Wednesday, February 27, 2019

TLC Book Tours: California Girls Review

About California Girls
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (February 26, 2019)
The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…
Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.
Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.
Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.
But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Susan Mallery is one of my go to authors for a feel good story! This book was no exception! Not just a romance, this book was aslo about family. I loved the relationship between the sisters and how they supported each other through their breakups. Though I liked all their stories, I liked Ali the most. I really liked how she transformed herself throughout the book, and Daniel was a great character as well. The only character I didn't like was the mom--she was crazy. She was obsessed with the sisters giving her grandchildren. As a child free (by choice) woman, this really irked me.  She was totally over the top.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! If you're a Susan Mallery fan, this one is not to miss! That lovely cover and setting of the story were delightful in this dreary winter weather!


About Susan Mallery
#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives-family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

Connect with Susan

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TLC Book Tours

Monday, February 25, 2019

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday What Are You Reading

It’s Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly reading roundup is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

I haven't done the Monday post in awhile because things have been crazy! But today we had a snow day here in Oregon (yay!) so it's given me a chance to catch up on blogging and reading! I also have a review post for TLC Book tours of California Girls, the newest from Susan Mallery, set to go on Wednesday, so I won't post my usual WWW post.

I'm in the middle of several books at the moment! So many books so little time. The one I'm engrossed in the most at the moment is On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. I loved The Hate U Give and immediately requested her second novel from the library! Speeding through it both because it's excellent, and there's  long hold list! Also reading Beautiful Bad--reviewing it here on the blog next Monday!!

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I'll leave you with a pic of my pups enjoying the snow! We don't get a lot of snow in our part of Oregon so when we do they get really excited! Happy Reading!


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

WWW Wednesday February 20

IMG_1384-0
 
 
The Three W's are:
 
What did you just finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you'll read next?
 
Recently Finished
 
32854324
I absolutely LOVED this book. See my review here!
 
 
Currently Reading
 
29864343
 
Almost finished with this one, and really enjoying it! Look for my review next Wednesday on the blog with TLC Book Tours! I'm also working my way through Rich People Problems, but have getting through it slowly due to reading books with reviews that needed to be done!
 
 
Up Next
 
 
Look for my review on this one March 4th!
 
 
What are you reading this week?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

TLC Book Tours: Beautiful Bad (excerpt)

About Beautiful Bad
Hardcover: 368 Pages
Publisher: Park Row; Original edition (March 5, 2019)
A devoted wife, a loving husband and a chilling murder that no one saw coming.
Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry… That something is really, really wrong with me.
Maddie and Ian’s love story began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.
From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 
Excerpt
A mostly white, working-class town, Meadowlark had its fair share of old farm families scattered about the outlying areas. There was one nice place, a beer garden and brewery called The Crooked Crow, which had just enough rural charm to draw people out from the city on sunny weekends. Other than that, there were just two sit-down restaurants. The Wagon Wheel and Gambinos. Last ditch, there was a Subway inside the Walmart.
The words Sweet Water Creek were etched into a plaque on a decorative stone wall at the intersection. Officer Varga turned into the neighborhood. It was relatively new, ground broken just six years earlier, with only half the plots sold and a number of uninhabited homes. Moderately priced wooden constructs, they were nevertheless sizable and blandly pleasant, nestled between a couple of small, unimpressive country ponds and some magnificent old elms.
Diane rounded the corner and noticed a red Radio Flyer tricycle overturned on the sidewalk. The silver handlebars gleamed in the cheerful glow from the porch lantern two doors down from her destination.
The house at 2240 Lincoln was one of the larger in the neighborhood, sprawling across a gradually sloping lawn with tasteful landscaping and a terra-cotta stone fountain jutting up from behind a cluster of poorly tended rosebushes. Diane got the feeling that here in Sweet Water Creek, everything was all right. Better than her life, for sure. Her intuition, as she stepped from her car and faced the house, did not say to her, “crime scene.”
“Dispatch, I’m on location,” she said into the radio mic attached to her uniform chest pocket. Diane walked at a fast clip up the sidewalk toward the front door, framed by two slender evergreen trees on either side. She knocked loudly three times.
“Police!” she called out, but there was no answer. From somewhere close by came the clipped repetition of an upset dog yipping nonstop. She felt her pulse quicken. This can’t be too bad, she thought. It’s Meadowlark. And yet, something was telling her to hurry. She punched her finger on the doorbell, ringing it in frantic succession. The hollow bong of the bell echoed inside. No footsteps on the stairs. Nothing.
 The door itself was wooden, framed on either side by decorative windows. Diane peeked inside, trying to focus through the textured glass. The first thing she saw was a pair of tall military-style combat boots sitting just inside the entry. They seemed somehow at odds with the modern home and its vast, shiny floor of polished blond wood. It appeared to be one great room; open plan, like a city loft. Right by the front door was a curved staircase winding up to the second floor. An electronic device, possibly a home phone, lay in smashed plastic pieces on the floor next to the bottom step. Diane moved slightly to get a better angle. Now she could see more of the interior.
She caught her breath.
The beautiful blond wood was stained. There was a red mess in the middle of the room. Her heart commenced hammering in her chest. It was not going to be nothing, as she had hoped. And Nick had mentioned a child.
“Dispatch, I’m looking through a window at what appears to be a lot of fresh blood,” she said into her mic, more loudly than intended. “Possible fatality here. I need backup and EMS.” With a barely discernible edge of panic, she fumbled to unholster her semiautomatic Glock pistol and raised it to a tentative ready position.
She rang the bell once more. “Police!” she yelled again, this time in a wilder, louder voice. She tried the door and gave it a hard shove with her shoulder. It was locked and solid.
Diane raced toward the shadowy south side of the home, looking for another entrance. As she ran, she heard Nick sending out another emergency tone over the radio requesting all units for backup. She slipped in a patch of mud rounding the corner and caught herself with her free hand. She could now tell that the dog barking frantically was in the backyard.
At the end of a row of bushes was a wrought-iron fence with a gate. Broken and tied shut with a bungee cord. Diane became frantic in her attempt to wrestle the rusty thing open.
“Come on!” she whispered, frustration mounting. Finally it gave, the hinges making a horrible scraping noise like claws dragging down a chalkboard. As she began crossing the backyard, two other officers responded in succession that they were on their way. Diane said, “Shipps? ETA?”
His voice came over her mic. “Five minutes.”
“Roger.”
Diane stepped on something that let out a loud squeak. “Shit,” she whispered and looked down to see a duck-shaped dog toy under her boot. As she progressed farther and her eyes adjusted to the dark, she saw several partially eaten, old yellow tennis balls strewn about in the overgrown grass and weeds. At the edge of the patio was a giant green plastic sandbox in the shape of a turtle. Next to it was a toddler’s water table, just the right size for a small child to stand and splash and use all the colorful cups to make the water wheel spin. She thought of the red tricycle near the neighbor’s yard and pictured a child’s chubby churning legs. A little three-wheeler hurtling down the sidewalk and then kicked aside without a backward glance, forgotten in pursuit of some new adventure.
So Nick had been right. Diane was now sure that her first priority at the scene was to save a child.

About Annie Ward

Annie Ward has a BA in English literature from UCLA and an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starred Adam Scott and won awards at the Aspen and Sundance Film Festivals. She lives in Kansas with her two sons and British husband, whom she met in the Balkans. She was recently awarded a Fulbright scholarship and An Escape to Create artist’s residency.

Connect with Annie

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 
Follow the full tour! Look for my review on March 4th!
 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Book Review: Daughter of Moloka'i

32854324Daughter of Moloka'i
Series: Moloka'i
Author: Alan Brennert
Published February 19, 2019
St. Martin's Press

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

From Goodreads:

DAUGHTER OF MOLOKA′I is the highly anticipated sequel to Alan Brennert’s acclaimed book club favorite, and national bestseller, MOLOKA′I. It’s a companion tale that tells the story of Ruth, the daughter that Rachel Kalama—quarantined for most of her life at the isolated leprosy settlement of Kalaupapa—was forced to give up at birth.The book follows young Ruth from her arrival at the Kapi'olani Home for Girls in Honolulu, to her adoption by a Japanese couple who raise her on a farm in California, her marriage and unjust internment at Manzanar Relocation Camp during World War II—and then, after the war, to the life-altering day when she receives a letter from a woman who says she is Ruth’s birth mother, Rachel.

DAUGHTER OF MOLOKA′I expands upon Ruth and Rachel’s 22-year relationship, only hinted at in MOLOKA′I. It’s a richly emotional tale of two women—different in some ways, similar in others—who never expected to meet, much less come to love, one another. And for Ruth it is a story of discovery, the unfolding of a past she knew nothing about. In prose that conjures up the beauty and history of both Hawaiian and Japanese cultures, it’s the powerful and poignant tale that readers of MOLOKA′I have been awaiting for fifteen years.


If you've followed my blog or any bookish social media postings I've made regarding my all time favorite books, Moloka'i is at the top of my list. I reviewed it here on the blog in April 2014. It gives some good background to the first book and why I loved it so much, but I HIGHLY recommend you read the first book before reading this one. For one, Moloka'i is fantastic, and for two, this book will mean so much more if you've read the first one. Go to the bookstore right now and buy both of them! You will thank me!!
 
I'll admit I was worried when I first heard about this one. Sometimes sequels aren't nearly as good, and fans of Moloka'i have been waiting YEARS for this one. I'm happy to report--this one was absolutely worth the wait and JUST AS GOOD as Moloka'i!  I can't believe I doubted Brennert here--I loved his other Hawaiian novel, Honolulu. PLEASE write more Hawaii books, Mr. Brennert! I'll never doubt you again!
 
I feel like Ruth is my soul sister. Her love for animals touched my heart and reminded me of myself and my grandma. I too loved animals from a very young age. The historical aspect of Japanese internment camps during World War 2 was also interesting, and sad of course, but I learned so much about that period of history. The last third of the book was when Ruth connected with Rachel, and just gave me all the feels and tears. This was a beautifully written, well researched, fantastic book that is included in my all time list of favorite books, along with Moloka'i. I can't say enough good things about this book--it is an absolute must read!
 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

TLC Book Tours: California Girls Excerpt

About California Girls
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (February 26, 2019)
The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…
Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.
Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.
Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.
But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 
Excerpt
 
She sucked in air, being careful not to hyperventilate, then hurried to the mirror. After flipping on the harsh, unforgiving lights, she studied herself for a second before reaching for a tissue, then concealer. She looked wide-eyed and shell-shocked. As if she’d just seen something horrific. Or maybe just experienced it. Dear God, she couldn’t do this.
“Finola?” Rochelle knocked once before entering. “They need you on set.”
Finola nodded without speaking. She added a little more powder, then took one more breath before forcing a smile. “I’m ready.”
Her assistant frowned. “What happened?”
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
“It’s something and it’s not fine.”
Finola faked another smile and hurried past her. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
She made her way along the corridor toward the studio. She wove her way around false walls, backdrops and cables. The show’s producer smiled at her.
“Have you met Treasure yet? She’s gorgeous. I only saw her from a distance, but wow.”
Finola didn’t bother to say she had yet to meet the star. She’d been too busy watching her marriage collapse around her. Not that Treasure had asked for an intro—her request had been that they meet in front of the live audience so the experience “was more spontaneous.” As far as superstar demands went, it was easy and doable, and it beat one singer’s request for “six snow-white kittens to play with before I sing.”
Gary, the sound guy, handed her a small microphone. She clipped it on her jacket’s lapel while he snaked the thin cord over her shoulder. He clipped the battery pack to the waistband of her skirt.
Usually she joked about him touching her. Their friendly banter was a regular part of her “get ready” ritual. But today she couldn’t think of a single thing to say. And in eight minutes, that was going to be a big problem.
Breathe, she told herself. She would breathe and trust herself to know what she was doing. She’d done this show for nearly four years. She was good at it. She loved her work and she would be fine. If only she didn’t hear the echo of the screams she didn’t dare give in to.
Gary smoothed her jacket into place, winked at her and smiled. “You’re good to go, Finola.”
“Thank you.” She cleared her throat. “Testing, testing.”
The mike would have already been checked, but she always confirmed it was working.
Gary gave her a thumbs-up before handing over the earpiece that would connect her with the control room. Theirs wasn’t a news show, so she wasn’t getting breaking information, but she still needed to be linked to the control room in case a major story broke. Then she would be able to smoothly transition her viewers to the fact that New York was going to interrupt the show.
She adjusted the earpiece then heard the soft voice of Melody, the director. “Finola, good morning. We’re at five minutes. Good show.”
“Good show,” she said automatically. She turned off her microphone to give herself one moment to be truly alone just as someone touched her on the shoulder.
She turned and came face-to-face with Treasure. The country-pop star was about Finola’s height, with long, dark red hair worn in cascading ringlets. Her eyes were deep green and even with heavy TV makeup, her skin was amazing.
Finola blinked in surprise.
“Hello. I thought you didn’t want to meet before the interview.” She managed a smile and held out a hand. “It’s lovely to meet you, Treasure. I’m a big fan.”
The twenty-three-year-old smiled at her. “No, you’re not,” she said softly. “Or if you are now, you won’t be.”
She ignored Finola’s outstretched hand. “You’re older than I thought. Thirty-four, right? You couldn’t be my mom, but you wouldn’t be an older sister, either. Maybe an aunt.”
Finola had no idea what she was talking about. “Okay,” she said slowly. “I need to go out and greet the audience. Everyone is so excited to see you and watch you perform.”
Before she could turn away, Treasure grabbed her upper arm. Her fingers dug in just enough to be uncomfortable.
“It’s me,” she whispered, leaning close. “I’m the one he’s sleeping with. I’m the one who’s done things with him you can’t even imagine. It’s not just the sex, you know. It’s all of it.” She rolled her eyes. “He didn’t want to tell you about us, like he could hide me, but I had my manager book me on your show so he didn’t have a choice.”
Treasure’s smile turned cruel. “And now you know.”
 
 
About Susan Mallery
#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives-family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.
 

Connect with Susan

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 
TLC Book Tours

Thursday, February 7, 2019

TLC Book Tours: Golden Child (Plus a Giveaway!!!!)

About Golden Child

Hardcover: 288 Pages
Publisher: SJP for Hogarth (January 29, 2019)
A new novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint, SJP for Hogarth: a deeply affecting debut novel set in Trinidad, following the lives of a family as they navigate impossible choices about scarcity, loyalty, and love

Golden Child is a stunning novel written with force and beauty.  Though true to herself, Adam’s work stands tall beside icons of her tradition like V.S. Naipaul.”—Jennifer Clement, author of Gun Love
Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.
When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters—leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.
Like the Trinidadian landscape itself, GOLDEN CHILD is both beautiful and unsettling; a resoundingly human story of aspiration, betrayal, and love.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble




I was so excited to read this book because I absolutely LOVED A Place for Us, the first book published by SJP for Hogarth. This latest book was also excellent and had so much depth. What I loved most about it was the setting--I've never read a book set in Trinidad before, no do I really even know that much a bout Trinidad. This book showcased it in a way that almost made it like a character in itself.

This book was so emotional. I couldn't stop thinking about the story after I finished reading it. To  be honest, I didn't know WHAT to think. There was so much going on in the story.  It saddened me that Clyde and Joy blatantly treated Paul so differently. Because of this, Father Kavanagh was one of my favorite characters in the book, because he saw Paul as "normal" and questioned Clyde's treatment of him. This part of the story showcases the unfortunate truth of what labeling someone as "retarded" can do.


The blurb mentions the "choice that no parent should ever have to make", which, in my opinion, wasn't a hard choice at all and for much of the last third of the book I was so angry at Clyde. I still am angry at Clyde. This perspective challenged me to think of this from Clyde's perspective, even though I didn't want to (I won't give any spoilers--let me know if you want to chat about the ending!).

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it, especially if you like learning about new places and cultures through reading! This was an excellent debut novel from Claire Adam!

About Claire Adam

Claire Adam was born and raised in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. She lives with her husband and two children in London, England. GOLDEN CHILD is her first novel.

Connect with Claire

Twitter





TLC Book Tours
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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Blog Tour: The Girls at 17 Swann Street

39324901Title: The Girls at 17 Swann Street
Author:Yara Zgheib
384 pages, published February 5, 2019
St. Martin's Press




About the Book:

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting portrait of a young woman’s struggle with anorexia on an intimate journey to reclaim her life.  

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.
Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Every bite causes anxiety.  Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.
 
What an emotional, relevant debut novel! So much of what we see in the media right now is about weight loss, and we don't focus on the flip side--eating disorders. This book  is a heartbreaking look at the psyche of an anorexic--Anna, a former French ballerina who enters a treatment facility.  I enjoyed the character development in this book as well as Anna's relationships with the other girls. They celebrated each other's success and supported them through their struggles. A well written read you can't put down! 


Yara Zgheib 
About the Author:

Yara Zgheib is a Fulbright scholar with a Masters degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a PhD in International Affairs in Diplomacy from Centre D'études Diplomatiques et Stratégiques in Paris. She is fluent in English, Arabic, French, and Spanish. Yara is a writer for several US and European magazines, including The Huffington Post, The Four Seasons Magazine, A Woman’s Paris, The Idea List, and Holiday Magazine. She writes on culture, art, travel, and philosophy on her blog, "Aristotle at Afternoon Tea" (http://www.aristotleatafternoontea.com/).