Books · Uncategorized

Slowly But Surely…


The school year is now in full swing and I am ready to get back into my personal reading habits. The first few weeks of school involve a lot of adjustment and resting once I finally get home. As I am beginning to settle into what will be my new routine I feel myself craving to be lost in a good book. Over the summer I was constantly reading. Some weeks I finished two or more books and now it’s been a while since I’ve been able to catch some solid reading time.

This week I’m going to get back into my Book Challenge mode and pick up where I left off. Currently, I’m about one-third of the way through The Crown, the last book in The Selection series by Kiera Cass. This has been one of the first series I’ve EVER finished. I am so bad about reading consecutive books with the same characters so I’m excited to say that probably by the end of the week I will have finished this series. I was able to read this series because I alternated between a book from the series and a book from my challenge. I didn’t read the whole series straight through.

Next on my TBR list is a new in 2016 book: Tru and Nelle by G.Neri. This book is about the real life friendship of Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee. I cannot tell you how pumped I am for this book! I was at a professional development session this summer where a librarian book-talked this book and I immediately tracked down a copy for me. I can’t wait to read it and review it for you!

Following those two reads I’m looking at Murder on the Orient Express as my mystery novel for the book challenge. I am in love with Agatha Christie’s books. I don’t mind that her books were written in the 1930’s. In my mind, she is still the Queen of Mystery and I don’t think that will ever change. My favorite mystery book of all time was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and I’ve heard that Murder on the Orient Express is just as captivating.

So there is a quick update on my reading life and what I hope to accomplish by the end of September. I need to get back to reading constantly and not let my job interfere with something I love so much.

What books are you hoping to read soon?

The Ameri Brit Mom

Books · Uncategorized

TBR Summer 2016

Words cannot adequately express how excited I am to make a dent in my To-Be-Read list this summer. I’ve been working my way through a 24 Book Challenge this year and as of late have also fallen in love with The Selection series and plan to intersperse that reading with my book challenge. Here is a look at the next ten books on my TBR list:

  1. A Seperate Peace by John Knowles (currently on page 140/204)
  2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  3. The One by Kiera Cass
  4. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
  5. The Heir by Kiera Cass
  6. Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland
  7. The Crown by Kiera Cass
  8. The Cellar by Natasha Preston
  9. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


Books · Uncategorized

24 Book Challenge: A Book By An Author I’ve Never Heard Of

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #7 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: Real Time

Author: Pnina Moed Kass

Publisher: Clarion Books

Copyright Date: 2004


My husband and I have racked up quite the book collection over the years.

Rarely, do we pay full price for a book, but rather scour library sales, half-price bookstores, or teacher warehouse specials. This book I chose to read recently was from a shelf at the local library marked “Free.” With no cost attached to the book, it was worth the snatch. Until last week this book sat gathering dust on our overstuffed bookshelf. When it came time to look for a book by an author I had never heard of I went through the stacks of books in search of this one.

Pnina Moed Kass is not a household name. She is an American who resides in Israel and writes about the struggle of life in the Middle East. Her writings aren’t extremely popular because they shed light on the horrific acts taking place daily in a region so tormented by hate and war. I learned a lot from reading this book about how blessed I am to be an American, but this book left me with the desire to do something about the conflicts in the Middle East. Innocent people live in fearful conditions because of an ancient grudge between two races. This should never be.

Thomas is a sixteen year old German seeking forgiveness for the acts of his grandfather during World War II. Vera is a nineteen year old Ukranian girl leaving behind a family of lies in search of her heritage. Baruch Ben Tov runs the gardens at a Kibbutz. Plagued by his own memories of the concentration camps and the numbers imprinted in his skin he struggles everyday with fear of what others may do to him, and even worse what  he is capable of himself. Sameh is a Palestinian who has been mixed up in the radical world. Fate brings these people together along with others whose stories are uniquely woven into human history.

Upon his arrival in Israel, Thomas seeks out the Kibbutz where he plans to work as a gardener. Vera plans to study botany in college when her boyfriend, Dan, is out of the army, but spends time at the Kibbutz preparing for those plans. Because of their shared interests Thomas and Vera intersect in Israel and Vera steps up to be Thomas’ guide during his visit.

Shortly after their introductions Vera and Thomas are caught up in the dangerous world of terrorism. They find themselves victims of a horrific act against humanity and struggle with making it through the event in more ways than one. Each person touched by this tragedy begins to recognize the importance of loved ones and faith in a way they never have before.

I read this book in 48 hours. I was instantly drawn into the lives of the characters and as the events unfolded I kept reading until I found out what had happened to those characters I had come to care for so deeply. Although this book is written about fictitious people it is a mirror of some of the tragic realities that plague Israel in this time. This book made me more informed and aware about the world beyond the western borders. Most of the time readers pick up books to escape their lives in pursuit of something happy or adventurous. If that is your usual motivation for reading this book may not be the best for you. However, if you choose books that appeal to your sense of travel, compassion, and knowledge Real Time is a great pick.

It is equal to living in a tragic land, To live in a tragic time. -Wallace Stevens, “Dry Loaf”


The Ameri Brit Mom


Books · Uncategorized

24 Book Challenge: The First Book in a Series

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #6 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Publisher: Harper Teen

Copyright Date: 2012


Picture credit: Goodreads

For the past couple of years The Selection series has been really popular among the ninth grade girls in my English classes. I’ve watched this series turn reluctant female readers into confident ones as they devour the pages quickly and with excitement. Whenever someone prepares to present about this book there is always another student in the room who gasps, “I loved that book!” uncontrollably. As a result of all the love this book gets in my classroom this title has been on my TBR (To-Be-Read) list for a while so I was excited to get it out of the queue.

America Singer lives with her family in the country of Illea. She is from one of the lowest castes in the nation where she is being trained to work as a musician. Over the past several years she has fallen in love with Aspen, a boy of an even lower caste, but they have found ways to kindle their star crossed love without suspicion.

Things are going well for the love birds until news comes out that Prince Maxon will be hosting a selection at the royal palace to seek out a wife. The promise of wealth and power for the family of the chosen wife as well as her mother’s own urging cause America to put her name in the running to represent her province in The Selection. When she is chosen to embark on the adventure to the crown America is torn apart, but she puts her family  before her own desires. Soon after her arrival to the palace it becomes clear that she is a front runner for Prince Maxon’s affection and she pays the price of his feelings with her relationships with the other girls in the contest, her forbidden love for Aspen, and the dangerous rebel attacks on the palace during her stay.

The Selection was a mash up between a couple of popular stories. When trying to explain the plot to my husband I drew multiple comparisons to well known tales/shows such as The Bachelor, The Hunger Games, and the story of Queen Esther from the Bible.

The Bachelor

Some parallels which can be drawn between The Selection and The Bachelor would be that the Prince of Illea has come of age and is need of a bride. Instead of going about the dating process the traditional way Prince Maxon undergoes a live televised program where he will court thirty-five women (one from each of the provinces.) The process will eventually lead to the selection of a wife.

The Hunger Games

The Selection is similar to The Hunger Games in that it is set in futuristic America. China has defeated our country before being invaded and overtaken by the troops of Lord Illea, the namesake of the newly formed nation. There is also a strict caste system in place across the country. And along the lines of the districts in Panem from The Hunger Games, each of the provinces of Illea will have a woman chosen at random to represent their province in the Selection. Much like Katniss Everdeen, America Singer is reluctant to be called upon to represent her home on the televised competition, but discovers that she is a natural and finds herself successful.

Queen Esther

The last comparison I made between the book and a famous story is that of Queen Esther. The process for determining a wife for the eligible Prince Maxon is reflective of the process that Esther took part in to win the heart of King Xerxes. The women are all brought to the palace and treated royally. Each woman is at the beck and call of the young prince and spends her days waiting for the privilege to spend one-on-one time with the heir to the country’s throne. Also, like Queen Esther, America Singer shows that she is not romanced by the wealth and power of the prince and oftentimes breaks the rules of the game by asserting her will without fear of consequence.

This was a very quick read. The author drew me into the plot from page one and didn’t let up until the abrupt ending. This is the first book in a series and so the ending was not clean and tidy. Most of the loose ends were left dangling. The rest of the series includes: The Elite, The One, The Heir, and The Crown (to be relased in May.) It’s clear to me why young adult readers have been flocking to this series. And now that I’m attached to America, Prince Maxon, Lady Marlee, and Aspen I’m looking forward to continuing the series!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Books · Uncategorized

24 Book Challenge: A Book Written the Year I Was Born

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #3 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: Good Omens

Author: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Publisher: Harper

Copyright Date: 1990


This is a book I never would have chosen for myself. I guess that’s the point of a reading challenge, though. I decided to take on the challenge in order to expand my reading beyond just NY Times bestsellers. In the past, I’ve been a fan of some of Gaiman’s work (which usually flirts with the dark lines) so after reading several book reviews on Goodreads and reading through multiple Best Books of 1990 lists I decided on this title.

Good Omens is ,”a narrative of certain events occurring in the last eleven years of human history, in strict accordance as shall be shewn with: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter.”

Agnes Nutter, a seventeenth century witch recorded thousands of prophecies which have been passed down through the family heirloom of the Device family. The prophecies of this particular witch are extremely accurate, but hard to predict ahead of time. They are the types of prophecies one does not realize has been fulfilled until the event has already occurred. Partially because of the tiny details of the predictions and partially because many of the predictions involve objects and ideas for which there were no words when the book was recorded causing Agnes to create her own words.

Adam Young, is the anti-Christ. Although many people don’t usually think of the anti-Christ as being an eleven year old boy from Tadfield, England. Aziraphale, an angel and part-time rare book dealer, along with Crowley, a fallen angel, they worked together to switch out the biological son of the Young’s for the Satanic boy who would induce the end of the world.

Newt Pulsifer is a witchfinder private who works for Sergeant Shadwell. In his quest to learn of present day witches he comes across Anathema Device, the contemporary heiress of Agnes Nutter’s book of prophecies.

On the last day of the world as we know it all of these characters together with the four horsemen of the apocalypse (Death, War, Famine, and Pollution) meet in an old warehouse in Tadfield. The world is on the brink of extinction and each of these persons has an important role to play in that endeavor. Plans have been set and prophecies are being fulfilled, but some details have been missed in the process.

Witty, creative, and uncommon are three adjectives that come to mind after reading this collaborative effort by two of the most common names in fantasy literature. At times I was laughing, and to be honest at others I was completely confused, but in the end this book turned out to be a unique work of fiction unlike anything else I’ve ever read. I fell in love with the writing style of both of these men. As I read I could hear their humorous voices throughout the somewhat muddy plot. When things were confusing their wit brought me through and helped me to see this book through til the end.

I don’t know that I would highly recommend this piece for my usual followers. It’s a little different and the multiple conflicts and characters really challenge the reader’s attention. If you are looking for something different, however, to spark your reading habits or to approach a complicated fantasy then this is the book for you.

The Ameri Brit Mom


Books · Uncategorized

24 Book Challenge: A Book You Already Own

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #2 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.

Title: Schooled in Revenge

Author: Jesse Lasky

Publisher: Hyperion

Copyright Date: 2013


This Christmas I received this book in my stocking. My husband and I have spent many hours binge watching the ABC show Revenge on Netflix so he decided to gift me a book based on the television series. If you are unfamiliar with the show you can still read this book. Within its pages there are cameo appearances from a couple of the characters from the show, however, this novel is based on an entirely separate cast.

Ava Winters was once the wealthy heiress to a famous and successful vineyard in Napa Valley, California. When a plot unfolds which steals away anything and everyone that Ava has ever known she finds herself headed down a path of extracting revenge. Much like Emily Thorne (Amanda Clarke) in the television series Ava finds herself in Japan enrolled in the training program instructed by a sensai named Takeda.

Along her road to revenge Ava meets others who bear their own grudges. Each one with a story  and list of secrets of how they wound up on Rebun Island. Until one day the students come across folders with each of their names filled with a plan to bring revenge to those who cost them everything. As a group, they begin to see the connections between their stories and take it upon themselves to leave the island to bring karma to their enemies.

During their individual quests for revenge each of the students uncover secrets about their lives and those they were once close to. With their training incomplete they are met with challenges back in California and some of those challenges prove to be deadly.

I really like how Jesse Lasky took a familiar plot, but implanted new characters with different motives. Like the television series, there is a dual timeline which keeps the suspense paramount throughout the book. As the reader you don’t learn about events of the character’s pasts until it becomes absolutely necessary. Not knowing the chain of events keeps you interested as the reader and gives motive to each turn of the page. Lasky rarely dabbles in descriptive language in his writing (which I disagree with as an author), but overall the book kept me involved with the drama and suspense and I began to forget about the lack of details.

I would recommend this book to fans of dramatic literature or anyone who finds themselves hooked on shows like ABC’s Revenge. It took me a while to finish this book so now I’m off to make up for lost time. On to book #3…a book written the year I was born (1990!!!!)