Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday: Once and For All

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

Once and For All
Sarah Dessen
Expected publication date: June 6, 2017
Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants. - from Goodreads

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books for the 2nd Half of 2017


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is our most anticipated books for the second half of 2017!


 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32887870-where-the-light-falls?ac=1&from_search=true#  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32600704-secret-sisters?from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32926258-the-life-she-was-given?ac=1&from_search=true  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32969045-the-goddesses?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33098831-woman-enters-left?ac=1&from_search=true  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33574211-emma-in-the-night?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33590214-young-jane-young?ac=1&from_search=true https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29923707-one-dark-throne?ac=1&from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25528808-that-inevitable-victorian-thing?ac=1&from_search=true  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33843251-the-afterlife-of-holly-chase?ac=1&from_search=true

Friday, May 26, 2017

2017 Backlist Reader Challenge: May Roundup

It's time for another round of mini-reviews for the 2017 Backlist Reader Challenge hosted by Lark at The Bookwyrm's Hoard!

The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker (2011)

I wanted to read this book after we watched the movie Whisky Tango Foxtrot with Tina Fey, based on this memoir.  On the other hand, I don't really like memoirs and the Middle East is not an area I know a whole lot about, so unfortunately, I couldn't really get into this book.

Part of the book describes what life is like for a journalist living in a foreign country and part of it is a current history of the political situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan - but I felt like I didn't get enough of either.  A lot of the political stuff went over my head; so many names and groups, and part of that is my fault for being so uninformed.  The personal parts of the book focused too much on the night life and illegal alcohol sought out by Barker and not enough on the stories she was writing.

I couldn't connect with Barker at all.  She went into this experience so unprepared.  She had rarely traveled outside the US before taking on this assignment and knew very little about the culture and politics of the area when she arrived.  Even after years of living there, she still couldn't grasp basic concepts on how to dress.  She often came across as na├»ve and judgmental and apparently had no problem punching men in the face.  I felt there was a level of disrespect when dealing with political figures (such as calling them by their first names) and I was left with a poor view towards Afghan and Pakistani people in general.  2 stars


The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell (2004)

I really thought I was going to like this one - the son of an English nobleman is taken hostage during an invasion by Danish Vikings in the 9th century.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be a DNF for me about 50% through.  I didn't understand the main character's motivations.  Although the child was not particularly happy with his father, he seemingly easily adopts the Viking lifestyle and religion with barely a second thought, and the Viking that captured him just seemed way too nice and treated him as another son.  The writing was dense, heavy, and somewhat bland.  When I found myself skimming more than reading, I knew it was time to stop.

A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #7) by Louise Penny (2011)

A woman is found murdered in the garden of Clara and Peter Morrow in Three Pines, after a celebration for Clara's art show.  The woman turns out to be an old friend of Clara's, but they hadn't spoken since a falling out many years before.

I enjoyed this installment of the series, although it felt like there was a lot going on.  The main mystery was about the murder of Lillian Dyson.  Because she used to be an art critic, several characters from the art world were introduced.  However, as interesting as it was to learn about art and the lives and temperaments of artists, this mystery almost seemed secondary to the other storylines in the book.  I felt like this installment really dove deep into the lives of characters we've known since the first book.  Always a bit tenuous, we finally see the breakdown of Clara and Peter's marriage.  It was hard to read about Peter's jealousy regarding Clara's recent success, after years of being the more renowned artist.

The detectives are still dealing with scars, both emotional and physical, from the terror attack that took many of their colleagues' lives.  Jean Guy isn't doing so well and is now separated from his wife, having fallen in love with someone new and surprising, and he doesn't quite know what to do with his feelings.  Gamache is changed, as well, from the slight tremors in his hand to how he leads his team.  I really loved the character development in this book, and it made me want to quickly get to the next installment to see what happens.  4 stars


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Goodreads Book Tag


I've been seeing the Goodreads Book Tag going around lately and even though I haven't been personally tagged, I wanted to do it anyway because it seemed like fun!

What was the last book you marked as read?
 

What are you currently reading?
 
 

What do you plan to read next?
 

Do you use the star rating system?
 
Yes, but I wish Goodreads used half-stars, since that's what I use on the blog; sometimes I don't know whether to round up or down when I'm cross-posting reviews!



Are you doing a 2017 reading challenge?
 
Yes, I set a goal of 110 books.

 
Do you have a wish list?
 
Yes, but I keep it on Amazon and my TBR is on Pinterest.

 
What book do you plan to buy next?
 
I'm not sure.  I've been trying to limit the amount of books I buy; it will either be something I've read, loved, and want to have in my personal library OR a pre-order from one of my favorite authors, whichever comes first!

 
Do you have any favorite quotes?

I only have one quote tagged on Goodreads and that's:

"Courage, dear heart." - C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

 
Who are you favorite authors?
 
Kate Morton and Emily Giffin are auto-buys for me.  I also love JK Rowling and George R.R. Martin.

 
Have you joined any groups?
 
No, I haven't gotten too much into the social aspect of Goodreads, except for checking out the statuses of my friends.

 
If anyone else feels like doing this tag, I'd love to read your answers!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday: The Fortune Teller

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

The Fortune Teller
Gwendolyn Womack
Expected publication date: June 6, 2017
Semele Cavnow appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, deciphering ancient texts—and when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further, she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred.

The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele’s life. But what happened to the tarot deck? As the mystery of her connection to its story deepens, Semele can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Bossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there’s more to Semele’s desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere—someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Bossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it’s up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess. - from Goodreads

Monday, May 22, 2017

5 Book Recommendations for My Husband

My husband Tom is a non-reader, but since I know his other interests pretty well, I wanted to put together a list of books he might actually enjoy!  And if your husband or boyfriend is more into video games and sci-fi movies than he is into books, he might like these as well!







I don't want to give too much away, but the sci-fi twists in Dark Matter are so amazing and fun and totally up my husband's alley.  I may have spoiled most of the book for him as I was reading it, but still!




Tom is a huge Doctor Who fan, and I think Doctor Who: 12 Doctors 12 Stories would be perfect for him.  Twelve different authors have each written a short story based on one of the Doctor's regenerations.  So, he would get to read about each Doctor with a very manageable page count!




So this one is still on my TBR, but having read a couple reviews and the synopsis, I think Tom would really love Ready Player One - I mean, video games and 80s pop culture are two of his greatest loves (besides me, of course!).  Oh, and Wil Wheaton narrates the audiobook?  He's definitely in.




Felicia Day is the ultimate guys' girl - she's gorgeous, she's smart, AND she can talk video games with the best of them.  I wanted to include her memoir You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) on this list because I know Tom loves Felicia from her appearances on Supernatural, one of his favorite shows, and some gaming videos, and I thought he would appreciate reading her story!






We really enjoyed watching the movie version of The Martian and I think if Tom were stuck somewhere with a dead phone battery, he would enjoy the book version, as well!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Review: After The Fall

After The Fall
Julie Cohen
Published May 2, 2017 (first published 2015)
When an unfortunate accident forces Honor back into the lives of her widowed daughter-in-law, Jo, and her only granddaughter, Lydia, she cannot wait to be well enough to get back to her own home. However, the longer she stays with Jo and Lydia, the more they start to feel like a real family. But each of the three women is keeping secrets from the others that threaten to destroy the lives they’ve come to know.

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could destroy the “normal” family life she’s fought so hard to build and maintain.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love―or the loss of everything that matters most to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will be forced out in the open in a single dramatic moment that leaves them all asking: is there such a thing as second chances? - from Goodreads
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

After The Fall is a story about three generations of women, learning to live with each other while still hiding the biggest parts of themselves.  When Honor is injured in a fall, her daughter-in-law Jo invites her to stay with her and her daughter Lydia until she heals.

Jo and Honor have always had a difficult relationship, which became even more strained after the death of Jo's husband and Honor's son, Stephen.  This part of the book was very relatable, since I think a lot of women have trouble connecting with their mothers-in-law.  Quite often there's tension and a feeling of inadequacy.

Jo, Honor, and Lydia each have a secret.  I didn't think any of the secrets were earth-shattering, but I can see how each might want to hide their true feelings.  In Honor's case, her secret could lead to the end of the independent life she has created for herself; Lydia's secret is tough because she's a teenager, and teenagers are so cruel to each other.

For me, Jo's story and secret were the weak link.  Jo is one of those people who's perpetually happy and cheerful, always taking care of others.  She just didn't seem real.  She has a secret because she made a ridiculous promise to her 16-year-old daughter.  Letting your children tell you who and when you can date is not the greatest idea, but Jo also seems to exhibit little self-control when it comes to a certain man.

Overall, this book was a quick, easy read about the changing relationships between the three women.  I especially liked the growth that Honor's character experienced throughout the novel.  The ending seemed to come out of nowhere and was a bit jarring, but if you enjoy stories about family relationships, you may enjoy this one.

3.5 stars

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday: Standard Deviation

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

Standard Deviation
Katherine Heiny
Expected publication date: June 1, 2017
Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself privileged to live in the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop through her epidural, labour and delivery, invites the doorman to move in and the eccentric members of their son’s Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is charming and spontaneous and fun but life with her can be exhausting.

In the midst of the day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a child with Asperger’s, his first wife, Elspeth, reenters Graham’s life. Former spouses are hard to categorize – are they friends, enemies, old flames, or just people who know you really, really well? Graham starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did he make the right choice? Is there a right choice? - from Goodreads

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Mums of the Harry Potter Universe


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is a Mother's Day freebie, so I wanted to do something a little different and talk about mothers and mother figures featured in the Harry Potter books!

Lily Potter
Lily loved her son Harry so much that she made the ultimate sacrifice for him, and her death saved Harry and allowed him to defeat Voldemort so many years later.

Molly Weasley
Who wouldn't want Molly Weasley as a mother?  She's a great cook, knits a mean sweater, and she would do ANYTHING for her children.

Narcissa Malfoy
Her love for her son Draco redeems her.  She is so protective of him that she even betrayed Voldemort, saying that Harry was dead after being struck by the Killing Curse (even though he wasn't) and ensuring she would be reunited with her family.

Mrs. Granger
Even though we don't see a lot of Hermione's mother, I think she's very proud of her daughter and accepting of the new magical world Hermione has entered, even if it's a bit overwhelming for her.  I mean, Mrs. Granger really just wants Hermione to do well in school, even if that school teaches some unorthodox topics.

Petunia Dursley
Sure, she was a pretty (ok, extremely) crappy mother to Harry, but Petunia still took her nephew in and no one can deny that she was a loving mother to Dudley and spoiled him rotten.

Augusta Longbottom
She raised her grandson Neville after his parents were institutionalized.  Although she could be a bit scary and stern, I think Neville learned a lot from her and she was proud of the wizard he became.

Professor McGonagall
She never had children of her own, but I think part of Minerva McGonagall saw her students like her children, especially Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  Tough when she needed to be, she also went out of her way to help them and was loving and kind in her own way.  Plus, protecting the students of Hogwarts was a huge part of her story.


What are your favorite moments of motherhood from the Harry Potter books?



Monday, May 15, 2017

Never-Ending Series: Yea or Nay?


There are so many book trilogies and quartets out there.  But what about those series that just seem to go on forever?  There are lots of them, but here's three I've been reading:

Inspector Gamache by Louise Penny
This mystery series is currently at 13 books!  The books follow Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of the Quebec homicide division.  There is some carryover between the novels.  Many of the characters are the same, whether it is Gamache and his team or the residents of Three Pines, where many of the stories take place.  The books often refer back to events from previous installments, but for the most part, each mystery is its own. 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander began as a time-traveling romance between Jamie and Claire in the Scottish Highlands and is at 8 books right now (although Gabaldon may be wrapping things up).  When I first started the series, I loved the premise and was looking forward to the love story and adventures in 18th century Scotland.  However, by the second book, practically everything had changed - from the time period to the location.  I kept reading even though it wasn't quite what I imagined anymore.  Over the course of several books, dozens of new characters have been added with new storylines in different times.  In addition, the tone of the books for has changed; it's less of a romance and more sweeping epic. 

The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella
The Shopaholic books are getting more outlandish as the series progresses.  At first, it was organic, following Becky as she met her husband, got married, went on honeymoon, and had a baby.  Although still entertaining, the later books are becoming more strained.

I have mixed feelings about never-ending series.  I think it works well with a mystery series; we get the comfort of the same characters but each book feels new.  With other types of series, it's interesting to see how the author will broaden the story, but it doesn't always work.  Sometimes it can feel forced, or it can just get overwhelming.  It makes me wonder what the endgame is, or if the author even has one in mind.

And then there's the commitment factor.  If you can get in at the beginning of the series, it's not so bad - but you may have to wait a long time, maybe even years, for the next installment.  Even for the most ardent fans, this is rough.  And if several books have already been published, it can be hard to make that decision to start such a lengthy series.

Do you read any series that just seem to go on and on?  Or do you avoid those kinds of series?  Why do you think they work, or not?



Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: We Were On A Break

We Were On a Break
Lindsey Kelk
Published October 6, 2016
Is it a break? Or is it a blip? 'You've just had a holiday,' I pointed out, trying not to yawn. 'Wasn't that enough of a break?' 'I don't mean that kind of break.' There's nothing worse than the last day of holiday. Oh wait, there is. When what should have been a proposal turns into a break, Liv and Adam find themselves on opposite sides of the life they had mapped out. Friends and family all think they're crazy; Liv throws herself into work - animals are so much simpler than humans - and Adam tries to get himself out of the hole he's dug. But as the short break becomes a chasm, can they find a way back to each other? Most importantly, do they want to? - from Goodreads
I so badly wanted to love this book - the premise sounds so cute and realistic, but unfortunately this was just kind of a middling read for me.

Adam is planning to propose to Liv on the last day of their Mexican vacation, but when the plans get messed up and the two get into a fight on the plane ride home, Adam suddenly decides he needs a break from their three-year relationship.

I liked that Kelk gave both Adam and Liv first-person narratives in the book.  It was definitely a good strategy for this book; instead of getting just one person's side of the story, we were able to get into both of their heads (although, it would have been nice to have some kind of header or something indicating that the narrator was changing).  I liked Liv way more than I liked Adam.  I think Liv reacted to Adam's request for a break like many women would have.  She is stunned, she is confused, she has questions - but she thinks it might be better to stay silent than to push Adam.

Adam just frustrated me to no end.  He has no reasons for wanting a break; it just seemed like something that popped into his head and he ran with it.  I mean, he was literally saying just a few pages before how perfect Liv is - and now he needs space?  He tries to justify his actions to himself later, but his reasons don't make sense.  Then, he thinks he can just glibly apologize and all will be forgiven and forgotten.  Uh, no, Adam - when has a woman ever forgotten anything?

Adam's need for a break pushes Liv to then reassess her entire life, and this is the part of the book that I actually enjoyed.  Liv is a vet in her dad's practice, and he decides, without speaking to her first, that he's going to retire and leave the practice to her.  Now, Liv faces a future that's less focused on the animals she loves and more on the business side of the practice, something she hates - and her dad doesn't like the way she plans to run the business.  She has to decide if this is something she really wants.

The book was quite long for the premise, filled with miscommunications and misunderstandings and friends/siblings sticking their noses into other people's business.  I just wanted Liv and Adam to talk to each other, instead of dragging things out.  I also didn't care for the ending - things just wrapped up too neatly and unrealistically.

3 stars

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Blog Squad Tag


If you're not familiar with these ladies, the Blog Squad consists of Uma at Books.Bags.Burgers, Di at Book Reviews by Di, and Amy at A Magical World of Words - they collaborate on a series of fun discussion posts about book blogging.  Last week they created their own book tag (I've linked to each of their posts) and since I had such fun reading their answers, I wanted to take part, too!

Is there a particular blogger who inspires you?

Oh, man, just one??  I've a relatively new blogger, so pretty much everyone inspires me!  Bloggers who have been at it for years and other newbies like me - I can learn something from everyone.  I think we all have a unique perspective, and so mostly I've been inspired to just be myself!


What is your blog's niche?

I'm not sure if I really have one yet.  I broadly focus on adult fiction, but I love and talk about many genres, and I also toss in some posts about my other interests, particularly hiking.  Maybe someday I'll narrow down the focus a bit, but I like being able to talk about whatever I want!


What is your top bookish confession?

I often read the last page or two of a book first!  #sorrynotsorry


What are your top three bookish pet peeves?

1. Synopses that don't give an accurate representation of what the book is really about.  There are fewer things worse than starting a book thinking it's about one thing, and then getting hit with something completely different.
2. Quick or overly convenient endings.  If I'm going to spend hours reading a book, I want a good ending!
3. Paragraphs and chapters that are too long.  I tend to skim long paragraphs and I always check how long a chapter is before I start reading it - I hate stopping in the middle!


Name three books you would recommend to anyone.


The Distant Hours by Kate Morton - I get lost in Kate Morton's books; they're like entering another world.  This one is about three sisters who live in an English castle, surrounded by their secrets.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - It's a classic but it's still very readable.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - Beautiful writing, gorgeous settings, and magic make this one of my favorite books.

Thank you to the Blog Squad for coming up with this great tag!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday: The Last Piece of My Heart

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

The Last Piece of My Heart
Paige Toon
Expected publication date: May 18, 2017
Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change … - from Goodreads

Monday, May 8, 2017

Quotables #3

Hi all!  It's time for another round of Quotables! 


Why it speaks to me: This one just made me laugh, because it's so true!  Is anyone else's husband or partner like this?  Sometimes if I can drop subtle enough hints, I can steer Tom towards what I want AND make him think he's the one who wanted it and thought of it in the first place!


Why it speaks to me: I'm a worrier - about things that have already happened, things that haven't happened yet, things that probably won't ever happen.  Is there such a thing as worrying too much? 


Why it speaks to me: Fall is absolutely my favorite season.  I love the colors, the smells, the weather.  This quote describes me to a T, and even though it's still spring, I'm already looking forward to fall!


Which of these is your favorite?  Can you relate to any of them?


Friday, May 5, 2017

Review: The Weight of Him

The Weight of Him
Ethel Rohan
Published February 14, 2017
At four hundred pounds, Billy Brennan 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
Sometimes a simply written novel can convey the deepest emotions.   With a straightforward, easy to read style, The Weight of Him touches on so many difficult topics but still contains a sense of hope.

At the open of the story, Billy Brennan is not in a good place.  His son Michael recently committed suicide; he is morbidly obese; and he and his wife are growing apart.  In order to bring awareness to the suicide epidemic (his words), he starts a public weight loss journey, complete with fliers, t-shirts, a public march, and maybe even a documentary.  He wants to donate all the money he raises to charity and hopes to prevent others from taking the same path his son did.

It was easy to root for Billy - he jumps into this endeavor whole-heartedly.  Even though he's failed at diets before, I just wanted him to succeed this time, for his son's memory.  Unfortunately, other characters, most notably his family, don't support him.  I can understand how his wife wouldn't want their grief to be made public; she just wants to be able to move forward, eventually.  It was both hurtful and honest when his wife and kids wonder about his motivation - why did it take Michael's death for Billy to become so proactive?  If he had shown this kind of interest in anything before, would things have been different?

I had some issues with the book.  The whole toy factory thing was kind of odd - Billy works at a toy factory, but he takes the sub-par toys and creates this miniature ideal world in his garage.  Billy's emotions sometimes gave me whiplash.  One moment he was confident and the next he was a nervous wreck wondering if he could even go on.  Also, I felt the idea of bringing awareness to suicide prevention was oversimplified at times or perhaps not explored well enough.  I think the problem was that Billy didn't understand why his son committed suicide, so he wasn't aware enough of the depression, hurt, and hopelessness that accompanied it.  His ideas for "saving others" just seemed too simple.

3.5 stars

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday: The Best Kind of Magic

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

The Best Kind of Magic
Crystal Cestari
Expected publication date: May 16, 2017
Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match? - from Goodreads

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: If The Shoe Fits...


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week's topic is a cover freebie.  I thought it would be fun to put together a collage of covers featuring footwear - spikey heels, cozy slippers, and of course, some hiking boots.  Who doesn't love a good pair of shoes? 

You'll probably notice that Lauren Weisberger dominates this list - I love how she does an alternate cover for each of her books that features the signature heel!



Monday, May 1, 2017

Why Book Blogging is a Good Fit For Shy People


I'm a shy person and have been my whole life - I was that kid who never spoke up in class unless my grade depended on it; I am forever on the outside of a group; and making small talk terrifies me.  I don't like to draw attention to myself because of what other people might think of me, and I often feel uncomfortable and awkward at parties.  So when I thought about maybe starting a book blog, I really went back and forth on it for a long time.  Why did I want to do it?  Could I really put myself and my thoughts out there for people to read and even judge?  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that blogging (and book blogging in particular) is actually a pretty good hobby for a shy person.

Choose your own level of involvement
Like with any hobby, you can choose how much time you want to spend on it and how involved you want to get.  If posting a review or some recommendations once a week is what you want to do, then go for it!  If you're worried about comments or interacting with readers on your blog, you could disable or moderate comments.  And if keeping up with all the different forms of social media is overwhelming, just stick to the ones you feel comfortable with.

Be anonymous - or not
A book blog is perfect for someone who wants to share one aspect of their life without getting too personal.  If you're worried about talking about yourself, don't be. Yes, lots of bloggers share things about their personal lives, but that's a choice that you can make.  If you want to just talk about books, then only talk about books!  It's up to you what to share with your readers.  There is room for everyone and all types of blogs. 

Time to gather your thoughts
The biggest problem I have when I'm in a group of people is thinking of something to say - by the time I've thought of a witty remark, they've moved on to the next topic.  But while blogging, I can spend as much time as I want on each post, deciding what I want to say and how to say it.

Connect with others who share your interests
One of the best things for me is finding a common interest with someone (whether it's books or Real Housewives) and once we start talking, I find I have a lot to say!  By starting your own book blog, you're joining a whole community of enthusiastic readers who can't wait to share some booktalk with you.  Reading is often a solitary activity, but it really enhances the experience when you can discuss what you love or don't love about certain books or share recommendations for new reads.

Take steps towards becoming more outgoing
I've surprised myself at how much I've come out of my shell while blogging for the past year.  At first, I thought the blog would mostly just be for me to put down my thoughts about books and hiking (it was simultaneously scary and nice to think that other people might read it, too).  As people started visiting and even commenting, it helped boost my confidence and made me want to interact more with other bloggers.  It was hard at first, but I think I'm getting better at it every day.  I have a feeling there are a lot of bloggers out there who consider themselves shy in their real life, but are totally outgoing when it comes to blogging and books.

Do you consider yourself shy or outgoing?  If you're shy IRL, do you find that blogging helps you?