Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday Musings 10/30

Saturday walk with the pups!
 
My Week:  It was a pretty normal week last week, which was a good thing! The majority of my weekend was spent doing yard work--we had barkdust delivered on Friday and spent the weekend spreading it and getting the yard work done. We finished everything we've wanted to get done since we moved in, so that was great!
 
Reading: My week was so busy I didn't get much reading done! Almost done with Lilac Lane-will probably finish it today! Not sure what's up next but I'll decide that later tonight! Such a mood reader!
 
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Watching: The World Series! I'm not a baseball fan but my goodness this series has been fun to watch!!
 
Workouts: Had a good run at the gym on Monday, an awesome Strong by Zumba  class on Wednesday, and a great PiYo class on Thursday! Plus our Saturday walk and all the yard work made for a great week on the exercise front! Has anyone else tried Strong by Zumba? What do you think? I love it!
 
Cooking: Yesterday I made lasagna, and it was delicious! Also made a pot of Whole 30 Zuppa Toscana soup! I'm not doing the Whole 30 (I would, but, WINE) but I have issues with dairy, specifically milk/cream, so this soup is perfect! The coconut milk is delicious in it. My husband isn't a fan, so I made a pot of it just for me to eat for lunches this week! Yum!
 
Looking forward to: Is it bad that it's Monday and I already am looking forward to Friday? I'm not super big on Halloween, but I am definitely entertained by all the kiddos that come into my work. We won't be doing anything tomorrow night though. I'm excited November is coming because Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE! :)
 
Hope you have a great week! Thanks for reading! Linking this post to Hello Monday by Heather from My Glittery Heart!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: Without Merit

Title: Without Merit
33280872Author: Colleen Hoover
384 pages, published October 3, 2017
Source: Purchased for myself

From Goodreads:

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.



Colleen Hoover is always a pre-order without thinking, read the book no matter what type of author for me. I've loved all of her books.  Until...this one. I didn't love or really connect with it at all. What I did love though, was CoHo's writing and writing style that still shone through despite not loving the story. It did keep me reading, which was good.
 
I didn't connect with the story because there was SO MUCH going on and so many issues that CoHo tackled here: mental illness, LGTBQ, broken families, abuse, suicide, the Syrian Refugee crisis, romance, family secrets.  While I do appreciate that CoHo shows the reality of these issues, she just didn't hit the mark on this one for me.  I think she was better off focusing on one major issue in It Ends With Us instead of the multitude of issues dealt with here. Because she was spread so thin I feel like she didn't handle any of the issues well, even her trademark romance.
 
This is not me complaining that this book was not a classic CoHo romance. In fact, I praised her in my review of It Ends With Us for handling complex, adult issues. After reading the synopsis, a friend commented that the book sounds a lot like The Glass Castle, which I also didn't like, so perhaps there's a connection there, as I know I have the unpopular opinion of both books.
 
Did I like this book? No. Will I still read the next CoHo release? You'd better believe it!
 
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

TLC Book Tours: Hanna Who Fell from the Sky (Plus a Giveaway!!)

About Hanna Who Fell from the Sky
33656823Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Park Row Books (September 26, 2017)
From highly acclaimed, award-winning author Christopher Meades comes a magical, provocative tale of forbidden love and one girl’s struggle for liberation 
Hanna has never been outside her secluded community of Clearhaven. She has never questioned why her father has four wives or why she has fourteen brothers and sisters. And in only one week, on her eighteenth birthday, Hanna will follow tradition and become the fifth wife of a man more than twice her age.
But just days before the wedding, Hanna meets Daniel, an enigmatic stranger who challenges her to question her fate and to follow her own will. Then her mother tells her a secret—one that could grant Hanna the freedom she’s known only in her dreams. As her world unravels around her, Hanna must decide whether she was really meant for something greater than the claustrophobic world of Clearhaven. But can she abandon her beloved younger sister and the only home she’s ever known? Or is there another option—one too fantastical to believe?
With lush, evocative prose, Christopher Meades takes readers on an emotional journey into a fascinating, unknown world—and, along the way, brilliantly illuminates complexities of faith, identity and how our origins shape who we are.


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 What a fantastic read!! The book drew me in from the beginning and kept me turning the pages.  I absolutely LOVED Hanna as a character.  Strong, independent, courageous and smart. I connected with her from the beginning and rooted for her through to the end.  The life laid out for Hanna and other women of Clearhaven broke my heart and I admired Hanna for realizing there must be something more beyond their world.

The book was beautifully written, and addressed so many important issues  all while adding an element of fantasy into the novel.  If you enjoy a book that makes you think long after you finish it, this is a great book for you!

About Christopher Meades

Christopher Meades is the author of three previous novels, including THE LAST HICCUP, which won the 2013 Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. In addition, Meades’s work has appeared in several literary journals including The Potomac Review and The Fiddlehead. He lives in British Columbia, Canada, with his family.

Connect with Christopher

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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TLC Book Tours
View the full book tour here.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday Musings 10/23/2017

Sunday walk with the boys!

 
My week: It was a busy but pretty normal week for me. We had our third program in four weeks at work so things were a bit crazy there and it made the week feel even longer, so I was pretty happy to make it to the weekend!

Reading: I finished Without Merit, and I hate to say it...I didn't love it. I still love CoHo and will continue to read her books but this one just didn't do it for me. Full review on the blog later this week. This weekend was also Dewey's readathon! I finished Before I Go to Sleep so the weekend reading was huge success. Today I'm starting Lilac Lane for my TLC Book Tour review coming up on November 6th. Isn't that cover gorgeous?

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Watching: The Good Doctor. Anyone else been watching it? Despite the gory parts (where I look at my book instead, haha) I really love the show.

Drinking: We opened this gorgeous bottle of Pinot Noir from Left Coast Cellars this weekend!  We are wine club members and this bottle was in our Spring 2017 allocation. The top was wax sealed and it was a wine club exclusive, so we knew we had to save it for something special! We opened it with our best friends who got married this summer and celebrated their marriage and our new home over dinner! What a fun evening!

 
 
Workouts: Went to something really fun last Monday--Yoga and Wine! A group of yoga instructors here in the Willamette Valley in Oregon organized events called Yoga and Beer, and they have expanded to Yoga and Wine and Yoga and Cider. Why? Because sometimes you need yoga, and sometimes you need a beer/wine/cider, and sometimes you need both! This event was at Eola Hills Wine Cellars, another winery I love (I'm SO lucky to have these amazing vineyards minutes away from my home!). We all had glasses of wine next to our mats, and sipped our way through a lovely flow class!  They're doing another class November 6, and I can't wait!
 
 
Looking forward to: some sunny weather! As an Oregonian I do love the rain, but it's been extrai rainy the last few days. This week it's supposed to be mid-60's and partly sunny! A good excuse to get outside and walk with the pups!
 
Hope you have a great week! Thanks for reading!Linking this post to Hello Monday by Heather from My Glittery Heart!
 


Friday, October 20, 2017

Dewey's Readathon

Dewey's 24 hour readathon is tomorrow! I've participated in a few of these and I'm excited to participate again! This week, including Saturday, is supposed to bring a "river" of rain to the Pacific Northwest, so it's the perfect excuse to stay inside and read!
 
I've been pulled in so many different directions lately I haven't had as much time to read. Usually I read during my lunch break at work but now that we have Elway I have to go home at lunch to let him out (he's still a puppy so he can't hold his bladder long!). So that takes up my reading time, unfortunately! So I'm looking forward to this rainy Saturday to relax and catch up on some reading.
 
The Books
 
Here's the plan, for now...:) I'm such a mood reader. I change my mind a lot!
 
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Before I Go to Sleep: Breanne's book club (one of my besties who lives in Seattle) is reading this one this month. I haven't read it and it sounded interesting, so I'm reading it this month too!
 
Lilac Lane: I'm reviewing this one for TLC Book Tours on November 6th!
 
Like any readathon, my main goal is to have fun! I'll be updating any progress on Twitter or Instagram! I look forward to connecting with other readers! There's still time to sign up--join the fun with me!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ARC Review: Now That You Mention It

32821860Title: Now That You Mention It
Author: Kristan Higgins
Expected Publication Date: January 1, 2018

Note: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There's only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn't necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who's always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter--a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was--Nora has her work cut out for her if she's going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise...and the chance to begin again.


Normally I read my ARC's closer to publication date but I'd heard so many great things already about this book that I couldn't resist reading it early! I've been absolutely loving Kristan Higgins' books lately and this one was absolutely fantastic.  I loved Nora and how real her feelings and experiences were--it was one of those books where when it ended, I genuinely missed her and wanted to know what was going on in her life--it felt that real. I had a book hangover for days. 
 
I live in a  small town, so in some ways the small town drama of Scupper Island was relatable to me--as the book went on I really fell in love with the island. In addition to Nora there were several other characters that I absolutely loved--her niece Poe being one of them--and rooted for them throughout the book.  This book was emotional yet funny and entertaining--definitely one of the author's best to date. I highly recommend getting your hands on this book as fast as you can--it is definitely one of my top reads of the year!
 
Happy Reading!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

W...W...W...Wednesday

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W… W… W… Wednesday, hosted by Taking on a World of Worlds is a weekly meme showcasing what you just finished reading, what you are currently reading, and what you plan to start reading next.

I'm not sure what I'm reading next...so I'm going to add what I recently added to my TBR instead!

What I Recently Finished Reading
 
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I LOVED this book!! My favorite of 2017 so far!! Pre-order it NOW! Review on my blog soon!
 
What I am Currently Reading
 
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Always excited for a new CoHo book!!! I've heard great things so I'm excited to read it!

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Listening to this one on audiobook from the library! Hillary narrates it!
 
What I Just Added to My TBR
 
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My friend Breanne is reading this one now and enjoying it so far! I want to read it too!
 
What are you reading this week? Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Top Ten Books with Fall/Autumn Covers

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

This Week's Topic:
 
Ten Books With Fall/Autumn Covers/Themes (If the cover screams fall to you, or the books give off a feeling of being Fallish)
 
I am a cover snob so I'm super excited for this one! Clearly, I equate fall to the color orange.
 
 
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2721322710714906
2511100419291271
9223699827412
294920733473
 
Happy Reading!
 
 
 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

TLC Book Tours: Lilac Lane (EXCERPT)

About Lilac Lane
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (October 17, 2017)
No one writes about friends, family and home better than Sherryl Woods. Told with warmth and humor, Lilac Lane is a brand-new story in her beloved Chesapeake Shores series, one readers all over the world have waited two years to read!
At the heart of Lilac Lane is Keira Malone, who raised her three children alone after her first marriage broke apart, and who, after years of guarding her heart, finally finds love again. But that love is short-lived when her fiancé suffers a fatal heart attack. Grieving and unsure of what’s next, Keira agrees to move from Dublin to Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, to spend time with her daughter, Moira, and her new granddaughter, Kate, as well as to help her son-in-law, Luke, with his Irish pub, O’Briens.
Not wanting to live underfoot, she rents a charming cottage on Lilac Lane, replete with views of the ocean and her neighbor’s thriving garden—not to mention views of the neighbor himself. The neighbor is none other than Bryan Laramie, the brusque and moody chef at the pub, with whom Keira is constantly butting heads. But things get real when Bryan’s long-lost daughter, whom he hasn’t seen since she was a baby, shows up out of the blue. As Bryan and Keira each delve into their pasts, reopening wounds, the rest of the town is gearing up for the Fall Festival Irish Stew cook-off, and making no bones about whose side they’re on. It’s Kitchen Wars meets This is Your Life—a recipe for disaster…or a new take on love?
You won’t want to miss this epic return to Chesapeake Shores, a place we’re betting you’ll want to stay forever.
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Excerpt



It was well past six when Kiera and Moira left the spa and headed straight for O’Brien’s for something to eat. Kiera had a hunch Moira was more excited about showing off her mother’s makeover than she was about her own.
Kiera still wasn’t used to the image she saw when she looked into the mirror. She looked ten years younger. That’s what the hairstylist had told her about the shorter cut, and Moira had agreed. Kiera wasn’t sure about ten years, but she did feel lighter and more feminine somehow. And not all of the color in her cheeks was due to the blush they’d applied at the salon. She felt surprisingly good about her new look, though oddly uneasy about showing it off at the pub.
When her daughter held open the door for her at O’Brien’s, Kiera hesitated ever so slightly.
“Mum, what are you afraid of? You look amazing.”
“I don’t feel like myself at all. At my age, there’s no need for this sort of nonsense.”
“At your age?” Moira mocked. “You’re far from over the hill. Pretty polish on your nails, skin that glows and a hair­cut that frames your face is not unnecessary nonsense. Every woman deserves to feel beautiful, whatever her age. As soon as we’re inside, I’m going to get my camera out of Luke’s of­fice and take some pictures, so you can see yourself as I do.”
“The last thing I want is a fuss. I don’t want to be the cen­ter of attention,” Kiera said nervously.
Moira sighed. “Will you please just come inside and gra­ciously accept all of the compliments that I know are going to come your way?” “Is that supposed to make me less nervous?” Kiera grum­bled, but she did walk into the pub, relieved to see that it was busy enough that she might not even be noticed. Of course, that didn’t take into account that Mick and Megan were seated at the bar, as they often were, along with Luke’s parents, Jeff and Jo O’Brien.
It was Megan who caught sight of her first.
“Oh my, look at you,” she said, coming over to clasp Ki­era’s icy hands. “You look fabulous, Kiera.” She turned to the rest of the family. “Doesn’t she?”
“I would hardly have recognized you,” Mick said. “I like the new hairstyle. It becomes you.”
Jo beamed. “I need someone to take me in hand, as Moira did for you. I haven’t had a makeover in years and I am in sad need of one. Being on the athletic field at the high school all day long wreaks havoc with my skin and my hair. Kiera, you’re putting all of the O’Brien women to shame with this new look of yours.” She grinned at Megan. “Well, perhaps not her. Megan has always been stylish from head to toe.”
“It’s those trips to Paris I insist Mick take me on,” Megan replied. “I sit in cafés and observe what the French women are wearing, then adapt it for Chesapeake Shores. I think I’ve learned to knot scarves in at least twenty different ways.”
“And I always thought there was only one way,” Jo said ruefully.
Kiera was happy to have their attention diverted from her for the moment and fascinated by the teasing between the sisters-in-law. It continued to astonish her how well the O’Briens meshed as a family, despite differences in styles, opinions and personalities.
Luke beckoned Kiera over to the bar. “I need a closer look at this transformation,” he said. “Is this the same woman I saw polishing my bar just last night?”
“Okay, okay,” Kiera said, laughing at last. “I’m flattered by all the attention, but I wouldn’t mind a pint of ale right about now. Is the service in here falling apart without me on the job?”
“Happy to oblige,” Luke said at once. “And what about some dinner? You and Moira must be starved after your long day. The special tonight is shepherd’s pie.”
One of my favorites, Kiera thought to herself. She couldn’t help wondering if Bryan had the knack for it, since it hadn’t been on the menu since her arrival.
“You stay right here,” she told Luke. “I’ll get plates for myself and Moira.”
Before he could stop her, she walked around the bar and en­tered the kitchen. “Two shepherd pie dinners,” she called out.
Bryan’s head swiveled so quickly in her direction, she was surprised it didn’t make him dizzy. Then his mouth gaped in a most startling and complimentary way.
“Kiera?” he said, his voice oddly choked.
“Yes. Who else would be barging into the kitchen like this?”
His gaze narrowed. “You look different.”
“After the money Moira spent today, I would hope so,” she said tartly, then gave him a hesitant look. “Is it a good difference?”
His lips curved slightly at the apparent hint of insecurity in her voice. “You look softer, more approachable,” he said, though he sounded as if that was more troublesome than it should have been.
“Ten years younger, that’s what the stylist claimed,” she said. “Of course, she wanted to be sure of a tip.”
“I don’t know about that,” Bryan said. “You looked fine before.” He seemed to be fumbling for words. “But don’t all women want to look younger?”
Kiera studied him curiously. There was something oddly charming about his obvious nervousness. Usually he was brusque to the point of rudeness. If there was something about her look tonight, there was also something very differ­ent in Bryan’s reaction to her. She wished she could put her finger on it, but perhaps it was better that she couldn’t put a name to it. That might shift the nervousness straight to her.
 

About Sherryl Woods

With her roots firmly planted in the South, Sherryl Woods has written many of her more than 100 books in that distinctive setting, whether in her home state of Virginia, her adopted state, Florida, or her much-adored South Carolina. Sherryl is best known for her ability to creating endearing small town communities and families. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 75 romances for Silhouette Desire and Special Edition.

Connect with Sherryl

Website |Facebook | Twitter

TLC Book Tours
To follow the full tour, click here. Look for my review on the review tour November 6th!