The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help1

Sometimes all you need is a good book and a cup of tea!

I created a unofficial challenge with myself to read books that have been sitting on my book shelf that I had previously read and enjoyed. This month, I decided on The Help! I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed more than I did when I first read it 6 years ago.

The year is 1962 and Skeeter has returned home to Jackson, Mississippi. She has just gotten a degree, but that doesn’t matter to the people in Jackson because at 22 years old, Skeeter is still unmarried.

Skeeter comes up with an idea for a book, but it’s risky, especially in Mississippi during the 1960s. She wants to write about black women hired as help for white women. The help do everything from cooking to cleaning and even raising the white children, who in 20 years will be hiring them on to raise their own children.

Skeeter meets with Aibileen who is a black maid and is raising her 17th white child whose employee is one of Skeeter’s best friends. Minny is Aibileen’s best friend and she is the best cook in town, but she also has the biggest mouth. Together the three women put their faith in each other and go on a journey that will change their lives and their town forever.

I really enjoyed The Help. Even though it was my second time reading it, I had forgotten what had happened to some of the characters (especially Constantine). The best part of the book is how you feel so connected to each of the three main characters. I didn’t want each character’s chapter to end.

It’s sad to think that the book was set in the 1960s, which wasn’t that long ago. It’s crazy to think that people thought and acted that way, and that there are still people like that out there today.

I’m assuming most of you reading this have already read the book, so I’m recommending you to reread the book and see if any of your feelings have changed. It’s always so much fun to reread old favourites and I’m glad I bought this book so I can reread it over and over again!

5 calculators out of 5!! The best part about The Help is that it makes you feel. You feel angry, hurt, happy and hopeful all at once. It’s a book that makes you push for change and fight for a better world.


“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

Books and Vacations!

Am I the only one that creates spreadsheets for packing on a vacation? Probably not. Am I the only one that creates spreadsheets for packing books on a vacation? …Quite possibly.

I’m counting down the days until I go on vacation to Florida! I plan on spending my days lounging by the pool and reading (I know, it’s the perfect vacation).

So now that I’m a few weeks away, I need to start figuring out what I will be reading. Over the years, I’ve switched a few times on what I want to read on vacation. It started off with grabbing whatever was on the shelves at the library. Then I went through a cozy mystery phase. And now I’m more of a combo of cozies, reading some of my favourite authors and some easy light reads.

I also set crazy reading goals for myself and my husband, Kevin. If it’s a lazy vacation in the sun, I normally plan on reading 1-2 books a day for myself and whatever Kevin says that he will read in a vacation, I normally double it. What if we run out of books?! We also have a few series that we are reading together so I throw in 1 or 2 books that we can both read and discuss on vacation.

This is my spreadsheet so far:

Orlando books

I have getting books from the library down to a science. I can’t reserve books too early or else they will be due when I’m on vacation and I can’t leave them too late or else someone else may have them checked out. In case you missed it, I wrote about my local library and the different services that they offer – Libraries (at least Ontario libraries)

Let me know in the comments – What is your ideal vacation novel? Do you plan your vacation novels or do you just go with the flow?

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

The French Girl

Interesting concept, however The French Girl doesn’t have anything that makes it stand out. I feel that you read it and then kind of forget about it. I would recommend reading it how I did, over a lazy Saturday morning, pushing off all responsibilities and chores.

10 years ago, Kate, her boyfriend and their four friends went on vacation to a French farmhouse. There they met Severine, a mysterious young French girl who ends up disappearing around the time that the six friends left France.

Now, Severine’s body has been found and the cold case has been reopened. The focus shifts on the friends and they have to revisit that weekend, a weekend that no one wants to remember. Were the friends simply in the wrong place at the wrong time or did they have something to do with Severine’s death?

The French Girl is captivating. I was sucked in early on and I wanted to keep reading. I was sure it was one of the six friends, but which one? Or was it all of them and they are covering it up? I wasn’t sure. I had my guesses, but I didn’t know how it would play out.

Then it did play out, and I wasn’t wowed. I wanted more. I think the mystery readers have been spoiled lately where there has been so many books that have shocked us (Gone Girl, Behind Her Eyes, The Wife Between Us), that we expect that WTF ending every time. Sadly, it didn’t happen with The French Girl.

I am impressed that this was written by a debut author and I will definitely keep my eye out for her future novels.

The French Girl 2

Not my best picture, but looks how cute Hans is!

3 calculators out of a potential 5. A captivating novel, but with a predictable ending, this will sadly be a book that I may forget about.


The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

The High Tide Club

This cover just screams beach read! The publishers know what they are doing because The High Tide Club is set to release on May 8th, just in time for the warm weather! We had snow flurries here in Toronto this morning 😦 I want summer!

99 year old, Josephine, invites Brooke, a struggling single mother and lawyer, to her remote island home. Josephine says that she needs Brooke to help her track down her old friends and their heirs so that she can make amends for what she has done. Brooke is up for the large task and is curious to learn more about Josephine. Brooke gets more than she bargained for and is uncovering secrets that haven’t never been shared in 80 years, which impacts her and her son.

I wish I read this on the beach. The imagery is beautiful when the author describes the remote island of Talisa, which is just off the coast of south Georgia. I was all set to go to this island and have some sweet tea!

The book flips back and forward between present day, mostly told through Brooke, and the 1940s when Josephine’s friend, Millie was set to marry. I loved the friendship of the 1940s women and how they would go skinny dipping when there was a full moon and high tide!

There are some mysteries involved, including a death in the 1940s, as well as the secrets that Josephine was hiding. You don’t have to be Sherlock Homes to get the mysteries, but it was nice seeing how everything came together.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. A bit too long for my taste since the middle was a bit of a drag to get through. I loved the friendships and wish we got to see more of the 1940s women!

Thank you to Erica at St. Martin’s Press and Netgallery for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.


Not Dead Enough (Roy Grace #3) by Peter James

If you check out my favourites page (My Favourites), you’ll see that I have Dead Simple (Roy Grace #1) as one of my favourite books. I loved it and I was super excited that it was part of a series! Then I read Looking Good Dead (Roy Grace #2) and I was disappointed. I wanted the magic and suspense of Dead Simple to continue and I just never felt it. I’m feeling a little more optimistic after reading Not Dead Enough. It was much better than Looking Good Dead, but sadly nowhere near Dead Simple.

Not Dead Enough

Heidi wasn’t too impressed with the size (600+ pages!) of Not Dead Enough

Not Dead Enough starts off creepy, with a man following Katie Bishop as she drives home one night. You know it’s not going to end well. It doesn’t and she is found dead in her house the next day. All signs point to her husband, Brian Bishop, but as Roy Grace does some digging, things aren’t how they appear.

The biggest problem with Not Dead Enough was that it was too long. There are just over 120 chapters and each chapter is around 5 pages long. There was so much back and forth, with different storylines and characters that it was hard to follow what was the main storyline. Everything did tie together at the end, but it made me question why the author needed 50 pages of a minor plot just for one event at the end of the book. The book would of been really good if there was 100 pages cut and there was more of a focus on the bad guy and the murder of the women.

What makes Roy Grace different from other literary detectives is that his wife , Sandy, disappeared 9 years ago. It is always in the back of his mind and in this novel there is a possibility that she may be alive. I hope that in a future novel, there is a story fully dedicated to Sandy and what happened to her. Preferably sooner rather than later.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. Wish that the book had a good editor prior to publishing to cut down on unnecessary sub-plots. A good mystery, but not shocking and somewhat unbelievable how everything tied together.