Friday, September 6, 2013

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Title:  The Kissing Hand

Author: Audrey Penn

My Rating: 5 Stars

Purchase: Amazon   Barnes &Noble

School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. Since its first publication in 1993, this heartwarming book has become a children's classic that has touched the lives of millions of children and their parents, especially at times of separation, whether starting school, entering daycare, or going to camp. It is widely used by kindergarten teachers on the first day of school. Stickers at the back will help children and their parents keep their Kissing Hand alive.

My thoughts:

My last baby recently started Kindergarten. I have been through this twice before with his older brothers, however being the last one, his starting Kindergarten had a profound effect on me.

I read The Kissing Hand to him the weekend before school started. He has been going to daycare since he was 6 weeks old, so I think that this book was more for me than it was for him. By now, he seems to have no problem leaving me for the day.

The story is about a little raccoon that is going off to school but doesn't want to and how his mother shares a secret with him that will help him through the day each time he is missing her.

When the book was done and my son ran off to go play, I was left sitting there with huge crocodile tears in my eyes. I'm not sure how much the book did for helping my son through the day, but I can tell you that I am pressing my palm to my cheek right now and feeling just a little bit better.

I would recommend this book to anyone with children. Whether you have already sent them off to school or not. I wouldn't even consider it a requirement to read it to them however I also recommend you have some tissues handy.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Nocturne by Andrea Randall and Charles Sheehan-Miles

Title:  Nocturne

Author: Andrea Randall and Charles Sheehan-Miles

My Rating: 4 Stars

Purchase: Amazon Kindle   B&N Nook   Kobo

From the bestselling authors of In The Stillness and The Last Hour, a new story of forbidden love and second chances.
Savannah Marshall is a gifted flutist and daughter of musical royalty when she enrolls in the elite New England Conservatory of Music. Brilliant, eclectic and passionate, she lives music, but struggles with her plans for the future.

Gregory Fitzgerald is one of the most renowned cellists of his generation. A member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and professor at the Conservatory, he is laser focused on his career to the exclusion of friends, family and especially romance.

When Gregory and Savannah's paths cross in the classroom, it threatens to challenge more than their wildly differing beliefs on music. Friendships, ethics, and careers are put on the line as Gregory and Savannah play a symphony of passion and heartbreak.

In the final movement, Gregory and Savannah are handed their greatest challenge, as the loss of absolutely everything they've held as truths hangs in the balance.

My thoughts:

I am a simple person.  I lead a simple life in a mid-sized Midwestern town.  I've never been to the opera or to a symphony or any classical arts performance for that matter.  However, after just finishing reading Nocturne by Andrea Randall and Charles Sheehan-Miles, I feel like I have just been on tour with The Big Five.

Nocturne is elegantly and beautifully written.  The novel clearly illustrates that the authors were well educated in the subject of symphony orchestras.  Either that, or they easily fooled me with big words like Rachmaninoff, arpeggios, and diminuendos.  (Thank you Kindle for your built-in dictionary.) And after I got over the deer-in-the-headlights look of a very unfamiliar subject to me, I was easily wrapped up in the story.

"I don't have time for this is not something you say to the love of your life."

Told from the dual viewpoint of the two main characters, Savannah and Gregory, Nocturne is a complex story of a taboo situation that pushes the boundaries of ethics.  While I can't agree with the choices that were made by the characters, the story was written in a way that I was able to understand why they made the choices they did.

I've read novels individually written by both Ms. Randall and Mr. Sheehan-Miles and they were both wonderful.  However, together they they have found a way to meld their voices into one incredibly written book.  The seamless way the book flowed together would not leave you guessing that the book was written by dual authors had you not seen their names on the cover.  

Nocturne is a book of forbidden love, heartbreak, bad decisions, emotions, and music.  Although I probably glossed over some of the more 'technical' music parts, it is a very satisfying and entertaining read. It is a standalone book with a happily-ever-after and I would recommend this book whether you are a fan of the classical arts or not.


As part of the blog tour, you are invited to enter the giveaway for a $100 Amazon gift card and ebook copies of books written by both Andrea Randall and Charles Sheehan-Miles.  Your entry can be completed in the Rafflecopter below.

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