Category Archives: Books

Monthly Book Round-Up: March

I’m a bit behind on my book round-up. I always try to do this the first week in April, but with vacation and then just trying to get back into my routine, I completely spaced. And now it’s almost the end of April, and I’m just getting to it.

While spring is finally here (it took long enough!), March was definitely still cold and gross. We had a couple of nice days, but for the most part, it was just yuck. Which meant I spent a lot of time reading. Not as much as I have in the past, but I certainly enjoyed sitting on my couch and reading a good book. I read some books for work as well, so I’ll only be discussing the ones I read outside of work.

Here we go!

david macUnsplash // David Mac


Everything Beautiful Began After – Simon Booy

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Rebecca is young, lost, and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens—trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear. George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or wandering the city in a drunken stupor. Henry is in Athens to dig. An accomplished young archaeologist, he devotedly uncovers the city’s past as a way to escape his own, which holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about….and then, with a series of chance meetings, Rebecca, George, and Henry are suddenly in flight, their lives brighter and clearer than ever, as they fall headlong into a summer that will forever define them in the decades to come.

Verdict: I was kind of in the middle with this book. I loved the story concept. I thought the descriptions and detail in the book was good. But the book kind of let me down. I think I had higher expectations for it (even though it was a $.99 find!) because the reviews were pretty good for it, but I found it just to be mediocre. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate, but probably wouldn’t recommend it.


Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

Synopsis (from Goodreads): For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.

Verdict: I’m a big Jodi Picoult fan. I always have been. And this one did not disappoint. Perhaps I enjoyed it more because I work in a field where I’m surrounded by spirituality, mediums, and so on, but this book really struck a chord with me and I couldn’t put it down. It was a bit different for a Picoult story, but a good one none the less.


Survival Lessons – Alice Hoffman

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Fifteen years ago, Alice Hoffman received a diagnosis that changed everything about the life she’d been living. Most significant, aside from the grueling physical ordeal she underwent, was the way it changed how she felt inside and what she thought she ought to be doing with her days. Now she has written the book that she needed to read then. In this honest, wise, and upbeat guide, Alice Hoffman provides a road map for the making of one’s life into the very best it can be. As she says, “In many ways I wrote this book to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss. There were many times when I forgot about roses and starry nights. I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts sorrow and joy, and that it’s impossible to have one without the other. . . . I wrote to remind myself that in the darkest hour the roses still bloom, the stars still come out at night. And to remind myself that, despite everything that was happening to me, there were still some choices I could make.

Verdict: If I was going through a health crisis, or knew someone that was, I would definitely recommend this book to them. I had gotten this book when it was on sale. I didn’t realize it was short (under 100 pages) and more of quick thoughts, not an actual memoir, when I bought it. But, I’m happy it was the first thing I’ve read by Alice Hoffman because now I know more about her personal story, and know that she is a phenomenal writer.


Life in Motion – Misty Copeland

To read more on this book, check out my book review that was posted for Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club.


Life Among Giants – Bill Roorbach

Synopsis (from Goodreads): An exploration of lives touched by greatness and tragedy in equal measure, Roorbach’s latest novel traces towering Princeton graduate and NFL player–cum–restaurateur David “Lizard” Hochmeyer in his attempt to unravel the tangled conspiracy behind his parents’ murder in 1970. When his parents are killed in front of him at a restaurant, David believes the culprits are connected to his neighbor, the elegant ballerina Sylphide, whose rock star husband also died under mysterious circumstances, and with whom David has fallen heedlessly in love. As David trades a career in football for one in food, his sister, Kate, a tennis star with “tough girl” endorsements, slides into paranoia over their parents’ deaths. It is a soapy and thrilling indulgence, a tale of opulence, love triangles, and madness, set against a sumptuous landscape of lust and feasts, a sensory abundance that fails to mitigate the sorrows of David’s youth.

Verdict: I had a hard time with this book. The synopsis drew me in. It sounded so interesting. The premise was good, but it was almost too descriptive. And it bounced around quite a bit, which could get confusing. And I don’t get confused easily. Let’s leave it as this. There were parts I enjoyed. There were parts I just wanted to get through. And there were parts that were neither here nor there. Read if you wish. Perhaps you’ll like it more than me.


Help for the Haunted – John Searles

Synopsis (from Goodreads): It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping “haunted souls” find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church’s red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter. As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family’s past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.

Verdict: Another book I thought sounded pretty incredible. Thankfully I wasn’t as disappointed with this one. I always love a good mystery/ghost story, and was thrilled to get my hands on this one. While it was a mystery of sorts, it didn’t have as much of the paranormal aspect as I had hoped. But, it was a good story nonetheless, and I enjoyed getting lost in it.

I hope you enjoyed the March round-up! April’s will be here before you know it! Guess I better get reading 😉


(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

New Signature

Life in Motion by Misty Copeland – A Book Club Link-Up

I can’t believe March is already coming to a close. How is this year flying by this fast? I’m not complaining though. After the winter we had in New England, I am more than ready to say buh-bye to the winter months.

With it being the end of March, it also means it’s time for SarahOhm.com’s Blogger Book Club March link up! And I’m really excited to share my book with you all this month!

March Book Club

March’s Theme

A biography of someone you’ve been meaning to learn more about

What I Read

Life in Motion by Misty Copeland

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

“Picture a ballerina in a tutu and toe shoes. What does she look like?”

As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.

When she discovered ballet, Misty was living in a shabby motel room, struggling with her five siblings for a place to sleep on the floor. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer. But when Misty became caught between the control and comfort she found in the world of ballet and the harsh realities of her own life (culminating in a highly publicized custody battle), she had to choose to embrace both her identity and her dreams, and find the courage to be one of a kind.

With an insider’s unique point of view, Misty opens a window into the life of a professional ballerina who lives life center stage: from behind the scenes at her first auditions to her triumphant roles in some of the most iconic ballets. But in this beautifully written memoir, she also delves deeper to reveal the desire and drive that made her dreams reality.

Life in Motion is a story of passion and grace for anyone who has dared to dream of a different life.

Why I Chose This Book

I first learned about Misty Copeland through the Under Armour ads she recently did. I’m not a dancer, nor have I ever been one (unless you count those few dances I took when I was five). But I’ve always loved ballerinas. Perhaps it’s their exquisite grace, their gentle way of moving, and their ability to tell a story through movement. But when I heard of Misty Copeland, and how she decided to tell her story not only through dance, but through words, I couldn’t not choose this book.

My Thoughts

I enjoyed every moment of this book. How she became a ballerina, where she came from, her struggles, her triumphs, and everything in between. I don’t want to say too much without giving away much of the book, since it’s a biography, but it’s a great read. And talk about a role model. Not just for African-American women and girls, but for women and girls of all races. She had a dream, and a talent, and she pursued it.

Even if you’re not a dancer, check out this book. It will leave you inspired, and perhaps even googling videos of Misty Copeland’s ballets. I know I did.

Stars: 4 out of 5

New Signature

 

 

 


 

Stay tuned for next month’s book club pick, and make sure to check out all of my fellow book club member’s picks too!


Monthly Book Round-Up: February

Another month down, another book round-up. I think I like doing this much more than individual reviews! Sure, less blog content, but this isn’t a blog all about books. And if I wrote reviews for every single thing I read, we would have at least a couple reviews per week.

In February, I read 6 books. Still not a huge amount for me, but better than January. Let’s get right into it shall we.

Book Round Up February

Unsplash // James Tarbotton


Found in You – Laurelin Paige

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis (From GoodReads): Alayna Withers has only had one kind of relationship: the kind that makes her obsessive and stalker-crazy. Now that Hudson Pierce has let her into his heart, she’s determined to break down the remaining walls between them so they can build a foundation that’s based on more than just amazing sex. Except Hudson’s not the only one with secrets.

With their pasts pulling them into a web of unfounded mistrust, Alayna turns to the one person who knows Hudson the best—Celia, the woman he almost married. Hoping for insight from someone who understands all sides of the story, Alayna forms a bond with Celia that goes too far—revealing things about Hudson that could end their love for good.

This is the first relationship where Alayna hasn’t spiraled out of control. And she might lose Hudson anyway…

Verdict:  I first introduced this trilogy in my January Book Round-Up. And since I can’t put books down, no matter how much I don’t like it, I continued to read it. The second book continued to disappoint. I was bored. And I couldn’t wait to finish it, purely because it meant I could read the third one and be done with this series. Seriously, if you do decide to read this, I hope you find it more enjoyable than I did.


Forever with You – Laurelin Paige

Synopsis (From GoodReads): Alayna Withers relationship with Hudson Pierce has tested both her and his ability to trust. They decide that the only way they can move forward together is with open doors and transparency. It won’t be easy for the scarred lovers, but they’re committed to each other more now than ever. Alayna, in particular, has grown through their trials, and has emerged more confident and faithful to the man she loves.

But while the pair is focused on the future, their past shows up again to threaten their fragile bond. Promises that were made are broken, and Alayna learns that Hudson still has very potent secrets—secrets that will tear them both apart. As much as she feels for him, her ability to forgive and forget is tested beyond her limits.

Even though she found the only man who could fix her, a forever with Hudson seems more and more out of reach.

Verdict: The trilogy ended better than I thought it would. I didn’t mind this one and found it to be tolerable to read. Would I recommend this series based on the final book? No. I still don’t recommend it. But if you want to give it a chance, feel free.


Saddled – Susan Richards

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis (from GoodReads): One day, at the age of thirty-one, Susan Richards realized that she was an alcoholic. She wrote it down in her journal, struck by the fact that it had taken nine years of waking up hung-over to name her illness. What had changed?

Susan had a new horse, a spirited Morgan named Georgia, and, as she says: “It had something to do with Georgia. It had something to do with making a commitment as enormous as caring for a horse that might live as my companion for the next forty years. It had something to do with love.” Every day begins with a morning ride.

This is a memoir about the power of animals to carry us through the toughest times of our lives—about the importance of constancy, the beauty of quiet, steadfast love, the way loving a good (and sometimes bad!) animal can keep you going. It’s a wonderful story for Susan’s (and Georgia’s) fans, and for anyone who has ever loved an animal enough to keep on living.

Verdict:  Despite loving horses, I don’t read many horse-related books. However, when I saw this one, I knew I needed to read it. I know the healing power of a bond with a horse. I could relate to Susan. Not in terms of abuse and alcoholism, but with that unbreakable bond. I really enjoyed this book, and whether you’ve been around horses or not, you will too. It’s more about their relationship than about horses. And if you’re an animal lover, you’ll relate.


The Wedding Dress – Rachel Hauck

Synopsis (From GoodReads): Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Verdict: This was my book club pick for Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club. You can read my review here.


Three Graves Full – Jamie Mason

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

“There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.”

But it could always be worse. . . .

More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried.

Jason races to stay ahead of the consequences of his crime and while chaos reigns on his lawn, his sanity unravels, snagged on the agendas of a colorful cast of strangers. A jilted woman searches for her lost fiancé, a fringe-dweller runs from a past that’s quickly gaining on him, and a couple of earnest local detectives piece it together with the help of a volunteer police dog — all of them in the wake and shadow of a dead man who had it coming. As the action unfolds, each discovers that knowing more than one side of the story doesn’t necessarily rule out a deadly margin of error.

Jamie Mason’s irrepressible debut is a macabre, darkly humorous tale with the thoughtful beauty of a literary novel, the tense pacing of a thriller, and a clever twist of suspense.

Verdict: Meh. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful. Parts of it were really good and grabbed me. Other parts were boring and I started to lose interest. The story itself was good. I liked the characters and their interactions. It’s a book I wouldn’t rave about, but wouldn’t tell you not to read it.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, quirky, but still had a really good story. It’s a different look at mental illness and how it can effect a person and a family. It was quick and easy read, and I was happy to end February with it.


Well, there you have it; the February Book Round Up! On to March, and spring!

(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

New Signature

SarahOhm.com February Blogger Book Club Link Up!

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of February. I can’t say I’m upset though. It’s been a long month. It feels like we’ve been suffering through the longest winter ever. I guess in a way we have since we’ve gotten a year’s worth of snow IN A MONTH!

Moving on.

I mentioned SarahOhm.com’s Blogger Book Club a few weeks back in a post (and how I forgot about January), and it’s that time of the month where we review our books and do our link up! I’m so excited.

February Book Club Pick


February’s theme

A Love Story

What I Read

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Synopsis (from GoodReads)

Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history-and its new bride-begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

Why I chose this book

I won’t lie. I had this on Nook already. I bought it for 1.99 months ago, and it just sat there. So when I saw the theme was a love story, I figured, why not? I was drawn to this book because of the pretty wedding dress on the cover, and the title. I mean, I’m getting married and anything wedding-related these days perks my interest.

My thoughts

I enjoyed it. It held my interest. Again, probably more so because of the wedding theme then anything else. But I also grew to love the main character, Charlotte. She seemed like someone I could grab coffee with and talk about life. She’s fashionable. She could help me find my own wedding dress. And I liked the other little stories woven throughout the book, specifically the significance of the wedding dress. I mean, the book is about the dress, but you come to learn it’s so much more than the dress. It’s a both romantic and historic. That’s all I’m going to say because it’s one of those books that it would be easy to give quite a bit away.

It had gotten really mixed reviews. People were sounding off saying it had too many religious undertones, or the book was pushing religion too much.

Now, I’m not a religious person. But I did not find this book to push too much religion. Yes, the characters were religious, but they weren’t going to church every 5 minutes and something about Him was not mentioned every other word. So in my book (no pun intended), this didn’t push religion. It just had religious characters.

Would I recommend this? Sure. Would it be at the top of my list of books to recommend? No. It was…good. It didn’t blow me away. But it wasn’t horrible. Mediocre I guess would be the right word.

3 out of 5 stars. A take it or leave it kind of book.

New Signature

 

 

 

 


Stay tuned for next month’s book club pick, and make sure to check out all of my fellow book club member’s picks too!


 

Monthly Book Round-up – January

Since I seem to fail at doing individual book reviews, I’ve decided I’ll do a round-up of what I read the previous month. Just seems easier. I’ll be doing book reviews for the books I read for Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club, but for the rest, it will just be a round-up.

As you all know, I read a lot. I love reading. I have since I was a child. I love escaping into a new world through books. The last few years, I’ve made the goal of reading 100 books. While I’ve come close, I haven’t quite reached that goal yet. So this year, I decided not to set a goal. Mainly so I could get remember why I love to read. That it’s not about reading as many books as possible, but enjoying the process.

I read 5 books in January. One of which was over 600 pages, but well worth the read. I’ve had some books on my Nook since last year that I wanted to read, so that’s what the month of January (and beginning of February) has been about. Here we go!

Monthly Book Round Up JanuaryGratisography


The Best of Me – Nicholas Sparks

Synopsis (From Goodreads): The Best of Me is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.

Verdict: I always love a good Nicholas Sparks book. I don’t like to admit it, but sometimes, you just need a good romance novel and a good cry. This one was good. The love story was reminiscent of many of his previous books, but with a really solid twist. I enjoyed it, and I really want to see the movie now.


 Summer House – Nancy Thayer

Synopsis (From Goodreads): After years of wandering from whim to whim, thirty-year-old Charlotte Wheelwright seems to have at last found her niche. The free spirit enjoys running an organic gardening business on the island of Nantucket, thanks in large part to her spry grandmother Nona, who donated a portion of land on the family’s seaside compound to get Charlotte started. Though Charlotte’s skill with plants is bringing her success, cultivating something deeper with people–particularly her handsome neighbor Coop–might be more of a challenge. As summer progresses, these three women–Charlotte, Nona, and Helen–come to terms with the decisions they have made. Revisiting the lives and loves that have crossed their paths and the possibilities of the roads not taken, they may just discover that what they’ve always sought was right in front of them all along.

Verdict: I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’m always drawn to anything that has summer, beach, etc. in the title and I figured the cold winter would be a good time to read it; let me escape to a warmer place. But what I discovered was a wonderfully written story of family dynamics, and I loved reading every minute.


Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Delilah, a loner hates school as much as she loves books— one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler than cool classmates, she’d be sent to social Siberia forever.To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is not just a one-dimensional character in a book. He’s real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

Verdict: Okay. I love Jodi Picoult. And I loved that she wrote a book with her daughter. And I thought the concept was so interesting, and totally different. And as someone who was always reading in middle and high school, I definitely could relate to Delilah (although, I wasn’t a loner.) But the idea of “What happens to the book’s characters when we close the book?” – incredible.


The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness

Synopsis (From Goodreads): After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches–with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Verdict: I loved these entire trilogy. I loved the way this book wrapped up the trilogy. I wish she would write more books, not necessarily for this trilogy just in general. I want this trilogy made into a movie. Seriously, I loved it. And I’m not one to enjoy supernatural-type books. It’s incredible. If you don’t mind putting the time into it (each book is a minimum of 500 pages), then read them. You won’t be disappointed.


Fixed on You – Laurelin Paige

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Stalking and restraining orders are a thing of Alayna Wither’s past. With her MBA newly in hand, she has her future figured out—move up at the nightclub she works at and stay away from any guy who might trigger her obsessive love disorder. A perfect plan.But what Alayna didn’t figure on is Hudson Pierce, the new owner of the nightclub. He’s smart, rich, and gorgeous—the kind of guy Alayna knows to stay away from if she wants to keep her past tendencies in check. Except, Hudson’s fixed his sights on her. He wants her in his bed and makes no secret of it. Avoiding him isn’t an option after he offers a business proposition she can’t turn down and she’s drawn further into his universe, unable to resist his gravitational pull. When she learns Hudson has a dark history of his own, she realizes too late that she’s fallen for the worst man she could possibly get involved with. Or maybe their less than ideal pasts give them an opportunity to heal each other and finally find the love their lives have been missing.

Verdict: Okay. So, this is one of those books that I’ve had on my Nook since last year. I bought the entire trilogy for $1.99. I really liked the Fifty Shades of Grey series (even though I can’t really stand erotica novels), and I’ve read a few other series similar since. Mainly because they’ve been cheap. The first book in this series was… good. Enough for me to move onto the second. If your a romance/erotica fan,  you’ll enjoy this book. If you don’t, but liked Fifty Shades of Grey, don’t read it because you’ll be annoyed and disappointed.


And that is my January book round-up! Stay tuned for February!

(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

New Signature

Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club

It’s no joke that I love to read. I’ve talked a lot about my love (addiction?) for reading on the blog before, but now I’m really excited to announce my participation with a really cool idea that my fellow blogger, Sarah Ohm, came up with.

In December, she polled several bloggers who are known for their healthy lifestyle blogs to see if anyone would be interested in joining a blogger book club. She got a great response and Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club was born.

BBC2015

We have themes for each month, listed below, and at the end of every month we link up. I, of course, being as flaky as I am, completely lost track of time and forgot to read a book for January. I read books, but not a motivational book. Fail.

I had every intention of mapping out every book I planned on reading for this through the rest of the year. But then I realized that’s just not realistic for me. I have about 30 books in waiting on my Nook (yes, I hoard books – I have a problem) and I usually try to read what I have before I purchase more. Some of the books I have would be great for later in the year, but I don’t want to wait to read them either.

There are SO MANY BOOKS out there to choose from. I decided to map out based on the books that I’ve had sitting on my wish list. I figured it’s a good way to pick away at it.

Disclaimer: These are subject to change. I’m just trying to get a schedule kind of laid out for the rest of the year. Also, the links below contain affiliate links. :)

January – A Motivational Book: Missed the mark on this one. Doh!

February – A Love Story: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

March – A Biography Of Someone You’ve Been Meaning To Learn More About: I’m going between Wild by Cheryl Strayed, American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Life in Motion by Misty Copeland, or I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

April – A Healthy Living Book: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen

May – A Book About A Hobby Besides Blogging: Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

June – A Biography About Someone You Admire: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

July – A Travel Novel: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

August – Something You’d Read At The Cottage: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

September – A Mindless Read: The Giver by Lois Lowry (Only a mindless read because I read it when I was younger, but want to read it again now that I’m older)

October – A Thriller: Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon

November – A Book You’d Bring On Vacation: The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

December – An Inspirational Book: The The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

If you have any recommendations for any of the topics, let me know and I would love to hear them!

New Signature

I Read A Lot – Here Are My Favorite Books from 2014.

In the spirit of the 2014 round-up posts, I figured that since I’m always reading, it’s only proper for me to include my favorite books of 2014. Which, let me tell you, was quite the feat. I may not read as much as some of those book bloggers out there, but I read around 80 books this year so narrowing that down to my top favorites was pretty difficult.

Enjoy!


Top Books of 2014Unsplash

The Girl You Left Behind – JoJo Moyes: I started to get more into historical fiction right after I bought my first nook. I discovered JoJo Moyes in 2013 after reading ‘The Last Letter from Your Lover’ and instantly fell in love with her writing style. This book was no different. An incredible love story surrounding a painting of Sophie Lefevre (painted by her husband) set in Europe during the first World War, and then the book fast-forwards nearly 100 years later, intertwining the lives of two young woman who are determined the fight for the thing they love the most. This one grabbed me by the heart and wouldn’t let go.

Orphan Train– Christina Baker Kline: I could not put this book down. It captures the story of an unlikely friendship between a troubled teenage girl and a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider. I don’t want to give too much away excerpt to say, if you haven’t read this yet, run out, or purchase it for your e-reader. You won’t be disappointed.

Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel– Kimberly McCreight: Another read I could not put down. This is a heart-wrenching read but so well-written and just an incredible story in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter’s life through e-mails, text, and social media, after she receives a call that her daughter has committed suicide while at school. I can guarantee you won’t put this one down either.

A Discovery of Witches– Deborah Harkness: I had this book sitting on my NookBook wishlist, well since I bought my first nook in 2010. I finally decided to buy it when I heard rave reviews of the entire series at work. While the book is long (like 600 + pages long), it certainly didn’t feel that way. Sure it took me a couple of weeks to read, but I didn’t want it to end! But I was in luck, since it’s the first of three books. I’m not a huge fan of vampires and witchy-type books, but this book had me from the first chapter. If you’re like me and stay away from the Twilight phenomenon (even though I hate to admit I’ve read those too), take a few minutes to at least read a sample. I promise you, you will not be disappointed! I’m even holding off on reading the final book so the trilogy doesn’t end!

The Perfume Collector– Kathleen Tessaro: Again, I discovered a love for historical fiction in the last couple of years, and this was another that I utterly fell in love with. It brought into a world of glamour and mystery, along with sophisticated social circles in London and Paris in the 1950s. It’s charming and unforgettable, and something I would even consider re-reading. Which is rare for me. That’s how much I loved this book.

Stronger– Jeff Bauman: I’ll never forget the Boston Marathon Bombings. I may not have been in the city that day, but it certainly effected my life. For one thing, it seemed that everyone knew someone there that day. I knew several people attending, and watching. It also seemed that there was a small degree of separation between you and a person injured. Jeff went to high school with friends of mine from college. People I know well, knew him personally.  I wanted nothing more than to find a way to help those injured, but I all I could do was send healing thoughts. In that first week after the bombings, my mind was constantly on those injured. And even a year later, I thought about them often. This book chronicled Jeff’s life a little before the bombing, but more so after. And it was inspiring. Absolutely inspiring.

The Art Forger– B.A. Shapiro: I found this book as a cheap find on Barnes & Noble. I wasn’t sure what to think of it when I first got it, but wanted to give it a try since it’s set in Boston and the plot is based off the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist. I can easily tell you that this book quickly became one of the best books I had read in 2014, and that was back in July! It’s beautifully written, descriptive and with characters you will adore.

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think– Brian Wansink: I love to eat. And I’m really guilty of eating when I don’t even realize it. I know, crazy right. But I’ll find myself snacking, when I’m not even really that hungry. It’s just something to do. This book really opened my eyes to how to eat, what I’m eating and the psychology behind it all. I’m definitely far more conscious about what and how I’m eating now!

Little Mercies– Heather Gudenkauf: I’ve raved about Heather Gudenkauf before on here. I love her. She’s easily one of my favorite authors out there right now. Her books remind me a bit of Jodi Picoult, they always discuss a really tough subject, but she approaches it with such care and concern. This book was no different than her previous. This book’s plot is based around a social worker who is a children’s advocate and has seen some of the worst cases in history. She’s a devoted wife and mother. But then one moment of distraction caused her entire life to shatter. Read this, and every other book by her you can get your hands on. She’s incredible.

Life After Life – Kate Atkinson: This was unlike any book I’ve ever read before. What I loved about this particular book was that just as a story was taking a turn for the worst, it ends and a new one begins. What I found was that as a particular story was about to end, there were times when I wanted it too. Was the story an uninteresting one? No, it was usually taking a turn that I didn’t like, or something really awful was about to happen. And when the story started over, I found myself relieved and breathing a sigh of relief that Ursula’s life wasn’t over and her life could continue again. If you get confused easily, this is not the book for you. But if you’re ready for an incredible read, buy this and move it to the top of your list for 2015.

Beautiful Ruins– Jess Walter: This was another one of those books that sat on my NookBook wishlist for a pretty long time. I had heard really mixed reviews (people loved it or hated it) and just felt unsure about buying it. When it dropped in price one day, I decided to pounce on it. And boy was I glad. I could literally picture everything happening in the book; the characters, the scenery….everything. Such a beautifully written story. If you’re like me, and have been hemming and hawing over this book, take my advice and go read it. If you love a wonderfully written story, then you won’t be disappointed.New Signature

 

 


(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

Book Review – Kids These Days

n435855

Today’s book review: Kids These Days by Drew Perry

n435855Source

SynopsisFrom GoodReads

Walter and Alice are expecting their first baby, but their timing is a bit off: Walter, once a successful loan officer, has been unexpectedly downsized. They’ve had to relocate to Florida so that they can live rent-free–in Alice’s deceased aunt’s condo. When Alice’s brother-in-law Mid offers Walter a job, he literally can’t refuse. But what he doesn’t know–about the nature of the job, about the depth of Mid’s shady dealings, about what he’s really supposed to be doing–far outweighs what he does know. And soon enough, things escalate so out of control that Walter is riding shotgun with Mid in a bright yellow Camaro–chased by the police.

Drew Perry paints a landscape of weird and beautiful Florida and its inhabitants–all wholly original and hilarious, and utterly believable. And at the center is a portrait of a father-to-be who is paralyzed by the idea of taking responsibility for another human life when he can’t seem to manage his own. Kids These Days takes perfect aim at the two sides of impending fatherhood–abject terror and unconditional love.

My thoughts:

I found this book as a Nook Book deal in the early fall, and figured it was worth a shot. I went into it with pretty low expectations, and was very pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Was it the best book I’ve ever read? No. But it did have a great storyline, and one that kept me interested and entertained. Each character had their individual quirks and nuances that made it easy to differentiate. Downfall? There were times when I couldn’t keep up with who was talking to who and was saying what. There were times when the book just didn’t flow well. Perry would jump from one scene to the next. But in the end, he tied the whole story, and didn’t leave anything hanging.

The verdict: I wasn’t broken-hearted when this book ended. Sure, it had it’s moments where I thoroughly enjoyed it, but there were just as many moments, if not more, that I just wanted to be done with it and move on to my next read. This is one of those books to purchase when you’re not sure what else to read, or if it drops in price.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

New Signature

Book Review – Life After Life

15790842

I’ve completely slacked on the blog pretty much the entire month of October. Not intentionally, it just happened. But I’m vowing to start writing again. And I’m starting today with a book review, which I’m hoping (and currently planning) will be more often on here. As many of you know, I read A TON. Definitely not like some of those book bloggers out there, but I’m always reading something. And since I’m always reading, I figure it only makes sense to start reviewing some of those reads on here. It is, after all, a huge part of my world.

Today’s book review: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.15790842Source

 

Synopsis: From GoodReads

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions

My thoughts: My first experience with a Kate Atkinson book was Case Histories when I was 19. And it was not a good experience. I was bored and couldn’t wait for it to be over. I know there are a lot Kate Atkinson fans out there who would probably argue with me on this, but I’ll be honest, I just didn’t like it.

Fast forward about 10 years, and hundreds of books later, I could not put Atkinson’s latest book down. The complete opposite situation from Case HistoriesLife After Life was enjoyable, interesting, mesmerizing, and a page turner. I hate for a good story to end. I suffer from ‘book hangovers’ all too often. What I loved about this particular book was that just as a story was taking a turn for the worst, it ends and a new one begins. What I found was that as a particular story was about to end, there were times when I wanted it too. Was the story an uninteresting one? No, it was usually taking a turn that I didn’t like, or something really awful was about to happen. And when the story started over, I found myself relieved and breathing a sigh of relief that Ursula’s life wasn’t over and her life could continue again.

Verdict: If you get confused easily, this is not the book for you. It jumps back and forth quite a bit between story lines, and I found myself reverting back to certain chapters to remind myself of characters, events and places. Not in a bad way, of course, just to remember who is who and so on. Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Atkinson has an incredible way with words and is quite the storyteller. This book was unlike anything I had read before, and definitely caused a ‘book hangover’ when it was over.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

New Signature

What I’ve Read Lately…

My goal on here was to start including book reviews. Obviously that’s gotten ahead of me and I’ve yet to include one. Well at least recently. So, I decided I would include a listing of some of the great books I’ve read recently.

If you weren’t aware, I’m trying to hit my goal of 100 books read this year. I’ve been very close in 2012 and 2013, coming just shy each year, but I’m determined to make my goal this year. Unfortunately, I’ve only read around 60, and with 4 months left to go, I’ll be trying to bust out as many books as possible. Stay tuned!

(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

Eryn’s Favorite Reads of 2014 (So Far!)

1. Me Before You: A Novel – Jojo Moyes: I discovered JoJo Moyes purely by luck with ‘A Last Letter from Your Lover’ last year, and instantly fell in love with her. Me Before You might very well take the top spot of the best book I’ve read so far this year. I won’t tell you much, except that it’s an incredible example of two people coming into each others lives and essentially, ‘saving’ each other. Except neither of them realized it. Read it. You will not be disappointed.

Me-Before-You-book-cover-Jan-12-p122Source

2. The Interestings: A Novel – Meg Wolitzer: This was one of those books that was appearing everywhere. It seemed like everywhere I looked, The Interestings followed me. Needless to say, the description sounded good, and the cover was lovely. So I bought it. And then couldn’t put it down. I love stories where they follow several different characters, and how their lives intertwine, and this one did not disappoint.

3.Orphan Train: A Novel – Christina Baker Kline: A 91-year woman who has a past as an orphan-train rider, and an 18-year girl who is just months away from being forced out of the child welfare system due to her age, end up meeting and learning about their similar orphaned pasts when the teenager is assigned to help her for a community service project. I could not put this book down. It’s a harrowing story written by a gifted storyteller, and brings light to something in our history that I did not know existed.

4. The Rosie Project: A Novel– Graeme Simsion: I had been eying this book for months on Barnes & Noble. The reviews of it were mediocre and to be honest, it just sounded… blah. I was wrong. From the second I started reading it, I was able to picture Don Tillman in my head. I could hear his voice in the book. I felt like I had jumped into the story. And thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this awkward love story.

16181775Source

5. Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel – Kimberly McCreight: Heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, and completely amazing. No parent ever wants to hear the words ‘There has been an accident involving your child’, and even more so, to find out that you’re child has died. But this mother goes beyond her grief to find out what really happened after receiving an anonymous text that says ‘She didn’t jump.’ If you don’t read anything else this year, read this book.

6. A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)– Deborah Harkness: If you like a good romance, read this. If you like history, then you definitely should read this. If you like witches, vampires and demons, they you must read this. If you like all three, and haven’t read this, then you need to go buy it immediately. Along with the two that follow it.

7. The Perfume Collector: A Novel– Kathleen Tesoro: One of my fun Barnes & Noble finds. I’ll be honest. I had really low expectations, purely because I hadn’t heard much about it. Boy was I wrong, and pleasantly surprised when I had the hardest time putting it down. And I had such a book hangover when it was over. Also, I always thought I wasn’t a big fan of historical fiction. Turns out, I’m a huge fan. I love it.

16248311Source

8. Where We Belong– Emily Giffin: I loved Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed series, so I knew I would really enjoy this as well. Her ability to tell the story of a 30-something advertising exec in NYC who is stunned to find her biological daughter at the door one night, is remarkable. It’s a quick, easy read, and totally perfect for those last couple of summer days at the beach!

9. Handle with Care: A Novel– Jodi Picoult: Jodi Picoult is a master storyteller. And this was no different.

10. The Art Forger: A Novel – B.A. Shaprio: This was a surprise top book for me. It grabbed my attention when I saw it took place in Boston, and revolved around the art theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but wasn’t super excited to start it. Well, this book quickly made me feel like an idiot for even THINKING that because I loved it that much. Couldn’t put it down and didn’t want it to end. Even if your not into art, you will enjoy this. It’s got theft, and forgery, and a wonderful love story.

81zGZr8aB6LSource

Sidenote: I had no intention of sharing book covers that all had a shade of red in them. Total coincidence.

I hope you enjoyed my top 10 round-up of some of the best books I’ve read lately. I’ll try to be better about posting reviews and such. And if I don’t, I’ll keep posting my rundowns of my favorites!

Happy reading.

Untitled design(8)