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The Love Hypothesis: A Book Review

Title: The Love Hypothesis

Author: Ali Hazelwood

Publisher: Jove/Berkely

Copyright: 2021

I’ll be the first to admit that The Love Hypothesis is not a book I would’ve gravitated toward on the shelf. Romance isn’t my cup of tea, but the marketing ploy for this book’s release was on-point and blasted all over social media. After viewing so many reviews and posts, I decided to give The Love Hypothesis a shot. And while this wasn’t my FAVORITE book of all time, it did help revive the Romance genre in my collection.

Olive was a lonely Ph.D student who spent most of her time in the lab or with her best friend, Anh. When Anh admits that she has caught feelings for Olive’s ex, Anh fears that going for Jeremy will be an act of betrayal toward her friend and ultimately decides to just let him go. Olive couldn’t care less, she was too busy with trying to invent a test for early detection of prostate cancer to bother with love interests. One late night she resolves to prove to Anh that she has moved on by grabbing the nearest guy and laying a big, wet kiss on his lips.

Only…this wasn’t just any guy. This was Doctor Adam Carlsen.

Carlsen was a god in the Biology world and the most feared advisor in Olive’s program. Once she realized who she was kissing she was embarassed and apologized profusely. But Adam was not as upset as she’d expected–in fact he was devising a plan to play this off in both of their favors.

Over the next several weeks, Olive and Adam began to con their friends and colleagues into thinking that they were dating. They met publicly for coffee dates to be seen by all the right people. In doing so, they got to know eachother, and yep, you guessed it…they started falling in love.

Although elements of this story were predictable, there were parts that I really enjoyed. I loved the way that the author brought nerdy humor to the page. From page one, I was engaged with her writing style and felt connected to Olive with her wit and struggle in academia.

**Chapter 15 was a bit of surprise. The story took a quick hiatus from lighthearted, playful plot to very erotic and graphic sexual scenes. (Like, probably the most X-rated text I’ve ever read. Again, I’m not really into Romance so I cannot even compare it to another text or say if it was appropriate for the genre. But, I would say this is not a book for teens for sure!)

All in all, I would rate this book a 3.5 out of 5. I enjoyed the read, but there was room to improve the predicability and authenticity of the plot. In the future, I would read other books by Ali Hazelwood. This type of book would be a great vacation read or something light to take on a long roadtrip or trainride.

Follow me on Goodreads for more reviews and recommendations.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Other Words for Home: A Book Review

Title: Other Words for Home

Author: Jasemine Warga

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Copyright: 2019

Image Credit: Amazon

Jude is a young girl living in Syria. Her love for family and home are challenged by the political turmoil in her town and the violence erupting in the streets. When her mother finds out that she is expecting another child, Jude’s father sends his girls to live with family in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ohio might as well be another planet because at first Jude and her mother are treated like aliens. They try to assimilate into American culture all while clinging to the most important parts of their Syrian life. Friendships are hard for Jude at first, but as she develops her English skills in an ESL classroom she meets other students who have left their homelands behind for the promise of safety.

A story of coming-of-age during immigration to America is what sets this lyrical book apart from others in the genre.

A couple of things to note if considering this book for a young audience:

-Jude starts her period and begins wearing a hijab. The language here is not very graphic, but may not be suitable for elementary school readers.

-Violence is not depicted explicitly, but Jude’s brother, Issa, is involved with a Syrian rebellion and she worries for his safety often.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book from the Newbery List. As a high school teacher, middle grade fiction is not a genre I gravitate toward and so this was something different to break up my ensemble of YA and Literary fiction. Because this book was written for a younger audience it was a quick read. Additionally, it is a book written in verse which limits the word count on each page. This is a good option for reluctant readers because the plot is easy to follow and the words-per-page are manageable and help propel the reader quickly through the story.

I gave this book a 4-star rating on Goodreads. If you like my reviews and want to read some more, follow me on Goodreads. Also, if you follow me you can see which reviews are soon to come. If you are looking for a recommendation on what to read next, I’d love to connect on the app!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Enneagram Four

This week I am taking a look at the eccentric and unique qualities that make up an Enneagram Four. Not only are Fours masters of creativity, but they long to fulfill a special role in their relationships. In their quest for love, Fours may come on a little strong,

they pack the emotional punch to follow through. Reading about Enneagram Fours in The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron has really helped me to better understand the best ways to interact with the Fours in my life to ensure that I am promoting their mental health by my responses to their projections.

Other posts that you may want to check out: Enneagram One and Introduction, Enneagram Two, and Enneagram Three.

Enneagram Four: The Romantic

Triad– The Feeling or Heart Triad (2,3,4)

Security Number– When Fours are feeling healthy and balanced they lean into the positive attributes of a Two (The Helper)

Stress Number- When Fours are stressed and living in an unhealthy mind space, they take on the undesirable attributes of a One (The Improver)

Deadly Sin-Envy

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Enneagram Three

The three weeks I have invested in studying the Enneagram have already been such a blessing in my relationships. Diving into the thinking behind each of these personality types has helped me empathize and understand the people around me. Reading each chapter of Ian Morgan Cron’s book The Road Back to You has helped me to not only add language to my own emotions, but helped me to better communicate with the people in my life.

Other posts you may want to check out: Enneagram Introduction/One and Enneagram Two.

Enneagram Three: The Performer

Triad– The Feeling or Heart Triad (2,3,4)

Security Number– When Threes are feeling healthy and balanced they lean into the positive attributes of a Six (The Loyalist)

Stress Number- When Threes are stressed and living in an unhealthy mind space, they take on the undesirable attributes of a Nine (The Peacemaker)

Deadly Sin-Deciet

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Enneagram Two

Last week I explored the purpose of The Enneagram using The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron. You can read up on my Introduction to the Enneagram, but essentially, “It’s full of wisdom for people who want to get out of their own way and become who they were created to be.” (14)

Over the next several weeks, I will be summarizing what I have learned from this text about each personality type. I am a ONE, but it is hard to finally land on your correct number so I recommend reading the book (and not just my notes) before declaring your Enneagram type.

Enneagram Two: The Helper

Triad– The Feeling or Heart Triad (2,3,4)

Security Number– When Twos are feeling healthy and balanced they lean into the positive attributes of a Four (The Romantic)

Stress Number- When Twos are stressed and living in an unhealthy mind space, they take on the undesirable attributes of an Eight (The Challenger)

Deadly Sin-Pride

An infographic that I created about the attributes of Enneagram Twos

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Kristy Boyce: Ten Questions with the Author

Author Kristy Boyce with her debut novel, Hot British Boyfriend

This is a very special Valentine’s Day edition of The Ameri Brit Mom. I am excited to introduce you to my author friend, Kristy Boyce. I first met Kristy at my local chapter of SCBWI. I had no idea that she had been writing a novel about England and once she announced her book deal I was both excited for her and anticipating the release of Hot British Boyfriend.

The Q&A below is based on Kristy’s road to publication. Below she offers great advice for those who aspire to be a published author.

10 Questions with Kristy Boyce

1.     Where did you get the ideas or inspiration for your book?

My original inspiration came from teaching a psychology class on “the Self.” We talk a lot about gaining self-knowledge and self-esteem in the class and that led me to write an application multiple-choice question about times when we feel comfortable sharing our “true” selves with others.

I started thinking about how someone would act if they were in a totally new situation for a few months with people they didn’t know. It might be tempting to try acting like someone else because who would know? And you wouldn’t have to keep up the charade forever. Then I decided to set it in England because I love it there! 😉

2.     What is your favorite genre to read? How many books do you read monthly/annually?

Well, unsurprisingly, I love reading both young adult and adult romance novels! I also love sinking into a wonderful fantasy series.

I’m not a particularly fast reader so (if I’m lucky) I can finish about one book per week. Oftentimes it’s less than that though.

3.     Describe your process of landing an agent.

Hot British Boyfriend was the fourth novel I wrote and the third that I queried. The first time I queried HBB I got full requests followed by rejections. I didn’t know how to improve the book and was about to give up on it, but then I decided to enter PitchWars (a writing mentorship program). My wonderful mentors, Carrie Allen and Sabrina Lotfi, chose me and I’m forever grateful to them. They helped me to rework the novel and then Tara Gonzales with Erin Murphy Literary Agency requested it during the 2019 PitchWars agent showcase and signed me after.

4.     What was the process like as you queried publishers? 

I did some revisions for my agent and then she sent out the manuscript in early fall of 2019. We were very lucky to hear back from my editor, Catherine Wallace, after about five weeks. I was expecting for the book to be out on submission for a long time, so I was completely shocked when the offer came in!

5.     How long did the editing process take? What all did it entail?

Editing with a traditional publisher is an extensive process, even if the manuscript has already been revised many times. My editor and I did two rounds of general revisions, a round of copy edits, then first pass pages and final pass pages.

During the first rounds, I was still changing elements of the plot and working on the emotional arcs for the characters. During copy edits, HarperCollins hired two copy editors to review the manuscript for repetitive words, awkward sentence structure, typos, inconsistencies, and other mistakes. After that, the manuscript was formatted as a PDF and I had two chances to review it for additional mistakes before it went to the printer.

I got my initial offer in October 2019 and I believe we finished all the edits around August of 2020!

6.     What tools do you use to strengthen your craft?

I think one of the best things a writer can do is to read both inside and outside their genre so that’s one thing I do. I also beta read for a few friends and that’s always helpful. We can learn so much about writing that way.

7.     How did the traditional publishing process enhance your writing?

Traditional publishing isn’t for everyone, but I love that there are so many people invested in making your book the absolute best it can be. Working with my editors has been a blessing and has pushed me to improve my writing immensely. For instance, I think I have a better understanding of pacing, particularly in the first half of the book, and that was something I used to really struggle with when writing.

8.     What was it like to open that first box of your books? Describe the feelings and thoughts involved.

It was an incredibly emotional experience. My husband was videotaping the “unboxing” and my son was sitting next to me (and very anxious to see the books himself, lol) so it was definitely a family affair. I was on the verge of tears the entire time, but what tipped me over the edge was opening the book to a random page and seeing my words there. Which is silly because of course my words are printed on the pages—that’s the whole point of publishing!—but holding a “real” book with my dialogue in it was one of the best experiences of my life.

9.     What are you looking forward to in your future as an author?

I would love to get to meet some readers in person and talk about the book. Because it came out during the pandemic, I haven’t had any in-person events yet. I’m also looking forward to launching my next book, Hot Dutch Daydream, in 2023!

10.  What does your writing practice look like?

Pre-Covid I would often write in libraries or coffee shops, but nowadays I write at my desk at home. I always light a candle and often have a cup of tea by my side. Sometimes I like to write while listening to music—my current favorite is Vitamin String Quartet.

*Bonus Question: What advice do you have for writers who dream of a published book?

There’s lots of advice I could give, but I think my biggest piece of advice is to befriend other writers and hold them close. The entire publishing business can be brutal, and you really need others who understand and can help you through the hard times and celebrate your successes. Some of my closest friends are writers and I’m so thankful for them. I wouldn’t be here without them!

To get your own signed copy of Hot British Boyfriend, use this link (be sure to request the signed copies inthe comments): https://www.covertocoverchildrensbooks.com/book/9780063025912

To purchase from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hot-British-Boyfriend-Kristy-Boyce/dp/0063025914/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1644353060&sr=1-1

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Far From You: A Book Review

Title: Far From You

Author: Tess Sharpe

Publisher: Hyperion

Copyright: 2014

photo credit: Amazon

Sophie lost the trust of those closest to her when she became addicted to oxy. The accident that permanently injured her leg drove her to extreme measures–numbing the pain with the pills that helped her forget it. All of the lies piled up until Sophie isolated herself from all friends and family.

After a stint in rehab, Sophie decides to come clean about her addiction and resolves to live a sober life even though the pain hasn’t gone away. She is beginning to pick up the pieces of the life she traded for drugs, when she and her best friend, Mina, are attacked in the woods. Only Sophie leaves that woods alive.

A masked man kills Mina and plants drugs on the unconscious Sophie. He knows Sophie’s past well enough to know exactly how to frame her. When she awakes in a pool of Mina’s blood, Sophie becomes the main suspect in Mina’s murder. Who would trust that she was sober when she has a history of lying about her addiction?

Once Sophie returns from rehab a second time, she sets out to find the man who shot Mina. On her quest to avenge her best friend, Sophie uncovers that she wasn’t the only person who kept deadly secrets.

Far From You is a YA Thriller that contains drug abuse, sex, and LGBTQ+ scenes. The plot is so delicately woven by the author that the identity of Mina’s killer was an enormous surprise. I love when an author creates a believable YA Thriller that the reader can be sucked into and that is exactly what Tess Sharpe did here. I gave this story 4/5 stars on Goodreads. Follow my Goodreads page to see other recommendations and what I am reading next!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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The Midnight Library: A Book Review

Title: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig

Publisher: Viking

Copyright: 2020

photo credit: Goodreads

This book sat on my shelf for far too long and my anticipation was strong. Luckily, Matt Haig did not disappoint!

Nora Seed has decided that she no longer wants to live. In the last twenty-four hours she lost her job and her beloved cat and so it seemed to her a good a time as any to swallow a bunch of capsules and check out. The afterlife wasn’t the peace Nora had hoped for, but instead was a large library full of green books and a familiar librarian from her past.

She soon learns that within the pages of each book lies a life that could have been hers. Each variation of Nora’s life was built by the decisions she could have made or the regrets that she held. In this parallel universe, Nora has the chance to see what her life may be like if things had been different. She experiences lives where she is famous, successful, poor, and broken. Each time she feels unsatisfied she transplants to a new version of Nora’s life.

With a beautiful message of contentment and making our own happiness in life this book was worth all of the acclaim in my opinion.

I gave this book 5/5 stars

Follow my Goodreads account for more reviews.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Books

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: A Book Review

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Publisher: Simon and Shuster Books for Young Readers

Copyright Date: 2012

Photo Credit: Goodreads

“High school was just a prologue to the real novel. Everybody got to write you — but when you graduated, you got to write yourself.”

This book was so compelling, so tender, and so beautiful. Following the love of two individuals as it unfolded was an amazing journey. Aristotle and Dante found love in an unusual place–the El Paso public swimming pool. Both boys had been outsiders during their high school experience, but chance brought their stories together in the pool and their chemistry helped a friendship move into so much more.

This is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time and I cannot believe that it took me this long to get my hands on it. This coming-out story is one of self discovery and acceptance. It’s about the confusion that teens face when they realize that they may not be heterosexual. It’s about searching for support from loved ones. It’s about uncovering secrets to find your place in the world.

The tale of Aristotle and Dante will break your heart and then put it back together. 

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Follow my Goodreads account for more reviews in the future.

The Ameri Brit Mom
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Hot British Boyfriend: A Book Review

Title: Hot British Boyfriend

Author: Kristy Boyce

Publisher: HarperTeen

Copyright Date: 2021

photo credit: Amazon

After the most embarrassing event of her life becomes a viral video and the death of her reputation, Ellie Nichols puts an ocean between herself and her school in DC by enrolling in a prestigious study abroad program in ENGLAND. Throwing herself into her studies at Emberton Manor helps Ellie to forget about the humiliating party where she threw herself at her crush only to find out that he was into her friend. Instead of parties and dating, the students of Emberton are focused on scholarships and early admissions to Ivy League colleges. It’s the perfect place for Ellie to spend half of her senior year–far from the American boy who broke her heart and the classmates who shattered her self esteem.

Academics were never Ellie’s passion though. She would rather be crafting her fairy gardens, watching British sitcoms with her mom, or wearing unicorn tees, but those are parts of herself that she knows can never be shared with anyone else.

One weekend, Ellie and some of her new friends from the program venture off the campus to visit an English market. While there, Ellie meets an older local boy and the two click immediately. His charm and sophistication make Ellie forget all about the boys back home and she finds herself forgetting about her academic studies and instead worried about becoming the perfect girl for her hot British boyfriend, Will.

Together, Ellie and Will take in the sights of England and they begin to fall in love. The problem is that Ellie hasn’t been honest with Will about many facets of herself. Guarded by her experience in America, Ellie decides to reinvent herself with Will. She enlists the help of one of her newest friends, Dev, to teach her about things like cricket to help win over Will.

Throughout her semester in England, Ellie dates Will, makes new friends, travels to Italy, improves her GPA, escapes the viral video, and secretly helps a groundskeeper implement some of her fairy gardening skills. She learns about herself in ways she never would have back home and the time away begins to heal the wounds inflicted by the classmates who hurt her most. Everything seems to be going well, until Ellie is caught up in Will so much that she forgets who she truly is.

This teen romance book is a special one to me. Not only is it about a young British romance, but it is also written by a woman that I have met and follow on social media. Kristy Boyce is a member of the same SCBWI as I am in Columbus, Ohio. I remember going to a meeting where she shared that she was going to get published. I remember hearing her “elevator pitch” and the story of how this book began as a contest entry. This book to me symbolized the fact that anything is possible for those who pursue their dreams. I followed Kristy’s journey and her social media has chronicled the process of her debut novel. Hot British Boyfriend was also well-written and engaging. Being married to an Englishman there are parts that I could really envision and that were even true to early parts of my relationship with my husband (sans all the lies and deceit.) This is a quick, light read and one that I enjoyed while on trains and planes traveling in England this summer. I highly recommend Hot British Boyfriend to any lovers of YA or YA Romance. It was so nice to take a rest from all the literature assigned through my masters program to enjoy a light-hearted, fun, nostalgic read like this one.

Check out my Goodreads account if you want to see what’s up next in my reading. 

The Ameri Brit Mom