Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison (audio)

Title: Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger    
Author: Beth Harbison      
Narrator: Orlagh Cassidy  
Published: July 2013, Macmillan Audio  
Length: 9 hours  
Source: Library 

From Beth Harbison, the New York Times bestselling author of When in Doubt, Add Butter and Shoe Addicts Anonymous, comes Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger, a delightful new novel that will make you look at second chances in a whole new way.

Ten years ago, Quinn Barton was on her way to the altar to marry Burke Morrison, her high school sweetheart, when something derailed her. Rather, someone derailed her—the Best Man who at the last minute begged her to reconsider the marriage. He told her that Burke had been cheating on her. For a long time. Quinn, stunned, hurt, and confused, struggled with the obligation of fulfilling her guests’ expectations—providing a wedding—and running for her life.

She chose running. With the Best Man. Who happened to be Burke’s brother, Frank.

That relationship didn’t work either. How could it, when Quinn had been engaged to, in love with, Frank’s brother? Quinn opted for neither, and, instead, spends the next seventeen years working in her family’s Middleburg, Virginia, bridal shop, Talk of the Gown, where she subconsciously does penance for the disservice she did to marriage.

But when the two men return to town for another wedding, old anger, hurt, and passion resurface. Just because you’ve traded the good guy for the bad guy for no guy doesn’t mean you have to stay away from love for the rest of your life, does it? Told with Beth Harbison's flair for humor and heart, Chose the Wrong Guy will keep you guessing and make you believe in the possibilities of love.

My thoughts: This is the first Beth Harbison book I've read/listened to and I have to say - it was so cute!!! Just the title alone caught my attention but I will say the book is more than just fluff. It's about second chances and moving on.

I loved the characters in this book, from Quinn, who I really adored, to her ex and his brother, their grandmother, and most especially, Quinn's friend Glenn. Every character had their part to play. What I loved most is that almost every character is flawed - which makes them that much more realistic.

The antics in this book are laugh-out-loud. I particularly loved how Glenn gave Quinn a different task in his 30-day challenge in an effort to help Quinn consider a new path in life, rather than resorting to the same old. Boy, some of those tasks would have been way out of my comfort zone, but Quinn does them all, with a few mishaps along the way.

This was a light, fun book that has me itching to try another...the only question is, do I try audio again or read. I have two of Beth's books on my shelf, but am thinking audio might be the way to go!


Audio Thoughts: Orlagh Cassidy does a great job with this book. She infuses just the right amount humor when the situation warrants it, but then is able to keep a serious tone when needed as well. She gives all the characters unique voices. I've listened to Orlagh before and enjoy her narrations.


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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: One Perfect Night by Bella Andre

Title: One Perfect Night   
Author: Bella Andre    
Series: The Sullivans, #8.5     
Published: January 2013, Oak Press, LLC  
Format: E-book,100 pages
Source: Personal copy  


In this new sexy contemporary romance novella from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre, can Noah convince Colbie they are meant to be together in ONE PERFECT NIGHT?

***Guest starring Mia Sullivan and Rafe Sullivan from Bella Andre’s Sullivan family series, ONE PERFECT NIGHT is 20,000 words / 100 pages.***

One touch...One kiss…
The first time Noah Bryant meets Colbie Michaels, they collide at the top of a snowy mountain in California and sparks fly. Swamped by sudden emotion—and a desire she can’t control—Colbie panics. Before he can get her phone number or last name, she’s gone. When they end up serendipitously meeting in Seattle one week later, Noah is certain Colbie is his destiny, and he can’t make the mistake of losing her again.

One night...One forever love…
Colbie wants to believe in a happily-ever-after, but experience tells her falling for Noah is more likely to lead to a broken heart. Only, how can she resist him as he sets out to prove that they’re destined to be together? Especially when he’s intent on fulfilling every last one of her secret desires and he’s willing to keep proving it to her every day...and every sweet and sinful night.

My thoughts: When I first saw this as a e-book special, I didn't realize that it was part of Bella Andre's Sullivan series. Of course, once I found out it was, I was thrilled - the Sullivan series is one of my favorite series and I am having so much fun making my way through the series.

This installment is short and sweet, but very steamy!!! I loved the sparks that fly between Colbie and Noah and how their chance meeting ends up being so much more. They both end up hiring Rafe Sullivan to find each other and when Rafe realizes that these two clients are looking for each other, he enlists Mia Sullivan to plan a meeting between them. Then it's all up to Noah to convince Colbie to give him one night to prove he's not the cad her ex was...and what a night it ends up being!

I absolutely love Bella Andre's writing...she creates such fun, real characters that you can't help rooting for. While this was a short story and we don't get a ton of details about the characters, we get enough to know that they are good people who just want to find the one. And who doesn't?

I've had to put the Sullivan books aside due to other reading commitments, but reading this short story has certainly got me itching to get back to them. Do you have a series that you just can't wait to get back to?


Books in this series:
1. The Look of Love                         8.5   One Perfect Night  
2. From This Moment On              9.  The Way You Look Tonight  
3. Can't Help Falling in Love        10. Kissing Under the Mistletoe
4. I Only Have Eyes for You        11.  It Must Be Your Love  
5. If You Were Mine                       12.  Just To Be With You - due out Spring 2014  
6. Let Me Be the One                      13.  Title TBA  
7. Come a Little Bit Closer            14. Title TBA
8. Always On My Mind

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: Breathe by Kate Bishop

Title: Breathe   
Author: Kate Bishop   
Narrator: Teri Clark Linden   
Published: July 2013, Audible Studios 
Length: 11 hours, 41 minutes  
Source: Personal copy via Audible 

Alex thought she had married the man of her dreams: successful, gorgeous, and delighted by her small-town charm. When he walks out six months later, proclaiming to have 'found himself' (with the help of a stunning yoga teacher), she 'finds herself' alone in an unfamiliar city, vengefully drinking through his prized wine collection, living on takeout, and refusing to answer the door. When this fails to cure her broken heart and bruised ego, she reluctantly allows her new friends to intervene. Slowly, Alex learns to define success on her own terms; she discovers the secret to love in all its forms, and the perfect flying crow pose, one breath at a time.

My thoughts: This was a cute, fun book. Being that I practice yoga (somewhat sporadically at the moment), I was familiar with the poses and was able to understand all the yoga terminology, but I could see that if you did not do yoga, this might not be quite as enjoyable.

I found Alex to be quite a quirky, interesting character. She is quite stunned when her husband up and leaves her for his yoga instructor. She's struggling to move on, but with the help of some friends and yoga, she finds she does have the strength to be her own person. I really enjoyed her journey of finding herself. It's got a few bumps along the way, as you might imagine, and it's easy to identify with Alex as she goes through this.

The yoga theme throughout the story had me itching to get back to my own practice. All the classes and poses were almost a tease to me...I take classes at my gym, but I could clearly picture the image of people lining up early to get into a yoga class with a certain teacher. There are a few classes like that at my gym, though I tend to go for the quieter ones!

I'm glad I picked this one up and will be curious to see what comes next from Kate Bishop.


Audio Thoughts: This is the first time I've listened to Teri Clark Linden narrate a book and I quite enjoyed listening to her. She had a calming voice, which I equate with yoga, so that was a good fit. I'll be looking to see what else she has narrated.


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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review: The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

Title: The Shadow Year   
Author: Hannah Richell    
Published:  May 2014, Grand Central Publishing 
Format: Paperback, 400 pages    
Source: Publisher/She Reads  

On a sultry summer’s day in 1980, five friends stumble upon an abandoned lakeside cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. For Kat and her friends, it offers an escape; a chance to drop out for a while, with lazy summer days by the lake and intimate winter evenings around the fire. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise and when an unexpected visitor appears at their door, nothing will be the same again.

Three decades later, Lila arrives at the same remote cottage. With her marriage in crisis, she finds solace in renovating the tumbledown house. Little by little she wonders about the previous inhabitants. How did they manage in such isolation? Why did they leave in such a hurry, with their belongings still strewn about? Most disturbing of all, why can t she shake the feeling that someone might be watching her?

The Shadow Year is a story of secrets, tragedy, lies and betrayal. It’s a tale that explores the light and dark of human relationships and the potential the past has to not only touch our present, but also to alter our future.

My thoughts: Once again the gals at She Reads have managed to pick a book that I probably would not have picked up, but I ended up enjoyed immensely. I don't know how they do it, but these gals are really good at picking these gems!

While I will admit that this book did get off to a bit of a slow start for me, it quickly picks up and I soon had a hard time putting it down. Told in chapters alternating from the present to the past, it was almost like having mini-cliffhangers each time it switched. Just as we got to a place where something really good was revealed, we'd be at the end of a chapter and it would switch to the other time period.

I loved that all the characters in this book are flawed...every single one of them! The five graduates have high hopes of living off the land for a year and it starts off well, during the summer months. But when the weather changes, so does the story, and things start to take a turn for the worse. You know something bad is going to happen and you wait for it with baited breath...Then there's Lila in the present day. She's dealing with the loss of her child and when she finds out she's been left this cabin, uses it to escape reality and while there, learns about the five graduates.

As I was reading, I kept wondering how these two story lines would intersect. I had some ideas, but I definitely did not guess the ultimate outcome...when I got to the end all I could say was WOW...did I just read that? How did I miss that? I haven't stopped thinking about how well-crafted this book is and now I can't wait to pick up another book by Hannah Richell!


The May Book Club Selection from She Reads is The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell
Head over to the She Reads website to read other reviews and related posts as well as a chance to win a copy of the book.


    
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Monday, May 26, 2014

Short & Sweet Review: Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs (audio)

Title: Deadly Decisions   
Author: Kathy Reichs    
Series: Temperance Brennan, #3     
Narrator: Lorelei King   
Published: February 2012, Simon & Schuster Audio  
Length: 9 hours, 30 minutes  
Source: Personal copy via Audible  

When innocent blood is spilled, she deciphers the shattering truth it holds.

Nine-year-old Emily Anne Toussaint is fatally shot on a Montreal street. A North Carolina teenager disappears from her home, and parts of her skeleton are found hundreds of miles away. The shocking deaths propel Tempe Brennan from north to south, and deep into a shattering investigation inside the bizarre culture of outlaw motorcycle gangs -- where one misstep could bring disaster for herself or someone she loves.
***Short & Sweet Reviews are short, quick reviews. These will mainly be used for series books where I have already done full reviews on some of the earlier books or for books that I feel will suffice with a quick review. These will not be used for review requests or blog tours.

My thoughts: I love this series and love how it's completely different than the television show (which on a side note, I stopped watching because of too many other shows and too many books - just not enough time!). Anyway, back to my review...as I slowly make my way through this series, I find that the books are more technical and dark, which I like. I also find the attention to detail very interesting - I love all the forensic explanations. A lot of different things are going on that at the end all wind up connecting - it definitely keeps you paying attention to see how it all comes together!

I'm very intrigued by the relationship between Tempe and Andrew Ryan. There are a lot of ups and downs in that relationship and I'm not really sure where it's heading...


Audio thoughts: The whole time I was listening to this, I had to keep reminding myself that I was listening to a Temperance Brennan book and not a Stephanie Plum book (by author Janet Evanovich) that Lorelei King also narrates. I guess that's the problem when you listen to a whole series on audio - you associate that narrator with that particular set of characters and when you then go to listen to something different, it's hard to switch gears. On top of that, Lorelei uses that same voices, so everytime she has Brennan talking, to me it sounded like Stephanie and Andrew Ryan's voice sounded like Moreli. Don't get me wrong - I love Lorelei King, but to me, she's the voice of Janet Evanovich's characters. Hopefully the next Kathy Reichs book I pick up in audio is done by a different narrator. 

Has this happened to you?

 
Books in this series: 
  1. Deja Dead                                12.  206 Bones
  2. Death du Jour                       13.  Spider Bones
  3. Deadly Decisions                 14.  Flash & Bones
  4. Fatal Voyage                         15.  Bones are Forever
  5. Grave Secrets                        15.5  Bones in Her Pocket
  6. Bare Bones                              16.  Bones of the Lost
  7. Monday Mourning              16.5  Swamp Bones
  8. Cross Bones                            17.  Bones Never Lie
  9. Break No Bones
  10. Bones to Ashes
  11. Devil Bones
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Sunday Post #25 (5.25.14)

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've decided to try a new weekly meme - a place where I can do both a weekly wrap up and share what books I get all in one post, so I'm going to give The Sunday Post a try, and also link up with Sheila's It's Monday Post over at Book Journey.  

It's here, it's here...BEA is in 3 days and I am so excited - the books, the authors, the bloggers, the experience...ahhh!!! I have my schedule ready and I just need to finish packing and then I'm ready to go! 


I don't have any grand delusions that I'll be getting a ton of reading done this week, so I'll left it open...I know I might have time to read while standing in some of the author lines, but I might want to chat to other bloggers/people in line, too. I will have time to read on the train into the city on Wednesday, but with my excitement level as high as it is, who knows how much I'll actually get done!  I do have some reviews scheduled for the week and will be posting all about my experiences when I get back. For any live updates, follow me on twitter - @alwayswithabook.

Have a great week everyone!!!
  *****************************************************************************************
Last week on the Blog:      
 
* Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: When We Met by Susan Mallery  
* Review: The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow
* Review: Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes   
* Book Blog Walkers: Weekly Check-in May 23, 2014  
* Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Sweet Life Boxed Set
* Review: The Lost Husband by Katherine Center

Books Read:  
* Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes (review book)     
* Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella (library audio book) 
* The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell (review book)
 
  Currently Reading:      
 
* The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank (review book)      
* The Collector by Nora Roberts (audio book) 

  Books Up Next:      
 
* The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller (review e-book)    
 

Current Giveaways:       
* A Sweet Life Boxed Set ...1 e-copy. Ends 6.6.14

Coming Up on the Blog:
* Review: Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs  
* Review:  The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell
* Review: Breathe by Kate Bishop 
* Review: One Perfect Night by Bella Andre
* Review: Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison

 
Book Haul:      
For Review:  
* That Night by Chevy Stevens (courtesy of Publisher)
Purchased:  
* Where There's Smoke by Jodi Picoult (e-book)
* The Perfect Score by Beth Albright (e-book)


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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: The Lost Husband by Katherine Center (audio)

Title: The Lost Husband   
Author: Katherine Center    
Narrator: Amy Rubinate  
Published: July 2013, Tantor Media  
Length: 8 hours 20 minutes  
Source: Personal copy via Audible 


Dear Libby, It occurs to me that you and your two children have been living with your mother for—Dear Lord!—two whole years, and I’m writing to see if you'd like to be rescued.

The letter comes out of the blue, and just in time for Libby Moran, who—after the sudden death of her husband, Danny—went to stay with her hypercritical mother. Now her crazy Aunt Jean has offered Libby an escape: a job and a place to live on her farm in the Texas Hill Country. Before she can talk herself out of it, Libby is packing the minivan, grabbing the kids, and hitting the road.

Life on Aunt Jean’s goat farm is both more wonderful and more mysterious than Libby could have imagined. Beyond the animals and the strenuous work, there is quiet—deep, country quiet. But there is also a shaggy, gruff (though purportedly handsome, under all that hair) farm manager with a tragic home life, a formerly famous feed-store clerk who claims she can contact Danny “on the other side,” and the eccentric aunt Libby never really knew but who turns out to be exactly what she’s been looking for. And despite everything she’s lost, Libby soon realizes how much more she’s found. She hasn’t just traded one kind of crazy for another: She may actually have found the place to bring her little family—and herself—back to life.

My thoughts: I've read a few books by Katherine Center and have enjoyed them, so I was excited to see that there was another one out that I hadn't yet read. While I had originally requested this one on Netgalley, I hadn't gotten to it yet, so in order to bump it up on my list, I decided to try it on audio and really enjoyed it that way.

This book is all about starting over. Libby has lost her husband and when a letter arrives from her aunt to come help out on her farm two years later, she decides to give it a go. Little did she know just how much she needed that change. Not only for herself but for her two young children.

I loved the characters in this book. Katherine Center creates such strong female characters that you just can't help root for and Libby is definitely one of them, as is Sunshine, the young girl Libby meets at her aunt's farm. The friendship that the two strike up is just what both need. Then there's Libby's Aunt Jean - what a fun, interesting character she is. You just know there's more to her than meets the eye and as time goes on, we get to a little more about her.

The farm itself with the goats and the cheese-making provide some very humorous situations. I love the fact that each goat has a name and that they are all named after famous women. The other characters help round out the story, including O'Connor, the hot farmer, and Libby's kids, Abby and Tank. These all help keep the story from getting too heavy, adding a playful layer to the book. Abby provides some comic relief with her antics at school, with O'Connor giving her some self-defense lessons when needed.

The way this story comes together is almost magical and this is what I love about reading. While the overall subject of this book was about moving on after the loss of a spouse, there is a sense of hopefulness and inspiration that you can't help but take away after reading it. I can't wait to see what comes next for Katherine Center...she is definitely on my list of authors to watch!



Audio Thoughts: This is the second book I've listened to Amy Rubinate narrate and I really enjoy listening to her. She is able to tell a story in such a way that you can't help get lost in it. She gives each character their own voice and infuses just the right amount of emotion when needed. I will definitely be looking to see what else she narrates.



 
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Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Sweet Life Boxed Set (CLOSED)


A Sweet Life



A Sweet Life Boxed Set 
(Fourteen Contemporary Romances by Bestselling Authors to Benefit Diabetes Research)
Publication date: May 1st 2014 
Have your cake and eat it too–your purchase of A Sweet Life helps fight against diabetes!

Priced at only $2.99 (regular price $7.99), indulge in this stunning limited edition collection of fourteen contemporary romances by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors… 
You can make a difference while you read! All proceeds from the sale of A Sweet Life will be donated to the Diabetes Research Institute via Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research. 
Featuring a foreword by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Debbie Macomber. 
Get your copy today!
1500 pages/ 675 000 words





Purchase A Sweet Life


 
A SWEET LIFE
Forward by Debbie Macomber

I have no memories of my paternal grandmother. My best guess is that I was barely four years old when she died. But, I like to think I inherited my love of knitting from her. My older cousins tell the story of sitting in a semi-circle in front of her rocking chair and watching her crochet. Her fingers moved at a frantic speed as she rocked back and forth. The amazing part is that she was sound asleep and snoring!

My father, who was the youngest boy, was basically raised by his oldest sister, my aunt Betty, because my grandmother was diabetic. She was often tired and sickly, spending the majority of her time in bed.

Another memory my cousins have shared with me is of our grandmother boiling her hypodermic needles because she was insulin dependent. My father and three of my uncles were also diabetic and, by the end of their lives, insulin-dependent as well. And now several of my cousins are affected by the disease.

Like my cousins, for the last twenty-five years I've been a Type 2 diet-controlled diabetic.

Diabetes is a life-changing disease. It's estimated that 25.8 million children and adults in the United States are diabetic. That's 8.3% of the population. My guess is that we all know someone who is diabetic.

When Brenda Novak's youngest son, Thad, was diagnosed, she went on a one-woman mission to do whatever was necessary to fund research for a cure to this horrible disease. If you've ever met Brenda you know she is passionate about making a difference. This is her tenth year holding an auction to raise money for this cause and to date her efforts have resulted in more than $2 million dollars toward research for a cure.

The book you've purchased will go toward making the dream of a world free of diabetes a reality. Each one of the authors on this long list of contributors has given of their talent and themselves to aid in this mission. You're about to read some of the biggest names in the field of romance.

Three of these talented authors, Susan Wiggs, Barbara Freethy and Rachel Van Dyken, have scored #1 placements on the New York Times best seller lists. Now that's impressive. The remaining eleven are all well established authors with booming careers. In other words, you are in for a real treat.

And really, isn't this the best of all worlds? Not only is this an enjoyable read but at the same time your purchase is contributing to a worthy cause. You can't ask for a better win/win situation.

It's been my honor to write the forward. Keep at it, Brenda. Not only are you one amazing author, you're a woman with passion and heart.

Now enjoy.

With warmest wishes,
Debbie Macomber


I Only Have Eyes For You by Bella Andre (The Sullivans)
The only woman wealthy Irish pub owner Jake McCann wants is the one he can’t have–Sophie Sullivan, his best friend’s off limits sister. But when the beautiful librarian appears on his doorstep as his every fantasy come to life, even though Jake knows loving Sophie isn’t the right thing to do…how can he possibly resist?


On A Night Like This by Barbara Freethy (Callways #1)
From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy comes the first book about the Callaways, a big Irish family born to serve and protect, many as San Francisco firefighters.


May Day! By Heather Graham
Members of the Krewe of Hunters team plan a relaxing vacation to jolly old London for the English celebration–they never figured that a May Pole just might be murder.


Shopping for a Billionaire by Julia Kent
When mystery shopper Shannon Jacoby meets billionaire Declan McCormick with her hand down a toilet in the men’s room of one of his stores, it’s love at first flush.


Built to Last by Susan Mallery
The tale of Aaron Cross, a man who doesn’t know he needs saving…until he meets Marissa Spencer, a heroine inspired by the real life founder of the Motheread/ Fatheread Literacy Program.


A Baby of Her Own by Brenda Novak
Delaney is tired of waiting for the right man–all she wants is a baby. After seducing a handsome stranger, she returns to Dundee to find that same man is actually taking up residence on a ranch just outside of town–where he will very likely realize she’s expecting.


Dare to Love by Carly Phillips
In relationships, Ian Dare offers the bare minimum–until one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor changes his perspective. Their affair heats up and love comes into play, but Riley’s secret past just might cost them everything.


Executive Seduction by Jennifer Probst
When Chandler Santell turns to Logan Grant, the most ruthless CEO in the finance industry to save her beloved Yoga and Arts Center, she never intended to have seduction as part of the plan…


In Too Deep by RaeAnne Thayne
Though fiercely drawn to the comfort of Andrea McPhee’s arms, Will Tanner isn’t sure he can find room for a woman like her in a life focused on vengeance–until he discovers she has secrets of her own.


Every Girl Does It by Rachel Van Dyken
Amanda gets a flash from the past when the nerdy kid she rejected in high school suddenly reappears in her life…dead sexy, he’s all man and he wants her.


Homecoming Season by Susan Wiggs
Miranda Sweeney and her family find hope and healing while spending an autumn at Willow Lake after Miranda survives breast cancer.


Giveaway Details (CLOSED) - (International)
Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours, I have one e-copy of A Sweet Life Boxed Set to give away to my readers. 

To enter...
  • Leave a comment below & be sure to include your email address
  • Tweet, share on Facebook or blog for 2 extra entries.
  • You MUST include email address or entry will be invalid.
  • I will contact winner at the conclusion of the giveaway & they will have 2 days to respond or I will pick a new winner.
This giveaway is open Internationally and ends June 6th.


Good Luck!!!

 
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Book Blog Walkers: Weekly Check-in May 23, 2014

 

This week I decided to take it easy. I have a crazy week coming up next week (I'm heading to NYC for BEA for the first time!!!) and I was feeling a bit run down. I still got my 30 minutes in each day, but didn't do any major walks. Next week I will be on my feet a lot, doing a fair bit of walking, so I figured the smart thing to do was to make sure I got plenty of rest this week. I'm actually curious to see just how many steps I'll be getting in next week...walking around the city and at the Javits for BEA...
 

Here's how my week went:  

May 17:  4 miles power walking
May 18:  rest
May 19:  30 minutes
May 20:  30 minutes

May 21:  30 minutes
May 22:  30 minutes

May 23:  30 minutes
 

How did your week go?
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes

Title: Silver Bay    
Author: Jojo Moyes     
Published: April 2014, Penguin Books  
Format: ARC e-book, 352 pages    
Source: Netgalley via Publisher 


From the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You and One Plus One, a surprising and moving romance set in an old-fashioned seaside town on the verge of unwelcome change

Liza McCullen will never fully escape her past. But the unspoiled beaches and tight-knit community of Silver Bay offer the freedom and safety she craves—if not for herself, then for her young daughter, Hannah. That is, until Mike Dormer arrives as a guest in her aunt’s hotel.

The mild-mannered Englishman with his too-smart clothes and distracting eyes could destroy everything Liza has worked so hard to protect: not only the family business and the bay that harbors her beloved whales, but also her conviction that she will never love—never deserve to love—again.

For his part, Mike Dormer is expecting just another business deal—an easy job kick-starting a resort in a small seaside town ripe for development. But he finds that he doesn’t quite know what to make of the eccentric inhabitants of the ramshackle Silver Bay Hotel, especially not enigmatic Liza McCullen, and their claim to the surrounding waters.

As the development begins to take on a momentum of its own, Mike’s and Liza’s worlds collide in this hugely affecting and irresistible tale full of Jojo Moyes’s signature humor and generosity.

My thoughts: It's no secret that I am a big fan of Jojo Moyes. I have read quite a few of her books and even had the opportunity to meet her last year. So, of course, when I saw that one of her older books, Silver Bay, was being re-released and that it was on Netgalley, I just had to request it!

I just love the characters that Jojo Moyes creates. In Silver Bay, she gives us three likeable women (one really a young girl) all with their own stories to tell and a young man that thought he had life all figured out. Told from alternating perspectives of these four characters, we learn what has brought Liza and her daughter, Hannah and Mike to the little seaside town of Silver Bay. It's quite clear there are secrets that need to be divulged and ever so slowly we get the whole picture. 

I like when authors choose to use a young narrator in their books. Hannah, Liza's young daughter, provides an innocent view of what is happening in the story. Because she's experienced upheaval and loss in her short life, she has that sense of being an old soul, but in the next scene she might be acting young and carefree.

This is not an action-packed story, but rather a slow, charming tale about the town, it's people and the sea animals that inhabit Silver Bay. There are mysteries that beg to be solved as the story progresses and a few plot twists that provide an added dimension to the book.

I really enjoyed this book and have loved reading through Jojo Moyes' backlist. All the stories are so different that you just never know what you will get when picking up one of her books. What will be my next Jojo Moyes book? Perhaps the next one that gets re-released or maybe her brand new one coming out soon...

Do you have an author that once you discovered him or her, you had to read everything they've written? I have a few and Jojo Moyes is definitely on that list!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow

Title: The Forgotten Seamstress    
Author: Liz Trenow    
Published: May 2014, Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: ARC e-book, 320 pages   
Source: Netgalley   

It is 1910 and Maria, a talented young girl from the East end of London, is employed to work as a seamstress for the royal family. As an attractive girl, she soon catches the eye of the Prince of Wales and she in turn is captivated by his glamour and intensity.

But careless talk causes trouble and soon Maria’s life takes a far darker turn. Disbelieved and dismissed she is thrown into a mental asylum, shut away from the real world with only her needlework for company.

Can a beautiful quilt, discovered many years later, reveal the truth behind what happened to Maria?

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Liz Trenow and I really enjoyed it. It's a dual narrative story that comes together like the pieces of a patchwork quilt. But the interesting fact is that we never actually "meet" one of the narrators.

I really have come to enjoy stories that include a present-day storyline infused with a story from the past. What I loved about this particular book is that the story from the past comes to us from family stories, interviews that were tape-recorded and letters.We get to know Maria from all this and never really meet her. I think this gives a completely different perspective as to Maria's character. We learn about her through these things, giving us an intimate look into her life.

When Caroline comes into possession of the quilt, she becomes obsessed with it. She's just lost her job and decides to take the time, while growing her new company, to find out the story behind this quilt. Little did she know what she would uncover.

The two characters, though years apart, have similar journeys and this is what brings the story to life, in my opinion. It really ties the stories together, and then as secrets are discovered and revealed, you see the threads and how they bind one to the other.

I also appreciated the historical look into psychiatrics in the twentieth century. Liz Trenow clearly did her research into this and it provides for a rather interesting aspect to include in the story line. Coupled with the details about quilting and sewing and I was utterly fascinated.

Liz Trenow is now going on my list of authors to watch. I need to go back and read her debut, The Last Telegram, and then will certainly be keeping an eye out for what comes next.


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Monday, May 19, 2014

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: When We Met by Susan Mallery

Title: When We Met   
Author: Susan Mallery     
Series: Fool's Gold, #13      
Published: April 2014, Harlequin HQN
Format: ARC e-book, 384 pages   
Source: Netgalley via Meryl Moss/BookTrib

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery invites you back to Fool's Gold, where a newcomer to town might finally meet the man she never knew she needed…

Angel Whittaker earned his scars the hard way, but the scars that can't be seen are the ones that haunt him the most. Since he moved to Fool's Gold, California, he's cobbled together a life for himself as a bodyguard trainer. If he's not exactly happy, at least his heart is safe.

Working with pro-football superstars taught tough-talking PR woman Taryn Crawford one thing—she can go toe to toe with any man. But then dark, dangerous former Special Ops Angel targets her for seduction…and challenges her to resist his tempting kisses.

Even in four-inch heels, Taryn never backs down. Unless, somehow, Angel can convince her that surrender might feel even better than victory.

My thoughts: This is the first of Susan Mallery's latest trilogy of the Fool's Gold books and it certainly starts with a bang. I don't know how Susan does it, but she manages to continue to come up with appealing, fun romances without being stale, which is a pretty big feat in a long series.

Once again, we have a unique main character - Taryn comes across as a ballbuster and pretty high maintenance (oh how I would love to see her shoe collection!). We met her in a few of the more recent books and she certainly came across as a tough cookie. I was a bit unsure who would be a match for her and low and behold, Susan Mallery finds the perfect candidate...Angel, who is anything but an angel. He was quite bold about wanting Taryn and I absolutely loved watching these two dance around their mutual feelings and connection.

I also loved seeing the vulnerable side of these two as well. Watching them with Angel's Little Acorns was priceless. Then there's the problem that comes up with the town's slogan. It's quite funny if you think about it and Taryn's PR company spearheads the brainstorming for a new slogan. I can't wait to see how this all plays out with the rest of this trilogy.

We are introduced to the rest of the characters that will be the focus of this trilogy and I can't wait to read their stories...I have a feeling they will be just as good as this one, considering they feature some rather hot men!!!


Books in this series:

     1.  Chasing Perfect                   9.5  A Fool's Gold Christmas
     2.  Almost Perfect                    9.75  Halfway There
     2.5  Sister of the Bride           10.  Just One Kiss
     3.  Finding Perfect                   11.   Two of a Kind
     4.  Only Mine                              12.  Three Little Words
     5.  Only Yours                            12.5  Christmas on 4th Street
     6.  Only His                                  13. When We Met                      
     6.1  Only Us                                 14.   Before We Kiss - due out May 2014
     6.2  Almost Summer               15.  Until We Touch - due out Jun 2014
     7.  Summer Days                      15.5  Yours for Christmas - due out Sep 2014  

     8.  Summer Nights                   
     9.  All Summer Long       




Giveaway: 
Now, for the giveaway!!! Last week, I posted a Q&A with Susan  Mallery. For a chance to win this book (US only), head over to that post (link is here) and enter the giveaway.  Giveaway ends May 22, 2014. 
 
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