Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: A Palm Beach Wife

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

A Palm Beach Wife
Susannah Marren
Expected publication date: April 9, 2019
For readers of Elin Hilderbrand, a delicious and irresistible commercial novel set among the high society galas and gossip of Palm Beach.

Amid the glamour and galas and parties of Palm Beach, Faith knows that image often counts as much if not more than reality. She glides effortlessly among the highest of the high society so perfectly that you would never suspect she wasn't born to this. But it wasn't always so; though she hides it well, Faith has fought hard for the wonderful life she has, for her loving, successful husband, for her daughter's future. In this town of secrets and gossip and rumors, Faith has kept a desperate grip on everything she holds so dear, built from so little. And yet even she--the only one who knows just how far she has to fall--never suspects from which direction, or how many directions all at once, betrayal will come. - from Goodreads
I love books about how "the other half" lives, so I'm excited about all the galas and wealth, plus it seems like there will be a good dose of drama!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Books I've Enjoyed


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is books we've loved with fewer than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads.  One of my favorite parts of blogging is bringing some of those underrated, lesser-known books to readers, hoping they will enjoy them as much as I did.  Here is a list of books I've loved that, at the time I'm writing this post, actually all had less than 1,000 ratings on Goodreads!

 

Avalanche: 138 ratings
Waking the Spirit: 149 ratings

 

Four Three Two One: 210 ratings

   

The Heart Between Us: 651 ratings

 

Ask An Astronaut: 844 ratings


Rutherford Park: 870 ratings
How to Be Married: 999 ratings


 Have you read any of these?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Book Haul #3


A couple months ago, my sister ordered a bunch of stuff from Book Outlet.  For whatever reason, her shipment got lost in the mail, so they replaced her entire order.  Then, the original package showed up!  She gave me all the duplicate books, so technically I didn't spend any money on these!


 The Thing With Feathers: A girl with epilepsy attends public school for the first time.

First Women: A look at the First Ladies of the modern era.


Even If the Sky Falls: During a trip to New Orleans, two teenagers fall in love, but a hurricane is headed their way.

The Game Can't Love You Back: The only girl on a boys' baseball team has to contend with some new players.


A Prom to Remember: A look at one of the biggest rites of passage of high school, as seen through the eyes of seven seniors.

Have you read any of these?
 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Review: The Huntress

The Huntress
Kate Quinn
Expected publication date: February 26, 2019
From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, The Alice Network, comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold, reckless Nina Markova grows up on the icy edge of Soviet Russia, dreaming of flight and fearing nothing. When the tide of war sweeps over her homeland, she gambles everything to join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on Hitler’s eastern front. But when she is downed behind enemy lines and thrown across the path of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, Nina must use all her wits to survive.

British war correspondent Ian Graham has witnessed the horrors of war from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials. He abandons journalism after the war to become a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Fierce, disciplined Ian must join forces with brazen, cocksure Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. But a shared secret could derail their mission, unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride grows up in post WWII Boston, determined despite family opposition to become a photographer. At first delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancĂ©e, Jordan grows increasingly disquieted by the soft-spoken German widow who seems to be hiding something. Armed only with her camera and her wits, Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past and slowly realizes there are mysteries buried deep in her family. But Jordan’s search for the truth may threaten all she holds dear. - from Goodreads
I received this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways.

After hearing Kate Quinn speak at a book festival last year, I was really looking forward to reading her upcoming book, and then I won a copy, which meant I got to read it even sooner!  The Huntress focuses on the search for a Nazi war criminal after the end of WWII.

Ian and Nina both have their reasons for wanting to find the Huntress, a Nazi who disappeared after the war ended.  The Huntress killed Ian's brother, and Nina was the only person to escape her.  They join forces to search for her in Europe.  In Boston, a young woman named Jordan is welcoming a new stepmother into her life - or, at least trying to, because something seems to be off about her, like she's not telling them the whole truth.

Although Nina wasn't a very likable character, I enjoyed the narrative of her time serving in a bombing regiment in the Russian air force.  It was clear that Quinn had done a lot of research and incorporated it well.  Jordan was probably my favorite character.  Although she wants to be a famous photographer, she feels pressure to take over the family business and look after her stepsister.  She's also dealing with this stepmother that makes her quite uneasy at times.

The book features three storylines, and I enjoyed the way they jumped between times and places.  The book was quite long, but the pacing was excellent.  I never felt bored, and even though the story was kind of predictable, I was looking forward to when the stories would converge.  Unfortunately, the climax of the story felt really off.  For me, it was just too melodramatic and unrealistic.  Overall, though, as someone who enjoys WWII-era novels, I thought this was a fresh and interesting look at the aftermath of the war.

4 stars

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Girl He Used to Know

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

The Girl He Used to Know
Tracey Garvis Graves
Expected publication date: April 2, 2019
Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people's behavior confusing, she'd rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game--and his heart--to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She's living the life she wanted as a librarian. He's a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins. - from Goodreads
This sounds so emotional, and I want to know what happened to tear Annika and Jonathan apart and if they can make it work the second time around.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Quotables #12: The Love Edition



I love this quote because for me it's so true.  You can't take love for granted.  While I don't believe that love should be difficult, you and your partner still have to put work into it.  You have to keep showing the other how much you love them, because complacency can lead to resentment.


The act of falling in love can be a wonderful thing - everything is new and exciting.  But there's something to be said for being in love - it feels comfortable and safe knowing you've found your person.


For love to be true, there has to be honesty.  You have to show that other person who you really are, the good and the bad parts, and then it's up to them whether they will accept you.

Which of these can you relate to?  What's your favorite quote about love?

Friday, February 8, 2019

Review: Uncharted

Uncharted
Erin Cashman
Published September 4, 2018
Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and paintings to reality—because in reality, her mom is dead, and it was all her fault. When she accompanies her father to the funeral of some family friends who drowned, she’s surprised to find her grief reflected in the face of Griffin Bradford, the son of the couple who died. Griffin is nothing like the carefree boy she once knew. Now he’s irritable, removed, and he’s under police investigation for his parents’ deaths.

One night following the memorial service, Annabeth’s dad goes missing in the woods, and she suspects Griffin knows more about the disappearance than he’s letting on. He refuses to answer her questions, particularly those related to the mysterious “expedition” his parents took to Ireland, where they went missing for seven months.

Annabeth fears her father isn’t lost, but rather a victim of something sinister. She launches her own investigation, tracing clues that whisper of myth and legend and death, until she stumbles upon a secret. One that some would die to protect, others would kill to expose—and which twists Annabeth’s fantasy and reality together in deadly new ways. - from Goodreads
Annabeth and her father are visiting family friend Griffin Bradford, whose parents have recently died, when her father disappears from the Bradford manor.  While searching for him, Annabeth learns that her father and his friends may have been involved in something much more mysterious and fantastical than she could have ever imagined.

I really wanted to love this book - the premise sounds so intriguing, particularly the way myths and legends are involved.  Unfortunately, this one let me down a little.

Some things that didn't work for me:

- The romance.  I really could have done without it.  It's just another example of when the main character can't get over how cute the love interest is while people are being kidnapped or murdered.  And Griffin was the stereotypical YA "hero" - thinking he's always right, not telling Annabeth things under the guise of trying to protect her.
- The pacing.  It took SO LONG for things to start happening, and then it was just a lot of repetitiveness of Annabeth trying to figure out what this mysterious "expedition" entailed.  There were bursts of action and conflict, but I felt like they were resolved too easily.
- Annabeth.  I liked certain things about her (she holds onto a lot of guilt surrounding her mother's death, she had a mental break at one point), but there were just trivial things that annoyed me.  Like, way too many mentions of how much she loves coconut iced coffee and desserts.  It just made her seem shallow.

But, there were some things I enjoyed:

- I think the blurb leaves out a big element of the novel, which is the group called the Magellans, a club started by Annabeth's father and his friends in college in order to explore and research various legends and myths around the world.  The idea behind this group was so cool, and I liked the way it played into the story.  A mysterious island, genetic experiments - I wanted more of it!
- It was a very quick read, even though it's not a short book.

3 stars

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Library of Lost and Found

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

The Library of Lost and Found
Phaedra Patrick
Expected publication date: March 26, 2019
A librarian’s discovery of a mysterious book sparks the journey of a lifetime in the delightful new novel from the international bestselling author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people—though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible.

All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend—her grandmother Zelda—who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heartwarming and poignant tale of how one woman must take control of her destiny to write her own happy ending. - from Goodreads
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper was one of my favorite reads from last year, so I was excited to hear that Phaedra Patrick had another book coming out!

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Greek Gods Book Tag


Thank you to Amy at A Magical World of Words for tagging me!

Rules:

- Link back to Zuky HERE so she can read your posts!

- You can use your own graphics or copy Zuky's (I used Zuky's!)

- Tag however many people you want!


I don't think I can pick a favorite book, but this is one of them!  Interesting family dynamics in this story, to say the least!


I think we can all agree that Katniss is pretty badass - she's smart, she's resourceful, she's killer with a bow and arrow - and she doesn't need magic to do it.


This one really stood out to me in 2018 - sometimes in debuts, the author hasn't quite found their stride yet, but the writing in Something in the Water was pretty superb!


I know I mention this book a lot, but it is beyond fantastic!


If you enjoy sweet love stories and charming characters, you'll love this one as much as I did.


I would never say that a book shouldn't exist, but this book really ruined the series for me!


Dr. Paul Kalanithi started writing this book as he was dying from lung cancer and passed away before he could finish.  His writing is honest and touching, and I think it's groundbreaking in the sense that he was able to tell his story as it was happening.


Emma Mills has the best covers, and I just love the colors and swirls and texture of this one!


This story about 1950s Houston socialites was almost 400 pages, but it felt like nothing happened!  The pacing was so sloooooow.


This story about an out-of-control teenager attending a wilderness therapy camp kept me glued to the pages!


Consider yourself tagged if you'd like to do this one!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Month in Review: January 2019


January was quite the month!  One of my friends from college got married the first weekend of the year, so we had a mini-reunion with most of our group at the wedding.  It was so great to be able to catch up with everyone, laugh at old stories, stay up too late, and drink too much!

I started a new job, which has been kind of stressful (I don't deal well with change!).  Everyone at my new office is very nice, but it's a lot to learn - even though it's another law firm, the cases are very different from what I was doing for the last 8 years.  One nice thing is that I actually have a real lunch break, so I've been bringing a book and getting so much reading done!

We celebrated our niece's third birthday; I took her shopping and even though she's still a little too young to be able to pick stuff out, she found some cute bracelets and I also got her a Mickey and Minnie Mouse t-shirt, which I think she liked!

Is anyone else watching The Masked Singer on Fox?  If you don't know what it is, it's a reality show/singing competition where celebrities don a mask and costume and the judges try to guess who they are by their voice and some clues.  Ok, it's  kind of cheesy but also fun, and every Wednesday night, my sister and I watch it together, texting each other back and forth about the judges' terrible guesses.


The Books




My Plain Jane // The Rosie Effect // Lost Boy (review to come) // Uncharted (review to come)


The Map That Leads to You (review to come) // The Glass Ocean // Four Three Two One // The Dream Daughter

A 5-star review from Suzanne at The Bookish Libra sealed the deal for me on reading The Dream Daughter, which turned out to be a 5-star read for me, too!  Thanks, Suzanne!


The Golden Compass (audio) // The Huntress (review to come)

The Posts and Reviews
 The Posts I Loved

Amy at A Magical World of Words talks about how to keep your New Year's resolutions

Molly at Molly's Madness has a great way of looking at New Year's resolutions 

Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness shares her word of the year 

Alicia at A Kernel of Nonsense talks about why she's been a bad book blogger (even though I think she's amazing!)

Genni at Ready, Set, Read! shares her feelings about posting negative reviews

Uma at Books.Bags.Burgers talks about what Harry Potter means to her


How was your January?  What was your first read of the year?  Are you still sticking to your New Year's resolutions?