Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Beginnings Friday: Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully


Book Beginnings Fridays is a weekly event hosted by fellow Oregon blogger Gilion at Rose City Reader.  The purpose is to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

Today I'm starting Darkly, Deeply Beautiuflly, the fifth and final book in the Ceruleans series by Megan Tayte! I LOVE this series! Look for my Release Day Party post for this book on February 16, and my review on February 18! Here are the first couple lines:

"I began the day in my usual way: telling my sister that no, she was not permitted to kill our mother. My sister began the day in her usual way: turning a threat to murder into a blazing row."


28468307DARKNESS HAS FALLEN, AND SHE ALONE WILL SEE THE LIGHT.

The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?

With her mother’s life hanging in the balance, Scarlett is devastated – and done with being in the dark. She wants answers, all of them.

But when was her pursuit of the truth ever straightforward?

Pulling a single thread impels a great unravelling. And each revelation will force Scarlett to rethink what she thought she knew about the Ceruleans, the Fallen, her family – herself.

All that came before was a mere prelude to this, the last journey. From London to Twycombe to Hollythwaite to Cerulea, Scarlett will be stalked by the ghosts of what has been, what may have been and what may come to pass. Until she reaches the place where it all began, and it all must end.

But in the final reckoning, none will survive unscathed. And some will not survive at all.

In this explosive conclusion to The Ceruleans series, all must be defined by their actions: sinner, saint… or something more beautiful entirely?


Happy Friday! What books are you beginning this weekend?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Review: The Things We Keep

25663807Title: The Things We Keep
Author: Sally Hepworth
352 pages, published January 19, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Note: I received this book fromNetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there's just one other resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna's and Luke's families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them.


My Review:

I was nervous when I first requested this book. My father passed away from early onset dementia almost three years ago, at age 65.  I am all too familiar with the reality presented in this book.  But I wanted to read it--I am a firm believer in awareness, spreading knowledge, and understanding. My hope was to spread awareness by reading and reviewing this book.

With that being said, this book was fantastic.  The author clearly either did her research well or unfortunately knows the struggle first hand, because this book was SO accurate. I loved how the two main character's stories (Anna and Eve's) wove together. It was beautiful. While this book is sad, emotional, and heartbreaking at times (have tissues and don't read in public!), it sends a clear message that even in the worst of times, there are still reasons to smile, even if they are hard to find and few and far between. Fortunately, this is true in life as well.  I've read many reviews that say this book is "uplifting" in the end. Don't let that fool you. This book is anything but uplifting. There is no happy ending with Alzheimer's. But this book does teach us that love is always present, even in the worst situations. I highly recommend this book!

Overall rating for "The Things We Keep": 4.5 stars

Happy Reading

Monday, January 25, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?



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This is a weekly meme now hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date. You should join in, too!


 Here's what I'm reading this week:

Just Finished:

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Currently Reading:

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Up Next:

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What are you reading this week? Happy Reading!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: The Restaurant Critic's Wife

Title: The Restaurant Critic's Wife
25828495Author: Elizabeth LaBan
306 pages, published January 5, 2016
Genre: Women's Fiction

Note: I received this book fromNetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:
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.
My Review:
When I first heard of this book, I knew I had to read it, but once I started it, it turned out to be completely different than I expected. I even almost quit reading it. But I kept going, and I'm glad I did! At first I had trouble connecting with Lila. I felt like the whole fir part of the book was  so focused on Why It's Hard To Be A Mother of Two. While I completely agree (though I can't relate) with her struggle, it just wasn't what I was expecting from the book and it threw me off. 
I was SO frustrated with Sam as a character throughout the majority of this book. I can understand why a restaurant critic would want to conceal his identity, but his efforts were so extreme.  This is the area where I started to connect with Lila later in the book. She fought to keep her own identity and I liked the second half of the book much more than the first. 
While not what I expected, this book was still definitely worth the read!
Overall rating for "The Restaurant Critic's Wife": 3.5 stars
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top Ten Books Recently Added to My TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This Week's Topic: 
 
Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR

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Here's to Us


What books have you recently added to your TBR? Happy Reading!


Monday, January 18, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?




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This is a weekly meme now hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date. You should join in, too!

The one bonus of the winter blues is that I get a lot of reading done! Here's what I'm reading:

Just Finished:

The Restaurant Critic's Wife


Currently Reading:

25663807

Up Next (still deciding--got ARC's of both of these!!):

28468307

17302879

What are you reading this week?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Beginnings: The Restaurant Critic's Wife


Book Beginnings Fridays is a weekly event hosted by fellow Oregon blogger Gilion at Rose City Reader.  The purpose is to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

This week, I started The Restaurant Critic's Wifethanks to NetGalley. Here's the first couple lines:

"I am standing in a dark alley behind a restaurant. One hand rests on my pregnant belly and the other sheilds my nose from the smell of rotting food. I watch as my husband disappears into a Dumpster...."



25828495Lila 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.

Happy Friday! What are you reading this weekend?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: Letters to the Lost

Title: Letters to the Lost
23014759Author: Iona Grey
384 pages, published May 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction, WW2
Source: Library

From Goodreads:

Late on a frozen February evening, a young woman is running through the streets of London. Having fled from her abusive boyfriend and with nowhere to go, Jess stumbles onto a forgotten lane where a small, clearly unlived in old house offers her best chance of shelter for the night. The next morning, a mysterious letter arrives and when she can’t help but open it, she finds herself drawn inexorably into the story of two lovers from another time.

In London 1942, Stella meets Dan, a US airman, quite by accident, but there is no denying the impossible, unstoppable love that draws them together. Dan is a B-17 pilot flying his bomber into Europe from a British airbase; his odds of survival at one in five. The odds are stacked against the pair; the one thing they hold onto is the letters they write to each other. Fate is unkind and they are separated by decades and continents. In the present, Jess becomes determined to find out what happened to them. Her hope—inspired by a love so powerful it spans a lifetime—will lead her to find a startling redemption in her own life.


My Review:

What a fantastic book!! It did take me a little while to get into it, but when I did I was sucked in and could barely put it down.  The letters were beautiful.  I loved Stella and Dan. I loved how he ended every letter with, "Take care of yourself for me". The letters warmed my heart!

What was hard for me to get into at first was the present day portion of the story--I couldn't get into Jess's story and wasn't seeing how her portion of the story was even necessary or tied into the whole story. About halfway through, that started to change, and by the end,  it all made perfect sense. If this one is a slow start for you like it was for me, I urge you to keep reading because it WILL be worth it!

If you love historical fiction, especially World War 2 historical fiction, this book is a must read.  It's beautiful, emotional, heartbreaking at times, and powerful.  You won't regret reading this book!

Overall rating for "Letters to the Lost": 5 stars

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Top Ten 2015 Releases I Didn't Get To Yet


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This Week's Topic: 
 
Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't



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Which ones of these should I make sure I read this year?

Happy Reading!


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bout of Books 15 Wrap Up

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 15 is complete! What a great week of reading it was! Bout of Books is my favorite readathon and this one did not disappoint! Here's my wrap up of how I met my goals, final totals, etc:

Goals

1. Read as much as possible (but not stress out about it). DONE!

2.Participate in Twitter Chats/challenges/other events to connect with other bloggers/readers. DONE! I participated in several daily challenges, and the Saturday morning Twitter Chat!

3. Finish at least one book Done! I finished three!

4. As in the last Bout of Books...I'm not caring about a page goal....all I care about is to HAVE FUN! DONE!


Here are my total stats:


Total Pages Read: 1026!!!

Books finished: 3
23014759

25317360

18304322

How did  your Bout of Books go? I hope you had as much fun as I did!

Can't wait for Bout of Books 16!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Bout of Books 15: Goals, TBR, Updates!

Bout of Books

Last week I signed up for Bout of Books 15 (read my sign up post here!)  I'm so excited that it starts on Monday. Since I didn't post goals or a TBR list or anything on my sign up post, I'm posting them today! Here they are!

Goals

1. Read as much as possible (but not stress out about it). Read on lunch break, evenings, etc. I have no plans the weekend of the 9th-10th, so there will be lots of time for reading!

2.Participate in Twitter Chats/challenges/other events to connect with other bloggers/readers

3. Finish at least one book

4. As in the last Bout of Books...I'm not caring about a page goal....all I care about is to HAVE FUN!

TBR List
Here's what I'll be reading next week!

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25317360

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Daily Progress

Monday 1/4:

Reading time today: 140 pages!

Books read from today:  Letters to the Lost


Number of books completed so far:  0

Tuesday 1/5:

Reading time today: 66 pages in  Letters to the Lost, 44 pages in My Kind of Wonderful

Total pages this week: 250

Books read from today:  Letters to the Lost and My Kind of Wonderful

Number of books completed today: 1, Letters to the Lost

Number of books completed so far: 1

Wednesday 1/6:

Reading time today:  95 pages

Total pages this week:  345

Books read from today:  My Kind of Wonderful 

Number of books completed so far: 1

Thursday 1/7:

Reading time today:  223 pages!

Total pages this week: 568

Books read from today: My Kind of Wonderful 


Number of books completed today:  1 My Kind of Wonderful 

Books completed so far: 2 Letters to the Lost and My Kind of Wonderful

Friday 1/8:

Reading time today: 30

Total pages this week: 598

Books read from today: Dumplin

Number of books completed so far: 2

Saturday 1/9:

Reading time today: 258 pages 

Total pages this week: 856

Books read from today:  Dumplin

Number of books completed today: 0

Books completed so far: 2

Sunday 1/10:

Reading time today:  117 in Dumplin, 53 in Put A Ring On it


Number of books completed so far: 3, finished Dumplin today

Grand Total:

Pages Read 1026!

Books Completed: 3

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bout of Books Challenge: Rainbows

Bout of Books

Today's challenge for Bout of Books is hosted by Rebecca @ Ranty Runt of a Reader! The challenge theme is Rainbow! You can select either the cover challenge or the author challenge--I'm picking the author challenge. Here's my "rainbow" of authors I've read:

R: Rowell, Rainbow

O: O'Neal, Barbara

Y: Yoon, Nicola

G: Giffin, Emily

B: Brennert, Alan

I: Ibsen, Henrik

V: Valpy, Fiona

Happy Reading, Bout of Books  friends!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bout of Books Challenge: Would You Rather

Bout of Books

Hello second day of Bout of Books! I had a great day yesterday and look forward to more reading today! Today's challenge is hosted by Lori over at Writing My Own Fairy Tale.  The challenge is simple: answer these Bookish Would You Rather questions! 

Would you rather:
Lend books to someone who dog-ears pages or to someone who reads with cheesy Cheetos fingers?

Ugh! That's why I only lend my books to people I REALLY trust. I guess I'll go with...dog eared pages.

Would you rather:
Be able to meet one character of your choice or meet one author of your choice?

That's a tough one...but I'm gonna go with Author :)

Would you rather:
Never be allowed in a book store again or never be allowed in a library again?

I would rather still be allowed in the library! They would get all the new books anyway, and it's free. Haha.

Would you rather:
Have to choose one of your favorite characters to die in their book or have to pick one of your favorite couples to break up in their book?

Depends on the book! But probably break up. Death is way too harsh.
Would you rather:
Be required to read Twilight once a year for the rest of your life or The Scarlet Letter once a year for the rest of your life?

Twilight, hands down. 

And that's the challenge! Happy Reading, fellow Bout of Books participants!