Saturday, March 25, 2017

Happy Caturday #8

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. 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. 

Daisy from Overland Park, KS, USA
Sun Cat!

Snowzie from Prairie Village, KS, USA

Maggie & Joey from Lenexa, KS, USA
Road tripping with their human, Gail

Millie from Shawnee, KS, USA

Thursday, March 23, 2017

TBT Review: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

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if you make a purchase using these links. Thank you!

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
TBT review date: January 29, 2015

Publisher's description

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms.

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal.

On the surface, Ordinary Grace is the story of the murder of a beautiful young woman, a beloved daughter and sister. At heart, it’s the story of what that tragedy does to a boy, his family, and ultimately the fabric of the small town in which he lives. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, it is a moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

My review

“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.”

Ordinary Grace follows the lives of two young boys in small town Minnesota the summer of 1961. Death comes often that summer and Frank and Jake find themselves more and more thrust into a grown-up world as they navigate the dynamics of their family and their town.

My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. In the sense that this book also focused on the kids' perspective in a small town in a "simpler" time, Ordinary Grace reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm sure my enjoyment of Ordinary Grace benefited from my love of the Harper Lee classic. This book was, though, at it's core, a who-dun-it - an enjoyable one at that. Some "conclusions" were pretty obvious from the start but many twists and turns took you by surprise.

The father, Nathan, was an almost unbelievably gracious and forgiving man, while the mother, Ruth, played foil with great emotional instability. Probably my favorite character was Gus, a friend of Nathan's from the war, who was constantly a rock upon which the boys could lean and a lighthouse in the dark to help Frank and Jake navigate tough issues. Yet, he was flawed in very real, authentic ways.

The one distraction for me was the layout of the town. I don't think the author used a real town or a map of his imaginary town or he was bad at describing directions of things. Many times I found myself "lost" in town (no, the trestle is the OTHER WAY!). Or a description that something was past of the edge of town, with a real sense that it was far away - tucked away on purpose - but then it was only a 5 minute car ride later on. Or a bike ride in the middle of the night from the poor part of town to WAY up in the high rent area - again, earlier depicted as far away - that takes very little time. Given how I mentally "Google map" the books I read, these discrepancies were jarringly noteworthy as I read.

All and all, an engaging read. This was a book club selection for me and not something I would have likely picked up on my own.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Happy Caturday #7

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. 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. 

Peaceful Fifi from Prairie Village, KS, USA

Frankie from Beaverton, OR, USA

Goo & Peapa from San Francisco, CA, USA
Mother & daughter tabby beauties

Molly & Babs from Ocala, FL, USA

Thursday, March 16, 2017

TBT Review: The Sound of Glass by Karen White

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

The Sound of Glass by Karen White
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW
Publication date: May 12, 2015
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
TBT review date: May 12, 2015

Publisher's description

The New York Times bestselling author of A Long Time Gone now explores a Southern family’s buried history, which will change the life of the woman who unearths it, secret by shattering secret. 

It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward’s husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news—Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal’s reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.

Charting the course of an uncertain life—and feeling guilt from her husband’s tragic death—Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life—a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old half-brother.

Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country.

My review

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

You may have noticed that I've been pretty hard on the last couple realistic fiction books I reviewed. Well, that ends here. In fact, I've had a hard time thinking of anything really critical to say about The Sound of Glass. Karen White has created a wonderful set of characters, broken and flawed, but so very worthy of compassion. [NOTE: a downside to throwback reviews is the references that now don't make sense! The "pretty hard on the last couple" comment is from 2015... not current.]

At its core, The Sound of Glass is about an unlikely sisterhood of survivors of domestic violence. They are tied together across decades and by coincidence. Every character has tragedy in their background (or in their present). Each chapter shifts in voice between characters. In current time, there is Merritt, a recent widow of a violent man and Loralee, Merritt's step-mom who is only five years older. With a voice spanning across the decades before, from 1955 to 1993, the reader hears Edith's perspective. Edith is the owner of the grand Southern home that is the backdrop to the story. She was the grandmother of Merritt's recently deceased husband and Merritt finds herself inheriting this old house, half a country (and, practically, a whole world) away from the only home she has ever known in Maine. 

Ms. White took a rather complicated story line with a very complex set of characters and wove them beautifully together into a story of new chances and redemptions. My favorite character was Loralee. Though all the characters in the book exhibited strength and grace (even and most especially when they didn't believe themselves to possess either), Loralee was the one who helped build up and fortify everyone else. She had more strength, sass and constitution in her pinky than most of us have in our whole bodies. And she did it all in lipstick and high heels. A reader who has never lived in the South may not find her character believable, but, having lived in Alabama for 15 years (Loralee's home state), I can say she is completely believable - a steel magnolia, indeed. 

When a book covers a trigger issue - in this case domestic violence - I like to touch on it so readers who may be sensitive to the topic can make an informed decision. While domestic violence is a central theme of this book, there are no scenes graphically depicting it. There are references to what happened - a hand broken in a car door, being held under water - but all references are made in remembrance or in the words of a letter. There is one first hand account when the abusive grandson slaps Edith in one of her "flashback" chapters. This book is most about the victims finding themselves again and being strong. 

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys women's lit, realistic fiction and books set in the South. The book also has a big mystery element to it for those who like a good mystery. Both Merritt and her late husband hid secrets from each other, as such, much of the book is Merritt uncovering his secrets and revealing her own. Be sure to keep a box of tissues handy! 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Happy Caturday #6

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. 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 late Buff from San Francisco, CA
"This dental floss is terrible!"

Sheldon from Overland Park, KS, USA

Ariel from Lee's Summit, MO, USA
Making her opinion heard.

Ginger Blue from Norman, OK, USA
So pretty!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Kids' Review: Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

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

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Publisher's description

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

My review

Oh! The feels! This book will get any parent right in the feels. It is told from the perspective of Jackson as his family is going through really hard times (again!).  We all want to protect our children from the harsh realities of the world, especially if those harsh realities involve our own personal finances! Jackson knows what's going on - he's a big kid and wishes his parents would just level with him instead of trying to pretend everything is happy-go-lucky all the time. And just as things are getting really bad, fact-loving, scientist-wannabe Jackson finds his old imaginary friend, Crenshaw, has shown back up in his life. 

Crenshaw turns out to be Jackson's Jiminy Cricket, helping him through a really tough time. He is a big, funny cat who always has the right advice. Jackson wishes Crenshaw away - after all, he's too old for imaginary friends - but just like a real friend, Crenshaw isn't going anywhere as long as Jackson still needs him. This book covers some pretty dark topics for a book aimed at elementary kids - homelessness, sick parents, hunger. It would have been hard to pull off in an age-appropriate manner without the plot device of a funny, imaginary friend. For all of Crenshaw's necessity and likeability, I still think he wasn't as refined or as integral to the story as he could or should have been. Either go with the fantasy element of an imaginary friend or not. He felt underdeveloped.  I still really liked the book though and would love to have my own big, fluffy Crenshaw following me around.  

I would recommend this as a read aloud with your kids. There are a lot of big topics in here that kids are likely going to have questions about and will need a parent's immediate and heartfelt answers. And it's pretty scary - the idea of losing your home and a sick parent. Common Sense Media has a few talking point questions you might want to bring up with your kids. This is not a light and fluffy read but I recommend it nonetheless. This is exactly the sort of story that helps develop empathy for others and we need more empathy in the world - now and always. 

Miss R's review

It was a pretty cool book. I like that it's kind of sad and touching but at the end, it's the not happiest but it's pretty nice. I don't want to spoil it. 

Crenshaw is a cat. I liked to imagine him as a purple cat but he was supposed to be black and white. He tries to help Jackson be safe. He doesn't really get too come and help Jackson that much. It's only when an imaginary friend's real friend needs help that they can come help them. I think it was a really cute book. I loved Crenshaw the cat.

I think it would be good for kids who don't mind a little bit of sadness in their books. It might be too much for kids who are super sensitive to sad stuff.  

Thursday, March 9, 2017

TBT Review: Shards of History by Rebecca Roland

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

Shards of History by Rebecca Roland
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
TBT Review Date: May 11, 2015

Publisher's description

Feared and reviled, the fierce, winged creatures known as Jeguduns live in the cliffs surrounding the Taakwa valley. When Malia discovers an injured Jegudun in the valley, she risks everything — exile from the village, loss of her status as clan mother in training, even her life — to befriend and save the surprisingly intelligent creature. But all of that pales when she learns the truth: the threat to her people is bigger and more malicious than the Jeguduns. Lurking on the edge of the valley is an Outsider army seeking to plunder and destroy her people. It’s only a matter of time before the Outsiders find a way through the magic that protects the valley — a magic that can only be created by Taakwa and Jeguduns working together. 

My review

In terms of world building, Rebecca has done it beautifully in Shards of History. She eschews the traditional Medieval Europe angle of most fantasy novels for a decidedly American Indian one. Malia is a strong heroine who must make extremely dangerous choices, that fly in the face of generations of history, in order to save her people. In Malia's world, gender roles are somewhat reversed. I say “somewhat” because the men are still the hunters and warriors, but the women are the leaders and the men must show them full respect and deference. Malia's mother is the clan mother and Malia is training to take her place. 

In order to save her people, Malia must overcome countless obstacles, the biggest being her own people’s prejudice and fear of the very creatures who are protecting them from grave danger. The Taakwa are so fearful of the Jegudun that anyone caught sympathizing with the winged creatures is exiled out of the villages. The twist on why the Taakwa fear the Jeguden is brilliant and creates an incredible nuanced layer to the story that Rebecca weaves magnificently. Malia must navigate generations of fear, a deranged husband, forest fires, potential exile and her own sometimes faltering self confidence to save her people. In the end, she trusts her instinct and her heart and neither leads her astray. 

One interesting facet to the novel is that we hear not only Malia’s perspective, but also Kushtrim’s, the leader of the Maddions (those are the bad guys), as well has Rasmus’s, an exile who aids Malia. Kushtrim almost becomes a sympathetic character. We rarely get to see both points of view in a struggle of opposing sides like this. When we do, the tactic is often used to paint the bad guy as even worse than we could learn just from the hero or heroine’s perspective, but Kushtrim’s troubles are painted with an empathetic brush. While I won’t say you’ll wind up rooting for him, you definitely will find sympathy in your heart for his plight. 

As with all fantasy, the author is free to add in magic, mystery and unusual beings to create their world. Shards of History has quite a few new and different twists that will delight and surprise many fantasy readers. However, Malia's tenacity and struggles are very real and approachable even for the non-fantasy reader. And for thrill seekers, be prepared to not put the book down by about two-thirds of the way through because once the climactic action starts, it does not let up. It will keep you reading just a little more, just a little more, just a little more - don't start it after midnight if you have an early day the next morning. There is some language and some graphic depictions of violence. There are a few minor sexual references and the “bad guys”, the Maddions, are not respectful of women at all. If you need an age reference I would let my fantasy-loving 12 year read this book. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy and to anyone who enjoys a strong heroine. 

P.S.: I'm trying new things with my images instead of just using the stock book cover. What do you think?  That being said, the publisher has issued this book with a new cover now. Here is the new cover if you are buying the book so you know you have the right one.  It won't be what you see on my copy above. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

WWW Wednesday 08 March 2017

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

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. I won't share every Wednesday but I do think it's fun to occasionally check in with what everyone is reading so be sure to share in the comments. If you share your answers on social media, be sure to link to your responses on the main site and visit some of the other contributors.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Current: I have a couple books going at the moment. I almost always have two - one I'm reading to/with my daughter and one I'm reading for myself. With my daughter, I'm reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. For myself, I recently started on Daughter of Deaths by Christopher Mannino. It is the third and final book in the Scythe Wielder's Secret series. But I just wasn't fully in the mood for fantasy (rare, I know, but it happens). So, I've set it aside temporarily in order to read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  I liked The Husband's Secret but didn't really like Truly Madly Guilty so I'm giving this author one more shot. 


Recently finished: I finished Cards from Khloe's Flower Shop by Isabella Louise Anderson last week and shared my review. I haven't had as much time to read this week so nothing finished more recent than that.  Oh, well, I did read with my daughter during her history time yesterday. We read Tiddalick the Greedy Frog: An Aboriginal Dreamtime Story retold by Nicholas Wu.  That Tiddalick was a greedy, greedy frog! But fortunately a little eel saved the day.

Reading next:  SO EXCITED to read Shattered Fates by Rebecca Roland next. It is the third and final installment in her Shards of History series. I was part of the cover reveal last month. It isn't due out until May so I won't get to share my review with you right away, but watch for my reviews of the first two in the series on some Thursdays soon. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I am fairly new to Bloglovin but I know several of my readers enjoy it and use it to keep track of their favorite blogs. In order to "claim" my blog on the site, I need to post the link above... so here 'tis. My Blogliving' claim post.  If you use the site, please follow me!  

Review: Lost Under a Ladder by Linda O. Johnston

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

Lost Under a Ladder by Linda O. Johnston
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: October 8th 2014
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Publisher's description

Is it luck or is it . . . Destiny?

Are superstitions real? Rory Chasen doesn't think so--until her beloved fiance walks under a ladder and is killed by a car five minutes later. Needing closure, Rory takes her dog Pluckie to a town called Destiny, where superstitions are a way of life.

Rory's visit to Destiny takes an unexpected turn when Pluckie saves the life of Martha, the owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique. To show her gratitude, Martha offers Rory a job at the pet store. But when Martha becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the local bookshop owner, Rory refuses to believe that she would do it. Rory is convinced the real killer still roams Destiny's streets, and she must uncover the truth before Martha is hauled off to jail. 

My Review

It was cute enough. I got a bit tired of reading the word "superstition" over and over. It was established very early that this town was based on superstition and a few reminders here and there would have been fine… but it felt like nearly every paragraph featured the word in various forms (noun, adjective, etc). Some of the setup of the story seemed a bit far fetched. The protagonist, Rory, visits the town of Destiny after her fiance dies tragically moments after walking under a ladder. She wants to find out whether or not superstitions are true. Who does that? Once she gets there, Rory, a pet store manager back home, finds the local pet shop owner collapsed in her store. Not knowing Rory AT ALL, this woman asks her to run her business - her livelihood - while she is recovering. I don't know many business owners who would entrust their livelihood to a complete stranger on a moment's notice... nor many complete strangers who would upheave their own lives to accept this challenge! There are other instances where the device to move the plot along is pretty clunky. 

BUT the characters are likable. While, annoying at first, Rory starts to grow on you as well as Justin and other characters from the unusual little tourist town. Now that the background story has been laid out, however inelegantly, I see some fun potential in this series. I haven't yet decided if I will read another in the series yet but I'll probably give it at least one more before I make a final call on the series. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2017

My first month of returning to blogging is behind me. I'm still working out the best day-to-day schedule for me. With a busy homeschool household to run and a part-time job that often feels more like a full-time job, carving out time for anything is challenging. I consider my blog part of my "me-time" though and I otherwise have very little room for that right now. So I try hard to make the time to come here and share. I'm trying first thing in the morning for the next couple weeks right now since late at night wasn't working. Thanks for bearing with me as I find my groove! Please be sure to share any posts that interest you with friends. "Word of social media" (the modern "word of mouth"?) is still the best way to grow a following.  

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

Books Reviewed 


Throwback Thursday Reviews


Kids' Book Reviews


Other Book-Related Posts

Cover Reveal of Shattered Fates and
Monthly Manly Review of The Republic of Thieves

Reading Challenge Updates

  1. Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelley
  2. Sleight of Paw by Sofie Kelley
  3. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
  4. Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard
  5. Lost Under a Ladder by Linda O. Johnston

What's in a Name?  - 2 out of 6 books read
    2. A Building: Cards from Khloe's Flower Shop by Isabella Louise Anderson

    6. A title in which at least two words share the same first letter – alliteration!: Lost Under a Ladder by Linda O. Johnston 

Diverse Reads Book Challenge - 0 out of 12 books read

   This challenge didn't set an exact number of books to read. I set my own goal of 12 books - one for each of the 11 categories they suggest and one "freebie". I need to get to crackin' on this one.  

Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge - 18 out of 50 books read

   This is my own goal again.  Since I also read a lot of books with my kids, this is a pretty conservative goal. I might extend it next year.  

Instagram Pic of the Month

I seriously need to up my Instagram picture-taking game. In the meantime, my top picture was one sent in by a reader from St. Joseph, MO, USA of their adorable cat, Java.  ¡Yo quiero Taco Bell bag!

Most Popular Blog Post

Most Popular Book-Related Blog Post

Happy Caturday #5

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. 

[This weekend was super busy - so I prepped this post earlier in the week, but failed at scheduling it to post.]

Caturday has gone a little bit to the dogs this week! But Luna and Bodhi had to make an appearance so it wasn't all canine.  

Luna and Bodhicitta enjoying some Cat TV together

Our Coonhound, Birdie, with her tail in a blur of wagging.

Laura from Birmingham, AL

Thursday, March 2, 2017

TBT Review: Season of Salt & Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe

Purrfectly Bookish: Season of Salt & Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive income 
if you make a purchase using these links. Thank you!

Season of Salt & Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication Date: April 1, 2015 (Australian market); September 1, 2015 (US market)
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
TBT Review Date: June 12, 2015

Publisher's description

Francesca 'Frankie' Caputo has it all figured out. She's finally going to marry the man she loves and then they will live happily ever after. But when a freak accident cuts her fiancé Alex's life tragically short, all of Frankie's future plans suddenly disintegrate.

Drowning in grief, Frankie flees from her overbearing Italian-American family, and escapes to an abandoned cabin owned by Alex's parents in a remote part of Washington forest.

As her heart slowly begins to heal, Frankie discovers a freedom that's both exhilarating and unsettling to everything she has always known for sure. So when her old life comes crashing back in, Frankie must decide: will she slip quietly back into her safe, former existence? Or will a stronger, wiser Frankie Caputo stand up and claim her new life?

My Review

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

Frankie has just lost her husband - or rather, the man who was supposed to have already been her husband if it hadn’t been for him waiting so VERY long to propose. Frankie & Alex started dating in high school and over a decade later, they were just in the throws of planning a wedding when Alex dies in a surfing accident. Frankie runs away from the funeral to Alex’s family’s old cabin in the woods. She hopes to escape the pain of her losses -.her mother and now her fiance - but instead finds a colorful cast of characters who help her find a path through her pain. Along the way, she reconnects with her sister and forms a deeper bond with her would-be brother-in-law. 

The best characters in the book are the secondary characters. Frankie herself is not terribly likeable. She hung on to Alex for years past when most people would have demanded a significant other to “fish or cut bait”. While at the cabin, Frankie learns that Alex had secrets from her that shake her even more. But, honestly, with many of the descriptions of Alex, it didn’t surprise me at all and made me wonder, yet again, why on Earth Frankie stayed with him. She really lacks self-confidence in the area of Alex and her job and many other aspects, but then conversely, she acts very “better than thou” to her sister. Her sister was a a bit of a troublemaker but Frankie was portrayed as pretty uncaring and unsupportive of her. Frankie has spent all her life trying to be “the good one” and blames her sister for this but ultimately, I think this is on Frankie’s shoulders. Alex, even dead, also turns out to not be a terribly likeable character. 

The author makes up for much of this by creating a cast of secondary characters who are all deeply caring and likeable. Her sister Bella is a much stronger and caring person than Frankie gives her credit for in her own mind and memory. Alex’s brother, Daniel, turns out to be more caring and kind than Alex ever was. And the cabin neighbors, Jack, Huia, and Merriem, help Frankie in a myriad of ways. The secondary characters really redeemed the book for me. Frankie wasn’t a  sympathetic person to me and I have a difficult time continuing a book when I don’t like the main characters. She is redeemed in the end though, thanks to the lovely friends she makes in the woods. And that redemptive nature of the book, the fact that Frankie does learn and grow, won back the book for me. I did enjoy the book and, as a big fan of camping, I had no arguments with the serene setting that the author did a magnificent job of painting in the mind’s eye. 

Note: The cover here is from the Australian publication which is the one I received from Netgalley. The US cover is different. This book is due to be released to the US market on September 1, 2015.