Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway: Simply West of Heaven

I am writing this early since we are going out of town for Thanksgiving.  I already read the first two books of this series and have read Simply West of Heaven and have begun the fourth book which is called Being West is Best.

Simply West of Heaven flows really well with the first book of the series The Secret Sisters Club.  The second book, Trouble Blows West, is part of the story but seems separate from the overall storyline.  Being West is Best features the Owens family who was in Trouble Blows West, so those two books seem to go together so far.  I'm only about 15-20% through with Being West is Best, so I can't say for sure.

Simply West of Heaven has a bit more drama in it; in fact, the author calls it a "soap opera for children."  None of it is bad, although if you have children younger than maybe 7th-9th grades, you might want to preview it to see if it's a good fit for your child.  I wouldn't have a problem with Gracie reading it since it's no different from what we see in today's world.  Sin is introduced but is pointed out as being wrong. It's not glorified in any way and one of the consequences is correctly labeled as a blessing (trying not to give away spoilers here).  In thinking about it just now, considering that the book brings up the struggles that adults have with difficult circumstances, I think I probably will have Gracie wait a year or two before reading this book simply because I see no reason to introduce these particular burdensome topic matters to a child who doesn't have to deal with it herself if that makes sense.

Again, I like the characters, and I love the family dynamics of this book.  My favorite scene involves the hot air balloon and it actually made me cry.  There's a new character whom I have not yet decided whether or not to trust completely -- that kind of guessing makes the overall story more intriguing.  

Celebrate Lit gave me the opportunity to receive, read, and review this book.  Keep reading to learn more about the book, the author, and to enter a great giveaway!

About the Book

Book: Simply West of Heaven

Author: Monique Bucheger

Genre: Mid-grade, blended family, horses

Release Date: January 1, 2013


Twelve-year-old BFFs Ginnie and Tillie are matchmaking geniuses. Sweet! Not long after they schemed to get Ginnie’s widowed dad to fall in love with Tillie’s divorced mom, Ginnie stumbled upon her late mom’s journals, making life even more awesome sauce … until her dad confiscated the journals, determined to protect Ginnie from a danger he won’t name.

Ginnie is counting on her future sister’s help to make Dad change his mind, but Tillie’s not so sure the ghost of Ginnie’s mom will make a good addition to their new family tree. The girls’ world gets flipped upside-down when a blast from the past shows up and makes Tillie go nutburgers. Ginnie is torn between helping her best friend and what could be the answer to her deepest wish.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author


When Monique isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events.

Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, twelve grand-darlings, too many cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books in three series and hopes to write many more.


More from Monique

Hello Everybody,


Welcome to the kickoff tour of my third book: SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN: A Ginnie West Adventure. This book is the hardest one for me to blurb because it contains my four best twists and I don’t want to give away any of the surprises (and some readers have said they were downright shocked—in a good way—by some of them.) 


This book stretched my writing ability and deepened my emotional investment in the West family greatly.  This book continues to explore the relationship of best friends, Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor. It has been described as “a soap opera for children” because of all the plot twists and reveals.


It explores Ginnie and Tillie’s deeper, hidden feelings in a way that may bring you tears as well as greater understanding. Several reviewers commented on how authentic and “real” the West family is to them. I love knowing that people are willing to go on a journey with Ginnie and Tillie and the rest of the West family. That they are willing to laugh and cry with them. I promise—this book will give you opportunities for both. 


Simply West of Heaven has recently been made into an audiobook and that was a fun endeavor as I listened to the voices in my head come to life. My narrator, the very talented, Hillary Straga, said all of the twists kept her on her toes, but that she loved voicing this book because she never knew what to expect.


I hope that the people who choose to read this book will have the same experience. That they will be eager to jump in, put aside pre-conceived notions, and become part of the West family saga: that they will cheer for them, cry with them, and celebrate with them. One of my favorite reviews of this book states that: “I tried to skip ahead and every time I did—I had to go back to where I was because I missed something important in the story.”


Thank you to those of you who are willing to continue to read the Ginnie West Adventures and “Welcome!”  to those who have decided to start with this book.


Laugh lots, Love much, Write on!

Monique Bucheger

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, December 2

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 2

Library Lady's Kid Lit, December 3

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, December 4

Texas Book-aholic, December 5

Inklings and notions, December 6

For Him and My Family, December 7

deb's Book Review, December 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 9

Mary Hake, December 9

Artistic Nobody, December 10 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 11

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, December 12

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 14

Blogging With Carol, December 15


To celebrate her tour, Monique is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, or Kobo gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. 

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  1. Thank you for hosting Simply West of Heaven on your blog. I really appreciate your willingness to go on Ginnie and Tillie's journey with them. Books 1 (Secret Sisters Club) & 2(Trouble Blows West) are pretty standalone from each other. Book 2 was written first--but I got a contract offer on Book 1 first--so Book one flows into Book 3 (Simply West of Heaven--THIS one) and Book 4 is best after books 2 & 3. But I always have beta readers who haven't read the first books say they can keep up with the latest book--and reviewers say the same thing--if they read them out of order. The best experience is to read books 1 & 2 (in whichever order) before books 3 & 4) IE: 1,2,3,4--OR 2,1,3,4. But I do try to write a complete story within each book--though some say Book 3 ends in a cliff hanger. To be fair--I tied up all threads-- from the previous books in this one--but opened a new can of worms in the last chapter--which is where Book 4 starts. :)

  2. This sounds like a really great book.