Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review of Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber

Read for: Netgalley/Requested Review & I love her books


Synopsis: "When a single mom becomes an empty nester, she spreads her wings to rediscover herself--and her passions--in this heartwarming novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Jenna Boltz's life is at a crossroads. After a messy divorce from her surgeon husband nearly twenty years ago, she raised her two children on her own, juggling motherhood with her beloved job as a Seattle intensive-care nurse. Now that Paul and Allie have gone to college and moved out, Jenna can't help but wonder what her future holds.

Her best friend, Maureen, is excited for Jenna's newfound independence. Now is the perfect time to finally book the trip to Paris they've been dreaming of since their college days. But when it comes to life's other great adventure--dating--Jenna still isn't sure she's ready to let love in . . . until an unexpected encounter begins to change her mind.

When Jenna's elderly mother breaks her hip, Dr. Rowan Lancaster saves the day. Despite his silent, stoic exterior, Rowan is immediately smitten with Jenna. And even though Jenna is hesitant about becoming involved with another surgeon, she has to admit that she's more than a little intrigued. But when Jenna's children approach her with shocking news, she realizes that she needs to have faith in love and embrace the unexpected--before the life she has always dreamed of passes her by."

My Review: If you have taken a peek at my reviews at all you will find out that I am a big Debbie Macomber fan, I generally read her new releases right away and am obsessed with her Christmas stories. So, of course, I jumped at the chance to read this newest release. I was thinking this might be a continuation of Cottage by the Sea, her release from last year, but it doesn't seem to be, they both seem to be standalone books which I am 100% happy with reading. I love how this book follows two middle aged moms with recent empty nests, I am not quite there yet but getting close (other than the single parent part) and was really able to relate to them and their struggles to find their new definitions now that Mom wasn't the main focus anymore. The friendship between Jenna and Maureen was so inspiring, we should all have a friendship like that in our lives, someone who just gets us, supports us and guides us. The romances are slow burn, clean and realistic with all the baggage that comes with dating later in life. Macomber really pushed her characters outside their comfort zones and made them look past their preconceived notions of what the perfect partner should be. The romance also didn't completely take over the story, so much of the story is focused on friendships and family dynamics as well. I really appreciated the little peek into the struggles of letting your adult child make their own decisions and how the relationships shift as they grow up. 


My Rating: I really appreciated how this story was so full of various plot lines and that it wasn't solely focused on the romance.  It was a nice reminder of what a great friendship looks like.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and give it a rating of Four Paws!


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. The above is my honest opinion and review.


You can find out more about Debbie Macomber and her wealth of books on her Goodreads Page or Website.


Window on the Bay was just released yesterday, July 16th, so you can now obtain your own copy in digital or print format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or check at your library or local bookstore! 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Monday Reading List


It is Monday again, and time to update with what I read last week, what I am currently reading and what to look forward to next week.



Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Midsummer's Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca


 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

The Rabbit Listened
Pete the Cat and the Treasure Map


Currently Reading:

Realm by Alexandrea Weis - Ebook - 11%
The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson - Print - on page 104 of 352
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenburg - Multiple Formats - on page 128 of 352
The Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber - Ebook - on page 35 of 336


Pages Read/ Time Listened
351:45 Hours Listened (None listened this week)
18,262 Pages Read (56 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Snow Gypsy
WarDance
Warsong
Lost Boy
Year One
Girl Who Drank the Moon
King of Scars
Dactyl Hill Squad
The Darkdeep
Lord of the Fading Lands
Shadow of Doubt
Gates of Stone
A Conspiracy of Truths
Viper
Vortex Visions
Through the White Wood
Descendant of the Crane
Holy Sister
Dark Harmony
We Rule the Night
The Sea Queen
The Mountain of Kept Memory
Metamorphica
Misfits of Avalon Vol. 1
Misfits of Avalon Vol. 2
The Sea King
Ride Hard
Ride Rough
Ride Wild
Force of Attraction
Primal Force
Rival Forces
A Rogue by Any Other Name
A Scot in the Dark
The Day of the Duchess
The Pirate Bride
Pirate Stories
Man Made Boy
This Monstrous Thing
Dear Santa
An Endless Christmas
Christmas Magic
Falling Softly
Christmas Town
The Christmas Star
Highland Crown
Gris Grimly's Frankenstein
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
The Beholder
Lovestruck
We Hunt the Flame
Romanov
Dreaming the Bear
A New Hope
The Trial of Joan of Arc
Midsummer's Mayhem
Monsters
The Monsters We Deserve
Strange Star
Hephaistos: God of Fire
Ghostly Tales from the Lost Summer of 1816
Till There Was You
The Bride Test
The Kingdom
Storm and Fury
Queen of Ruin
Stepsister
The Lost Vintage

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


It ended up being another extremely busy week last week between a super insane week at the office, Summer camp and swim lessons for Munchkin, hubby injuring himself and installing new french doors in our house.  There was very little time for reading, it has been rather frustrating for me not to be able to read more than a chapter or two a day of any books, even audio books. I have been focusing a lot on going through my TBR books though; we have to let our dog out through the basement door because the deck is gone and my TBR shelf is right by that door. I spend a lot of time each day waiting for Niko to come back in and just staring at that mess of a shelf.  So far this last week I have pulled 25 books off the shelf that I don't have much interest in reading any more and made another pile of about 20 books that are a maybe (I will probably post those on my Instagram stories for Trash My TBR Thursdays).  Clearing out even a few of those books has made me feel better about not getting as much reading done as I would like, not so much pressure to read the books to reduce my TBR.


How often do you go through your TBR and clear out books you may not be interested in anymore?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

TBR Thursday (2)



So I stumbled upon this feature at Purple People Readers (I am totally in love with the blog name LOL) and was originally created by Kimberly Faye Reads.

As you may know, I like so many other book lovers out there am struggling with a towering TBR.  I have been currently working on narrowing it down a little (check out my Instagram stories for Trash My TBR Thursdays). But I thought I would also bring that idea to my blog, where you can get a bit of a say in what stays on my TBR and what books it may be time to let go.

So let me know, should I keep it on my TBR, prioritize it, or let it go.  Have you read it? Let me know your thoughts on . . .


Title: The Girls of Mischief Bay
Author: Susan Mallery
Series: Mischief Bay (4 books so far)
Genre: Romance/Chick Lit
Format: Paperback
Length: 416 pages
Average Rating on Goodreads: 3.89 stars
Time on TBR: Since February 26, 2016
Synopsis: "Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time at her Mischief Bay Pilates studio. Can she say enough is enough without losing the man she loves? 

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg rose to become vice president in her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she can have it all. And if she can, does she want it?

Although Pam Eiland has a beautiful house and a husband she adores, she feels… restless. She wonders who a stay-at-home mom becomes after the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise her husband brings the heat and the humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.

Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, three very different women will discover that friends can become family, and that life is richer with sisters at your side."


I picked this book up after really enjoying the Lone Star Sisters series and I really liked the idea of best friends in mid life.  I thought it would be a little more relatable for me. I did try to listen to this one on audio book first and I was really struggling to keep the characters straight so stopped and put it back on my TBR. I do think this would be a great summer read. 


So should I give it another shot in print or send it on to the library for someone else to enjoy?



Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Review of Midsummer's Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

Read for: Recently added

Synopsis: "Can Mimi undo the mayhem caused by her baking in this contemporary-fantasy retelling of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad's a renowned food writer, Mom's a successful businesswoman, and her three older siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It's easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi's dream of proving she's not the least-talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it'll start her on the path to becoming a celebrity chef like her culinary idol, Puffy Fay. 

But when Mimi's dad returns from a business trip, he's mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help, Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel her to gastronomic fame.

Drawn into the woods behind her house by a strangely familiar song, Mimi meets Vik, a boy who brings her to parts of the forest she's never seen. Who knew there were banyan trees and wild boars in Massachusetts? Together they discover exotic ingredients and bake them into delectable and enchanting treats.

But as her dad acts stranger every day, and her siblings' romantic entanglements cause trouble in their town, Mimi begins to wonder whether the ingredients she and Vik found are somehow the cause of it all. She needs to use her skills, deductive and epicurean, to uncover what's happened. In the process, she learns that in life, as in baking, not everything is sweet. . . "

My Review: When I saw this purple cover, I knew I had to read it, then I also found out it was a MG re-telling of Midsummer Night's Dream and it was even more enticing. This was a perfect summer read full of magical realism, and food. I really enjoyed the family dynamics, and small town feel of the neighborhood and woods. And the FOOD! Oh my word, I was constantly trying to find something to satisfy the sweet tooth brought on by reading about all the delicious treats Mimi created. If you are familiar with the Shakespeare play, you will quickly pick out the characters and story resemblance, but it has been a while since I last read any plays so it took me a bit but I thoroughly enjoyed those elements. It also has great messages behind the story about friendships and families and our individual talents and strengths. Definitely an enjoyable summer story, now I am off to try my hand at a few of the recipes included in the book!

My Rating: Magical realism isn't normally my thing but in this story it definitely worked and was very enjoyable to read.  I highly recommend this one if you are at all a foodie like me! I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Review of Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Read for: Anticipated Release/ Netgalley/ Requested Review

Synopsis: "Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined."

My Review: I have been highly anticipating this book since the beginning of the year and was approved early for an ARC but for some reason I got really nervous and didn't pick it up until right before release day. I shouldn't have been nervous at all it was a really engrossing, quick and entertaining book to read. It definitely does pull in elements from a lot of familiar stories/movies/etc., sometimes to the point of being a little too much and reading like a story read before, but those familiar elements lent to a very easy read. I loved the way that all the various influences were woven together, so many of my favorite tropes are included impossible contest, woman disguised as a man and out doing them at their thing, a quest throughout the land and more! I really grew to love Maia, though she does come off as a bit of a Mary Sue, I still couldn't help but love her. Edan was a great counterpoint to Maia's character, mysterious, selfish, confident, and powerful. Even the side characters were multi-dimensional. I was really sucked into the story and consumed it at a very quick pace. I kept waiting for a nice little ending but we are going to need the next book for that (I hope) and I can't wait!


My Rating: This was such an enjoyable book to read, I couldn't put it down! I love the characters and the way the tropes were woven together.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!



I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley. The above is my honest opinion.

To find out more about Elizabeth Lim and her books, visit her Goodreads Page or Website.

Today is release day for Spin the Dawn so you can now obtain your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or check at your favorite local bookstore.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Monday Reading List


It is Monday again, and time to update with what I read last week, what I am currently reading and what to look forward to next week.



Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
The Silence Slips In by Alison Hughes (Bedtime Story)
Sea Sirens by Amy Chu (Graphic Novel)


 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Spin the Dawn
Pirate Stories
The Silence Slips In
Midsummer's Mayhem


Currently Reading:

Realm by Alexandrea Weis - Ebook - 11%


Pages Read/ Time Listened
351:45 Hours Listened (None listened this week)
18,206 Pages Read (960 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Snow Gypsy
WarDance
Warsong
Lost Boy
Year One
Girl Who Drank the Moon
King of Scars
Dactyl Hill Squad
The Darkdeep
Lord of the Fading Lands
Shadow of Doubt
Gates of Stone
A Conspiracy of Truths
Viper
Vortex Visions
Through the White Wood
Descendant of the Crane
Holy Sister
The Emperor of Evening Stars
Dark Harmony
We Rule the Night
The Sea Queen
The Mountain of Kept Memory
Metamorphica
Misfits of Avalon Vol. 1
Misfits of Avalon Vol. 2
The Sea King
Ride Hard
Ride Rough
Ride Wild
Irresistible Force
Force of Attraction
Primal Force
Rival Forces
A Rogue by Any Other Name
A Scot in the Dark
The Day of the Duchess
The Pirate Bride
Pirate Stories
Man Made Boy
This Monstrous Thing
The Case of the Missing Moonstone
Dear Santa
An Endless Christmas
Christmas Magic
Falling Softly
Christmas Town
The Christmas Star
Crazy Rich Asians
Once and Future
Highland Crown
Gris Grimly's Frankenstein
The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals
The Case of the Perilous Palace
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
The Beholder
Lovestruck
We Hunt the Flame
Romanov
Dark Shores
Dreaming the Bear
A New Hope
The Trial of Joan of Arc
Midsummer's Mayhem
Monsters
The Monsters We Deserve
Strange Star
Hephaistos: God of Fire
Ghostly Tales from the Lost Summer of 1816
Till There Was You
Sea Sirens
The Bride Test
The Kingdom
Storm and Fury
Queen of Ruin

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


What a whirlwind last week was between a short work week and long holiday I felt like I was constantly off by a day.  I didn't get as much reading done as I wanted but I have found some real gems this week. I have started my Medieval-a-thon with my first book so I have already upped my rank and at least I have a cloak so I am no longer naked.  I might go for a weapon next just to be on the safe side ;)  I have also gotten going on some of my other books on my summer TBR.  I am still really far behind on my requested reviews so that will have to be my focus this week, but there are some really great audio books I can't wait to listen to as well! This has become my problem, I have the opposite of a reading slump, a want to read all the books right now, so it is hard to focus on one or two books with all the others screaming to be picked up too.

Have you ever had that problem where you can't focus on the book you are reading because you have so many others you are eager to read as well?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Graphic Novel Review of Sea Sirens by Amy Chu and Illustrated by Janet K. Lee

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge & Review copy received

Synopsis: "Dive into this middle-grade graphic novel about a Vietnamese American surfer girl and her talking cat who plunge into a fantasy world of oceanic marvels . . . and mayhem!


Trot, a Vietnamese American surfer girl, and Cap'n Bill, her cranky one-eyed cat, catch too big a wave and wipe out, sucked down into a magical underwater kingdom where an ancient deep-sea battle rages. The beautiful Sea Siren mermaids are under attack from the Serpent King and his slithery minions--and Trot and her feline become dangerously entangled in this war of tails and fins.



This graphic novel was inspired by The Sea Fairies, L. Frank Baum's "underwater Wizard of Oz." It weaves Vietnamese mythology, fantastical ocean creatures, and a deep-sea setting."

My Review: It was such a pleasant surprise to receive this book in the mail. It was a perfect book to kick off my summer. The colors of this one are so bright and vibrant and I really enjoyed the illustration style. The story is supposed to be based on a fairy tale and mythology but I am not familiar with those original materials, so I was able to just enjoy the story for what it was. I really enjoyed the characters, Trot, while a little rebellious was still a good kid, concerned about her grandfather. I, of course, loved Cap'n Bill he is such a cat a little snobby and stubborn but still loyal and loving to his people. The underwater world is beautiful and unique, and the adventure offers some fun and surprising twists. It is meant for a younger audience but can be enjoyed by everyone.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this one, the story, the illustration style and characters were all so enjoyable.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!



 I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The below is my honest review and opinion. 

You can find out more about Amy Chu and her other graphic novels and comics on her Goodreads Page or Website.


Sea Sirens was just released June 11th so you can now pick up your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Goodreads or ask for it at your library or local comic book store!