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