Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: Leaving Time

Leaving TimeTitle: Leaving Time
Author: Jodi Picoult
398 pages, published October 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Library

From Goodreads:

For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.

My Review:

I've always been a Picoult fan, and I was excited to read her newest release. I'd heard so many great things about this one. I'm happy to report they're all true! What  I loved most about the book was that it was clear Picoult did a ton of research to make this book a success. Granted, I don't know hardly anything about elephants or elephant grief,  but after doing a little research on Picoult's writing process with the book, I found this video on her website of an interview she did with National Geographic.  As she indicates in the video, the book isn't just about elephants, but she did do a lot of research and spent time at an elephant sanctuary to help make her book as accurate as possible. This really impressed me!

As with any Picoult book, it was beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. I was anxious to find out the mystery of what happened to Alice. I'd heard from other reviews there was a "big twist" at the end, and boy were they right!  The book was not only heartfelt and a beautiful story of love and loss, but also suspenseful and gripping.

If you haven't read Picoult, I highly suggest you read this one. And if you're already a Picoult fan, this is one not to miss!

Overall rating for "Leaving Time": A

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The TBR Tag

I was tagged for this post by Brandie @ Brandie is a Book Junkie. I'm really glad she tagged me because it motivated me to clean up my Goodreads "to read" list....haha!

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Goodreads! Love love LOVE Goodreads. Mel introduced me to it a few years ago and it's such a fantastic and addicting website!
2. Is your TBR ostly print or eBook?

I have a bookshelf dedicated to my TBR's. I do have a small amount on my kindle that I need to read, but most are physical books.
3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I don't have a method or anything, just go for what I feel like reading next! If it's a new release I'm really excited about I will sometimes stop everything and read that.   Currently I'm working on Bookish Bingo, so I'm trying to select ones from my TBR that work for those categories. 
4. A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest?
Life of Pi. STILL need to read that one!!

5. A book you recently added to your TBR?
Find Me by Laura van den Berg. It's a February release I just heard about that looks really interesting!!

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of it’s beautiful cover.
I usually don't add books just because of their cover. But I do LOVE this cover, and it's what drew me to the book!
First Frost (Waverley Family #2)

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading.
I just didn't a MAJOR cleanup of my TBR list, so right now they're all ones I legitimately want to read!

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.
Like Brandie, the next two Colleen Hoover releases!! Confess and Never Never Part 2. Her writing is brilliant!!
ConfessNever Never: Part Two (Never Never, #2)

9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you.
This one for sure!
The Kite Runner
10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

Memoirs of a Geisha

11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read.

Definitely Confess and Never Never Part 2.  I just finished Never Never part 1 last night and having to wait until MAY is just NOT nice!!
12. How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?
222. And that's a narrowed down version!

Now, ‘tag, you’re it!’…

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Never Never

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ 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!

My Teaser Tuesday this week is from Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher's joint novella, "Never Never." This one's been getting a lot of buzz in the book world lately! I'm 40% through and thoroughly sucked in and curious as to what the heck is going on! Here are a few lines to get you excited to read more:

"I'm not sure if this is old Charlie's thoughts or new Charlie's thoughts. Or maybe, because I'm observing Charlie Wynwood's life as an outsider, I'm able to think of her cheating with detachement rather than judgment."

Such a great read so far! Happy Reading!

Review: House Broken

Title: House Broken
Author: Sonja Yoerg
336 pages, published January 2015
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Purchased for myself

From Good Reads:

For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.

Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.

Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.

My Review:

First off, how adorable is this cover?! It's what drew me to the book in the first place, as I love anything and everything to do with animals.  I love how the author used the title and animal theme (since the main character is a veterinarian) to tie into the major themes of the book.

I loved the story, and I loved the author's writing style. Reading through it I at first assumed it would be predictable and easy to guess the ending, but there definitely were some surprises along the way. There was humor and fun in the story, but serious issues were addressed as well to give the story good substance.

Overall, this was fun, feel good read. It wasn't one of my favorites, but I definitely enjoyed it and felt it was worth reading. Perfect weekend read if you're looking for something light and fun, with some seriousness mixed in!

Overall rating for "House Broken": B+

Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

National Readathon Day!

Today is National Readathon Day!! What are you pledging to make #timetoread today? I'll be reading Jodi Picoult's latest book, Leaving Time! More information about the readathon, and to make you pledge, here
Happy Reading, friends!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: My Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Station Eleven

Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St Jon Mandel
333 pages, published September 2014
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian
Source: Library

From Good Reads:

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

Here are my top five reasons why you should read Station Eleven:

1. It is not your typical dystopian story. I read a lot of YA, and what's trending in YA right now is young female heroine must save the dystopian society she lives in, all while sorting through a love triangle. I did enjoy those books, but it's been done. Station Eleven was so refreshing!  Rather than being technologically advanced, this dystopian society is qute the opposite. The Georgia Flu wiped out the majority of Americans, taking modern technology such as air travel, cars, and communication with it.

2. The characters.  There are so many fun and interesting characters in this book, and how their lives cross paths throughout the book is so interesting! The book jumps between pre and post collapse from the Georgia Flu, and it's so interesting to see how each character's life is affected before and after.

3. The book is about a "Traveling Symphony" that performs music and Shakespeare plays. If you're into theatre and creative arts, you'll really enjoy this book! Each member is eccentric and has their own quirks and histories, and that's what makes them interesting!

4. It will make you think! I love a novel that I'm still thinking about days after finishing it. I had a "book hangover" on this one for quite a few days.  It makes you realize just how quickly life as we know it could be over--the idea of a flu epidemic such as the Georgia Flu in this novel really isn't too farfetched.

5.  The book surprises you. The novel isn't predictable like so many other dystopian novels.  It does have some great twists, turns, and things you didn't expect.  You know that the Traveling Symphony is journeying toward the airport, but what and who they see along the way and what they find when they get there unravels beautifully!

This book is DEFINTELY worth the hype you've heard about!

Overall rating for "Station Eleven": A

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Mustache You Some Questions...


I was tagged for this post by Brandie @ Brandie is a Book Junkie

Four names people call me other than my real name:
  1. Hun (by my Husband)
  2.   LB (by my dad when I was little)
  3. Sis (by my sis Breanne)
  4.   Sweetie (by my mom)
Four jobs I’ve had:
  1. Babysitter
  2. BBQ booth at the fair
  3. Sports Editor for the Western Oregon Journal (college)
  4. Campus Tour Guide (Advocate) in college
Four movies I would/have watched more than once:
  1.  The Cutting Edge
  2. Mean Girls
  3. The Devil Wears Prada
  4. Twilight series
Four books I’d recommend:
Pretty impossible to narrow this down…
  1. Molokai by Alan Brennert
  2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  3. Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
  4.  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Four places I have lived:
  1. Monmouth, OR (apartment)
  2. Monmouth, OR (Butler Hall at WOU)
  3. Monmouth, OR (Cedar Hall)
  4. Dallas, OR
Four places I have been:
  1.  Paris, France
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Maui
Four places I’d rather be right now:
  1. On the beach in Maui
  2. Hanging out in a condo in Maui
  3.  Seattle (hanging out with my sis)
  4. Oregon Coast
Four things I don’t eat:
  1. Beets
  2. anything too spicy
  3.  squid
  4. chicken liver
Four of my favorite foods:
  1. Clam chowder
  2. Italian food
  3. avocados
  4.  popcorn
Four TV shows that I watch:
  1. Big Bang Theory
  2. Nashville
  3. pretty much anything on HGTV
  4. Football
Four things I am looking forward to this year (2015):
  1. Watching my puppy continue to grow up
  2. Beach weekends/day trips with hubby/family
  3. Warmer weather
  4.  Reading more books/discovering more authors (of course)
Four things I’m always saying:
  1. “You're the best puppy in the whole world!"
  2. “I just finished reading…”
  3. “Who wants to go get coffee?"
  4. “What book are you reading?"
Four People I Tag:

Mel @ Double Stacked Bookshelves
Christina @ The Wordy Rose
Jennine @ My Life in Books
Busy Brunette's Bookshelf

Have fun!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Wild Life

Last Thursday, I was fortunate to attend Cheryl Strayed's lecture at Oregon State University. If you've read my review of Wild, you know I absolutely loved the book and this author! I heard about the talk the same day and scrambled to make plans to get to Corvallis! I'd heard it was going to be crazy, so I got there before the doors opened to the auditorium.  There were a TON of people--OSU later estimated that 1,900 were in attendance, only 1,200 of which got a seat in the auditorium--so I was super lucky to get a seat!!

My view of the stage!

Cheryl spoke for about 45 minutes and then opened up the floor for questions. Her lecture was fantastic--she's witty, honest, charismatic, and inspiring. She talked about her mom, and how her mom's death sent her life into disarray and how she believed hiking the PCT would help her overcome her burden. One of my favorite parts of her talk was discussing the scene where she tries to lift her backpack (that she packed too heavy) and how her need to do this hike was so intense that it wasn't "I can't lift my pack, I have to quit" but, "I NEED to lift this pack." Lifting the heavy pack symbolizing carrying her life's burden's and sorrows--a brilliant scene in both the book and movie. She explained her need for the hike and made the comment that once she was on the trail "My feet hurt so bad I couldn't feel my heart."

Cheryl speaking. Was far enough away it was hard to get a picture that wasn't blurry!

She took questions from the audience after he lecture. A huge portion of the audience were students at Oregon State and I was quite impressed with some of their questions. Cheryl's response to a particular student's question really stuck with me. The student wanted to know how we can express our mistakes in life without losing our credibility. Cheryl immediately responded that you gain credibility. Admitting your mistakes and faults makes you human, and others relate to this and thus don't feel so alone. Cheryl said that "we fear condemnation but what we get is love." I immediately wrote that line down as it really stuck with me.  Those who know me know I strive for perfectionism and have real struggles with fear of failure. This response really inspired me and helped me look at my feelings differently. 

My signed book!!
After the Q and A session, Cheryl stayed to sign books!  Though the line was long, it moved relatively quickly and I was able to get my copy of Wild signed!!  Those of you who regularly read my blog know that meeting authors is on my Bookish Bucket List, and meeting Cheryl Strayed was such an honor and delight. What a fantastic night!

Talking with Cheryl 

I look forward to future opportunities to meet fantastic authors like Cheryl. I left the event inspired and excited! Also, I HIGHLY recommend you read Wild!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dual Mini Review: Hopeless and Losing Hope

Title: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
410 pages, published December 2012
Genre: New Adult Romance
Source: purchased for my Kindle

From Good Reads:

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

My Review:

Every time I read another Colleen Hoover book, I declare it as my new favorite! She's that good.   This book was SO emotionally intense--not just in the love story but all the secrets Sky discovers along the way. The book is impossible to put down--the more you read, the more you want to know what happens next! And wow, does Colleen Hoover know how to create the most wonderful male leads--hot, romantic and sweet--Holder is no exception.  This book tackles so many issues beyond teen romance and by the end is almost an emotional overload--but it's so good you'll keep reading to the end.  If you love Hoover's books, this one is a must read!

Title: Losing Hope
Author: Colleen Hoover
352 pages, published July 2013
Genre: New Adult Romance
Source: Library

From Goodreads:

In Hopeless, Sky left no secret unearthed, no feeling unshared, and no memory forgotten, but Holder’s past remained a mystery.

Sometimes in life, if we wish to move forward, we must first dig deep into our past and make amends. In Losing Hope, bestselling author Colleen Hoover reveals what was going on inside Holder’s head during all those hopeless moments—and whether he can gain the peace he desperately needs.

My Review:

I'd heard a lot about this one, and was intrigued. I was interested about learning Holder's perspective but was worried about it being a repeat of Hopeless. If you're thinking about reading this book, you MUST read Hopeless first or it won't make much sense.  I must say I was impressed--it was not the repeat I expected it to be. It was a little of course, but there was so much additional information on Holder's life and experiences it kept it from being a boring repeat.   I really enjoyed Holder's letters to his sister in this book--it really helped the book be different than just a repeat of Hopeless. I also really liked the ending and thought it gave a lot of closure and information where Hopeless left off.

Both books in the Hopeless series are fantastic! I highly recommend both books!

Overall rating for "Hopeless" and "Losing Hope": A

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Releases I Meant To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten 2014 Release I Meant to Read But Didn't Get to.  I'm hoping to get these read in 2015!!

1. A Second Bite at the Apple by Dana Bate (November 2014)


2. Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner (December 2014)
3. One in A Million by Jill Shalvis (October 2014

4. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid (July 2014)
5. Sweetness #9 by Stephan Erik Clark (August 2014)
6. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (July 2014)

7. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson (September 2014)
8. The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob (July 2014)

9. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (July 2014)
What 2014 release are on your list? Happy Reading!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bout of Books: Days 6-7, and Final Wrap up!

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 12 is complete! What a great week! Over the weekend I finished Losing Hope, and got a third of the way through Station Eleven. I also participated in the twitter chat on Saturday, which was fun! Here are my final stats for the week:

Books Completed:

Books Started:

Total Pages Read: 1,041 (A new Bout of Books record for me!)
My goals for Bout of Books were simple: To connect with other readers/bloggers, to read as much as I could, and to have fun. I definitely accomplished all of these AND even managed to beat my new page record!
I hope my fellow Bout of Books participants had just as much fun as I did! I can't wait until Bout of Books 13, which is May 11-17,2015!
Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bout of Books: Day 5 Update

Bout of Books

Welcome to the weekend, fellow Bout of Books participants! I didn't get as much reading done on Day 5, since Friday night is my husband and I's date night But I did manage to read quite a bit during the day! Here are the stats for Day 5:

Day 5: Friday, January 9:
Pages Read Today: 103
Total Pages Read This Week:807
Books Read from: Losing Hope
Books Completed Today: 0
Books Completed This Week: 2
Enjoy your Saturday reading day, friends!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Review: No Sunshine When She's Gone

Title: No Sunshine When She's Gone
Author: Kate Angell
288 pages, published April 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source : Library

From Good Reads:

Though his family owns the charming beachside town of Barefoot William, Aidan Cates is as down-to-earth as the locals. He's also practical to a fault and doesn't believe some psychic on the boardwalk can predict his future.

Jillie Mac is as free as an ocean breeze, so when the hot stranger and his date mistake her for a fortune teller, she's ready to have some fun. But one devastating secret told, one mistaken identity revealed, and numerous long summer nights later, it's Jillie and Aidan who discover that sometimes love comes with a simple twist of fate.

My Review:

I picked up this book at the library because I loved the cover. It's January, and it's freezing cold, and the cover desperately made me wish I was on a warm and sunny beach! So I figured this would be a good winter read. It was a quick read, and after finishing it, I just felt...meh.  The story was interesting enough, the characters likeable enough, and I was mildly entertained, but not enough for me to get excited about the book. It's predictable, which sometimes works for me but in this case was a bit too predictable.

If you're looking for an easy, relaxing, don't need to think to hard beach read, this is it.  However, I've read others of this genre that I've liked better.

I finished reading this book for Bout of Books 12, and the Friday challenge today is hosted by The Book Monsters and is to describe your book in pictures. Since the one thing I did love about the book was the setting, I find this challenge easy to complete wit this book! Here's this book in pictures (image sources: google). Themes included: beach time, living on a houseboat, baseball, and romance.

Overall rating for No Sunshine When She's Gone: C+

Happy Reading!