Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mrs. Hemingway

Title: Mrs. Hemingway
Author: Naomi Wood
322 pages, published May 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Library

From GoodReads:

The Paris Wife was only the beginning of the story . . .Paula McLain’s New York Times–bestselling novel piqued readers’ interest about Ernest Hemingway’s romantic life. But Hadley was only one of four women married, in turn, to the legendary writer. Just as T.C. Boyle’s bestseller The Women completed the picture begun by Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank, Naomi Wood’s Mrs. Hemingway tells the story of how it was to love, and be loved by, the most famous and dashing writer of his generation. Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary: each Mrs. Hemingway thought their love would last forever; each one was wrong.

Told in four parts and based on real love letters and telegrams, Mrs. Hemingway reveals the explosive love triangles that wrecked each of Hemingway's marriages. Spanning 1920s bohemian Paris through 1960s Cold War America, populated with members of the fabled "Lost Generation," Mrs. Hemingway is a riveting tale of passion, love, and heartbreak.

My review:

I really enjoyed The Paris Wife and Hemingway's Girl, so this one clearly caught my attention. Though I'm not particularly a fan of Hemingway's writing, I find the recent historical fiction about his wives fascinating. What I liked most about this book was the style--the four different perspectives from each of the wives. I though that was significantly more creative than just a general historical account from Ernest's point of view. It was interesting (and sad) to see how he followed similar behavior patterns with each of the women.

The writing style and imagery in this book was also what caused me to give the book a four start rating. At times I felt the book dragged on a bit but the beautiful writing kept me interested and reading more. 

Overall, this wasn't my favorite book about the Hemingway women, but I am glad that I read it and definitely recommend it to those who love this type of historical fiction!

Overall rating for "Mrs. Hemingway": B

Happy Reading!

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

I want to apologize for the lack of posts, my friends! I've had a CRAZY last couple weeks--first I was in Seattle visiting a friend, and most recently in Santa Monica for my cousin's wedding! Haven't been able to post, but I have gotten some reading done!! Regular posts and posts about my adventures will happen this week!
 This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey.
Recently Finished:
Currently Reading:
Happy Reading, friends!! Have a great week!!

Summer Bookish Bingo: Final Update!

Excited to find a new reading challenge! Bookish Bingo, hosted by Great Imaginations! The challenge runs from July 1 through September 30, and the goal is to get a "bingo" by the end of the challenge! Examples of books that fit each category are listed on Great Imaginations' sign up post.

  • Sign-ups close on July 14th (sign up here)
  • One square per book.  For instance, Mockingjay starts with M and is also a series finale, but can only count for one square.
  • All reading must be done during the months of July, August, and September.
  • There will be a giveaway again!  Extra entries will be awarded for multiple bingos and a fully covered card earns +5!
Updates/Books Finished:

I completed 2 "Bingo's!":

1. B1-B5
2: B4, I4, N4, G4, O4

Here are the book titles:

B1: Stand Alone: Goodnight June
B2: Starts with S,U,M, E, R: Mrs. Hemingway
B3: Series Finale: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
B4: Blue Cover: If I Stay
B5: Music or Dance: 84 Ribbons
I1: Sky on Cover: The Bridge from Me to You
 I4: A Summer Release: Landline
N4: Strong Sibling Relationship: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
G1: Set During Summer: The Vacationers
G4: Animal Companion: The Art of Raising A Puppy
G5: Set in Europe: A Wedding in Provence
O2: Middle Grade: Nest
O4: Set on an Island: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry 
O5: Water on Cover: We Were Liars

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Need to

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten  Authors I've Only Read One Book From but NEED to Read More! I was able to come up with a Top Five:

1. Gayle Forman: I've read If I Stay, but I need to read Where She Went!

2. Alan Brennert: I LOVED Molokai! Honolulu is next on my list!

3. Sarah Jio: I LOVED Goodnight June. Would love to read her other books too!

4. Sarah Dessen: I love YA fiction, and have read only one of her books (The Truth About Forever)

5. Pam Jenoff: I love historical fiction, and Jenoff's The Ambassadors Daughter. I've heard from several friends that her other books are great as well.

Happy Reading!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Adrian Lessons: L.A. Rose Blog Tour and Giveaway!!

This week I am participating in a Blog Tour for new indie author L.A.Rose. Her book, Adrian Lessons, was recently released and she is hosting this blog tour to get the word out about her new book. I received a copy of the book from the author to read an review. Below is a synopsis, exerpt (provided by the author) and short review. Though I received the book for free, please remember all my reviews are 100% honest.

Title: Adrian Lessons
Author: L.A. Rose
E-book, published August 25, 2014
Genre: Adult contemporary romance
Source : author provided me a copy of this book

Good Reads synopsis:
If there’s one thing Cleo Reynolds knows, it’s that she’s not into Adrian King. The son of a model with the looks to prove it, the experienced author of her school newspaper’s sex advice column, the cocky playboy with a hint of darkness. That Adrian King.

Nope. Nuh-uh. No way.  The problem is, he’s very into her.

After accidentally flashing him, and slightly-less-accidentally-but-still-totally-unintentionally making out with him in front of the whole class, she expects to be called crazy. Instead, he asks her out. Cleo’s determined not to end up as another notch on his bedpost. Except she hasn’t done…you know…it in a while. (Read: ever.) And as a girl who pays her tuition by writing all the sex scenes in her roommate’s bestselling romance series, the lack of inspiration has served up a fat slice of writer’s block.

Until her roommate proposes that Cleo and Adrian act out all the steamy scenes in her book.  It’s just research. No feelings involved. Nope. Nuh-uh.No way.

Expert (provided by the author):
“Christ,” Adrian finally mutters after a good half minute of staring at my body. He runs his hand through his hair.
I’m not saying my grand plan is to make him so worked up he’ll have to satisfy me. And then I can move on with my life.
I’m not saying that’s my plan, but if it were, I’d be an evil genius.
“You too,” I smirk, trailing my fingers down my bare waist. “That shirt looks expensive. Wouldn’t want to mess it up.”
Not taking his eyes from me, he pulls his shirt off, back over front in that casual way boys have. I gasp. Doves zoom overhead, sprinkling golden confetti. A chorus of angels sing. Okay, not all that actually happens, but it’s the first time I’ve seen him shirtless.
And that chest deserves some fanfare.
His torso is tan, lithe and strong, the hard contours of a six-pack-verging-on-eight-pack begging to be licked. Every ounce of him is sculpted, refined. Just looking at him floods my abdomen with tension. There’s a swirling tattoo on the left side of his ribs, but I’m too busy thinking about how I want to mount his torso on my mantelpiece like a serial killer to dwell on it.
My roommate looks between us, her eyes narrowed. “You two seem to be getting along much better today.”
If by ‘getting along’ she means ‘staring at each other with enough sexual tension to hoist the Titanic from the bottom of the sea’ then yes.
“Remember, guys,” she says. “Last time was more about the romance between the characters. Their first kiss. This is purely sexual.”
At the words ‘purely sexual’, a shiver grips my spine. I think Adrian might be similarly affected, because he hardens all over. And I mean all over.
“Come on, then,” I muster up the courage to say, fingering the lacy edge of my panties. “Inspire me.” 

 My Review:

If you like a steamy, 50 Shades of Grey style adult romance, then this book is for you! This type of book is generally too raunchy for me, which is why I liked but didn't love this one. However, it was well written (unlike 50 Shades), witty, laugh out loud funny at times, and has charming and interesting characters.  It reads fast and is a perfect beach read or weekend read!

Giveaway: The author is giving away free copies of this book! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Scenice Sundays #2: Missing Maui

Scenic Sundays is a weekly meme hosted by Terri at Second Run Reviews.  The goal of the meme is to share a photograph (that you took yourself) and one quote to go with it. I am super excited about this meme because I love to do photography! This will be a fun way to share some of my photos!
I've been fortunate enough to travel to Maui two times, and this photo is from my most recent trip in December 2013. Maui is my favorite place in the whole world, and  I'm missing it today and wishing I could relive the trip or go back!  So I thought I'd share a photo I took during that trip and a quote from what I'm currently reading right now, " A Tree Grows in Brookyn". 

 “But she didn't want to recall things. She wanted to live things - or as a compromise, re-live rather than reminisce.”
Betty Smith,
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Life of a Blogger: 13 Years Ago Today

Life of a Blogger is a weekly bookish meme hosted by the lovely Jessi of Novel Heartbeat, shining the spotlight on bloggers on a more personal level. Every week she chooses a topic and shares about her life, encouraging other bloggers to do the same. 

Today's Topic: Where Were You Thirteen Years Ago?

On September 11, 2001 I was just a couple weeks away from starting my freshman year at Western Oregon University.  Since I wasn't at school yet (WOU is on the quarter system, not semester)  and didn't have a job at that point, I was sleeping still when everything happened. My mom (who went to work super early at the time) called our house. I answered, half asleep, as she told me what happened and asked me to give the phone to my dad. I remember feeling guilty because I was still half asleep and didn't really comprehend what she said until I went downstairs and saw the horrible images on TV. I remember feeling scared, confused, overwhelmed, angry. Life as we knew it changed forever that day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Author Meet and Greet: Cathy Lamb!

I am very fortunate to live in the state of Oregon and be just an hour away from the fantastic bookstore (book empire, really) Powell's Books. They have several locations throughout the Portland area. The largest store is Powell's City of Books in downtown Portland, that spans an entire city block. There's one in the Portland International Airport (Starbucks and a swing through this Powell's is a MUST for every time I travel out of PDX).  There are a couple other locations in Portland itself, but also one in Beaverton, OR.  I encourage those of you non Oregonians to check out their website--you can order books online :)

Cathy Lamb giving her talk and
reading from her new book
One of the great things about Powell's is all the author events. On my Bookish Bucket List, goals #2 and #13 were achieved last night--I went to an author event for Cathy Lamb, one of my favorite authors who happens to be from Oregon. Her new book, What I Remember Most, just came out (I'm reading it now, review to come) and she was there to promote her book and sign copies.

Mel from Double Stacked Bookshelves and fellow book lover Kristin came with me, and we had a fantastic time! I really enjoyed Cathy's talk--she's as funny in person as she is in her writing! I've always had a life goal of writing a book someday (#1 on my BBL) and she provided some insight and advice that was so encouraging! I've never started a book because I had no idea what the plot would be. She shared that she starts with a character--comes up with the character's name, career/job, who her family is, etc.  Really gets to know her main character. Then she develops the plot. She also uses an "inspiration journal" for each of her books where she cuts photos out of magazines, and writes words or phrases that inspire her (which may or may not end up in the book). She said she writes an initial rough draft, and then goes through8-9 edits herself before showing it to her publisher. Needless to say, her talk certainly gave me confidence that I could write a book someday. She then signed everyone's book, and it was fun to get to chat with her! She was so friendly, nice, and appreciative of those who came out to see her.
She signed my book and was SO nice!

Overall, it was a fantastic evening and totally worth getting home late and the extra coffee I will need today :) Friends, if you ever get the chance to meet an author (especially one you love) and hear them speak--do it. You won't regret it! More about her talk and reading will be in my review of her book :)

Have you gotten to meet an author you love? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

Happy Reading! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: grab whatever you're reading, open to a random page, select no more than two sentence (NO SPOILERS), share the title and author, and GO!

Today's Teaser is from What I Remember Most by Cathy Lamb, one of the books I'm currently reading.

"I drove past the steel statue of a cowboy on a bucking horse, through the faux Wild West town, parked in another neighborhood, and tried to breathe in the dark, icy solitude of my car. It had been a busy night, even without the samurai sword attack." (pg 75)

I really enjoy Cathy Lamb's books, and I am really excited to go see her TONIGHT at Powell's at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton, OR! This is my first time going to an author event at Powell's and I am SO excited! Going with Mel from Double Stacked Bookshelves and another book loving friend from our office. Should be a great evening!!

Happy Reading!

Monday, September 8, 2014


Jordan's Jewels

Title: Nest
Author: Esther Ehrlich
336 pages, publishing date September 9, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade

Source:  I received this ebook from NetGalley. This is my honest review.

From GoodReads:

For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But then Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, and everything changes.
   Chirp finds comfort in watching her beloved wild birds. She also finds a true friend in Joey, the mysterious boy who lives across the street. Together they create their own private world and come up with the perfect plan: Escape. Adventure. Discovery.
   Nest is Esther Ehrlich’s stunning debut novel. Her lyrical writing is honest, humorous, and deeply affecting. Chirp and Joey will steal your heart. Long after you finish Nest, the spirit of Chirp and her loving family will stay with you.

To be flat out honest, the main reason I got this book was because I'm working on Bookish Bingo this summer, and decided to read a middle grade novel. I found this one on NetGalley, and I'm thrilled that I did. This story warmed my heart. I fell in love with Chirp and really related to her. I think I could relate so well because I've watched a parent suffer through a serious disease, and know the heartbreak, confusion, and frustration that goes along with it, even though I was an adult and Chirp is eleven.  I think it's an excellent book for young readers and adults alike to relate to if they've gone through a similar ordeal in their own lives, as the book has so many wonderful lessons throughout it. The writing is beautiful and poetic, and flowed easily.

If you're looking for a heartwarming middle grade read, I highly recommend this book. You'll fall in love with the characters and will have a hard time putting it down! This is the author's debut novel--and it's fantastic. I look forward to her future books!

Overall rating for "Nest": A

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Scenic Sunday

Second Run Reviews Scenic Sunday

Scenic Sundays is a weekly meme hosted by Terri at Second Run Reviews.  The goal of the meme is to share a photograph (that you took yourself) and one quote to go with it. I am super excited about this meme because I love to do photography! This will be a fun way to share some of my photos!

My husband and I do wedding photography part time, and this particular photo is from a wedding we photographed for some dear friends. The wedding location was Rogue Farms Hopyard in Independence, Oregon. The wedding was back in June, but I'm still excited about this photo. My goal was to capture a scenic view of the couple's wedding location as the reception (inside the barn behind me) was wrapping up. I LOVE the light on this photo! The essence of a summer evening!

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”  
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts: September 4

This is a weekly event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous.

1. I have a Harry Potter hangover.  As much as I was excited to be done with my summer reading project...I miss reading Harry Potter!  Nothing I've read since has been quite as exciting!

2. Next Tuesday, I get to cross another item off my Bookish Bucket List! An author I love, Cathy Lamb, is coming to Powell's Books in Beaverton, OR to promote her new book! I finally get to meet an author! Obviously, I will blog about it next week :)

3. I can't believe it's September already! I am super excited about this, because I have lots of fun things planned the second half of the month. First, I'm going to Seattle to see my sis Breanne for a long weekend. Then the next weekend my cousin is getting married in Santa Monica. Then, the weekend after that is a beach weekend here in Oregon! I've been looking forward to this all summer! Hopefully will get some good reading time in on the train to Seattle, the plane to Cali, and at the beach :)

4. Peyton is now a 12 week old puppy! He's getting so big. His weight has doubled since we got him 5 weeks ago! We're finally getting some sleep, as he's needing overnight bathroom breaks less frequently now :) Here's  a picture of him from last Saturday while we were watching the Oregon State Beavers football game!

5. I've always had dry, sensitive skin, as well as bad seasonal allergies (where I live in Oregon is one of the worst places in the country for allergies) but recently I've got to deal with something even more fun: hand eczema.  My hands constantly itch, are red, have little blister bumps...UGH! Using lotion specifically for eczema that has colloidal oatmeal in it which seems to help a bit. Any of you out there have this problem? Anything that works well for you? I'm asking everyone!

6. Fantasy Football (and the NFL) is BACK!! First game of the season TONIGHT!! Clearly I'm super excited :) My husband and I are matched up this week in Fantasy Football so it should be a fun weekend :)

Thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: A Cup of Redemption

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.  The event spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. This week, I am excited for the release of:

A Cup of Redemption
By Carole Bumpus
Release Date: October 27, 2014
322 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

From GoodReads:

Like the braiding of three strands of brioche, the lives of three women Sophie Zabel Sullivan, Marcelle Pourrette Zabel, and Kate Barrington become inextricably intertwined as each struggles to resolve issues from past wars that have profoundly impacted their lives. Sophie believed her childhood nightmares were safely behind her once she married and moved to the U.S. from France until she is called to her mother, Marcelle s, deathbed to honor one final request: Search for my father! Search for Pourrette! Born on the last day of World War I, Marcelle, whose life epitomizes the human cost of war, never knew her father, yet carried the Pourrette name, along with the shame of illegitimacy, as did her two oldest sons born during World War II. Enlisting the expertise of a friend and family therapist, Sophie encourages Kate to join her in France to help find her grandfather scour the stain of illegitimacy from her family s name. Unbeknownst to Sophie, Kate s 34-year-old illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption during the Vietnam War, has recently reappeared. Kate, struggling with her own shame and guilt, pushes aside her feelings to join Sophie in France. Rising out of the collateral damage wrought by war, A Cup of Redemption is a touching story about love, loss, and the search for identity.

What book are you looking forward to this Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I Want It That Way


Author: Ann Aguirre
352 pages, published August 26, 2014
Genre: Contemporary/Romance

Source:  I received this ebook from NetGalley. This is my honest review.

From GoodReads:

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.   The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

This book is a  perfect vacation or weekend read--especially if you're looking for a steamy romance novel.   It's an easy, quick read, but entertaining and fun despite its predictable ending. I usually expect some level of predictability in my romance novels, so it didn't bother me this time around.

I really liked Nadia's character, and think the author did a great job of a realistic portrayal of a struggling college student and the challenges faced during that time.  The book combines the essence of young love, balancing work, school and life, and the challenges associated with both in a clear and relatable way.

What really drew me to the book was the title--all three books in this trilogy have Backstreet Boy songs as titles (the next two are As Long As You Love Me and The Shape of My Heart). I'll admit I was secretly hoping for some Backstreet Boys or boy band reference just for fun, but it wasn't there.  But I definitely love the author's creativity to use the song titles as titles for the series to tie them all together.  Though the book isn't one of my favorites, and isn't one of the best books I've read this year, it was still entertaining, still drew me in, and I still plan on reading the next two books! Definitely worth reading if you're looking for a light read or fun romance novel.

Overall grade for "I Want It That Way": B-

Happy Reading!

Top Ten Book Characters Sitting at my Lunch Table


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten  Book Characters I Want to Sit at My Lunch Table (in honor of back to school!) Here we go!

1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter Series 

2.  Eleanor from Eleanor and Park

3. Andie Sachs from The Devil Wears Prada

5.  Shea Rigsby from The One and Only

6.  Jacob Black from the Twilight series

7. Jeanne Stewart from The Last Time I Was Me

9. Kristy Thomas from The Baby-Sitters Club series (really, all the BSC!)

10. Cath from Fangirl

Who's at your bookish lunch table?? Happy Reading!!