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!

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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

ARC August Check in #3 – 8/13-8/20

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What a productive week. I’m so glad that I got to spend the week in Maine relaxing with my family and having a great time. And luckily while relaxing there was a lot of available time for catching up on my reading! I read about a book a day, though not all counted for this challenge. Since I didn’t have any wi-fi or electricity in Maine, I spent all of today catching up on blog posts.

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
-The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges – Read and reviewed
-Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne – Read and reviewed
-Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax
-Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Psak
-All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – Read and reviewed
-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
-The 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson
-Butter and Scotch by Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth
-I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

Books Read August 13th-20th

I’ve Got Sand in ALl the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella – 2.5 stars
Sting by Sandra Brown – 4.25 stars
The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges – 3.75 stars
Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne – 3.25 stars
All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – 4.75 stars

Plan for Upcoming Week

My plan for next week is to try and get a couple more books read off the list. This is the last full week of the challenge but its also the week of the Fair and I will have a lot of catching up to do at work since I was off this past week. So not sure exactly how much reading I’ll get done. I’m already thrilled with the progress I’ve made though, 5 books off the list over the past week is such a relief! Happy reading to everyone!

2016 Book #79 – All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

51U2LbgQ74LTitle: All the Missing Girls
Author: Megan Miranda
Date finished: 8/20/16
Genre: Fiction, thriller/suspense
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Pages in book: 384
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:

Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.
Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.
Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

My rating:  4.75 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 tells the story of Nicolette Farrell, who returns home after her brother calls and asks for her help in selling their family’s house. The other, larger reason she’s decided to come home though is that she received a letter from her father (who has dementia) mentioning the girl that’s been missing for the past 10 years, Nicolette’s best friend Corrine. Corrine’s disappearance and the other events of that night 10 years ago changed the course of Nicolette’s life, separating her from her home town of Cooley Ridge. She has a life in Philadelphia now and a wonderful fiance, Everett. But coming home opens old wounds, and with another girl who turns up missing that is also connected to Nicolette, Nic is determined to get to the bottom of things.
Overall I loved this book. I thought that the way it was told was extremely creative. It starts with an introduction to the story and then all of a sudden the story picks up 2 weeks later (Day 15) and back-tracks from there to reveal everything discovered during that time. It was creative and engaging and really well done. And the publishing company was right in the intro, it makes me want to read the book all over again. As a warning though some people might find this presentation a tad frustrating as it makes it harder to keep the timeline in order on what was discovered when. This story line had some great plot twists that I did not see coming and overall was a great thriller. I didn’t want to put it down and I couldn’t stop thinking about the puzzle and how it would all fit together in the end. This was a great read and I would most definitely recommend.

The bottom line: I thought this book ROCKED! I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I couldn’t stand having to put it down. This was a great suspenseful read and I found the presentation of the story really interesting and creative. Great book, I would definitely recommend!!

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #77 – The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges

61+KY1TUYgLTitle: The Form of Things Unknown
Author: Robin Bridges
Date finished: 8/18/16
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Connected to previous publication, Dreaming of Antigone
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the Author/Publisher 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:

Natalie Roman isn’t much for the spotlight. But performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a stately old theatre in Savannah, Georgia, beats sitting alone replaying mistakes made in Athens. Fairy queens and magic on stage, maybe a few scary stories backstage. And no one in the cast knows her backstory.
Except for Lucas—he was in the psych ward, too. He won’t even meet her eye. But Nat doesn’t need him. She’s making friends with girls, girls who like horror movies and Ouija boards, who can hide their liquor in Coke bottles and laugh at the theater’s ghosts. Natalie can keep up. She can adapt. And if she skips her meds once or twice so they don’t interfere with her partying, it won’t be a problem. She just needs to keep her wits about her.

My rating:  3.75 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 tells the story of Natalie Roman, who has recently moved with her family to Savannah to take care of her grandmother, a once stable woman who has recently decided to stop taking her prescription medication to treat her schizophrenia. Natalie herself was somewhat glad to move since all the kids at her new school won’t know that she recently spent some time in a psych ward. So Natalie begins her new life in Savannah and makes new friends. But she’s worried about what will happen when her new friends find out that she’s not quite sane. And there seems to be a good chance they’ll find out since one of the guys in Savannah spent time in the same psych ward as Natalie.
Overall I liked this book. I liked Natalie for the most part, although I thought she became a tad bit whiny at times. I think that those scenes were supposed to underscore her extreme insecurities but it made it hard for me to connect with the character. And while overall I liked the plot line, the premise behind some of it didn’t really make sense. Like why would Natalie’s parents put her in a psych ward after one drug-induced psychotic episode, when her only other history was that her grandmother also has schizophrenia. I feel like Natalie should have shown more of a psychotic pattern before being hospitalized? Other than that is was a cute and sweet story about second chances and learning to appreciate who you are and I thought it was nice that Natalie found someone that she cares about. I would recommend.

The bottom line: I liked this book, though not as much as I liked Dreaming of Antigone. I had more trouble connecting to Natalie’s character. I still think the author did a great job of dealing with common teen issues in this book though: bullying, insecurities, drugs, alcohol and mental illness. A good read and I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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