Work Less, Travel More
Advance Reader Copy , New Releases , Travel / October 29, 2018

Work Less, Travel More. Tosh Patterson. 2018. 98 pages. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of author.] Whew, this book was so on time for me.  I am “leave-taking challenged,” in that the idea of taking off work is sometimes so overwhelming that I just don’t. Besides that, I have a full roster of other priorities that take all my attention.  All work and no play … you know the rest.  I love that this book isn’t just about how to travel, but about understanding why time away and self-care is so necessary to keeping yourself at your best.  While a shining gem in this book focuses on travel, it’s more than just how to make travelling more accessible and enjoyable. It is about why you need to take care of yourself, regardless of how that looks. First, I love how personal the author gets.  Patterson shares her experiences in such a transparent way that I really felt I was with her in some of the experiences she shares. The vulnerability is refreshing – I don’t enjoy reading “self-help” books from the perspective of someone who’s always had it together. I want to relate to someone who’s dealt with the same issues…

Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go. Marieke Nijkamp. 2018. Sourcebooks Fire. 372 pages. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Small towns don’t often take kindly to outsiders. Sometimes, they don’t even take kindly to their own. Such is the story of Before I Let Go, which follows Corey as she seeks the truth about the sudden — and suspicious — death of her best friend, Kyra.  Corey grew up in the small town of Lost Creek, Alaska, and was nearly inseparable from Kyra. When Corey’s family moves away, the two girls make a promise to stay connected; while Kyra writes regularly, Corey leaves the letters unanswered. Nonetheless, she’s distraught when she learns just seven months later, that Kyra fell through what is normally a frozen over lake.  In returning to Lost Creek, she can sense that things have changed, but just how far these changes have gone aren’t anything she’s ready for.

Love and Vandalism

Love and Vandalism.  Laurie Boyle Crompton. 2017. 366 pages. Sourcefire Books. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] They had me at graffiti.  They kept me with this heartbreaking/uplifting story. Rory is the town’s secret vandal. She’s been tagging lions under the cover of night, somehow dodging the watchful eye of her sergeant father who’s forbidden her from art. She’s remained anonymous until Hayes catches her one evening, but instead of turning her in, he turns her into his own personal tour guide.  It’s definitely blackmail, but Rory sees an opportunity to complete her magnum opus – painting a lion on top of the town’s water tower. This is definitely a compelling story that tackles several sensitive topics.  Hayes is recovering from an addiction, so it’s quite interesting to see how how he comes to terms with the damage he’s done to others near him and how he tries to put his life back together in a new place.  Rory initially seems like an angsty teenager who just wants to rebel for the sake of being combative. Her fractured relationship with her  suspicious father and near idol-worship of her artist mother factor prominently. It’s not immediately clear why her father is so adamant…

To Me I Wed

To Me I Wed. K.M. Jackson. 2017. 368 pages. Dafina. [Source: ARC provided couresty of NetGalley.] Lily is great at her job – she plans exciting events, whether weddings or birthday parties.  However, no matter how happy she says she is with her single-hood, being asked when she’s the next to get hitched is getting old.  What better way to shut up the critics with a spectacular wedding … to herself? To Me I Wed has a pretty interesting concept. What made me want to read it was the idea of Lily being surrounded by people who expected her to simply wait for Mr. Right to sweep her off her feet, but instead she opts to show them that she was whole on her own.  The wrench thrown in by her attraction to Vincent makes for a lot of tension, sexual and otherwise.

Sin of a Woman

Sin of a Woman. Kimberla Lawson Roby. 2017. 320 pages. Grand Central Publishing. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Without question, Kimberla Lawson Roby’s Curtis Black series books are always masterfully written in comparison to her other works. Unfortunately, Sin of a Woman failed to reach the relatively high bar. It’s intriguing that she elected to almost duplicate the plot of the most recent saga of Dillon Black with Raven, but appropriate. There was a ton of potential to show once again the self appointed calling, rise and ultimate fail of a misguided “pastor.” However, riddled with redundancy in the background of the characters and the current interactions, the book didn’t fully captivate or advance. Drawn out to unnecessary lengths, the actual deceptive action could have happened a lot sooner granting more time to highlight the growth of other characters. Raven was predictable, Porscha was unbelievable (especially her ending sermon), and Dillon and the Black family were essentially unnecessary. For the first time ever, I’m thinking Mrs. Roby may need to find another set of characters. How much more can the Black Family endure and/or be apart of?!