Friday, July 31, 2015

Kung Fu Panda: Family Movie Review

Kung Fu PandaWith one of the most lovable animated characters of all time, DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda remains a favorite of my sons even to this day.  And, with an all-star cast featuring Jack Black (Po), Dustin Hoffman (Master Shifu), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Lucy Liu (Viper), Seth Rogan (Mantis) and Jackie Chan (Monkey) among others, Kung Fu Panda is not short of voice talent

"There are no accidents." ~ Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda

The story starts out with Po working in his father's restaurant serving noodles.  But when he realizes that his life is unfulfilled, he loses himself in his dreams of becoming a master martial artist.  In a bizarre twist of fate, Po gets chosen as the Dragon Warrior, the one who will bring peace to the valley and provide protection against its enemies, including Tai Lung, a former student of Master Shifu who was "destined for greatness but succumbed to darkness."  Additionally, the Dragon Warrior will be entrusted with the Dragon Scroll that for 1,000 years has kept the secret of unlimited power. 

Severely out of shape with zero marital arts training, Po makes an unlikely candidate and has to face the ridicule of others, including the Furious 5, the village's Kung Fu idols.  Po needs to reach deep within his heart and mind to prove his worthiness. Along the way, he will learn that martial arts is as much a discipline of the mind as it is the body. 

"To make something special, you just have to believe it is special." ~ Mr. Ping, Kung Fu Panda

While Po gives children a real underdog to cheer for, the film also provides many important life lessons. Hard work, perseverance and the belief in oneself will help anyone achieve their dreams. Humility, not pride, is the source for inner peace, as is letting go of the illusion of control. 

Watch Official Trailer (2008)

Kung Fu Panda is rated PG for sequences of martial arts action (in other words, intense fight scenes) and contains a fair share of weapon use and explosions.  Also, I will warn parents that most images of Tai Lung can be scary for very young children.  I would recommend this film for most family members for the humor, the action, and the lessons it provides. Don't forget to check out Kung Fu Panda 2 as well before the third film hits theaters early next year. 

Read more of my Family Movie Reviews.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist: Family Movie Review

"I find that the torturing of animals and the deriving of pleasure from that torture is an immoral act." ~ Captain Paul Watson 

Confessions of an Eco-TerroristParents, if you are looking for an educational film to watch with your high school children, I suggest you give Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist a view.  This 2010 documentary takes a hard look at the human threats to our oceans and marine life as it follows the conservation movement of Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  

Spanning decades of activism, Watson along with his devoted crew and volunteers from all over the world have become household names as they continue to protect helpless marine life from poaching and illegal hunts.  In this nearly one and a half hour long documentary, viewers will witness the atrocities against life that Sea Shepherd has caught on camera including the slaughter of harp seals in Canada, the pilot whale massacres that take place in the Faroe Islands, and the devastating effects of drift netting still being used in parts of the world. 

Viewers will learn that the main weapon successfully used by these conservationists and environmental activists is to "manufacture awareness" - in essence, gain worldwide media attention for the immoral, often criminal acts, against nature. It is a sad world we live in when greed and "cultural tradition" can be used as excuses to destroy our oceans and the fish and mammals that live in it. 

"You can't appeal to people's sense of morality when they don't have any." ~ Captain Paul Watson 

Massacre of pilot whale pods is considered "tradition" in the Faroe Islands.

Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist, available on DVD and YouTube, does have strong language and some extremely disturbing images of violence against animals which is why I am suggesting this for viewing by those 13 and older. While parts will undoubtedly be upsetting to all viewers regardless of age, we can no longer play ignorant to these acts. The majority of the film, however, demonstrates the non-violent heroic acts by Watson and the Sea Shepherd crew and is a fabulous eye-opener for the only generation left to save our planet. 

For more information on Sea Shepard visit their website at

Read more of my Family Movie Reviews

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Vampire Lestat: Book Review Part II

The Vampire Lestat Review
"Do you think we find our destiny somehow, no matter what happens? I mean, do you think that even as immortals we follow some path that was already marked for us when we were alive?" ~ The Vampire Lestat.

To get my complete review of this Rice classic, I suggest you read My Unreview of The Vampire Lestat

If ever there was an author that proved genius to some and tedious to others, it would be Anne Rice. At halfway through The Vampire Lestat I wrote an "unreview" stating that, although I was enjoying some aspects of the story, there were others that were making this novel a chore for me to read.  On more than one occasion, I contemplated giving up on it. However, I am happy to say I persevered and finally finished it. 

"He had some vision of all things being united in good, of all forces being made to go on the same divine course." ~ The Vampire Lestat

At the end I was very glad I kept at it because I believe in exposing myself to different authors and genres. Also because I felt the last quarter of the novel was without question the most interesting (if you recall, I felt the same way about the last part of The Wolf Gift) as it delves into the origins of vampires, Mother Earth, and ancient gods. This is also where the reader is introduced to one of the most interesting characters, Marius, whom I loved as much as Lestat. 

Am I happy I finished The Vampire Lestat? Yes, I truly am. However, I am confident that it will be the only novel in Rice's Vampire Chronicles that I will read. My love for the characters just wasn't enough for me to venture into any additional books in the series. 

Read more of my Book Reviews

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oz the Great and Powerful: Family Movie Review

Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before my sons picked a film for family movie night that I'm not nuts about. Oz the Great and Powerful has a wonderful concept: a prequel to the original 1939 film that explains how the Wizard came to the magical land of Oz and became its ruler. Unfortunately, despite a decent start, many things went wrong in the production including mediocre acting, so-so special effects that seem to get worse as the film progresses, and a drawn out story line (this "family" film is over 2 hours long!) However, the point of my reviews are not to critique the movies per se, but to tell parents what they need to know before viewing the film with their children.
Oz the Great and Powerful

Oz the Great and Powerful starts off in 1905 Kansas where Oscar "Oz" Diggs (James Franco) is working as a magician in a traveling circus. He is a self-proclaimed con man and has no desire to live the boring life of a good man. Throughout the film, Oz is quite the Casanova, making for several romantic, albeit implicit, scenes with multiple female characters. While trying to escape an enraged jealous husband of one of his mistresses, Oz jumps into a hot air balloon and gets caught up in an approaching tornado. While on the verge of death, he pleads to God to let him live and promises to change his ways. 

He lands in what he soon learns is the Land of Oz and is believed to be the wizard that was sent to fulfill a prophecy of one sent to destroy the wicked witch and become the new King of Oz. Before he knows it, he is caught up in the feud between three sisters, all witches and daughters of the late King. Fueled by revenge and greed, the sisters battle each other and have viewers, and Oz, questioning who is evil and who is good.  Throughout it all, the questions linger. Can people really change? Will Oz find his heart and his goodness? 

"I know I'm not the wizard that you're expecting, but I might just be the wizard that you need." ~ Oz

Oz the Great and Powerful is visually very colorful and has some enchanting special effects and cute critters, such as the river fairies. Finley, the flying monkey (Zach Braff), offers much needed comic relief. However, parents should use caution with young viewers as there are many spooky parts including the eerie Dark Forest and things that lurk within, a very scary evil witch, and flying baboons that are sure to freak out some children.

Watch Official Trailer

I had such high hopes for Oz the Great and Powerful when it was released in theaters in 2013, but it was a disappointment to me. However, I know many people that enjoyed it including my sons. This film is rated PG for sequences of action, scary images, and brief mild language. 

Read more of my Family Movie Reviews

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ant Man: Family Movie Review

Ant ManBefore I get down to what I thought of Ant Man, let me just remind parents that this film is rated PG-13.  From what I can dig up online, the rating is given for science fiction violence. However, since my reviews are geared toward parents trying to determine if a film is right for their children or not, I must add that there are intense action scenes, many involving ordinary guns (what's science fiction about that?) and there is more adult language than expected, including the use of the word "shit" multiple times and "pussy" (in the context of wimpy - yet a first in a PG-13 film I took my son to.) I know I have complained about this in the past, but once again, there were children as young as 4-6 years old in the theater where, frankly, the previews weren't even suitable for children that age.

Okay, so now that I got the parental guidance notes out of the way, I would like to declare Ant Man my favorite summer blockbuster so far this season. My 11-year old loved it and even said it may have knocked Jurassic World out of the top spot on his summer movie list.  

Having just been released from San Quentin State Prison, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is looking to stay clean and make up for lost time with his daughter. But life proves difficult for an ex-con, even for one with a masters degree in electrical engineering.  Lang is soon recruited by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to stop a greedy scientist, Darren Cross played by Corey Stoll, from capitalizing on an invention Pym has kept buried for years - a suit that gives the wearer the ability to shrink in size, possess superhuman strength and control an army of ants.

"I believe everyone deserves a shot at redemption." ~ Hank Pym, Ant Man

It would be a safe bet to say I am really getting into these Marvel films. The cast in this one was fabulous and included the kick-ass Evangeline Lilly and the very funny Michael Pena, just to name a couple. Rudd was absolutely marvelous as Ant Man (by the way, just when did he get those abs!) and Douglas delivered another memorable performance. 

Watch Official Trailer

Overall, Ant Man is exciting, very funny, and even has its tender moments. Sticking with Marvel tradition, the underlying theme is, once again, man messing with the laws of nature and a villain who likes to play God. It was so much better than the trailer led me to believe it was going to be. If you get the heebie jeebies from swarms of insects, this film may not be for you, but otherwise, it makes an awesome and fun-filled movie for appropriate audiences.

Read more of my Family Movie Reviews.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Larger Than Life (Novella Review)

"I wonder, when women who buy beautiful ivory jewelry fasten those elaborate pendants around their throats, if they are choked by sadness." ~ Larger Than Life 

You may recall my review of Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult in December where I declared it "the most important novel of the year." The main reason I fell in love with that story was the fact that the author depicted the very real and tragic plight of elephants globally. I could have read about these magnificent creatures all day. 

So imagine how thrilled I was when I stumbled upon an e-book exclusive, Larger Than Life, a novella that features Alice, the character behind the action in Leaving Time.  In this story, Picoult takes us back to Botswana in 1999 before Alice returns to the U.S. and opens an elephant sanctuary that is at the center of Leaving Time

Larger Than Life focuses on Alice's research in Africa and a time when she must choose between following a code that states scientists must NOT intervene with nature or face the repercussions that are sure to come if she saves an orphaned baby elephant by becoming its surrogate mother. 

Although a work of fiction, the scientific observations are nonfictional and give great insight into the crisis facing elephants today. Using the novella as a vehicle, Picoult outlines the effects illegal poaching and the ivory trade have had on our elephant population. It is also demonstrated how elephants develop post-traumatic stress disorders from witnessing the violence inflicted on their kind. Picoult reminds us of the massive culls in parts of Africa that occurred through the mid- 1990s in efforts to control the elephant population and what long-term effects these have had on the species.  In addition, readers also receive an inside peak at the amazing bonds and social system within elephant herds.

"The matriarch is a knot that holds together a rope made of many strings. Cut the rope below the knot, and it unravels." ~ Larger Than Life

While a valuable look at animal conservation, the novella does not fail to provide the reader with a great fictional story line as well. Whether examining the strained relationship Alice has with her own mother or the heartache that comes from forbidden love, readers will be entertained as well as enlightened. 

At only one hundred pages, Larger Than Life is a heart-warming read that can easily be finished in one sitting. It is a great accompaniment to Leaving Time, but it can certainly be a stand-alone story as well. Personally, I would love to read more novellas involving Alice and her work in Africa.

What can you do? 

Educate yourself on the plight of elephants. Do not support circuses or other industries that use animals as entertainment. Support organizations like The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee by visiting their website at and Global Sanctuary for Elephants at who need our help to build and operate elephant sanctuaries all over the world.

Read more of my Book Reviews.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Minions: Family Movie Review

I've often wondered if Illumination Entertainment had any inkling that the minions, who first won our hearts in the 2010 hit film Despicable Me, would end up being such a marketing success.  It seems that for the last five years, you can't go anywhere without seeing some reference to these adorable servants of master-villain turn devoted father, Gru (Steve Carell).  But where did they come from? How does their story begin?  And, more importantly, can they really carry their very own full-length film without Gru? 

Minions hit theaters nationwide today and the crowds are already packing the theaters. I can honestly say this is the first family film of the summer season that I wasn't disappointed in. I will NOT go as far as to say it is as good as the original two Despicable Me films, but it definitely had its share of charm and laughs. As proof that animated films today attract more than kids, the theater was filled with teens and adults sans children! 

The first few minutes take us on a historical timeline that depicts the creation and evolution of these lovable, little, yellow creatures. Starting as single-cell amoebas in the sea, they eventually evolved into their present-day form. From the beginning, they have had only one goal - serve the most despicable master they could find. From T-Rex to Dracula to Napoleon, they continued to bounce from villain to villain until one day they are left without someone to work for and, therefore, without purpose. 

Finally, in 1968, 42 years before Gru, Kevin decides to set out with Bob and Stuart by his side to search for a new villain to serve. Their journey leads them to NYC where they learn about Villain-Con in Orlando. It is here that they land the job of henchmen to the first ever female super-villain, Scarlet Overkill (played by Sandra Bullock). Overkill's challenge to the minions? Steal Queen Elizabeth's crown! From this point forward, the film takes on a similar feel to the original Despicable Me films with similar action and gadgets. 

Official Trailer

Minions is rated PG for action and rude humor but, honestly, I feel it is suitable for the entire family. The story line is clever and the audience was in an almost constant state of giggles. It's just a light, fun film. The soundtrack taken directly from the 60s era was an added bonus. Look for a special appearance at the end of the movie! The minions really are adorable and there's no way you could be in a bad mood watching this film. 

Read more of my Family Movie Reviews.

Monday, July 6, 2015

TOP TEN Most Annoying Questions I Asked My Son During the Women's World Cup

Women's World Cup FIFA 2015 USWNT

In light of the very exciting FIFA Women's World Cup which, may I add, ended in a THIRD Cup for the U.S. Women's National Team, my son wanted to share with you the Top Ten Most Annoying Questions I Asked while watching the event.  By the time the semi-finals rolled around, he limited me to a mere TWO questions a match.  Didn't seem fair to me, but so be it.

After much consideration, he chose the following for his list of most annoying (and in most cases repeated) questions I tormented him with:

1) What's that mean? (Every time an official raised a flag or blew a whistle.)

2) How is THAT not a foul? (Anytime things didn't go in favor of my team.)

3) Why are teams only allowed three substitutions? (Which was inevitably followed by - What if they need more? - Can you just hear him sighing?)

4) Is extra time 15 or 30 minutes? (Which led to other questions regarding penalty kick-offs,  sudden death, etc. - just to keep him on his toes!) 

5) Do they have injury time after the first half too? (Seriously, I never realized this.)

6) How is THAT not a penalty kick? (Again, anytime things didn't go in favor of my team.)

7) Why didn't she JUST kick it? (Many variations to this one: How did she miss that? What was she thinking? - Yes, I tend to oversimplify things.)

8) Do you think she's pretty? (This was more of a joke than a sincere question, just to tease him.)

9) Why are the trophy holders female models? (But seriously. Am I the only one to notice this. This is a women's event. As a spectator I don't want to see a bunch of female models stroll onto the field for the trophy presentations. Give ME some eye-candy that I will enjoy!!)

10)   Really? (Which followed every question I asked him, just to annoy him further. And, yes, he did count that as my second question.)

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Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn

A Close Call for Epic Mom Failure

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The Ones We Trust (Book Review)

NOTE: I received this book free from the author requesting an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's rules and guidelines.

"Anger can be like a buoy. Sometimes it feels like the only thing holding your head above water, but you have to let go of it at some point. Otherwise, you'll never make it back to shore." ~ The Ones We Trust

I was introduced to author Kimberly Belle in January when I participated in a blog tour for her debut novel, The Last Breath which I declared would be one of my favorite books of the year. Needless to say, I was eagerly awaiting the release of her second novel, The Ones We Trust, on July 28th. 

Thrilled to have received an advanced copy, I immediately sunk my teeth into the book.  I am happy to say that Belle's fans will not be disappointed. The Ones We Trust will capture the reader's interest right off the bat and will keep it with just the right amount of suspense, unpredictability, and real-life themes that will touch a personal nerve. 

Once again, Belle creates a strong female protagonist who readers will cheer for.  Abigail Wolff is a former journalist who left her career after a target of one of her investigative reports meets an unfortunate demise. Stricken with guilt, Abigail swears she will be never write again. That is until classified U.S. Army documents regarding the suspicious death of a soldier in Afghanistan land on her doorstep.  Complicating the matter is the fact that her own father, a retired Army General, seems to be involved. She is quickly swept up in a web of high-stake cover-ups, betrayals, and emotions leaving her to question where her loyalty and trust lies and learning some truths are best left unsaid. 

As she tries to pull away from involvement, Abigail finds things she wasn't expecting, including love and atonement. Can this be the story that forces her back into journalism - on her own terms? Will she find a way to clear her conscience and correct the "karmic imbalance" that has consumed the last few years of her life?  Reminded that "words can be just as deadly as warfare," Abigail soon discovers they can also heal those who are broken. 

"....maybe it's not where we land that counts. Maybe what's more important is how we get there, and with whom." ~ The Ones We Trust

With similarities that are ripped from today's headlines, The Ones We Trust is not only a light political crime story, it is also a gripping look at post-traumatic stress disorder and dealing with loss, a journey of forgiveness, and a commentary on the ethics of journalism.  I love Belle's style of writing and her ability to make intelligent heroines that are also witty and charming. 

The Ones We Trust will capture your attention from the first page and hold it to the last. As with The Last Breath, it doesn't fall neatly into one genre. Therefore, I can confidently recommend this book to fans of women's fiction, family drama, contemporary romance and suspense/thrillers. 

Read more of my Book Reviews.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Avengers: Family Movie Review

The AvengersMy recent interest in The Avengers and Marvel films has nothing to do with my long-standing crush on Robert Downey, Jr. and everything to do with my son who is a fan.  And, thank goodness he is because, as my regular readers know, I am Marvel-challenged and usually need him to fill in the blanks. 

After recently seeing the second Avengers film in theaters, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, I told my son we had to go back and watch the first film from 2012.  What does the first film have that Age of Ultron doesn't? 

One word......LOKI! 

The Avengers takes us back to the beginning when the peacekeeping organization, S.H.I.E.L.D. ,assembles  a "handful of freaks" to act as a response team called "The Avengers Initiative" to fight against evil.  Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, and Hawkeye - all putting their egos aside to work together and save the world.  

"If we can't protect the earth, you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it." ~ Tony Stark, Iron Man

Little did they know their first assignment would be to stop Thor's brother, Loki (played by the talented, and marvelously evil, Tom Hiddleston) from destroying earth.  Throughout it all, the team will need to prove that they are heroes, not monsters. 

While Age of Ultron was more mainstream blockbuster material, The Avengers dove deeper into the world of Marvel giving viewers insight into the characters' backgrounds.  Downey once again steals the show with most of the comedic lines and Scarlett Johansson delivers another strong performance as Black Widow and, if it's possible, is even sexier speaking Russian!  

Watch Trailer 

Rated PG-13, The Avengers is nearly two and a half hours of Marvel geekdom history and large scale devastation. There is tons of fantasy violence as well as extended, INTENSE action scenes featuring explosions, gunshots, and civilian distress. Even the Hulk was scarier in this film than in the second. There are some subtitles, suggestive comments, and brief, mild language. Overall, this film is a fun and exciting action film for families with age-appropriate children. 

Read more of my Family Movie Reviews

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn

I just stared at the television in disbelief. It didn't really register. I turned to my son and said, "What the hell just happened?" 

"Own goal," he replied calmly.  

My heart, along with millions of others worldwide who were cheering for England's women's national team in the World Cup, stopped. I don't remember breathing for what seemed like an eternity.  Surely there is a mistake, right? I didn't just watch Laura Bassett score an own goal in extra time.  Did I? 

Heartbreaking? Absolutely! Frustrating? Definitely! No one deserves to lose like that. 

"At least it wasn't the U.S. team, mom," he said. Thank GOD!! I thought to myself because I'm not sure I would have controlled my profanity in THAT case. I'm not the most graceful loser. 

Then, it happened.

My son turned to me and said, "Mom, if you were on her team would you be mad?" 


As a supporter of the Lionesses, I couldn't believe it. I was heartbroken for them. As a mother, I felt a strong desire to just reach out to Bassett and tell her everything is going to be okay.  But as a competitive nut, my initial response was fury.  Why the hell did she pass a ball toward her goalie with that amount of momentum behind her, with only seconds left, with SO much on the line? As a player, if you're trying to clear it, know where the goal is and kick it in the opposite direction!! 

Okay, breathe, get a grip and answer your son. 

"Well, I would be extremely disappointed as clearly they all are. But, players make mistakes, shit happens even to the best of them."

He didn't buy my politically correct response. 

"Mom, you know this happens in professional soccer more than you probably realize. Sure, it sucks, but it's part of the game...... So? Would you be mad at her?"

There it is again - that question. Then I realized what he was really asking me. Would I be mad and disappointed in him if he made such an error on the field.  

Crap! How do I answer that? No, of course I wouldn't be MAD! I'd be heartbroken, sure. I would feel awful for him because I would know how bad he would feel about it. But damn, the kid is right. It happens, even to the best of athletes. I certainly don't want my son to think I would be angry with him for making a mistake. 

I've always been a bit, shall we say passionate, even hyper-critical, about my sports teams and players. When I was a kid, I would scream at John McEnroe for making bad shots and would yell at the N.Y. Islanders if they squandered a good chance. As an adult I'm not much better.  Last year my son almost banned me from watching the men's World Cup because, well, again, I can get a bit - crazed. Honestly, I am surprised he's letting me watch the women's World Cup with him this year. 

As I sat there and watched Bassett break down on the field, watched as her teammates consoled her, and then listened to Mark Sampson, their manager, give what was probably the hardest interview of his career, I allowed my son's words to resonate with me. "It's just one of those things, mom. She misjudged it, it happens. Could have happened to any player." 

And you know what? He's right. England's national team should be applauded for handling this loss with the class and dignity they have. I'm sure it wasn't easy, but they have definitely set an example for baseball's great, Eddie Murray's, famous quote, "You win as a team, you lose as a team."  

It's easy to win gracefully - but much more important to lose gracefully. 

My son asked me if I thought she'd play in the match against Germany this weekend. Not only do I hope she plays, I hope she receives a huge standing ovation. To quote teammate, Karen Carney, "This won't define her and we won't let it."

Read more of my blog here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

TOP FIVE Books to Read This Summer

Summer time is here!  That means vacation and lazy afternoons lounging by the pool or catching the rays at the beach. It also means time to grab that book and READ!   

Here are my TOP 5 books to grab along with your beach towel this summer season! 

Top Summer Books

1. Memoir / Non-fiction: As You Wish by Cary Elwes is a must-read for all those who would enjoy a sneak peak inside the movie industry and one of the longest-standing cult classics of all times. For fans of The Princess Bride and those interested in getting a close-up and personal look into a beloved film, this is a real treat. (Read full description and review here.)

Top Summer Books

2. Women's Fiction / Thriller: The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle can't be placed into one genre. It is a thriller, crime novel, contemporary romance, and family drama all rolled into one explosive story.  It is as suspenseful as it is sexy.  (Read full description and review here.)

Top Summer Books

3. Fiction: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein will make you smile, make you sigh, and if it doesn't make you cry both tears of sorrow AND joy, you've probably never experienced a deep love and connection with a pet.  I've always loved dogs, their ability to communicate without words and create bonds with their people. But even I will never look at dogs the same way again. (Read full description and review here.)

Top Summer Books

4. Contemporary Romance: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell is an easy, light read that will warm your heart. Rowell is a master at writing witty and playful dialogues, and creating characters that are relatable and engaging. She has a knack for writing the most lovable, endearing male protagonists that you can't help but cheer for! (Read full description and review here.)

Top Summer Books

5. Family / Women's Fiction: Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen has many different components. It deals with forgiveness and letting go, relationships and love, and unexpected second chances. The novel addressing the very deep bonds that develop between humans and animals. (Read full description and review here.)


It was no easy feat to narrow this list down to only five books. I chose a variety of genres sure to please most readers. Check out my full list of book reviews to find your next summer read.