Grab your Free Guide - 3 sTEps to stem success

Books May Be the Only True Magic – Reviews

You may not believe in magic, but if you are like me, you do believe in books and reading. And, if you are like me, you love book recommendations. You will find some magic, a way to escape a little, lots of laughing, and maybe something fun to learn.   

I have five books to share with you this month and here’s the gist of them.  

  • One has a character named Lily Bloom. Yes, that’s her name.
  • Amos Decker remembers everything. Even minor details.
  • Fixer Upper’s couple tell their own story!
  • A mother that doesn’t like some of her children.
  • Another mother takes a baby that washes ashore in a boat.
Books can be magic- book reviews of five fabulous reads! Check this post for my recommendations.

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

This is the story of Lily Bloom. She’s about 23ish when the story opens and is just meeting Ryle who turns out to be a smooth talker who propositions her within the first hour of knowing her.

However, nothing happens.

Fast forward to some months later when she runs into him again as she is opening a flower shop and has hired his sister Alyssa to work for her. They begin a relationship that is based on loving one another wildly and you want to believe this is a storybook romance.  

Nope. It seems that in Lily’s past she had an abusive father that beat and hit her mother regularly and her mom allowed it, stayed with him, and lied about her injuries to keep dad out of trouble. Add to this mix a homeless young man that appeared when Lily was 15 and lived in an abandoned house beside hers. Lily became his friend, fed him, gave him blankets, and then let him use her home to bathe, watch television, study, and eventually sleep.

 (This part is a little perplexing to me. How many teenagers could smuggle someone into their bedroom every night, talk to them, sleep, and then get that person back out in the morning without being found?) 

Anyway, his name is Atlas and they fall in love. Atlas moves away after high school to join the armed forces and he and Lily lose touch. Now in the present day, Lily is with Ryle and, of course, they run into Atlas.  

That’s all I will tell you because I think you will love this book and want to read all the details yourself. Mind you, it’s a chick book, but a good one. It is a little x-rated. I would give it 4.5 stars!

The Last Mile by David Baldacci

This is a crime drama and continues the story of Amos Decker. This is a character introduced in Baldacci’s book Memory Man. Amos was injured while playing football and now remembers everything. The memory is tricky, but eventually, he can piece together clues and names and events, and solve a crime.

In this book, you meet Melvin Mars who is about to be put to death for murdering his parents. At the last minute, he receives news that someone has confessed to the crime and he is released. Amos Decker comes in at that point, working with the FBI, trying to find out what truly happened about 20 years prior. Many other characters appear, included the confessor’s wife and son, townspeople that knew the murdered couple, and Mars himself who becomes part of the investigation. Amos pulls off some great feats of memory and using clues no one else seems to pick up on and along the way makes new friends (and loses weight).  

So, here’s my feeling about this one: 

I love a good crime drama! Baldacci’s books are always page-turners! It is non-stop action and usually a book I can read in a few days (even at 400+ pages for this one). I did enjoy this book and I know there will be more in the Amos Decker series and I will try them!  

With this book, I did seem to notice that there is a lot of conversation and at times I wanted to just move on. Do the characters really need to talk all the time, especially if the talk is not relevant to the story line or repetitive? If this style of book is one you enjoy occasionally, then I would grab the book. Read Memory Man first!

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Oh my, this was a fun book to read. I have been watching HGTV’s Fixer Upper since it first started coming on and I love that show. I actually listened to this book and I am so glad that was how I chose to purchase it because it was read by Chip and Joanna!

That was the perfect touch- listening to the two of them tell their story! The book tells how they met, their first date, their engagement, marriage, and then how they came to be hosts of their own TV show. The stories of how God worked in their lives with answers to prayer and things that seem to happen for a reason are truly amazing.   

It’s a beautiful story and I do recommend this book. Try to listen to it if you can get it on audio! Or try Audible! It’s an audible Book Choice offered by Amazon. Use my affiliate link below and you can get a free book for a trial period. I download these to my iPhone and listen to them on my commute to work!

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

The premise of this book (and series) is really intriguing. Each chapter covers a year in the life of a family. But, not every little detail- a lot of the chapters are short. In the beginning, it is the year 1920 and you meet Walter and Rosanna, a young couple living on a farm in Iowa.

Quickly you also know they have an infant son, named Frank, and times are hard. In 1920 they have no electricity and traveling was difficult and slow. This is actually what makes this book so fascinating! As each chapter reveals another year, you also get to see how the family adapts to changes in the world, their living conditions, and new inventions.

Walter and Rosanna have 6 children and the chapters progressing through time tell a story about how each child grows and up and moves away or stays on the farm. Frank, the oldest, is a mischievous boy that never follows rules and this carries him into high school, college, and eventually fighting in WWII. Joe, the second boy, is calmer and almost dainty, and eventually, learns to make farming work as he develops cross-bred seeds that produce more. Lillian, a beautiful girl, loves her teacher and wants to just stay and help her, but eventually must also go to high school away from the farm. Her story is poignant because in the time period of this book women didn’t have a lot of options. The youngest two children, Henry and Claire, don’t factor in a large way of the story (yet), but here’s another interesting thing about the book.

The mom, Rosanna, feels differently about all her children. She actually doesn’t care for a couple of them- especially Claire. Claire becomes the favorite of Walter. There is another daughter that dies a tragic death at a very young age. This is book one in a series and the ending will make you want to get the second book! Overall, it’s a great book. It’s a slow reading book, with not a lot of action, but very historical and you do get caught up in the main characters and other family members. I think you will like it! 4 stars!

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Oh, my. This is my favorite book read in the last few months. By far. This is the story of Tom and Isabella. The book actually opens with the two living on Janus together- this is a remote island off the western coast of Australia.

It’s early in the 1900’s and Tom has taken a commission to be a lighthouse keeper. He and Isabella are alone on the island, except for visits every three months from the supply boat.

Until one day a boat washes up on their beach and they find inside it a dead man and a tiny baby.

Isabella wants to keep the baby and Tom, against his good judgment, does not report the incident. They name the baby Lucy and raise her as their own. All is perfect until they visit their hometown on a shore leave and meet the baby’s real mother.

The events this sets in motion are heartbreaking for Isabella and the real mother, Hannah, for Tom, and eventually for Lucy. You need to read this one. It is beautifully written and compelling. In the end, it’s a story about love- between Isabella and Tom and the baby they wanted to be theirs.  

There you are reader friends! Five books I can recommend this month- not a clunker in the bunch! If you enjoy chick-lit books I have a couple of book review posts I can send you to…

My rating system: 5 stars- perfection, the book was written well, held my attention, and I did not want it to end. 4 stars- the book was really good, but I had questions or concerns about parts of it. This might include the way it ended. 3 stars- the book was okay, but I just didn’t like it much. 2 stars- I skimmed most of it. 1 star- I could not finish it.

Book recommendations for you- five great books reviewed by an avid reader that only suggests the good one! Check this post!


  1. Susan K. says

    LOVE The Light Between Oceans! A stewardess was reading it on a flight we took, and she highly recommended it. I'd love to see this book made into a movie! Happy New Year!