Monday, May 23, 2022

Julie's Review: When We Let Go

Author: Rochelle Weinstein
Series: None
Publication Date:  May 17, 2022
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 312
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Emotional journey
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: When Avery Beckett is proposed to by Jude Masters, a widowed father and the man she loves, it should be a time of great joy. Instead, Avery is on edge. She’s wary of the idea of family, doubtful of happy endings, and too afraid to take the leap. It’s the kind of fear that comes from having secrets. Before Avery commits to a new life, she must reconcile with the one she left behind. When Avery returns to her childhood farm in the North Carolina mountains, she’s surprised to be saddled with a companion: Jude’s teenage daughter, Elle, who’s grappling with the loss of her mother and the complicated emotions of first love. On a path of mending wounds and breaking down walls, Avery and Elle form an unexpected alliance. It’s giving them the courage to move forward. And for Avery, everything she needs to confront the past. An emotional tale of mothers and daughters, loss and acceptance, When We Let Go is about the lessons that come from heartbreak and the healing it takes to embrace the joy of a second chance. ~amazon.com

Review: 


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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sunday Skim

 

Week of 5/15/2022:

Finished:







Currently Reading:




Looking Forward To:






When We Let Go will gut you so be prepared to have some kleenex handy. It is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time. The Forest Vanishing Stars is a heartbreaking tale of WWII with a bit of magical realism. 

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Julie's Review: The Lioness

Author: Chris Bohjalian
Series: None
Publication Date:  May 10, 2022
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 317
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Thriller
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Intense
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: Tanzania, 1964. When Katie Barstow, A-list actress, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to bring their Hollywood friends to the Serengeti for their honeymoon, they envision giraffes gently eating leaves from the tall acacia trees, great swarms of wildebeests crossing the Mara River, and herds of zebras storming the sandy plains. Their glamorous guests—including Katie’s best friend, Carmen Tedesco, and Terrance Dutton, the celebrated Black actor who stars alongside Katie in the highly controversial film Tender Madness—will spend their days taking photos, and their evenings drinking chilled gin and tonics back at camp, as the local Tanzanian guides warm water for their baths. The wealthy Americans expect civilized adventure: fresh ice from the kerosene-powered ice maker, dinners of cooked gazelle meat, and plenty of stories to tell over lunch back on Rodeo Drive. What Katie and her glittering entourage do not expect is this: a kidnapping gone wrong, their guides bleeding out in the dirt, and a team of Russian mercenaries herding their hostages into Land Rovers, guns to their heads. As the powerful sun gives way to night, the gunmen shove them into abandoned huts and Katie Barstow, Hollywood royalty, prays for a simple thing: to see the sun rise one more time. A blistering story of fame, race, love, and death set in a world on the cusp of great change, The Lioness is a vibrant masterpiece from one of our finest storytellers. ~amazon.com

Review: I have long been a fan of Chris Bohjalian's novels but The Lioness is very different than his other novels. This is a great combination of Historical Fiction and Thriller but a bit of old Hollywood glamour. Mr. Bohjalian always has an interesting take on societal issues and this one is no different. Are humans really that much different than the wild animals that live in the Serengeti? Would you want to die at the claws of a wild animal or by the gun of a human?

Katie Barstow and her husband, David Hill decided to take their closets friends and family on a honeymoon Safari with Katie footing the bill for everyone. Except this isn't a hunt Safari but rather a photo Safari with famed white hunter, Charlie Patton. It all starts out well enough, they enjoy the Wildebeast crossing the river and hoping to see other animals of the Serengeti. Quickly, this trip goes very wrong and they are ambushed by Russian mercenaries that take them hostage and brutally kill their guides. 

I really can't review too much more of it'll give away key elements to the story that I don't want to ruin for you. I flew through this book and enjoyed every single minute of it. It kept me guessing on the outcomes and who or what group was behind this kidnapping scheme. I will say that none of the characters are the same after this trip and for some it changes the trajectory of their careers and lives. 

Do yourself a favor and pick this latest Chris Bohjalian novel up; you won't regret it. 







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Monday, May 16, 2022

Sunday Skim (on Monday)

 

Week of 5/1/2022 and 5/8/2022

Finished:





Currently Reading:





Looking Forward To:





I always thought if I got COVID, that it would give me plenty of time to read but let me tell you I had no desire to do much but lay in bed and watch tv or sleep. I'm hoping to get my groove back this week. 

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Monthly Rewind: April 2022



* Denotes Audiobooks

Home Run (You should run and get this): 




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



I read a lot of books this month but only a few really stuck out for me. I know that By The Book is the really out this week (May 3) but I did read it in April. If you are a fan of Jasmine Guillory, you won't want to miss this one! 
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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Sunday Skim

 

Week of 4/24/2022:

Finished:





Currently Reading:







Looking Forward To:




May is always a spectacular month for releases and this one is no different. I'm definitely looking forward to getting some great reading in. I've also decided to revist C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe series on audio. I've been wanting to re-read them for years now, so this is the best way for me. I was also inspired from listening to Once Upon a Wardrobe

Is there anything you are looking forward to this month? What have you re-read lately?


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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Sunday Skim

 

Week of 4/10/2022 and 4/17/2022:

Finished:






Currently Reading:




Looking Forward To:




For those of you that are already finished with Bridgerton Season 2, you should definitely pick up Martha Waters' Regency Vow series. They have a lot of the sass and smolder that everyone enjoys in Bridgerton.  I enjoyed the family drama of We Are the Brennans and it was a great one to listen to as well.  

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Thursday, April 21, 2022

Julie's Review: Year on Fire

Author: Julie Buxbaum
Series: None
Publication Date:  August 1, 2020
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Pages: 329
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Young Adult
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Learning how to navigate feelings of love while being true to yourself 
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: It was a year on fire. They fell in love. Someone was bound to get burned. 

The Spark: Just days before the start of junior year for twins Arch and Immie and their best friend, Paige, a spontaneous kiss shakes the very foundation of their friendship. But some loyalties run too deep to be broken by accidental betrayal. 
The Fuel: Enter Rohan, new to Wood Valley High by way of London, who walks into school on the first day completely overwhelmed by his sudden move halfway around the world. When Paige calls dibs on him—he’s too cute to ignore—Immie is in no position to argue, certainly not after taking the fall for the disloyal kiss. Too bad for Immie that Ro feels like the best kind of familiar.
The Kindling: Former lab partners Arch and Jackson, Paige’s ex-boyfriend, have never considered themselves more than friends. But sometimes feelings can grow like wildfire. 
The Flames: When the girls’ bathroom at Wood Valley is set ablaze, no one doubts it’s arson. But in this bastion of privilege, who’d be angry enough to want to burn down the school? Answer: pretty much everyone.
Year on Fire explores the blinding power of the lies we tell others and those we tell ourselves, the tight grip of family secrets, the magic of first love, and the grounding beauty of friendship. ~amazon.com 

Review: I don't read a lot of Young Adult labeled novels, but I know that Julie Buxbaum is well loved plus the summary sounded really intriguing. Twins, Arch and Immie are linked to their best friend, Paige since they were little kids, even if their home lives are very different. They have always had this connection but as they start their junior year of high school, their bond is coming a bit frayed. It's nothing that can't be worked through but as a teenager, it's hard to ask for help or understand how to give help. 

Enter teenage hormones which is what causes the initial rift between the twins and Paige. Then enter the new guy, Ro and Paige calling dibs on him. Of course, when Immie starts to spend time with Ro she feels like she's betraying Paige with her feelings. 

And while Paige was a bit much for me in the beginning of the novel, type A, she begins to unravel as she loses control of things. With parents that are never home, she's often left by herself, which is why she's so reliant on Immie and Arch. Except things aren't always what they seem at their house either. 

I admired the friendship of the three because even though it was tested a few different ways, they are truly there for each other when it matters. 


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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Jenn's Review: The Wife Upstairs


Author:
 Rachel Hawkins
Series: 
Publication Date: January 5th 2021
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 290
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line:What wild you do for security? For Love?
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Just borrow it

Blurb: Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates—a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name. 

 But her luck changes when she meets Eddie­ Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie—not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for. 

 Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past—or his—catches up to her?strained to the breaking point, Gurney must throw himself into a deadly battle of wits with the most frightening opponent he has ever faced. 

Review:  I’ve read Rachel Hawkins YA books so I thought I’d give this one a try. As I started this book I remembered that I found her writing a little… shallow. Her stories are great, but I feel there isn’t the depth in characters, settings, or details. It makes for a great light read but I always find myself wanting more. This is fine if you love the characters, but I didn't.  I don't mind flawed characters, but there wasn't a single character that was likable for me. I was never able to fully invest in the story.

It is billed as a modern day retelling of Jane Eyre but it has been lightened to the point where I  found it neither thrilling or suspenseful.  While I enjoyed the story, there are some great twists, I found the ending a little too open for my taste and perhaps a little unrealistic. It just feels unfinished.

I have Hawkin's latest Reckless Girls in my TBR pile but I think I will be relegating it to a “beach read.”

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Sunday Skim

 

Week of 4/3/2022:

Finished:





Currently Reading:







Looking Forward To:





I really didn't get much reading done like I thought. I did get caught up on all the episodes of "This Is Us" that have aired since January. I'm pretty much caught up on a lot of shows I had been hoarding on DVR.  I start my new job tomorrow and of course I'm super excited/nervous but it helps that I know my direct boss.  Also my son's baseball season starts to really ramp up which means I get to spend a lot of time with some of my favorite people. I know I'll fit reading in but it might be a little slower and audiobooks definitely will take longer because I'm sure I'll be in meetings a lot more. 

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