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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.)

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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!

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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.)

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Book Review – Life After Life

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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