Saturday, December 5, 2020

Simply West of Heaven


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.

My thoughts: I was hopeful that this series would be something that my daughter and I could read together, but found that it deals with topics that are a little more mature that we are ready for. That said, she isn't in middle school yet, which is the age group that these books are geared towards. I think that Monique Bucheger does a great job of tackling some of the difficult topics that middle schoolers deal with, like divorced parents, secrets, and bullying, to name a few.

I like that this story starts to bring the series full circle, with Ginnie starting to get some answers on why her dad doesn't want her reading her mom's journals. I feel for both Ginnie and her dad as they navigate their grief over losing her mom too soon (though, years before this series starts). I also sympathize with Tillie and her insecurities about their new relationships. This is a lovely series to pick up and enjoy!

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

Purchase a copy here! This post contains affiliate links.

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.


  1. Thank you for hosting, Simply West of Heaven on your blog. I also appreciate the great review. Kids need to see themselves in their fiction and the sad reality is that more middle graders than ever are living in single parent and blended families. With the Wests, I want to show kids what a good family looks like--even if it's not "traditional"--because quite often dysfunction is a result of hard life changes. Kids often don't realize that they can expect better. The Ginnie West Adventure series shows kids what good parents (and bad ones) look like--but they also see kids and parents, having fun, dealing with life's trials and blessings together. When your daughter is older--I hope you can read it together and have some good conversations. :)

  2. I love that this was made into an audiobook. I love listening to the stories as I clean

  3. Wonderful review! Sounds like a great series. Thank you for sharing.

  4. This sounds like a really great read.

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this story, it sounds like an excellent book and series to share with my grandchildren

  6. Love the book blurb -- this sounds like a story I'd enjoy.

  7. I would have loved this series when I was a kid!

  8. I love how this was described as a "soap opera for children." Sounds fun!