Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Blog Walkers: Weekly Check-in November 21

  #BookBlogWalkers is hosted by Felicia @ The Geeky Bloggers Book Blog

It was quite cold here this week, so most of my walking was done indoors. I also managed to do some yoga a few times this week. I didn't get to any actual classes, but just practiced at home. I've found quite a few yoga flows online that I like to do and always feel so good after doing them.
Here's how my week went:  

Nov 15:  rest
Nov 16:  rest
Nov 17:  30 minutes walking & 30 minutes yoga
Nov 18:  30 minutes walking

Nov 19:  45 minutes walking & 30 minutes yoga
Nov 20:  30 minutes walking

Nov 21:  60 minutes walking & 30 minutes yoga
How did your week go?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer (audio)

Title: Nantucket Sisters   
Author: Nancy Thayer 
Narrator: Kate Rudd  
Published: June 2014, Brilliance Audio   
Length: 10 hours 5 minutes   
Source: Library 

Friendship takes center stage in New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer’s captivating, emotionally charged novel featuring all the tenderness and wit, drama and romance that readers have come to expect from this insightful, much-loved writer.

When they meet as girls on a beach in Nantucket, Maggie Drew and Emma Hudson become fast friends—though Emma’s well-heeled mother would prefer that she associate with the upscale daughters of bankers and statesmen rather than the child of a local seamstress. But the two lively, imaginative girls nevertheless spend many golden summers together building castles in the sand, creating magical worlds of their own, and forging grand plans for their future.

Even as Emma falls for Maggie’s brother, Ben, and the young women’s paths diverge, the duo remain close friends. Then the unthinkable happens: a lifelong friendship is pushed to its breaking point with the appearance of the handsome, charismatic, charming, and incredibly sexy Wall Street trader Cameron Chadwick—upending both of their lives.

Struggling with the difficult choices they have made and the secrets they have kept, Maggie and Emma find the road to love and fulfillment is full of bumps and twists, as well as entirely unexpected and quite wonderful turns of the heart. They also learn that while true love may be rare, a true friendship is rarer still.

My thoughts: Nancy Thayer is another of my go-to authors that I look forward to reading or listening to each summer with her new book. I find that I can get lost in her stories and love when they are set on Nantucket, as this one happens to be.

Maggie and Emily become best friends despite their different economical backgrounds. Emily and her parents are summer people while Maggie and her family live on Nantucket all year. Meeting when they were young girls, we journey with them as them become adults and deal with their own sets of problems and accomplishments. I really enjoyed this story and loved seeing how Maggie and Emily's relationships changed throughout time. Not only their friendship, but the relationships they had with others in their lives.

What I love about Nancy Thayer's stories is that she tends to create really likeable characters. In this case, all the characters are likeable, even though they make mistakes and break the trust of those they care about most. What I find most compelling is that the strength of Maggie and Emily's friendship really comes through, despite all the bad that goes on. 

This was a delightful, heartwarming story that will have you yearning to reach out to your own bestfriend!

Audio Thoughts: Kate Rudd is a new narrator to me. I thought she did a great job narrating this story and found her voice pleasant to listen to. She was able to give the characters their own voices, even the young children. I will definitely be checking out what else she has narrated.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar

Title: The Hidden Girl    
Author: Louise Millar 
Published: August 2014, Atria/Emily Bestler Books  
Format: ARC e-book, 400 pages   
Source: Netgalley  

From “a writer to watch” (Booklist), this gripping psychological thriller follows a young woman who uncovers a terrible secret in her idyllic suburban neighborhood—but who will believe her?

Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the Suffolk countryside will promise a fresh start.

Hannah, a human rights worker, is desperate for a child and she hopes that this new life will realise her dream.

Yet when the snow comes, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village. Life in Tornley turns out to be far from idyllic, who are the threatening figures who lurk near their property at night? And why is her neighbour so keen to see them leave? Plus Will's, behaviour is severely testing the bonds of her trust.

Hannah has spent her professional life doing the right thing for other people. But as she starts to unbury a terrible crime, she realises she can no longer do that without putting everything she's ever wanted at risk.

But if she does nothing, the next victim could be her...

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Louise Millar and I decided to read it because I love psychological thrillers and am always looking for new authors in this genre.

This is a weird book. I wasn't sure what to expect going into it, but right from the start, I felt myself glued to the pages, wanting to know what was going to happen, feeling that sense of foreboding. The characters are all richly drawn and strange in their own right, adding to that sense of mystery and it's hard to know who can be trusted.

It's clear from the beginning that things aren't quite right between Hannah and Will. They've been through a lot even before the book begins and now that they've bought this country home outside of London, the stress seems to go way up. They are in the middle of adopting a child after many failed IVF and other fertility treatments. Wanting everything to be perfect, Hannah has created a tight schedule to get the house into ship-shape, but a snowstorm derails her plans when Will is stuck in London. And then, stuck in the house by herself, strange things start happening.

As I started my review out, I said this book was weird. There were strange things going on at the house that I wasn't sure about. Were they really happening? Or was it from all the stress that Hannah was under? I really was confused yet intrigued. I also found myself both rooting for and against Hannah and Will. There were times that I wanted them to fix their marriage, but other times that I felt they didn't belong together. I love when an author creates such a reaction towards characters. 

I think this is a book that I'm going to have to reread to fully appreciate it. Are there clues along the way that I missed? I still find myself thinking about it and despite it's weirdness, it was a really good book! It's addictive and kept me glued to the pages wanting to know how it all ends.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Sunday Post #47 (11.9.14)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. I'm also going to link this up with Sheila's It's Monday post over at Book Journey

This past week I became an aunt sister had baby #2 - Nora Elizabeth and I'm once again head over heels in love!!! This makes niece #10 and I can't wait to start spoiling her rotten just as I do with all the rest of my nieces and nephews. I went down early to my sister's so I could watch her 19 month old, who happens to be my goddaughter and we had so much fun. Then I took her to the hospital to meet her new sister - she's not too sure about this new baby, but she can say her name and it's really cute! Now that I know what sex the baby is, I'll be working on Nora's baby blanket this week. And, I have another new niece making her debut this coming week (hopefully!!!)...this one on my husband's side. More details on that in next week's post.
Have a great week everyone!!!
Last 2 weeks on the Blog:                

* Review: The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes
* Review: Close to Home by Lisa Jackson
* Book Blog Walkers: Weekly Check-in November 7
* Review: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
* Book Blog Walkers: Weekly Check-in November 14

Books Read:          
* Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella (audio book)    
* The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar ( library book)  
* The Broken String by Diane Chamberlain (mine) 
* The Oleander Sisters by Elaine Hussey (review audio book)
* Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson (mine)
Currently Reading:            
* Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery (mine)
* One of Us by Tawni O'Dell (review audio book)  

* Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag (mine)            

Books Up Next:                  
* The Distance by Helen Giltrow (review book)
* The Look of Love by Sarah Jio (review book)
Recent Giveaway Winners:

* Us by David Nicholls...Suko

Coming Up on the Blog:
* Review: The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar

* Review: Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs 
* Review: Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer
* Review: Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
Book Haul for last 2 weeks:     

* Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag (Audible)

* The Broken String by Diane Chamberlain (e-book)
From Library:
* Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Blog Walkers: Weekly Check-in November 14

  #BookBlogWalkers is hosted by Felicia @ The Geeky Bloggers Book Blog

This week was a little hectic, but I managed to still get in my 30 minutes every day. I was down at my youngest sister's for a few days because she was having baby #2 and I was in charge of watching her 19 month old, who happens to be my goddaughter. We had a great time together and I got to bring her to the hospital to meet her new baby sister (and my newest niece!). I forget just how much energy these little ones have!!!
Here's how my week went:  

Nov  8:  rest
Nov  9:  rest
Nov 10:  30 minutes
Nov 11:  30 minutes

Nov 12:  30 minutes
Nov 13:  30 minutes

Nov 14:  30 minutes
How did your week go?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Title: The Silent Sister    
Author: Diane Chamberlain     
Published: October 2014, St. Martin's Press  
Format: ARC e-book, 352 pages   
Source: Netgalley via She Reads

Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality.

My thoughts: This is one of the four books that the She Reads gals selected to be part of the "Books of Fall" book club selections and I was excited with this choice. I have read a couple of books by Diane Chamberlain and really enjoyed them, so I knew we would be in for a treat with this one. Little did I know just how right I would be!

This book pulls you in right from the first page and doesn't let you go until you reach the end. There are so many secrets and twists and turns that it's hard to say much without giving anything away. Suffice it to say, nothing is what it seems. Riley discovers a web of lies that literally changes everything.

I loved the characters in this book. Right off the bat, I sympathized with Riley. I felt for her, having to deal with her father's death and then learning all those secrets. I could really feel all the emotions that she went through throughout the book. Then there was her brother, Danny. I had a hard time figuring him out. He's closed himself off and I get that, especially after everything is revealed, but he's still a puzzle. 

This book is a rollercoaster of emotions and will beg you to keep reading to find out what will be revealed next. The writing pulls you in and the characters take hold of your heart. Diane Chamberlain is a master wordsmith and I look forward to reading more of her books. After finishing this, I found out she wrote a short story, The Broken String, that gives us some back story to Riley and Danny's relationship. I cannot wait to pick this one up, along with more of Diane's works. If you've read her books, can you recommend a favorite?

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain is one of the She Reads "Books of Fall" reading selection picks. 
Head over to the She Reads website to read reviews and related posts of this book, as well as to see what the other "Books of Fall" are. 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Book Blog Walkers: Weekly Check-in November 7

  #BookBlogWalkers is hosted by Felicia @ The Geeky Bloggers Book Blog

I've been trying to get outside and walk as much as I can. Yes, it's been quite cool here in NY, but I really do love walking outdoors and since I am back in training mood for my next 1/2 marathon, which is obviously an outside event, I prefer, when I can, to do my training walks outside. A few days, I did have to bundle up as it was only around 40 degrees, but it is quite invigorating, I will say! And, I even brought the dogs on one of the walks - and they loved it!!!
Here's how my week went:  

Nov  1:  rest
Nov  2:  rest
Nov  3:  3 miles outside
Nov  4:  2 miles indoors

Nov  5:  2 miles indoors
Nov  6:  2 miles outside

Nov  7:  2 miles outside (1 mile with each dog!) 
How did your week go?

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