2016 Monthly Status Update: October

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A few days late but I’m catching up on my blogging! I meant to post this a few days ago but my work schedule has been just insane this week. October was a busy month for me between work and all the reading I’ve been getting done. Also went to Pennsylvania for the weekend. Lots going on in the next month as well, going to Florida next weekend and then Thanksgiving is just around the bend. But I am getting a good amount of reading done and reading some great things!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 10
# pages read this month: 3,305
# books read year-to-date: 102
# pages read year-to-date: 31,138

Favorite Books I Read:

Wow October was a great month for reading. This was such a hard choice for me to pick my favorites, I read so many good books.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – 4.25 stars
The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot – 4.5 stars
Faithful by Alice Hoffman – 4.5 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I had a great month and really didn’t dislike anything I read, which is great!

Other Posts this month:

My Brown-Eyed Earl BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY
Christmas Joy BLOG TOUR

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 20/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

November TBR list:

-Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell
-The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman
-When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall
-Picture Perfect Wedding by Lynnette Austin
-The Amateurs by Sara Shepard
-Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
-The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries
-Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
-Mistletoe, Mischief and the Marquis by Amelia Grey

There are a lot of books on my backlog too so I’m hoping to have some time to dig into some of those but we will see how the month goes. Happy reading everyone!

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2016 Book #101 – Christmas Joy by Nancy Naigle

61ix7tuxs6l-_sx332_bo1204203200_Title: Christmas Joy
Author: Nancy Naigle
Date finished: 10/24/16
Genre: Contemporary romance, holiday
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Joy Holbrook might be all work and no play, but that changes when her Aunt Ruby takes a fall that lands her in a rehabilitation center before the holidays. Joy takes a leave of absence from her job as a market researcher to run the family farm, even though the timing may hinder her chance at garnering the promotion of her dreams.
Ben Andrews isn’t your average accountant. He also happens to be the handiest man in Crystal Falls. He’s helped his elderly neighbor, Ruby Johnson, decorate for the annual Christmas Home Tour―and win―the last several years. He’s not about to let some drop-in niece break their winning streak.
Ruby seems overly concerned about Joy being able to handle Molly. Under the impression she’s referring Molly the bunny that is one of the menagerie of animals, Joy’s not worried at all until the next morning when a little girl named Molly shows up. For the sake of her aunt, Joy is forced to partner with Ben while Ruby is on the mend to help with preparation for the Christmas tour and, in the process finds her career-focused heart dreaming of a family.
Will the magic of Christmas help her to open her heart and find her everlasting joy?

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book will count towards my “PopSugar 2016 Checklist” reading challenge, marking off the “a book with a protagonist who has your occupation” square, since the male lead in the story is an accountant just like me! This book is about Joy Holbrook, a woman with an exciting career in marketing with a firm in D.C. She is up for a promotion and has been working extremely hard towards this goal. When she gets a call about her Aunt Ruby being in the hospital, she drops everything and drives the 5 hours home to Crystal Falls to make sure she’s ok. While her aunt is in a rehab center for her broken ankle, Joy (eventually) accepts the help of Ben Andrews in getting Ruby’s house set up for a big Christmas event taking place in a few week’s time. Joy was able to get some time off work to take care of things in Crystal Falls, and between getting the house ready, taking care of Ruby’s vast variety of animals (its pretty much a literal zoo there on the farm) and watching after Molly (a young girl Ruby helps to take care of) Joy’s days are jam-packed and surprisingly joyful. Joy finds herself happier than she can remember being in some time, which makes her begin to wonder if she could leave the life of the city behind and be happy in this small town?
Overall I liked this book. The description of the festival and of the community that made up the small town of Crystal Falls was heart-warming and really helped to get me into the holiday spirit. It was a little cheesier than I usually go for but cheesy is sometimes exactly what you’re looking for! I thought this was very similar to how I feel while I’m watching one of those Hallmark Christmas movies, and I honestly hope it gets picked up as one because I would love to see it! This was definitely a light read and some of the conversations seemed a bit forced but it was a sweet read that is sure to get you dreaming of a white Christmas. And the lessons that the reader can take away from the book are ones that are most important this time of year: to work a little less, spend more time with family, and to appreciate the moments we’re given with our loved ones.

The bottom line: I thought this was a good read, definitely a little cheesy but also heart-warming and cheerful. This is a great one to get you into the Christmas spirit!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Monthly Status Update: September

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I can’t believe how fast September flew by. September is a big month for me since both my Mom’s and my birthdays are in the middle of the month. This past month we also went to Block Island, 2 weddings, and 2 birthday parties. Lots of events this month meant unfortunately less time for reading. Work is also starting to pick up for me so I will be reading even less in the next couple months but I’m hoping to keep active with my overwhelming reading schedule!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 11
# pages read this month: 2,530
# books read year-to-date: 92
# pages read year-to-date: 27,833

Favorite Books I Read:

At Risk by S.G. Redling – 4.25 stars
Now That It’s You by Tawna Feske – 4.25 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I read My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor this month and I didn’t particularly care for it, it was just a little out there for me.

Other Posts this month:

I was pretty busy this past month so I didn’t get a chance to do any other posts! Stay tuned for next month, I’ll have at least one author Q&A post.

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 19/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

October TBR list:

If I have extra time I’ll be working on my back list of ARC’s but I will also be trying to get some specific October books read:

-My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett
-Hero in the Highlands by Suzanne Enoch
-Till I Kissed You by Laura Trentham
-The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper
-Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
-The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot
-To Love and To Cherish by Lauren Layne
-Faithful by Alice Hoffman
-Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell
-The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman
-When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall

 

2016 Monthly Status Update: August

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August is over, I can hardly believe it. Before you know it will be the dreaded tax season again. I’m gearing up for one of my busier times of the year anyways since I audit towns, which for me usually means less reading. I am hoping to at least keep it closer to even this year since I haven’t been reading much lately to begin with, I’ve been so busy there’s hardly been time. August overall was a good month though, I feel like I got a lot done and I had a lot of fun this month!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 10
# pages read this month: 3,050
# books read year-to-date: 81
# pages read year-to-date: 25,303

Favorite Books I Read:

Results May Vary by Bethany Chase – 4.75 stars
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – 4.5 stars
Sting by Sandra Brown – 4.25 stars
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – 4.75 stars
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain – 4.75 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I didn’t care for I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottline and Francesca Serritella. Not that it was a bad book, just wasn’t my usual style of book that I enjoy.

Other Posts this month:

ARC August – Check in #1 – 8/1-8/6
ARC August – Check in #2 – 8/7-8/12
ARC August – Check in #3 – 8/13-8/20
Cook Books Galore!

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 19/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 8/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

September TBR list:

There are a few books that I have to read in September but I’ll still mostly just be working off my back list of ARC’s that I need to get through. Some of the September ARC’s I’m more excited about are the new YA release by Natasha Preston and the 2nd book in a trilogy by Joe Hart. Stay tuned for some great reviews this month!

ARC August 2016 – Check in #4 (8/21-8/31) and Wrap Up Post

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I can’t believe August is over already, this past month just flew by. Between vacations and working at the Fair, I barely had time to take a breath! I did take a few nice deep breaths while in Maine though, was very quiet and relaxing. So anyways, I think I got a good amount of reading done this month and I was able to take a few ARC’s off the list.

My Progress:

I didn’t really have an exact plan for what I would read but I will go off the original list posted and just disclose any variations from said original list:

-The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Elizabeth Crispell – Read and reviewed – Week 2
-Results May Vary by Bethany Chase – Read and reviewed – Week 2
-Sting by Sandra Brown – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax
-Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Psak
-All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
-The Killing Game by Nancy Bush
-Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert
-The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger
-If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton
-All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
-To Have and To Hold by Laura McHugh
-The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood
-My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor
-First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
-Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries
-Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney
Additions to original list:
-I’ve Got Sand In All the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottline and Francesca Serritella – Read and reviewed – Week 3
-The 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson – Read and reviewed
-Butter and Scotch by Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth – Read and reviewed
-I Take You by Eliza Kennedy – Currently reading

Books Read August 21st-31st

The 24 Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson – 3.5 stars
Butter & Scotch by Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth – 4.0 stars

So that is the end of ARC August! I was very grateful for the timing of this challenge since I had such a long backlist of ARC’s and I definitely was happy to get a few of them off the list. I still have a lot to go but that is ok, I will just keep reading 🙂

Cook Books Galore!!

So I have some cookbooks that I was approved to review through NetGalley recently. I don’t really count these as “books read” since when I read a cookbook I don’t read every single page. But I thought I would still share these books with you guys in case something snags your interest!

Butter & Scotch by Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth – 4.0 stars

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I really liked this book, the recipes in it were great. This book was written by the owners of a dessert and drinks bar in NYC. Recipes consisted of: cupcakes, cocktails, brunch food and drinks, pies, cookies, boozy shakes, etc. I liked a lot of the recipes, I was especially intrigued by the Lemon Lavender cupcakes, which I would love to make sometime. Dessert and drinks are two of my favorite things so this one was right up my ally!

 

 

Everything I Want to Eat by Jessica Koslow – 3.25 stars

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Most of the recipes in this book I don’t think I would try. They seemed complicated. I mean they all looked delicious and very healthy but I prefer quick and easy recipes. There were a couple items that caught my interest including the Raspberry cardamom jam and the Rhubarb lemonade. I also really liked that the book had pictures from actual farms showing production/growing of the ingredients. If I had a personal chef, I would want them to use only this book because the recipes all seem so fresh and healthy.

The Good Fork Cookbook by Sohui Kim and Burcu Avsar – 4.25 stars

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Manchego Cheese Fritters? Freaking yes please. I loved a bunch of the recipes in this cookbook. Many of the recipes had a Korean flair/were Korean recipes (the author of the book and owner of the restaurant is Korean) but these recipes will appeal to all readers, regardless of their ethnicity. I especially like the recipe for gnocchi with sauteed mushrooms and spring vegetables, I thought that sounded delicious! I think this would be a great cookbook for trying something new and fresh and delicious, I would like to purchase this one for myself and family members!

The Short Stack Cookbook by Nick Fauchald and Kaitlyn Goalen – 4.25 stars

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This book is set up like a series of “short stack” cookbooks, each section features an ingredient, like apples, shrimp, yogurt, etc. I thought that was a interesting approach and I like the convenience of it. Like the apple section contains breakfast, dinner, dessert and drink recipes all within that one section.The pictures in this book were great too and I loved how colorful it was. There were a lot of great recipes, this is a book that you need to work through slowly though since there are just so many delicious items to make. I would love to purchase this one for myself and family members!

2016 Book #80 – The 24 Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson

511+iHZXRDL._SX359_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The 24 Hour Wine Expert
Author: Jancis Robinson
Date finished: 8/25/16
Genre: Non-fiction, informational
Publisher: Abrams Image
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Pages in book: 112
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Many wine drinkers wish they knew more without having to understand every nuance or go to expensive wine tastings. In her new book, Jancis Robinson, the leading international authority on wine, grants the wishes of would-be wine experts the world over. With The 24-Hour Wine Expert, anyone can learn all that is really important about wine in a single day. In her pithy, approachable, comprehensive guide, Robinson shares her expertise with authority, wit, and approachability, tackling questions such as how to select the right bottle at retail, what wine labels signify, how to understand the properties of color and aroma, and how to match food and wine. Robinson’s proposition is irresistible: In just 24 hours, anyone can become a wine expert. So pour a glass and get reading!

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book will count towards my ARC August 2016 Reading Challenge. This book has a lot of information about wine jam-packed into just over 100 pages. The author discusses several topics, including how to pick a bottle of wine, how to taste wine, and discusses several popular varietals and growing regions. I’ve spent some time learning about wine already so I had a foundation of knowledge going into reading this. I still learned a lot of tid-bits, plus I love that there is so much knowledge summarized in such a compact manner. This is the kind of book that would be great to keep on hand for referencing whenever I run into questions. A good read with a lot of good information, I would definitely check this one out!

The bottom line: I thought this was a very good resource for information about wine. It has a lot of great information jam packed into one book and would be a great resource for someone looking to learn more about wine.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page