Tuesday, December 27, 2016

BOOK TALK: Paper Princess (The Royals, #1)



The blurb from Goodreads: "Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

HE MIGHT BE RIGHT."



Not sure how to start, or what to say exactly. This book is messed up, but I couldn't stop reading it. It's like watching the worst soap opera, knowing it's ridiculous, but you have become addicted to it. There are so many holes in the plot it's crazy. I found numerous errors that should have been found in editing. Ella is an idiot. The guys are distasteful (pardon the pun!). But like I said, I was engrossed in the story.

Bottom line: This book is no piece of great literature, but it is very entertaining. I hardly ever find a book that entertains me anymore, hence the four stars! Now I'm off to read the 2nd book in the series, Broken Prince (The Royals, #2)!







Monday, December 26, 2016

2017 Goodreads Challenge

   

       


I am a Goodreads junkie. I can spend far too many hours reading fellow book lover's recommendations, wish lists and reviews. One of the fun things I like to participate in is a good reading challenge! In 2017,  I will be trying to complete a challenge called the Author Alphabet Reading Challenge. I am a member of the group called Nothing But Reading Challenges , and they are hosting this one. Here is the low down: you read the alphabet from A to Z using an author's first and/or last name. You can use an author twice, once with their first name, and again with their last, but it gets pretty challenging on the hard letters such as x and z!  If you would like to participate, please come on over and just jump right in. I'll be updating my progress throughout the year, and I'd love to see if you can complete it as well!





Wednesday, March 9, 2016

BOOK TALK: The Other Daughter

http://www.amazon.com/Other-Daughter-Novel-Lisa-Gardner-ebook/dp/B000FC28T4/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1457556834&sr=1-2&keywords=the+other+daughter



Title The Other Daughter
Author Lisa Gardner
Pages 413 Pages
Intended Target Audience Adult
Genre Thriller/Suspense
Published Bantam (July 6, 1999)
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon

The Blurb from Amazon:

Twenty years ago, Melanie Stokes was abandoned in a Boston hospital, then adopted by a wealthy young couple. Gifted with loving parents, a doting brother, and an indulgent uncle, Melanie has always considered herself lucky. Until the first cryptic, threatening note arrives: “You Get What You Deserve.”

Melanie has no memory of her life before the adoption. Now someone wants her to remember it all—even the darkest nightmare the Stokes family ever faced: the murder of their first daughter. As Melanie pursues every lead and chases every shadow in search of her real identity, two seemingly unrelated events from her past will come together in a dangerous explosion of truth.


It's been a long time since I've read a mystery. Too long actually. But this book is exactly what a mystery should be! As I was reading the first half of the book, I was thinking that it was going to be a 3 star rating, but then it just got better and better! I absolutely could not figure out how it was going to end! Every time I thought I had solved it, the author would twist me around again! Delicious! I enjoyed this one so much.

The characters were completely believable, and the story was written perfectly in my opinion. I was actually afraid I was going to be let down at the ending, but boy was I wrong. If you like suspenseful mysteries, you will love this book. Check it out!






Friday, March 4, 2016

FREE BOOKS: March 4, 2016

Are you a fan of Inspirational fiction? Then check out these free books from Amazon!


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008CGD308?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o01_
When fragmented images and unfocused panic force Noelle St. Claire to flee her wealthy, sheltered life in New York, she gains sanctuary on a ranch in the Rocky Mountains.
There Noelle finds solace in the breathtaking scenery she paints. But as the attentions of two brothers, Rick and Morgan Spencer, breach the wall she hides behind, the past she yearns to escape becomes a menacing threat from which she can no longer hide.

Award-winning and bestselling author Kristen Heitzmann has skillfully created a story resonating with emotion and depicting a poignant spiritual journey.






 
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B5J4RA4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o02_
 Leah Barringer and her brother, Jacob, have come to love the rugged Alaskan Territory they call home.

But when Jacob determines to join an arctic expedition, Leah realizes her heart yearns for more than this solitary existence.

The unexpected arrival of Jayce Kincaide, the man who spurned her ten years before, awakens feelings that Leah would much prefer to leave buried. As Jayce sets out to prove he's a changed man, Leah cannot deny the effect he once again has upon her. But the appearance of a young investigator casts a cloud over Jayce's past...and over Leah's dreams for the future.






http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007RET2PG?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o00_
Born into affluence, Mia Stanley is a winsome socialite with a knack for matchmaking. She's also a writer for Godey's Lady's Book magazine, much to the disdain of her family--and their society friends. A proper young lady of her social standing isn't meant to labor in such a way, but Mia has always had a way with words...

When her writing draws her into the world of downtrodden seamen's wives on Philadelphia's docks, Mia uncovers a scheme that puts her in harm's way. But her heart ends up on the line as well...Has her determination to always make a match driven away the one man whose esteem she covets?  









 

Friday, February 26, 2016

BOOK TALK: The Two-Family House


 I received this book for review from the publisher, St. Martin's Press, via The Reading Room. It is set to be released March 8, 2016. I never automatically give positive reviews because a book is free.

The blurb from Amazon:

"Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins."

I loved this book! I can't remember a time when I genuinely didn't want a book to end. Until now. This is the story of two brothers and their wives who share a two family home in Brooklyn, NY in the late 1940's. The sisters in law become the best of friends, even becoming pregnant at the same time and sharing the ups and downs of their pregnancies. The book follows their friendship, then the deterioration of their relationship over a period of 23 years.

A major plot line occurs early in the story that sets the course of the entire book, but it would be a complete spoiler to discuss it, so I won't. It is told from several character's perspectives, chapter for chapter, which made it even more appealing for me. I was fascinated to watch the character development of two people in particular. One person spirals more and more out of control as each page is turned, while the other one evolves from a terrible guy into a healthy and whole individual. This was so well written! I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it in a heartbeat!







Thursday, February 25, 2016

Film: THE INHERITANCE by Louisa May Alcott

This beautiful, wonderful film is available to watch, in it's entirety, on YouTube! The quality is remarkable considering most movies on YouTube are subpar. I accidently stumbled upon it today while digging around in the rabbit hole that is YouTube. I have never even heard of this movie, or the book, so imagine my delight when I watched it for the first time! It was splendid!

Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott (who’s more popular work is, of course, Little Women), this adaptive story is a little different from the book, as most movie adaptations are. But this sort of film is right up my alley! I adore romantic period films, with their elegance, charm, and sense of beauty. Here is a description of the film from IMDb:

At the lush Evenswood estate in Concord, Massachusetts, Edith Adelon, a beautiful orphan, lives as the paid companion to the daughter of the wealthy Hamilton family, although they regard her as one of their own. Years ago, Henry Hamilton saved Edith from an Italian orphanage at the request of his long-deceased brother. Now, Edith is his daughter Amy's prized friend and confidante. As the Hamiltons await a trio of visitors for the annual Greens Cup horse race, Beatrice Hamilton asks for Edith's help in finding a suitable husband for a cousin, Ida Glenshaw, with one of two visiting eligible bachelors. But when it becomes clear that both the young men have affection for Edith and not Ida, jealousy soon develops, leading to malicious conniving and brutal backstabbing.





I hope you will give this a watch, and I am so eager to hear what you think. Let me know!!   ~Amy



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

PERSPECTIVE: Finding happiness in the blogging world

I want to be happy! Everyone really wants to be happy. The trick is to find what truly fulfills you in this world, and then to have the courage to go for it! This can be about your marriage, your family, your career, or any area of your life. The subject of real happiness is a deep one and too broad for this post, so I want to narrow it down to being happy in my blogging.

Now, experts will tell you that to be successful at blogging, you must only focus on one thing. Say...books for instance. But I believe, for me, that successful blogging differs for each person. Sure, if you want to make enough money on your blog to make it a full time career, you should probably do exactly what the experts tell you. But if blogging is something you do to express yourself and share bits of your life with others, then I say write about what is on your mind and in your heart that day. Your true self will shine through each post, readers will maybe connect with you, and that is success in my opinion.

I love more than just books. I love movies, current ones as well as classics. I am also an avid knitter, a farmer's wife, and I love health and fitness! Those are the things I want to write about and share with you. Of course, there is so much more to me, but we can't share everything, now can we? I am excited to see if I can broaden the scope of this blog and if I can connect with anyone out there in internet land. Even if very few people like my content, I will be true to myself and be happy. Success!      ~Amy



Thursday, February 18, 2016

Watch the trailer for THE SIREN by Kiera Cass!

The trailer for THE SIREN by Kiera Cass is on YouTube, and I watched it for the first time last night. I am finding that this approach to book promotions is very effective on me! This particular video seriously makes me want to read this book. The ocean, the atmosphere, the romance.... Take a look!





Also on YouTube, Kiera Cass discusses The Siren. According to Epic Reads  this is what the book is all about:  "An updated take on real mythology, The Siren is a love story between Kahlen, a girl whose captivating voice is deadly to any human who hears it, and the boy who’s everything she’s ever dreamed of – only he’s human."



 


This sounds amazing, and I can't wait to read it! I enjoyed The Selection series from this author, although the reviews are sharply divided. People either loved it or hated it. It is going to be interesting to see the reviews on this new book. Tell me your thoughts on these trailers. I want to hear from you guys!   Amy






Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Unexpected Everything

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine  and spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
 
 

 This week I am waiting for:





Hardcover, 496 pages
Expected publication: May 3rd 2016 by Simon & Schuster

The blurb:
"Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing - if everything's planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?
"

 
I love Morgan Matson! She is the author of Amy and Roger's Epic Detour (which was my first MM book and which I ADORED!) and Second Chance Summer (which I also loved, and is one of the few books on this planet that actually made me ugly cry!). I gave both of these books 5 stars each on Goodreads. Her writing style is so easy and enjoyable, you almost forget you're reading a book and not there witnessing the story in person. 

And look at that cover! Even if I didn't already love Morgan Matson, I would still need to pick it up for this cover! Have you guys read any of her books? If so, what did you think? Are you as excited for this one as much as I am? I want to know!   ~Amy

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday: The Beauty of Darkness

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

 


 This week I am waiting for:







Hardcover, 688 pages
Expected publication: August 2, 2016 by Henry Holt and Co.
Pre-Order: Amazon

                                           

                                                      The blurb from Amazon:

"Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous - what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.
Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson's combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner."

What a terrible blurb for what is such an amazing series so far! I loved the first two books in the Remnant Chronicles, and I am so impatient for this final book to be released. This series follows Princess Lia, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, as she flees her arranged marriage on the very day of her wedding. She manages to settle in with the commoners and keep her identity (mostly) hidden. Then two strangers enter her new life and she has no idea who they really are...one is the Prince she left at the altar and the other is a hired assassin! It goes in so many directions from there. You guys, this story is so good! 

Let me know if you have read either of these books and if you are as excited as I am for The Beauty of Darkness!   ~Amy



                                                                   








Saturday, February 6, 2016

Book Talk: Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder

Falling Into You
By Jasinda Wilder
Published by Jasinda Wilder (March 14, 2013)

 " Nell Hawthorne is in love with her life-long best friend, Kyle Calloway. Their young love is invincible and life is full of promise; then one night Kyle dies suddenly in a tragic accident and Nell is forever changed. She meets Kyle's older brother Colton for the first time at the funeral. They both struggle to move on with life as best they can. Years later, they meet again in New York City, and Colton realizes that Nell has never really gotten over Kyle's death. She seems to be harboring a deeply rooted pain, a heavy weight of guilt and regret. He knows he shouldn't get involved, but he can't help himself. Trust doesn't come easily for either of them, and they both have demons. Together, they learn the purpose of pain and the meaning of healing, and the importance of forgiveness."


I'll just start off this Book Talk by saying that I'm not going to be reading New Adult books for a very long time, if ever again. Truly, if you have read one NA book, you have read them all. The formula and basic story is exactly the same for each one I have ever read.

The first part of the book tells the story of how Nell and Kyle basically grew up together, becoming the very best of friends. Then high school happens, and their relationship takes an irreversible turn. This portion of the book was really good, and it was sweet to watch these two characters trying to navigate first love together. Just when I was becoming attached to these two young lovers, a tragic accident happens and Kyle dies. (This is not a spoiler as it is mentioned in the blurb.) After that, the whole book started to feel rushed and just too unbelievable.

Enter Colt, Kyle's older brother, who Nell meets at the funeral. The funeral! I really dislike this scene and became a little pissed off at Nell to be honest. Colt was a terrific character though, and it was interesting to learn about him as the book went on. I felt that he was multidimensional and complex. I couldn't help but like him, and I wish the author hadn't forced him to say so many sappy and cheesy things as his relationship with Nell progressed. Nell and Colt together were two messed up souls, and their love story could have been so much better if the author had taken her time in building their relationship at a slower pace.

Let me say at this point that the sex in most of NA books is very graphic and descriptive. This book was no exception, and I felt like I was reading erotica at times. I have come to my own conclusion that New Adult is simply an equal mix of Young Adult and Erotica. But that discussion is best left to a different blog post!

Overall, I liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who is addicted to the NA genre. For myself, I am ready to move away from this genre all together and find more original books to read.  I gave this one 3/5 stars. 


Thursday, February 4, 2016

January In Review


January is always a pretty good reading month for me. Like most people, I am anxious to start off a new year strong and not fall behind. I think a "good reading month" is relative though. I read 6 books, which is really good for me. I know many people read twice that much, but I am a slow reader so completing 6 books makes me happy! Here is what I read in January:


Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Published by Del Rey; 1st edition (May 19, 2015)

I rated this one 4/5 stars. It held my attention and was a pretty enjoyable read.







The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak
Published by Alfred A. Knopf

This is an unpopular opinion, but I rated this 2/5 stars. Which means I didn't like it. Sorry.






Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Published by Harper Audio

I listened to this on audio book, and it was amazing! The narrator made this just as creepy as it was supposed to be.  4/5 stars.






The Secret Wisdom of the Earth  by Christopher Scotton
Published by Grand Central Publishing

3/5 stars for this book I borrowed from the library. It was an ok read, but I had a few issues with this debut novel by Scotton. My book talk can be found here:
Book Talk: The Secret Wisdom of the Earth





The Silver Suitcase  by Terrie Todd
Published by Waterfall Press (January 26, 2016)

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I ended up giving it 4/5 stars because I thought it was really good! The cover is beautiful and the story was very touching.





Second Chance Summer  by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

I saved the best for last! This book was my favorite read of January. I loved, loved, loved it! As I was reading, I felt like I was right there in the story. It was just so good you guys. If you get a chance to read it, I highly recommend you do. No surprise.. 5/5 stars!




I also want to mention that I watched several movies in January, but I will only talk about my favorite one!


The Martian
Starring Matt Damon
20th Century Fox

Such a great movie!  It had elements of action, science, suspense, a healthy dose of humor, and a thrilling conclusion .Highly recommend!







So as you can see, I had a great January. What was your favorite book and movie from last month? I'd love to know!   ~Amy





 




Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday: After the Woods


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill  at  Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.   


 This week I am waiting for:

 

Hardcover, 320 pages

Expected publication: February 23rd 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The blurb from Goodreads:



Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.
 


Sounds amazing, and I can't wait to get my hands on this one! Tell me what book you are waiting for!




Monday, February 1, 2016

Let's Talk Read-a-Thons FEBRUARY 2016


I am super stoked to be doing some fun read-a-longs this year with some great folks! There are several that I'm hoping to do in 2016, but the first one on my list is for February, and it is called Rainbowthon 2.0It will be hosted by these ladies: (Lainey, Riley, Jillian & Kayla)

 The Rules:
-Chose 6 books that represent the color of the rainbow
*You can double up on up to two books that have two different colors on the spine, so have a total stack of 4 books
OR
- Choose 4 - 6 books that represents one color from the rainbow.
If this sounds at all confusing, just click on the link above to see Lainey's video explaining it all in detail!

So let's get to my TBR for the Read-a-Thon shall we? I am choosing to read 4 books that represent the color red!





I'm excited for it to begin! If you would like to join in, just follow one or all of these ladies on Twitter and be sure to use the hashtag #rainbowthon. Also, let me know which books you choose if you do join in!   ~Amy

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Book Talk: The Silver Suitcase by Terrie Todd

The Silver Suitcase

Published January 26th 2016 by Waterfall Press

 

"It’s 1939, and Canada is on the cusp of entering World War II. Seventeen-year-old farm girl Cornelia is heartbroken when she learns that her beloved soldier, Henry, has been killed in a train wreck. Alone and carrying a heavy secret, she makes the desperate choice that will haunt her for years to come. Never telling a soul, Cornelia pours out the painful events of the war in her diary."

The first thing that drew me to this book was the beautiful cover! It is extremely pleasing to the eye, especially a woman's eye. The next part that intrigued me was the book's description. I love to read books set in this particular time period, and I was not disappointed!

This is the story of Cornelia, a 17 year old girl living on a farm in rural Manitoba, Canada. Her story begins in 1939 and readers are given the opportunity to learn parts of her life by reading her diary, which she tucks into an old silver suitcase in the attic.

The book switches back and forth between the 30's-40's, when Cornelia was writing the diary, to present day. Her granddaughter, Benita, now has the suitcase after Cornelia's death and is changed by reading the diaries. Normally, I don't like reading a book that goes back and forth between different eras, but this is the exception. I think the author did a wonderful job of keeping the story easy to read. As the story of Cornelia's life unfolds, we learn about what it means to sometimes feel that we hate God, about making mistakes, and about how everything in one life affects so many other lives, now and in the future. Ultimately though, we learn about forgiveness and redemption. Just to be clear, this is a Christian novel, so it is heavy on religious themes.

I enjoyed reading this book and hope to see more from this author in the future!  4/5 stars    ~Amy



*I received this book for review from NetGalley, but these are my own thoughts and opinions.

                                     

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Book That Caught My Eye

As I was stumbling through sites on StumbleUpon last night, I came across a really good article entitled 53 Books You Won’t Be Able To Put Down found on the BuzzFeed Books website. There were so many books listed there that are now on my TBR list (the one in my head!) However, one book in particular caught my attention. It was this one:


The blurb: 
Reconstructing Amelia tells the story of a mother trying to piece together the last few weeks of her daughter’s life in the wake of her suicide. It gets you thinking about how well you can really ever know someone. The mystery as to whether Amelia did kill herself will keep you gripped until the end (which I personally have mixed feelings about, but that’s another matter).
—Michelle O’Brien

The Goodreads link:
 Reconstructing Amelia

This one is going on my actual TBR, so be on the lookout for a Book Talk in the near future! What book has recently caught your eye? I would love to hear about it!   ~Amy



Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday at the Library

Today is Friday, so that means I go to the library! It is one of the highlights of my week. When I was a little girl, my grandmother (aka GranMa) took me to our public library for the first time. I instantly fell in love! Just the atmosphere there along with the smell of all those books...my life was changed forever. Back then, there were no computers, so the library assistant would pull out the little cards from the back of the book to check it out for me. Needless to say, that became my favorite thing to pretend throughout my childhood. I played librarian assistant.

The photo here is an actual picture of my public library. For a relatively small town, we have a really nice one! It's probably my favorite place to visit, except for Clemson University, which is only 20 minutes away. Go Tigers! (sorry, but I just had to.)

Here are the books I checked out today:












Happy reading friends!       ~Amy                              

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Talk: The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

by
"After seeing the death of his younger brother in a terrible home accident, fourteen-year-old Kevin and his grieving mother are sent for the summer to live with Kevin's grandfather. In this peeled-paint coal town deep in Appalachia, Kevin quickly falls in with a half-wild hollow kid named Buzzy Fink who schools him in the mysteries and magnificence of the woods. The events of this fateful summer will affect the entire town of Medgar, Kentucky."

This was a very atmospheric novel. I felt like I was right there in the Appalachian town of Medgar. Since I live in this region of the US, I could relate to so many things going on in the book. The characters and their quirks, the dialect, and the way of life in a small town. The characters were very well developed and every thought and emotion felt authentic. I was engrossed in the story until I was about 2/3 of the way in. Then the descriptions were too drawn out and filled with way too many details. Frankly, I got bored and started skimming through quite a bit of the pages. The story did pick back up, but just for a moment. It seemed the conclusion happened before the end of the book, and I had no desire to even finish reading the last few chapters. Overall, this was an excellent story line with well thought out characters. But in my opinion, the author didn't structure the book in a way to keep a reader going to the end. Still, it was a good debut novel for Scotton and I would pick up another book by this author in the future. 3/5 stars.