Thursday, July 22, 2021

Book review: Malibu Rising by Tylor Jenkins Reid


Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a roller-coaster-ride of a book! I liked it so much! This is the first book I have read by this author but it won't be the last!

Malibu Rising tells the story of the Riva family. The story opens in 1983 on the day of the epic summer's-end party that the Riva siblings throw each year. We meet Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit on the morning of the party. We quickly learn that while the four siblings stick and are always there for one another - they also have dysfunctions like all families do. They are, after all, the children of the ultra-famous singer Mick Riva.

There is a bit of a dual-timeline going on for quite a bit of the book as we go back to 1956 when Mick and June (the Riva siblings mom) first meet. the story is told going back and forth in time until we are once again on the day of the party in 1983 A LOT of things come to a head in the midst of this ridiculously hedonistic party! This book is crazy and not my usual sort of read. However, I am glad I read it and give it a solid four stars.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Book review: Legacy by Nora Roberts


This is a great book that I give 4.5 stars. It is very modern but with a lot of Nora Roberts' classic elements: family, small town living and pets as characters. I really enjoyed this book! Adrian is a very strong character from page one. She has a somewhat difficult relationship with her mom and a trauma in the very beginning that aids in her strength, I believe. Adrian is a very strong woman who is driven and surrounds herself with family - both biological and friends who become family.

Raylan is also a great and strong character. He deals with the unexpected and tragic twists in his life in a very believable way. You will need some Kleenex at the ready while reading this book. I have no shame in admitting this book made me cry several times!

There is some romance in this story but it is not the main gist of the book.

My reasons for giving this book 4.5 stars instead of 5 are admittedly nitpicky on my part. They really aren't a deterrent. This is a well-paced, well-written story that I feel very happy to recommend.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Review: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

This book is amazing! It is the best book I have read in a long time! The book tells the story of Odile - in Paris during World War II and in small town Montana in the 1980's - and Lily, who is Odile's neighbor in Montana. The book moves seamlessly between war-torn Paris and the same old, same old of Froid, Montana. 

In Paris (from 1939 until the end of the war) Odile works at the American Library in Paris. She LOVES books and knows the Dewey Decimal system by heart. She has a twin brother named Remy who is very politically inclined and disenchanted with the path their father wants him to take in life. In Froid (in the 1980's) Odile is alone but befriends Lily and has a second chance at life.. Through the book the two parts of Odile's life are told in a way that is so smartly done. 

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslian Charles is heart-warming, heart-wrenching at times, a story about family, true friendships (through good times and bad!) and an absolute love story to books! I loved this SO MUCH! All through the book there are quotes and lines that are so good and heartfelt and so true! Yes, they are quotes but in my opinion they are also TRUE! For example, "Libraries are lungs. Books the fresh air breathed in to keep the heart beating, to keep the brain imagining, to keep hope alive."

If you like books that tell stories of World War II, have dual timelines, are well-written and show an obvious love for books and the people stories touch - then read The Paris Library. I have a feeling you'll be happy you did.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Review: The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery


I wanted to like this book and usually I do like Susan Mallery's stories. It isn't even that I disliked it but the story just didn't hold strong for me. I felt for Daisy in the beginning - her husband left her via a text message (jerk!) and her daughter is sick. Daisy is just trying to keep everything together but it's falling apart. Then her stepsister Sage, and half-sister Cassidy come back into her life. There was just a lot of turmoil and immaturity going on in this book. Maybe it was just the wrong time for me to read this book but I found it more frustrating than enjoyable. I give the book two stars because I do like Mallery's writing style but this was not the book for me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Reading slowly

 I wouldn't say that I am in a reading rut but it is most definitely taking me longer to get through books lately. I think that is in part to life being so off-kilter for the past 14 months. Hopefully, now that things are getting better our reading lives can improve again, as well. This is not to say that I haven't been reading at all because I have. It is just a matter of my own attention span being eschew. Has anyone else experiences this over the past year? 

I am reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling with my kids. Even that, a book we all love, is taking longer than normal. Of course, it is the end of the school year and this is ALWAYS a BUSY and somewhat chaotic time of year. Hopefully with the slower pace of summer coming up we will all be reading more as we enjoy more time outside in the sunshine - either on the trails, at the pool or at the beach. I LOVE pool side reading with a cold drink! Anyone else? 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Audio Books

 I want to talk a little bit about audio books. I am SUPER late getting into this trend. In my defense, I have tried multiple times to get into audio books but they have just never stuck for me - until now. I have been driving around a lot again. My kids and I are reading through the Harry Potter series together this year. We are finishing up Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at this time. A couple of weeks ago we were all bummed to stop reading to leave to be somewhere. I thought of getting the audio book and I am SO GLAD I did. We are now combining reading the book together with listening to the book in the car. Jim Dale reads the audio books and I swear it is an entirely new experience listening to him read the books.

On one such afternoon I dropped my kids off and realized I couldn't keep listening to Harry Potter without them and I was bummed. So I looked for an audio book for myself. I happened upon Naked in Death by J.D. Robb. the In Death series is my favorite series! In case you haven't read any of them they are books about New York City Police Detective Eve Dallas and her Billionaire husband Roarke. Each book in the series revolves around a homicide case. Anyway, as I said, I LOVE this series of books so I decided to listen to them and checked out the first audio book! I am so glad I did this, as well. Listening to the books is so different than reading them! I did find I flew through the book though because when I was done listening in the car I would want to read in the house! This is proving true for both the In Death and the Harry Potter series of books. 

While I am late to audio books I see myself (and possibly my kids) being a convert to them now. Do you enjoy audio books?

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon

 I am so happy that I can actually participate in the upcoming Dewey's 24-Hour readathon. the event is taking place on April 24, 2021. For the first time in quite a while I am actually free for the majority of the day! I am so looking forward to reading a lot! I do have a couple of things to do that day but will be able to read for most of the event! My day will be spent reading great books for myself and with my kids. I love that they enjoy participating in the readathon with me! It will be fun to make our book stacks and plan our snacks and drinks! For us that is part of the fun!

Will you be participating in Dewey's 24-Hour readathon?

Friday, March 19, 2021

Camp NaNoWriMo

 I have come to realize that I work better with a deadline. I have known this in regard to writing the first draft of a book and writing short stories in general. However, I hadn't really thought about a deadline for subsequent drafts of books. Therefore it has taken me much longer than I wanted to revise my novel. 

In April there will be a session of Camp NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is held in November and the goal is to write 50,000 words. In April, for Camp, we can choose our own goals. So I am giving myself the month of April to revise my novel. My hope is that having the deadline and revising my novel a little bit each day will help to finally complete it.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo?  What was your experience?

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Review: The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery


What do you do when you think you have nearly everything in life you ever wanted but then the rug is swept out from beneath you? In the Vineyard at Painted Moon we meet Mackenzie Dienes who has the great job, great friends a great home and marriage or so it appears. The thing is that everything in her life is wrapped up with her husband and when Mackenzie and Rhys decide to divorce she is hurt and grieving but also realizes she may lose everyone and every thing she values in her life.

Mackenzie's story is one of getting to know herself all over again. She slowly picks up the pieces of her life and creates a new and more fulfilling life for herself. There are bumps and surprises, tears and laughter, anger and forgiveness along the way. 

The secondary stories in the book are good as well. I particularly enjoyed Stephanie's story. This book is definitely heavy at times but worth the read.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Teaser Tuesday: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn


Teaser Tuesday is newly hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read 

- Open to a random page 

- Share two “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 list if they like your teaser. 

My teaser this week is from Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn:

Then he drops his eyes to the bar, to my card and ads one more thing. "I would say I like you so much, Meg."

Saturday, February 6, 2021

One Day at a Time

 I have not made a blog post in nearly two years. I have struggled with what to write so I wrote nothing here and I'm a little sad about that. While I have been thinking about what to write it dawned on me that I could share this uncertainty. Maybe someone else has felt the same way - either about writing or some other endeavor or life in general. 

We all know what the past year has been like. Everyone has had to change their life in some way. People have lost their lives (either to Covid or other illnesses {we lost two family members last year and a dear friend at the beginning of this one} or accidents) and families and friends are left to mourn and figure out how to carry on. People we love and care for have had to deal with so much. I don't mean for this post to be completely sad and melancholy but I want to acknowledge that the past year has been hard and different for EVERYONE for a multitude of reasons. 

I believe there has also been joy, though. I know that my husband and our kids and I spent a lot of time last summer going on walks and hikes on our local trails. Yes, we were socially distancing and doing our best to keep others and ourselves safe but we were also TOGETHER a LOT! We were (and are) very thankful for that! We played a lot of games together (UNO Flip is a particular favorite). I learned that I can draw when my daughter started a doodle project that she invited others to participate in - in order to spread joy. I crocheted an entire blanket that looks like an old-fashioned patchwork quilt and we love it. We watched a lot of funny videos because laughing helps SO MUCH! My kids started playing Among Us then got their friends to play with them virtually. We continued to practice our daily Gratitude and we prayed - a lot.

It's true that I didn't blog. I wrote fiction here and there but not really all that much. I was at a loss for direction with my own writing when our world was in turmoil in so many ways. I felt like writing fiction and love stories was a little frivolous. I'm over that now, though! I feel that now more than ever the occupants of planet earth need good stories with happy endings and I hope to provide some of them. I need to focus on revision and get my series done and submitted but I feel like I can work on that again - one day at a time. 

How have you all been doing? What did you struggle with and how have you endured and come through this past year? 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Book Review: Time Castaways - The Mona Lisa Key

37702173This is a fantastic, wonderful and imaginative book that my kids and I read together! Siblings, Mateo, Corey and Ruby go on an unexpected time-traveling adventure with a time pirate and his interesting entourage. The siblings learn a lot about one another while they go to different times and places through history. They are helping Captain Vincent of the ship Vermillion to uncover the mystery of the Mona Lisa Key.

My kids and I loved every moment of this book. We look forward to reading the second book in the trilogy - Time Castaways: The Obsidian Compass - which comes out in October.