Madly. Ruthie Knox. 2017. 273 pages. Loveswept. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Ruthie Knox has, once again, created a story that snatched me in from the beginning. What’s not intriguing about a young woman jetting off to find and drag her mom back to Wisconsin from New York when she’s disappeared … yet again? The story then follows Allie’s nuanced relationships with her family and the new relationship with Winston, whom she runs into in a bar while spying on her mother. The budding relationship, while significant, actually doesn’t overpower the overarching story about Allie’s search for her mother. There is a great deal of connections between Winston and Allie, which serve to push the story forward in exciting ways. I never completely knew what was going to happen next, and found I was often skeptical when the characters seemed to be certain of what was going on around them.
Bossed. Sloane Howell. 2017. 203 pages. LoveSwept. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Bossed is a romance centered around strong-willed Jenny and her eventual and equally-stubborn boss Ethan. Their first meeting is predictably antagonistic, a quality that carries throughout the book. Ethan runs a tight ship at his sports management agency, and Jenny is a constant foil that he can’t resist. Their sexual attraction is, of course, instant and provides a driving force for the book. Although the plot is pretty interesting and certainly keeps one reading, the nuances of the story and characters left me skeptical and struck me as unrealistic. The power struggle between Ethan and Jenny is realistic; his reaction to her challenging his authority in the workplace is completely contradictory and frankly, unbelievable.
You Can’t Win them All, Rainbow Fish. Marcus Pfister. 2017. 32 pages. NorthSouth Books. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] There’s a reason Rainbow Fish is so beloved, and this continuation of the story is a perfect example of why. In You Can’t Win Them All, Rainbow Fish learns an important lesson about sportsmanship and skill. While playing hide and seek with friends, Rainbow Fish is dismayed that he can’t immediately find his friends, and even more disappointed when he is quickly found in his own hiding space. However, with the help of his friends, he begins to understand what it means to sometimes win, sometimes lose, but always have a good attitude toward the game.
My Good Morning. Kim Crockett-Corson, Jelena Brezovec, ill.. 2017. 32 pages. Clavis Books. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] For any parent who has a spirited child who has their own style and timeline of doing things (especially on those rushed mornings), this book will be heartwarming and reassuring. It follows a little girl who pops up one morning ready to go! She recounts all of the things she does to get ready for the day, such as washing up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and getting to her classroom. All pretty mundane things, but she turns them into an adventure, with her parents hanging on for the ride.
Shanti Saves Her Money. Lisa Bullard, Christine Schneider, ill. 2013. 24 pages. Millbrook Press. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] It can be hard to articulate concepts around money to children. However, Shanti Saves Her Money is a cute, easy-to-understand exploration of saving & spending. It explores family spending, taking into account research on cost. I also appreciate how it factors in simple math, such as having to figure out the total cost for amusement park tickets for the entire family. The concept of saving is made simple, with Shanti’s jars. This is a realistic way to show kids how to spend, versus how to put things away long-term, like in a bank. The visit to the bank was a novel idea – how many kids really understand what the bank is and how they can use it?