Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

Title: Ink and Bone
Author: Lisa Unger
Published: June 2016, Touchstone
Format: ARC E-copy, 352 pages
Source: Netgalley
Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can’t see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley’s abilities start to become too strong for her to handle – and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can’t drown out the voices – she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri’s not a believer, but she’s just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she’s not too late. Time, she knows, is running out.

As a harsh white winter moves into The Hollows, Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation, which proves to have much more at stake than even the fate of a missing girl. As Finley digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, she is forced to examine the past, even as she tries to look into the future. Only one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.

My thoughts: It's no surprise that I am a huge fan of Lisa Unger, so of course when I saw that her latest was coming out, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I am really enjoying this new turn she seems to be taking with her last few books - while they are still psychological thrillers without a doubt, there's this little bit of paranormal/supernatural aspect to it that gives it a little extra something that makes it just a little bit more creepy and intense. 

I love Finley's character...she's one tough cookie that has come to live with her grandmother, Eloise, in order to get a handle on her newfound abilities. She rides a motorcycle and is covered in tattoos - she's a real badass! But at the same time, she's hearing these noises and just wants them to stop and is willing to do whatever it takes to make the noises go away. She is willing, albeit somewhat reluctantly to work with Jones Cooper, on the cases of the missing girls - could that be that the strange noises Finley is hearing are leading her to?

This book will pull you in right from the start and have you frantically flipping pages as you race to find out what will come next. There's plenty of backstory interspersed with what is happening in the present, including the story of the missing girls, Finley's abilities, and her relationship with Rainer, her boyfriend who ended up following her to the Hollows

I'm curious, though, as to what happens next and where we go from here...some pretty big developments occur in this book. I really love the partnership that ends up working out between Cooper and Finley and would love to see more of that and I definitely haven't had my fill of Finley herself...she's too much of a spitfire to be done with yet! I think we've only scratched the surface with her in this book...but I guess only time will tell!!!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in June 24

So I really pushed myself to get in the steps this week and I took 1 really long walk and got in another 10K...all in preparation for a big walk I'll be doing in early 2017. While I haven't officially started training for the walk - that will start in the fall - I will be doing more of these long walks on a regular basis. 

The strength training has also been hit and miss lately - I have so many pins on pinterest for both yoga and regular strength training, but I just can't seem to put myself on a regular schedule. I really need to make this a priority and set up a schedule that will work for me.

Here's how my week went:     
Jun 18:  6,377 steps
Jun 19:  10,088 steps
Jun 20:  29,031 steps
(10K - 8.0 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run; 15 min Yoga)
Jun 21:  22,230 steps (30 min fitness walk)

Jun 22:  22,073 steps (30 min fitness walk)

Jun 23: 
24,149 steps (30 min fitness walk)
Jun 24: 
28,161 steps (10K - 6.21 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)
Total Steps: 142,109 steps
Audiobooks listened to this week: 

  • Started & Finished Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner, narrated by Sarah Steele & JD Jackson
  • Started All of Us & Everything by Bridget Asher, narrated by Cassandra Campbell

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.

Virtual 5K /10K Tally:
     January:                               May:
           5K  -  3                                  5K  -  9
         10K  -  0                                10K  -  2
     February:                             June:

           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  4
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  5                  
           5K  -  4
         10K  -  1
           5K  -  4
         10K  -  5

Friday, June 24, 2016

#SRC2016 Book Spotlight: The Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan

Title: The Sweetheart Deal
Author: Polly Dugan
Published: May 2015, Little, Brown & Company
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages

The poignant story of what happens when a woman who thinks she's lost everything has the chance to love again.

Leo has long joked that, in the event of his death, he wants his best friend Garrett, a lifelong bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken night, he goes so far as to make Garrett promise to do so. Then, twelve years later, Leo, a veteran firefighter, dies in a skiing accident.

As Audrey navigates her new role as widow and single parent, Garrett quits his job in Boston and buys a one-way ticket out west. Before long, Audrey's feelings for Garrett become more than platonic, and Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey, her boys, and their life together in Portland. When Audrey finds out about the drunken pact from years ago, though, the harmless promise that brought Garrett into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.

What readers are saying:

"The Sweetheart Deal hits all of my favorite topics: loss, pain, friendship, betrayal-but ultimately love. It's the most romantic story I've read in years."―Elin Hilderbrand, author of Beautiful Day and The Matchmaker

"Heartfelt and wise, Polly Dugan's The Sweetheart Deal reminds us that every difficult ending can lead to a beautiful new beginning."―Sarah Jio, author of The Violets of March and Goodnight June

"The Sweetheart Deal, a beautifully-written debut, proves that the best love stories are the unconventional ones. Fans of Good Grief and PS, I Love You will adore this novel, which is brimming with heart and hope and perfectly balanced by the bittersweet."―Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Opposite of Me

"A poignant exploration of a family not just recovering from loss, but growing stronger in its wake. Polly Dugan's debut novel moved me to tears and challenged my assumptions as it explored what any of us would do when offered a second chance at love."―Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, author of Bittersweet

"All the ingredients for a great story: love, loss, secrets, betrayal, and the chance to love again."Redbook

"A sensitive portrayal of friendship, family, and loss."―Mary Ellen Quinn, Booklist

"Intimately explores how grief can affect a family."Library Journal

"There is tender romance here, but it's more richly a story of an old family falling away and a new one beginning."Kirkus Reviews

"A charming, poignant novel of dealing with grief and finding love again, this is the perfect light-hearted page-turner for the shore."Coastal Living

"A perfect summer read."―Karen Winters Schwartz, New York Journal of Books

"The local beach read of the summer."Willamette Weekly

The Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan is one of BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks.

Follow the #SRC2016, #BestSRCEver and #BestSummerEver hashtags on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books!

Review: The Island House by Nancy Thayer (audio)

Title: The Island House
Author: Nancy Thayer
Narrator: Emily Sutton-Smith
Published: May 2016, Brilliance Audio
Length: 10 hours 11 minutes
Source: Publisher
The charms of Nantucket tempt a woman to leave her established life in Kansas City—but with a piece of her heart, and a love interest, in each world, she discovers she must look within to choose the right path.

Every summer since college, twenty-nine-year-old Jenny has traded the familiarity of the Midwest for the allure of Nantucket. Now an established university professor in Kansas City, she finds herself caught between two lifestyles and two very different men. She chooses Nantucket and the glamorous life she associates with it, unaware that the summer will take an unexpected turn, and she will have to let her heart decide what it truly wants.

My thoughts: Nancy Thayer is one of my summer-go-to authors...she, along with Elin Hilderbrand, Dorothy Benton Frank, and a few others, are always among my staple of summer reads. I look forward to grabbing their newest book whether in print or audio and losing myself in their words as I sit on my porch or lay in the sun enjoying a nice glass of iced tea.

What I love about Nancy Thayer's books is that they usually take place in Nantucket as this one does, with some side trips to the midwest. But, what I didn't particularly love about this one is that I had a hard time becoming completely invested in the story. I felt that I never really connected with any of the characters like I usually do. I don't know if that's because there are so many, which made it hard to keep track of who was who, and what was going on 

Don't get me wrong - there was family drama and secrets, but it just felt light...there wasn't enough substance to it to make it a favorite. And certainly not like Nancy's earlier books - some of which I really loved. This is a good summer book - light, easy reading that you can breeze through, perfect for those lazy, summer days!

Audio thoughts: This is the first time I've listened to Emily Sutton-Smith narrate a book and I loved listening to her...she does a great job with the voices and her pacing and emotions are spot on. I can't wait to see what else she narrates!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in June 17

I'm slowly getting back to yoga...and wow - I can definitely feel the difference of not doing it for a while. My body was tight and sore afterwards. But, since I'm awful at stretching, I feel that yoga provides a little of that through some of the poses, along with some really good strength-training. 

I also started taking the dogs on longer walks in the morning - and they are loving it! We go early and I take them separately before I do my walk, but I love that my younger dog, who isn't the best on the leash, is getting better and really does love her early morning walk.
Here's how my week went:     
Jun 11:  10,336 steps
Jun 12:  10,701 steps (15 min Yoga
Jun 13:  25,035 steps
(10K - 6.5 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run; 15 min Yoga)
Jun 14:  19,243 steps (5K - 3.12 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)

Jun 15:  22,582 steps (5K - 3.5 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)

Jun 16: 
11,227 steps (30 min fitness walk)
Jun 17: 
10,015 steps (30 min fitness walk)
Total Steps: 109,139 steps
Audiobooks listened to this week: 
  • Finished The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor, narrated by Jennifer Jones, Lucy Rayner, & Paul Fox 
  • Started & Finished The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg, narrated by David Thorn

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.

Virtual 5K /10K Tally:
     January:                               May:
           5K  -  3                                  5K  -  9
         10K  -  0                                10K  -  2
     February:                             June:

           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  4
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -  3                  
           5K  -  4
         10K  -  1
           5K  -  4
         10K  -  5

Friday, June 17, 2016

#SRC2016 Book Spotlight: 25 Sense by Lisa Henthorn

Title: 25 Sense
Author: Lisa Henthorn
Published: May 2016, Sparkpress
Format: Paperback, 192 pages

Claire Malone didn't mean for this to happen when she moved to New York. She just wanted to live the city life and gain experience in television writing, her dream career. It's not like she meant to reciprocate when her married boss, Sean Vared, sent her flirty e-mails. And you can't blame her for coming into the office on the weekend when Sean told her he was going to be there . . . alone. She didn't mean to sleep with him but hey, she wanted to experience the city life, so no big deal, right? 

Wrong. By the time Claire wakes up on her 25th birthday, she's very much in love with Sean. At work, she struggles to hold it together when he passes her desk--the very desk that they used to make love on. Soon Sean has turned his affection to the show's starring actress, and Claire is devastated. Can she break away from Sean without ruining her barely started career? Will someone find out what happened? Will she ever grow up and stop making stupid mistakes? 25 Sense is about the time in a young woman's life when the world starts to view her as a responsible adult but all she feels is lost.

What readers are saying

“A book every badass woman should read.” ―San Francisco Book Review

“A mesmerizing read for millennials.” ―Buzzfeed

"Lisa Henthorn’s 25 Sense involves lights, camera, and a whole lot of action.” ―SheKnows

“Henthorn’s novel is absolutely a rare thing. It’s wonderful and encompassing and comforting in some way, because it perfectly captures what it feels like to be 25." ―Literature Typeface

“25 Sense is funny, sad, and keeps the reader engaged. I highly recommend this book.”―Synchronized Chaos

“Henthorn's simple language takes us head first into an imaginary tale similar to the ones of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner, Candace Bushnell, and Helen Fielding―which makes you wonder: how in the world that is so enamored of chick-lit, a fresh voice like Lisa Henthorn is not on top along with the other goddesses."―Jaylan Salah, writer and film critic, Authors, Large and Small

  25 Sense  by  Lisa Henthorn  is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks.

Follow the #SRC2016, #BestSRCEver and #BestSummerEver hashtags on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#SRC2016 Book Review: Saving Abby by Steena Holmes (audio)

Title: Saving Abby
Author: Steena Holmes
Narrator: Angela Dwe
Published: May 2016, Brilliance Audio / Lake Union Publishing
Length: 7 hours 3 minutes / Paperback, 274 pages
Source: Publisher / Booksparks

All children’s book illustrator Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. After six years of trying to conceive, she and her husband, Josh, have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own.

Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Steena Holmes brings us an unforgettable story of one woman’s courage and love.

My thoughts: This is the second book I've read by Steena Holmes - the other being The Word Game - both thanks to Booksparks and I am so glad that this author is now on my radar...she writes a book that definitely packs a punch and leaves you with quite a lot to think about. I will say, though, that this one hit particularly close to home, having gone through the struggles of trying for years to get pregnant, though that's where my similarities end. But still...this need to go pick it up!

This is such a beautiful, yet very emotional story about the power of love, family and the power and strength we have when faced with the unthinkable. So many times my heart was in my mouth during this I lived through this ordeal alongside Claire - and yes, as I was reading the book, the characters and story felt so real that I felt that I was going through everything that Claire and Josh were going through. That is how good a writer Steena Holmes is; that is how powerful her words and her storytelling is.

This is the type of book that you cannot help as you reading, what would I do? If I were in Claire's position, what choices would I make? Would I do the same as she does or would I make different choices? It's hard to know exactly what we would do, but one thing is for sure...this book will definitely have you thinking and feeling...and possibly even shedding a tear or two as you frantically flip through the pages or speed through the audio to find out what the ending will be. 

Steena Holmes is now going on my auto-buy list...her books just speak to me and while I wait for her next book, I need to go back and read the ones I missed! Have you started reading Steena Holmes yet?

Audio thoughts: This was an unbelievable audio experience...Angela Dawes told it with such emotion that I felt I was a part of the story at times. She did a great job with the voices and the pacing was spot on. As emotional as this story was at times, I really enjoyed listening to it

Saving Abby  by  Steena Holmes  is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks.

Follow the #SRC2016, #BestSRCEver and #BestSummerEver hashtags on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books!


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