A great balance of warm and witty and touching.

Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers

I loved this stroll though  Rock & Roll history.  The history of each song is told by the people that created it which is a perspective you rarely get to see.  Chart topping songs by The Rolling Stones, Elvis, The Dixie Cups, Cyndi Lauper and Elvis Costello  along with many others.  Each song is placed in it’s correct historical context and then all the people available talk about their role in making a hit song.  A great look at what goes into the music we listen to and a new perspective on our old favorites.

Aftermath by Clara Kensie November 1, 2016

Charlotte was taken from her family almost 5 years ago, and all this time when she thinks of them she imagines they are simply going on without her just as they were before, but when she is lucky enough to be reunited with her family she is shocked by the changes, all she wanted was to get to go home, yet home as she knew it does not exist.  She must navigate her new family dynamics as well as become a normal teenager,  It is a tall order but Charlotte does her best.   She twin sister now dyes her hair, and her father has a new wife and a new daughter.  Charlotte must find her place in her family and the world and put what happened to her behind her if she can.  I want to point out that this book is going to be hard reading for some of you.  While the book deals with what happens to Charlotte after she returns home she does remember and talk about things that happened to her with her “keeper” so this book is not for the faint of heart, that said I loved Charlottes fighting spirit and her determination to close the book on what happened to her.

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun, Susan Mullen

I loved this warm and witty story of best friends forever Scott and Cath who write letters to keep each other updated on things when Cath goes to college.  I felt like I knew Scott and Cath.  Their friendship continues to thrive despite busy schedules, roommates and  adversity as both of their lives are turned upside down by circumstances they can’t control.  A warm and wonderful story of growing up but not apart.