Thursday, April 8, 2021

Julie's Review: To Love and to Loathe

Author: Martha Waters
Series: Regency Vows
Publication Date:  April 6, 2021
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 349
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Fun barbs witih heart and romance
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SummaryThe widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition. After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover. Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts. ~amazon.com 

Review: I loved To Have and to Hoax last year and that was before the Bridgerton phenomeon came about and To Love and to Loathe is delightfully charming. The characters are witty and fun. The setting is what you would expect, a country house with people of the ton around. Diana and Jeremy have the best jabbing conversations I might have ever read. They know exactly what buttons to push on each other and where it hurts. As a reader you know underneath all of that jabbing, they are really drawn to each other. Shoot everyone in their inner circle sees it. So the bet they make sets up nicely for some romance.

You just know that as they spend more quality time together, their attraction will deepen and maybe they'll respect each other. Of course things don't really go as planned but that's what makes it such a fun book. There are a few surprises along the way that I really didn't see coming. Plus we get Violet and Emily back as Diana's best friends which is even better. Plus we get to see how Violet and James are fairing now that they settled their stupid fight. 

I chuckeld quite a lot reading this one and I can't wait for the next one in the series. If you are looking for a Bridgerton filler, you will definitely want to read the Regency Vows series. 



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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sunday Skim


Weeks of 3/21/2021 and 3/28/2021:


Finished:







Currently Reading:



I loved the first one To Have and to Hoax and this one is promising. 


Looking Forward To:







You know how you go on vacations and have grand plans for reading? That was me but I literally finished one book and started another. I didn't even start The Summer Wives on our trip back which I had planned. I did do a little catching up this week as we got into our Spring/Summer schedule for baseball. I'm definitely looking forward to the nice weather and hanging out with my gals. 



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Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday Skim


Weeks of 3/14/2021:


Finished:






Currently Reading:





Looking Forward To:




It's been a great reading week! I can't express how happy I am to be back to audiobooks. I'm hoping that this becomes more constant because I have a wish list on Overdrive going. Jill Santopolo never lets me down and boy did Sarah Penner's The Lost Apothecary transport me to England in the late 1700s! 

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Friday, March 19, 2021

Julie's Review: Are We There Yet?

Author: Kathleen West
Series: None
Publication Date:  March 16, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 352
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Parenting in the social media age
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: Alice Sullivan feels like she’s finally found her groove in middle age, but it only takes one moment for her perfectly curated life to unravel. On the same day she learns her daughter is struggling in second grade, a call from her son’s school accusing him of bullying throws Alice into a tailspin.  When it comes to light that the incident is part of a new behavior pattern for her son, one complete with fake social media profiles with a lot of questionable content, Alice’s social standing is quickly eroded to one of “those moms” who can’t control her kids. Soon she’s facing the very judgement she was all too happy to dole out when she thought no one was looking (or when she thought her house wasn’t made of glass). Then her mother unloads a family secret she’s kept for more than thirty years, and Alice’s entire perception of herself is shattered.  As her son’s new reputation polarizes her friendships and her family buzzes with the ramification of her mother’s choices, Alice realizes that she’s been too focused on measuring her success and happiness by everyone else's standards. Now, with all her shortcomings laid bare, she’ll have to figure out to whom to turn for help and decide who she really wants to be. ~amazon.com 

Review: I think we all can remember our Junior High days and agree while we all came out of them alive but not unscathed. In her Sophomore novel, Kathleen West examines what it's like to navigate Junior High as a parent and in the age of Social Media. Bascially, it's not easy. How much privacy do you give them? Do you install spying software on their phone? 

Alice is one of those characters that is proud of everything she can handle. She likes being someone to everyone. She loves thinking that she can do it all, until she really can't. Until it all comes down on her. When did her son turn into an asshole? When did he start acting out at school? Had she missed the signs? Also, how did she miss that her daughter was behind in her reading? It's like everything comes at her at the same time. Little does she know the biggest shock of all is coming from her mother. 

I don't want to give away the whole plot because I think you should read it yourself. It's an eye opening novel about Social Media, Peer Pressure both for kids and adults and dealing with friendships that have changed over the course of years. I loved that Alice's husband was there to support her and he really was her rock throughout the turmoil. It was up to Alice to decide how to navigate the waters and figure out what she wants to do and whom she wants to be. 

This book hasn't left my mind and has my kids looking at me weird when I ask them about their social media accounts and fake accounts. Even if you don't have kids, I think everyone can relate to some aspects of this novel. 



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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Julie's Review: The Invisible Woman


Author: Erika Robuck
Series: None
Publication Date:  February 9, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 368
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Multi-layered novel about the things women deal with throughout war and life
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: France, March 1944. Virginia Hall wasn't like the other young society women back home in Baltimore—she never wanted the debutante ball or silk gloves. Instead, she traded a safe life for adventure in Europe, and when her beloved second home is thrust into the dark days of war, she leaps in headfirst. Once she's recruited as an Allied spy, subverting the Nazis becomes her calling. But even the most cunning agent can be bested, and in wartime trusting the wrong person can prove fatal. Virginia is haunted every day by the betrayal that ravaged her first operation, and will do everything in her power to avenge the brave people she lost. While her future is anything but certain, this time more than ever Virginia knows that failure is not an option. Especially when she discovers what—and whom—she's truly protecting. ~amazon.com 

Review: Wow, just wow! I love reading and learning about strong, vibrant and brave women during WWII.  I shouldn't be surprised because we women are fierce! Virgina Hall wanted to make a difference in the world and not by raising money for charity. She defies her mom and moves to Paris where she is recruited to be a spy and a "pianist".  Except on her first mission things don't go so well and her team gets caught but she narrowly escapes to safetly. She's now on the Nazi's most wanted list so going back into the field is extra dangerous. Virginia wouldn't know what to do with herself so sh convinced her superiors to send her back. The thing is though "pianists" don't live more than 6 weeks in the field and this is something that weighs heavily on her mind as she tries to get the resistance troops ready for battle. 

It's not just Virigina but the band of women, men and even children that want to stand up and fight the Nazis. The bravery in this generation never fails to amaze me. As I read the novel, I felt like I was there and it made everything so much more intense. 

I did wait until I finished the book to use Google to learn a little bit more about Virigina. I will say that Ms. Robuck did her research impeccibly well because there wasn't much more on Google. 

I would love to have Ms. Robuck write a book about Vera, Virigina's handler because I have a feeling there is a fantastic story there too. 

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Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sunday Skim


Weeks of 3/7/2021:


Finished:



Currently Reading:





Looking Forward To:







Kathleen West's Minor Drama's and Other Catastrophes was a brilliant debut and her follow up Are We There Yet? is just as phenomenal. Ready Player Two was a wonderful sequel to one of my favorite audiobooks ever and I really enjoyed the ending. It is really nice to be back to listening to some books.

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Monday, March 8, 2021

Sunday Skim - A Day Late


Weeks of 2/14/2021, 2/21/2021 and 2/28/2021:


Finished:











Currently Reading:




Looking Forward To:






I loved The Love Proof and The Invisible Woman during this stretch of reading. I've also started my first audiobook in about 9 months; Ready Player Two.  It's nice to have something to look forward to during the work day besides listening to my son's teachers. I also set up my own office space in the basement and while yes it's a basement, I don't get harassed as much by the fam as sitting in the kitchen. 



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Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday Skim


Weeks of 2/7/2021:


Finished:






Currently Reading:





Looking Forward To:





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