Friday Finds (August 28)

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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 suspense, a women’s fiction/humor, a young adult/fairy-tale retelling, and a historical fiction:

1. A Necessary End by Holly Brown
51cOhYxOsrLI thought this book sounded really good, What wouldn’t a woman be willing to do when she’s desperate to become a mother and a baby is within her reach?

2. Pretty Much Screwed by Jenna McCarthy
81VivRea53LThis book has a bunch of good reviews so far on Amazon and to be honest half the reason I am excited about this book is I just love the cover.

3. Entwined by Heather Dixon
61e6TqqqxhLThere was a Top Ten Tuesday post a couple weeks ago on Top 10 Fairy Tale Retellings and I picked up this recommendation from one of the other blogs that participated in the posts, The Bucket List. This one is a fairy-tale retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and while I’m not super familiar with this fairy-tale I just love fairy-tale retellings and the cover on this book looks awesome.

4. Penmarric by Susan Howatch
51lRVBSk-FL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I found this book on a listing of books to read if you’re having Outlander withdrawals. And while I haven’t read the Outlander series yet, I already am fairly certain I will love it. And this book sounds really interesting too. Historical fiction with a bunch of family drama and mistresses mixed in!

So those are my finds this week! Please feel free to share your finds or leave a link to your own “Friday Finds” blog posting below! Happy Friday! 

ARC August – Check in #1 – 8/8

Woo hoo! One week down! ARC August, which is hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat is a reading challenge that centers around catching up on reading your ARC’s! And I definitely needed the encouragement this month since I have a long list of them to get done.

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My progress: 

1. Awake by Natasha Preston – Read & reviewed
2. On The Way: A Working Woman’s Field Guide by Robin Lake – Read & reviewed
3. The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield – Read & reviewed
4. Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner – Read & reviewed
5. Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen – Up next!
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

Books read August 1st-7th:

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Awake by Natasha Preston – 3.25 stars – Also stay tuned for an interview with this author soon to be posted (hopefully)

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One the Way by Robin Lake – 4.0 stars

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The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield – 4.0 stars

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Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner – 3.75 stars

So! That’s where I ended up this week. Make sure to check in early next week, I’ll be posting an author interview with Andrea Lochen, author of Imaginary Things. Happy reading!

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge – Weekly Update #4 April 25th / Wrap Up

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Gosh, this week was just busy. I’m posting this a little late (its pretty much Sunday) but today was a little crazy. I figured after tax season was over I would just read for all of my free time but I forgot that I would have to add chores back into my schedule and also that it would take me double the amount of time to get home now that I’m back in rush hour traffic. Even with all my obstacles, over this past week I was able to read four books for the reading challenge: Fangirl, My Sunshine Away, The Liar, and Boy Meets Girl. The first two books I got from the Simsbury Public Library, The Liar I got from the Plainville Public Library, and Boy Meets Girl I got from the Terryville Public Library.

As part of the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge, you get an entry into the challenge giveaway for reading one book as part of the challenge but you get an additional entry for reading 5 additional books (up to two additional entries so 10 extra books). I already have the initial entry book and the next 5 books for an entry. Since I have one more extra entry I can use, my next 5 additional books were last week’s Cat Out of Hell and this week’s Fangirl, My Sunshine Away, The Liar, and Boy Meets Girl. Since I’ve read all the available books for this challenge, this post will also serve as my wrap up. I had a lot of fun participating in this challenge this month, I am a big fan of libraries so it was a great challenge for me! I am looking forward to reading some of the books on my TBR shelf that I bought though. Between the Bingo challenge I did from January to March and then this challenge this month, I have been busy in the challenge department and I still have other goals for the year that I want to work on!

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So as part of the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge, there are optional weekly update posts. The topic for this week’s post is: How often do you visit your library?

The answer is, quite frankly, not as often as I’d like. I try to go to at least one library a week, even if it isn’t my home library. During tax season this doesn’t ever work out for me because I’m always working during the hours that most libraries are open. Luckily for me, I end up having to travel all over the state for work, so I’m able to stop at a good variety of libraries. I have found this to be a really great way to keep finding new books. Libraries all have different collections so having access to more than one collection really gives you a great ability to find most anything you’d like to read.

While it is always nice to visit different libraries, visiting my home library turns into an event for me and I try to get there at least once or twice a month. Its important for me to check in with my “home base” not only to visit with my friends who work at the library but also to get caught up on any events going on at my home library that I might be interested in. Also most libraries are good at assessing the likes and dislikes of their patrons and buying books that they know their patrons will take out and read. Luckily for me, that usually means I have an interest in a lot of the books at my home library!

 So what about you all? How often do you get to your library? Do you wish you could go more?

2015 Book #37 – Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot

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Title: Boy Meets Girl
Author: Meg Cabot
Date finished: 4/25/15
Genre: Chick-lit / Women’s fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
Publication Date: January 2004
Pages in book: 383
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

Meet Kate Mackenzie. She:

  • works for the T.O.D. (short for Tyrannical Office Despot, also known as Amy Jenkins,Director of the Human Resources Division at the New York Journal)
  • is sleeping on the couch because her boyfriend of ten years refuses to commit
  • can’t find an affordable studio apartment anywhere in New York City
  • thinks things can’t get any worse.

They can. Because:

  • the T.O.D. is making her fire the most popular employee in the paper’s senior staff dining room
  • that employee is now suing Kate for wrongful termination, and
  • now Kate has to give a deposition in front of Mitch Hertzog, the scion of one of Manhattan’s wealthiest law families,who embraces everything Kate most despises … but also happens to have a nice smile and a killer bod.

The last thing anybody — least of all Kate Mackenzie — expects to finding a legal arbitration is love. But that’s the kind of thing that can happen when … Boy Meets Girl.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the #ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I checked out this book from the Terryville Public Library. This book was a re-read for me, I have read all of Meg Cabot’s adult books before and have loved them all. This book is a perfect, light-hearted, entertaining read. Kate is a bleeding heart character. Her and Mitch actually turn out to be a great match since he worked as a public defender and understands the bleeding heart mentality. Mitch’s family is just hilarious too. I couldn’t stand Stuart and I couldn’t even believe he could have some of those thoughts as a sane human being.
All the characters in this book (even the villainous-like ones) are entertaining I think. I love that this novel is in the epistolary form because you get to hear pieces from almost every character’s point of view and I find that makes the story better in many ways. Overall this is a sweet story and a light, fun read.

The bottom line: This was a re-read for me. I would definitely recommend.

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

2015 Book #36 – The Liar by Nora Roberts

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Title: The Liar
Author: Nora Roberts
Date finished: 4/24/15
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Pages in book: 501
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …
The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.
Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning …

My rating: 4 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the #ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I checked out this book from the Plainville Public Library, luckily for me there it was sitting right on the shelf on its release date! I’m a fan of Nora Roberts and this book in particular sounded interesting to me. Right from the beginning this book drew me in. I have to admit I was a little daunted at first based on the length (hardcover book with 500 pages!!) but it went surprisingly fast. I found the story to be well-paced for the most part. There are obviously going to be a few dry parts in a 500 page book, I’m not sure how anyone can avoid that, but the story line was interesting and the characters kept me engaged throughout.
I have to say I just fell so much in love with Griff’s character. He was just so amazingly sweet and generous and loving. He was obviously smitten with Shelby’s little girl, four-year old Callie. And I thought it was so great that Shelby had such a supportive family to fall back on. Her story really is just astounding, and heart-wrenchingly sad that she lived for five years with someone who made her feel so worthless and unwanted. That’s an awful feeling and to be constantly made to feel that by someone you love, I can understand how she lost some of her spirit. It was wonderful to see her regain that spirit and grow throughout the novel though.
One of the things that I have to be honest I didn’t love about this book was the amount of characters we’re introduced to through the course of the story. Gosh it was just too much for me, I could barely keep them all straight. And some of them had the same names like little three year-old Jackson and Shelby’s grandfather Jack, and Shelby’s father Clay and her brother Clayton. It was just hard to keep track of sometimes. It was also hard to keep track of who was talking, there was a LOT of conversation going back and forth in most of the book, sometimes for long rambles and at a couple points I had to go back through because I was like, wait who said that?

The bottom line: Was good and surprisingly well-paced for such a long book. Favorite part of the story was Griff I think. Would recommend.

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

2015 Book #35 – My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

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Title: My Sunshine Away
Author: M.O.Walsh
Date finished: 4/22/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Pages in book: 303
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

It was the summer everything changed.…
My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.
In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the#ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I checked out this book from the Simsbury Public Library. I’ve seen this book in a number of recent book review publications and it was listed as #11 on Amazon’s Best Books of February 2015 listing. Going into this book, I knew that it was not going to be a happy-go-lucky book. This was an odd book for me. From the beginning of the novel, you can feel the narrator’s guilt. It is confusing at first trying to discover whether the narrator was the actual criminal in the act that would forever alter Lindy Simpson. After learning of the narrator’s character through the story though, it is hard to imagine him capable of rape. The book alternates between memories from before and after Lindy’s rape, centering around our narrator’s experiences with his family and with Lindy herself.
There were a lot of profound thoughts that this adult narrator looking back on his teenager self is realizing or just now articulating. His description with his mother and father, who are divorced, as well as how he deals with his sister’s death, are thought-provoking. His description of realizing that weakness lives in both his parents is something every child realizes as they grow and have to realize that a weakness lies within all of us. One of the thoughts from the book that really stuck with me is when the author states that he finds it amazing how little information children have to work with on a daily basis, or something to that effect. It really is entirely true. Children have to operate on a daily basis with less information that adults because the adults in their life are (hopefully) trying to shield them from the harsh realities of the world.
The whole story is told in the first person through the view of our narrator and I found it really amazing that looking through the narrator’s eyes as a teenager, I could connect so well and see the hormonal ups and downs and emotional rollercoaster that the narrator was just trying to survive during this awful period of time in Lindy’s life.
I thought this was overall a very interesting book. It deals with some very heavy issues though so I would say that readers definitely need to have the mental maturity to handle those issues that are introduced in the story.

The bottom line: A little dark but I think contains some very important thoughts, I would recommend with a precaution. You read about the aftermath of how a neighborhood deals with a girl’s rape. It is harsh. Just be prepared. Not for kids.

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

2015 Book #34 – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Date finished: 4/20/15
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Pages in book: 433
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life–and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the#ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I checked out this book from the Simsbury Public Library. I saw this book awhile ago, can’t remember where, but it looked good so I added it to my TBR list. I saw it at the library and decided to pick it up. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I have heard a lot of good things.
There were a lot of things I liked about this book. I loved almost all the characters in this story. All of them evolved so much through the book I felt like I was growing and changing with them. Cather is such a great character and I really connected with her on her anxiety issues since I suffer from similar issues a lot of the time. I couldn’t necessarily connect with her on her shyness with boys but overall she was just such an easy character to connect with. And oh my gosh, Levi. If I could pick any of the characters I’ve read about that I would want for a boyfriend, it would be Levi. He is just amazingly sweet and so happy its disgusting and awesome at the same time.
One of the characters I really just didn’t like in the book (mostly because I think I wasn’t supposed to) was the mom, Laura. She was so disinterested in her own daughters and she leaves them when they’re 8 and never contacts them again. But she goes on to get remarried and she has step-kids and that’s ok? And what the hell is with the thing that when she ended up with twins instead of one baby, she didn’t even pick a second name she just split up the one name she had already picked out (Cather + Wren = Catherine). I mean it ended up being cute names for the girls but the mom was just being lazy and it just makes me dislike her more.
There was a good amount of teen angst in this book which is why I stopped reading young adult books a few years ago, it just became too frustrating. This book was not overwhelmingly teen angst though and the story line I still found to be solid and interesting. I couldn’t put this book down yesterday, I was up reading til I finished it at 1am. Great story, great characters, great feels. I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.

The bottom line: Great book, lots of feels. Sweet characters. I would definitely recommend.

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

#ReadingMyLibrary challenge – Library Scavenger Hunt!

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So! As part of the #ReadingMyLibrary challenge, the hosts came up with the brilliant idea to organize a library scavenger hunt! I completed the scavenger hunt at the Terryville Public Library today with my mom. So here are the guidelines for the library scavenger hunt. If you want to participate in the giveaway, please find at least TEN (10) of the following things in your library. If you are unable to find ten of these things, leave a note in your post explaining that. This scavenger hunt was great fun! I used to work at the Terryville Library so it was a little easier for me since I already knew where most things were and from shelving books for 5 years I could think of a few different books to meet the requirements needed. Everyone should try this, it is a great way to get to know your library better!

Make a post on your blog (or Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc) with pictures of the following things:

  • Your library
  • Library Card
  • Old School Card Catalog (we know that not all libraries have one of these, so take a picture of the catalog on a computer instead!)
  • Your Librarian / Circulation Clerk (ask nicely and I’m sure they’ll let you!)
  • Date Stamper
  • Bookmark
  • An audio book
  • A DVD
  • Withdrawn or discarded book (can be controversial, but a part of a book’s life at a library.  Most end up for sale)
  • Fun library furniture
  • Your favorite library book (could be broken down into F, NF, YA, JF/MG, E, etc)
  • A large print book
  • Your library’s event calendar
  • Flyer for an upcoming event
  • A fun display
  • A book from the 800 non-fiction section (a book categorized in the 800s of the Dewey Decimal System)
  • A set of encyclopedias
  • Newspaper/Magazine
  • A graphic novel
  • Fun round (take a picture with all these books together – make sure you take the stack up to the circ desk when you’re done so they can in-house the books!):
  • Find a book with a girl in a dress on the cover
  • Find a book that’s green
  • Find a book with an author who has the same initials as you
  • Find a book with a number in the title
  • Find a cookbook
  • Find a picture book
  • Find a book with a picture of someplace you would like to visit
  • Find a book with more than eight (8) words in the title
  • Find a book with a one (1) word title
  • Find a book about libraries or with the word library in the title
  • Find a book with a duck on the cover

Here is a gallery with all the items from the list I found in my library!

2015 Book #33 – Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss

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Title: Cat Out of Hell
Author: Lynne Truss
Date finished: 4/18/15
Genre: Fiction – Not really sure what genre
Publisher: Melville House
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Pages in book: 162
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

For people who both love and hate cats comes the tale of Alec Charlesworth, a librarian who finds himself suddenly alone: he’s lost his job, his beloved wife has just died. Overcome by grief, he searches for clues about her disappearance in a file of interviews between a man called “Wiggy” and a cat, Roger. Who speaks to him.
It takes a while for Alec to realize he’s not gone mad from grief, that the cat is actually speaking to Wiggy . . . and that much of what we fear about cats is true. They do think they’re smarter than humans, for one thing. And, well, it seems they are! What’s more, they do have nine lives. Or at least this one does – Roger’s older than Methuselah, and his unblinking stare comes from the fact that he’s seen it all.
And he’s got a tale to tell, a tale of shocking local history and dark forces that may link not only the death of Alec’s wife, but also several other local deaths. But will the cat help Alec, or is he one of the dark forces?

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: This book will count for the challenge I am participating in for April, the #ReadingMyLibrary reading challenge. I checked out this book from the Simsbury Public Library. I saw this book in a recent BookPage publication I think and a couple other places so when I saw it at the library I thought I would give it a try. To be honest I thought this book was going to be a funny book. It wasn’t especially. Looking back I think there were some parts that were either funny or were supposed to be funny. Overall I found the book to be scary though. Like horror movie scary. Cats that can talk and can kill you just by hissing at you? If that’s not the stuff of horror movies then I don’t know what is.
That being said, the story line was very interesting. The book was only about 160 pages so it was short and well-paced. The story was fairly easy to follow. A lot of people died though. And I am a pretty big fan of cats so the idea of murderous talking cats was more than somewhat unpleasant to me. The story line had a good flow though from one section to the next and I honestly just loved the Sherlock Holmes and other literary and cultural references. Very good book.

The bottom line: Not what I expected but I have to say it was interesting. A bit like a horror movie. But sometimes kind of funny.

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

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge – Weekly Update #3 April 18th

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Thank goodness tax season is over! Now that I’m not going to be working quite as much, I’m hoping to get some work done on my house and also get some more reading done! Over this past week I was able to read three books for the reading challenge: Every Boy’s Got One, The Magician’s Lie, and I just finished Cat Out of Hell this morning (book review to be posted later today). The first two books I got from the Terryville Public Library and the Cat book I got from the Simsbury Public Library.
As part of the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge, you get an entry into the challenge giveaway for reading one book as part of the challenge but you get an additional entry for reading 5 additional books (up to two additional entries so 10 extra books). Since Vintner’s Daughter was my book 1 for this challenge, that’s my one book for the first part of the challenge. My next 5 additional books were last week’s Cure for the Common Breakup, You’re So Fine, and Find Me and this week’s Every Boy’s Got One and The Magician’s Lie. I’m hoping to get through another 5 books in the next 12 days so that I can get that second additional entry into the giveaway!

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So as part of the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge, there are optional weekly update posts. The topic for this week’s post is: Why you love libraries or why you love being a librarian. I worked at the library in my town all through high school and when I was home on breaks from college. I’ve always loved books and reading, ever since I was little. Late in middle school though I really started to get addicted to reading. When it came time for me to find a job in high school, I could think of no place I’d rather work then a library. Luckily for me, the library was within walking distance of my high school. I begged and pleaded with the library director until they gave me a job. I was a big talker (loud too) early in high school so I think they were nervous about giving me a job at first. I have to be honest, I was a pretty rambunctious kid and I think working at the library is really what settled me. I relished the quiet and peace of the library and realized how much I loved and needed those periods of silence through the day.

Another reason I loved working at the library is that I’m absolutely addicted to books. I can’t walk into a book store or a library without buying/checking out a new book, even though I already have a stack of 50 books to read at home and I know that I absolutely do not need another book. And the thing that really fed the addiction is that working at the library I could check the same books out over and over again if I didn’t have time to read them. I think I had one book checked out for almost a year. So really the library was just about the perfect place for me.

Over the years I have learned that I love not only working at my home library but also just going to any library and browsing the books there gives me immense pleasure. I have about a million (might be a small exaggeration) books on my TBR list and coming across one or two of them at different libraries and checking them out to read is a great feeling. Each new book is a new adventure for me and I’m able to travel to so many places through reading. Libraries provide me with that. What could one possibly not love about a place like that?