A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO CANNABIS by Nikki Furrer is the BEST Book on this subject I have ever come across. Recipe for Cannabis Lollipops Here.

Title: A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO CANNABIS
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Subtitle: Using Marijuana to Feel Better, Look Better, Sleep Better – and Get High Like A Lady
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Author: NIKKI FURRER
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Genre: NON-FICTION, HEALTH, CANNABIS, RECIPES

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Length: 215 PAGES

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Publisher: WORKMAN PUBLISHING
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: DECEMBER 25, 2018

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ISBN: 978-1-5235-0200-4

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Price: $16.95 USD (Softcover) AND WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!!

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A woman’s handbook to demystifying the world of weed, whether it’s being used for pain relief, a moment of calm, or a fit of giggles.

Women of all ages are using cannabis to feel and look better. For rookies and experienced marijuana users alike, this lively, information-filled book is just the supportive guide you need to find the right dose to relieve anxiety, depression, and inflammation, and mitigate the onset of dementia and other signs of aging. Plus boost moods, ease aches, even lose weight, and get restful sleep. And a dose just for fun? Well, that works, too!

Here’s how to navigate the typical dispensary, with its overwhelming options of concentrates, edibles, vape pens, and tinctures. Understand the amazing health-giving compounds found in cannabis—THC, CBD, terpenes, and more—and how to use topicals to reduce pain and give your skin a healthy glow. There’s even advice on how not to get high but still reap all the amazing health benefits.

Plus over twenty recipes, from edibles like Classic Pot Brownies and Netflix and Chill Caramels to self-care products like Radiant Glow Serum and Happy Body Bar.

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MY REVIEW:

In the introduction to “A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis” the author states:

“Now that I am in my forties, cannabis makes me feel prettier and more relaxed than I ever was in my twenties or thirties. Even after a car accident fractured my spine and created permanent back pain, medical marijuana makes me healthier and happier than I’ve ever been before.”

This quote, especially the part about her permanent back pain struck a chord with me. I have spent the last ten years in constant pain. I have to take pain medication just to be able to get up and have a shower in the morning. Anyone who lives with debilitating pain will understand me when I say, “I am willing to try anything to reduce my pain.”

With the booming marijuana industry in both Canada and the United States, books are finally being written and research is finally being conducted out in the open on this plant that was once a staple in society. Hemp has been used for hundreds of years, and now that same plant that is used to make items such as rope and even clothing, can be openly studied for its medicinal qualities.

“Sure, there are lots of books about marijuana – cookbooks and gardening books and books about the history of marijuana legalization – but I couldn’t find a book that could take my mother through her first shopping trip at the dispensary and her first time getting high.” “So I wrote this book for anyone who wants to feel better, look better, and sleep better. Everything we teach new patients at the dispensary is in these pages, including how cannabis works, why it works, and how to make marijuana gummies at home. Plus there are a few surprises in this book that you won’t learn at the dispensary.”

“Cannabis doesn’t just make us feel high and happy; it also has powerful analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antianxiety, and antidepressant qualities.

I have been searching “high” (pun intended) and low for a book about cannabis that actually answers all my questions. My goal has been to find a book that I can use as a guide to assist me in deciding what form, what strength, and what strain of marijuana might be able to help reduce the crippling back pain I suffer from on a daily basis. With all the hype surrounding cannabis lately; especially since October of 2018 when marijuana became legal for both medical and recreational use in Canada, I thought I would have no problem finding multiple books containing the information I was seeking, but wowzer, was I ever wrong. I have bought and read over ten books on this subject and this is the first and only book that was not a complete waste of my time and money.

I knew I was onto something special by the end of the first eight pages. Why? Because of the following few sentences: “Legal cannabis is curative and restorative. It makes us sleep better, eat better, and feel better. But it’s important to have realistic expectations, so no, I will not tell you that cannabis cures cancer … [also, to] be perfectly clear: I am not suggesting you change any medication unless you discuss it with your doctor.”

Author Nikki Furrer has impressed me tremendously, her vast knowledge of the cannabis industry is not merely academic, nor is it solely based on other people’s experiences. Her nearly encyclopedic knowledge of the various methods of ingestion and of the different strengths, mixtures, and ratios of THC to CBD is exactly the type of information that I had almost given up on finding. I am so glad that I didn’t give up.

My advice to other people (both men and women) is that if you are planning to spend some of your hard earned money on a book about marijuana, make sure this is the book you choose. I received a free eBook copy of “A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis” through the Publisher and NetGalley, but I was so impressed that I also bought a physical copy of the book so that I would always be able to look up certain points whenever I want to, as well as to have the included recipes to hand at all times.

I highly recommend that you purchase your own copy of this book whether you are planning to partake of cannabis yourself or not. Because there is so much misinformation floating around currently, it is important to have a solid, reliable source of information, especially if you are a parent, or just a concerned member of society. If you are informed, you will be able to better understand both sides of the marijuana debate.

I rate this book as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. If it were possible I would rate it even higher. Very few books receive my coveted 5+ Star rating but this book clearly deserves the highest rating possible. I would like to personally thank Author Nikki Furrer for creating THE DEFINITIVE BOOK ON CANNABIS.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me, I am off to partake of some cannabis myself.

** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nikki Furrer grows legal cannabis in several states. She works as a consultant for dispensaries, cultivators, processors and edible makers, and has created edible and topical products for both medical and recreational markets.

Nikki Furrer is the CEO of Fleur, a cannabis company that develops strains and products with a focus on women’s health. Nikki is a cannabis lawyer, cultivator and budtender. Before joining the marijuana industry, Nikki owned Puddn’head Books, an independent bookstore. She currently lives in St. Louis, MO.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

CANNABIS RECIPE FOR LOLLIPOPS:

(From A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO CANNABIS)

DIY Cannabis Lollipops for 4/20

Hard candies are a sweet, discreet way of medicating on the go, and they can be made in any dose, color, flavor, size or shape. Hard crack temperatures and pouring syrup as fast as you can seems intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be making professional looking, gourmet marijuana hard candies in your own kitchen.

Hard crack is the hottest stage of candy making, and the temperature is a precise 300 degrees. If the syrup does not get heated to 300 degrees, the candy will be sticky and soft. If the syrup is cooked over 305 degrees, it will caramelize and turn brown. Heat the sugar syrup on a high heat. Longer cook times increase browning of the syrup. Heating the solution as quickly as possible keeps the color clear and prevents caramelization of the syrup.

We do need a few tools and supplies. The most important is a candy thermometer. Hard candy must reach an exact 300 degrees, and if you try to make suckers without one, I promise, you will make a mess.

I have sucker molds that make each pop perfectly, but you can make suckers without molds. Spread parchment paper out on the counter. Then, when your syrup is ready to be poured, simply pour out dollops of syrup onto the parchment paper and roll a sucker stick into each dollar of hardening syrup.

The flavor of a lollipop comes from whatever flavor you add. LorAnn oils are perfect for flavoring suckers.

I love to play with color, so I have a rainbow supply of food coloring. Add food coloring one drop at a time.

Once you have all of your supplies and tools, get everything ready before you start boiling sugar. Once the syrup hits 300 degrees, you have to work fast.

Rose petals and other edible flowers make elegant, beautiful lollipops. Fill half of a sucker mold with syrup, then place a rose petal, lavender, carnation, honeysuckle, violets or candied lilacs in the mold and cover with enough syrup to finish filling the lollipop. Add cardamom to rose petal pops. Use ginger or mango flavoring with mint leaves.

Skip the coloring if you want to use flowers, but you can add a drop of coloring for a hint of color around the flower.

A gram of cannabis concentrate (like wax, shatter, live resin, etc) can have from 500-900 milligrams. This recipe makes 22-24 lollipops, so they should be between 30-40 mg THC. For strong pops, look for the highest THC potency you can find. For mild pops, try a half gram of concentrate.

Put the concentrate in a small glass dish, or the pyrex cup you plan to mix your syrup in, then place it in the oven for 30 minutes at 250 degrees to fully convert THCA to THC and CBDA to CBD.

CANNABIS LOLLIPOPS RECIPE:

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (a Martha Stewart touch. You don’t have to, but the cream of tartar makes the finished sucker smoother and more professional looking)

1 teaspoon flavoring oil

1 gram cannabis concentrate

2-3 drops coloring

edible flowers or colored sanding sugar

Spray molds with nonstick cooking spray or spread parchment paper on the kitchen counter.
Over high heat, mix sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy pot. Stir until all of the sugar dissolves. Use a small brush to wipe sugar from the sides of the pot and into the mixture.
Add food coloring. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Do not stir as the temperature rises.
At 300 degrees, remove pot from heat and place in an a ice bath to stop the cooking process.
When the syrup has stopped boiling, add flavoring and concentrate. Use a small silicone spatula and stir well.
Pour syrup into lollipop molds or pour round dollops on parchment paper.
Press and roll a small stick into each lollipop. Leave them for an hour to set.
When the suckers have hardened, they will pop out of the molds. Wrap in plastic or sucker bags and store in a cool, dry place for several months.
I spent years making a mess of hard candy. When it comes off the stove the sugar mixture is a hot 300 degrees, and we’ve only got a few minutes before it cools down and hardens. In those few minutes we need to add the perfect amount of color and the right amount of cannabis concentrate, stir it well and pour out 24 perfectly shaped suckers. And then add edible flowers or a sprinkle of glitter for fun.

It can’t be done.

The syrup hardens up before all the suckers are evenly poured. The syrup hardens all over the pyrex cup so we waste a sucker or two. I had given up on hard candy when Martha Stewart offered a tip that saved my lollipops – the oven.

So now I can take my time and complete each step perfectly, which results in perfect pops. Since the oven is already at 250 degrees from the decarboxylation process, we can simply put the pyrex cup of syrup in the oven whenever it hardens. The heat in the oven will warm up and smooth out the syrup so it can be poured.

And remember, suckers can be made with honey instead of white sugar, too.

Happy Medicating!

QUOTES:

“Because the more we know about cannabis, the easier it is to use it in a way that’s effective for us.”

“After decades of reefer madness propaganda, we’re now learning about how good this demonized plant is for our health and happiness. Cannabis doesn’t just make us feel high and happy; it also has powerful analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antianxiety, and antidepressant qualities.”

“… prescription pills are handed out like candy, it’s not surprising that the opioid epidemic has hit every suburb in the country … Swapping out the medicine cabinet for marijuana can prevent that downward spiral to rehab.”

⭐⭐⭐ ” My fortysomething friends have just as many questions as my mother’s friends, because the marijuana in dispensaries today is so different from the marijuana we remember from our youth.”

MIRACLE CREEK by Debut Author ANGIE KIM is coming soon and it is quite simply a fantastic book and one that everyone needs to read. 5+ Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: MIRACLE CREEK

Author: ANGIE KIM

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERY, DRAMA, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, INDIE

Length: 368 PAGES

Publisher: FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 16, 2019

ISBN: 9780374156022

Price: $27.00 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng about how far people will go to protect their families—and deepest secrets.

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . .

In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. Both a compelling page-turner and an excavation of identity and the desire for connection, Miracle Creek is a brilliant, empathetic debut from an exciting new voice.

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MY REVIEW:

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“… Life doesn’t work like that. Tragedies don’t inoculate you against further tragedies, and misfortune doesn’t get sprinkled out in fair proportions; bad things get hurled at you in clumps and batches, unmanageable and messy.”

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MIRACLE CREEK is author Angie Kim’s debut novel.

Let me say that again,

MIRACLE CREEK is author Angie Kim’s debut novel.

Why am I repeating myself? Well, once you read this book, you will understand. The deft way Angie Kim steers the reader and fleshes out each character all while also creating an emotionally fraught courtroom drama and detailing equally emotional backstories for each of a wide range of characters is so skillfully achieved that it is difficult to believe this is her first novel.

The topic of children on the autism spectrum is always an emotional one. Such deep feelings can bring out either the best in someone, or the very worst. Teachers, doctors, therapists and especially parents can often feel that they know best, and that other people are irrational if they do not follow their advice.

Imagine being the mother of a child who is unable to effectively communicate with you. Imagine that you discover a new form of therapy that has shown positive results, would you not do everything you could to get that therapy for your child? As a parent, I know that I would.

In this book, readers are introduced to the family who run an HBOT facility. They are the Yoos’, a couple who recently emigrated from Korea to the United States, along with their teenage daughter.

The treatment center the Yoos have set up involves putting a patient or group of patients inside “—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility.”

Everything seems to be going fairly well until tragedy strikes and two of the patients die in a horrific explosion.

That single event causes ripples among the community, the patients and their families, as well as the Yoos’ who own “Miracle Submarine.” These ripples will sweep readers along, immersing them into one of the best and most dramatic books of 2019.

I have “favorited” this book and I fully intend to read it again and again. I am also recommending this book to my local library and to any and all local book clubs.

There are many themes happening in this story that are relevant to things happening in today’s America. The Yoo family are immigrants and they need to adjust to American living. Also, issues such as autism, infertility and discrimination are wound in and around every chapter.

Angie Kim has crafted a tale so compelling and so believable that readers will be left wondering if this is really fictitious, or if it is based on a true story. I am excited to share this book with everyone who reads my reviews. I firmly believe that if you are only going to read a few books in 2019, MIRACLE CREEK needs to be one of them.

I rate this book as 5+ Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ which is the highest rating I can bestow.

Angie Kim is incredibly talented and I am now a fan.

*** Thank you very much to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this wonderful book.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angie Kim moved as a preteen from Seoul, South Korea, to the suburbs of Baltimore.

She attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, then practiced as a trial lawyer at Williams & Connolly.

Her stories have won the Glamour Essay Contest and the Wabash Prize in Fiction, and appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Salon, Slate, The Southern Review, Sycamore Review, The Asian American Literary Review, and PANK.

Angie Kim currently lives in northern Virginia with her husband and three sons.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

** This book is my Letter M contribution to the #2019AtoZreadingchallenge with the GingerMoms blog **

THE REMARKABLE INVENTIONS OF WALTER MORTINSON by Debut Middle-Grade Author Quinn Sosna-Spear is FANTABULOUS AND IS GOING TO BE A BEST-SELLER 5+ Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: THE REMARKABLE INVENTIONS OF WALTER MORTINSON

Author: Quinn Sosna-Spear

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, MIDDLE GRADE FICTION

Ages: 8 to 12

Length: 336 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 2, 2019

ISBN: 9781534420809 (Hardcover)

Price: $17.99 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

In the humdrum town of Moormouth, Walter Mortinson’s unusual inventions cause nothing but trouble. After one of his contraptions throws the town into chaos, Walter’s mother demands he cut the nonsense and join the family mortuary business.

Far off on Flaster Isle, famed inventor Horace Flasterborn plans to take Walter under his wing, just as he did Walter’s genius father decades ago. When a letter arrives by unusual means offering Walter an apprenticeship, it isn’t long before Walter decides to flee Moormouth to meet his destiny.

Walter runs away in the family hearse along with Cordelia, the moody girl next door with one eye and plenty of secrets. Together they journey through a strange landscape of fish-people, giantess miners, and hypnotized honeybees in an adventure that will not only reveal the truth about Walter’s past, but direct his future.

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MY REVIEW:

Debut author Quinn Sosna-Spear has a hit on her hands with THE REMARKABLE INVENTIONS OF WALTER MORTINSON.

Debut author Quinn Sosna-Spear has a hit on her hands with THE REMARKABLE INVENTIONS OF WALTER MORTINSON.

With an imagination equalling that of iconic children’s author Roald Dahl, and emotional intelligence commensurate to that of BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA author, Katherine Paterson, this exceptional middle-grade book is destined to be at the top of multiple BestSeller lists.

Firstly, I have to mention the awe-inspiring cover art. There is no way that any reader will be able to walk past that cover in a bookstore without pausing to pick it up to read the back. And, as most of us know, if you can get people to hold a book in their hands, they are much more likely to purchase it.

However, a great cover can only do so much. The story inside must be equally fascinating, and debut author Quinn Sosna-Spear has mastered the art of storytelling to make this happen.

Kids will quickly be able to relate to one of the main characters, either Walter or Cordelia.

Walter Mortinson is a young tween who invents all kinds of fabulous contraptions and who lives with his mother in the most boring town on the planet – Moormouth. The problem is that Walter’s inventions often get him into trouble, but he can’t stop inventing, he loves it too much.

Walter does not have many friends, in fact, he doesn’t have any friends at all. He hates going to school because of being bullied.

Walter used to play with the girl who lives next door, but Cordelia doesn’t come around anymore. She only has one eye and is very self-conscious, but Walter doesn’t care about her “disability,” he just wants her friendship.

Nothing ever seemed to happen in the small town of Moormouth – until the day that one of Walter’s inventions go awry and causes big problems.

Because of what happened, his mother tells him that he is no longer allowed to invent things, and that it is time for him to become a mortician, just like her.

At the same time, he receives an invitation to apprentice with the most famous, and the richest, inventor alive. His name is Horace Flasterborn and he lives far, far away in a place called Flaster Isle. Walter decides that he isn’t cut out to be a mortician and runs away with Cordelia to accept Horace Flasterborn’s offer of apprenticeship.

Walter may be a few years too young to have a driver’s license, but he doesn’t let that stop him, he drives away in the only vehicle available to him – the family hearse.

The two runaways experience a road trip they will never forget, and neither will the readers of this book.

There are sinister forces that want to exploit Walter’s gift for inventing and the people and creatures they meet along the way will either help them, or possibly harm them and what fantastical creatures they are.

To find out what and who the bad guys are, and to explore the fantastic world of Walter and Cordelia, you need to buy a copy of this book.

Fans of Eoin Colfer and Madeline L’Engle will adore this marvelous story filled with amazing adventures and interesting ‘people.’

As fun and interesting as their adventures are, there are also some serious issues that are explored in this book, such as the fact that Walter’s father is dead, and someone else in the story might just be seriously ill. Kids struggling with grief will find that they are not alone and will gravitate towards Walter’s character.

It is hard to believe that this is author Quinn Sosna-Spear’s debut novel. She writes with depth and an immense talent. If this is her first book, I cannot wait to read the next one.

If I could rate this book higher than 5 out of 5 Stars I would, as it is I am giving it my highest rating of 5+ Stars.
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***Thank you to #NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with a free ARC of this book.***

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QUOTE:

“But Walter, as many boys and girls are, was much cleverer than a man.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Quinn Sosna-Spear was named a California Young Playwright at seventeen and went on to study at the University of Southern California.

She has since written books, films, and virtual reality projects.

The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson, her debut novel, was inspired by the untimely death of her own mother.

Quinn hopes to share with all readers—particularly those struggling with loss—the humor, poignancy, and adventure in such things…as dreary and impossible as they may seem.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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COMING IN 2020I can’t wait…

This post is my first entry into the A to Z Reading Challenge

My Blog has been chosen as One of The Top 25 Canadian Book Blogs for 2019. I am thrilled.

Designed by Freepik

My blog has been chosen as One of the Top 25 Canadian Book Blogs for 2019 by Feedspot.

I am in the #15 spot.

To see the entire list of the TOP 25 CANADIAN BOOK BLOGS click HERE.

I am very excited to be receiving this award, especially since my health in 2018 has not been the best.

To any and all authors awaiting reviews from me, I will be posting quite a few reviews over the next few weeks.

Thanks, and Have a Happy New Year!!!

LOVE LIKE SKY by Middle-grade author Leslie C. Youngblood is a 5+Star Read. This book will win awards and become a Best Seller. Release Date is November 6th – Mark your calendars now!!!

Title: LOVE LIKE SKY

Author: LESLIE C. YOUNGBLOOD

Genre: MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION

Ages: 8 to 12 YEARS

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: DISNEY BOOK GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 6, 2018

ISBN: 9781368016506

Price: $16.99 USD

Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

G-baby and her younger sister, Peaches, are still getting used to their “blended-up” family. They live with Mama and Frank out in the suburbs, and they haven’t seen their real daddy much since he married Millicent. G-baby misses her best friend back in Atlanta, and is crushed that her glamorous new stepsister, Tangie, wants nothing to do with her.

G-baby is so preoccupied with earning Tangie’s approval that she isn’t there for her own little sister when she needs her most. Peaches gets sick-really sick. Suddenly, Mama and Daddy are arguing like they did before the divorce, and even the doctors at the hospital don’t know how to help Peaches get better.

It’s up to G-baby to put things right. She knows Peaches can be strong again if she can only see that their family’s love for her really is like sky.

MY REVIEW:

In the opening scene of LOVE LIKE SKY, G-baby is entertaining her younger sister Peaches by repeatedly dancing the “Nae Nae” and the “Dougie.” I defy anyone to read this and not smile. I believe that would be impossible.

LOVE LIKE SKY is set in the town of Snellville, Georgia, where eleven-year-old G-baby, her younger sister Peaches (real names – Georgiana And Patrice) and their mother have moved to a new town after their mother’s marriage to their new stepdaddy, Frank. G-baby had initially been excited about the marriage because it meant she would be gaining a big sister. However, she has since discovered that her new stepsister wants nothing to do with her or Peaches. On top of all the other changes, G-baby misses her best friend Nikki, whom she left behind in Atlanta.

G-baby becomes obsessed with trying to get her new stepsister to pay attention to her. This leaves baby sister, Peaches at loose ends and feeling left out.

When Peaches gets really sick, neither her parents nor her doctors know how to make her better.

G-baby is convinced that she knows how to make Peaches better. She just has to figure out how to convince her that her family loves her as much as the sky is wide.

Blended families are often more common than “traditional families” which means that many readers will be able to relate to the struggles that G-baby and Peaches face. The topic of blended families is only one of the many themes explored in this amazing debut novel. Other themes include:

– Divorce
– Parents fighting
– Death of a sibling (not Peaches, so don’t think I am giving away any plot points)
– Moving to a new town
– Leaving friends behind and trying to make new ones
– Hospitalization and siblings with a serious illness
– Growing up and a girl’s changing body and feelings
– Racial inequality
– Peaceful protests
– Trayvon Martin and the shooting of unarmed young, black men
– Parents getting remarried and jealousy of the new spouse
– and many more.

The author does an incredible job of making the characters feel real. For instance, G-baby’s father has remarried and his new wife’s name is Millicent. Instead of thinking of her by her given name, G-baby has nicknamed her “Millipede.” This is a very typical tween way to rebel against the new spouse. She is too young to conjure up any truly mean-spirited nickname, yet still needs a way to express her jealousy at what she sees as the reason her beloved Daddy doesn’t spend as much time with them as he used to.

The author’s gift for creating believable and unique characters is displayed in one of my favorite scenes – which captures the fierce loyalty six year old Peaches has for her mother. This scene takes place when G-baby comments about Tangie’s cooking and says it is better than their mother’s. “Peaches eyes widened. ‘Nobody cooks better than Mama.'” I loved this scene. In the grand scheme of the book, this scene is minor, but it is so believable that I found it memorable for it’s simple, yet powerful portrayal of familial loyalty.

If I had to choose a single theme to describe this book, it would be EMOTION.

“Why we gotta jump when he’s ready? What about the times we waited on him and he didn’t come? I bet he doesn’t keep Ms. Millicent Parker waiting for nothing. She’s his ‘best girl’ now.”

Kids with divorced parents will easily relate to the characters in this excellent middle-grade novel. Author Leslie Youngblood understands just how perceptive kids can be. This is clearly demonstrated in the following scene:

“Just like Mama, he didn’t know that I could tell a fake smile from a real one. Mama and Daddy’s separation made me an expert, especially when we’d have family dinner and they’d wear their mannequin smiles.”

I apologize for the length of this review, but I felt compelled to explain why I am giving this book the highest rating possible which is 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. I realize that it is technically impossible to give a rating higher than 5 out of 5, but this book deserves to be in a category above all others.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

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FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Mama said I got the name G-baby because I’d run to Daddy for every little thing. He’d swoop me up and say, ‘What’s wrong with George’s baby?’ Peaches real name is Patrice, but Mama loved Libby’s sliced peaches when she was pregnant with her, so that’s how she got her nickname.”

“Being a big sister was hard work.”

“Even though Mama says I can always talk to her, she means Mama stuff, like if someone is bullying me, or if a teacher is mean. Not like how to kiss a boy, or when it’s time to sneak a few cotton balls in my bra…”

“I’m supposed to have all the answers. That’s what it means to be a big sister, and why I want one of my very own.”

“When Mama and Daddy first tried to explain {why they were getting divorced}, Mama Said sometimes grown-ups ‘fall out of love.’ The best I can figure it: love is just a big old bed. When you’re not happy, you fall out of it.”

“There’s no reason on God’s green earth a boy should walk down the street with his boxers hanging out.”

*

EXCERPT

“Love ain’t like that.”

How is it then?” Peaches asked, turning on her stomach to face me.

“It’s like sky. If you keep driving and driving, gas will run out, right?”

“That’s why we gotta go to the gas station.”

“Yep. But have you ever seen the sky run out? No matter how far we go?”

“No, when we look up, there it is.”

“Well that’s the kind of love Daddy and Mama got for us, Peaches—love like sky.”

“It never ends?”

Never.”

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A former assistant professor of creative writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, she has lectured at Mississippi State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of Ghana at Legon.

She began her undergraduate degree at Morris Brown College and completed her bachelor’s at Georgia State University. After graduation, she served as a columnist and assistant editor for Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine.

She’s been awarded a host of writing honors including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. She received funding to attend the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony in 2011. Her short story, “Poor Girls’ Palace,” was published in the winter 2009 edition of the Indiana Review, as well as Kwelijournal, 2014.

In 2010 she won the Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award. In 2016 she landed a two-book publishing deal with Disney-Hyperion for her Middle-Grade novel, LOVE LIKE SKY (Nov.6). She often teaches creative writing classes at Rochester, New York’s literary center, Writers & Books.

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, New York, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive and family and friends.

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