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The Measure by Nikki Erlick – Book Review

Ahhhh….the age old question that sparks conversation all around the world…What would you do?  Author Nikki Erlick presents a very thought provoking scenario for this very question.  On an otherwise normal day, all around the world, every person aged 22 and above receives a little box at their house/dwelling/etc.  Each one looks the same and has the same inscription, “The measure of your life lies within.”  Would you open it?

The Measure by Nikki Erlick is a fascinating story that carefully weaves you into the lives of several different people.  Some are “short stringers”, some are “long stringers”, and some choose to not find out!  From the beginning she brings you in with her descriptive writing style that truly puts you in the middle of each scene.  Follow along in my review as we discuss whether family relationships, politics, religion, government, etc. would change if we knew our lifeline ahead of time.  *There are some great disscusion questions at the end of this post!

The Characters ~

  • Nina – Editor, Maura’s girlfriend, Amie’s sister
  • Maura – Nina’s girlfriend, member of support group
  • Ben – Architect, member of support group
  • Claire – Ben’s ex-girlfriend
  • Deborah Caine – Managing Editor
  • Amie – Nina’s younger sister
  • Sean – Head of the support group
  • Lea – Member of the support group
  • Doc Hank – Member of the support group
  • Chelsea – Member of the support group
  • Carl – Member of the support group
  • Nihal – Member of the support group
  • Terrell – Member of the support group
  • Sarah – Nina’s college roommate
  • Jonathan Clarke – mass shooter
  • Jack Hunter – From a family that has a strong military background
  • Anothony Rollins – congressman/Presidential candidate and Jack’s uncle
  • Katherine Rollins – Anthony’s wife and Jack’s aunt
  • Grandpa Cal – Jack’s grandfather
  • Javier – Jack’s roommate at the academy
  • Dr. Anika Singh – fellow doctor with Hank
  • Dr. Amelia Parkins – Presidential candidate
  • Governor Russ – Presidential candidate
  • Alice Harper – Presidential candidate
  • Senator Wes Johnson Sr. – Presidential candidate

The Plot ~

The Tree of Life – we all have a spot that begins and ends in our family tree.  This has been true since the beginning of time.  If you are able to know when your time on earth will end, would you want to know?  If so, why?  Would you live your life differently if you knew it was shorter….or longer?  Should people with short strings be treated differently than those with long strings?  Should we force everyone to look…and if we did how does that affect our government as we now know it?  Does your answer to any of these questions change if you were never given the chance to see your string (life as we currently know it?)

Nina & Maura ~

You instantly fall in love with these two women.  The love they share is raw and deep.  One wants to look at their strings and one does not.  Once Maura decides she is doing it, Nina decides to follow along for the sake of continutity in their relationship.  Do they both have the same length of strings?

Ben ~

Ben is an architecht that has recently separated from his girlfriend, Claire.  He opens his box alone and finds himself deep in thought about his life.  Unsure if he should share his string length with his parents, he decides to attend a support group.

Amie ~

One of the “third” group that chooses not to open her box.  She is a teacher that gets to watch history play its course right in front of her young students.  Some of her loved ones have opened theirs and she quickly starts seeing the effect it has on relationships….but is there still more for her to learn on a more personal level?

The Support Group ~

People from all walks of life find this support group to help them through the acceptance of the size of their strings and the effect it has on their lives.  As they continue to meet week by week, they also discover things they may or may not have known about themselves by getting to care about the other members more intensely.

Anthony & Katherine ~

Katherine comes from a very respectable family that is honored for it’s long years of service in the military.  Anthony has his sites set on becoming the next president.  A perfect match?

The Other Presidential Candidates ~

Is it wise to use the length of your string as part of your campaign?  Whether it is short or long there are ways to display that you can get the most done in your allotted time…or will that go against you in the end?

Jack Hunter ~

Jack is a guy that struggles because he doesn’t have the same desire as all of the men in his family have had before him.  How can he use the length of his string to his advantage?

Javier ~

Javier was raised by parents that believe strongly in family values and supporting your country.  He doesn’t have all of the financial  benefits that his best friend, Jack, does.

The Measure by Nikki Erlick raises so many more questions than just how long do I have to live.  She goes deeper in how people treat each other once they figure out their string lengths are different.  But wait, doesn’t society do this already?  We don’t have these strings and yet we still treat each other differently and many times unfairly.  So does it really make a difference if we know how long we are going to live?   Shouldn’t we just always focus on living a good life?   Isn’t the better question, “How well do you live your life?”

Discussion Questions for The Measure by Nikki Erlick ~

  • If you could know the length of your life, would you want to?
  • The long stringers many times became more of a “daredevil” of such.  What daredevil thing would you do?
  • Short stringers went to support groups.  Do you think you would do this or crawl in a hole ignoring everyone?
  • If you were a short stringer, would you share secrets you had never shared before?
  • Do you think doctors treat elderly and the very sick different than otherwise healthy patients?  Do you think this would happen with short stringers vs. long stringers?
  • Would it be important to you that the president you vote for was a long string?
  • Should people with short strings get pregnant?
  • Do you think Doc Hank would have jumped in front of the shooter even if he didn’t know the length of his string?
  • Do you believe short stringers received their length because of something they have done wrong in life?
  • Would you contemplate an “easier death” according to what you believe if you found your string to be short?
  • Were you shocked by the car accident at the end of the book?
  • With the death of 2 parents, it is common for an aunt/uncle to step in to parent the children.  Is this any different if you knew the length of your life or not?

Have you read The Measure?  If so, I would love to have a discussion with you as there is SO MUCH to talk about!  Put your comments in the section below and let’s chat!  If you haven’t read it….go get it now!  You won’t be disappointed.  I rate this book a 5 out of 5 because it was so well written and gave me so much to think about!


Here’s a link if you need it…

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

Happy Reading ~


The Collected Regrets of Clover ~ A Book Review

When you come to the end of your life, which of these do you think will resonate with you the most:

  1. REGRETS – There are things you wish you would have done differently.
  2. ADVICE – There are some great things you have learned along the way that you feel are important to share.
  3. CONFESSIONS – There are secrets you kept that you feel you should finally reveal.

That’s enough to make you ponder for a bit…am I right?  You might even find yourself thinking you fall into more than one category.  According to Clover, most people really tend to focus on just one when they know they are nearing death.  Let’s dig in to my book review of Mikki Brammer’s ~ The Collected Regrets of Clover.

DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

Meet the Characters ~

  • Clover Brooks – Main character – Death Doula
  • Patrick – Clover’s Grandpa
  • George – Clover’s dog
  • Lola & Lionel – Clover’s cats
  • Leo – Clover & Patrick’s neighbor
  • Mr. Hyland – Clover’s kindergarten teacher
  • Ms. Lucas – School principal
  • Miss McLennan – Babysitter of Clover
  • Julia & Reuben – Neighbors across the street
  • Sebastian – Attendee at Death Cafe
  • Sylvie – new neighbor
  • Miss Bessie – Bookstore owner
  • Claudia – Sebastian’s Grandma
  • Selma & Joyce – Claudia’s aides
  • Allegra & Phil – Moderator’s at The Death Cafe
  • Tabitha – attendee at Death Cafe
  • Priya – Short term friend in 10th grade
  • Guillermo & Abigail – two of Clover’s clients
  • Hugo -Claudia’s long lost love
  • Hugo – grandson of Hugo

Plot of The Collected Regrets of Clover ~

Clover is a woman who has grown up a loner.  She experiences death a the tender age of six when she witnesses her kindergarten teacher suffer a heart attack.  Not long after, she is sent to live with her grandfather due to her parents being in an accident.  She spends many happy years with her grandfather until losing him as well.  Knowing all too well the sadness of death, she then becomes a death doula, aiding others in the transition from life to death.

So much time is spent comforting others in the end of life process that Clover doesn’t realize that she herself has forgotten how to live!  As she slowly learns to let others in, she realizes that life really can be a beautiful thing.  We feel pain along the way, but the love and happiness are worth the struggles.

Death Cafes ~

Death cafes are an organized meeting where people discuss death over food and drink.  Did you know these actually exist?  I, personally, did not.  However, I think it is such a wonderful idea.  When I first heard the name my thoughts went to something dark and a bit quirky.  I have since researched them, and I now realize that they can be a very helpful tool for various reasons.  We even have one in my city!  Do you have one where you live?

Clover visits different death cafes around New York City.  Careful not to follow any particular schedule as she does not want to become a regular and have to participate in small talk with others who visit the same ones regularly.  This is one of Clover’s numerous ways to interact with people while still staying reclusive.  Little does she know that ultimately it will lead her down the path to some very interesting new “friends.”

Death Doula ~

Just as a doula or midwife assists in bringing new life into the world, a death doula assists in the dying process.  I had never considered this but my eyes have been opened through reading The Collected Regrets of Clover.  Dying can be a lonely and difficult process whether you have family around you or not.  Clover is a very meticulous and conscientious person that cares deeply about her work.

While Clover is every bit of an introvert, when she is working her true personality comes out.  The relationships she forms with those who are dying are very special.  I found myself thinking many times, if only Clover would open up to people who are not dying she could have some amazing friends.  I cringed at times when she worked so hard to not be noticed.  It is very easy to fall in love with her character and  want her to find happiness.

Analogy of a Matchstick ~

Who doesn’t love a good analogy?  As many children will do, Clover asked her grandfather, “Why do people die?”  Grandpa Patrick ponders for a minute and then begins explaining the many different stages of a matchstick.  Where are we going with this you ask?  Matches in a matchbox are all initially made the same.  When struck, some burn a long time while others burn out earlier due to different circumstances….wind, match breaks, or maybe it never even burns to begin with.  Just as we never know how long a match will burn the same can be said about a person’s life.  I just really like this analogy….how about you?

Closing Thoughts ~

When Clover finally opens up a bit she starts to discover that life indeed can be a wonderful thing!  She finds herself traveling across the country to help an old lady who is dying find her long lost love.  Does she get there in time?  I’m not going to share that with you, but I will say that it is just possible that she finds her own happy ending in the process.  Seriously, you need to read this book!

Book Club Questions ~

  1. After reading this book, will you ever visit a Death Cafe?
  2. What other analogies can you come up with to explain death?
  3. Do you ever find yourself rejecting others before they can reject you?
  4. Clover believes that people get frozen fashion wise in a certain era (usually from the age of their 30s to 40s).  What will your glory days be?
  5. Tabitha in one of the Death Cafes asks the group, “If you could know the date of your death in advance, would you want to?”  What are your thoughts about this?
  6. Sebastian has a fear of death due to his upbringing.  How do you feel your upbringing has affected your views on death?
  7. Clover finds it difficult to connect with people once she tells them what she does for a living.  Do you feel it is socially acceptable to discuss death?
  8. Do you feel there is an acceptable amount of time to grieve?
  9. Clover tries to honor those she has helped die by living out their regrets or taking their advice.  What are your thoughts on this?
  10. Would you feel comfortable having a death doula assist you or a family member?

Book of the Month Club ~

My daughter, Karleigh, blessed me with a membership to this for my birthday.  What a PERFECT gift for bookworms.  Have you checked it out yet?  You choose your books at beginning of the month and they get shipped directly to you.  Their spotlight on books is great as well…so helpful in finding new and interesting reads.  I have only had this subscription for 1 month and loved the book they recommended….yes….it is this current book you are reading about right now!  I am not an affiliate of them currently….but am working on it as we speak.  Here is a link to check Book of the Month Club out!

More Reading Choices ~

Are you as curious about death cafes as I am?  I think I am just surprised that I have never heard of them until reading The Collected Regrets of Clover.  Of course, being the curious person I am, I had to look up books that talk more about them…

Also, have you been looking for some new reads to share with the littles?  Be sure to check out my post, 33 Favorite Reads for Kids for some all time favorites!

Happy Reading Friends ~



Such A Fun Age – A Book Review

Is it “normal” for a parent to call her babysitter late in the evening for an “emergency” babysitting need?  Is it “normal” for a babysitter to be dancing with a young child in the aisle of the local grocery store late at night that should be in bed at that late hour?  This book gains your interest right away with these questions and more that make you want to keep reading.  Even more questions quickly arise as well…dive into Such a Fun Age – A Book Review with me!

The fact that the babysitter is black and the young child is white is revealed before you even begin the book.  What I found compelling in this story is while you know it’s going to dive into the controversies of race, you also learn a lot about what makes each of them tick, which has nothing to do with the color of their skin.  To me, this book covered different subjects, which I enjoyed!

Meet The Characters ~

  • Emira Tucker – Protagonist – Babysitter/Typist
  • Alix Chamberlain – Deuteragonist – Wife/Mother of 2/Emira’s employer
  • Kelley Copeland – Deuteragonist – Films the scene in the local grocery store/dates Emira
  • Briar Chamberlain – Emira babysits her/Emira’s favorite human/daughter of Alix
  • Catherine Chamberlain – Daughter of Alix
  • Peter Chamberlain – Husband of Alix
  • Zara, Josefa, Shaunie – Emira’s friends
  • Laney Thacker – Peter Chamberlain’s co-anchor
  • Rachel, Jodie, Tamra – Alix’s friends
  • Claudette – Alix’s housekeeper when she was a child
  • Robbie Cormier – high school athlete/classmate of Alix Chamberlain
  • Ramona & Suzanne – Laney Thacker’s friends
DISCLOSURE: This site contains product affiliate links for Amazon and other companies. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.  Thank you for supporting my small business!

The Plot ~

The story begins with Alix calling Emira late in the evening to take her daughter, Briar, to the store.  It was Alix’s attempt to get Briar out of the house and away from a bad situation occuring there.   Instead, they find themselves in a conundrum much worse than the current issue at hand.  They are now embroiled in the middle of racism at several different levels.

The book takes you back and forth from their current lives to their past lives.  Decisions and actions made in younger years deeply affect where they are today.  One might ask, “Well isn’t this the norm for everyone?”  My answer would be, “Yes, of course!”  However, this story weaves a tale of some very deep hurts caused to others that I believe most of us would always hope we haven’t been the culprit of.

Alix Chamberlain ~

Born as Alex Murphy, her family inherits a large sum of money and quickly go from rags to riches.  However, we all know the old saying, “Money doesn’t buy happiness.”  She makes a decision her senior year, that while many would agree with that decision, it still deeply affects the lives of Robbie Cormier and Kelley Copeland, who are her classmates.  She moves on after that sufferable year and becomes a blogger and influencer, branding her work with #LetHerSpeak…helping other women find their confidence.  Along with her work comes a new version of her name…Alix!

Emira Tucker ~

Finding herself struggling with life choices, Emira is 26 and is a typist and babysitter.  Meanwhile, her three friends have “real” jobs.  The problem with this is that Emira loves both of her jobs, however, neither one provides health insurance, and she is getting dangerously close to losing coverage under her parents’ plan.  Why does babysitting have to be considered anything other than a real job?  She’s more of a mother to young Briar than Alix will ever be.  The thought of not being in Briar’s life is so painful that she cannot bear to think of it.

Kelley Copeland ~

Kelley finds himself in the middle of systemic racism while doing some late night grocery shopping.  Always surrounding himself with friends of color, he is instantly aware of what is about to happen to Emira, so he films the whole occurrence.  While Emira is not interested in pursuing any legal action, they still become friends/lovers after a second chance meeting on a bus.

Kiley Reid does a great job pointing out that while sometimes our actions are well-intentioned, they can have a very different meaning to the person on the receiving end.  She helps us to see that racism does indeed exist and helps us to understand that we need to look at better ways to help bridge the divide.

With that being said, I felt like the relationship of both Alix (Alex) and Emira with Kelley Copeland was a bit of a reach.  The fact that Kelley randomly meets Emira in the store, while having such a strong historical tie to Alix was fairly unrealistic.  I kept waiting to learn that he set up that chance encounter…but this was not the case.  Nonetheless, this book flowed easily through some very hard topics that I feel will leave everyone contemplating daily choices and actions they make.  AND….that final paragraph was everything…Don’t you dare cheat and look ahead!

Discussion Questions ~

  1. Do you thing Emira made the right decision by asking Kelley to not release the video?
  2. What are your thoughts on Alix’s relationship with both of her daughters?
  3. Do you feel Emira should have already had a “real” job?
  4. How did you feel about Alix slipping extra money to Emira after the grocery story debacle?
  5. Do you feel that what happened in the grocery store would have gone differently if both girls were the same color?
  6. Do you feel Alix was overcompensating in her relationship with Emira?  Was she well meaning in her actions?
  7. Did you expect the connection with Alix and Kelley?
  8. Was Alex right in calling the police that night in high school?
  9. There are many uncomfortable moments in this book…can you relate with any of them?
  10. Do you think Alix was right or wrong to release the video?
  11. Do you carry any high school issues with you still today as an adult?
  12. Who do you think was better to Emira….Alix or Kelley?
  13. Is the fact that Alix keeps giving expensive items to Amira odd or only odd because they are of different color?
  14. What do you believe Emira will take away from her time at the Chamberlain house?
  15. Who was your favorite character in the book?   Why?

Other Great Reads ~

Have you read Lost Boy Found by Kirsten Alexander?  It’s a great read about prejudice, class and injustice that keeps you intrigued to the end.

If you haven’t read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens….it’s a must read too!

Conclusion ~

I read a lot of reviews before reading this book myself.  While I believe Kiley Reid navigated eloquently through some very tough topcis, I still struggled with some of the story line.   The biggest issue for me was Kelley Copeland.  I considered him to be the antagonist in this book, but I couldn’t quite relate to him as much as I would have wished.  In spite of this, I think it is a great read for many reasons!

Happy Reading ~





Never Have I Ever – A Book Review

*Spoilers Included*

What happens when you have two strong willed women who are more alike than either of them wants to admit?  This is a question author Joshilyn Jackson used as the basis of the current book of our book club.  Book selections have been awesome lately, as I am giving a rating of 5 out of 5 for the second time in a row!  Are you curious why?  Dive into my latest book review of Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson.

This is my first book to read by New York Times Best Selling Author, Joshilyn Jackson.  Have you read any of her books?  Interestingly enough, this book is similar to my last review, The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark in that there are 2 main characters.  In the current novel, Amy would be considered the protagonist and Roux the antagonist….but what happens when the lines between good and bad cross?  Can one person be both a villain and a hero in the same story?  Hmmmm……

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The Lies I Tell – A Book Review

By the time you are saying nice to meet you, I’ve already known you for months.”  Creepy….am I right?  This line from Julie Clark’s novel stayed with me through the whole book.  In today’s times where information is so easily obtained by anyone who wants to take the time to do so….well, it just hit home!  The first book I have rated 5 out of 5 in a long time….find out why in my book review of The Lies I Tell.

Meg Williams has been in hiding for 10 years.  In that time she had numerous other identities…Deidra, Sandy, Amelia, Margaret, Melody & Maggie.  The list goes on.  Why so many identities?  Exactly how does she pull all of them so successfully?  While we don’t get to know all of those other pseudonyms intimately, we do learn a lot about why Meg has decided to come out of hiding after 10 long years!

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The Newcomer – A Book Review

Letty Carahan has found her sister, Tanya,  dead and is now on the run.  Making things more interesting is that she has “abducted” her neice, Maya, as well.  Did she actually find her dead or is SHE the murderer as Tanya’s ex is claiming?  As the story unfolds, we are left to decide who the actual murderer is.  See what you think as you follow along in The Newcomer – A Book Review.

The Newcomer is the 28th book that Mary Kay Andrews has authored but the 18th under this pen name.  Her pen name was inspired by the names of her children.  The change in name also found her writing in a different style as well, which found her hitting the New York Times bestselling author list!  Prior to this, she has written 10 mystery books under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck.

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The Last Flight – A Book Review

*Contains spoilers – Contains Book Club Discussion Questions*

How far would you go to save your own life?  It’s a compelling question that thankfully most of us have not had to think about.  However, the two main characters in this book do!  Both Claire and Eva are plotting ways to save themselves but both for different reasons.  Do they succeed?  Dive into my new post about The Last Flight – A Book Review.

Author, Julie Clark, does a fantastic job hooking you from the very beginning.  We quickly meet both main characters and then are taken back and forth between their lives in an easy flow of Claire’s frightening present day life and Eva’s tragic past life.   We get a small glimpse into their lives colliding early on but don’t fully understand how their “chance” meeting was actually meticulously planned early on.

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Change of Heart – A Book Review

Would you let your child be saved by a convicted killer?  Some immediately would say yes and some would hesitate due to the “evil” of that person and not wanting them associated with their child.  Jodi Picoult has consistently been one of my favorite authors.  Her books dare you to understand BOTH sides of very controversial issues and once again she has created a very thought provoking book.  Please be aware that my book review of A Change of Heart does include some spoilers.

June Nealon has faced a lot of heartache…more than the average person.  Through this book we meet numerous characters that all have a large impact on her life.  These people bring us face to face with prison life, child illness, organ donation, religion and capital punishment!  Whew!  That’s a book packed with a lot of controversial issues…don’t ya think?

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I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy Book Review

I’m in awe!  I really don’t know how else to sum up my feelings after reading, “I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy.  My first thoughts go to the old saying, “You never know what goes on behind closed doors.”  While I have learned this to be true as I have gotten older, this memoir smacks you in the face with the raw truth of this saying.

Raising children creates many different situations as a parent that you never thought about when you first brought your sweet little baby home.  One of the biggest lessons that I worked hard to instill in our children was to always appreciate what they have and to not be envious when others have more.   Mostly  because envy isn’t good…but also because while things may look perfect from the outside, you never really know what families are dealing with on the inside.

Summary of I’m Glad My Mom Died ~

Jennette was a child star living her mother’s dream.  While most of us would think she was living a fairy tale life, Jennette explains that becoming an actress at the delicate age of 6 was never her wish.  The turmoil that unwinds over the years of her childhood were anything but happy, however, she was still too young to even realize this!

*This review discusses the topics related to “I’m Glad My Mom Died” without giving away all of the details.  I want you to read the book and come back and discuss it with me!

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Lost Boy Found by Kirsten Alexander – A Book Review

Lost Boy Found Book Review

In the current state of our world today, it was hauntingly helpful to read this book. As you dive deeper into this historic fiction, I’m sure you too will find a story of prejudice, class and injustice looming over you. The author had me completely absorbed with this novel which was inspired by the real life kidnapping of Bobby Dunbar.

Set in the early 1900’s, you first learn of a wealthy family, John Henry & Mary Davenport.  They travel to their summer home in Louisiana with their three sons. Four year old Sonny, the youngest of the family, disappears one night without a trace. Two longs years are spent hunting for their missing son while also trying to keep their family and marriage intact.

A boy is then discovered travelling with a tramp–a boy who closely resembles Sonny Davenport. Could this be the son they have been searching for all this time. Could this be the answer John Henry is looking for to bring happiness back to his wife?

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