Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Finding Love Among Flowers: A 3-Star Review of 'Cards from Khloe's Flower Shop'

Cards From Khloe's Flower ShopCards From Khloe's Flower Shop by Isabella Louise Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Year read: 2017

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Khloe owns a flower shop - her dream come true. Every day, she helps customers find their happily ever after by providing stunning floral arrangements and, most importantly, heartfelt cards of sentiment. However, after having her heart broken, she's sure she will never find her own happily ever after. Well, she very nearly jinxes it with her bizarre behavior toward the handsome love interest who enters her door one day. I wanted to shake her on more than one occasion. Her character was real, but I'm not sure that Derek's acceptance of her oddball behavior was realistic. 99% of men would have run to the hills with the first hint of her serious trust issues.

Gabby and Connie were both more interesting than Khloe. I loved Gabby and rooted for her to find happiness again after losing the love of her life. The new relationship was pretty sugary sweet, but that was totally okay! Because you really could see a situation like hers. And poor Connie. While I think the reason why the "mean girl" was so awful was a bit forced, I have definitely seen horrible people target someone with low self-esteem like Connie and just torture them. And her choices in dealing with several situations were very realistic.

The sexy scenes didn't all seem to fit in the same book. Some were pretty chaste and only hinted at intimacy; others were steamier. Nothing too explicit, though (no throbbing love muscles), and the words used were scientific or common usage terms. I am NOT a fan of sexy scenes, but nothing here was objectionable. The best friend talked a little too much about sex, and it did start to get annoying... do people really talk that much about sex with their best friends?

All in all, this is a feel-good tale about three women finding love. The men were all charming and pretty standard chick-lit "awesome." Having more flower shop cards in the book would have been fun. It's a sweet, light read. It's suitable for a day at the pool or curled under a blanket with hot tea.

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Happy Caturday 25 February 2017

This is a book blog, first and foremost, but it's also a book blog written by someone owned by cats. So every Saturday is officially Caturday here at Purrfectly Bookish. I'll share images and tales of my own kitties and any others I meet each week. I also volunteer at the local animal shelter, so you may see some sweet adoptables here too. If you have an awesome kitty, doggy, peeg, ratty, or any other pet you would like to see here, you can either comment with a link to a picture or email me about sharing your cute pictures on some Caturday Saturday. 

More kitties and a PEEG this week. Share your photo links in the comments or contact me about having your sweet fur babies (or scaled babies or feathered babies...) featured on a future Caturday.  

Pat from Durham, NC, USA
My little angel, Pat. She is 4 pounds of fierce personality and sweet power!

Java from St. Joseph, MO, USA
¡Yo quiero Taco Bell bag! 

Mr. Alexander Rozhenko Piggy, of the Houses of Mogh from Kansas City, MO, USA
And his owner's favorite book!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Growing Up Catholic: A Review of 'A Theory of Expanded Love'

A Theory of Expanded LoveA Theory of Expanded Love by Caitlin Hicks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Year read: 2015

I grew up in a “bad” Catholic family in a very Catholic neighborhood. "Bad" because there were only two kids - ten years apart. My parents had even set out only to have two kids, only they had wanted two close together. I had other ideas and arrived ten years after my sister. Marie was born in 1961, and I was born in 1971, so we are both a bit behind the age and time of Annie, but many of her experiences rang true.

Annie is #6 out of thirteen children in a large, strict Catholic family. The author continues to number the kids for the first part of the book, which helps keep track of who is who. Her father is authoritarian, recently retired from the Navy, and her mother seems almost mentally absent from the kids for much of the book - or at least from Annie. Annie is portrayed as her father's favorite and her sister, Jeannie (#7), as her mother's.

Annie is twelve going on thirteen. As the veil of childhood is pulled back from Annie's eyes, she starts developing a critical, self-thinking view of the world. This doesn't go well with the strict Catholic upbringing her father is so much trying to inflict on his children. The father brags to everyone about his large family. He prides himself on being one of the best Catholic families at St. Andrews. Still, he also criticizes the kids that he was held back from promotions and doesn't have a life of luxury because of them. This is an emotionally and sometimes physically abusive man. But despite all his attempts at tight control, his kids are growing up and making their own choices. He betrays his children at many turns to preserve his reputation over what is best for his family. As Annie sees these betrayals, especially to her sister Clara and to Annie herself, her eyes are opened to the hypocrisy.

Abuse is a central theme in this book. There is emotional, physical, and mild sexual abuse ("The Hands"). There is only one very vivid scene when the father uses a leather belt on Annie's hand at the dinner table in front of the whole family. I tend to be sensitive about scenes of abuse in books, but I was not bothered by anything in this novel.

Anyone from a big Catholic family (or any big family) could commiserate and feel compassion for Annie and her plight. It also provides an interesting window into the life of a big family and a Catholic family for anyone from neither. While the main character is a 12-year-old girl, the ideal reading age is a little older than that. It didn't read as a middle-grade novel at all. Times have certainly changed since the 1960s, which is evident in this book. It makes the case for the world being a much better place today than in 1963, so I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone nostalgic about a bygone era. The author does not paint a rosy tale. It is an excellent Coming of Age story about Annie, and I really enjoyed it.

I received a complimentary copy of A Theory of Expanded Love in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cover Reveal: Shattered Fates by Rebecca Roland

Purrfectly Bookish Cover Reveal: Shattered Fates by Rebecca Roland
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive income 
if you make a purchase using these links. Thank you!

Shattered Fates by Rebecca Roland
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Publication Date: May 23, 2017

I am so excited to be a part of the cover reveal for Rebecca Roland's latest book, Shattered Fates. Full disclosure, Rebecca is a friend of mine. I love her Shards of History series independently of that friendship, but it is super fun to know the author of a favorite series. I really enjoy fantasy fiction, and the world-building in this series is very good and very different. Rather than the usual medieval slant most fantasy fiction uses, the Shards of History series is built on the Native American cultures of the Southwest United States. 

The release date for Shattered Fates is May 23, 2017.  I will post my review of this third and final visit with Malia and the Taakwa people closer to that date. I will be sharing my reviews on the first two books in the series soon on my Throwback Thursday feature. The publisher has recently redesigned the covers of Shards of History and Fractured Days, so I wanted to share those as well.  

If you haven't started the series yet, you still have plenty of time to get books 1 and 2 read before May!  What are you waiting for?

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive income 
if you make a purchase using these links. Thank you!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Happy Caturday 18 Feb 2018

This is a book blog, first and foremost, but it's also a book blog written by someone owned by cats. So some Saturdays are Caturdays here at Purrfectly Bookish. I'll share images and tales of my own kitties and any others I meet each week. I also volunteer at the local animal shelter, so you may see some sweet adoptables here too. If you have an awesome kitty, doggy, peeg, ratty, or any other pet you would like to see here, you can either comment with a link to a picture or email me about sharing your cute pictures on some Caturday Saturday. 

The shared photos are starting to roll in!!!  Check out these cute pets!  

Kitler from Mobile, AL, USA

Oskar from San Diego, CA, USA
He had been rescued from the streets....a friend said she saw a man killing cats in an alley, and he was saved from that scene. He's a gorgeous, soft lumpy lump, still scared of a lot of things, but we love him.

Up for Adoption: Sydney
Sydney from Kansas City, MO, USA
 This is our foster dog Sydney. She is a sweet, affectionate greyhound mix (lurcher) looking for a loving forever family with a good tall fence. Her adoption page is here:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Analyzing The Cupcake Caper: A Cozy Mystery with a Scientific Twist and an Adorable Feline Sidekick

The Cupcake Caper (Undercover Cat, #1)The Cupcake Caper by Kelle Z. Riley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like cozy mysteries... especially ones with cats or dogs or other adorable pets who get involved with solving crime. You need to engage in a little willful suspension of disbelief when it comes to cozy mysteries. Some of my favorite mystery solvers are librarians, pet store managers, and retirees - ordinary people who have a knack for sorting out clues to figure out whodunnit. I found Ms. Riley's choice of a scientist for her Sherlock-esque heroine, Dr. Bree Mayfield-Watson, in this book to be inspired. You really could see someone who is very analytical tackling solving a mystery for the sheer sake of discovery! This first in a series has the ubiquitous plot device of our main character being a suspect in a murder case - a storyline often used to get an ordinary person involved in solving a crime in order to clear their name. Given how logical and left-brained Bree is, I think she could become engaged in figuring out who murdered her boss without that particular plot device.

I was annoyed - put off, maybe? - a little by a couple unlikely choices Bree made, particularly when she withheld information from the police. Given that she endangered herself at almost every instance of this, I hope our main character learns in future additions to the series! The plot twist at the end was fun and is definitely setting up for a new twist on the cozy mystery genre with this series. I will definitely read the next book in the series when it comes out (no date given yet).

I can't forget to mention Sherlock - and I don't mean Bree. Sherlock is the cat Bree winds up with. Sherlock helps Bree solve the mystery. He is one smart kitty. I definitely hope we see as much and more of him in future installments. So, yes, even with our analytical, scientist heroine, there's a cute pet involved. There is no romance yet in the series either though there is potential for it. I do like to highlight when there is "sexy" content in a book, and there is none in this book. Just some possibly too-goofy ogling of two men in Bree's life.

Disclosure Statement:

I received a free Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinions or the content of my review. My feedback is voluntary and unbiased. My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an opportunity to read and review this book.

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Happy Caturday 11 Feb 2017

This is a book blog first and foremost, but it's also a book blog written by someone owned by cats. So every Saturday is officially Caturday here at Purrfectly Bookish. I'll share images and tales of my own kitties and any others I meet each week. I also volunteer at the local animal shelter so you may see some sweet adoptables here too. If you have an awesome kitty you would like to see here, you can either comment with a link to a picture or email me about sharing your cute pictures on some Caturday Saturday. 
Bodhicitta might be just a teensy-weensy bit spoiled.

Luna pondering Life, the Universe and Everything.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

An Unusual Day in Portland: A Review of 'Today Will Be Different' by Maria Semple

Today Will Be DifferentToday Will Be Different by Maria Semple
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Year read: 2017

We're back in Portland, revisiting the world of Maria Semple's previous masterpiece, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" I absolutely adored that book, often finding myself in fits of laughter as I flipped through its pages. The writing style was refreshingly unique, and it spun an entertaining tale in its own quirky, roundabout fashion. "Today Will Be Different" isn't a direct sequel, but keen-eyed readers will spot familiar places like Galer Street School and even a mention or two of characters from Bernadette's world. 

But let me be frank—this book doesn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor. Our protagonist, Eleanor, comes across as incredibly scatterbrained, manic, and, well, downright self-absorbed. She begins the day with a resolution that "today will be different," yet as events unfold, it becomes painfully evident that, for all its wild twists, this day isn't all that different from her usual routine. She harbors disdain for her best friend, treats her son poorly, and is so wrapped up in her own world that her husband opts to withhold an important aspect of his life because he doubts her capacity for understanding and support. Eleanor is not a likable character by any stretch of the imagination. 

Now, there's merit in exploring unlikable characters in literature, but I struggled to find that value here. Nevertheless, I gave it three stars for its well-crafted writing and moments of genuine humor amidst all the chaos. The humor certainly shines through at times. However, I can't wholeheartedly recommend this book. If you're new to Maria Semple's work, I'd suggest starting elsewhere, and if you're a fan of "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" don't invest your time hoping for a similar experience.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

This Book is Not About Dragons: A Hilarious Adventure for Kids

This Book Is Not About DragonsThis Book Is Not About Dragons by Shelley Moore Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Year read: 2017

My Review
This book is hilarious. My 9yo daughter adored it and giggled uproariously the whole way through. I actually didn't get to read it to her... she insisted on reading it to me with the greatest of gusto. On each page, our delusional hero gets more and more insistent there are NO DRAGONS in this book! Miss R enjoyed pointing out all the evidence to the contrary and all the other hidden fun within its pages. We are a dragon-loving family, and this book is a new favorite among dragon-themed books for us.

Miss R's Review
It was a very funny book. I suggest it to lots of kids who like funny books. I really loved reading the book. It sounded really funny, so I read it to Mom. It was one of the best books I have ever read.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Painting Life's Masterpiece: A Review of 'I'll Give You the Sun' by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the SunI'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Year read: 2015

I started reading this book way back in March as part of the TBR Pile Reading Challenge at Bookish. That challenge features a read-along every other month with two sets of discussion questions - one on the 15th and one on the last day of the month. I got my first set of discussion questions in and posted them here. I set the book aside to read some other books and never got back to it. I have a copy from the library, so last week, when I saw I was running out of renewals, I decided I wanted to finish it before I had to return it. I'm so glad I did. While the first half of the book is engaging, due to the nature and enormity of the secrets being withheld, it is a bit confusing. There are so many unanswered questions. As the puzzle pieces fall into place in the second half, a rich story of family, fate, and finding your true self is built to a climactic - and happy - resolution.

Both Jude and Noah will, at times, endear you and annoy you. A terrible tragedy has separated these inseparable twins, and it will take an odd series of remarkable events to bring them back together. Most of the supporting cast, including a ghost or two, are well-developed and relatable. I felt that Oscar was overdrawn - all motorcycles, tattoos, checkered past with a James Dean swagger. While the character was a necessary part of the story, I think he could and should have been less of a caricature. That being said, the book is told from a first-person perspective, and we “see” this characterization of Oscar from Jude’s perspective. The author also does a pretty big disservice to another character nicknamed Zephyr. Again, I think this is the result of holding to Jude’s perspective, but it would have been nice to see Zephyr redeemed.

I really like the writing style - once I got used to it. Noah, in particular, writes in colors and art. His descriptions of everyday life are as if he were describing everything as artwork. He says he can see people’s souls - his mother’s is a massive sunflower so big there is hardly room for her organs. Most of his inner dialog is descriptive, and every scene in his life includes a note on how he would paint it: (Self-Portrait: Throwing Armfuls of Air into the Air). I would recommend this to anyone who likes art or is an artist and who enjoys young adult fiction. While there are sexual situations, nothing is graphic. For the average teenage reader, I would recommend grade 9 and up. I would let my advanced 12-year-old son read it, but he would not like it due to the smoochy stuff. (Yay! So happy about that. How long do I have?).

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Welcome to Purrfectly Bookish!

Welcome to Purrfectly Bookish!  My name is HeatherAnne. Here, you will find book reviews and probably more than a few pictures of pets, including our four cute cats,  our Coonhound, and our ever-changing population of foster kittens. I live in a suburb of Kansas City, MO, USA, where I homeschool my two children and otherwise do too much. Check out some of my businesses at

Purrfectly Bookish is not my first blog, but this is the first one devoted exclusively to books and my love of reading. My preferred genres include fantasy, women’s fiction, young adult, and cozy mysteries (particularly if there are clever cats involved). You will also see reviews related to our homeschooling adventures, such as non-fiction books on history or science and great read-aloud chapter books. For fun, join me on many Saturdays when the pets take over.

As a super busy mom, I really appreciate good referrals in all aspects of my life. It takes so much time to find the right resource. When we lean on friends and get their input, so many things are much easier. It does take a village, after all. Let me be your mom-friend book recommender. I welcome your input, comments, and book recommendations! I look forward to making many new friends on this book adventure!


two cats snuggling watching birds outside window
Bodhi & Luna - can't talk... bird watching

Baby Jack

Gummy Bear