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 🙂

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!

ARC August 2016 – Check in #2 – 8/7-8/12

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Woot! 2 weeks in and… not enough books read! Fortunately for me I am spending the next week UNPLUGGED from life where I will hopefully get some reading done. I am heading up to Maine with my Dad, Uncle and Cousin for some R&R with no electricity, internet, or cell service. Which is why I’m technically writing this post a little early. Since I’m posting a day or so early, I’m only covering the books that I read through this Friday, and then I’ll get caught up next weekend when I return from the island wilderness. So anyways, I was able to actually get some reading done during week two, here we go!

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
-Results May Vary by Bethany Chase – Read and reviewed
-Sting by Sandra Brown
-The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges
-Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne
-Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax
-Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Psak
-All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
-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
-The 24-Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson
-Butter and Scotch by Allison Kave and Keavy Landreth

Books Read August 7th-12th

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The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell – 4.25 stars

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Results May Vary by Bethany Chase – 4.75 stars

Plan for Upcoming Week

My plan is to read a TON! I’m currently reading The Rosie Project for my book club book (at about page 50 as of 8pm Friday), which won’t count for this challenge, and then I need to finish up I’ve Got Sand In All The Wrong Places, which I started last month. Then it will be a free for all, whatever I want to read I will!! PS Most definitely starting with Sting by Sandra Brown, I CAN NOT wait to read her new release!

2016 Book #73 – Results May Vary by Bethany Chase BLOG TOUR

51TqxsdHhSL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Results May Vary
Author: Bethany Chase
Date finished: 8/9/16
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: August 9, 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:

Can you ever really know the person you love?
She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, art curator Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can’t get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband’s other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story’s ending will mean forgiving the man she’s loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.
Compassionate and uplifting, Results May Vary is a bittersweet celebration of the heart’s ability to turn unexpected troubles into extraordinary strength.

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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 for my ARC August reading challenge for this month. This book is about Caroline Hammond, whose life up until we meet her could be described as ideal. She has a husband who worships her, a beautiful home in a town she loves, and a fulfilling job as curator at a museum, MASS MoCA (real place). Her life seems to shatter though when she discovers (accidentally) that her husband has been having an affair. With a man. Having had no inkling that her husband was attracted to men, or a lying jerk either, she calls into question everything she thought she knew about the man she’s been with for 17 years (half her life). This book is really about Caroline’s journey on the road to forgiveness and independence, as she discovers what may become of her marriage and what may become of her future.
Overall I really just loved this book. Caroline as a character was easy to relate to and interesting to talk to. Honestly one of my favorite things about her was that her sister could tell she was drinking when she started to talk more formally, I think I’m going to start doing that from now on because it is too funny! As a reader I was drawn into the story right from page one and just could not put this book down. The author really paints such a vivid picture for the reader, I would look up from reading and not have any idea where I was. The author was extremely talented at giving descriptions of the backdrop and Caroline’s internal monologue without being too wordy. And I really loved how Caroline talked about art and the museum, it was inspiring to see how passionate she was about her job and about art overall. This book deals with a lot of ups and downs for each of the characters as they make their way through the story, including devastating blows to the heart and to the ego. It was amazing the wealth of emotions that the author was able to draw out of me as I read this book: frustration, anger, love, and eventually forgiveness. The plot was riveting and really had some great plot twists to keep the reader engaged. I think that this is one of my favorite books of the year so far, I would definitely recommend reading this one!

The bottom line: This book was awesome, the author really taps into the emotions of the reader and makes the story come alive. I would look up from reading and not know where I was. Story was heart-wrenching and touching, with some good twists in the plot to keep the reader on their toes. I would definitely recommend!

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ADDITIONAL CONTENT!!!

As part of the blog tour I was given access to some additional content from the author, Bethany Chase. Since I’m a New England girl through and through her narrative on why she picked the Berkshires for the setting to this book really spoke to me. I’d like to share this with you readers as well!

The Setting: Why Bethany chose the Berkshires for Results May Vary

I set Results May Vary in the Berkshires because, like Caroline, I went to college at Williams and fell in love with the region. It reminds me a little bit of the Virginia Blue Ridge where I grew up—I am a mountain girl, through and through—but it has its own flavor, which is very much a New England one. It has beautiful old 18th-century houses, and a winding river or two, and maple trees everywhere that really do turn just the most outrageous colors of coral and red and gold in October.

The area is an interesting cultural hotspot—in Williamstown itself you have not just the college but also the world-class Clark Art Institute (I debated long and hard between having Caroline be a curator at the Clark vs MASS MoCA, but went with the latter in the end because it suited the plot better), and the Williamstown Theater Festival. Nearby you have the Tanglewood concert series, the beautiful Hancock Shaker Village, and then of course MASS MoCA, which is not just one of the largest contemporary art museums in the country but also a multi-disciplinary facility that hosts music, dance and theater as well as visual art. North Adams is interesting because it is a former industrial town that has been in a resurgence for the last 15 years or so, which is very intentionally led by the museum. One of the reasons I think the region is so great is that it has the beauty and charm of a small town, rural environment, yet packs this amazing cultural punch that far exceeds what you might expect from its population.

And, of course, it is beautiful. Those leaves! Those mountains! Those velvety white snowstorms, and the way they make you hunker down inside in front of a roaring fire. And then the spring that slinks slowly over the landscape, apologizing for the months that preceded it, until it bursts into the full green roar of May. I hope everyone gets to experience the Berkshires in their lives, not just in one season but in all of them.

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Link to author website

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

2016 Book #72 – The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell

51N3CEGiH7LTitle: The Secret Ingredient of Wishes
Author: Susan Bishop Crispell
Date finished: 8/7/16
Genre: Fiction, Magical realism
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Pages in book: 292
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE: I received this book for free from BookBrowse 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:

26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good.
Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.
As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.

My rating:  4.25 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 for my ARC August reading challenge for this month. This book tells the story of Rachel Monroe, a woman from Memphis that can grant people’s wishes by thinking about them. Rachel has had a rough life up to this point, after accidentally wishing her brother away, her father walking out on her, and her mother killing herself, plus Rachel spent much of her time hospitalized or in therapy due to her “condition.” No one seems to believe that Rachel has this ability, and her parents can’t seem to remember her brother Michael. The only family Rachel has left is her friend MaryBeth, who spent time with Rachel in a psych hospital. After Rachel starts granting wishes again though, she runs away to try and protect those she loves. She ends up in a town called Nowhere, North Carolina, where she meets Catch, who can keep secrets by baking pies. But when Rachel’s secret gets out, the Town isn’t quite so welcoming.
Overall I really liked this book. It reminded me a lot of The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee because of the magical realism and the food, and that was one of my favorite books of 2014. I liked the characters in this book, there was a lot going on in the story and it kept me interested throughout with the varied story lines. I thought that the ending was a little abrupt, there were definitely some things that I thought were unresolved at the end of the book. I still really enjoyed the book though, the romance in the book was sweet and it was wonderful to see their relationship develop. This was a great book and I would recommend!

The bottom line: This was a great book! I really liked the magical realism and the story line was really creative. I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

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

ARC August 2016 Reading Challenge Sign Up

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Woot! ARC August is here again, and honestly it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I fell WAY behind in June and July so I have accumulated an ARC backlog of 28 books from those two months. Plus the 12 ARC’s I’m scheduled to read in August gets us to a grand total of 40 ARC’s to read this month. Ha, no way will I be able to read 40 books in a month, but I’m still really glad to be participating in ARC August again this year to try and decrease my backlog a little bit at least. For those of you that don’t know, ARC August is a month-long reading challenge hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. and the only participation requirement is reading ARC’s! I participated in this reading challenge last year and it worked out really well for me, I hope to be super productive with this challenge this year since I have so much to read! Plus in a beyond perfect twist of events I will on an island for a week in August with no wi-fi and no cell service and no electricity! What else is there to do but read!

So here is the list I’m going to be working off of for this year’s challenge (more or less):

-The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Elizabeth Crispell
-Results May Vary by Bethany Chase
-Sting by Sandra Brown
-The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges
-Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne
-Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax
-Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Psak
-All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
-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

Obviously I don’t expect to read through 20 books in one month but this will give me a little wiggle room to pick what I want to read as I go rather than being stuck with a set schedule. Happy reading everyone!