Monday, January 30, 2017

Thriller Mini-Reviews: Security and Avalanche

Two thrillers - one for horror lovers and one for fans of disaster stories, but both tales of survival.

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf
Published June 7, 2016

Security tells the story of the Manderley Resort, a luxury, state-of-the-art hotel on the eve of its grand opening, and the killer that stalks its employees during one terrifying night.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of this book.  There is so much packed into its 229 pages.  At first I was a little thrown by the narrator - he seems basically omniscient, and I wasn't sure if he was an actual character or if that was just the style of writing the author was going for.  When I eventually found out who the narrator is, I was floored.  The employees being hunted down by the killer are really fleshed out; despite the short length of the book, Wohlsdorf provides a lot of detail about each character and their backstory.  Sometimes I wondered how relevant all that information was.

Wohlsdorf utilizes some interesting techniques.  With the names of the chapters being camera numbers, I realized that the book was being told through the views of the security cameras.  At some points, there were "split screen" stories, signaling to the reader that these events were happening simultaneously.  The story is very fast-paced, which was sometimes overwhelming.  The focus would change even paragraph to paragraph, flitting between the various employees and the killer.  And since this is also a horror novel, it's extremely graphic and gory, more so than I expected.

The story goes a bit off the rails near the end and becomes somewhat unbelievable, and if you're looking for the "why," you won't get any answers.  However, I think horror fans would appreciate this quick and suspenseful read that plays out like a movie.

3 stars
                                                                                                                                                    
Avalanche by Melinda Braun
Published November 29, 2016

A group of skiers are caught in an avalanche in the Rockies.

Avalanche has all the battles against Mother Nature that you would expect, but it also packed quite an emotional punch.  After an avalanche kills one member of the group and leaves another seriously injured, the group of teenagers must make quick decisions about how to find help.

At times, the book was a little over-the-top.  Pretty much everything that can go wrong, does.  The survivors are smoked out of the deserted cabin they find; cell phones are broken or lost; they are attacked by various animals.  And practically each time, the teenagers (some wildly inexperienced with dealing with the outdoors) are able to escape. 

But this story of survival is also a story of love, and family, and friendship.  Although the book focused on the natural elements they were facing, it also took time to develop the characters and really make me root for them.  It humanized them and showed some pretty realistic reactions to their predicament, such as a younger brother silently vowing to do anything he needed to in order to save his brother, even if it meant going against the group, and the girl who is in shock over the loss of her boyfriend and thus blames the others. 

4 stars 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 Backlist Reader Challenge: January Roundup

For the 2017 Backlist Reader Challenge, I'm planning on doing mini-reviews for now, so here's my recap for January!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (2010)

A teenage girl relives the last day of her life over and over again.

This book kind of blew me away - it had a lot more heart and depth than I expected.  Sam is a popular girl who is used to getting her way without thinking how her actions might be affecting other people, but when she dies in a car accident and relives the same Friday over and over again, suddenly she doesn't know what to believe any more.

I loved the character of Sam - at the beginning she is a typical popular high school girl with close friends, a hot boyfriend, and a total sense of entitlement.  She's a bit of a mean girl.  But after the car accident, she feels maybe she's been given another chance, at first to save herself but later perhaps to save someone else.  I loved her character growth, as she begins to realize there is more to the world around her than just her little bubble.  She talks to students she hasn't spoken to in years; she spends quality time with her little sister; she tries to make amends. She learns how little she really knows about the people around her.  And even though this book was published in 2010, I think it is still timely on the issues of bullying.  I thought Oliver gave a thoughtful and honest look at what high school can unfortunately be like for those not at the top of the food chain.

4 stars: The believable writing, the multi-layered characters, Sam's growth, the imagery - it all worked for me.

                                                                                                                                                           

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (2013)

Contemporary romance is not a genre I normally read, but I won this book from my local library's giveaway, so I figured I would give it a try.

Widow Holly Brennan by chance meets personal trainer Logan Montgomery on a flight; he offers to help her lose the weight she put on after her husband passed away.  As Holly slims down, the two become attracted to each other, but their relationship is anything but easy.

I'm sorry, but I was not a fan of this one.  The first time Logan sees Holly, he has some pretty nasty thoughts about her just based on her size.  After months of training and losing some weight, he finds himself surprised to be attracted to her, because she is still somewhat big.  He's the typical gorgeous guy who only sleeps with models and never commits to anyone.  Even though he likes Holly, he still has thoughts about how her body could be changed to meet his regular standards, which was kind of gross.  He doesn't want to take her out in public, for fear of what other people might think; plus, when he hears someone badmouthing her, he doesn't even stick up for her!  I felt bad for Holly that she felt she wasn't good enough for this guy and that when they did go out, she felt people were staring at her and wondering why Logan was with her.  Do people actually do this?  I mean, I think my husband is way more attractive than me, but I've never gotten weird looks in public about it.

I felt like this book wanted the reader to praise Logan just because he was actually attracted to someone who wasn't a size 2!  Look, I don't mind shallow characters who grow and change - but I don't think Logan was one of those characters.  2 stars

                                                                                                                                                 

The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich (2015)

I also won this one from my local library.  The Sweet Spot tells the origin story of Amanda and Chase Walker, who were first introduced in Big Girl Panties.  Amanda is a restaurant owner and Chase is a famous baseball player.  Chase is portrayed as being the perfect guy, but to me there were definitely shades of him being overbearing and controlling.

Chase has a fetish for spanking, which is all well and good as long as the other person is into it too, except he doesn't tell Amanda about it until he basically loses control one night.  What bugged me was how nonchalant he was the next morning, despite Amanda's confusion and pain.  He also admitted that it was about more than just sex; if a woman was being "bratty," not following his rules, or not acting like a lady, he felt he was justified in hitting her.  It was a little weird that he felt he could punish another adult simply for using a curse word he didn't like.

The book got a little better in the second half, when security camera footage of Chase and Amanda indulging in their secret activity is released, and Amanda has to take a hard look at their relationship and decide if the scrutiny and lack of privacy is worth it.  I thought it was a pretty authentic look at what being in a relationship with a celebrity is like. 2.5 stars

Friday, January 27, 2017

Try It, You Might Like It #5: Coloring Books

"Try it, you might like it" - it's what someone says when they present you with some food you've never had before or your mom wants you to try on some clothes she picked out for you.  I'm using it here on the blog as inspiration to choose books in genres I don't normally read; to branch out from my reading comfort zones; and to maybe find some new favorites!

For this installment, I've chosen coloring books!  I was fairly artsy as a kid - I loved drawing and painting.  As I got older, I sort of fell out of it, but ever since my stepmom started a crafting club a few months ago, I've been getting back into it.  So for Christmas, I asked for colored pencils, sketchpads, and coloring books. 

Adult coloring books have become super-popular in the last couple years.  It's such a fun throwback to childhood and lots of people think they're great stress relievers.  There are coloring books for practically everything: simple ones like patterns, flowers, or gardens to specialized ones like those for Harry Potter or The Wizard of Oz fans.  And you can find them everywhere - from Amazon to Barnes & Noble to craft stores like Michaels and A.C. Moore.  There are even coloring pages on Pinterest that you can print out yourself, if you don't want to commit to a whole book! 

My sister and I found these books at Walmart:



I've actually been having a lot of fun with these coloring books!  When I took a little break from reading at the end of the year, this was a great activity to fill in the time.  It's something I can do while catching up on tv shows, and it lets me be creative without breaking the bank.  Coloring books are a definite keeper!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday: The Weight of Him

"Waiting on" Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

The Weight of Him
Ethel Rohan
Expected publication date: February 14, 2017
At four hundred pounds, Billy can always count on food. From his earliest memories, he has loved food's colors, textures and tastes. The way flavors go off in his mouth. How food keeps his mind still and his bad feelings quiet. Food has always made everything better, until the day Billy's beloved son Michael takes his own life.

Billy determines to make a difference in Michael's memory and undertakes a public weight-loss campaign, to raise money for suicide prevention--his first step in an ambitious plan to save himself, and to save others. However, Billy's dramatic crusade appalls his family, who want to simply try to go on, quietly, privately.

Despite his crushing detractors, Billy gains welcome allies: his community-at-large; a co-worker who lost his father to suicide; a filmmaker with his own dubious agenda; and a secret, miniature kingdom that Billy populates with the sub-quality dolls and soldiers he saves from disposal at the toy factory where he works. But it is only if Billy can confront the truth of the suffering and brokenness within and around him that he and others will be able to realize the recovery they need. - from Goodreads

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: Sin City Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week is a freebie, so I thought it would be a perfect time to do a topic I've been thinking about doing anyway.  After several years of wearing him down, I've finally convinced my husband to go to Las Vegas.  The casinos, the shows, the Bellagio fountains, the Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon - I'm so excited!  So this week, I wanted to put together a list of books inspired by our upcoming trip, books set in or about Sin City!  Viva Las Vegas!

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
Leaving Las Vegas - John O'Brien
 
Casino - Nicholas Pileggi
The Delivery Man - Joe McGinniss Jr.
 
Beautiful Children - Charles Bock
The Desert Rose - Larry McMurtry
 
Bright Light City: Las Vegas in Popular Culture - Larry Gragg
Cold Deck - H. Lee Barnes
 
Las Vegas, As It Began, As It Grew - Stanley W. Paher
Under the Neon Sky - Jay Rankin
 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Duology Review: The Wrath & The Dawn Saga

 
Renee Ahdieh

It's not often that I get to read an entire series all at once; usually I'm reading it in pieces as each book comes out.  The Wrath & The Dawn series is only a duology, but when I saw that both were available at my library, I jumped at the chance to read the books of the saga back-to-back.  For me, it really made a difference in keeping the story and characters straight and fresh in my mind. 

The Wrath & The Dawn tells the story of Shahrzad, who lives in a land ruled by a king who marries a new girl each night, because each morning the bride is executed.  After Shahrzad's best friend becomes a victim, she volunteers to be the king's next bride, vowing to stay alive long enough to kill the king and end his reign of terror.  However, when she begins spending time with the king, she realizes that not all is what it seems to be. 

Instead of having a long set-up, the story dives right into the action on the night that Shahrzad marries the king, Khalid.  Shahrzad survives the first night by telling the king a story, and she gains confidence that she will get her revenge.  But Shahrzad is still just 16 years old; she is impulsive and confused.  She has many opportunities to hurt the king, but doesn't take them.  She finds herself falling for him, despite everything she stands for. 

The Rose & The Dagger expands upon the world introduced in the first book.  I loved that the second story is so much bigger than the first; the first story is about one girl's chance at revenge, mostly focusing on Shahrzad and Khalid, and the second is really about the bigger picture.  We get to spend a lot more time with other characters, because war is coming to Khalid's land, with an army led by those closest to Shahrzad.  Magic weaves its way through the story in fun and fantastical ways.  Romance, political intrigue, changing loyalties - this book has it all, but it never felt overwhelming.  The story and writing both flowed really well.

I love the world created by Renee Ahdieh.  It is rich and sumptuous, really beautiful.  Her descriptions of the clothes, jewelry, and even food made me feel like I was right there.  The characters are so distinct, each with their own quirks and personalities; I feel like I got to know each one of them so well.  The duology wasn't perfect - sometimes I felt the first book was a bit repetitive, and the second book could have used more explanation at various points.  Some storylines ended too abruptly.  But overall, I would highly recommend this series!

4 stars

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Throwback: Storm King Art Center

It's January, it's freezing, it gets dark way too early - what better time to revisit our 2015 trek to Storm King Art Center on a gorgeous fall day?


Storm King Art Center is a sculpture park and open-air museum located on 500 acres in the Hudson Valley.  Open fields, rolling hills, and lightly wooded areas combined with fun and interesting art pieces made for a perfect place to walk around for a few hours.



 

This place was just incredible.  Large sculptures dot the landscape.  Even things that don't appear at first to be art actually are, like these "waves" of grass and hillside.


There are paved paths that wind their way around the park, but there are also some dirt paths, and you can always just make your own way across the wide open spaces.  A tram can drive you to see the major sites, but walking lets you see so much more, including some smaller pieces that are practically hidden until you are right on top of them.  Visitors can also rent bikes.



If you ever find yourself in this area of the Hudson Valley of New York, I highly recommend a visit to Storm King Art Center!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday: The Young Wives Club

"Waiting on" Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

The Young Wives Club
Julie Pennell
Expected publication date: February 14, 2017
Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.

For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…

All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…

Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancĂ©. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?

As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart. - from Goodreads

Monday, January 16, 2017

When a Sequel is a Bad Idea

Ok, that post title sounds a bit harsh.  Let me back up a minute and explain.  On a recent Top Ten Tuesday list, I listed Jojo Moyes as one of my favorite new-to-me authors of 2016, as I finally read Me Before You and loved it.  I received a comment from another blogger that I should consider reading the sequel, After You.  Now, don't get me wrong - I love receiving recommendations from other bloggers.  But - I am actually kind of scared to read After You.  I thought Me Before You was a practically perfect self-contained novel, and I loved the ending.  I worry that the sequel won't live up to the original, and the magic will be ruined for me!

Sometimes perfectly awesome books get unnecessary sequels (at least, in my opinion).  For example, Scarlett is just one of many sequels and prequels to Gone With the Wind, although none were written by Margaret Mitchell.  Lauren Weisberger released a sequel to The Devil Wears Prada 10 years after the original came out.  Even The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus had a sequel, taking place 12 years after the events of the first book.  I've read all of these, but in the back of my mind was always thinking to myself, was this really necessary?

Obviously, the authors feel there is more story to tell, but sometimes I feel like it's better to leave the original alone than to continue the story in a way that may alienate their audience or be inconsistent with the original.  I don't mind books that don't have a clear resolution or are open-ended in some way.  It gives me the freedom to imagine my own ending and where I think the characters might go next.  In the case of Gone With the Wind, the next chapter of the love story between Rhett and Scarlett is left up to the reader to imagine.  And sometimes a book has a pretty definitive ending that doesn't really lend itself to a sequel.  That's how I feel about The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries; these two stories wrapped up fairly well and I didn't see a need for more. 

For me, these sequels just didn't live up to the thrills or charms of the original, whether it be through the writing or the stories themselves, and I'm worried about being burned again.  With Me Before You, yes, it's a sad ending but there's a sense of hope for Lou, and I want to preserve those feelings. 

So, has this ever happened to you - have you ever come across a sequel that you didn't think needed to be told or didn't fit with the original?  Is it important that I read After You?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: A Certain Age

A Certain Age
Beatriz Williams
Published June 28, 2016
As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingĂ©nue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice. - from Goodreads
Normally, I am a huge Beatriz Williams fan, but A Certain Age just missed the mark for me.

A Certain Age tells the story of Theresa Marshall, a 40-something married woman having an affair with a much younger man, Octavian.  When Theresa's brother, Ox, decides to propose to Sophie, he utilizes this strange upper-class custom of sending another man to actually do the proposing.  Octavian is charged with this duty, and he and Sophie, of course, fall in love at first sight.  And for a little extra drama, there's a murder mystery involving Sophie's family.

At the beginning, Octavian seems so in love with Theresa; he wants to marry her, maybe even start a family.  Theresa, though, is a bit reluctant; although her feelings for Octavian are strong, she plays them off as casual.  Theresa was probably my favorite character - the one with the most depth, and I don't think Octavian deserved her.  Octavian, on the other hand, never came alive for me as a character; he felt so flat and boring.  The feelings between Octavian and Sophie weren't grounded in anything, and the way these two fickle characters changed their allegiances literally overnight didn't sit well with me.  I felt particularly bad for Ox; a lifelong bachelor, he finally found a woman he could see himself settling down with, and she broke his heart.

But there were bright spots.  Beatriz Williams has an incredible ability to set a scene, and I really felt transported to the Roaring '20s in New York City.  Her writing is fun and readable.  And fans of Williams' other works will recognize a character or two. 

3 stars

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday: The Mother's Promise

"Waiting on" Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

The Mother's Promise
Sally Hepworth
Expected publication date: February 21, 2017
With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds. In The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment. Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness. - from Goodreads

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Meant To Read, But Didn't Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is 2016 releases I meant to read, but didn't get to.  So many books, so little time!

 

 

 

 

   



Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 Blogging Goals


When I first started this blog about 8 months ago, I really had no idea what I was doing (and honestly, I still feel that way most days!).  I had a vague idea in my head of what I wanted the blog to be like and just kind of ran with it.  Now that I've had some time to learn and think, I wanted to create a list of goals for myself for the upcoming year.

  1. Learn more about the technical side of creating a blog/website.  I really am quite technologically challenged, so I've just been using a standard Blogger template and haven't tried to change up too many things.  I'd really like to learn how to make the overall site prettier and more professional.  I don't dislike the way it looks now, but sometimes I feel it's not necessarily "me."
  2. Create better graphics.  This goes along with #1 and wanting to make the blog look nicer, whether by learning how to make my own graphics or taking better photos to go along with my posts.
  3. Come up with more/better discussion posts.  I enjoy writing book reviews and participating in weekly features, but I also want to branch out a bit and have more fun/interesting/thought-provoking discussions on the blog.
  4. Have at least a month's worth of posts ready to go.  In my non-blogging life, I'm very organized, a total planner who orders her Christmas cards in October.  I've been pretty good about this with blogging and keeping ahead of the game, and I want to maintain that, because you never know when a blogging or reading slump will hit or real life will get in the way!
  5. Immerse myself more in the book blogging community.  This community is way larger and more complex than I ever imagined, and right now I'm just scratching the surface.  I'd like to see if I can get more involved, even if that means starting small by reading more blogs or participating in some reading challenges.
  6. Don't forget about my other passion, the outdoors.  Most days, this is a book blog, which I love, but I also want to continue sharing our outdoor adventures (even though they may not be as interesting!).  I love having this record of all the places we've been and seen.
  7. Have fun!  Because really, if I'm spending all this time working on it and I'm not enjoying it, what's the point?

So, am I being realistic with these goals?  Do you have any blogging goals for this year?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Gratitude Journals

Today I want to talk about something a little different and get a little personal.  Since it's the start of a new year and everyone is making their resolutions, I thought I would share a resolution that I made a couple years ago and have stuck with ever since.

I'm not proud to admit it, but a couple years ago I took a hard look at myself and realized some not-so-nice things - I wasn't a very happy person.  I was too often judgmental and jealous of others, and complaining was my number-one hobby.  Why was I acting like this when I had so much to be thankful for?  I had an incredible family; an amazing husband; a roof over my head; and a good job to go to every day.  I needed to do something to get me out of this funk.


At the beginning of 2015, I started keeping a gratitude journal.  I journaled a lot through my teen and college years, but this is different and has more focus.  In this journal, I write down things I am thankful for.  Usually I just write a sentence or two, but occasionally the entries are longer.  Sometimes they are serious, sometimes they are more mundane or even silly:

  • A phone call in the middle of the day from my husband just saying "I love you"
  • A good prognosis for a loved one after a health scare
  • A new book by one of my favorite authors
  • A sunny day after a string of rainy ones
  • Pizza

I don't write in it everyday, more like a couple times a week.  I write in it when I'm really happy about something, but those times when I seem to be in a negative headspace are also a good time for me write, to focus on something positive instead.  In November, I try to log an entry for each day of the month; this past year I used a prompt from Text My Journal to guide me:


I don't see my gratitude journal as a way of ignoring or brushing off real problems I may have.  It helps me focus on the good things in my life and to stop worrying about things I don't have or can't control.  I find that keeping the journal has changed my way of thinking and improved my attitude.  It's taught me not to take little (and sometimes big!) things for granted.  I feel happier and more positive, and petty issues don't seem to bother me as much as they used to.  I think (I hope!) my family has also seen a change in me.  Reading back through the entries is a great reminder of all the amazing people, moments, and things in my life. 

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?  What are you grateful for this new year?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday: My Not So Perfect Life

"Waiting on" Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

My Not So Perfect Life
Sophie Kinsella
Expected publication date: February 7, 2017
Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway? - from Goodreads

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Backlist Reader Challenge Sign-Up


When I came across the Backlist Reader Challenge hosted by Lark at The Bookwyrm's Hoard, I thought it sounded perfect for me.  You can get all the details here, but in essence the challenge helps us finally get to all those older titles on our TBRs.  I've been reading a lot of new releases since I started blogging, but there are some older works I've been wanting to read as well, and this challenge will inspire me to do that!

I went through my TBR and made a list of the books that were published before 2016.  It turned out to be 26 books, which I think is entirely manageable.  I'm sure I will probably add more titles to my TBR as the year goes on, but these are the ones I want to focus since they've been there longer!  It's a good mix of new-to-me authors, series I want to catch up on, and even some classics.