Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nursery

Hi everyone,

I don't normally write personal posts, but I really wanted to share our baby boy's nursery pictures. My husband is an outdoorsy man, and loves hunting and fishing. Before we were even trying for a baby, I always envisioned the nursery with deer and trees. I love trees! I found the decals on ebay, and couldn't wait to put the room together. It's almost completed, and we just love the room.







Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas


Publisher: Crown
Released: 2013
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Matriarch Josephine wants everyone to see that she has the perfect family and she’s the perfect wife. In reality, she is far from perfect and her life hasn’t panned out exactly how she wanted. She manipulates her children and husband and tries to control everything around her. Her husband is an alcoholic and she seems to enjoy his weakness. Her son has autism spectrum, and she constantly reminds him that he is not like other children. She’s pulled him out of school and home schools him. Josephine loves that she is his world, and intends to keep him away from everyone. Her oldest daughter has gone missing, and the police presume she’s run away, and they recommend giving her time. Violet has little recollection of fight that happened at home; apparently she hurt her brother and a knife was involved, but she knows in her heart that she would never hurt him. Also, no one will tell her if her brother is okay. Violet needs to make it clear that their mother can’t be trusted. The only problem is Violet has been committed to a mental hospital and she’s not sure if anyone would trust her enough to believe her.

Review:

Mother, Mother is a great physiological thriller. When readers pick up the book and begin to read, Josephine’s voice is suspicious. The book is told from alternating perspectives and it’s really interesting to see William and Violet’s perspective of their mother. William would do anything and say anything to protect his mother. He trusts her every word, and knows that his mother needs protecting. Violent on the other hand, is confused and trying to find out what really happened during their fight, her sister’s disappearance and is hurt when she knows her father’s alcoholism keeps him blind sighted.


Mother, Mother has a great plot line  and well developed characters. Josephine will have readers disgusted and furious over her actions. Her children are pawns in her life, and she does what she pleases. Her husband is easily controlled and she uses him against his own children. Readers who enjoy psychological thrillers, drama and/or suspense will love this one. I will certainly be looking out for her next read.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: Kobo Aura from an Avid Reader

       

General Overview
The Kobo Aura is the newest eink, dedicated reader that Kobo has released. As an avid reader who likes to read outside and inside, night or day, I really enjoy eink. The Kobo Aura has the glo feature which really adds to the reader. Personally, I leave the light on all the time because it gives the screen a black on white feel that I really enjoy. Previously, I was using the Kobo Glo which I loved and didn’t think I would see a big difference between the readers but I really did. The light has improved and most importantly the device has as well. It responds much faster, and memory storage is much larger with 4G of on-board memory.

The Screen
The Aura has a nice crisp screen, for those who are looking for a bigger screen the Kobo Aura HD is also available. Kobo offers a variety of options to increase your text size, font and margins. There is also an option to change the darkness and weight of your text which is something that I really like. The only issue that I have with the Aura is ghosting.  Compared to my Kobo Glo, the Aura has ghosting of the book cover when I initially wake it up from sleep mode. I reset the page refresh and after a few pages turned- the cover disappears. This is the only thing I would like to see improved.

Housing
The housing of the Aura really impressed me. First, the screen and bezel have no gaps. It has the feel of a tablet- one continuous screen. If you’re like me, and you are constantly wiping your screen to get rid of dirt and fingerprints, this is great!  I no longer have cracks to try and get debris out of. Also, the material used for the housing feels really nice, and doesn’t have a plastic feel. The back of the Aura has a non-slip feel with slight edges which helps to hold the reader.

Battery
My experience with the battery has been great.  Kobo states that the battery can last over 2 months based on 30 minutes of reading with the comfort light turned on or off and Wi-Fi turned off. I never turn my Wi-Fi off, the light remains on and I read for several hours at a time. I usually end up charging it once a week. I also don’t like to see the batter depleted too much, because I’m worried that I won’t have it during my commute to work. The battery has impressed me so far. I have no complaints.

Kobo Reading Life
Kobo Reading Life is designed to give readers an enriched reading experience, keeping track of your stats and rewards. I love the stats feature within Kobo and I’ve used it for years. My one complaint is that I’ve gathered all the rewards I can, and it’s been a LONG time since I won a new award. It doesn’t really change the reading experience but I really loved the awards popping up on my screen from time to time.

PDF’s
As a blogger who has access to galleys, I come across many pdf’s. Viewing a pdf is easy. Side-loading the books are easy, but I still prefer not to read PDF’s on eink screens. I find the text too small, and the font too light. Kobo allows you to zoom in but I find this hinders the reading experience because I would constantly be adjusting the pages.

Kobo and Independent Book Stores

Kobo has partnered with independent book stores and many readers have seen this as a huge selling point. They love buying from their local indie and supporting independent book stores.



Kobo has a new line up of  tablets to be released soon, and I can't wait to take a look at them. Kobo has really come a long way. Remember when I use to complain, and complain about my Kobo Vox? They've been able to regain my trust and confidence in their products. 



Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford


Publisher: Ballantine Books
Released: 2009
Pages: 306
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Henry Lee, a Chinese-American has recently lost his wife to cancer. He is dealing with the heartache of being a widow and trying to spend time with his son Marty. Henry and his son have a strained relationship that Henry would like to rectify. He doesn’t want to make the same mistakes his father did, he wants to keep the lines of communication open, and he knows that his wife was the one who buffered their relationship. Without her, Henry will need to figure out how to be the father he wants to be. Henry grew up with traditional Chinese parents, a mother who obeyed her husband and a father who remained loyal to China. He despised the Japanese and never fully embraces American life. Henry disobeyed his father by befriending a Japanese girl at school, and his life is forever changed when his parents find out. The Panama Hotel has been boarded up for decades, and renovations have uncovered belongings that were once hidden by Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans who were rounded up and sent to internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  When Henry hears about these belongings he immediate thinks of his Japanese friend Keiko and her family.  

Review:

Henry grew up wearing an “I Am Chinese” button, going to a private school on scholarship and being the only minority. When Keiko shows up to school, Henry is standoffish knowing his father’s hatred for the Japanese. When their friendship begins to blossom, being the only two non-white kids in school, Henry has no choice but to keep her a secret. Henry stands in the middle of his father being ecstatic with the rounding up of the Japanese people, and being scared for Keiko and her family. Henry is forced to grow up quickly, and make his own conclusions about the Japanese.  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet explores Henry’s past and present relationships and how his past shapes his future.


Jamie Ford switches between two narratives, present 1986 and past 1940’s. Readers are taken on a remarkable journey filled with love, hatred, confusion and heartbreak. I highly recommend this one; it would certainly appeal to those who love historical fiction and those who just love a good well-rounded story. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet surpassed my expectations, and I will certainly read Jamie Ford’s newest novel Songs of the Willow Frost. This book is truly captivating and will open your eyes. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Review: The Vow by Jessica Martinez


Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 432
Released: October 2013
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Mo and Annie have been best friends for years, but no one seems to understand that they are just friends. When Mo first moved to town, Annie saved him from ridicule and feeling like an outsider. Mo has always been there for her, and doesn’t tip-toe around the fact that her sister was murdered. Everyone else seems to pity her or chose their words rather carefully when speaking to her. When Mo’s father losses his job and by extension his work visa, the family is forced to move back to Jordan. Annie is distraught and refuses to allow Mo to move back. They marry, for love but a different kind of love. Annie is not ready to give up their friendship; she can’t lose another person in her life. When they learn that they will have to live together as a married couple, and lie to everyone, Annie is worried about how they will keep the secret and not be charged for fraud. This is further tested when Annie meets a college-boy named Reed who seems to tell her all the right things.

Review:

I really enjoyed The Vow, and thought it was a great read. Mo and Annie are genuine friends who will do anything for one another. Their struggle is real and they are forced to realize that life choices are not always easy. Annie realizes that marrying Mo and dating is out of the question, her unsupportive parents are also a problem. Since the death of her sister, her parents haven’t really engaged in her life. They’ve also been overly protective and Annie knows moving out will hurt them tremendously. Mo has to deal with the guilt to having Annie give up so much, and missing his family.


I thought The Vow was original and realistic. Their obstacles are real and their friendship is tested. The book is told from both Annie and Mo’s perspective which really adds to the story. The character development really held my attention and pulled me into the story. I haven’t read any of Jessica Martinez’s previous books, but I’m thoroughly impressed with her as an author. I will definitely be placing Virtuosity and The Space Between Us on my wish list.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: The Night Film by Marisha Pessl


Publisher: Bond Street Books
Pages: 624
Released: 2013
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

Stanislas Cordova is a well-known horror, film director. He allows very little to be known about him, and many rumors have evolved. His family are very secretive and they stay away from mainstream life. When his daughter Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse, investigators believe she committed suicide. Investigative journalist, Scott McGrath spent far too much energy investigating Stainlas, he lost everything but with Ashley’s death, he can feel that something isn’t quite right. Scott teams up with two strangers to help uncover Ashley’s secrets, and find out what really happened in that warehouse.

Review:

Everyone raved about this one, and I couldn’t wait to read it. Pessl’s literary thriller had everyone talking, and I quickly realized she’s a fantastic writer. Unfortunately, about half-way through I felt like the book began to feel drawn out. I enjoyed the story, but at times didn’t feel like picking it back up. I didn’t find myself getting lost in the story. I think all the hype left me disappointed. Night Film includes articles, and other mixed media which adds to the story, but also left me wanting to skip some of it.  I think if you’re able to devote a good chunk of time reading the novel, it wouldn’t drag on as much. I was on vacation, and found myself having to put it down and pick it back up many times. I think this led to me not fully being able to get absorbed in the novel.


This book was clearly a hit with many bloggers and reviewers. Her debut book was as well. I've had it on my shelves for years, and still haven't read it. The Night Film is definitely worth the time and effort to read it, but just don’t expect too much. I expected too much, and with this being a hefty book, I didn’t enjoy it as much. If you’re curious about this one- try it out, and let me know what you think. I actually felt guilty not liking this one as much as everyone else. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review: Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield


Publisher: Atria
Released: (Upcoming) November 5th, 2013.
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

William Bellman’s life has been like a roller-coaster ride, his success has steadily increased but life’s obstacles always remind him that he’s not in control of the bigger picture. As a boy, Bellman commits one small, cruel act, and he wonders if this has left him with life-long consequences.  He’s built a name for himself, and he’s become quite successful, but his success can’t save his wife and children when they all suddenly fall sick. The whole town is suffering from this illness, and Bellman can’t do anything but standby. During the many funerals he’s attended during his life, Bellman always notices a man in black, he’s always lurking, always watching, and no one seems to know who Bellman is talking about. When his youngest daughter lies on her death bed, and Bellman is contemplating suicide, he makes a deal with the man in black.

Review:

Bellman and Black is Diane Setterfield’s second novel, her first The Thirteenth Tale was a huge success. I loved The Thirteenth Tale and couldn't wait to read this one as well. Overall, I really enjoyed the story. Bellman is a great character, and readers will be drawn to him. There’s not a lot of action that takes place through the novel, at times it does feel a little slow but I was steadily engaged. Setterfield's writing is eloquent, and very atmospheric.


Bellman and Black is a difficult book to review. I think it’s going to be a book reader's will either love or hate. It really shouldn't be compared to The Thirteenth Tale, because I felt that her debut novel was much more captivating and memorable. I think readers will need to step away from The Thirteenth Tale and give Bellman and Black a chance. Often times, hype or an author’s previous success  leads to too many expectations, and readers feel disappointed. I think this could easily happen with Bellman and Black.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri


Publisher: Knopf Canada
Released: September 2013
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Subhash and his brother Udayan were always inseparable, born 15 months apart and often mistaken for one another. While they were very similar, Udayan was always the more outspoken and fearless one. Subhash wasn’t as impulsive, and tended to do what was expected of him and not cause his parents worry.  When Udayan finds himself drawn into the Naxalite rebellion, Subhash supports his brother but doesn’t get as involved. Subhash hoped Udayan would outgrow his rebellious ways; he remained focused on school and left home to attend school in the US. As Udayan’s political passion escalates, he defies his parents by marrying a woman for love and not by his parents choosing. Shortly afterward, Udayan is arrested and killed, his family is shattered and Subhash tries to piece together the fragments of his family.

Review:

The Lowland is a riveting read that fans of Lahiri have come to expect. Her newest novel is no exception, spanning multiple generations, readers dive into a close family who is torn apart by political unrest. The death of Udayan has a long lasting residual effect on his loved ones. Secrets were hidden, that threaten to be exposed causing further damage. Subhash tries his best to protect Udayan’s wife, but his own life is forever turned around and his relationship with his parent’s is strained. Subhash is no longer the “good” child, he is the child that survived. Guilt seeps into Subhash’s life which denies him a life of possibilities. His brother’s choices and his own choices during this time, leave him living a very different life.


It’s really hard to review The Lowland, because Lahiri is such an exceptional writer and I don’t feel like my review is doing her any justice. Her characters are real, raw and exposed to readers. Lahiri’s setting in both Calcutta and Rhode Island really brings the novel to life.  Since this novel covers Subhash’s lifetime, I don’t want to give away too many details. Subhash was the one who tried to smooth over and do what he thought was best. He was the one who tries to help everyone, but he was the one who suffered the most. I highly recommend this one; the story, the writing, the characters, the atmosphere makes this book irresistible and hard to put down. 

Releases: September 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty


Publisher: Putnam/ Amy Einhorn
Released: 2013
Pages: 416
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

In The Husband’s Secret three women: Cecelia, Rachel and Tess are at a crossroads in their life. Cecelia finds a letter that her husband has addressed to her in the event that he passes away before her.  The letter doesn’t really bother her until she mentions it to her husband and he becomes very defensive that she should not read it. His actions immediately change and Cecelia is wondering what could he possibly have wrote that would make him act this way. Rachel is living with the fact that her teenage daughter was murdered many years ago, and her murdered was never found. Her son is now a father himself, and he announces that his family is moving far away. Rachel is disappointed that she’ll have no one around. Tess has to come to terms with her husband ‘falling in love’ with her best friend and cousin. She packs up and goes to her mother’s while she tries to sort out what happened in her marriage. How did she get blindsided with this?

Review:

The Husband’s Secret was a great read. I loved the three story line, I cared about each woman. Normally when I read stories with multiple story line, I tend to enjoy one more than the others but this wasn't the case. I thoroughly enjoyed each one. Cecelia has the perfect home, and family but everything comes tumbling down when her husband reveals his secret. Her burden is deep, and she doesn't know how to react or move on. The secret was nothing that I expected, and it made the book that much more fascinating.  Rachel’s is dealing with the anniversary of her daughter’s death and new suspicions about who could have killed her daughter. Tess meets Rachel and Cecelia when she enrolls her son in a new school, and begins to learn more about who they are. Tess struggles with her son asking about his father, and deciding what is the best for him.

I thought The Husband’s Wife started a little slow, but once the secret was revealed, I was glued to the pages. I couldn't wait to see if it would be revealed to everyone or how Moriarty would plot the story. Each characters can my sympathized with, and readers will really want to see them overcome their obstacles. I did have an issue with the epilogue- it left me disappointed but as I thought about it more, it was believable, just not what I hoped.


If you’re looking for a great read, I would recommend this one. Despite my issues with the slow beginning and the disappointing ending, I thought it was well written and captivating. I can understand why this book has received raved reviews. This was my first novel by Moriarty and I will definitely add her others to my wish list. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Changes to Mrs Q Book Addict



I've finally returned from my hiatus, it's been a few weeks and I'm enjoying reading again. For awhile, I was getting nervous because books REALLY didn't interest me. Books are my way of escaping and relaxing, and blogging is my way of sharing my thoughts and opinions. In addition to sharing my reviews with fellow readers, I also enjoy having a log of my reviews for my own personal use. I like to go back and reread my reviews if I've forgotten about a particular book.

I've decided to change a few things on my blog. I will no longer participate in weekly meme's and only post book reviews, and/or discussion posts. I want my blog to primarily be book reviews. I will not be posting every day, I don't read fast enough to be able to do that. I also want to stop feeling intimidated by chunkier books. I tend to stay away from them because I'm worried about getting a review posted. My goal is to read and review, and not worry about stats, comments or subscribers. I don't want to feel intimidated by my Goodreads yearly goal. At first I wanted to read 100 but I've since decreased this to 80. When I first started blogging in 2009, I was so concerned about stats but now I want a more relaxed approach to blogging. No comments, don't necessarily mean less stats. I don't want to feel like I'm posting something, just to have something posted for that day.

I will also no longer participate in blog tours. I don't read well under deadlines, and this will continually be a problem when the baby comes. So, no more blog tours. I will accept review books, but I will be more selective.

Thank you for those who have stuck with me all these years, and I hope you continue to enjoy reading my reviews.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson


Publisher: Simon and Schuster Young Readers
Released: 2013
Pages: 480
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5.5

Synopsis:

When Taylor learns that her father has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and he doesn’t have long to live, she’s devastated. Each passing day on the calendar feels like a countdown to her father’s final days. She doesn’t know how to react around him; she’s not sure what to say to him. She’s always been close with her father, but she never really expresses her feelings to him, and now she feels like it might be awkward. While she can see her father deteriorating, he wants to keep some semblance of normal. Taylor’s parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old lake house, which stresses out Taylor even more.  The last time she was at the lake house, she left behind a best friend and boyfriend. She’s not sure if she can face them again. Her reaction is to flee, her reaction is always to flee but this time there is no escaping. Taylor spends the summer making memories with her father, and coming to terms with his failing condition, leaning on her family and strengthening their bond.

Review:

I loved Second Chance Summer, and I would highly recommend it. While this book is considered young adult, I think it’s impossible not to relate to Taylor. Matson does an incredible job allowing readers to understand Taylor’s emotions, and her struggles. Yes, her father only has months to live but in the meantime life goes on. The family doesn’t just pause and remain stagnant. Her father encourages her to get a summer job, her sister is forced to learn tennis, and her brother spends all his time studying. Taylor’s family learns to live with each other and not constantly be thinking about the inevitable.

Taylor’s character is strong, independent, and vulnerable. Her life has forever changed, and it will continue to never be the same. She learns to value the time she does have with her father, and make memories while they still can. At the same time, she’s forced to face her ex- boyfriend and ex-best friend. It’s been years since she ran away, and lost contact with them. Small town life doesn’t give you a lot of opportunities to continue to ignore each other.


I haven’t read Morgan Matson’s debut book Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, but I certainly will now. Her writing is incredibly descriptive and atmospheric. I’m not a crier, and I cried. Readers who have a close relationship with their father, will easily put themselves in Taylor’s situation. Her family is an average, busy family and could be your own. I think Second Chance Summer is a great summer read, but can be read at any time. Once again, highly recommended! This will be one of my favorites of the year.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz



Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Released: 2013
Pages: 456
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Sisters, Beena and Sadhana grew up in a loving home with parents with different cultural backgrounds. Their mother was born in North America and traveled the world, she was very much a free spirit, their father came from a conservative family in India , and they eventually settled in Montreal. Their father owned and operated a bagel shop, while their Uncle managed the day to day tasks. When their father suddenly passes away, the three of them are left to grieve and learn to cope. A few short years later, their mother tragically passes away and the teenage girls are suddenly orphaned and left under the guardianship of their strict, single Uncle.  The family never approved of their mother and Beena and Sadhana had no other relatives they knew. Tragedy and grief seemed to always be around the corner. Both girls began to lead very different paths, Beena unexpectedly becomes pregnant at sixteen and Sadhana develops anorexia.


Review:

Bone and Bread was a great read. Essentially this is a book about relationships, and how life continually forces changes upon individuals. Beena and Sadhana are barely two years apart, they’ve always been close and dealt with tragedy differently. Bone and Bread opens with the death of Sadhana, while Beena tries to come to grips with her death, rehashing their hardships endured together. Beena, the older sister always felt protective of her sister but at the same time, she needed to care for her son and live her own life.  Sadhana’s anorexia really takes a toll on their relationship and Beena doesn’t know how much she can trust her sister or how long she can protect her. Sadhana struggles with needing her own space, creating her own life and needing to help her sister.

I really grew to love both girl’s and understand their hardships. Once they lost both their parents, their foundation crumbled. They barely knew their Uncle, never had a real relationship with him and being placed under his guardianship caused them to resent him. Coming from a conservative family, having no wife, readers can really see the struggles he faces. Everyone is in a predicament and trying to survive.

As a fellow Montrealer, the atmosphere of this novel really brings it to life. Nawaz writes about a Montreal I know, and live in. This has not always been the case when I’ve read other books that are set in Montreal. I love the cover of this one, I think it captures the story well. I really don't feel like I'm giving this book justice in my review, but I highly recommend this book, especially for those who have a sister. I believe the story would be even more powerful. Great for book clubs! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: The Registry by Shannon Stoker



Publisher:  William Morrow
Released: 2013
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

Mia grew up to wholeheartedly believe in The Registry, it was her duty to get married and provide her parents with a profit. In Mia’s forward-thinking society, daughters were sold to the highest bidder, and infant sons were handed over to the government to be raised as soldiers. Parents wouldn't waste their money or effort in raising a son. Mia couldn't wait for her turn to get married; she believed that marriage was rewarding and luxurious. When Mia’s married older sister came home broken, bruised and trying to warn her about The Registry, Mia began to rethink marriage. Mia was further alerted when her parents blamed her sister for giving birth to boys, and promised her that married life would get easier if she would just give her husband a daughter. They sent her back home, and learned of her “unfortunate” death a few weeks later. Mia knew she had to stop her marriage and decide her own future. How could her parents be so heartless? Did they really see their daughters as transactions only? Mia decides she must run away with her best friend, and black mail her father’s hired farm worker to help them escape.

Review:

The Registry was an interesting read but I had many questions throughout the novel that weren't really addressed. I didn't love the characters, but I was curious about their situation. I wanted to know what would happen, so I kept reading. Mia is so sheltered and naive, and her escape was relatively easy which was hard for me to believe. Mia’s husband leads the chase and his enjoyment is revolting. He doesn't care about Mia but feels like it’s his right to punish her for running away. His character was loathing and his chase was too easy. I felt like he never really had any struggle to figure out where Mia has been and where she’s would be going. I felt like Mia’s situation was similar, she would have small obstacles but never really struggled along the way.


I did enjoy The Registry, and I would be interested if there was another book. I thought it was a fast read and that helped with the enjoyment. If the book was drawn out and my questions were still not answered, I wouldn't have enjoyed the book as much. I think this one is worth the read, but it won’t be a favorite of mine. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: He’s Gone by Deb Caletti


Publisher: Banton
Pages: 352
Released: 2013
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis:

When Dani wakes up with a fuzzy head and what feels like a hangover, she spends her morning on her houseboat and wondering where her husband Ian is. He’s not answering his phone, not calling her back and she’s not sure if she should be worried or not. A day goes by and Dani can’t figure out where he is, when she spots his car in the parking lot, panic sets in. Dani wonders if something happened to him, or maybe he left her voluntarily.  They were both married when they started having an affair, and Dani wonders if the cycle has repeated itself. Dani must face their past because the police are asking questions, and having a blended family is difficult. Dani must do her best to find Ian, including working with Ian’s kids and ex-wife to figure out where he could be.

Review:

He’s Gone was a great read. Dani has barely any memory from the night before, and she begins to question her relationship with Ian, her lack of memory from the night before and knowing she left the party upset. She vaguely remembers a woman in a red dress standing next to Ian. Dani is an unreliable narrator, and readers must keep in mind that Dani has very little knowledge.  Her and Ian fell madly in love, but realistically their past continues to haunt her.   

When Dani begins to have doubts about what happened that night, she begins to scare herself and readers. Could she have done something? Is she just afraid the police will assume she had something to do with Ian’s disappearance? He was married to her for three years, and now he’s gone.  After all, isn’t it normally the spouse? Caletti really draws readers into the story, and forces them to think and question what is really going on.


This was my first read by Deb Caletti, and it was compulsively readable. I kept picking it up every chance I could, because I needed to know what happened. I continuously questioned Dani and wondered if she could have been involved. At the same time, I felt really bad for Dani. If you’re looking for a great read, something that will keep you glued to the pages, this one is recommended. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: The Smart One by Jennifer Close



Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 352
Released: 2013
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5 ****

Synopsis:

Weezy struggles to let her children make their own decisions. She worries too much, and wants her children to be happy and secure. She’s sure every parent wants the same. Lately, her children are causing her to worry even more. Her eldest daughter, Martha, is living at home, working in retail and refuses to make use of her nursing degree. She’s anxiety prone and Weezy has to be careful how she approaches her. Her second oldest daughter, Cleo, has recently broken off her engagement, gave everyone no explanation and advises Weezy that she will need to return home due to finances. Her son, Max, is currently on track, going to college but she’s waiting for the ball to drop because his gorgeous girlfriend is sure to break his heart.

Review:

The Smart One offers readers a realistic look at young adults and the need to sometimes lean on their parents. Sure, every young adult intends to be able to make it on their own with no help, but the truth is, it doesn't always happen that way. Weezy grew up with parents who wanted her out of the house and on her own when she turned eighteen, and she had no intention to treating her children the same way. Her parents were great parents, but that doesn’t mean she has to raise her children the same way. Honestly, families can be messy and having your child return home in their twenties and thirties can be a difficult. The old family rules don’t apply anymore, and Weezy needs to allow her children to figure out their own lives.

The Smart One was my first Jennifer Close novel. I’ve had Girls in White Dresses on my ereader for a while, and I will definitely try to get to it soon. The Smart Girls was an interesting and realistic read. The characters are flawed, frustrating and likable. Martha and Cleo still struggle with their relationship, Cleo has jealously issues with how her parents coddle Martha. Max is doing well, going to school, and seems to be on the right track, but life sometimes throws you curve-balls and he finds himself living at home with everyone. Close draws readers in, and demonstrates the complexity of families. Highly recommended for those who enjoy women’s fiction. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mini Reviews: The Orphan Train, Looking for Me, A Change in Fortune

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Rating: 4/5 ****

Goodreads Description:

The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman
Rating: 5/5 *****
Standalone
Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Goodreads Description:

A Southern novel of family and antiques from the bestselling author of the beloved Saving CeeCee Honeycutt 

Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel,Looking for Me.

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last.  But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

Looking for Me brilliantly melds together themes of family, hope, loss, and a mature once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. The result is a tremendously moving story that is destined to make bestselling author Beth Hoffman a novelist to whom readers will return again and again as they have with Adriana Trigiani, Fannie Flagg, and Joshilyn Jackson.

A Change in Fortune by Jen Turano
Rating: 4/5 ****

Goodreads Description:

Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. Her fortune was the last thing she had left after losing her father, her fiancĂ©, and her faith. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner, governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London. 

Mr. Hamilton Beckett, much to his chagrin, is the catch of the season, and all the eyes of New York society—all the female ones, at least—are on him. He has no plans to marry again, especially since his hands are full keeping his business afloat while raising his two children alone. 

Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune unexpectedly put her right in Hamilton's path. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces and, before she knows it, Eliza has a whole retinue of people helping her. Eliza's determination not to trust anyone weakens when everyone's antics and bumbling efforts to assist her make her wonder if there might be more important things than her fortune and independence. 

When all of Hamilton's and Eliza's best-laid plans fall by the wayside, it will take a riot of complications for them to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mini Reviews: The Originals, Thousand Words, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

The Originals by Cat Patrick
Rating: 5/5 *****
Non-Series
Review: Forgotten by Cat Patrick 

Goodreads Description:

A riveting new story from Cat Patrick, author of Forgotten and Revived.

17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...

Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Rating: 5/5 *****

Goodreads Description: 

Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send."

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look. 

Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn't always tell the whole story.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
Rating: 5/5 *****

Goodreads Descriptions:

I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we’re ruined, Look closer…and you’ll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.


When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who isZelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mini Reviews: The Last Summer, Requiem, The Innocents

The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn
Recommended for Downton Abbey Fans
Rating: 5/5 *****

Goodreads Description:

Clarissa is almost seventeen when the spell of her childhood is broken. It is 1914, the beginning of a blissful, golden summer - and the end of an era. Deyning Park is in its heyday, the large country house filled with the laughter and excitement of privileged youth preparing for a weekend party. When Clarissa meets Tom Cuthbert, home from university and staying with his mother, the housekeeper, she is dazzled. Tom is handsome and enigmatic; he is also an outsider. Ambitious, clever, his sights set on a career in law, Tom is an acute observer, and a man who knows what he wants. For now, that is Clarissa.

As Tom and Clarissa's friendship deepens, the wider landscape of political life around them is changing, and another story unfolds: they are not the only people in love. Soon the world - and all that they know - is rocked by a war that changes their lives for ever

Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Delirium
Pandemonium 
Rating: 3/5 ***

Goodreads Description:

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.
But we are still here.
And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

The Innocents y Francesca Segal
Rating: 3/5 ***

Goodreads Description:

WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2012

What if everything you'd ever wanted was no longer enough?

Adam and Rachel are getting married at last. Childhood sweethearts whose lives and families have been intertwined for years; theirs is set to be the wedding of the year.

But then Rachel's cousin Ellie makes an unexpected return to the family fold. Beautiful, reckless and troubled, Ellie represents everything that Adam has tried all his life to avoid - and everything that is missing from his world. As the long-awaited wedding approaches, Adam is torn between duty and temptation, security and freedom, and must make a choice that will break either one heart, or many.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mini Book Reviews: True, Someday, Someday Maybe, Taking Changes

I'm behind in so many reviews, and at this point I really want to catch up and review recently read books. Many of these books were read months ago, and I can't possibly try to write full reviews. Just the thought is a little overwhelming... I will give the publisher synopsis and my rating. The good news...I'm READING!! I read The Smart One by Jennifer Close and I'm currently reading He's Gone by Deb Caletti. Both books, really enjoyable. I pretty sure, I've overcome this reading slump. 

 True by Hilary Duff

 Rating: 4/5 ****

 Book 1 Review: Elixir

 Book 2 Review: Devoted

Goodreads Description:

The epic love story of Clea and Sage comes to its thrilling conclusion in the final book in the Elixir series by multitalented star Hilary Duff.Following the harrowing events ofElixir and Devoted—and the ceremony that almost killed Sage—Clea faces a new reality: With Sage’s soul in Nico’s body, the love of her life looks an awful lot like her best friend’s boyfriend. Can Clea and Sage really be happy under these circumstances?

Clea wants to try to enjoy their new life together, but Sage is acting different—angry—and she struggles to keep her friends from finding out what has happened to him. Something is clearly haunting Sage, and Clea is losing control. Can she trust her friends with the dangerous truth, or will she have to risk losing Sage to madness?


Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
Debut Novel
Rating: 4/5 ****

Goodreads Description:

A charming and laugh-out-loud novel by Lauren Graham, beloved star of Parenthood and Gilmore Girls, about an aspiring actress trying to make it in mid-nineties New York City.

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. 

Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. 

Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.


Taking Changes by Molly McAdams
Rating: 3/5 ***

Goodreads Description:

Her first year away is turning out to be nearly perfect, but one weekend of giving in to heated passion will change everything.

Eighteen-year-old Harper has grown up under the thumb of her career marine father. Ready to live life her own way and to experience things she's only ever heard of from the jarheads in her father's unit, she's on her way to college at San Diego State University.

Thanks to her new roommate, Harper is introduced to a world of parties, gorgeous guys, family, and emotions. She finds herself being torn in two as she quickly falls in love with both her new boyfriend, Brandon, and her roommate's brother, Chase. Despite their dangerous looks and histories, both men adore Harper and would do anything for her, including taking a step back if it would mean she'd be happy.