Friday, August 31, 2018

By The Time You Read This...

By the time you read this, I'll be...on "vacation". As you may or may not know, my husband grew up on the Oregon coast and loves it desperately. My dad was raised in Oregon and while I wasn't born there he instilled in my a love for the coast as well. So my husband and I have been traveling to Oregon once a year, at least, for a few years now and driving up and down the coast visiting our favorite spots.

Our plan was eventually to retire to the coast. Yes, there's the rain but look at that view! ^ ^ And these sunsets!

We love it so much! So, it's with great happiness that I tell you of our happy news! We purchased a vacation house on the beach! I'm absolutely thrilled! So this weekend, by the time you read this, we'll be driving (*whimpers* I hate driving) a load of furnishings to our new vacation home. We plan to do  the whole Airbnb thing as soon as we can which is great income and also leaves it available for when we want to get away...several more times than once a year now.

I'm not writing this to gloat (well, not totally) but to let you know it might be quiet around here for a while. All the prepping seriously cut into my reading time so after playing catch up with reviews the last two weeks you'll notice a lull. Not that you'll mind but, you know, I'm telling you anyway. Hopefully the blog will be back to "normal" around mid September.

In the mean time, wish us luck on the LONG drive and have a great Labor Day Weekend! (to my American friends)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Review: Witches of East End

Title Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1)
By Melissa de la cruz
Genre Adult Paranormal/Supernatural
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
Freya Beauchamp swirled the champagne in her glass so that the bubbles at the top of the lip burst one by one until there were none left. 

This book has been sitting on my shelf forever! While looking for an audiobook to listen to while working, I decided to finally read it. 

It's so hard to review a book you give three stars to. Am I right? I feel like I'm saying I didn't like it and that's just not true. Three stars is a nice, solid, rating. No, I didn't LOVE the book and, no, it's not a new favorite but I liked it. It had a great story, fun, likable characters and was very readable. I enjoyed it and am eagerly looking forward to jump into the sequels. 

That said, I don't have much else to talk about. That's why I hate three star reviews. If you want me to point out why it's not four or five stars I can. Let's just go ahead and do that to take up a bit more space, shall we? 

It's not a five star because that's reserved for books I adore! Books that I'll definitely be reading again. It's not a four star read because there was nothing horribly memorable and I'm pretty sure it'll be one of those series I enjoy and then promptly forget about. I was also bothered a tiny bit by the writing. Notice that first sentence? It's just needlessly wordy. Right? 

And there you have it. my three star review of a fun new world and characters I want more of.   

Monday, August 27, 2018

Review: A Gathering of Finches

Title A Gathering of Finches
By Jane Kirkpatrick
Genre Historical Fiction
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️

When her father dies, Cassie feels pressured to marry Josiah Stearns to help her destitute mother and sister. Traveling west with her new husband brings Cassie to the wilds of Washington. Seemingly the girl who has everything with a doting husband,  a beautiful daughter and her mother and sister close, Cassie still longs for something more. When she meets the handsome Louis Simpson a forbidden love affair will end with the woman behind the man who founded North Bend, Oregon and inspired the most beautiful mansion and gardens on the Oregon coast.

First Sentence 
My friend Annie and I sat in our family's closed Victoria carriage peering out through the round, isinglass window.

Though I love the history of North Bend (the town my husband grew up in) and can imagine the beautiful house that once stood on Shore Acres, I never would have picked this book up. My husband is a little bit (okay, A LOT) obsessed with Louis J. Simpson and Shore Acres State Park. When he saw this book he bought it for me and eagerly awaited my thoughts.

The book is a historical fiction and a slow one at that but I did find it interesting. I liked that the author wrote the story from Cassie's point of view. Everything about this story and history is ALWAYS about the man. Typical. So, getting the woman's point of view was nice.

Sadly, I couldn't quite find it in my heart to care for Cassie. She was pretty selfish which always makes it hard to sympathize with. Still, the history was fun and now I know almost as much as my husband about his home town. Not a complete loss.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Review: Baby Teeth

Title Baby Teeth
By Zoje Stage
Genre Adult, Fiction
Format Audio book
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Life was supposed to be good for Suzette now. She has her crohn's under control and is married to a wonderful man. Her seven year old daughter, Hannah, however, doesn't speak, has been kicked out of every school she was enrolled in and is growing increasingly more violent. In her father's eyes, Hannah is the perfect angel but Suzette is starting to feel like Hannah would prefer her out of the picture. Permanently.

First Sentence
Maybe the machine could see the words she never spoke.

I've been eyeing this one for a long time. For some reason I'm fascinated with stories of psychotic children. I think I was expecting a disturbing horror like book and while I found this one incredibly disturbing, I think the author was going for a more serious issue-y book???

I'm not sure. All I know is I couldn't put it down. I was disturbingly fascinated from the get go.

There were a lot of plot holes in this one. I highly doubt the father would be THAT blind to how psychotic his daughter was and there was no way Suzette wouldn't have thought to record her daughter's behavior. I feel like those things were left out just to keep the story going. So, yeah, like I said, holes.

Still, the book was a page turner and all in all I enjoyed it. It was very disturbing and I kept shaking my head and muttering, "what the hell is wrong with this kid" but I couldn't look away.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Review: Bring Me Back

Title Bring Me Back
By B.A. Paris
Genre Adult, Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️

Finn and Layla were in love and Finn was about ready to propose. On a road trip he stops at a rest station and leaves Layla sleeping in the car while he uses the restroom. When he comes back, Layla is gone. That's the story he tells the police, but it's not the whole truth. Years later Finn's grief and Layla's sister Ellen's grief have brought the two together. But when they get engaged everything starts falling apart. Item's from Ellen's childhood with Layla start to show up and an old neighbor claims to have seen Layla. Could Layla be back? What does she want? Is she seeking revenge?

First Sentence
We were on our way back from skiing in Megeve.

I really loved Paris' other two books, Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown so I was eager for this one. However, instead of buying it I borrowed it from the library and, boy, am I glad I did. Spending a  single dime on this would have been as bad as spending all that time reading it.

I kept seeing disappointed reviews so I should have known but I still had my hopes up. This book was one big mess! It honestly felt like Paris grabbed an old rejected manuscript from ages ago and polished it up a bit and her publishers published it now that she's made a name for herself.

It was awful. The twist wasn't surprising at all and completely unbelievable, the characters were all flat and uninteresting and the plot was boring and repetitive and made me lose interest 50 pages in.

Please, please, please don't let this one deter you from her others, though, they were both very good. This one should have been left at the bottom of her rejected manuscripts pile.

Oh well. Every author  usually has a book or two that disappoints us. I intend to read anything else she publishes so it wasn't a complete loss.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Review: First Comes Love

Title First Comes Love
By Emily Giffin
Genre Adult, Romance, Chick-lit
Format Audio book
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sisters, Meredith and Josie couldn't be more different. Josie is spontaneous, extroverted and goes after what she wants, Meredith is quiet, stoic and does what's best for everyone else but herself. When their brother dies in a car crash the two sisters deal with their grief differently and those differences drive them apart. Fifteen years later as they both are at a crossroads in their lives that tragedy will either drive them further apart or bring them closer together.

First Sentence
Time is a tricky thing, Daniel said to his mother when he was still very young.

And now I've finished all of Giffin's published books. After the last one, All We Ever Wanted, I wasn't so sure I wanted to ever read another one of her books but this one restored my faith in her storytelling abilities and reminded me why I love her books so much.

This one tells the story of two very different sisters. These characters were wonderfully flawed. There were things about each of them that drove me absolutely nuts and things I really loved too. Watching their all too relatable struggles puts you right in that understood and validated space. I love that about books.

I didn't expect to love this one as much as I did. It's probably my favorite of Giffin's books and I'm glad I didn't let that last one turn me off.

If you love stories about people and family struggles with flawed characters you can root for, you should read this one. I've been thinking about Joise and Meredith long after I closed the book. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Review: Moonlight Over Manhattan

Title Moonlight Over Manhattan
By Sarah Morgan
Genre Adult, Romance
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list--dealing with Madi's temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
This wasn't how a date was supposed to end.

This one was recommended to me and it sounded rather cute so I decided to give it a read. 

And, well, it reminded me why I avoid romances. Now don't get me wrong, I like a good romance in a book but a ROMANCE book??? Not so much. And this book was the perfect example of WHY I don't like romance books. 

They start out really cute. Girl meets boy, sparks fly, silly yet seemingly insurmountable issue pops up and then, well, it becomes one big, fat, cheesy, cliche. 

There's just nothing new here. It's the same old story with the cute, naive girl and the handsome brooding guy. 

And even the steamy scenes were lukewarm at best. Sigh. I was just unimpressed. This isn't my genre though, so don't take my review too seriously. Other people love Morgan's books.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Review: Letters to the Lost

Title Letters to the Lost
By Brigid Kemmerer
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Juliet is reeling after the death of her mother, a world traveling photojournalist. To cope she writes her mother letters and leaves them on her gravestone. Then one day, someone writes her back. And thus begins a relationship between two broken people. If they can confide in each other then they might finally begin to heal.

First Sentence
There's this photograph I can't get out of my mind.

When I read the synopsis to this one I just knew I had to read it. It sounded like a tearjerker and we all need those once in a while, right?

I had no idea how how sad it was going to be, though. The hits just kept coming! I seriously don't know how these character's didn't just end it all. I don't think I could have went what they went through. The were so amazing and I was rooting for them in tears the whole time.

Totally character driven, this story was beautiful and sad and hopeful and I really loved it! I don't know what else to say. Go out and read it!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: Ship Out of Luck

Title Ship Out Of Luck (Antsy Bonano #3)
By Neal Shusterman
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Always getting into mischief with good intentions, Antsy intends to keep himself in check on his family's vacation cruise but when he meets Tilde and discovers her secret all his plans go right out the window.

First Sentence
Don't ask me cause I don't got an opinion.

Most people know Neal Shusterman for his Unwind series or his latest series: Arc of a Scythe but if you haven't met Antsy you're missing out.

I was beyond happy when I saw another Antsy book was coming out. I bought the book and then put off reading it for five years because I didn't want it to be over. Anyone else do that? Anywho, I finally decided I needed a good laugh and picked this one up.

And I was disappointed, guys. My heart broke a little because of that disappointment. Antsy was his same old, trouble maker with a heart of gold and he made me laugh but the story...the story felt all wrong to me.

I'm used to Antsy making observations about human nature and working on something with people at it's core. This book just took a political problem and thew Antsy into the middle of it.

I kinda, sorta, hate politics, if you haven't noticed, and think that no matter how many laws are changed or how many different presidents are in power or what political party is running things that the real problem is the way human beings treat each other: The whole, "I'm right, you're wrong, My way or the highway" mentality. So Ansty is such a great character because at his core he's genuinely good and kind.

This story felt like a cop out. Forget awesome insights into human beings treating human beings with respect and kindness that the other books in the series offer. This one just takes a political issue and places Antsy on one side of the issue. Boring!

I still gave this one three stars because...did I mention Antsy?

Don't let this one dissuade you from reading the others, though. Because they are amazing and deserve to be read and loved.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Review: Startled by His Furry Shorts

Title Startled By His Furry Shorts (Georgia Nicolson #7)
By Louise Rennison
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Georgia gave Masimo and ultimatum but while he's thinking about it she's in agony. Normally she's confide in Dave the Laugh but he's declared his interest in her, at least she thinks he did. Why does life have to be such agony?!

First Sentence
I can't believe I am once more on the rack of romance.

Georgia and her love woes are back in the 7th book of the series. I flew through this one wondering what Masimo would say but caring more about poor Dave The Laugh.

I didn't expect that ending, though! I guess I should have expected things to amp up as the series gets close to its end but wow!

These books are so silly. I'm not blown away by them but I always find they make me smile. Good, solid, three star reads.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Review: Wires and Nerve

Title Wires and Nerve (Wires and Nerve #1)
By Marissa Meyer
Genre Graphic Novel, Sci-fi, Adventure
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Before Cinder and her friends brought down Queen Levana, she released wolf hybrid soldiers on earth. The hybrids have gone rogue and to help her friend, Iko becomes a hunter. Determined to stop the hybrids before they kill anyone else.

I was excited to read this graphic novel and get more from the wonderful world Meyer created.

Of course, I enjoyed the story but I wasn't as wowed or in love as I wanted to be. A lot of the characters didn't look at all how I imagined them so I'm not sure what I thought of the art.

I loved the relationship between Iko and the guard Cinder sent to help her. It was obvious but funny.

I'm not sure if I'll continue with the series, though. I preferred the novels.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

July Wrap-Up 2018

July, as I've mentioned before, is NOT my favorite month. It's just too hot! Even with a pool it's unbearable. And it seems to go on and on! Am I right? Anywho, I'm glad Dewy's 24 Hour Readathon decided to do a reverse reathathon. It was nice having something to look forward to and it really upped my reading numbers. I read 4 books for the readathon bringing my books read in July up to 11. I'm so close to reaching my Goodreads goal for the year and I still have so many months to go! Wahoo! Here's what I read.

Wishtree by Christine Applegate, The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, Bird Box by Josh Malerman, All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin, Startled By His Furry Shorts by Louise Rennison, Ship Out Of Luck by Neal Shusterman, A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson, Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf, The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby, Kristy's Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier and Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer.

Phew! Favorite was Bird Box for sure. You must go read this book! Least favorite was Our Souls at Night and All We Ever Wanted but even those were two star reads.