Review The First is They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson. I received an ARC through the Penguin First To Read program which provides digital galleys of books a few months before they are published (anyone can sign up for that, by the way-there's a link at the bottom of the page). In They Left Us Everything Plum Johnson describes her relationship with her mother, looks back on her childhood, and shows us the process she went through of cleaning their family home once her mother had passed away. Like Tuesdays With Morrie, They Left Us Everything is a memoir that brings to the forefront the difficult questions of the end of life and what comes after with the grieving process and how one carries on after the loss of a loved one. It was a touching, humorous, and real picture of one woman's experience being the primary caregiver of her mother, and the decisions that had to be made by her and her siblings after their mother's passing. It is a book that can be read at different stages in life, and you will come away with a different meaning each time. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy memoirs with a bit of wit and humor in the midst of what isn't a stellar situation.
Review The Second is The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead. In all honesty, I wasn't sure how well I would enjoy this book. The premise is that a girl from the upper class disguises herself as a maid from her financially strapped household to escape a marriage of convenience, and joins a school of sorts for the working class to train them in the ways of the upper class, with the promise of a wealthy husband on the frontier. A sort of training school for brides, if you will. It was more enjoyable than I expected. There is subterfuge, tensions, romance (of course), adventure, political and religious strife, and a few surprises along the way. Adelaide, the countess in disguise, discovers depths to herself and to others that she didn't know were there, and she develops strengths and skills that she could not have developed had she stayed on the path laid out for her of society wife under the thumb of her husband and in laws. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading books with frontier themes, and strong female protagonists.