Monday, April 29, 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 had a lot of reading time this past weekend, which was great because I got an awesome stack of books at the library last week! A bunch of my holds all came in a the same time, as they do. Most of Sunday I spent reading, in between going to yoga class and visiting my local bookstore, since I didn't make it on Saturday for Independent Bookstore Day.

Right now I'm in the middle of two books and going to start another today. I usually have one going on my kindle and one physical book, but since one of my physical books is nonfiction I'm starting another fiction book as well. It's super sunny this week in Oregon (YAY!) so I'm hoping to get lots of outside reading time!


I'm reading the latest from Wendy Wax (LOVE her books!) on my kindle and enjoying it so far. Hoping to finish up in the next day or so. It releases May 14th! I also started Girl, Stop Apologizing this weekend. While I did not love Girl, Wash Your Face, I've listened to several podcast interviews with Rachel Hollis and wanted to give this one a try. If anyone needs to be told to stop apologizing, it's this girl. I'm starting Normal People today--heard mixed reviews on this one but it sounded like one I'd enjoy, so I picked it up from the library.

What are you reading this week? Happy Reading!

Bout of Books 25 Sign up!

Guess what day it is!!! No, unfortunately not hump day (yet) but it is time to sign up for Bout of Books 25!! Bout of Books is my absolute favorite readathon, and it starts May 13th! I've connected with so many other readers and bloggers throughout my time participating in this readathon and I can't wait for another week of reading! New to my blog and aren't familiar with Bout of Books? Here's the official details from the Bout of Books blog:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 25 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

The best part about this readathon? It's no pressure and FUN!!I I used to stress out about pages read and whatnot and a few readathons back, I stopped caring about stats and just focused on the fun! I usually finish 1-2 books and have a great time! You don't have to have a blog to sign up--you can connect with this r eadathon on pretty much any social media platform. You can sign up here! I hope you join me!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Book Review: The Island of Sea Women

40538657The Island of Sea Women
By Lisa See
374 pages
Published March 2019 by Scribner
Source: Borrowed from Library

From Goodreads: 

A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.

 This book was absolutely fantastic and a fascinating read!  It was a perfect example of why I love historical fiction.  Before reading this book I knew very little details about Korean history, particularly the Korean perspective of the Korean War, and had never heard of the  haenyeo.   I was drawn into the story  from the first chapter and immediately connected to the characters. It was such a beautiful, emotional story of generations of strong women providing for their families by harvesting food from the sea.  

The story spanned decades and included World War II, the Korean War, and its aftermath. I got so emotionally attached to these characters and  shared in their struggle and grief through these difficult times. The book begins in 2008, and it is clear Young-sook and Mi-ja were once best friends but now estranged, and you don't understand why. The book then jumps back into their early years as divers back in the 1930's  ("baby-divers") and follows their relationship throughout their lives. As history unravels and their differences complicate their lives, you begin to understand why Young-sook reacts to Mi-ja's family the way she does.

This book beautifully explores female friendships and family relationships, as well as Korean culture and history in a way you won't forget. This is definitely one of my top reads of the year so far. Lisa see clearly did her research and crafted a brilliant, emotional, and thought provoking read. Five stars!

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 22, 2019

TLC Book Tours: Before She Was Found

About Before She Was Found

Hardcover: 368 Pages
Publisher: Park Row; Original edition (April 16, 2019)
A gripping thriller about three young girlfriends, a dark obsession and a chilling crime that shakes up a quiet Iowa town
For twelve-year-old Cora Landry and her friends Violet and Jordyn, it was supposed to be an ordinary sleepover—movies and Ouija and talking about boys. But when they decide to sneak out to go to the abandoned rail yard on the outskirts of town, little do they know that their innocent games will have dangerous consequences.
Later that night, Cora Landry is discovered on the tracks, bloody and clinging to life, her friends nowhere to be found. Soon their small rural town is thrust into a maelstrom. Who would want to hurt a young girl like Cora—and why? In an investigation that leaves no stone unturned, everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted—not even those closest to Cora.
Before She Was Found is a timely and gripping thriller about friendship and betrayal, about the power of social pressure and the price of needing to fit in. It is about the great lengths a parent will go to protect their child and keep them safe—even if that means burying the truth, no matter the cost.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

  WOW! What an addictive, fantastic book!! It's been awhile since I've read a book in one day, and that's what I did with Before She Was Found. I started it mid morning on a Sunday and finished it after dinner the same night. It was next to impossible to put down--did I HAVE to get up to change the laundry?? Cook dinner?? Be prepared to want to drop everything you are doing and read this book! 

From the first page the book jumps right into the action. The chapters are relatively short, jumping between points of view of different characters, including family of the three girls as well as the psychiatrist, transcripts of interviews, text message conversations, Cora's journal, and chat room transcripts  that help piece together exactly what happened to Cora.  Sometimes with this format it can be hard to keep track of who's who, but not in this book--the characters were clearly defined and you instantly got attached to them and wanted to know what really happened that night at the tracks.  Cora, Violet and Jordyn are just 12 years old--the book did an excellent job of capturing the essence of middle school friendships and family relationships.

This book kept me guessing right until the end. This one does have several trigger warnings and can get pretty intense--bullying, social media dangers, violence, and mental illness. It's a highly emotional book, but so well written with respect to these triggers. An excellent five star book you must read if you love mysteries and thrillers!

About Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound.  Heather lives in Iowa with her family.

Connect with Heather

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Follow the tour!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Review: Swimming for Sunlight

40539135Swimming for Sunlight
By Allie Larkin
352 pages
Release Date: April 23, 2019
Atria Books
 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.

About the Book:

When recently divorced Katie Ellis and her rescue dog Bark move back in with Katie’s grandmother in Florida, she becomes swept up in a reunion of her grandmother’s troupe of underwater performers—finding hope and renewal in unexpected places, in this sweet novel perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Claire Cook.

Aspiring costume designer Katie gave up everything in her divorce to gain custody of her fearful, faithful rescue dog, Barkimedes. While she figures out what to do next, she heads back to Florida to live with her grandmother, Nan.

But Katie quickly learns there’s a lot she doesn’t know about Nan—like the fact that in her youth Nan was a mermaid performer in a roadside attraction show, swimming and dancing underwater with a close-knit cast of talented women. Although most of the mermaids have since lost touch, Katie helps Nan search for her old friends on Facebook, sparking hopes for a reunion show. Katie is up for making some fabulous costumes, but first, she has to contend with her crippling fear of water.

As Katie’s college love Luca, a documentary filmmaker, enters the fray, Katie struggles to balance her hopes with her anxiety, and begins to realize just how much Bark’s fears are connected to her own, in this thoughtful, charming novel about hope after loss and friendships that span generations.

Allie Larkin is a new to me author, and after reading this book I immediately picked up Stay, her first novel, from the library. I absolutely loved both books!!  She will be an auto read author in the future as well! Swimming for Sunlight warmed my heart. I related to Katie in so many ways--her love of animals, losing a parent, her issues with anxiety. Nan and her friends reminded me so much of my grandma's group of friends. I absolutely ADORED Barkimedes (Bark), her sweet rescue pup. I loved how Katie and Bark worked through their anxiety together. The mermaid parts of the book were so fun.

This book had so much humor in it, despite dealing with some serious situations. I was laughing out loud in parts! It reminded me a lot of Cathy Lamb's writing. This is definitely a book not to miss--a perfect vacation or weekend getaway read! If you are a dog mom or a dog lover in general--you need to read this book!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This Week's Topic:

Rainy Day Reads

This topic is perfect since I live in Oregon...and it's been a super rainy spring. But I do love a good rainy day reading session!  To me, a rainy day read is a book where you can just stay in bed or snuggled up on the couch reading all day because it's just that good. I love those days where I can read the whole book in one day! Here's my list--I included 12 because I couldn't keep it to just 10!

One of these is published today--Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf! Look for my review next Monday with TLC Book Tours! It was my most recent rainy day read!

 What are some of your favorite rainy day reads?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

WWW Wednesday April 10

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


After reading Allie Larkin's April 23rd release, Swimming for Sunlight, I had to go back and read Stay, her first novel! I love, love, LOVED it.  Her books are a MUST for dog lovers! I also read the April release from Robyn Carr. While I generally enjoy her books, this one wasn't my favorite because I didn't connect with the story as well. If you like Robyn Carr still check this one out though.

Currently Reading

41150531 39863482

I'm enjoying Sunset Beach so far--always love a MKA book to start off the summer! This one releases May 7th! Just starting The Night Tiger, the April book pick for Reese's Book Club!

Up Next


Moved The Night Tiger in front of this one because it had a shorter time frame at the library but I'm definitely excited to dive into this one too.

What are you reading this week? Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Happy National Library Week!

This week is National Library Week! It's no secret that I LOVE the library!This is my second year participating in the Library Love Challenge here on the blog but I've been going to the library ever since I was little. I remember my mom taking me frequently, coming home with armloads of books. I remember Library Day was my favorite day of the week in elementary school! Right up there with Read In Day--did anyone else do read ins? You bring blankets and books to school and read all day long? Can this be a thing for adults?? :) You can read more about my love of books in general, including libraries, in my This I Believe essay.

 I'm super lucky here in Oregon to have access to an amazing library network where I have access to books and other materials from across all the member libraries. In addition, I have access to audiobooks and ebooks through OverDrive and Libby. There are library branches close to where I live and where I work, so I'm never too far away from the library. My office is about four blocks away from the library, so I walk there at least once a week, sometimes more, on my lunch break to pick up books I have on hold, browse for new books, or simply just to sit and read in a quiet space for an hour. Just the feeling of being surrounded by books calms me.

What do you love about libraries?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

WWW Wednesday April 3

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


 I absolutely LOVED this book. All the feels with this one! If you are a dog lover, this is a MUST read! I also read Fahrenheit 451, which I realized I hadn't read after reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean. I generally don't get too excited about classics, but this was a good quick read.

Currently Reading


Always excited for a new Robyn Carr read! This one releases at the end of April and I'm enjoying it so far!

Up Next


Picked up both of these at the library yesterday!

What are you reading this week? Happy Reading!!