Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list.

I have been so restless and unable to concentrate lately! Maybe it is this weird in-between time - not quite summer, not quite fall. I also go back to school this week, and work next week! Or I guess it could just be the reading blahs.

Read Last Week:

Not much!

A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton: I picked this up at the library, thinking a little cozy mystery might perk me up, but it didn't happen. I read it but wasn't too enthralled. 

Reading This Week:

Not sure how it will go, but this is my plan, one or two from this list. I chose some fun books to see if it helps.



Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper: I picked this up after seeing this author on Midnight Book Girl. I can't wait to dig in to her other books this fall!

Lowcountry Bombshell by Susan M. Boyer: Another mystery, set in the south this time, two of my favorite things!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I am rereading this for the millionth time. I am loving the show! 

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness: This looks like a fun one to dig into. I didn't like the second one as much as the first, we will see how this one goes.

Posted Last Week:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book Review: The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle

Title: The Last Breath
Author: Kimberly Belle
Source: ARC for honest review

Goodreads Summary:

Humanitarian aid worker Gia Andrews chases disasters around the globe for a living. It's the perfect lifestyle to keep her far away from her own personal ground zero. Sixteen years ago, Gia's father was imprisoned for brutally killing her stepmother. Now he's come home to die of cancer, and she's responsible for his care—and coming to terms with his guilt. 

Gia reluctantly resumes the role of daughter to the town's most infamous murderer, a part complete with protesters on the lawn and death threats that are turning tragedy into front-page news. Returning to life in small-town Tennessee involves rebuilding relationships that distance and turmoil have strained, though finding an emotional anchor in the attractive hometown bartender is certainly helping Gia cope. 

As the past unravels before her, Gia will find herself torn between the stories that her family, their friends and neighbors, and even her long-departed stepmother have believed to be real all these years. But in the end, the truth—and all the lies that came before—may have deadlier consequences than she could have ever anticipated…

My Thoughts:

I was riveted from the first sentence, and the story just kept getting better and better.

Gia Andrews' family once used to be happy, with her father a revered member of the community. That all came to an abrupt end one day, when he was accused of killing her stepmother, and sent to jail.  After sixteen years, he is on his way home, dying of terminal cancer. He will be under house arrest with hospice, and Gia is responsible for his care. Neither Gia, nor her brother or sister have seen him since he was locked up, and her siblings still are not interested in rekindling the relationship with their murderer father, despite the fact that he is on his deathbed.

As Gia cares for her father, questions arise, doubts surface, and Gia is determined to get to the bottom of what really happened the night her stepmother was killed. Throughout it all, Gia and her siblings must come to terms with their family and their father, and maybe even change the way they are living their own lives.

This story completely engrossed me. I didn't want to put it down, I just kept reading and reading until I was finished. I thought it had a few weak spots, but they were so small that they didn't bother me or my overall enjoyment of the book. I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a good murder mystery. I know this review is a bit vague, but I don't want to give any of the good stuff away!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list.

Read Last Week:

The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle: This was pretty good! Review soon.

The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard: Loved it!! You can read my review here.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling: I love Mindy Kaling, she cracks me up! I needed some levity after reading the other two books.

Reading This Week:

Still working on whittling down the review book pile.


Friendswood by Rene Steinke: This sounds so good! I can't wait to get started.

The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton: This also sounds fantastic.

The Body in the Woods by April Henry: To shake things up in a thriller type way.

Posted Last Week: 

I knuckled down and wrote some reviews, y'all!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard

Title: The Fragile World
Author: Paula Treick DeBoard
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at college on a prestigious music scholarship, and twelve-year-old Olivia is a happy-go-lucky kid whose biggest concern is passing her next math test.

And then comes the middle-of-the-night phone call that changes everything.Daniel has been killed in what the police are calling a freak accident, and the remaining Kaufmans are left to flounder in their grief. The anguish of Daniel's death is isolating, and it's not long before this once perfect family find themselves falling apart. As time passes and the wound refuses to heal, Curtis becomes obsessed with the idea of revenge, a growing mania that leads him to pack up his life and his anxious teenage daughter and set out on a collision course to right a wrong.

An emotionally charged novel, The Fragile World is a journey through America's heartland and a family's brightest and darkest moments, exploring the devastating pain of losing a child and the beauty of finding healing in unexpected ways.

My thoughts:

Wow. Wow. This book was amazing; it was emotional, intense, surprising, even uplifting. This book walked a long, sad road, and I was led by every word to redemption.

Last year I read DeBoard's book, The Mourning Hours, and was blown away, and with this book  DeBoard does it again. This time, the story begins with a death. Daniel Kaufman is a golden boy, talented, smart, kind. Everyone loves him, especially his family. Then one night the Kaufman family world is rocked, when Daniel is killed in a freak accident while away at school. Life as they know it is fractured, how do they go on in the depths of this tragedy? The family is splintered, each member of the family finding their own way to deal with the loss of Daniel. It finally culminates into a journey across the country, when Curtis packs up Olivia to embark on his own salvation. This is where the story really gets good. You are rooting for these characters, wanting them to heal, become whole, turn away from their chosen roads.

 Olivia is my favorite character by far. Consumed with anxiety, she breaks your heart with her myriad and numerous fears, and you desperately want her to overcome her demons. Whether she does or not, I will leave you to find out for yourself.

I don't want to give much away, so that is all I am going to say about this book. I loved it, I was riveted, I was involved in this story, and I think it is a book anyone would enjoy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Reviews: The Hexed and The Betrayed by Heather Graham

 Title: The Hexed (Krewe of Hunters)
Author: Heather Graham
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

Devin Lyle has recently returned to the Salem area, but her timing couldn't be worse. Soon after she moved into the eighteenth-century cabin she inherited from her great-aunt Mina—her "crazy" great-aunt, who spoke to the dead—a woman was murdered nearby. 

Craig Rockwell—known as Rocky—is a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI's team of paranormal investigators. He never got over finding a friend dead in the woods. Now another body's been found in those same woods, not far from the home of Devin Lyle. And Devin's been led to a third body—by...a ghost? 

Her discovery draws them both deeper into the case and Salem's rich and disturbing history. Even as the danger mounts, Devin and Rocky begin to fall for each other, something the ghosts of Mina and past witches seem to approve of. But the two of them need every skill they possess to learn the truth—or Devin's might be the next body in the woods...

My Thoughts: 

The weather here is cool today, putting me in the mood for fall. I am not quite ready to let summer go, but I feel autumn right around the corner. It probably doesn't help that I have ready so many books that mention Salem lately either!

I loved this book, it might be my favorite of the whole series. It takes place in Salem, and main character Devin is living in her deceased aunt's house, known locally as the witch house. It is isolated in the woods, which would be perfect, except for all the recent murders happening. These murders seem to be connected to the Salem witch trials, and the story includes ghosts and legends and history of the area and of the trials themselves. I thought the book was very well researched, and I loved reading about the historical aspects, as well as the fiction story as well. I really liked this Krewe of Hunters! There was of course the requisite love story that accompanies this series, which wasn't too bad either.

Title: The Betrayed
Author: Heather Graham
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

One night, New York FBI agent Aiden Mahoney receives a visitor in a dream?an old friend named Richard Highsmith. The very next day he's sent to Sleepy Hollow because Richard's gone missing there.

Maureen?Mo?Deauville now lives in the historic town and works with her dog, Rollo, to search for missing people. She's actually the one to find Richard?or more precisely his head, stuck on a statue of the legendary Headless Horseman.

Mo and Aiden, a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI's unit of paranormal investigators, explore both past and present events to figure out who betrayed Richard, who killed him and now wants to kill them, too. As they work together, they discover that they share an unusual trait?the ability to communicate with the dead. They also share an attraction that's as intense as it is unexpected?if they live long enough to enjoy it!

My thoughts:

On the converse, I didn't like this one as much! It should have been awesome, set in Sleepy Hollow, home of the Headless Horseman, one of my favorite legends of all time. This time, main character Mo and her wolfhound Rollo have a gift - together, they can find the missing. This story leans heavily on the local legends, with headless corpses popping up all over the place. A prominent politician is one of the victims, and he had gone missing in sort of a locked room mystery. His body is later found by Mo and Rollo, along with that of another victims. I felt that this mystery was a little lacking. I didn't care about the characters as much, and I felt that the setting was not played up enough either. There was certainly a lot of references to the Headless Horseman, but I didn't get a feel for this area, and I felt that there could have more mood setting, if that makes sense. Overall, this wasn't bad, I just didn't like it as much as The Hexed.

Book Review: The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

Title: The Girls of August
Author: Anne Rivers Siddons
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

Every August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began when they were in their twenties and their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. Their only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire to strengthen their far-flung friendships. They called themselves the Girls of August. But when one of the Girls dies tragically, the group slowly drifts apart and their vacations together are brought to a halt. Years later, a new marriage reunites them and they decide to come together once again on a remote barrier island off the South Carolina coast. There, far from civilization, the women make startling discoveries that will change them in ways they never expected.

My thoughts:

Growing up, I was addicted to Siddons. Lucy in Peachtree Road is one of my favorite characters ever, I love the book Outer Banks, and King's Oak - could anyone ever beat Tom Dabney for a romantic hero? I dreamed on these books, of low country tides and a southern way of life. Sadly, the past two books I have read by Siddons have not lived up to her former magic.

This one had potential, but seemed to end prematurely. Only 200 some pages long, it seemed more like a short story, one where we didn't get all the answers. Characters would start to be developed, and that abruptly, would go no further. They were good characters too! I cared about them, and wanted to know more, follow them on their journeys.  Sadly, the journey of the girls of August came too quickly to an end, and the reader is left wondering where the rest of the book went. Ladies, we barely knew you, but I did enjoy what was there to read of you.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list.

Read Last Week:


Reviews soon. I am so behind on them but I going to get working on it!!

Reading this Week:


The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard: NetGalley Read. So far I really like it!

The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle: Review copy from publisher

Posted Last Week:

Not much!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Classics Spin #7

My Book Spin List for the Classics Club Classics Spin #7:

Five I Can't Wait to Read:

1. Anne of Green Gables
2.  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
3.  Peter Pan
4. The Beautiful and Damned
5. The Blind Assassin 

The Five I Am Dreading:

6.  The Turn of the Screw
7.  As I Lay Dying
8.  One Hundred Years of Solitude
9.  Winesburg, Ohio
10.  Main Street

The Five I Am Neutral About:

11. Passage to India
12. A Midsummer Night's Dream
13.  The Woodlanders
14.  Heart of Darkness
15. Lolita

Five Freebies (rereads):

16.  Watership Down
17.  The Poisonwood Bible
18.  Walden
19. The Secret Garden
20. Animal Farm

Sunday, August 3, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list.

Read Last Week:

Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah: I loved this book, and it also made me really hungry. Lol.

The Fever by Megan Abbott: I felt a little ho-hum about this book. You can read my review here

Reading This Week:

I am working on my NetGalley reads this week!


The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard: I read The Mourning Hour by DeBoard last year and loved it! I am really looking forward to reading her newest.

The Betrayed by Heather Graham: Yet another Krewe of Hunters.

The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons: I have been a fan of Siddons' since I was in high school! Her last book left me feeling a little blah though, so I am hoping this one rekindles her old magic.

Posted Last Week:

Friday, August 1, 2014

July Book Club

Hostess: Kelly
Book: Bitter Spirits 
Food: Leek Lemon Linguine, Spinach orzo salad, veggies and dip, baguette and olive spread, homemade strawberry shortcake
Wine of the Night: Sangria!

Book club night was one of those gorgeous summer nights, not too hot, not too cold, just enough breeze floating through the windows to keep you from being uncomfortable. We all gathered together at Kelly's, ready to kick back and relax with friends. It had been a rough week for just about all of us, and the thought of sharing a glass of sangria or two, dishing about our lives, and taking a beat to just chill sounded like one of the best things ever.

We started by filling our plates to the brim with the food Kelly made. She cooked her heart out last night, and the food was amazing. I am not the best food photographer, but I tried to grab a few shots.

Jill and Chrissy also showed up all matchy-matchy in their summery outfits of yellow and white striped shirts with shoulder buttons, jeans, and beige flats. 

 Food on our laps, we started chatting about what has been going on. Jill started her new job as a Respiratory Therapist at a nearby hospital, and she let us know how it is going. I talked about Billy's car being set on fire by neighborhood fireworks and my mom's knee replacement surgery, while Mary talked about her kids. Chrissy talked about her upcoming trip overseas, and Kelly took us on a tour of her newly finished basement. I really need to do a post on it, she could seriously be an interior decorator. We did miss our friends Alyssa who had to work, and Jennifer who had caught a summer cold.

After catching up, our chatter turned to the book. Kelly had chosen this book for its lightness, knowing that summertime is busy for us all. We all liked this book, and found it perfect for July. It had romance and supernatural aspects, and the main characters were interesting and not totally shallow.

Inevitably, talk turned to other things. In this case, we began talking about the Bravo show Southern Charm and a major birthday coming up for me in a year or two. We put together a plan to take a girl's trip, and are considering Charleston. Has anyone been there? Any recommendations?

Overall, it was a fantastic evening, and as the room grew darker, we realized we needed to pack it up and head home. We are skipping August due to various vacations, and then we are having a two book club month in September, only two weeks apart! Chrissy is picking The Weirdness, and Mary is picking The Beekeeper's Ball. Should be fun!