Reviews

It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

By on May 3, 2017
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I received this book for free from SheSpeaks.  It is my choice to write a blog post about it.  All opinions are my own.  For more information, check out my disclosure.

Ever since I started reading chapter books, I enjoyed reading mystery books.  I like to play the part of detective and try to solve the mystery before reaching the end of the book.  It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell is a mystery book that involves a trio of unlikely friends and a sudden death twenty years into their friendship.  When I finished the book, I was reeling from how the mystery all unfolded.  Now, I won’t divulge any spoilers while reviewing this book, so feel free to continue reading and decide if you’d like to add this to your must-read list.

The Story

Michele Cambell takes an interesting approach in her storytelling.  There’s no one main protagonist and one point of view.  Rather, the story unfolds using the point of view of each friend and later on, adds additional point of view storytelling from the cop and the husband of the deceased.  While this is unique, it’s hard to discover any facts when everything you’re reading is tainted with personal opinions.  It does, however, allow you to uncover potential motives behind each character you meet.

I did not like how Cambell kept adding more characters into the mix of potential suspects.  She added way too many red herrings that felt forced.  For example, you read that one minor character developed anger management issues after an accident and the timing where you find out this new piece of information was far from natural.  An experienced mystery writer would not have ended up throwing in these details haphazardly.  However, for a debut novel, Cambell did well in keeping the reader hooked into turning page after page.

What had me hooked were the scenes describing a life of opulence and the authenticity of university life.  I do not envy the privileged life, but find it intriguing to read about as fiction.  Because this follows friends from university and on, there are some romance aspects written in that I enjoyed, as well.  My favorite genre is romance mystery and since this touched on it a little, I found myself liking this book despite its flaws.

The Delivery

My version of It’s Always the Husband is a little over 300 pages long and I must say that it’s an easy read.  There aren’t many difficult vocabulary words and the flow of the story with the dialogue goes quite smoothly.  I finished reading this in a couple of days.  The mystery gets solved with a twist and it was not what I was expecting.  I loved it!  The only issue is that the story remains incomplete.

There are a lot of questions leftover about what happened with all the other characters and the cop.  I do not like unresolved endings and would have preferred a concrete version of “this is how the other cops resolved this matter” and “this is what happened to the other prime suspect”.  There’s none of that in this book.  I also didn’t like the cop character because he was completely inappropriate.  He wasn’t objective and didn’t handle the case as a cop should have.  The story explains why, but I did not like having that classic detective character absent from the mystery.

Despite these faults, I could not put this book down until I reached the end.  This is a wonderful concept for a mystery story, but I felt the execution could have been better.  I do recommend giving It’s Always the Husband a try.  For a debut novel, it is done well and it’s exciting to see the mystery unfold.  It goes on sale May 16 and you can pre-order your copy here.  If you enjoyed this review, check out my latest review on Influenster’s Poppy Voxbox and my recommendations for 8 books that a one year old must read.

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What other good mystery books do you recommend?  Comment and let me know!  Please share this post if this book sounds like a fun read!

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Family | Reviews

8 Must Read Books for the One Year Old

By on March 24, 2017
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This post contains affiliate links.  Her Life Is Love will receive a small commission from sales through the links at no additional cost to buyer.  For more info, check our disclosure.

I’m a bookworm.  I love curling up to a good book, so the advice I got that a good mom reads to their baby a lot worked out well.  Reading to my daughter got a lot more exciting after she turned one year old.  By then, she was more aware of the world around her and seemed to really absorb the content in the books.  Around 18 months, we got to participate in the Summer Reading Program at our local library.  Through the experience, we discovered eight books for a one year old that we highly recommend.  If you would like more daughter-inspired recommendations, check out my daughter’s favorites for bath time!

Jazz Baby

Babies and young toddlers listen to the rhythm and tonal changes in order to learn a language.  Jazz Baby is a book that automatically makes you sing when reading it out loud.  It’s pretty catchy and after reading it together numerous times, we practically memorized the whole book.  I liked how the extended family and neighbors take part in this story, so my daughter was exposed to many new key words.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

Don’t Push the Button!

This is such a cute story.  You have this adorable purple character who speaks to you, the reader, and much like any young child, has little self-restraint.  The whole book goes through his struggle to follow one simple rule.  Don’t push the button.  Toddlers have a knack for wanting to do things you tell them not to do.  This is one such case, but we really enjoyed pushing the button anyway.  This book allows for a fun interaction with the book and I like it because making reading fun at an early age is key to keeping kids interested in reading for a lifetime.

Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter

Dear Zoo

A classic book that’s already been around for 30 years, so many of you may already be familiar with it.  Plus, it’s a flap book and young toddlers love lifting flaps in a book.  We loved guessing what animal is behind each flap and then making the animal sounds, too.  This book taught my daughter the words for lion, elephant, and giraffe.  We especially loved the ending because it includes the best animal of all!

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Knuffle Bunny

I personally liked how this book takes actual photographs and places these illustrated characters inside.  My daughter has a stuffed bunny, too, so we could sort of relate with the characters in the story.  I might have liked this book more than my daughter because the author, Mo Willems, accurately captures what a toddler does when she gets frustrated from not being understood.  Hint: They go floppy.

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Dinosaur’s Binkit

We enjoy a lot of Sandra Boynton books because of the adorable illustrations.  Here’s a lovely story about a dinosaur getting ready for bed, but apparently he’s missing his binkit.  It’s a quick and easy read, plus it’s a flap book.  The ideal bedtime story for when you want to make a quick exit.  What makes this book particularly great for young toddlers is that it includes textures.  On the cover, you can feel the fuzzy softness of the dinosaur’s binkit.

Dinosaur’s Binkit by Sandra Boynton

Where Is Pim?

We loved the illustrations and the story is quite simple.  In fact, you will want to talk about the illustrations and spot different things together to make a reading of this book worthwhile.  I liked to point out the dogs and what they encounter on their search for Pim.

Where Is Pim? by Lena and Olaf Landstrom

Hi!

My daughter learned the names of many different animals (wolf, polar bear, donkey, owl) and the different sounds they make.  It was so cute to read this book with her and hear her howl with the wolf and growl with the polar bear.  I remember this book fondly because it is the first book where my daughter actually started to repeat after me and voice the words for owl and bird.  I think because it is such a simple book where I only repeated the name of the animal and the sound they make, it was easy for my daughter to follow along.

Hi! by Ethan Long

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

This is another great rhyming, rhythmic book that is fun to read.  The monkey illustrations are endearing as they teach about hands, fingers, thumbs, and drums.  My daughter still loves this book, even though she is now two years old.  It is a #1 bestseller in children’s books on Amazon and right now, it’s on sale for $2.99!  I’m so glad our local librarian recommended this book to us.  I highly recommend this board book, too.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins

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These are all affordable books that a one year old will love.  If you need gift ideas for a first birthday, any one of these books are sure to be a hit.

Which book would you read to your one year old?

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