2015 Book #78 – As Night Falls by Jenny Milchman

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Title: As Night Falls
Author: Jenny Milchman
Date finished: 7/27/15
Genre:  Thriller/suspense
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Pages in book: 359
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from Amazon:

Sandy Tremont has always tried to give her family everything. But, as the sky darkens over the Adirondacks and a heavy snowfall looms, an escaped murderer with the power to take it all away draws close.
In her isolated home in the shadowy woods, Sandy prepares dinner after a fight with her daughter, Ivy. Upstairs, the fifteen-year-old—smart, brave, and with every reason to be angry tonight—keeps her distance from her mother. Sandy’s husband, Ben, a wilderness guide, arrives late to find a home simmering with unease.
Nearby, two desperate men on the run make their way through the fading light, bloodstained and determined to leave no loose ends or witnesses. After almost twenty years as prison cellmates, they have become a deadly team: Harlan the muscle, Nick the mind and will. As they approach a secluded house and look through its windows to see a cozy domestic scene, Nick knows that here he will find what he’s looking for . . . before he disappears forever.
Opening the door to the Tremont home, Nick brings not only a legacy of terror but a secret that threatens to drag Sandy with him into the darkness.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: **(ALERT THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW)** I feel like I have just seen this book everywhere lately (web sites, publications, summer to read listings) so when I saw it at the Library I grabbed it. I’ve been pretty into the thrillers lately so I’ve been looking forward to reading it. This story starts off being about a lady named Sandy and her husband Ben and daughter Ivy. As the story unfolds we also read passages from the viewpoint of a man named Nick and every once in a while a woman named Barbara, who we learn in one of the first few passages about her is Nick’s Mom. It isn’t 100% clear at first how Nick and Barbara are connected to Sandy’s life but it doesn’t take very long to put the pieces together.
I have to say that I wasn’t overly surprised by many of the things that happened in this book, whereas in most thrillers I like to have a few twists that I don’t see coming. The only one I can think of that I didn’t really see coming though was the crime that Nick was sent to jail for. That being said though, I didn’t consider the book predictable in the least and it definitely kept me on my toes trying to keep up with where the story was headed! I liked the plot development and also the characters’ development through the story. I have to be honest though, I was a bit turned off to the book until about halfway in because some of the scenes with Nick in them made me feel so creepy and grossed out and icky that I wanted to go take a shower and scrub my brain of the wretched man. He was a truly evil and dark person and even up to the end I was astounded that Barbara stood by him. Gosh I just wanted to punch that lady in the face, especially because of how she treated Cassandra, who was only ever a perfect angel.
Overall I thought this was a really good book and a solid thriller. I didn’t really get to like any of the characters too much but I think that was part of the point. Only person I did really like a good amount died, which was unfortunate. I mean I liked the main characters well enough but we all have our secrets I guess.
The bottom line: I would recommend this book, I thought it was a good psychological thriller.
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

ARC August Reading Challenge Sign Up

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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!

2015 Book #77 – The Stove-Junker by S.K. Kalsi

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Title: The Stove-Junker
Author: S.K. Kalsi
Date finished: 7/24/15
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher: Little Feather books, Inc.
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Pages in book: 334
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Rare Bird Lit / Rare Bird Books NOTE: I received this book for free from Rare Bird Lit / Rare Bird Books 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:

Part elegy, part history, part existential ghost tale, The Stove-Junker is a harrowing, lyrical meditation on loss, heartbreak, and the power of memory. In this extraordinary debut novel, S.K. Kalsi has crafted a haunting tale of unvarnished self-examination, as experienced through the story’s central character, Somerset Garden, the stove-junker. In the winter of 2012, 79-year-old Somerset travels back to his ancestral home in idyllic Drums, Pennsylvania, to renovate his dilapidated house. Burdened by the loss of his beloved wife, the long-ago disappearance of his rebellious son, and angry at God and at himself, Somerset hopes to reach a final understanding of the meaning of his life. While a blizzard barrels down from the north and “Armageddon” draws near, Somerset discovers an unnamed boy squatting on the property, a strange child who forces him to confront his past. As he unearths objects in the house that had been lost or discarded in the debris, Somerset remembers his father’s cruelty and the accident that cost him his brother’s life; he revisits the itinerant wandering of his youth, tethered to a troubled mother; he mourns the loss of his wife and ponders the decades-long absence of his son-all of whom are caught in the grip of Luzerne County’s ancient history of violence.

My rating: 1.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I decided to accept this review request even though this isn’t my usual style of book because I wanted to try something different. And while I’m glad I tried something new, I don’t think I enjoyed this book as much as someone else might have. This book was a little dark for me and a little confusing. There was a lot of rambling and some pretty gory scenes. I would think this book would appeal to possibly Stephen King fans or Dean Koontz fans due to the dark scenes and the underlying feeling of anger and fear running through some pieces of the book.
The entire story is told by our one narrator, Somerset Garden. He has lived through a tough life, some pretty awful things were done to his mother in front of him and he lost his only son when his son was eighteen. He returns to his home in PA to fix up his house, his inheritance that he has no one to leave to, before he dies in Armageddon. While staying at the house he comes across a boy who can’t remember his name.  He takes the boy in but the boy develops a fever and becomes pretty ill.
There was a lot going on in this book, the narrator tends to ramble on quite a bit and sometimes I found it a little hard to follow his thought process. I think that this is actually done purposefully since our narrator is aging and preparing to die. While this wasn’t necessarily my type of book, I think it has a lot of potential as a great literary fiction novel. I would definitely encourage people who like literary fiction (and probably of the dark variety) to give this book a try!
The bottom line: I wasn’t a huge fan of this book but more so because it is not my personnel preference of books. I think this might appeal to Stephen King or even Dean Koontz fans.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #76 – Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Title: Dearest Rogue
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 7/21/15
Genre:  Historical romance
Publisher: Vision
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Pages in book: 326
Stand alone or series: #8 in the Maiden Lane series
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from Amazon:

HE CAN GUARD HER
Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.
FROM EVERY DANGER
Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King’s dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she’s targeted by kidnappers.
BUT PASSION ITSELF
Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they’re confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier’s hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I am a big fan of the books in the Maiden Lane series, one of which are already reviewed on my blog here. I hope to re-read the others in the series sometime soon and get review up for all those as well. There are many different families involved in the Maiden Lane series, so keeping everyone straight can get a little cumbersome especially with the time between book releases. The family tree I think is most relevant for this book can be found here, on the author’s website. At the bottom of this page there are also links for the other family trees involved in the Maiden Lane series should you be interested.
So this novel is about Phoebe Batten, whose eyesight has been steadily deteriorating for the past five years, and her guard Captain James Trevillion. James was injured while chasing a bad guy and his leg was basically crushed so now he isn’t fit to be a Captain anymore. Maximum (Phoebe’s brother and the hero of Duke of Midnight) hires him to guard his blind sister Phoebe. But when someone starts trying to kidnap Phoebe, James realizes that his injury is preventing him from protecting her effectively and he resigns as her guard. Then she gets kidnapped and James decides to take her somewhere that no one else knows about to protect her. And yes, they fall in love (duh).
I really enjoyed this book and I thought it was a great addition to the series. Phoebe was a great character and I just absolutely loved her. The tension between the hero and the heroine felt very real. I couldn’t put this one down, I ended up reading it in just about 24 hours. Great book and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!!
The bottom line: I would definitely recommend not only this book but the whole series. Loved Phoebe, this was a great addition to the series. Can’t wait to read Sweetest Scoundrel (comes out later this year!)
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #75 – Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

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Title: Skipping Christmas
Author: John Grisham
Date finished: 7/20/15
Genre: Fiction, Holiday
Publisher: DoubleDay
Publication Date: November 6, 2001
Pages in book: 177
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty, they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash, they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences—and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.
A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.

My rating: 2.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (July). I went to my first book club discussion with this group last month (June) and I really enjoyed last month’s book and the discussion, I think it is a great group for me to participate in so I wanted to keep going. I have to say I am really looking forward to next month’s book (I Shall Be Near You) which has already been on my TBR list for awhile. Anyway so this month’s book was Skipping Christmas by John Grisham and I actually had already read this book when I was in Middle School and my Mom and I read it for a Mother-Daughter book discussion that we were part of at the time. In 2004 this book was actually made into a holiday film, Christmas with the Kranks, starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis.
This book is amazingly frustrating to me. I felt that way the first time I read it and again when I saw the movie, and then again when I read it this time. I just get so mad about some of the blow back that the Kranks get as a consequence of telling people that they’re skipping Christmas. And really, what is so wrong with that? All they have for actual family is a daughter who they thought would be in Peru until the next Christmas. Really, what’s so wrong with treating themselves for one year and taking a cruise. And to be honest, how is it anyone else’s damn business what they decide to do with their holiday?? It really just gets me so fired up. I mean, yes it all turns out well in the end and the neighborhood assholes (excuse my French) band around the Kranks to make a nice homecoming for (surprise!) Blair and her fiance who call about 7 hours before they arrive (also ridiculously rude). But really I was still mad at everyone in that neighborhood in the end. If someone gave me that much hassle about putting a damn lighted snowman on my roof, I would’ve snapped way before then. If I don’t want a damn Frosty on my roof then I’m damn well not going to put one up there, I don’t care what any of my neighbors say. I pay the mortgage and I pay the taxes so you can get off my damn lawn. Also it kind of bothered me how much Luther talked about all these other women that he though were “hot” or “cute.” I don’t think I noticed that as much when I was younger but it is pretty creepy. Also why did they care whether Blair’s fiance was light skinned or dark skinned? What was up with that?
So as you can probably tell, I don’t especially like this book. I think people should have been up in the Krank’s business a bit less and not been so intrusive. Also I think Nora and even Luther are annoying main characters. Nora should’ve been a little nicer to Luther in the end, yes the whole cruise thing was his idea but she was all about it just the day before. And Luther should’ve been ogling young women in stringy bikinis a little less, or like not at all.

The bottom line: I know this is a pretty popular book (and movie) but I just find it so ridiculously frustrating. I would say people should try it but as you can tell, this is not my favorite book at all.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #74 – Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw

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Title: Atlantis Rising
Author: Gloria Craw
Date finished: 7/19/15 (12:20am)
Genre:  Young adult
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Pages in book: 295
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from Amazon:

I am different. I have always been different, but no one can know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain sight, wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I need to avoid.
Now I have been seen. And more terrifying still, I am wanted–by those who would protect me and those who would destroy everything and everyone I love. But if they’re all terrified about who I am, wait until they see what I can do…

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I really tend to enjoy books with supernatural elements but I haven’t really read anything before about the children of Atlantis. So when I saw this book recently, I definitely wanted to read it. So this book is about Alison McKye, a senior at Fillmore High School. She’s adopted and when she was fourteen, someone at a playground noticed she was using her “thoughtmaking” abilities on her brother. This random stranger told her that she is one of the children of Atlantis and that her ability is both very powerful and very sought after and that if she wanted to protect her human family, she must do everything in her power to go through the rest of her life unnoticed.
Cut forward to her senior year of high school and she’s done what she thinks is a decent job of remaining invisible. One of the helpful points is that even though she is dewing (the name for the children of Atlantis) since she was raised by humans she doesn’t give off the same vibrations as other dewing I guess so its easier for her to stay incognito. A lot of people are trying to find her though (for various reasons) and since she hasn’t actually done a great job of hiding in plain sight, she’s going to be found out. Luckily, she makes some friends who are going to help her.
I really liked this book. I thought Alison was great and the tension between her and her love interest (not spoiling it for you!!) is palpable and felt real. I thought the plot line was good but the climactic action scenes felt a bit short. Also I’m curious what happened to Nikki? Is there going to be a sequel? Usually when something ends kind of abruptly like that I at least like to know that yes the author realizes there are unanswered questions and is writing a sequel as we speak. But I couldn’t find anything online so I guess fingers crossed. Good book overall though and not a topic that I see a lot so it was different, which I liked.
The bottom line: I thought this was a good book, I would recommend it! Definitely interesting and unusual, the story line was great.
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #73 – The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

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Title: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
Author: Amy E. Reichert
Date finished: 7/18/15
Genre:  Fiction, romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Pages in book: 336
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:

You’ve Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.
In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.
Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.
The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?
Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I have seen this book in a lot of different places, most recently on PopSugar’s listing of Perfect Poolside Reads. Since I’ve seen it around so much lately, when I saw it was available on NetGalley I had to grab it. And I am very happy I did. This story was lighthearted and fun and makes a wonderful summer read. Lou is a great heroine and Al’s character evolved wonderfully through the story. I have to say though I think one of my favorite parts of the book is the older couple, Otto and Gertrude. I just loved them. Also watching Lou and Al’s friendship blossom into a romance was entrancing.
While the budding romance between Lou and Al certainly made for an entertaining reading, I felt that it was really the love of food and cooking that are the main focus of this book. I don’t know if any of you readers have seen the movie Chef but there is one scene where the main guy in the movie (the chef) is making a grilled cheese for is son and when he cuts the sandwich in half and you hear the crunch and see the cheese oozing out (I would suggest turning the volume up on the video for the crunch).

My gosh I’m drooling right now just thinking about it. Well that is how I felt while reading most of this book, drooling and hungry. The descriptions of the food are just astounding and make you wish that his book was in fact not fiction so that you could go and taste the exact same foods for yourself. I’m sure that many of the landmarks discussed in the book actually do exist, but what I really want is for Lou to make that pork she made at the barbeque. Anyways, this book is perfect for anyone who lives with a love of food!
This book was an easy read and I think it is perfect for summer. All of the characters were great and the story kept me interested throughout. A great read!

The bottom line: I very much liked this book. I found the characters interesting and liked that they evolved through the story. Great book for foodies, the descriptions of the food will make you drool.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #72 – Cottage in the Country by Linn B. Halton

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Title: A Cottage in the Country
Author: Linn B. Halton
Date finished: 7/15/15
Genre:  Romance (UK)
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Publication Date: July 16, 2015
Pages in book: 273
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:

What do you do when your best friend has an affair with your husband of twenty-five years?
Well, you pack your bags, grab half of the equity in the house you’ve both lovingly restored and run away to an idyllic little cottage in the country.
Only, it’s not quite so idyllic when
1) Rustic charm sounds rather romantic, but the reality is something else …
2) The heavens decide to open on moving day and the rain just keeps on coming
Maddie Brooks grits her teeth and hires the highly recommended ‘man who can’, ex-soldier, Lewis Hart. As he rips out the very shabby, and decidedly not-so-chic kitchen, reality sets in. Not only is he the most abrupt person she’s ever met, but the man is a Neanderthal!
As the flood waters rise, and the village is cut off, everything that could possibly go wrong, does.
Hitting the big five-o is the final straw. No presents, family or friends—just infuriating Lewis, who can’t leave because the flood has now cut off his exit. How on earth is she going to get through this and put her life back together?
Can Maddie Brooks become that ‘fifty-and-fabulous’ woman of her dreams?

My rating: 1.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: (NOTE THERE ARE SPOILERS INCLUDED IN THIS REVIEW) This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book based entirely on its cover” check box since I requested this book based on the cover. I thought it was a really pretty cover and it looked like it would be a cute, sweet story. This book is about a woman name Maddie who wants to start over following her husband and best friend’s betrayal. About to turn fifty, she isn’t sure what to do now that she is one her own for the first time in a very long time.
To be honest I was not a fan of this book. I grew up in a matriarchal family and the women are all very strong people and while very opinionated, they all know what they want and aren’t afraid to take risks. I juts could not at all connect with Maddie as a character. I found her to be very weak, she latches onto Lewis after they have sex and then Ryan comes and tells her he loves her and then she latches onto him. She said multiple times that she doesn’t want to be alone. She seems pretty much scared to be without a man in her life and that is sickening to me. No person should be that dependent on someone else. I understand in a relationship there ends up being some sort of dependency but a person should never be that scared to survive on their own. There were parts I just wanted to slap Maddie. And Ryan said he’s loved her for like 25 years but at the very end she’s just like “Oh he’ll get over it” after she was basically telling him she would marry him. How callous is that? That’s just about the most selfish thing I ever heard. And she kept talking about how she wanted Ryan to take care of her. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! For goodness sake. And she loved the cottage and had wanted to make a new start but she was going to sell it just because Ryan wanted her to? Seriously??
Other than all of the obvious issues I had with Maddie’s character, I also had a lot of trouble with the plot. I hated the “twist” in the story when she goes to Ryan’s. I felt it through the flow of the story off a lot and didn’t make sense with the story line. And the story just didn’t make sense to me. What was the point of it all? That she went back to Lewis and they decided to move in together even though they barely knew each other? I just didn’t understand.
While I couldn’t connect with this story, it might be something for middle-aged women who are going through or have gone through a divorce. There is a message in this book that there is hope for life after a divorce, no matter what your age. This might be able to give people hope in similar situations.
The bottom line: I didn’t particularly care for this book. The heroine of the story seemed weak and flat to me.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a different bookish topic and bloggers are asked to post their own top ten list based on the topic. This week is a listing of the Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession. I have been pretty active in both requesting e-galleys, accepting donations from family and friends, and at my local library so I am going to try and piece this together the best I can.

From Net Galley: 

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I’m actually pretty excited because all 3 of these were books that I wanted to read and I was able to get all of them on Net Galley for free! I have only recently discovered the greatness that is Net Galley and I am looking forward to using it much more in the future.
1. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
2. A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
3. Awake by Natasha Preston

From my Gram:

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This past weekend I visited my Grandma and Grandpa down in Pennsylvania. My Grandma is a part of a book club down there and every so often when I visit she lets me take some books from her leftovers (which I LOVE). So this past weekend I brought 4 books home with me that I haven’t read before and all of them look really interest and I can’t wait to read them!
4. Long Time Gone by Karen White
5. Matters of Faith by Kristy Kiernan
6. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
7. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

From Publishers:

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This is the first print ARC copy I’ve ever received. I’m pretty excited about it.
8. Stove-Junker by S.K. Kalsi

Gifted from Mom’s kindle:

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After all the Net Galley activity, I’ve gotten tired of using the kindle app on my phone. My mom had an older kindle that she hasn’t been using since she has both a Paper white and a Kindle Fire. When she gave me her Kindle there were a few books on it from her account and I was able to keep these two. I am trying to read more classics this year so I’m glad these are now available to me!
9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
10. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

SO! That’s my listing of books I’ve most recently received. What books have you gotten lately?

2015 Book #71 – Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Date finished: 7/12/15
Genre:  Young adult
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Pages in book: 286
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from Amazon:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I haven’t read much by Sophie Kinsella but her Shopaholic series is on my TBR list. I saw the movie they made of the first book and loved it. So when I saw that Kinsella had a YA book coming out I wanted to read it.This story is (mostly) about Audrey, a young girl trying to learn how to cope with depression and anxiety after it appears she had a mental breakdown resulting from an “incident” at her school. I have to be honest, part of me finds it extremely frustrating that we never learn the specifics of this “incident.” There are vague references to what happened, and the reader is left to piece together what probably occurred. While I found this frustrating though, I thought it really spoke of some of the main points in the book. Audrey (the narrator) says multiple times in the book that she has learned through her therapy books that everyone has the right to privacy, your thoughts and feelings are your own and you have the power to say no to anyone. And towards the beginning Audrey says to us that she knows we (the readers) are curious but that the actual incident itself doesn’t really matter, what matters is what happened after that. Which is true of the book, the point of the book wasn’t to get into the gory details of why Audrey had the mental breakdown, it was about her road to recovery and about feeling more like herself again. So long story short, while I found it frustrating, part of me also appreciated that the author didn’t include exact details of the incident.
Along her road to recovery, Audrey becomes friends with her brother’s friend Linus. Linus ends up being a big support for Audrey and helps nudge her along on the  experiences she needs to be more functioning in the regular world. They end up developing a romance which is very sweet. The mother’s fixation on Frank’s video games became frustrating at times, it felt almost a little overdone. That seems to have been the point though, for part of the story the family is a bit tense and edging towards shambles but they learn to appreciate each other more and as Audrey awakens from her shell of depression we see more of the family’s loving side.
Overall I thought this was a sweet and touching book. It was a fairly quick read but full of insight into the lives of those dealing with depression and how frustrating it can be to want to feel normal and just not be able to accomplish that due to some dumb chemical reactions in your brain. The characters were all funny and interesting, I found myself laughing out loud at multiple points in the book. Great read!

The bottom line: I thought this was a good book. Some parts were overly frustrating but overall I think this is a touching story and I would recommend it!
Link to author website
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