Wednesday, November 13, 2019

WWW Wednesday: November 13

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The Three W's are:

What did you just finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you'll read next?


Recently Finished

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I absolutely LOVED Colleen Hoover's latest. I think it's my favorite, next to It Ends With Us. Definitely add this one to your list if you're a CoHo fan! I'll be writing a full review closer to the pub date on December 10.

Currently Reading

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I'm still listening to This Tender Land--it's a loooong audiobook and I'm slowly working my way through. I love the book so far though--need to make time to listen to finish it! This Tender Land and Regretting You are both a little more intense, so I needed a light read--enter The Friend Zone! It's a fun read and I'm enjoying it so far.

Up Next 

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The "Up Next" category of this post is always the hardest. But The Giver of Stars is the November Reese Witherspoon book club pick, so I definitely want to read it soon!

What are you reading this week?

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Review: Summer of '69

Summer of '69
42283286By Elin Hilderbrand
432 pages, published June 2019
Little, Brown and Company
Source: Puchased for myself through Book of the Month

From Goodreads:

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother's historic home in downtown Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha's Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind.

In her first "historical novel," rich with the details of an era that shaped both a country and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again proves her title as queen of the summer novel.





Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorite authors. I've read all of her books and though some of them aren't for me, I still always add her new books to my TBR. I was excited to read Summer of '69 and see Elin's take on historical fiction. My mom was in her early 20's in 1969, so it was fun reading about that time in history and thinking about he stories my mom has told me over the years.  I'm happy to say that this book is my absolute favorite Elin Hilderbrand read!!  A five star must read!

I loved all the characters and really grew attached to all of them by the end of the book.  I didn't want the story to end, despite its 400+ page length. If you missed this one this summer like I did, definitely make time to read it! When books like this switch characters and perspectives every chapter (also: each chapter title was a song title from that time period!) I usually find myself dragging through at least one of the chanters and wishing I could skip ahead. That was NOT the case with this book! I was invested in all their stories and connected with them all on some level. Anyone else humming the Bryan Adams song "Summer of '69 while reading this one? Or was it just me? 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

TLC Book Tours: One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow (GIVEAWAY!!)

About One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow

Hardcover: 496 Pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (October 8, 2019)
From the bestselling author of The Ragged Edge of Night comes a powerful and poetic novel of survival and sacrifice on the American frontier.
Wyoming, 1876. For as long as they have lived on the frontier, the Bemis and Webber families have relied on each other. With no other settlers for miles, it is a matter of survival. But when Ernest Bemis finds his wife, Cora, in a compromising situation with their neighbor, he doesn’t think of survival. In one impulsive moment, a man is dead, Ernest is off to prison, and the women left behind are divided by rage and remorse.
Losing her husband to Cora’s indiscretion is another hardship for stoic Nettie Mae. But as a brutal Wyoming winter bears down, Cora and Nettie Mae have no choice but to come together as one family—to share the duties of working the land and raising their children. There’s Nettie Mae’s son, Clyde—no longer a boy, but not yet a man—who must navigate the road to adulthood without a father to guide him, and Cora’s daughter, Beulah, who is as wild and untamable as her prairie home.
Bound by the uncommon threads in their lives and the challenges that lie ahead, Cora and Nettie Mae begin to forge an unexpected sisterhood. But when a love blossoms between Clyde and Beulah, bonds are once again tested, and these two resilient women must finally decide whether they can learn to trust each other—or else risk losing everything they hold dear.


Purchase Links


Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

  This isn't a typical book pick for me. Honestly, what made me interested in reading it was that one of my best friends grew up in Wyoming and I've read so few books set there, particularly historical fiction books set there. What I enjoyed about this book was the writing--vividly descriptive and poetic. Her descriptive writing really made me feel like I was there, immersed in a completely different existence than what we have today.  The amount of work it took for them just to survive is certainly something we take for granted in our society today. This is a slower paced read, but the beautiful writing pulls you into the story. I read this one in a few long sittings because the writing flowed so well it was hard to put the book down!

 The characters are also what kept me interested in this book.  I loved Cora, Nettie Mae, and Beulah,but I especially liked Clyde. This book is about family, friendship, love, survival, and sacrifice. Nettie Mae and Cora had to set aside their differences and issues and come together to survive. If you're looking for a book to savor and a book that immerses you in a different time and place, this book is the one.

About Olivia Hawker

Through unexpected characters and vivid prose, Olivia Hawker explores the varied landscape of the human spirit. Olivia’s interest in geneal­ogy often informs her writing: her two novels, The Ragged Edge of Night and One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow, are based on true stories found within her own family tree. She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, where she homesteads at Longlight, a one-acre microfarm dedicated to sustainable permaculture practices. For more information, visit www.hawkerbooks.com/olivia.

Connect with Olivia


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Follow the tour here!

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Monday, November 4, 2019

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday What Are You Reading

It’s Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly reading roundup is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

Happy November! Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday (NO Christmas anything in my house until after Thanksgiving!!). I'm already getting excited and planning my menu and decorations and such. I'm hosting again this year for Thanksgiving and the weekend before for Friendsgiving, and I'm so excited!

This fall has been SO busy at work and I've been so stressed out it's been hard to read! I only finished 3 hooks in October, which is very disappointing for me.  Hoping to finish out the year strong--I need to read 9 more books to meet my goal of 100 books for the year. I'm taking the week of Thanksgiving off work (YAY!) and some time at Christmas, and I plan on devouring some books during that time!

I recently finished Summer of '69 by Elini Hilderbrand--it was on my summer TBR and I didn't get to it during summer! Happy to say it was absolutely fantastic and probably my very favorite Hilderbrand novel to date. Full review will be on the blog later this week!

I'm currently listening to This Tender Land on audio and absolutely loving it. It's a long one (the book is 450 pages) but it's so good so far. I also just started my ARC of Regretting You by Colleen Hoover. Super excited to have gotten approved for this ARC. CoHo is always a must read author for me. After work today I'm also picking up All This Could Be Yours at the library--it's on hold for me. I've heard lots of good. things about it

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I'm also excited about Reese Witherspoon's November pick, The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. I picked it as my November Book of the Month pick and I can't wait to read it! Overall I've been disappointed with Reese's 2019 picks (except for The Secrets We Kept, I loved that one) and I'm hoping this one is great!

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What are you reading this week? Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

WWW Wednesday: October 30

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The Three W's are:

What did you just finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you'll read next?


Recently Finished

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I absolutely LOVED All About Evie by Cathy Lamb--it just released yesterday. If you haven't read Cathy Lamb's books yet, I highly recommend this one and all her books! My review is here. Though slow paced, I enjoyed the lyrical writing in One for the Blackbird. My review will be on the blog for TLC Book Tours November 6th.

Currently Reading

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 To be honest, I'm struggling through Fair Play. I'm reading it because it's the October Reese's Book Club pick, but I am definitely NOT the target audience for this book.  I'm catching up on my summer TBR that I didn't get to during the summer and LOVING Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand. I usually either really love her books or just don't connect with them, and this book is in the love category! Hopefully I continue to love it. I'm listening to This Tender Land on audio and really enjoying it as well. I have the physical book but was able to get the audio as an ALC, so I'm listening instead.


Up Next 

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Maybe one of these two? I'll see how I feel after my current reads.  

What are you reading this week?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Review: All About Evie

43984782All About Evie
By Cathy Lamb
480 pages, publication date October 29,2019
Kensington Books

Note: I received this book from the author and publisher via NetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

As a child, Evie Lindsay was unnerved by her premonitions. As an adult, they have become a simple fact of life--sometimes disruptive but also inescapable, much like her quirky, loveable family. Evie's mother, Poppy, and her aunts, Camellia and Iris, are well known on San Orcanita island for their free-spirited ways and elaborately decorated hats. Their floral shop and Evie's bookstore draw streams of visitors all summer long. This season promises to be extra busy: Evie's sister, Jules, is getting married on the island.

As Jules plans her unconventional wedding, she arranges to do a DNA test with her mother, sister, and aunts, to see how much accepted lore about their heritage holds true. The results blow apart everything Evie has grown up believing about herself and her family. Spurred on by the revelations, Evie uncovers the real story of her past. But beyond her feelings of shock and betrayal, there are unexpected opportunities--to come to terms with a gift that has sometimes felt like a curse, to understand the secrets that surrounded her childhood, and to embrace the surprising new life that is waiting for her . . .


 
 Cathy Lamb has been one of my favorite authors for a long time. In addition to her being an Oregonian like me,her books always make me laugh, and make me feel happy. She has her own unique, quirky and fun writing style and that style is shines through in this book. It was absolutely delightful. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it warmed my heart.  I've read almost all of her books and of all of them, this is my favorite (next to The Last Time I Was Me). 

This one is my favorite because I related so much to Evie (other than the premonitions, of course!). Book hoarding? Check. Animal lover who talks to their animals if they were people? Check. Introvert? Check. Often anxious? Check.  I related so much to her daily life. I wanted to go to the island and work at her bookstore and drink tea and eat cake with her. I loved all the characters--especially her mom and crazy aunts. I love how the backstory of her life wove throughout the book.

This book was more than the humor and the great characters--it made you feel things. It had  so many great lessons, great perspectives, and it made you think. If you haven't read Cathy Lamb's books--run RIGHT NOW to your local bookstore and pick up one of her books, especially All About Evie!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Blog Tour: Meant to Be Yours (excerpt)

Meant to Be Yours
43180342By Susan Mallery
424 pages, published October 22, 2019
Harlequin Books 

Purchase Links:
Harlequin
Books-A-Million

From Goodreads:

In Happily Inc, love means never having to say “I do”…

Wedding coordinator Renee Grothen isn’t meant for marriage. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, plan. But she never could have planned on gorgeous, talented thriller writer Jasper Dembenski proposing—a fling, that is. Fun without a future. And the attraction between them is too strong for Renee to resist. Now she can have her no-wedding cake…and eat it, too.

After years in the military, Jasper is convinced he’s too damaged for relationships. So a flirtation—and more—with fiery, determined Renee is way too good to pass up…until his flame becomes his muse.

Renee is an expert at averting every crisis. But is she finally ready to leap into the one thing that can never be controlled: love?




 Excerpt


It might just be okay,” wedding coordinator Renee Grothen murmured softly to herself as she surveyed the wedding reception. She wouldn’t risk admitting everything had turned out as planned until the last guest had left, but four and a half hours in, things were going really well.
Jim and Monica Martinez were a sweet couple with a fun firefighter theme for their big day. There was a long tradition of firefighters on both sides of the family and plenty of cute touches in the wedding and reception.
Monica’s dress laced up the back and instead of white ribbon to cinch her gown, she’d used bright red. The centerpieces were ceramic boot vases painted to look like firefighter boots, filled with red, orange and yellow flowers. There was even a walk-through fountain at one end of the reception area, created with fire hoses, a pump and a lot of engineering.
Renee walked around the perimeter of the indoor reception space, looking for problems. So far, so good, she thought with cautious optimism. The cake had been cut, the bar service was about to end and the tone of the party had faded from raucous to comfortably tired—exactly as it should. With a little luck, things would wrap up on time and without a crisis. This was Monica and Jim’s day—Renee wanted it to be as perfect as possible. While she always took care of her clients, she tended to unleash her mother bear instincts for her special couples and Monica and Jim certainly qualified.
She spotted Pallas Mitchell, her boss, walking toward her. It was nearly ten on a Saturday night and Pallas, a pretty brunette only recently returned from maternity leave, yawned widely. When she spotted Renee she held up her hands, palms up.
“What can I say? I’ve been home with an infant. These wild late-night hours are going to take some getting used to.”
“No one’s judging,” Renee told her. “As I said at seven, at eight and again at nine, go home. I can handle this. You’re barely back and you need to give yourself time to adjust to the schedule.”
“You’ve been running things for nearly six months. You need a break.”
In truth, Renee was a little ragged around the edges, but she’d loved handling Weddings Out of the Box while Pallas had been gone. She’d enjoyed the challenges each unique wedding presented and watching all the details fall into place on the big day.
“I had lots of help,” Renee pointed out. “Hiring college students on summer break was a good idea.” And what they’d lacked in experience, they’d made up for in energy and enthusiasm.
“Now that I’m back, things can return to normal,” Pallas said, covering another yawn.
“Go home,” Renee urged. “Please. I can handle things here. I promise.”
“Okay. I will. Thanks. Don’t you dare come in tomorrow.” Pallas’s voice was firm. “For once, we don’t have a Sunday wedding. Enjoy the break.”
“I will.” Renee would probably pop in to do a little paperwork, but she wouldn’t stay long. “Are you coming to The Boardroom on Monday night?”
In a wedding destination town, the rhythms of the residents were determined by weekend weddings. Happily Inc’s workweek started on Wednesdays as the businesses geared up for the dozens of nuptials that occurred in multiple venues. Which meant the town’s Friday night was actually on Monday.
The Boardroom, a local bar, hosted game nights on Mondays. Board games ruled and tournaments were heated and fun as friends crushed each other at everything from Candy Land to Risk.
Pallas shook her head. “I’ll admit to being a bit of a worrier. When we went a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about Ryan. He’s only five months old. It’s too soon to leave him at night.”
Renee held in a smile. “Sure. I get that.”
“I know you don’t, but thank you for pretending. Have fun for me, too. Oh, Jasper’s back, so tell him hi, if you think of it.”
Jasper was back? Renee hadn’t heard. She liked knowing he’d returned from his big book tour. Not for any reason in particular, she amended hastily. Sure, he was nice, but there were a lot of nice guys in the world. There was just something about Jasper. Maybe it was because in addition to being good-looking and just a little dangerous, he wasn’t a forever kind of guy.
“I saw that!” Pallas grinned. “I totally saw that. You did the predatory smile thing I was never good at. You want to use him for sex! Did I know this?” She stomped her foot. “Did this happen while I was on maternity leave? What else went on while I was off having a baby?”
Renee laughed. “You’re reading way too much into my smile. I’m happy he’s home from his book tour. That’s all.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Jasper and I are not involved. I doubt we’ve had more than a three-sentence conversation.”
Not that it took many sentences to ask Your place or mine? And while the description of predatory was nice, it gave her too much credit. Would she stalk him and pounce? Not even on her best day. Would she say yes if the man asked? She smiled again. Oh, yeah, she would. Definitely. Okay, probably. If she was feeling brave. Because while she worked her butt off to give her couples their perfect happily-ever-after day, she knew it was never going to happen for her. Those who could—did. Those who couldn’t became wedding planners.
Avoiding relationships might be the smart choice, but it was also a lonely one. She knew Jasper was into the long-term, monogamous, not-serious kind of thing and she was pretty sure she could handle that. Assuming she was his type and he was interested. They could have some laughs, lots of sex and walk away completely unscathed in the heart department. Where was the bad?
“There’s something going on and you can’t convince me otherwise,” Pallas said. “You have depths. I’m very impressed. Okay, use Jasper and then tell me the details because hey, he’s got to be great.” She yawned again. “I’m such a lightweight. I’m leaving now.”
“Good night. Hug Ryan for me.”
“You know I will.”
Pallas walked out of the reception hall. Renee continued to circle the space, looking for any forgotten handbags or phones, and noting how long it would take the cleaning service to return the huge room to order. Doing her job and not thinking about the fact that Jasper was back—that was her.
A loud whoop got her attention. She turned and saw three teenaged guys running through the fountain at the far end of the big, open room. Each of them jumped, trying to touch the arc of water dancing overhead.
The younger brother, she thought as she made her way toward them. And his friends. No doubt they were bored after so many hours with not very much to do. Regardless, she was not going to have them disrupt the reception when it was so close to being over.
As she approached the running, jumping teens, she saw both sets of parents, along with the bride and groom, still dancing. They swayed in time with the music, oblivious to the fountain and the idiots messing with it. Then several things happened at once.
The younger brother started an extra long run toward the fountain. Jim let go of Monica and spun her out the length of their arms. Monica bumped her mom, who stumbled a little. Dad grabbed Mom, moving all of them closer to the fountain and the younger brother running, who had to swerve suddenly to avoid them. As he swerved, he lost his balance and slipped, tumbling into the fountain mechanism. One of the hoses broke free, wiggling and spraying water everywhere.
Renee saw it all happening and knew there was no way she was going to allow her beautiful bride to get soaked. She lunged for the hose, caught it and held it tightly against her chest as the bride’s father rushed to turn off the water to the hose. It took only seconds, but by then the entire fountain had spilled over and Renee was drenched, shivering and had water up her nose even as she wondered if she looked half as ridiculous as she felt.
The new Mrs. Martinez hurried over. “Renee, are you all right?” She turned on her brother. “How could you? This is a wedding, not a water park.”
Aware that end-of-wedding exhaustion could easily lead to emotions spiraling out of control, Renee quickly faked a smile.
“Monica, it’s fine. Don’t worry. Keeping you and the rest of the wedding party dry was my only concern.” She glanced at the water draining onto the floor and realized part of the fountain was still pumping out water. That couldn’t be good. If she couldn’t get everything turned off, she was going to have to call in one of those companies that took care of disasters like flooding. “Really. It’s no problem.”
“You’re dripping and the water’s rising. My dad went to find the main shutoff.”
Renee wrung out her hair and hoped her makeup wasn’t too badly smudged. Then she realized the water level in the reception hall was indeed climbing and hoped Monica’s father found the shutoff soon.
She was just about to go help him when he returned.
“All turned off.” He glanced at the mini flood. “Sorry about this.”
“It’s fine,” Renee lied, her tone soothing, because that was part of her job. To pretend all was well even when they needed to be figuring out how to build an ark.
The rest of the guests were heading out. Nothing like the threat of an unexpected flood to get people moving, she thought, trying to find the humor in the situation.
“I’m so sorry,” Monica told her as she held her dress out of the water and slipped out of her shoes.
“Don’t be. You had a wonderful wedding and reception. Why don’t you and Jim start gathering your things? I have a spare set of clothes in my office. I’ll get changed, then help you make sure you have everything.”
As she spoke, she noticed the water seemed to have settled at about the six- or seven-inch level. Yup, she was going to have to call someone. No doubt she would be here all night. Oh, joy.
“I’m really sorry,” Jim said. “We thought we’d planned for every contingency.” He glared at his new brother-in-law. “Except for stupid.” He turned back to her. “Let us know the cost of cleanup. We’ll pay for it.”
“Thank you. I think the deposit should take care of it but I’ll let you know if there’s a problem. Now if you’ll let me go get changed, I’ll be back with you in ten minutes.”
Monica nodded.
Renee slipped out of her shoes and walked through the ankle-deep water. When she reached her office upstairs, she carefully closed the door behind her before undressing, then slipped on jeans and a T-shirt. Not exactly professional, but she wasn’t going to worry about that right now. Before she returned to her bride and groom, she looked up the local disaster cleaning service. The number was in her files, but wasn’t one she had had to use before.
They picked up on the first ring.
“Happily Inc CleanUp. This is Hilde. How can I help you?”
“Hi. I’m Renee Grothen at Weddings Out of the Box. We had a firefighter wedding tonight with a big fountain. There was an accident with one of the hoses and now our main reception hall is flooded.”
There was a pause. “Um, did you say firefighter wedding? Never mind. How much water?”
“About six inches.”
“That’s a lot.”
“It was a big fountain.”
“Give us thirty minutes and we’ll be there.”
“Thank you.”
Renee hung up, gave herself a second to catch her breath, then headed back to deal with the bride, the groom, the flood and anything else that might happen tonight. Because with a wedding, it was always something.


About the Author


SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She's passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.

Connect with Susan:
Twitter: @susanmallery
Facebook: @SusanMallery
Instagram: @susanmallery