Pre-Release Review: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

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5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodnight June is June’s story. June inherits from her great aunt Ruby a small, cozy children’s bookstore – Bluebird Books, where June spent her happiest moments as a child and learned to love reading. As a 35 year old, June is vice president of a large bank and in charge of foreclosing many small businesses. She has few important people in her life, anxiety problems, and a severe lack of satisfaction with herself. When she inherits Bluebird Books, June goes home to Seattle for the first time in 5 years and begins to reevaluate her life. She discovers a scavenger hunt that her aunt Ruby left for her in the bookstore of letters between Ruby and Margaret Wise Brown that explain the origin of Goodnight Moon and renew June’s passion for the bookstore. June discovers what it is like to be on the opposite side of the foreclosing business while she is trying to raise funds to save the bookstore, all with the help of the charming Gavin who owns the Italian restaurant next door.

I absolutely 100 percent love when an author shows his/her fangirl/fanboy side… And in this case, Sarah Jio’s fangirl flag is waving hard. The story behind the popular children’s classic Goodnight Moon is unknown because Margaret Wise Brown died shortly after writing it. I can tell that Sarah Jio truly loved Goodnight Moon because she uses so much imagination and heart to develop a very plausible origin of Goodnight Moon and uses the letters to tell the story with passion and creativity.

Also, June’s story is one that we can all identify with and could ultimately stand alone as its own story. She has to make the choice between living a life with passion or complacency. She has to forgive, and she learns to love. And she also discovers a few things she didn’t know about herself. Yes, it’s somewhat “chick flicky”, but its inspiring and sweet. I’m an avid hater of cookie cutter chick lit, so trust me when I say that this story is not that. Jane’s story is inspiring and leaves you contemplating your own dreams.

Right now is a time of major change in my life with moving and finding new job, etc., so I feel it was the perfect time to read this book. I probably a little biased since in the past year, I’ve somehow developed a dream of owning an independent bookstore and hosting authors/holding events to inspire budding readers. Reading is and always has been a huge part of my life, so I love to see that there are others who are still so inspired by reading and would rather pick up a book than a game or show on their iPad. I think Goodnight June is Sarah Jio’s confession to also being one of these people and her charge to go do something about it.

I literally blazed through Goodnight June in less than a day. It’s an easy read and would be perfect for sitting outside on a lazy summer day. And the great news is that its release date is May 27 – TOMORROW!!! So you only have to wait 2 short hours.. or 1 if you’re on the east coast. Ready. Set. Go.

I don’t think I’ve done it justice, but if you just go read it you’ll see what I mean. Thank you Sarah Jio for such a beautiful and inspiring story. It’s been a while since I’ve read a something this great.

I’ve had a couple of other books by Sarah Jio on my radar for a while, but this is the first one I’ve read. I’ll definitely be moving her other books up on my list.

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Saturday Sidenotes: An intro to a little more of ME

As promised in my Liebster Award post, I am going to start posting some non-review, more personal, but still reader-related, and mostly entertaining stuff. I figure that Saturdays will be a good time to sit down and make some actual time for this.. so we have SATURDAY SIDENOTES! Feel free to join the club and let me know in the comments if you would like.

Right now is a pretty crazy time in my life. My husband and I are being moved by the military from Hawaii to Virginia with only 3 weeks notice. No big deal, right? So we’ve had to accomplish all things moving related:

  • Schedule car shipment, plane tickets, and household goods tickets… through military offices where most waits are at least a couple of hours… and you may or may not have gone to them in the correct order.
  • Fight with Delta about getting our GIANT and EXTRA LARGE kennels complete with dogs to Atlanta on the right plane in the right temperature at the exactly right time.. then call the travel office back and tell them to officially book our tickets… then get a call back from Delta saying our pets can’t be on said flight… then calling travel office to book our flight… THEN.. well you see, it’s a vicious cycle.
  • Clearing post… aka the Army makes you go to a million offices… for me and my husband.
  • Among all the other things that are scrambled in my brain right now.

Needless to say, I haven’t had much time for reading lately. So I was really looking forward to the 10 hours of reading time I would get on the plane. 10 STRAIGHT HOURS!! I even had my books picked out. I was going to take a couple that have been sitting on my shelf for a while that are the kind that require settling in and really concentrating – The Pillars of the Earth and The Fellowship of the Ring. Then, a TRAGEDY – I forgot to pull out my books for the plane ride, and the movers packed them up. (Super fail) Luckily, I have my Kindle for backup. But there are so many possibilities..

So what’s your favorite kind of airplane reading? How do you decide what to read when you have a large chunk of uninhibited reading time?

Monday is the big day!! Lots of flying and reading, so stay tuned!

The Winter People: Suspense-LESS

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2 of 5 stars

Bottom line: This book had a whole lotta hype for not a whole lotta reason.

The Winter People actually had a great creepy start that really captured my attention. So from the beginning, you are given the impression that there will be chilling ghostly happenings wrapped up in a suspenseful package. But then there isn’t.

So let the book bashing commence…

What happens is this (no spoilers, I promise): in the present day Ruthie’s mom goes missing… in 1908 Sara’s daughter dies and becomes one of the “winter people”… and a random guy named Gary stumbles upon the missing link to the story. The story is about figuring out what happened to Ruthie’s mom, what happened to Sara/Gertie, and what happened to Gary in conjuntion. The entire book is a wild goose chase of putting clues together. I really didn’t get any of the suspense that I wanted, and it mostly felt like Scooby Doo. Really.. Scooby Doo.

The chapters switched back and forth between the present and 1908, which is fine – I’ve read many books written this way and they were great! But McMahon repeats exact elements of the story when going back and forth and creates a very strong sense of deja vu. And you end up being confused if you read it already or if you just think that you read it already. Not okay.

Also, the sideplot with Gary and his wife Katherine was completely unnecessary and distracting. I believe the story would have been much better with further development of the main characters and elimination of Gary and Katherine. Plus, their story was left hanging at the end for no good reason.

This was the first time I have read a book by Jennifer McMahon, and I honestly disliked this book so much that I probably won’t read McMahon again. The story was too cookie cutter for me.. with no intrigue, no exceptional plot, and no major character development