2018 Book #13 – By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

51d5zueqM5LTitle: By the Book
Author: Julia Sonneborn
Date finished: 2/6/18
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
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:

An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

Anne Corey is about to get schooled.

An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.

Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.

My rating:  4.0 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 is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which I’ve never read before so I can’t say exactly how the books parallel. Although from the description of Persuasion it sounds like “Rick” was the old fiancee, whereas in this novel the old fiancee is Adam. Reading this novel though did inspire me to read Persuasion at some point (hopefully soon). I was especially drawn in this book to the description of the world that Anne lived in the academic world. I have always loved learning and school, and I considered continuing my education further and maybe teaching college classes. Hearing about Anne’s life and her career as a college professor really drew me into the story. There was one thing that I didn’t particularly like about the book though, I thought that Adam and Anne’s relationship could’ve been developed more in the book. The ending came about a bit suddenly for me as a reader, I felt like they’d hardly had any substantial interactions during the novel. Other than that though, this was a quick and sweet read and I really enjoyed it!

Link to author website

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

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If the Creek Don’t Rise BLOG TOUR!!

If the Creek Don't Rise- blog tour banner

If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss was released earlier this week (August 22nd) and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! I’m hoping to have my review of the book up by the end of the weekend, but so far the book is pretty good. See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and a giveaway!!! 

If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss

Sourcebooks Landmark

Publication Date: August 22, 2017

creek He’s gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn

Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That’s long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby.

Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out. When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline…if she can just figure out how to use it.

This intimate insight into a fiercely proud, tenacious community unfolds through the voices of the forgotten folks of Baines Creek. With a colorful cast of characters that each contribute a new perspective, IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is a debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Praise for If the Creek Don’t Rise

An Indie Next, Okra Pick, and LibraryReads 

“This one nearly broke my heart. With deeply human characters I will not easily forget, Weiss captures the fierce pull of desperation and the formidable power of hope.  An impressive debut from a talent to watch…. ” — Kathleen Grissom, author of the New York Times bestsellers

The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything
“Weiss’ debut novel reveals the best and worst of human nature… The author’s masterful use of language, including dialect unique to the area, builds another layer of connection between these characters while she develops a greater sense of inner isolation and distance from those outside the community. Weiss’ novel is a great suggestion for fans of the Big Stone Gap books, by Adriana Trigiani, and Mitford series, by Jan Karon.” – Booklist, STARRED review

“Part gothic, part romance, part heartbreaking Loretta Lynn ballad—Weiss’ tale is a beguiling, compelling read.” — Kirkus Reviews

“…tender but powerful debut…” — Publishers Weekly

“If the Creek Don’t Rise is a satisfyingly complete novel….With its bewitching residents and rugged landscape, a journey to Baines Creek is a trip worth taking, and Weiss is likely to find many readers eagerly willing to travel with her again.” — Maximum Shelf Awareness

Writing with a deep knowledge of the enduring myths of Appalachia, Weiss vividly portrays real people and sorrows.”  —Library Journal, STARRED review

“Every page of Leah Weiss’ debut, If the Creek Don’t Rise, has a pulse as fierce and unyielding as its Appalachian setting. Told through an ensemble of narrators, men and women of all ages bound by the inescapable power of place and belonging, it is a lush exploration of the darkest rooms in the human heart, and the brightest fires of the human spirit. Weiss’ remarkable gift for language left me breathless, and her characters, distinctive and unapologetically-human, will haunt me for some time.”

Erika Marks, author of The Last Treasure
authorAbout the Author:

Leah Weiss is a Southern writer and novelist born in North Carolina and raised in the foothills of Virginia. Her debut novel, If the Creek Don’t Rise, will be released in August of 2017. Her short stories have been published in The Simple Life magazine, Every Day Fiction and Deep South Magazine. She retired in 2015 from a 24-year career as Executive Assistant to the Headmaster at Virginia Episcopal School. She now pursues writing full time.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tpTQQ2

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2ttlyMC

Book Depository: http://bit.ly/2sVtu80

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/2s6a11q

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If the Creek Don’t Rise Landing Page: http://books.sourcebooks.com/if-the-creek-dont-rise/

No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Open to legal residents of USA who are 18 years or older. Giveaway begins August 14th and ends at September 1st. Enter the Giveaway during the Promotion Period online by submitting the entry form. The entry form can be found on the following website at. Winner will be selected by Random.org and be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. 3 winner(s) will receive 1 finished copy of If the Creek Don’t Rise (approximate retail value or “ARV”: $15.99US). By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to Sourcebooks. Sourcebooks does not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of this giveaway. (Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads) are in no way associated with this giveaway.

2016 Book #94 – My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett

51495rqxtwl-_sx303_bo1204203200_Title: My Brown-Eyed Earl
Author: Anna Bennett
Date finished: 10/4/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Wayward Wallflowers series
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:

NEVER SEND A DEBUTANTE
William Ryder, Earl of Castleton, is at the end of his noble rope. Not only has he broken ties with his longtime mistress, his mother has publicly announced her wish for him to marry a suitable young lady―if only to help him raise the twins left in his care. Hiring a governess should solve some of Will’s problems…but when he meets the candidate in question, he finds himself in an entirely new predicament.
TO DO A WALLFLOWER’S JOB
Miss Margaret Lacey is brainy, beautiful, and, once upon a time, Will’s betrothed. But she bowed out of the engagement―and, since then, has never been the same. A tragic accident robbed her of everything, and now, at age twenty-three, her marital prospects are slim to none. Penniless but not without pride, Meg convinces the vexingly handsome Will to hire her for the job. What neither of them could have expected from this arrangement, however, is an attraction that burns stronger than ever. Are these two lost souls finally ready to be schooled in the art of love?

My rating:  4.0 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. Be sure to check out my Blog Tour post on this book, including an excerpt and a giveaway, here! This book tells the story of a Miss Margaret Lacey, a woman determined to obtain a governess position to keep her uncle out of debtor’s prison. Her uncle has been extremely generous taking Meg and both her orphan sisters into his household and supporting them after the death of their parents. Meg is determined not to be a burden though, and so she seeks a position that her friend had heard of in an Earl’s household, only to come face to face with Will Ryder, the man she rejected in a marriage proposal almost 10 years before. The last time she saw Will has haunted her, for she not only humiliated both him and herself but that was also the fateful night she lost her parents. Meg doesn’t see how she could possibly work for Will, but brick by brick he wears down her heard. The more time Will spends with Meg, the more he realizes how much light she brings into his life, and that of his two new young wards. But with their tragic past, do they really have a chance at happily ever after?
Overall I really liked this book! Will’s character was a little overly cocky for me but he was also deviously charming. And I just adored his twin wards, Diana and Valerie, they were such sweethearts. The book definitely grabbed at me, I honestly just didn’t want to put it down! But at the same time, I thought the plot could have been expanded in certain places a bit further. I liked the addition to the plot of a bit of danger/suspense though, as that definitely added to my enjoyment of the book. I felt a certain connection with Meg because I too, probably like many of us, think of myself as a bit of a wallflower. I also liked her strength of character contrasted by her vulnerabilities. For me, this ended up being an extremely sweet and heart warming romantic tale. I would definitely recommend!

The bottom line: I liked this book, the story line was interesting and the cast of characters was engaging. If you like historical romances especially, this is a good pick! It is a quick read with a romantic story, just what we all need.

Link to author website

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

2016 Status Update: February

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Ugh. I can’t believe it is March already! Its tax season for me right now so I am definitely finding myself falling behind schedule a little bit. That and I am requesting WAY more than I can possibly manage to read on the various ARC sites.  Anyways, here is my status update for progress I made on reading challenges this month and some highlights of my posts for this month.

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 7
# pages read this month: 1,988
# books read year-to-date: 15
# pages read year-to-date: 4,793

Favorite Books I Read:

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf
The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert
Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

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Slaughter House-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – Was just too much weird stuff all thrown together for me

Other Posts this month:

Friday Finds (Feb 5)

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 5/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 1/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read
Holiday Bingo 2015 Reading Challenge – 13/25 books read – this challenge is over as of 2/29/16, look for my wrap-up post on this coming in the next couple days! My next challenge I will be doing is the Bout of Books in May

March TBR list: 

-Wedding Night with the Earl by Amelia Grey (NetGalley)
-I Kissed a Rogue by Shana Galen (rolled from Feb TBR – didn’t get to) (NetGalley)
-The Last Girl by Joe Hart (NetGalley)
-The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (rolled from Feb TBR – didn’t get to) (NetGalley)
-A Sudden Crush by Camille Isley (The Reading Room)
-Tales of My Childhood by Anna Lillian Young (author request)
-Little Bee by Chris Cleave (book club)
-Just Fall by Nina Sadowsky (NetGalley)
-Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges (NetGalley)
-Good on Paper by Rachel Cantor (Reading with Robin book discussion)
-A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams (BookBrowse)

So I have a full schedule for March and I’m sure I’ll still end up requesting more as we go through the month because (a) I’m addicted to books and (b) I love reading. I have to say though I am looking forward to my post-tax season time when I can take a few days off and hopefully get caught up! Maybe even read one of the 300 books that I own and haven’t read (a girl can dream). Specifically if I have time I think I’ll be picking up The Glass Sword (sequel to The Red Queen) since I pre-ordered it and it came during Feb but of course I couldn’t read it because of all my other books I already had scheduled. Hopefully this month!

So! That was February overview and my plan for March! Hoping to find more time for reading this month! Happy reading to all!

2016 Book #1 – Captain Rum by John Perrier

51nHVnqrh3LTitle: Captain Rum
Author: John Perrier
Date finished: 1/2/16
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: JP Publishing Australia
Publication Date: February 26, 2015
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
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:

When an Oxford Professor stumbles upon an old naval Captain’s log, he unwittingly discovers what many scholars now agree is one of the greatest maritime adventures in history.
In 1821, Captain Fintan McAdam set sail from London, solo, in search of adventure. During his journey, he discovered incredible new worlds and interacted with their amazing inhabitants. They forced him to confront his enemies within, learning much about himself.
Captain Rum, as told in McAdam’s own words through his journal, is a tale of discovery, despair and delight. It will keep you enthralled through many a stormy night.

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 is about Captain Fintan McAdam, the son of a ship-maker who has recently purchased his own vessel in the hopes of escaping England. McAdam has been on the run for a few years now, after his escape from prison in London. He tries to spend only as much time as necessary in London before casting off, but he still ends up escaping the police only in the nick of time. While McAdam was using his vessel to permanently escape the police, he was also trying to escape the memories of his past. He lost his wife in a tragic accident and the images of that day still haunt him daily. McAdam hopes that some time alone at sea will take him away from all the triggering events for these awful visions.
While at sea McAdam has multiple points where he barely survives. He lives through a typhoon, a severely damaged ship, near starvation, and an encounter with a primitive tribe on some remote island. Through most of the story McAdam is aided by his bird friend, Bubo, who he discovers floating on debris after the typhoon and nurtures back to health.
Overall I enjoyed this book. It was very different and had a lot of interesting points to it, including McAdam’s experiences on both Bird Rock and Boot Island and his experience with training Bubo, who turned out to be a very intelligent bird. I found myself reminded at certain points of a recent read for me, The Island of Dr. Moreau, only because the reader sometimes wonders if the fantastical happenings are real or just the figment of a hysterical sailor’s imagination from being lost at sea. There is where the similarity ends though since I didn’t find Captain Rum to be at all dark or sinister. The story was charming and while there were a couple of slow points for me the story was engaging and kept my interest throughout. I was especially interested in Bubo the bird, I found it fascinating that a bird could be so well trained. While this bok isn’t one that I would normally have picked up on my own, it would definitely appeal more to readers who enjoy maritime novels, especially historical ones.

The bottom line: I thought this book was very interesting! While this wasn’t something I normally would have picked up on my own, this was a really interesting story and I would recommend it, especially to those who enjoy historical maritime novels.

 

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

2015 Book #119 – The Light of Hidden Flowers by Jennifer Handford

91o9NNG2zcLTitle: The Light of Hidden Flowers
Author: Jennifer Handford
Date finished: 11/27/15
Genre: Women’s fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Pages in book: 369
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:

Book-smart Melissa Fletcher lives a predictable life in her hometown, working behind the scenes for her charismatic father in a financial career that makes perfect sense. But when her dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Missy is forced to step up and take over as his primary caregiver and the principal of the firm.
After her father’s death, Missy finds a letter from him in which he praises her for being a dutiful daughter but admonishes her for not taking any risks in life.
Devastated, Missy packs her suitcase and heads for Italy. There she meets a new friend who proposes a radical idea. Soon, Missy finds herself in impoverished India, signing away her inheritance and betting on a risky plan while rekindling a lost love.
The Light of Hidden Flowers is a deeply felt story of accepting who we are while pushing our boundaries to see how much more we can become. It’s a reminder that it’s never too late to pursue our dreams.

My rating: 4.5 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 tells the story of Melissa Fletcher, who had bigger dreams when she was younger but is perfectly content at 35 years old to work as a partner in her father’s finance firm and not do much traveling. Her fear of flying has pretty much cancelled out most of the places she’d like to visit at this point, and while someday she’d like to overcome her fears, there is no reason that day needs to be TO-day. After finding out her father has Alzheimer’s though leads Missy’s life into somewhat of a downward spiral. Though she loves caring for her father and being close to him, her father’s illness has changed who he was and the energetic, carefree, optimistic father she once knew has a tendency to be a little to harsh and lashes out at her due to his lack of independence (not her fault but sometimes you lash out at the ones closest to you simply because they’re readily available.
After Missy’s father passes, she finally ends up going on a journey. And after a couple twists of fate she ends up in India and becomes one of the founding organizers of a school for under privileged girls. And so leads the uphill path that Melissa travels on to find out who she is as a person. Along the way she helps a young girl find herself as well, a girl that Melissa relates to extremely well since she is currently going through the hell that Melissa went through in middle school. I have to be honest in that my favorite part of this book was seeing Melissa’s character grow as a person. Melissa starts out in the book not having any idea who she is as a person standing on her own. The only things she feels define her are her involvement in her father’s firm and her certificates and degrees. But through the book we find out there is so much more to Melissa as a person and it was truly fantastic to see her grow in confidence and in self-love/assurance over the course of the story.
Overall I really liked this book. The topic matter was interesting and I was kept engaged throughout the story. The story was well-paced and the characters were interesting and came alive for me. This book really gripped my emotional heart strings and tugged, hard. I got so wrapped up in the characters and the story and just the overwhelming joy of not only finding out who you are as a person and also loving yourself that the story just came alive for me. I think this is a great book and everyone should definitely consider reading it!

The bottom line: I would definitely recommend this book, it was an emotionally gripping and uplifting read. I absolutely loved it!

Link to author website

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

ARC August Reading Challenge Sign Up

arc-august

So while browsing through reading challenges lately, I came across a reading challenge for August, ARC August, which is hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. The reading challenge centers around catching up on reading your ARC’s, which I am definitely going to be doing during August! I have 7 Net Galley e-books to read during August as well as 2 books sent to me from authors, 2 books from a PR firm, and 1 book from a Publisher. So you can tell that August is shaping up to be a busy ARC reading month for me! And to help motivate me to stay on task, I am signing up for ARC August!

So here is my line-up of ARC’s I plan to read during August:

1. Awake by Natasha Preston
2. On The Way: A Working Woman’s Field Guide by Robin Lake
3. The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield
4. Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
5. Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen
6. Steele Resolve by Kimberly Amato
7. Melting Steele by Kimberly Amato
8. 33 Cecils by Everett DeMorier
9. Friction by Sandra Brown
10. We Never Asked For Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
11. A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
12. Goddess of Suburbia by Stephanie Kepke

Gosh seeing them all in a list like that is kind of overwhelming. I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to accomplish all of this but I sure as heck am going to try! I’ll be posting weekly updates of my progress so make sure to stay tuned!