2015 Book #120 – Almost Invincible by Suzanne Burdon

81dZAAdzscLTitle: Almost Invincible
Author: Suzanne Burdon
Date finished: 11/29/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Criteria Publishing
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
Pages in book: 328
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

“She is singularly bold, somewhat imperious, and active of mind. Her desire of knowledge is great, and her perseverance in everything else she undertakes, almost invincible.” Mary Shelley began Frankenstein in 1814, when she was eighteen. By then, she had been living for two years in a scandalous relationship with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was already married with children. The novel was conceived in a contest with him and Lord Byron to tell ghost stories. When she eloped with Shelley, Mary had been quite prepared to suffer condemnation from society. It was much harder to cope with her jealousy of Claire, her step-sister, who had run away with them and was also in love with Shelley. During the nine turbulent years Mary and Shelley were together, Claire was the ever-present third, whose manipulative behaviour often drove Mary to despair. Shelley was little help – his unconventional attitudes to love strained her devotion to its limits. They moved constantly throughout England, Switzerland and Italy, escaping creditors, censorious families and ill health. It was in Italy that they found their spiritual home, their ‘paradise of exiles’, but it was also there that the loss of her children nearly broke Mary’s spirit. Her writing became her grip on sanity, and Shelley never wavered from his belief in her creative genius – as she believed in his.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is a fictional telling of Mary Shelley‘s life from about the time when she met Percy Shelley in 1814 until he died in 1822. This book is a fiction novel but is based upon their true story of true love that stood the test of my obstacles. From the loss of 4 children to the unending interference of Mary’s step-sister Claire to the fact that Percy was already married when they met, Mary and Percy’s love was not easily formed or maintained but it was true and deep. I thought this ended up being a wonderful love story wrapped up in a mini-drama.
The book chronicles different periods of time in the Shelley’s lives during which they traveled to Switzerland, France, and Italy. Mary’s step-sister Claire tags along from the beginning, mostly because she thinks she is also in love with Shelley but also because she can’t stand to let Mary have any fun/happiness. Claire as a character was just so easy to hate and, at very few times, also to pity. Mary and Shelley’s story was also full of other well-known and not-so well-known people of the time, including Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, and Edward Williams. Shelley always felt best when surrounded by people who sympathized with his plights and his tribulations.
Overall I enjoyed this book a lot, it was packed full of interesting characters. It became a little frustrating that Mary could never seem to catch a break and honestly Shelley was a bit too naive for my tastes. He kept thinking that his first wife Harriet would come live with him and Mary as friends and bring his children to live with them all and they would just be one big happy family. He couldn’t understand why that was not only illogical but completely unreasonable. His naivete became almost charming by the end though, mostly because in reality he is just an endless optimist who only wanted to make every one around him happy. And while at times he could be insensitive to Mary’s feeling son certain subjects, his deep esteem and affection for her was obvious and touching. The plot line of the story was well paced and honestly I didn’t want to put it down. I thought this was a great story and I would recommend it!

The bottom line: I thought this book was really interesting! There was drama and despair and also happiness and a very true love. Definitely a great read!

Link to author website

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

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

91o9NNG2zcLTitle: The Light of Hidden Flowers
Author: Jennifer Handford
Date finished: 11/27/15
Genre: Women’s fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Pages in book: 369
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

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

My rating: 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

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

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

Link to author website

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

Friday Finds (Nov 27)

FridayFinds-ADailyRhythm2

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted by A Daily Rhythm and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list.  Whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

My finds this week include a fantasy/fiction, a young adult thriller, a thriller, and a mystery:

  1. A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
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    This book tells the story of what would have happened if sorcery/magic had been illegal in the 1920’s. I thought the premise behind the book sounded really interesting and I love the cover.
  2. We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean
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    I’ve seen this book around a lot the past couple weeks and I think not only does it sound like a great book but same as with #1 just awesome cover. This book is about a girl who is in a mental ward after her boyfriend died in a fire that her twin sister set, its all very whacked and sounds just awesome.
  3. Not on Fire But Burning by Greg Hrbek
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    This book sounds extremely good to me, it is almost at the top of my to read list even though I just heard about it. It is about a woman who is living in San Francisco when an atomic bomb is dropped there and also about her little brother who lives on the east coast but who’s parents are now claiming he never had a sister. Sounds weird and intriguing and just crazy cool
  4. In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward
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    Two girls disappear and only one comes back home, and no one can ever figure out what happened to the other girl. This mystery sounded gripping to me and I want to find out what happened!

So what about all of you? What are your recent finds?

2015 Book #118 – The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Warner

818qsZ+z4ELTitle: The Sound of Gravel
Author: Ruth Wariner
Date finished: 11/23/15
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE: I received this book for free from BookBrowse 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:

RUTH WARINER was the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turn a blind eye to the practices of her community, Ruth lives in a ramshackle house
without indoor plumbing or electricity. At church, preachers teach that God will punish the wicked by destroying the world and that women can only ascend to Heaven by entering into polygamous marriages and giving birth to as many children as possible. After Ruth’s father―the man who had been the founding prophet of the colony―is brutally murdered by his brother in a bid for church power, her mother remarries, becoming the second wife of another faithful congregant.
In need of government assistance and supplemental income, Ruth and her siblings are carted back and forth between Mexico and the United States, where Ruth’s mother collects welfare and her stepfather works a variety of odd jobs. Ruth comes to love the time she spends in the States, realizing that perhaps the community into which she was born is not the right one for her. As she begins to doubt her family’s beliefs and question her mother’s choices, she struggles to balance her fierce love for her siblings with her determination to forge a better life for herself.
Recounted from the innocent and hopeful perspective of a child, The Sound of Gravel is the remarkable memoir of one girl’s fight for peace and love. This is an intimate, gripping tale of triumph, courage, and resilience.

My rating: 4.05 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Ruth, a young girl growing up in a polygamist Mormon community in Mexico near the US border. Ruth and her siblings are all technically American citizens, so even though they live in Mexico, their mother (Kathy) still collects welfare and food stamps from the US. This book is about Ruth’s childhood and also about her family. Ruth bares all in this book and readers should be warned, there are descriptions of multiple unfortunate deaths/funerals and also child abuse. After seeing a few episodes of that show Sister Wives on TLC I will admit I have a weird interest in hearing stories of people who have lived or grew up in the polygamist lifestyle. The idea of it is just so foreign to me that I can’t understand how a marriage can be shared between more than two people, the logistics of it and how it can survive the tests of time. So when I saw this book available on BookBrowse I was immediately interested.

While growing up, Ruth and her family move around a lot over the years. At one point her mother leaves her step-father (after an incident with him buying a shower head for wife #1 with Ruth’s mother’s money) and they go to the US to live with Kathy’s parents for awhile. They don’t ever end up in one place for very long, though they are forced to live in El Paso, TX for about 2 years when DCF gets involved after the kids are left alone for almost a week (the oldest child at that time was 12 and the youngest was 1 or 2 if I remember correctly). I thought Ruth did just such a fantastic job describing the different locations where she spent time growing up. The imagery seems so real in the book that the reader feels like they are standing right beside Ruth seeing it with her. The events and timeline in this book are well-laid out and very detailed. I felt like I really got to hear about Ruth’s story and all the details of her childhood growing up.

Overall I really liked this book, it was moving and heart-breaking and a beautiful story about a woman’s traumatic childhood but also about how she overcame that childhood to become the person she is today. At 19 she was taking care of all of her younger siblings, trying to support them while also getting her GED and then going to college. Honestly as heart-breaking as her childhood was, I thought this book was inspirational. To think that someone can live through so much heartbreak and still come out not only surviving but thriving, really it is a feat to be admired. Also at this time of year especially when we are giving thanks for the things in our lives we are most grateful for, this book is a great reminder that I should be grateful for the childhood I had and for the two loving, caring parents that God gave me. I think the story was well written and poignant, and I have so much respect for Ruth not only for what she went through but also for having the courage to share her story with the world.

 

The bottom line: The story line for someone to say they “enjoyed” this book, but it was inspiring and heart-breaking and extremely moving. I would definitely recommend.

Link to author website

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

2015 Book #117 – The Virgin’s Spy by Laura Andersen

51UOqq57y1LTitle: The Virgin’s Spy
Author: Laura Andersen
Date finished: 11/22/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Pages in book: 369
Stand alone or series: Tudor Legacy Trilogy #2
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:

Queen Elizabeth I remains sovereign of England and Ireland. For the moment, at least. An Irish rebellion is growing and Catholic Spain, led by the Queen’s former husband, King Philip, plans to seize advantage of the turmoil. Stephen Courtenay, eldest son of Dominic and Minuette, Elizabeth’s most trusted confidantes, has accepted a command in Ireland to quell the unrest. But the task will prove dangerous in more ways than one.
The Princess of Wales, Elizabeth’s daughter, Anabel, looks to play a greater role in her nation, ever mindful that there is only one Queen of England. But how is Anabel to one day rule a country when she cannot even govern her own heart?

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of a variety of people actually. We were introduced to most of the characters in Book #1 (The Virgin’s Daughter) in the series when Lucette Courtenay fell in love with Julien LeClerc. This book picks up not long after the end of Book #1, but this book focuses more on Lucette’s younger brother, Stephen. The book also continues the stories of Lucette’s twin siblings, Kit & Pippa, as well as Queen Elizabeth and her daughter Anabel. In this book, Stephen becomes a spy for the English crown to exact some personal revenge. Along the way though, he falls in love somewhere entirely unexpected and actually ends up (technically speaking) becoming a traitor to the crown. We’re left a little in limbo with his story. I had expected him to end up married and happy as Lucette did in the first book but (***SPOILER ALERT***) that doesn’t happen. This book doesn’t end up with Stephen’s happily ever after but with Stephen in prison, which surprised me but also intrigued me.
Overall I enjoyed this book and the continuation of the series. The book reads almost like a war manual to me, all strategy and cunning insights and plotting and revenge. The main drawback for me with this books was that it felt like it ended in a cliffhanger, which I personally don’t particularly enjoy. I like series books to be able to stand alone as a story on their own, but with this book there was a distinct lack of resolution for me in all the story lines currently in process at the end. It didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the book at all, but I get so frustrated with cliffhangers because now I have to wait months for resolution to the story! Other than that this was a great book with a well-paced story line, interesting characters, and an intriguing historical background.

The bottom line: I would recommend this book to people who like historical fiction, especially those who are interested in novels about the Tudor family. Great book, though I’m anxious to find out what happens next!

Link to author website

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

2015 Book #116 – Mean Streak by Sandra Brown (Re-read)

51teSFEPCWL This was my November book club book for the Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion. I was debating at first whether or not to read it since I just read it last year (you can see my original review post here) but I enjoyed it so I decided to read it again. I’m not going to do my usual review post since I’ve already technically reviewed the book, instead I’m going to add any additional notes I have on the book and also discuss any interesting items that came up during our book club’s discussion.

MY THOUGHTS:

In addition to the thoughts on this book that I initially expressed during my review of the book last year, I thought I would share some thoughts I had this go-around. I always find it interesting the little things that you pick up on when you read a book (or watch a movie) a second or third (or etc) time around. This book is pretty straight forward so I didn’t pick up a lot of extra hidden meaning items that I didn’t quite get the first time around. I still really enjoyed the story though, which is a mark of a good book for me. This book still held my interest throughout the whole story even though I just read it last year.

BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION POINTS: **(SPOILERS INCLUDED)**

Everyone seemed to overall like the book ok but to be honest this probably wasn’t a great pick for a discussion book, mostly because there isn’t much to discuss. The characters and the story line don’t really bring up many discussion items or questions.  One of the things that came up is that the beginning of the book we’re lead to believe that the main guy character is a bad guy who has done something awful and there is a lot of effort and different pieces of the story line that lead the reader to think this. The turn around though when we find out he’s really like an ex-FBI agent, its not an easy transition for the reader to follow necessarily.
Other than that there wasn’t much to talk about, we all agreed it was a pretty interesting book that keeps the reader engaged. Happy reading!

2015 Book #115 – Nirvana by J.R. Stewart

41K9CIKcNGL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Nirvana
Author: J.R. Stewart
Date finished: 11/13/15
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Pages in book: 201
Stand alone or series: Nirvana series #1
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:

When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?
Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized – even visits with Andrew.
Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.
Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so. Are you ready to enter Nirvana?

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Larissa Kenders and her husband Andrew. Larissa and Andrew live in the Barracks in the year 2036. This is after “the Extinction,” a time when there are no bees and therefore pretty much no food since bees pollenate most plants. Andrew was killed in a recent “mission” and Larissa is trying to come to terms with this and either figure out how to find his body or move on with her life. It is hard to tell who she should and shouldn’t trust since honestly her friend from childhood is a selfish asshole who she should be able to trust but we as the readers find out some pretty awful stuff about him.
Anyways, so through the book we learn more about what life is like in the year 2036. There are pretty much 3 main places you can live: the Barracks, where the soldiers and scientists live, the Farm where the laborers live (very feudal-like system, the people who live on the Farm are basically serfs) and the Bubble where the “elite” live. This concept reminded me a little of how the Hunger Games government was set up since the Farm labors to provide food for the Bubble, just like the Districts labored to provide for the Capitol. This book also had pieces that reminded me of the Matrix since they often enter into a virtual world where they can do whatever they want and Larissa is trying to figure out what is real and what isn’t since she sees Andrew in this virtual world and also because Serge is a LOT controlling and could have trapped her in a virtual world without thinking twice if it would keep her with him. The book ends with a big twist (won’t spoil it!!) but we’re left wondering if Andrew is alive and what is real and what isn’t.
Overall I enjoyed this book a lot. Anyone who likes young adult dystopian novels will most likely love this book. I hate books that end in a cliffhanger only because I hate waiting to find out what is going to happen and also because I’m left with a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book which is frustrating for me. To be honest if I had known this was a series I would have done what I normally do and waited until all the books in the series came out and then read them all at once. I guess I will just have to wait for the next book to come out though. There are a few things about the book I didn’t love. Larissa is just a tad too whiny for my tastes but not so much that it ruined the story for me. And I don’t understand why she keeps thinking her sister is going to be worried about her or looking for her. Her sister abandoned her to her pedophile father, why does Larissa think her sister is all of a sudden worried about her? Other than those couple small things I liked the book!

The bottom line: I would recommend this book to people who like dystopian young adult novels with a forewarning that there is a cliffhanger at the end. Good book though!

Link to author website

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

Book Riot Live 2015

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So this past weekend I had the good fortune to attend Book Riot Live 2015 in New York City. I had never been to a book conference before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but when I started getting information about the line-up of speakers and panelists I was pretty excited! For those of you that don’t know about Book Riot, they are a great site for book recommendations and reviews and so much more. They also have a quarterly shipment that they do for both Adults and YA. I subscribe to the Adult one and so far I’ve gotten two shipments (one of which you can read about here) and I really like them. They also do multiple podcasts including book recommendations and new releases. So anyways they organized a book conference for this past weekend and hosted some of their podcasts live and also had some seminars with authors. Plus there were a ton of vendors there and a cute little reading area and other fun activities. I was lucky enough that my husband agreed to tag along with me as far as the hotel while I went to the conference and geeked out so I didn’t have to travel to NYC and back by myself! Him and I also had a great time seeing different parts of the city between when I was at the conference and in general its always nice to get away for a night and relax. So below are a few highlights about the conference!

My Top 3 Sessions I Attended at the Conference

3. The Reading Lives podcast Live Recording with Jeff O’Neal (Moderator) and Angela Flournoy (Author)
For those of you who don’t know, Angela Flournoy is the author of The Turner House, which was released this past April and is a finalist for the National Book Award and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, a Summer 2015 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and a New York Times Sunday Book Review Editors’ Choice. While I haven’t read The Turner House yet, it is pretty high up on my to read list and I was excited to see her in person. Also for those of you who don’t know, The Reading Lives podcast is a show where different authors are interviewed about their lives leading up to when they became a successful author. Angela was a great interviewee and I learned a lot of interesting factoids about her life growing up. Unfortunately the book store at the conference ran out of her books before I could buy one so I couldn’t get a signed copy but it was still great to hear about her life. If you are interested in hearing this specific podcast, it it doesn’t seem to be up quite yet but when it is that epidsode and all other The Reading Lives episodes can be found here.

2. Writing Relationship seminar with Sarah Wendell (Moderator and also an author), Beverkly Jenkins (Author), William Johnson (Editor), Sarah MacLean (Author) and Jill McDonough (Poet)
I snuck into this seminar right before it started because I decided to skip lunch and I am just so glad I did. I thought this was a really great seminar and I really enjoyed the panelists and the topic. The Speakers discussed how they go about creating relationships between the characters in their works and even how they create a relationship with the readers of their books. There were a lot of interesting points made (the most common one seemed to be “Writing is hard” which 100% made sense to me!) and some great stories from all of the Panelists.

1. Get Booked Live Recording with Amanda Nelson (Moderator/Book Riot) and Sarah MacLean (Author) 
Anyone who has read my blog knows that romance is definitely a genre that I enjoy, so I was especially excited about meeting author Sarah MacLean. Sarah has written many best-selling historical romance novels, the most recent of which is being published in 2 weeks! Little did I know before hand that she would be SO FUNNY! I just loved her! And honestly part of it was that her and Amanda just played off each other so well when they were speaking, it was such a great seminar! For anyone who doesn’t already know, the Get Booked podcast is a show where people can write in and request book recommendations based on prior reads or really on any kind of criteria. Since Sarah was guest hosting, this was a 100% romance podcast which was fun for me since I recognized a lot of the authors/books mentioned and got a few new ideas from the mix as well. It was a GREAT show and you can listen to the recording (once it’s been posted) here plus all previous recordings of the show are listed there as well.

My Top 3 Other Fun Things from the Conference

3. THERE WERE SO MANY BOOKS
Honestly I was in book overload. As it is I spent WAY too much money but I could have spent WAY more. I am very please with all the books I got though! However, it wasn’t my smartest move to just bring a small backpack to the conference because I ended up having to lug 10+ books (at least half of which were hardcover) with me around the conference, through NYC and onto the train with me. Lesson definitely learned for next time, but overall so psyched with the new books I have to read!

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2. The Harry Potter Alliance’s Apparating Library
This was one of the booths at the conference, you bring in old books and “check them in” to the library on Saturday and then you can “check out” the same number of books on Sunday. I thought it was a really fun idea and I got two new books out of the bargain! (Pictured above: My Father’s Wives and The Tiger Wife)

1. Book Signings!
I got two books signed!!! AHHH!!

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Top 3 Things I Wish I Had Done

3. Talked to more people
I talked to a handful of people and honestly I was really proud of myself for even doing that. I am 100% an introvert and I have such trouble putting myself out there and talking to new people. But here I was though surrounded by book nerds who were just like me, this should have been an easy crowd for me to get involved with! So I feel myself wishing I had introduced myself to more people and made more connections.

2. Book Crawl
A bunch of people from the conference went on a Book Crawl on Saturday night. It is like a Pub Crawl but you go to book stores and it sounded like the coolest thing to me (self-admitted book nerd). I was bummed to not participate but at the same time I really wanted to spend a little time with my husband in the city and a Book Crawl is definitely not something he would find cool/enjoyable/remotely interesting.

1. Hand out more of my Blog Bookmarks and Wear my blog T-shirt
I’m honestly still kicking myself for this because I didn’t even think to wear my t-shirt that has my blog information on it! We thought of it Sunday afternoon that I should have worn it and I was so mad I didn’t think of it sooner! First off, what a great conversation piece and second what a great marketing/promotional tool! Those people are my EXACT audience!!! And I brought some bookmarks with my blog information on them with me but I only ended up handing out one because a) I’m shy and b) I am AWFUL at promoting myself because I always worry the other person isn’t going to be interested or it will seem like I am bragging.

So what about all you readers! Have any of you been to a book conference? I’d love to hear about it, I am doing research as to which ones I want to go to in the future!

2015 Book #114 – Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams

510xRpLXrWLTitle: Along the Infinite Sea
Author: Beatriz Williams
Date finished: 11/10/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam Son’s
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Pages in book: 461
Stand alone or series: Can be read as a stand alone but there are other novels starring characters in this book (Tiny Pretty Things = Pepper’s sister Tiny and The Secret Life of Violet Grant tells Vivian’s story somewhat I think)
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:

Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler’s problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she’s finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician.
But the car’s new owner turns out to have secrets of her own, and as the glamorous and mysterious Annabelle Dommerich takes pregnant Pepper under her wing, the startling provenance of this car comes to light: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle’s life from World War II stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts.
Indomitable heroines, a dazzling world of secrets, champagne at the Paris Ritz, and a sweeping love story for the ages, in New York Times bestselling author Beatriz William’s final book about the Schuyler sisters.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. First of all, I just have to say Wow. This book really gets your heart pumping and just keeps you right on the edge of your seat. This book tells the story of Pepper Schuyler, who is pregnant and trying to hide out so the baby’s father won’t find her. Which sounds bad but is actually pretty reasonable considering the father is is being, lets call it forcefully persuasive, for her to get rid of the baby. But Pepper wants to keep the baby, she just doesn’t want any involvement from the father, she wants the baby all for herself. Pepper’s story becomes involved with Annabelle Dommerich’s story when Annabelle pays Pepper an exorbitant amount of money for a refurbished classic car that it appears used to belong to her. Annabelle fled Germany in that car in 1938 and it brings a wealth of memories rushing back to her. The book alternates between the late 1930’s and 1966, between Annabelle’s story in Europe and Pepper (and Annabelle’s) story in the present day.
Pepper comes to stay with Annabelle after they meet. Annabelle feels a connection to Pepper even though they don’t know that much about each other because Annabelle was once pregnant and unwed too. And she can tell that Pepper is hiding out so she decides to help. But then all of a sudden Annabelle disappears and then her son Florian shows up looking for her. So Pepper tags along while Florian goes to look for his mother. Back in the late 1930’s we hear about Annabelle’s life in Paris and then in Germany during the rise of Hitler’s power. We hear of the horrible things that are beginning to happen as a result of Nazi power and we see Annabelle’s fear for her son and her son’s father.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I feel like I should have seen the ending coming but I had no idea and to be honest I am not 100% sure how I feel about the ending. I don’t want to say too much about it because I think it is a great twist of fate in the book and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone reading this book in the future but a part of me was so mad about the ending and another part of me thinks I liked it better that way. In a way I think the ending actually fit better with the story line even if it wasn’t necessarily my first choice. And all through the book I was thinking about what a heart-breaking and beautiful love story it was and it ended in a heart-breaking-ly beautiful way so I can’t decide how I feel exactly. Other than that though the story line once you get into it is riveting and I didn’t want to put the book down. The last 50 pages I think too I was on the edge of my seat with my heart pounding screaming “RUN” over and over again in my head so get ready for some good action with this book.

The bottom line: I really liked this book a lot a lot. It was thrilling and heart-wrenching and just great. Would definitely recommend and I can’t wait to read this author’s other books!!!

Link to author website

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book to Movie Adaptations

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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 Top Ten Book to Movie Adaptations. The specific topic was ones you are looking forward to but I only have a couple of those since I’m not exactly in the “know” about these kinds of things so I’m doing a few sub-lists of Book to Movie Adaptations.

Books I’ve Read That Became Movies I LOVE 

Practical Magic
51EW270W8XLWhile the movie adaptation for this was not what I would call “Faithful” to the story, this is overall one of my all time favorite reads and one of my favorite movies as well. The book honestly has like 2 extra story lines going on that the movie just didn’t have time for, but even without it the movie is just great!

Beautiful Creatures
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Loved this whole series and I didn’t even know about the books until I saw the movie first and loved it. I wish they would keep going with the series with movie adaptations though!!!

Gone Girl
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I decided to read the book once I knew the movie was coming out. I’m really glad that I read the book first because I feel like the twist is more dramatic when you’re reading the book. Honestly though this is one of the best movie adaptations I’ve seen only because they stayed so close to the actual book. The movie only missed 2 small plot items in my opinion but other than that it was like line for line what was in the book, which you don’t always find with movie adaptations.

Hunger Games
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While I have to be honest and say I was anti-Hunger Games when I first heard about the books, I saw movies 1-3part1 and finally this past summer decided to read the books. They were great books and honestly I think part of me died at the end of the third book and I’m going to bawl my eyes out when I watch it this winter but at the same time I am so psyched to see it. Great series in both book and especially movie form.

Movies I LOVE That I Haven’t Read The Book Yet

Sherlock Holmes
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I just love Robert Downey Jr in this movie, and the Game of Shadows. I haven’t gotten around to reading any Sherlock Holmes books yet but I plan to.

Austenland
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I thought this was just about the cutest movie. I loved the music and the costumes and the story line was sweet and funny. When I found out it was a book (and I guess that there is a second book as well) I was so psyched and got it from Book Outlet immediately.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2
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Honestly I feel like this movie is almost like a guilty-pleasure of mine. I don’t necessarily want to be one of the crowd and be in love with Twilight but this last movie honestly was just really kick ass and is more of like a vampire battle movie than a love story (though be warned there are sappy moments). I’ve never read any of the Twilight books and I’m not sure if I ever will be I really enjoy this movie.

Movie Adaptations That I’m Looking Forward to in 2016 and Beyond

The Red Queen: Release Date Unknown
41xTH4whq9LJust read this book this past summer and loved it, I am so excited for The Glass Sword to come out in February and I am really excited to hear that this might be made into a movie!

The Royal We: Release Date Unknown
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Great book! Just read this one this past June and am so excited to hear that they are planning to make it into a movie! Not sure when or really if it will come out yet but I can’t wait!

The Rosie Project: Release Date Unkown
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We will be reading this one in my book club in 2016. I suggested it since I thought it would be a good one to read with the movie coming out in 2016. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the book and I am excited to finally get around to reading it and then hopefully go see the movie.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Release Date December 25, 2016
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Obviously this one is popular. And I don’t think it is all that widely known that it is being made into a movie yet. I feel like it is going to be a creepy movie. I will definitely be reading the book since I bought it on Block Island in September but I’m not a huge scary movie fan so haven’t fully decided if I will see this movie or not. Even if I don’t though I’m excited they decided to make it into a movie.