Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Seven Sisters - Fiction Review

Rating: Good
Source: Library

Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings.

Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela—passionate and longing to see the world—convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

In this sweeping, epic tale of love and loss—the first in a unique, spellbinding series of seven novels—Lucinda Riley showcases her storytelling talent like never before.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:
  This book was on my TBR the minute I heard about it.  I love the concept of everything this book and this series.  

My Impression: 
I know essentially nothing about Brazil other than the giant statue of Christ resides there and they have carnival.  I can pick the country out on a map.  And that about sums it up.  To be honest it never really occurred to me to learn more until I reading this book.  The premise of this book is a bit of a stretch where a single wealthy man adopts 6 infant girls for what seems to be a motive known only to him.  After his death he gives each girl what she needs to discover where she came from.

This is a dual timeline with a large chunk of the book taking place in Brazil and Paris in the late 1920s and the other part set in modern day Brazil.  I loved the 1920s timeline.  The culture was fascinating as what the character Bel who was torn between what made her happy and doing what she was supposed to do.  The emotions were so strong here that at times it was difficult to read and I had such empathy for Bel.  The history of the iconic statue was fascinating and the amount of work to create it was so enormous that I have a whole new appreciation for it.

The modern day story compelled me a little less.  While I love the premise of a woman trying to figure out where she really came from at times the story felt flat - especially compared with the other story.  I think the main reason is because of Maia herself.  She's so controlled and guarded it was somewhat difficult to become invested in her as much as I wanted to do so.  Her reasons for being so do make some sense but I would really loved her character to be explored and fleshed out a bit more.

I love the concept of this book a bit more than I loved the actual execution.  While it was enjoyable I felt like I wanted a bit more - especially when it came to the present day timeline.  However, I'm really looking forward to continuing with the series.  I'm hoping I'll connect more with the next sister.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  I would but I think I'm going the audio route for the next book.  

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy historical fiction and don't mind a dual timeline than I think you would enjoy this book.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Linkups - Echoes of Evil

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Have you ever thought about taking a break from blogging?  If you have, how long was your break and what did you learn from it?

My Answer:
I actually haven't taken a break in the 5 years I've been blogging and haven't really felt the desire to do so.  I do have the desire to take a step back from review books - or at least cut down on the quantity of review books - and am working on that.

This week's book is the final in a trilogy that I've been meaning to get to since it was published this fall.  This trilogy is actually part of Heather Graham's Krewe of Hunters series that is kind of a paranormal romantic suspense.  I've read the first two and really enjoyed them so I just have Echoes of Evil to go (and a whole bunch more of the series but we're not going to talk about that right now).  I've heard some mixed reviews on this one but since I typically find a not so great Heather Graham book enjoyable if not memorable I'm feeling okay about it.

The Beginning:
The rhythmic sound of his own breathing through his regulator was, to Brodie McFadden, the sweetest music; there simply was nothing like diving.

My Thoughts:
It sounds horribly claustrophobic to me but more power to him.

The 56:
Of course, the second she saw Kody, tears formed in her eyes and she hugged Kody fiercely.

My Thoughts:
Not the most dramatic of lines but it sounds like something rather terrible has happened.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Governess Gone Rogue - Historical Romance Review

Rating: Very Good
Source: Edelweiss

  Dear Lady Truelove...

My twin brother and I need a new mother, though Papa insists he'll never marry again. Must be nice, brainy, and fond of cats...

Lady Truelove may be London's most famous advice columnist, but James St. Clair, the Earl of Kenyon, knows his wild young sons need a tutor, not a new mother. They need a man tough enough to make his hellions tow the line, and James is determined to find one.

Miss Amanda Leighton, former schoolteacher and governess, knows she has all the qualifications to be a tutor. And while female tutors are unheard of, Amanda isn't about to lose the chance at her dream job because of pesky details like that. If Lord Kenyon insists on hiring a man, then she has only one option.

Jamie isn't sure what to make of his new employee, until he realizes the shocking truth—beneath the ill-fitting suits, his boys' tutor is a woman. An unconventional, outspoken, thoroughly intriguing woman. Despite Amanda's deception, he can't dismiss her when his boys are learning so much. Yet Jamie, too, is learning surprising lessons—about desire, seduction, and passionate second chances.

Genre: Romance - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:
Laura Lee Guhrke has written some of my favorite historical romances but it's been awhile since I've read anything by her so I had to pick this one up!

My Impression:
  One of my least favorite things in a romance is a relationship that is based on a lie/hidden identity so I was a bit nervous going into this one.  However, I decided to trust Guhrke and take a chance on this one and am so glad I did!  Amanda is very different from the usual romance heroine.  She's on her own and while highly educated is not from an aristocratic or particularly wealthy background.  She's ruined after a choice which she deeply regrets and is not only not welcomed by society but is finding it increasingly difficult to get a job.  The fact that she starts dressing up as a man isn't for nefarious purposes or to trick anyone about her abilities but simply out of necessity.  I really enjoyed that it isn't all that simple for Amanda to become a man.  She has a lifetime of habits that she has to overcome and there are a number of practical issues as well which I don't think I've ever seen addressed in this kind of book.

Jamie isn't the typical hero either.  For one thing his marriage was incredibly happy and he dearly misses his wife.  He was more than a little rebellious as a child and has made a complete change as an adult.  He's active in politics and while he does have a title he actually has to go to work or put in effort.  As well, while he loves his children he's not always great at showing them and seems at a loss at how to be involved in their lives which I think is probably more realistic than the typical doting and involved dad we frequently see portrayed.

If you're looking for a steamy romance look elsewhere.  The romance doesn't even start until more than halfway through the book.  However, there's lots going on.  Amanda is getting to know the boys and is getting used to the big changes in her life.  Jamie is still trying to regain his footing after the death of his wife.  They're both trying to do their best for the boys and are learning to work together.

This was an entertaining read with characters that are both likable and sympathetic.  I absolutely flew through it and finished the last page with a happy contented sigh.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  While I'm behind on her books Laura Lee Guhrke is definitely an auto buy for me.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you like historical romances that are a bit different from the usual than this is a must read.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Romances I Want to Read in 2019

In honor of Valentine's Day I'm focusing on romances.  In the last few years while I still read romance it's definitely taken a bit of a backseat to mysteries and thrillers.  Here are a few that have been gathering dust on my TBR that I'm still looking forward to reading.  

1.  Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason - Debbie Mason is an author I've been wanting to read - all of her covers are so pretty!  This one involves an old house and secrets which are some of my favorite things.

2.  Sail Away with Me by Susan Fox - I don't know much about this one but the cover grabbed me and it sounds like a fun read.

3.  The Pleasure of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries - Sabrina Jeffries is one of my absolute favorite historical romance authors and for some reason this one is sitting around unread.

4.  Deadly Fate by Heather Graham - I love Graham's Krewe of Hunters series and while this trilogy isn't the strongest it does feature ghosts which is my favorite thing.

5.  Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis - Shalvis is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors and the Lucky Harbors series is one of my absolute favorites but I never read this start to the trilogy she wrote afterwards.

6.  The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick - I love historical romances and this one is set in the 1930s which really appeals to me.  Plus I do love romantic suspense and Jayne Ann Kretnz/Amanda Quick is one of my favorites.

7.  Wilde in Love (The Wildes Lindow Castle #1) by Eloisa James - James is an author I always mean to read more of but somehow never have.  I don't know much about this series but it seems like a good place to stop.

8.  Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas - Devil in Winter is one of my absolute favorite romances and this is about the child of that couple.  It went immediately on my TBR as soon as I first heard it was being published but somehow I still haven't gotten around to it.

9.  The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes - I know very little about this author or this series but I need to find some new historical romance authors and this book looks like a good place to start.

10. About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay - McKinlay writes some of my favorite cozy mysteries and I read one of the more recent books in this romance series and absolutely loved it.  This looks like a lot of fun.

Do you have any romances sitting on your TBR?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My Ten Favorite Romances

In honor of Valentine's Day week I'm thinking about my favorite romances!  I must admit I came a bit late to romance and before that I was one of those readers who looked down on romances.  Not because it wasn't a genre I enjoyed but more because of preconceptions I already had in my head.  However, once I finally tried one I don't think I read anything else for at least a year!  After awhile I went back to mysteries and nonfiction but romance is still a staple of my reading life.  Here are 10 of my favorite romance reads right now.  I'm keeping to books that I've read in the last couple of years which gave me a list of romances I need to reread and see if they'll be on this list next year!

1.  Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas - This is one of my all time favorite historical romances.  Not only is this one of the few villain redemption books I enjoy but I just love the couple.  This is definitely a case of each bringing out the best in each other.

2.  Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis - I love Shalvis but this more women's fiction/romance book really worked for me.  Not only did it get me out of a slump for which I was grateful but it was sweet and humorous all at once.

3.  The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March - I love Emily March's books and her Christmas books are my favorite and this one which had a nice dash of suspense was probably my favorite of the series so far.

4.  Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper - This was funny and quirky and sweet and had a main character who is trying to find herself and reconnect with a family she didn't even know she had which is one of my favorite things!

5.  Three Fates by Nora Roberts - I love Roberts' suspense novels and this one has a fun history twist.  As well it has three couples, a character coming into her own, and a quest.  I do love a good quest.

6.  The House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward - This one had ghosts, an old house that needs restoring, and a historical mystery which is essentially the bookish version of the song "A Few of My Favorite Things".

7.  Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts - I had kind of gotten bored with Roberts' books but on a whim I picked this one up at the library and remembered just why I enjoy her books so much.  I reread this a few weeks ago and enjoyed it just as much.

8.  Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne - This was one of my first true Christmas romances and my very first Thayne book.  I love everything about this one and am feeling like I need a reread!

9.  Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas - This is a contemporary Kleypas and one of my favorites.  While it isn't flawless (there's a weird element at the end) it's one of my favorite rereads.

10. And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke - This is on my reread list for this year and is one of my favorite historicals. It's a little different from the typical historical with neither character being aristocracy and there's not a ball or a house party to be seen.

What are some of your favorite romances?

Monday, February 11, 2019

Last Lie - Thriller Review

Source: Publisher

Description:  For Claire Daniels, life is good. She has everything she’s ever wanted – a career she loves, friends she can rely on and a husband who dotes on her. All she needs is to start a family of her own and things will be even better than good.

They’ll be perfect.

For Alfie, it couldn’t be more different. His life with Claire is built on a lie. A lot of lies. And she can never find out.

Because Alfie has plans for her. Plans which must never come to light. But lies have a way of taking on a life of their own, and when his do, the consequences threaten to destroy everything.

For him and Claire.

Genre: Mystery - Thriller

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've been enjoying psychological thrillers lately and this is an author I've been wanting to read for the last couple of books.

My Impression:
  This is definitely one of those books that the less you know going in the better.  One of my issues with psychological thrillers is that it sometimes feels like everyone has some massive secret but there's so much skirting around and obscuring the facts that it feels like nothing happens.  That definitely wasn't the case here.  This was fast moving with short chapters and alternating POVs (for part of the book) that definitely kept me turning pages.  The pacing was fast and didn't feel like it was getting bogged down in all the lies and secret keeping.  I will say this is perhaps the un-coziest read I've read this year!  There were times when I needed a break - particularly when I was in Alfie's head - but this was never a book I considered DNFing.  I needed to know what happened next!

I'm primarily a cozy mystery reader with only a smattering of more standard mystery reads so I can't say how this compares in terms of graphicness to more standard thrillers.  However, while there is some language and some pretty dark stuff going on it was never one of those books that creeped me out after I put it down.  As well I didn't feel like it was overdetailed or unnecessarily gory.

This was a fast paced unsettling read that kept me hooked until the very end.  I'm so glad I finally read Alex Lake and I'll definitely be looking for more thrillers by this author!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Definitely!  Loved the pacing and the story on this one.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy thrillers or are looking for a darker read to mix in with some lighter books then I think this would be the perfect read!

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Saturday, February 9, 2019

This Week in Reading - February 9th

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

I didn't get anything!  I'm trying to cut down on my review books so I can focus on some of my TBR books and I managed to avoid review books or really any new books!  For this week at least!


Reading:  Edge of Evil by Heather Graham and Governess Gone Rogue by Laura Lee Gurhke

Listening:  I finished The Widow by Fiona Barton and then started listening to The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware.  However, since I just finished a darker psychological thriller and was also reading a darker psychological thriller I just wasn't in the mood for another one.  So I stopped that and switched over to Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis which is about as far away from a darker psychological thriller as possible.

Off the Blog:

It seems (though I'm still spraying everything down with Lysol) that we may have missed the flu and strep that was hitting the Tornado's school hard.  On Monday almost half the third grade was absent and the rumors said we were only a handful of confirmed cases away from shutting the school down for a few days.  So far we are all still healthy.  The Tornado was really congested and run down earlier in the week (I even let him stay home Monday because I wanted him to get as much rest as possible) but it looks like it was just allergies.  Then my husband looked like he might have a stomach bug but given how he recovered and the fact that he ate a chili dog about 10 hours before he started feeling bad we're leaning towards food poisoning.  I've been really tired but nothing worse so I think we're all a bit run down but otherwise healthy which is a huge relief.  I've only had the flu one time and no part of me wants to revisit it or to let it into the house at all.

We had one gorgeous spring like day with temps in the 70s towards the end of the week.  I took the Tornado to a big playground with some friends and all the kids ran around like crazy and the moms all relaxed in the sun.  Now it's back to cold (well for us - temps in the 40s) and I'm not real thrilled.  Since so many people seem to have drifts of snow and crazy cold weather I'm trying to keep some perspective!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  The Last Lie - Mystery Review
Tuesday: My Ten Favorite Romances
Wednesday:  TBD
Thursday: Governess Gone Rogue - Historical Romance Review
Friday: Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Corned Beef and Casualties - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Good
Source:  NetGalley

Jill Gardner’s store, Coffee, Books, and More, is raking in the green as her little coastal town holds a big festival for St. Patrick’s Day. But the locals aren’t exactly feeling the luck of the Irish, thanks to the rowdy behavior of some of the tourists who are pouring in.

Then a woman who just visited Jill’s shop is found dead near the shore. The fireworks display on the beach may have already happened, but the real fireworks have just begun . . .

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I love that this is a St. Patrick's Day themed mystery.

My Impression:
  This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  I love the town, the community, and especially Jill and Greg.  My only issue is that I keep hoping for a full length mystery and while I enjoy a novella it just isn't quite the same.

This was a quick read and I really enjoyed the St. Patrick's Day setting.  I don't think I'd enjoy the festival but it definitely made a great place for a murder.  With so many new people in town and all the chaos and the drinking it's hard to find witnesses and Greg is pulled in all kinds of directions keeping the peace.  So of course Jill has to do a little investigating on her own.  She doesn't really stick her neck to far out and never drifts into to stupid to live territory.  I like that Greg respects her opinion but at the same time tries to discourages her from investigating.  The mystery itself wrapped up a little too quickly and I would've liked it fleshed out a little more but that's part of the issue with novellas in general.  Despite that this was a fun mystery and if you're new to the series it would be a fun introduction.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Of course!  Lynn Cahoon is an auto buy for me.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  I would though I would recommend the full length mysteries in this series more.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday Linkups - The Last Lie

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Do you have celebrations for your blog's anniversary such as a giveaway?

My Answer:
No not really.  I've thought about it but have never put anything together.  I'm coming up on 5 years so I might do something then.

This week's book is the newest thriller by an author I've been wanting to read for quite some time - The Last Lie by Alex Lake.  So far it's definitely creepy and is keeping me turning pages!

The Beginning:
The woman driving the car knew better than to stop for hitchhikers.

My Thoughts:
Well that's good.  At least someone in a thriller has some common sense.  I mean things go off the rails but it has nothing to do with this woman's actions.

The 56:
He'd have to go.  He'd simply have to find another way to deal with it.  This was a real problem.

My Thoughts:
I know a bit about what's going on here and I know enough about the "he" in this case to know that however he deals with it is not going to be particularly nice.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Books from the Backlog - Well Read, Then Dead

Today I'm linking up with Carole from Carole's Random Life of Books for Books from the Backlog.  I really enjoy the chance to feature a book that's been hiding in the piles of books for far too long!  Today's book is Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran

Blurb:  Read ’Em and Eat is known for its delicious breakfast and lunch treats, along with quite a colorful clientele. If it’s not Rowena Gustavson loudly debating the merits of the current book club selection, it’s Miss Augusta Maddox lecturing tourists on rumors of sunken treasure among the islands. It’s no wonder Sassy’s favorite is Delia Batson, a regular at the Emily Dickinson table. Augusta’s cousin and best friend Delia is painfully shy—which makes the news of her murder all the more shocking.

No one is more distraught than Augusta, and Sassy wants to help any way she can. But Augusta doesn’t have time for sympathy. She wants Delia’s killer found—and she’s not taking no for an answer. Now Sassy is on the case, and she’d better act fast before there’s any more trouble in paradise.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I loved the 2nd book in the series and actually didn't realize I even had this one until I did a massive book reorganization the other day and found it. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

No Escape Claws - Cozy Mystery Review

Source: Publisher

Sarah Grayson and her feline ally Elvis get a chance to see if their sleuthing skills are up to scratch in the sixth installment of the New York Times bestselling Second Chance Cat Mysteries.

It's fall in North Harbor, Maine, where Sarah owns a charming secondhand shop. A cold case heats up when Mallory Pearson appears at Sarah's doorstep. Mallory's father is in prison for negligence after her stepmother's mysterious death in a house fire, but Mallory believes he's innocent and asks the quirky team of senior citizen detectives who work out of Sarah's shop to take on the case. With Sarah and Elvis lending a paw, they decide to try to give Mallory's father a second chance of his own...

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I really enjoyed the previous book in the series and I just love the whole feel of the second hand shop premise.

My Impression:
  I'm a little torn about this one.  I love the premise and the characters.  And I did enjoy the mystery and was satisfied with the ending.  I really enjoyed the time spent in the shop and actively pursuing the mystery.  I really enjoy the writing style, the way the characters interact, and the overall feel of the book.

However,  I had some issues with this one.  There were two mysteries - the primary one and one that has been around the edges for a few previous books.  Both were really interesting but I felt like the secondary mystery was kind of wedged in.  It also brought in a few characters in an already character laden story which made it a bit of a challenge to keep up with who was who at times.  Trying to remember who was who pulled me out of the story a few times and kept me from fully connecting with the story.

This is an enjoyable series with fun writing and a likable and quirky (but not too quirky) cast.  I don't feel that this was the strongest entry into the series but it does encourage me even more to go back to beginning of the series and really get to know the characters from the beginning.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to reading the earlier books in this series and this is definitely an author I'll be keeping an eye for.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy cozies I'd definitely recommend this author though maybe start with an earlier book.
  * I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Ten Books That Have Been On My TBR For Far Too Long

Last week's Top Ten Tuesday was all about the most recent additions to my TBR.  Then I had one of those bookish organization projects that starts out small and simple and ends up spiraling into mission level status so I'm familiar with all the books that have been on my shelves gathering dust for far too long.  Here's just a few I discovered.  These are all books I was so excited to pick up and meant to read right away but then never did.

1.  To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey - I loved loved loved The Snow Child by this author and knew as soon as it came out that I needed this one.  So I got it.   And it's a gorgeous book.  That's been sitting on my shelf ever since.

2.  Assault and Pepper by Leslie Budewitz - I love spices and cooking and the few times I've been in an actual spice shop I was a very happy person.  So obviously I had to buy this first book in a cozy series set in a spice shop.  And I did.  And I still haven't read it.

3.  The Invisible Library by Geneive Cogman - I got this in some kind of mystery box soon after it came out and I was super excited.  Pretty sure this series is on book #712 or something to that effect and I still haven't read this one.

4.  The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle by Laura DiSilverio - I loved a later book in this series that centered around du Maurier's Rebecca.  The mystery was so good and I loved how the author wove elements and discussions about the book into the story.  So now of course I need to read the mystery where the Readaholics are focusing on one of my favorite authors/characters.

5.  Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver - This is another series that's probably on book #920 now and I've yet to read this one.  I love historical mysteries and this sounds amazing.

6.  Murder in Thrall by Anne Cleeland - To be honest I probably picked this one up because I saw Anne Cle... and thought it was Anne Cleeves who is another author I've been seriously meaning to read.  However, the cover is so eye catching and it sounds like a great British procedural and I need to read it.

7.  Once A Duchess by Elizabeth Boyce - I remember really wanting to read this one.  And that is all I remember about it.  I don't think I've ever even really heard of this author or where I heard about the book but I remember being super excited when I found it.  I should probably read it and try to remember why I was so excited about it.

8.  Fade to Black by Wendy Corsi Staub - Back when Avon had a podcast (what was it called?  They interviewed all kinds of different authors and it was really great) they had Wendy Corsi Staub on around the time this book was coming out and she was talking about it and I knew I had to read it.

9.  A Killing in Antiques by Mary Moody - I go this years ago in a mass cozy buying spree.  I dont' really know why I bought it when I bought it but I've fallen in love with antiques since then so this seems like one I'd really love now.  Yay me from several years ago!

10.  Pleating for Mercy by Melissa Bourbon -  This was bought in the same book buying binge as the one above.  I know nothing about it but I think at the time I was really loving a cozy series by Annette Blair that was set in a vintage clothing shop so I'm guessing that's what attracted me to this one.

What are some books that have been on your TBR far too long?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Reviews from the Children's Section - The Invention of Hugo Cabret

One of my favorite genres and one that is the easiest for me to push aside is middle grade fiction. This year to make sure I get a little more children's and young adult fiction I thought I would designate the first Monday of every month Middle Grade Monday (though sometimes it doesn't end up working quite right) .  While a lot of my picks this year are classics I am trying to branch out a little bit and read new or at least recent releases.  This month's read is one I picked up on a whim after browsing my library's audio books - The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznick.

Goodreads:  The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

My Thoughts:  This is the story of poor little Hugo Cabret.  An orphan who lives in a Paris train station and has a special gift for fixing clocks and other bits of machinery.  He comes into contact with a little girl and a grumpy old man who runs the toy booth in the station and everything changes.

This was short listen (just under 3 hours) and it was a magical story.  The train station and Hugo came alive within minutes and I was drawn into the story.  I was invested in Hugo as a character and his quest to fix the automaton.  I liked his developing relationships with Isabelle, Papa Georges, and Etienne and wanted to see how the story turned out.  I did get frustrated with just how secretive all of the characters are.  There were several times I just wanted to scream at one or the other to just tell the truth.  However, despite that the story was wonderful and I loved the ending.  Jeff Woodman does the narration of the audio and did a fantastic job.  He didn't overact and he really brought the story to light.  However, when I pulled the book up on Goodreads I was surprised to see that this book is listed as being 525 pages.  Since the audio in no way indicated a story that long I had to get the print copy to check out what was going on.  The book is full of gorgeous black and white illustrations of minute detail.   It's definitely worth looking at even if you do listen to the audio.

As a parent I think this would be a good read or listen for really any child.  It'd be a good one to read together or one any child over 6 or 7 could read on their own.  I don't think there's much that would bother even the most sensitive of children.  It'd make a good listen for a road trip as well as I found the story enjoyable for adults as well.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

This Week in Reading - February 3

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Have You Seen Luiz Velez? by Catherin Ryan Hyde - I'm really excited about this one.  I read my first Catherine Ryan Hyde last year and really loved it.  This premise of an elderly woman and a kid struggling to fit in making a connection and going on a mission together really appeals to me.  (Little Bird Publicity)


Reading:  Finishing up No Escape Claws by Sofie Ryan but other than that having a hard time settling on something.

Listening:  I'm almost done with The Widow by Fiona Barton and have enjoyed it even though it gives me the creeps.

Watching:  We're finishing the most recent series of The Great British Bake-Off on Netflix.  This is the second season we've watched with the new cast.  While I was really hesitant about the casting change at first I've gotten where I really enjoy the new hosts especially.  They're a lot of fun.  I still love Mary, Sue, and Mel of course but I'm good with the way things are (which I know is quite a relief to BBC)

Off the Blog:

Last weekend we went to a used bookstore and I actually looked for books!  It's been so long since I've combed through a used bookstore that I had forgotten about how much fun it was.  I've kind of stopped buying books in the last few years because I have such a massive backlog.  Or if I do buy books it's either from Amazon or a new bookstore with a very specific book in mind.  So the treasure hunt feel was so much fun!  While I definitely don't need any more books I might try to make it happen every month or two for fun.

This week was a big week at the Tornado's school.  They had the Engineering Expo where lots of different people came from the different aerospace companies and students from the engineering and computer science programs at the university here in town.  They had lots of hands on exhibits and projects and all kinds of stuff.  I led a group around for most of the day and by the end felt like I could sleep for a year.  The kids had a fantastic time though.

Speaking of school the Tornado's class has been hit by flu so I'm currently lysoling everything.  What drives me crazy is the parents who send their kids to school when they clearly shouldn't.  I know sometimes you have to do what you have to do but there were two incidents that happened this week that I know enough of the situation to know that wasn't the case here.  I'm keeping a seriously watchful eye on the Tornado and the whole house will be on Tamiflu at the first sign of any kind of symptom.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Reviews from the Children's Section - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Tuesday:  Ten Books That Have Been On My TBR For Far Too Long
Wednesday:  No Escape Claws - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday: Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

As You Wish - Nonfiction Review

Rating: Loved It!
Source: Purchased (Audible)

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

Genre:  Nonfiction

Why I Picked This Book:
  This is one of my favorite movies and I couldn't resist the audio when I saw it had been read by Cary Elwes.

My Impression: 
So The Princess Bride is one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time.  I've watched it more times than I can count ever since the first time I saw it with my parents as a child.  It's one of my husband's favorite movies too.  In fact it was a topic of conversation on our very first date.  We've seen it several times since then and shared it with our kids.  So needless to say I'm a fan.  When I heard that not only had Cary Elwes written a book about his experiences filming the movie WITH passages added by most of the actors I knew I had to read it AND when I heard that he read the book and most of the other actors made appearances so that was happening.  Of course it took awhile to actually happen.  But it completely lived up to my expectations.

This book is essentially a love letter to the movie and everyone involved in it.  The level of enthusiasm from Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Chris Sarandon, Carol Kane,  Mandy Pantakin, Rob Reiner, William Goldman, and a number of other actors is so genuine that I could feel it through the audio.  I loved all the behind the scenes information and how everyone became involved in the project.  It was a total delight and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  However, if you're not a fan of the movie or have never seen it than I don't think this is the book for you.  There's isn't much drama or insight into particular actors or the industry as a whole.  If you love the movie than this is a must listen!  Now I need to go watch The Princess Bride again!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Possibly but it'd have to be a story that really interested me.  

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you are a fan of the movie than this is a must read though I highly recommend listening to it.