Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (312)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


37868273

The French Adventure
(Kindle 21%)
    - Lucy Coleman

Bit by bit I can work my hand further inside to scoop out the loose debris surrounding the object. Finally, a piece of stone that seemed to be wedged in front of the object releases and suddenly there it is in my hand -- a small wooden box.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

In a Jam

39338008Andie Carson has to do three things to inherit her grandmother’s lottery winnings—sober up, spend a month running her grandmother’s Georgia coffee shop, and enter homemade jam in the county fair. If she can’t meet those terms, the money goes to the church, and Andie gets nothing. She figures her tasks will be easy enough, and once she completes them, Andie plans to sell the shop, take the money, and run back to Boston.

After a rough breakup from his crazy ex-fiancĂ©e, Officer Gunnar Wills decides to take a hiatus from women. All he wants is to help make his small town thrive the way it did when he was a kid. But when wild and beautiful Andie shows up, Gunnar’s hesitant heart begins to flutter.

Gunnar knows that Andie plans to leave, but he’s hoping to change her mind, fearful that if her coffee shop closes, Main Street will fold to the big-box corporations and forever change the landscape of his quaint community. But convincing her to stay means getting close enough to risk his heart in the process. Even though Gunnar makes small-town life seem a little sweeter, Andie has to decide if she’s ready to turn her world upside down and give up big-city life. One thing’s for sure—it’s a very sticky situation.

*May Contain Spoilers*

In a Jam by Cindy Dorminy was exactly what I wanted it to be! The book is a love story that's easy to slip right into and stay until the end. It was a perfectly enjoyable romance that I read in a single day. The characters were flawed but likable, while the plot was steady and interesting. 

Andie is a lonely woman who mistakes drinking buddies for real friends. She has a problem and, even though she knows it, she doesn't see a reason to change. Like many of us in this world, she craves connection. Her grandmother offers that with Andie's inheritance stipulations. However, it takes a while for Andie to see it that way. Andie is a woman with a beautiful heart and giving spirit. She's nice and accepting to everyone she meets, but she also knows how to stand up for herself. With the rules of the inheritance in place, Andie's grandmother is determined to give Andie the chance at a better life through her own death. All Andie has to do is follow the rules for six weeks and then she can do whatever she wants. But, through the trials that accompany her relocation, Andie realizes that what she thought she wanted, isn't actually what she desires. Readers will have multiple chances to connect with Andie throughout the novel whether it be emotionally or through her personality. 

Gunnar shares the role of narrator with Andie and offers readers another main character to connect with. Gunnar is a recovering playboy who had his heart broken by his ex-fiance. As he keeps an eye on Andie, he quickly realizes that he's falling for her and wonders if she would ever consider permanently relocating to his small town. I think readers will connect with his personality and quick wit at the beginning, but soon realize that there are more layers to Gunnar than it first seems. Through his past, that threatens to come back and wreak havoc, readers will feel invested in Gunnar's character and want him to win over Andie for a chance at happily ever after. 

With these two characters and a fun supporting cast, I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of romance and those readers who enjoy a book that keeps them turning pages. This book pulls you in from the beginning and, as hurdles keep popping up, the urge to keep going just becomes stronger and stronger. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (100)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

37868273

I'm looking forward to...

The French Adventure by Lucy Coleman. I'm hoping to add this one to my reading list because it sounds like such an easy and delightful read. A summer love story sounds perfect while waiting for warmer weather and lots of sunshine. Especially when these days are filled with to-do lists and errands and the need to spring clean. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (311)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


36097383

Intraterrestrial (Kindle 23%)
   - Nicholas Conley

"I need some kind of info, doctor, or I'm going to go nuts."
Dr. Blake nodded, consulted his chart, then awkwardly crouched down to her eye level. "Mrs. Helios, I have news about your husband."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Norwegian Wood

11297Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami is probably one of the strangest yet intriguing books I have ever read. Murakami utilizes a variety of themes to explore the love life and coming of age story of Toru. However, most of these themes are weighed down with the theme of death. As several characters in the novel commit suicide, I think Murakami uses the looming nature of death to highlight the difficulties of life. 

Toru is the main character and the narrator of the novel. He's a young college student who is learning to navigate the world of love, sex, and being an adult. His young adulthood has been heavily influenced by the suicide of his best friend that occurred a few years earlier. When he reconnects with his deceased best friend's former girlfriend, Naoko, Toru falls in love with her but must help her and recognize that she struggles with depression and (perhaps) other mental illness. 

Toru is a semi-likeable character as he's intelligent, morally guided overall, and mostly supportive of the few friends he has. I say 'mostly' because he does poke fun at his roommate and remains friends with a playboy, even participating in some one-night stands of his own. The main thing about Toru is that he is flawed so that makes him both relatable and influenced by the story's action. However, in that flawed nature, he isn't a very reliable narrator. He constantly doubts his memory which then transfers doubt to the reader. Within that doubt, readers still feel connected to Toru based on both his experiences and the emotions he evokes. Toru is a hopeful young man who is caught between a love of the past and a chance for love in the future. 

The entire story is a told as a flashback, as Toru relives the days of knowing Naoko because he hears a cover of The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood." While Toru tells the story, he seems to get lost and the present becomes the memory while the past fully takes over. Though this book is interesting and pulls the reader in from the beginning, it is incredibly sad with no real conclusion. For as much emotional investment the book requires, it seems that the payoff would be bigger. Or at least, the conclusion more clear. Overall, I was dedicated to this book and kind of disappointed with how it ended. I almost felt like I was being punished for making it to the end. I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone and definitely not just anyone. In terms of literature, this book is interesting in the way it presents Westernization and cultural influences. However, I don't think everyone would be a fan. It's a book that requires contemplation and analysis to even begin to unpack everything that Murakami tackles. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups
 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Everything She Lost

37531813After suffering a mental breakdown that nearly destroyed her marriage, Nina Taylor works hard to maintain her tenuous hold on sanity and be a good mother to her two young daughters. Despite her best efforts, she questions the possibility of a full recovery.

Single mom Deja Johnson struggles to overcome her troubled past and raise her young son. But her friendship with Nina brings more complications. What Deja is hiding could not only destroy relationships but endanger lives.

One traumatic night threatens to shatter Nina’s mind. With Deja’s help, she strives to maintain her mental balance. But as events spiral out of control, the women must find out if Nina is losing her sanity or if someone is plotting against her.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Alessandra Harris creates a confused and creepy web of deceit in her novel, Everything She Lost. Splitting the narrative between two main characters, Nina and Deja, give readers two sides of the same story... but one is untrustworthy while the other is mentally ill. This creates a story that readers doubt from the very beginning. 

Nina is a woman who is still recovering from a mental breakdown. As a reader, I liked Nina for her persistence, her focus, and the love she has for her children. She truly wants to be healthy so she can take care of her children. However, the situation she is in is not conducive to mental health. Her husband, Rodney, is cheating on her and she isn't aware of it. What makes it worse -- he's cheating on Nina with Deja, Nina's only friend. This sets up readers to immediately dislike Deja and it worked for me. Though I can see that she's trying to make a better life for her and her son, Miles, she's going about it the wrong way. When a person from her past threatens her, she reverts back to her previous way of handling things. 

Both of these characters do elicit sympathy from the reader, creating a connection from the beginning. Though as the story continues, readers can see the confusion mounting and a feeling of wrongness seeps from the pages. Suddenly it's Nina against reality and she doesn't know who to trust or who is telling her the truth. This is how Harris takes her novel to the next level, making the book suspenseful and the reader a little afraid to know the truth. The only downside was that the outcome was a bit predictable. There are only so many characters and once the reader starts narrowing it down, then there's only one solution that makes sense. 

The plot begins by introducing the relationships between the characters: Nina and Deja are friends while Deja is having an affair with Rodney, Nina's husband. A single text message prompts Nina to burst into Deja's house where she's being attacked by an ex-lover. In an effort to help, Nina accidentally kills the man. And all sorts of trouble follows layered with various side-plots and supporting characters. I think readers who enjoy suspense, thrillers, and unreliable narrators will enjoy this book. (It even has hints of a mystery.) I would definitely recommend for an entertaining read. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (99)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

36097383

I'm looking forward to... 

Reading more books that aren't on a Grad School reading list! :) (Not that those books have been bad.) 

And that starts with Intraterrestrial by Nicholas Conley. This book combines the medical world and the world of outer space with a young man in a coma and the alien who takes over his subconscious. I can't wait to get started on this book because it is such a unique and fresh story idea. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (310)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


37531813

Everything She Lost
 (Kindle 69%)
    - Alessandra Harris

"I didn't go to the police because you said you didn't want to be an accomplice. You helped me hide the body then told me to keep my mouth shut. We are both guilty now."

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Love in the Time of Cholera

9712In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Love in the Time of Cholera is another example of a classic book that I never picked up without good reason. I've always wanted to read it, but there was also always another book that I needed to read first. Finally, with my current grad school class, I read this amazing novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. 

The main characters, Florentino and Fermina, were secret teenage sweethearts in Latin America until Fermina's father found out about the connection and took Fermina away on a trip that would force her to realize that what she needed in adulthood was not love, but stability in all forms. With her hopes dashed and the crushing reality that life does not revolve around love, Fermina marries another - the serious yet quirky Dr. Urbino. More than fifty years later, the day of Dr. Urbino's death, Florentino reappears with the same promises that he loves Fermina and wants to be with her. But, Fermina still isn't sure. She's ruled by the dictations of society and the opinions of others. Through these characters, Marquez shares, with heavy doses of beautiful prose and magical realism, the story of a love that has lasted more than fifty years and now, near the end of life's cycle, has another chance. 

Though I didn't exactly like Fermina, I did understand her reasoning. Her motives and decisions make sense in a society that doesn't let anyone be who they really are. So, although I wanted her to choose love, I didn't blame her for rejecting Florentino. Though, Florentino's dedication to her was incredibly surprising. I still struggle to understand why he never moved on. He had other relationships with women and in reality, Florentino and Fermina didn't have that much time to really get to know each other's personality. So although the relationship is one that is difficult to understand, the feelings between them last nearly a lifetime. And in their old age, they get to be reunited. But then they struggle to accept the judgment that undoubtedly comes from their connection. The novel asks now that they're older, shouldn't they have grown out of falling in love? 

The plot of this novel begins with the death of one of Dr. Urbino's closest friends and the secrets revealed with it. As death becomes a reality for Urbino, it comes calling just hours later. Through flashbacks and memories, Marquez shares the story of the love that blossomed between Florentino and Fermina as young people, the rejection of Florentino by Fermina, the meeting of her and Dr. Urbino, their marriage, including their struggles, and Florentino's life without Fermina in it until they can be reunited through her widowhood. My favorite part about this book was the weight of the magic that hung on each page. Marquez writes of ghosts, feelings, and omens as if they were physical objects that could be touched. Though the novel and the details did become a little heavy at times, this book forces the reader to take it slow or risk missing an important detail. Though the characters were complex and not easy to like, or truly connect with, they were realistic and flawed. With an important focus on character and the amount of detail and subtlety in his writing style, I know for sure that I will definitely be reading more of Marquez's work and recommending him to anyone who hasn't read his books.

Rating: 4/5 Cups

What's Next, Wednesday (98)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

39338008

I'm looking forward to...

In a Jam by Cindy Dorminy. As I've enjoyed this author's previous books, I am super excited to start this one soon! Andie is set to inherit money from her grandmother... but there are a few stipulations. One is that she has to stick around a Georgia town long enough that she just might fall in love. That's the stipulation I'm most excited about. I might have to carve out a whole day to assign to this book! Then I won't have to put it down. :) 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (309)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


37531813

Everything She Lost
(Kindle 16%)
    - Alessandra Harris

After what had happened, Rodney was scared for his life, for the girls, and for the future. So he'd changed the locks and told Nina that she was no longer welcome in their house..." 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Land of Strength and Sorrow (Secrets of Orendor #1)

36303537One cure can save them all...

Princess Jovi's sheltered life has taught her nothing about Orendor, the kingdom she will one day rule. Longing for adventure isn't the same as being thrust into the middle of one, which is exactly what happens when the Frost Mages attack the castle in Kingsperch.

Determined to save her kingdom, Jovi must gather an army of brave warriors to defeat the Frost Mages and protect the people she loves. She seeks help from the bravest Mammoth Rider in all of Orendor—her fearless uncle, Meical.

Jovi will endure harrowing trials she never imagined she’d face, but as a daring new enemy emerges from the darkness, Jovi will discover a startling truth about herself that might open the door to a brand new future.

Will she choose the lives of many or the heart of one?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Cassandra Fear begins a new fantasy series with her novel, Land of Strength and Sorrow, in which a sheltered princess finds herself the key to stopping an all-out war -- if she can provide a cure for her father's curse, cast twenty years before. 

Jovi represents the idea of a typical sheltered princess, but she differs from the stereotype through her strong personality, her understanding nature, and her intelligence. It's obvious through the choices she makes that Jovi would truly make a good Queen of Orendor, if she isn't killed by the enemy first. I think readers will like her determination, her caring heart, and her loyalty. Those three things motivate her to make the right decisions and stay calm in the midst of chaos. The only aspect of Jovi's personality that bugged me a bit was that she seemed a little wishy-washy at times. I also didn't really enjoy the love story as a side plot. It felt a bit awkward to me. She falls for a guard within a few days of knowing him. At one point she does admit her feelings could be because he's the first male her age that she's connected with and I think that was exactly what happened. I also struggled with the writing style at times. As the beginning of an epic fantasy, I expected more detail and a bit more weight given to the situations. 

The plot of the novel was interesting and held my attention throughout. To break it down a bit, there are three main groups: Jovi's people, Fire Mages, and Frost Mages. Twenty years prior, Jovi's father (the King) cast a curse on the Mages so that they could never have children because one Mage murdered his only son. Now, the Mages want to be cured of the curse and will either get their way or kill until they do. Thus, Jovi sets out to find the cure to save her parents and her kingdom. Though readers know that Jovi's journey for the cure is doomed from the start, there's still an air of hope that she'll succeed somehow. As this is the beginning of a series, there was a cliffhanger ending that sets up the next book pretty well. I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers who enjoy a female leader who's coming of age and building her strength. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (97)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

11297

I'm looking forward to...

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. This book is the last full-length novel for the class I'm currently taking. This Japanese novel follows the love story and coming-of-age of Toru, a college student whose relationship is marked by his best friend's death years before. I'm excited to begin reading this book because I've really enjoyed reading other Japanese literature and Asian Literature throughout this class. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (308)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


36303537

Land of Strength and Sorrow
 (Kindle 60%)
     - Cassandra Fear

"I think they held back a lot when Jovi told them she'd give them the cure first."
"That's what they're after?" Bastien paced in a circle. "Of course." 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Years in an Instant

36872927When we last left our heroine at the end of the critically acclaimed novel "Like a Closed Fist", Phoebe was floundering. Left with a broken heart and shattered pride, she turns to the much older Mitch to pick up the pieces. This time, her father’s best friend doesn’t resist her.

Bruce, everyone’s favorite tough-love dad, finally takes a stand and tries to break the mismatched pair up. Phoebe, hurt and humiliated once again, runs away from home. Out on her own for the first time, she learns life’s greatest lesson: how to grow up.

Phoebe 2.0, mature and enjoying her independence, is determined to take a break from romance. But, as often happens, her best-laid plans go awry. Is it just a rebound, or will Phoebe fall in love?

With Bruce, Mitch, Annie, Mark, Frankie, Mason, Leo, and another trip to beautiful North Carolina, this California girl has another adventure in store for her!

*May Contain Spoilers*

Years in an Instant by E.H. Nolan is the sequel to Like a Closed Fist, which I reviewed a little over a year ago. With the ending of that book leaving Pheobe's life in complete chaos, the second part of the story was bound to come out. Though highly immature in the first book, this sequel shows Pheobe attempting to grow up and be her own person -- but relationships, love, and heartbreak get in the way once again. 

In this installment of her story, Pheobe tries to be a mature adult, but the way she begins is anything but. Involved with a married man since her wedding-that-never-happened, Pheobe thinks Mitch will leave his wife for her. But he won't. Though she doesn't realize this -- her dad does and puts a stop to Mitch's interest in his daughter. Thank goodness! Pheobe's dad was my favorite character in the first book and he is sadly absent for most of this novel. Though he does do the right thing for his daughter before he steps aside from the cast list. Pheobe's reaction to her father's actions are a bit ridiculous. She moves out of their family home without so much as a text message and into an apartment listed on Craigslist. Then Frankie comes back in the picture and she's completely over Mitch and moving on to fall in love with the Merchant Marine who lives across the country. 

Though the book was entertaining, it was really difficult to take Pheobe seriously. She falls in and out of love a lot. And I know that your 20s are all for figuring stuff out, but I was judging her decision-making skills from the start. A few times throughout the book I almost didn't want to continue, but it never got that bad. 

However, let me emphasize it wasn't the writing style. It wasn't the storyline. It was the main character. I felt like I couldn't connect with her. She's described as the woman who every man wants because she's so beautiful, but she's so trusting and naive that those men end up using her or trying to abuse her. To say it's bothersome is an understatement. Overall, I didn't feel like she was realistic enough to connect with. I want her to grow into a stronger character and a stronger woman who doesn't need to fall in love with every man who shows interest in her. And I want her to decide for herself who she wants to be with, not jump at every opportunity. I also want her to put her life goals ahead of her constantly shifting love life. I mean, she loses her job in this book because she's chasing after a man who told her he did not want to be with her. 

I'm starting to ramble, which is something I do a lot. My own character flaw. As a novel full of drama and entertainment, I would recommend this book. However, as a book that readers can connect to, I think that's a struggle... And even though there was a cliffhanger ending (again) I don't know if I'll read the next book. It doesn't seem like my cup of coffee. 

Rating: 2.5/5 Cups

Read the review of book one, Like a Closed Fist

32326198

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (96)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

37531813

I'm looking forward to... 

Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris. This novel promises suspense when a woman whose sanity is uncertain experiences a traumatic event. With this huge nor'easter just dumping snow, I feel like I might have plenty of reading time to dig in! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (307)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


9712


Love in the Time of Cholera
(p.169)
    - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

"The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love."