Tag Archives: Berkley Publishing

Are We There Yet by Kathleen West

Publication Date:  March 16, 2021

Publisher: Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Berkley

Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Kathleen West takes on today’s parents and their teens as they come of age in a world fraught with online temptations and dangers. Alice, Nadia, and Meredith have been friends since their children were in grade school and continue their friendship as the kids advance to their pre-high school years.

The young teens: Teddy, Alice’s son, reveals some behavioral issues when he takes matters too far in his feud with another teen; Sadie, Meredith’s daughter is a bright, exceptional young girl caught up in getting straight A’s and keeping up with a synchronized skating team; and Tane Lagerhead, a quiet young man who is less than popular with his peers, find themselves enmeshed in a drama that quickly gets out of their control when poor decisions lead to a harsh lesson for all of them.

This story highlights the dangers of social media and maturity, as well as issues with parents who are less than savvy with today’s social media and their children’s lives. The story also highlights parents that are less than engaged with their teens and parents that are overly engrossed in their teen’s lives. Parents and teens will find their lives changed as a result of the impact their decisions make on everyone around them. Solid story for public awareness of a current problem that exists with social media and today’s young people!  

This ARC copy was received from Berkley and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#AreWeThereYet #NetGalley

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You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

Publication Date:  7 January 2020

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Berkley

Secular Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5


This emotional, unpredictable story requires the reader to suspend disbelief for a while as it delves into the world of dreams and premonitions. Delving in to the world of dream interpretation, shared dreams, and the metaphysical, the novel explores the shared world of Mia, a young woman suffering from multiple miscarriages and some mental instability and Oliver, a free-spirited soul who works on organic farms around the world. Mia’s everyday life at home with her husband, Dr. Harrison Graydon, changes significantly after their recent move from the city to a much smaller town. As she struggles to adjust to the changes and the miscarriages, she fails to see the reality of her husband’s struggles as well.

The tale takes some complex turns at times and keeps the reader guessing as to where these compound paths will lead. Read this interesting book to find out the how and why of Mia and Oliver’s shared dreams and the shattering aftermath when their premonitions begin to unfold. Share their dark dreams and enticing dreams as they work through this strange phenomenon. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. This is my first novel by Colleen Oakley and definitely will not be my last.

This ARC copy was received from Berkley and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#YouWereThereToo  #NetGalley

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The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

Publication Date: 19 March 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Copy from Netgalley.com and Berkley

“We decide who and what we will love and who and what we will hate. We decide what to do with the love and hate. Everyday we decide.”

                                                             –Elise Sontag

Elise Sontag’s life was forever changed one February afternoon during 1943 when the FBI arrested her father, Otto, for allegedly engaging in subversive activity against the United States.  The longer Otto is gone, the more difficult and complex Elise’s life becomes. Her fragile mother barely hangs on as she struggles to hold their small family together.

As Otto makes arrangements for the family to once again be together, he is compelled to make the choice to move his family to an internment camp in Texas. In August of 1843 the family moves to Crystal City internment camp and begin their life of captivity which will last until 1945. The camp brings Mariko Inoue, a young Japanese American girl, into Elise’s life. The girls become best friends sharing school, secrets, and teenage life in this small, walled off world while the WWII rages on.

The year 1945 brings repatriation to Germany for Elise and her family and a return to Japan for Mariko Inoue and her family. The last year of the war results in vastly different lives for both young women, forever touched by the bonds of their friendship.

The story starts out slowly, but the tale becomes much more engrossing as the story weaves its way from Davenport, Iowa to Crystal City, Texas and on to Pforzheim, Germany. The historical details are richly woven into the fiction. The principles of friendship, love, loss, and the tragedies of war blend together to add depth to the novel.  I would definitely recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, particularly those who enjoy WWII.

I received this book free from Berkley and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions I have expressed are wholly my own.

#NetGalley #TheLastYearOfTheWar   #soozmeissner  #berkleypub


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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

Publication Date: 19 Feb 2019

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Berkley Publishing Group/Random House

“The thing about my job, Bill…it forces you to change the way you see things. And with a student like Yuri … I see life differently because of him, and that’s a good thing.”

                                                –Maggie Topper, teacher

This emotional story goes straight to the heart of why teachers teach and what they take away from the classroom and their students at the end of the day. Set in fall of 1999, Maggie Topper, a second year sixth grade language arts teacher, takes on an extra duty teaching assignment for Yuri, a young boy in need of tutoring outside of the traditional classroom. Unsure of herself with the new assignment, Maggie begins her journey with Yuri, who actually loves learning and hungers for companionship. Maggie works to bring both to this young boy by combining his love of baseball with education.

The story also follows Maggie’s personal life as she learns from her student and grows and expands her own life. The book touches on many important themes; a parent’s love for their child, a teacher’s dedication and growth, and a child’s recognition of his own truth and reality. Heartbreaking, endearing, and at the same time motivating, read this beautiful story of how one individual can change a person’s life. A terrific contemporary read with depth and complexity!

This ARC copy was received from Berkley Publishing Group/Random House and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own. 

#TheSecretOfClouds #NetGalley #BerkleyPub  #RandomHouse


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Filed under Book Reviews, Clean, Contemporary