Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sunday Skim

 



Finished:








Currently Reading
:







Looking Forward To:




I can't believe we are almost at the end of September! Where does time go? I've been reading a lot of great books this month and still have more to come. My audiobook game is strong right now and I'm flying through them. I'm so excited and anxiou to read Anthony Doerr's latest. I loved All the Lights We Cannot See but this is very different. The summary reminds me of The Starless Sea that I read late last year. 
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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sunday Skim

 



Finished:







Currently Reading
:






Looking Forward To:





It's been a good couple of weeks for reading here. I took a couple days off of work and pretty much finished The Heart Principle in one day. It was so nice to be able to do that. September looks to be another great month of reading. Is there one you are looking forward to? 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Julie's Review: The Heart Principle

Author: Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #3
Publication Date:  August 31, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 352
Obtained: Book of the Month Club
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Saucy with a lot of heart and depth
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better. That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. ~amazon.com

Review: Anna is a musician that became famous on YouTube and she's suffering from trying to replicate that moment daily. All it does is send her into a funk that she can't get out of; she's literally going in circles. Add to that her boyfriend of 5 years has decided that he wants to see other people before he's ready to commit to her longer term. To say that Anna is shocked is an understatement. Anna doesn't sit around and mop though, under the encouragement of her friends, she signs up for dating apps. 

Across town Michael is trying to convince his cousin Quan to get back out there after a medical scare and a year of getting back to "normal". Quan is struggling with his own issues about what he looks like after a fight with cancer. Will any woman be ok with his changes? He eventually downloads the dating apps and happens upon Anna. For both of them this is supposed to be a one night stand that pushes them back into their routines. Except that's not exactly how it goes. 

Ms. Hoang has a way of writing that immediately pulls you in where you feel an attachment to her characters. While we have met Quan in another one of her novels, we see him struggle with his own issues. Anna is a bit of a mess until her therapist says something that rings a bit true for her and it's a diagnosis that will change her life. It helps her answer questions about herself that she's struggled with for years. 

While The Heart Principle is definitely saucy, it has a lot of heart and depth to it as well. It highlights family struggles and triumphs. It's about self-acceptance.  It's a fine conclusion to her trilogy, The Kiss Quotient. 


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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Julie's Review: Dark Roads

Author: Chevy Stevens
Series: None
Publication Date:  August 3, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 328
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Thriller with horror vibes
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: The Cold Creek Highway stretches close to five hundred miles through British Columbia’s rugged wilderness to the west coast. Isolated and vast, it has become a prime hunting ground for predators. For decades, young women traveling the road have gone missing. Motorists and hitchhikers, those passing through or living in one of the small towns scattered along the region, have fallen prey time and again. And no killer or abductor who has stalked the highway has ever been brought to justice. Hailey McBride calls Cold Creek home. Her father taught her to respect nature, how to live and survive off the land, and to never travel the highway alone. Now he’s gone, leaving her a teenage orphan in the care of her aunt whose police officer husband uses his badge as a means to bully and control Hailey. Overwhelmed by grief and forbidden to work, socialize, or date, Hailey vanishes into the mountainous terrain, hoping everyone will believe she’s left town. Rumors spread that she was taken by the highway killer—who’s claimed another victim over the summer. One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek, where her sister Amber lived—and where she was murdered. Estranged from her parents and seeking closure, Beth takes a waitressing job at the local diner, just as Amber did, desperate to understand what happened to her and why. But Beth’s search for answers puts a target on her back—and threatens to reveal the truth behind Hailey’s disappearance… ~amazon.com

Review: I have been waiting for this new Chevy Stevens book for a few years and Dark Roads did not disappoint. If you've read her books before you know she doesn't shy away from dark or sensitive subject matters in her novels but this one might be her darkest yet. Hailey is an orphan since her dad died leaving her to live with her aunt, cousin and Uncle. Her Uncle is a local Sheriff that gives her the creeps but she can't quite pinpoint why. Hailey keeps to herself except for her best friend Johnny who she's known since they were little kids. It's Johnny who she turns to when she stumbles upon something about her Uncle.

As Hailey disappears into the night, she still is striving to find a way to get her Uncle arrested because she knows he's guilty but of what she isn't 100% sure; she just wants someone to investigate him. Then she finds the body of Amber and she is torn up and goes even deeper into hiding. 

Enter Amber sister, Beth, a year later to figure out what happened to her sister on the side of that road. Little does she know that her questions will put her in harms way when she least expects it. Beth is dealing with her own issues of being the older, more responsible sister to her parents and is coming unraveled. She's drinking too much and staying at a lake by herself. 

Dark Roads definitely has the feel of a psychological thriller with a bit of horror thrown in but it's not just there for sensationalism. Ms. Stevens highlights how woman are preyed upon, are victims and yet can be the heroes of their stories as well. The town and the woods of Cold Creek are as much a character of the novel as any human. It goes to show you that setting is key to a novel's vibe. 

If you haven't ready Chevy Stevens, I highly recommend either this one or any of her other backlist novels. 




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Friday, September 3, 2021

Monthly Rewind: August 2021



I wanted to try a little something new here and see how it goes. I thought it might be fun to see how the books I read the previous month fell out. I'll include both books I've read and listened to for the month. 

* Denotes Audiobooks

Home Run (You should run and get this): This month I wouldn't say anything I read fits this category. 




Triple(You really don't want to miss it):



*



 *


 

Double(You could get on the waiting list at the library and be ok):





Single(Wait it out): N/A





StrikeOuts(Don't bother):  N/A



It was a great month for some books. It's one of the reasons I think I'll enjoy doing this monthly because sometimes when you are in the thick of it, it can seem like you aren't reading a lot. Did any of you read these and agree/disagree with my categorization?



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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Sunday Skim


Week of 8/22/2021:


Finished:





Currently Reading
:



Looking Forward To:




I was totally looking forward to The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot but I didn't connect with it the way I thought I would. I know many people love this book and I can see why.  Looking forward to the September reads, which is long but really looking forward to The Heart Principle before then. 



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Friday, August 27, 2021

Julie's Review: The Paris Connection

Author: Lorraine Brown
Series: None
Publication Date:  August 24, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam & Son's
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Fun romance through the streets of Paris
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: When Hannah and her boyfriend, Simon, set out to Amsterdam, they’re confident that they’ll make it to his sister’s wedding in time. However, unbeknownst to them, their train is scheduled to divide in the middle of the night. And when it does, half of it continues the route to Amsterdam. And the other half—the one with Hannah in it—heads three hundred miles away, to Paris. Left without her belongings or hope of reuniting with Simon, Hannah has no choice but to spend the day in Paris before the next train out. Worse than being stranded in a foreign city alone? Being stuck with Léo, the handsome but infuriating Frenchman who blames Hannah for his own unwanted delay. The series of mishaps that sends them traipsing through the City of Light is only further proof that Hannah’s day has gone from bad to worse. But as she takes in the glorious sights of the city—and spends more time with Léo—Hannah discovers that the unexpected detour might actually be leading her to the life she was always meant to live . . . ~amazon.com

Review:  I don’t read romance novels because I want mystery to the ending; I read them to get lost in the story of 2 people figuring out that they are better together than apart.  Hannah is a worry-wart and a little bit forgetful so he boyfriend pretty much handles everything for them. So when she falls asleep on a train to Amsterdam for his sisters wedding and wakes up in Paris with limited belongings she has to rely on a stranger, Leo to help her out. Leo pulls Hannah out of her comfort zone the entire day they are together. Hannah’s defensives are up but then she softens up as the day goes on. I highly enjoyed this novel and having never been to Paris I enjoyed the tour that Leo took Hannah on. I’ve put a few things on my sightseeing list.

The dialogue is on point and witty but yet there's something about the two of them that gravitate to each other. Throughout the day as things are revealed by both their energy is hard to deny; especially when others see it.

I was happy that Hannah actually saw her worth in a relationship instead of being coddled and reprimanded by Simon.  Leo finally find someone who might be worth his time and attention. 

If you are looking for a day trip to Paris, then I highly recommended The Paris Connection

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Julie's Review: Malibu Rising

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Series: None
Publication Date:  June 1, 2021
Publisher: Ballatine Books
Pages: 365
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Family above everything
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva. The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth. Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there. And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone. By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface. Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind. ~amazon.com 

Review: I loved the 80s vibes from this novel include the font of the title pages and the colors which definitely had a Miami Vice feel to them. Anyone else? From the opening lines you know that things just aren't going to be all that great for the Riva family; starting with Mick and June. June, so young when she falls for sweet-talking Mick never really recovers from that heartbreak. June does immensely love all of her kids from Nina, Jay, Hud and Kat they all own a piece of her heart. Nina is the one that recalls her father's presence in their life when they were young and has the affects of it in her adult life. 

The Riva's have given this party over the years but this year feels different for all of them. They are all going through things in their lives that need to be sorted out; among each other, among others and in their own individual lives. Ms. Jenkins Reid tells the story through flashbacks to the courtship/relationship of Mick & June, the Riva kids' childhood and then their current struggles. It's all told in a timeline leading up to the end of the party. 

 I will admit that Malibu Rising started out a bit slowly but once I could spend some time with this wonderful family the book flew by.  I loved each of the Riva siblings but as the oldest, I found myself drawn to Nina. I loved how each of them grew up a bit and came into their own and in their own ways. 

I highly recommend Malibu Rising for long time fans of Ms. Jenkins Reid's novel and to readers who might just be discovering her. 

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