Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekly Book Haul.......January 30, 2015

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

Winter is coming to a close in Arizona, it's in the 70's today, so I plan to spend my afternoon sitting by the pool reading.  When I lived in Illinois, all I ever wanted was a swimming pool, and now I have it, but I take it for granted.

I've bee doing tons of thinking lately about I don't live in the moment, and how much I don't appreciate the good things in my life.  I tend to focus on what I don't do well, whether it's work related, worrying about my weight, worrying about money, worrying about this blog.

Instead of telling myself what I do well, the voice in my head is a never ending monologue of what I don't do as well as I could.  And I mean, that soundtrack is on REPEAT.  I lay in bed thinking about everything I ate that day that I shouldn't have, every interaction that I had at work is proof that I am obviously either stupid or completely socially inept, I finished a book but didn't do a review, haven't announced the winner of the last giveaway, am not making my blog a priority.

Yes, I actually berate myself over my blog.  Instead of thinking, wow, you have turned your hobby into a way of getting tons of free books!  You have followers!  You have something interesting to say!  I think, I have to blog as soon as I get home, nope too tired, look how lazy you are, you'll never get more followers. 

Then I think, do I want more followers?  I follow quite a few great blogs and I wonder if they feel the same level of obligation.  Or is it just my soundtrack of failure?  Maybe everyone else finds it to be a pleasant diversion.

This is a lot more truth than I planned for this week's Weekly Book Haul!  But a therapist once told me one of their sayings is "Name It to Tame It" is the catchphrase of why you should keep a journal.  There is something about getting those thoughts out of your head and on paper that makes you able to understand how sometimes the voice in your head is an effing liar.

I'm going to post this, then go sit in the sun!  Thank you to anyone who reads my little hobby!


All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker....In the small, affluent town of
Fairview, Connecticut, everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.
As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town - or perhaps lives among them - drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda....Like the spellbinding psychological
suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald - Win a copy!!

What They Say......Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. 

Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

What I Say....This was such a fun, cute read.  Sara is a bookworm from Sweden who has decided to come to America to meet her pen pal, Amy.  Out of the entire United States, this adventure leads her to a tiny, run down town in rural Iowa.  And her pen pal is dead.  Welcome to America!

Sara decides to go ahead and stay for her visit, and the townspeople do their best to make her feel welcome, including having her stay in Amy's house - staying in a strange country, in a dead woman's house?  Sounds like VRBO gone bad.

Sara decides to open a bookstore with Amy's large collection of books from home.  Not really sure what kind of bookstore it was, but she seemed to have every book that could be sold.  Although, I don't recall her ever selling one - which is fine, because it seemed kind of weird to sell a dead woman's belongings.

But anyway, Sara gets to know all of the townspeople, and they are an odd bunch.  But she meets Tom, the requisite hot single guy in Broken Wheel, along with the crusty diner owner, the churchgoing lady, the gay bar owners, the bisexual young man who migrates to Broken Wheel (why is anyone's guess), along with a host of other misfits.

One thing that I didn't like was that there were too many characters with not enough storylines, so at times, I couldn't remember who they were or why I should care.  

I also didn't buy Caroline's storyline.  It was way too sharp of a turn for that character - it was not even remotely believable.

But overall, it was a great little weekend book.

And now is your chance to win a copy for yourself!!

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekly Book Haul.....January 17, 2016

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

So I went and saw Revenant yesterday, and it was fine.  I think sometimes that the media builds things up so much that your expectations just can't be met.  It was beautifully shot, and great scenery, but I didn't think Leo's performance was all that.  I didn't buy him as a father, didn't feel the emotion between him and his son, it just seemed like one long struggle for one man.  But I would like to read the book to see if it was more emotionally engaging.

I'm currently reading The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and it's so cute!  I'm hosting a giveaway for you to win your own copy - enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here's what I added to my TBR pile this week.


Not Working by Lisa Owens......In the tradition of Helen Fielding's Bridget
Jones's Diary and Allison Pearson's I Don't Know How She Does It comes a wise and laugh-out-loud debut novel that captures a young generation trying not to have it all, but to figure out what it all means. Claire has just resigned from her job without a plan for her next move. As she struggles to explain herself to friends and family, she experiences the emotions and minutiae of day-to-day life as only someone without the distractions of a regular routine can—and discovers what happens when she seeks true purpose in life.

The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth LaBan.....Lila
Soto has a master’s degree that’s gathering dust, a work-obsessed husband, two kids, and lots of questions about how exactly she ended up here.
In their new city of Philadelphia, Lila’s husband, Sam, takes his job as a restaurant critic a little too seriously. To protect his professional credibility, he’s determined to remain anonymous. Soon his preoccupation with anonymity takes over their lives as he tries to limit the family’s contact with anyone who might have ties to the foodie world. Meanwhile, Lila craves adult conversation and some relief from the constraints of her homemaker role. With her patience wearing thin, she begins to question everything: her decision to get pregnant again, her break from her career, her marriage—even if leaving her ex-boyfriend was the right thing to do. As Sam becomes more and more fixated on keeping his identity secret, Lila begins to wonder if her own identity has completely disappeared—and what it will take to get it back.

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Giveaway - The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

I'm currently reading The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and I'm enjoying it so much that I want to give a copy away!  Click below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Weekly Book Haul.....January 10, 2016

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

My youngest daughter was home for a week before starting back to school in Illinois on Monday.  So last week was a whirlwind of getting hair done, eyebrows waxed, dinners with family and just generally running errands every night after work.  I loved having her home, but she cost me a fortune!  I just kept telling myself to grit my teeth and enjoy the time.  I love having daughters but I think they must be much more expensive than sons.

This week, for the first time, I made a conscious decision not to finish a book.  It wasn't necessarily the author, because I normally love her, but the subject matter was boring, and I couldn't get into it.  I found myself looking at it on the end table like work, not like I couldn't wait to get back into it.  I'm not going to lie, it still doesn't feel right and I feel incredibly guilty, but it was a resolution I made, so I feel like I've got to give it a try.

I'm looking forward to at least a few changes for 2016!


The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin....The New York Times 
bestselling author of 
The Aviator's Wife returns with a triumphant new novel about New York's “Swans” of the 1950s—and the scandalous, headline-making, and enthralling friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley.

Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends—the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a high-profile husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman—a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.

Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrĂ©e into the enviable lives of Manhattan's elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe's powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls “True Heart,” Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller—even when the stories aren't his to tell.

Truman's fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he'll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America's most sumptuous eras.

Hide Away by Iris Johansen.....Iris Johansen's beloved forensic sculptor Eve
Duncan is back and now the stakes are higher than ever. Dramatic changes are on the horizon for Eve and Joe Quinn and their relationship may never be the same. 

Faced with the task of protecting Cara Delaney, a young girl with ruthless enemies who want to see her dead, Eve takes her away to the remote Scottish Highlands where they join Jane MacGuire in search of a hidden treasure. 

But nowhere is far enough away to protect Cara from danger. With enemies closing in from all sides, Hide Away is a high-octane thriller that fans will not want to miss.

Nookietown by V.C. Chickering.....Recently divorced, 40-something single-
mom, Lucy, is lonely, bored and craving physical connection. 

So, when her trusted long-time married friend, Nancy, begs Lucy to sleep with her husband to save her marriage, Lucy goes for it. It's such a success, the two friends invent a town-wide underground barter system whereby Nancy's married girlfriends sub-contract Lucy's divorcee friends to sleep with their husbands so they don't have to as often. It's a win, win, win- for a while. Then it all goes to hell in a hand-basket.

Laugh-out-loud funny, emotionally provocative and at times racy, V. C. Chickering's Nookietown is a story of risk-taking, marriage, honesty and desire, and what one woman rationalizes in order to get what she wants.

A bunch of great books, but I have to admit, I am interested in Nookietown just for the cover.  I thought it was hilarious! photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde

What They Say.....From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes the stunning and emotional story of a young soldier’s unthinkable act . . . and the bonds of a sister and brother’s love.

Ruth and her little brother, Aubrey, are just teenagers when their older brother ships off to Iraq. When Joseph returns, uninjured, only three and a half months later, Ruth is happy he is safe but also deeply worried. How can it be that her courageous big brother has been dishonorably discharged for refusing to go out on duty? Aubrey can’t believe that his hero doesn’t have very good reasons.

Yet as the horrifying details of the incident emerge, Joseph disappears. In their attempts to find him, Ruth and Aubrey discover he has a past far darker than either of them could imagine. But even as they learn more about their brother, important questions remain unanswered—why did he betray his unit, his country, and now his family? Joseph’s refusal to speak ignites a fire in young Aubrey that results in a disastrous, and public, act of rebellion.

The impact of Joseph’s fateful decision one night in Baghdad will echo for years to come, with his siblings caught between their love for him and the media’s engulfing frenzy of judgment. Will their family ever make their way back to each other and find a way to forgive?

What I Say.....I love Catherine Ryan Hyde, and usually her books are an easy win for me.  But this one dragged on a little.  I think mostly because I'm sick of hearing about Bowe Bergdahl - first the Serial podcast, then this book.  I wasn't that interested in the first place, to be honest.

So this issue may have been mine - especially since I see it has a high 4 rating on Goodreads, but I just had a hard time getting into it.

The main theme was the entire family didn't know how to communicate and kept their feelings to themselves, but this also made the narration of the story very flat, and didn't pull me in emotionally like most of Hyde's books.  

So this is the first official unfinished book of 2016.  And it's killing me, with my compulsive need for closure.

Current Goodreads Rating 4.05

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Weekly Book Haul....January 4, 2016

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

So the holidays are over.  I usually make it a point not to make New Year's resolutions, but for some reason this year, I was moved to make a few, most in regards to my blog and my reading. 

Here they are, in no particular order.

1.  I upped my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 60 books this year.  It's been 50 for the last two years, but I hit 54 in 2015, so I think 60 is do-able, particularly if I keep my next resolution.....

2.  Decrease my TV and internet/Facebook time and increase my reading time.  I feel like I literally stare at my phone for hours, refreshing and surfing.  Even with my iPad right beside me, I stare at my phone.  Case in point, I just took a break from typing this blog to check my phone.  It's an addiction.

3.  If I start a book and don't want to pick it up and continue reading it within a week, I'm not finishing it.  I actually got this from my friend, Windee, who is very wise.  I struggle with not finishing a book, no matter how much I'm not enjoying it.  I have an almost compulsive need to finish reading a book util the end.  Which then delays me from reading other books, because I'm avoiding that book.

4.  To update my blog appearance and headers.

5.  To show more of my true self in my reviews.  I won't be mean because I have admiration for anyone who has written a book and gone through the work to have it published.  But I haven't wanted to be part of the blogger/author wars, so I haven't always used my real voice in my blog for fear of being seen as a blogger that publishers don't want to deal with.  And I think there have been times where I could have shown my true voice.

With the holidays, I haven't added a whole lot to my overflowing TBR pile, but here they are.


Smart Girl by Rachel Hollis....Brilliant designer Miko Jin is a hopeless
romantic. She’s spent most of her life falling in love over and over again…with the men she finds in the pages of her favorite novels.
When Miko meets Liam Ashton, it’s love at first sight. At least, for her. Sure, the two of them are polar opposites, and yes, he seems to be dating someone new each week. But Miko knows what true love is and that you can’t rush it—after all, what she lacks in real-world experience, she makes up for in book smarts. With novels as her guide, and her best friends by her side, she knows she can get Liam to love her back. But just like any good romance novel, fate has a few plot twists in store. Will Miko get her own happy ending? Will she find the strength to stand up for what she deserves even if it means breaking her own heart?

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Friday, January 1, 2016

After You by Jojo Moyes

What They Say....How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.

What I Say....I loved Me Before You.  I actually read it on a flight to Hawaii and embarrassed myself by sobbing uncontrollably in front of an airplane full of strangers.  But I think I was one of the few that wasn't clamoring for a follow up book.  

But once I saw it had been written, how could I resist?  I do love Jojo Moyes, and I'd read anything she's written.  

This one wasn't my favorite though.  I think I would have rather left the story at the end of Me Before You.  In my mind, Louisa had gone on to live a meaningful, daring life that Will challenged her to.

To see that she is back to living a completely uneventful life was a pretty big letdown.  It was actually depressing me.

The introduction of Lily is a new twist, and her story was really heartbreaking.  I don't want to give any spoilers, but when she was close to rock bottom, and her father's friend appeared to help her, I kept thinking, "Please don't be a bad guy, please don't be a lech."  Of course he was.  I actually became more invested in Lily's story than Lou's.  I almost think the book could have been written from her viewpoint.

This was a good book, and I'm glad that Louisa found peace.  But what did you think?  Are you glad there was a sequel?  Or would have been happy with the ending of Me Before You?

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