Skip to main content


A Celebration for Shanley, Book Review of The Mermaids of Lake Michigan, *plus* a Giveaway!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Happy Thursday, My Lovelies!  I have some wonderful news to share with you.  Our oldest daughter, Shanley Belle, has been selected for Louisiana State University's COMD PhD program, focusing on fluency.  (She's a speech language pathologist, and she'll be getting her master's degree from the University of Alabama in May.)   Shanley recently flew to Baton Rouge the same day she successfully defended her thesis and was hired!  She can't wait to work in the fluency lab and teach classes.  We're thrilled for her as she enters this new phase of her life.

Of course we had to have a little celebration for her upon her return from Baton Rouge.  I decorated the breakfast room, and we had chili and cupcakes for dessert.

I'm enjoying these napkins.  They're new and from Pier 1.  Two of our local Pier 1 stores are closing because the company is building a new store next door to World Market.  The store closing sales in the stores have been wonderful!

The cupcakes are lemon coconut.

LSU's colors are yellow and purple.  I'm not a fan of purple, but I like yellow.  Her surprises include adorable paper and office products (notebooks, file folders, post it notes) from Paper Source that all match the gift bag.  I thought she could use them to help organize her move and new position.

I love the burlap confetti flowers for spring.  They're also from Pier 1 (as is the runner).

Shanley's favorite flowers are daisies, and the yellow ones are LSU yellow.

Shanley Belle bought the LSU baseball t-shirt on campus during her visit.  LSU baseball has some neat traditions, and we love baseball!

Now on to the book review and giveaway!

This week I read The Mermaids of Lake Michigan by Suzanne Kamata.

According to Goodreads:

Elise Faulkner is more at home in the waters of her beloved Lake Michigan than on land where her beauty queen mom is always on her back about her lack of a social life; her sister is dating the boy of her dreams; her favorite penpal--the one who wrote about mermaids in Ghana--has gotten married and ended their correspondence; and no one's allowed to talk about her glamorous great-grandmother, the deep-sea wreck diver. Elise is biding her time with books until she can flee. But then crazy Chiara Hanover pops into her life, as does Miguel, a mysterious carnival worker whose dark future has been predicted by a gypsy.

My Review:

I enjoyed the first part of this book quite a bit because Elise is coming of age during the eighties: She is in high school during my era.  She has an interesting family history, and she's smart.  Then the bad egg in the guise of Chiara arrives and her influence on Elise isn't good.  Elise makes one poor choice after another, and then the plot slides downhill from there.

There is a slight element of fantasy (mermaids) and magical realism (fortune-telling gypsy) in the book, and I wish  Kamata had explored it a bit more. Miguel's character is confusing.  During the first half of the book he's full of life, music, and song.  The second half: not so much.  I have many questions about him that aren't answered in the story.  Nevertheless, I was satisfied with the ending, and I enjoyed the book.  If you enjoy family dramas and books with feminist elements, you'll enjoy this book.  It's a very short read and would be perfect for a flight or a quick weekend read.

You may connect with Suzanne Kamata via her website.

Discosure:  I received a copy of The Mermaids of Lake Michigan from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Also, they're offering a copy of the book for one of my lucky readers!  Just complete the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Until next time...
Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. Congratulations to Shanley Belle! Seems you were just here moving her into her dorm room. I know you and Skip are so proud of her and thankful she's not going so far from home! I'm sure you will be going to NO so you can make the short trip to BR to visit. Love the sweet celebration, the table looks so pretty. Interesting book

  2. Congratulations to Shanley. I love the photo of her, a beautiful smile.
    I like how you celebrated.

  3. You have a smart and beautiful daughter! I am sure the support she gets from her family has helped get her to where she is now -- invaluable!

    Which other store besides Inverness is closing? The Summit? I am glad and sad, because Inverness was so close by, but it's probably good on the other hand because I won't spend so much money there. We picked up a few odds and ends there last week, including some green and white check napkins. I also found four blue and white plates, and something else, but I forget what... The prospect of that 280 traffic will probably keep me from stopping in so frequently.

  4. "Me Before You" :)


  5. Congratulations to your talented, beautiful, smart daughter!!!! I know you are proud of her but you should be proud of yourself, too. She is where she is because of supportive, loving parents.

    Well, I shouldn't sign up for the giveaway but I will because I think it is a book I would love. lol I am just rereading a book from 30(?) years ago. It is as interesting today as it was the first time I read it---Apple Tree Lean Down. A long book--but so good.

    Hope you have a great weekend. Off to see some precious (or precocious) grands! lol xo Diana

  6. The best book I am reading now is "Mother Teresa of Calcutta".

  7. Well done to your beautiful daughter. I worked as a speech language assistant with young children, such a rewarding job. I love the boot planters and candles and your lovely table setting.

  8. Wait! You don't like purple?!?!?!?!

    So much excitement in your house! Yay!

  9. Thanks for being a part of the tour for this book!


Comments are friendly!


I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

Follow me on Instagram