Friday, January 29, 2016

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner

  • ISBN-10: 0451475992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451475992


In this new novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life, two women working in Hollywood during its Golden Age discover the joy and heartbreak of true friendship.

Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind  ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie… 

Los Angeles, 1938.  Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her  dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide.  What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future. 

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard is a unique blend of past and present, friendship, dreams, love, life, heartache and healing. That's quite a lot to fit into one story!  

One of the things I really enjoyed in this book is Ms. Meissner's writing style and how she chooses one item or event and then creates a whole story around it.   It's pretty amazing to me how she does that and it sure makes for great reading!    

I enjoyed this book and following the course of Violet and Audrey's friendship as it progressed throughout the years.

I'm not a big fan of Hollywood and all it's glitter but that was balanced out that with the fact that the setting for the book was based around the filming of Gone With the Wind (one of my all time favorite movies).  

Another plus to share with you all is that I really, really liked the ending of this book. I won't share more because I don't want to spoil your reading. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book and hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!  

4.0 Stars

For now, I'm off to grab a big bowl of popcorn and settle down to watch Gone With the Wind!

Thank you to Penguin/NAL and Netgalley for the gift of this book in exchange for an  honest review.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday ~ 01/27/2016

WOW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. It spotlights soon to be released books that each of us are eagerly waiting to read. 

My pick this week ... 

  • ISBN-10: 162779039X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1627790390

Release Date ~ February 23, 2016


Daisy and Henry are best friends, and they know all each other's secrets. Or, so Daisy thinks, until she wakes up one morning to find that Henry and his family have disappeared without a trace. Daisy suspects Henry's disappearance is connected to their seriously awkward meeting the night before, but then she finds a note from Henry, containing just the words "SAVE ME."
Deeply worried, Daisy convinces her unemployed brother to take her on a rescue mission into the California mountains. As they begin to home in on Henry's exact location, they also start to find some disturbing clues . . . clues that call into question everything Daisy believes she knows about her friend. 

Why is he so hard to find? 

What kind of trouble is he in, exactly? 

And most importantly, who is actually saving who?

What books are you waiting for? 

    Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World by Kristen Welch

    • ISBN-10: 1496405293
    • ISBN-13: 978-1496405296


    “But everyone else has it.” “If you loved me, you’d get it for me!” When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children―don’t you want them to be happy and to fit in?

    Kristen Welch knows firsthand it’s not that easy. In fact, she’s found out that when you say yes too often, it’s not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet―it actually puts your kids at long-term risk. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to help kids become hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.

    It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation in your family and create a home in which your kids don’t just say―but mean!―“thank you” for everything they have.

    I found Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World to be easy to read, direct and filled with practical advise based upon a strong Biblical foundation.

    One of the most memorable quotes (for me) from this book is ... 

    "Correct kids when they are young (birth to elementary). Direct them as they grow (middle school, junior high). Connect with them as they get older (high school and on)."

    Reading this book spoke to my heart and I found some really useful tips that I plan to implement for myself and my family. 

    5 Stars!

    Thank you to Edelweiss and Tyndale publishing for a free book in exchange for an honest review.

    Friday, January 22, 2016

    I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran

    • ISBN-10: 178264170X
    • ISBN-13: 978-1782641704


    Can dancing mend Ruth's broken heart?
    Ruth Henderson has moved back in with her parents--something she swore she would never do, especially not at the age of thirty-three. But in the face of the mountain of debt left by her late partner, and the fact that her teenage daughter, Maggie, is expressing her grief through acts of delinquency, there was really only one option.
    Returning to a house Ruth swore never to set foot in again is bad enough. Add to this an estranged father, whirlwind mother, and David--the boy next door who broke her heart--and it is little wonder Ruth can barely make it out of bed.
    But then, reunited with her old friend Lois, Ruth is persuaded to go along to a monthly girls' night. Here she meets a bunch of incredible women and for the first time since leaving home at eighteen, Ruth begins to make some genuine friends.
    She also has her first ever date--with the charming Dr. Carl Barker. However, after a disastrous dinner, and an upset Maggie still struggling with her father's death, Ruth promises her daughter she won't go out with any other men. A promise she quickly regrets when David, the boy next door, asks her to dance. 

    I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran is a delightful read. It's funny, sad, witty, charming and oh so much more. It's a heartwarming story! 

    Ms. Moran is a gifted author. I came across her as an author when I read Making Marion and loved it. I am happy to write that I enjoyed I Hope You Dance just as much. I highly recommend this book! 

    4.5 Stars!

    Thank you to Kregel Publishing for the opportunity for a free book in exchange for an honest review. 

    Thursday, January 21, 2016

    Too Close to Home by Susan Lewis

    • ISBN-10: 0345549538
    • ISBN-13: 978-0345549532


    Jenna Moore finally feels that she and her family are exactly where they should be. Leaving busy London behind, they’ve moved to the beautiful, serene Welsh coast. There Jenna, her husband, Jack, and the couple’s four children have found a little slice of heaven. In the house of their dreams, Jenna and Jack are ramping up for the launch of their new publishing business, and the kids are happier than they’ve ever been, wandering the wild, grassy moors that meet white sand beaches and wide ocean.

    But a fissure cracks open. The once open and honest Jack suddenly seems to be keeping secrets, spinning intricate lies. And fifteen-year-old Paige has become withdrawn, isolating herself from her family and her new friends. Frightened of the darkness enveloping her family, Jenna struggles to hold her loved ones together. But a cruel disturbance has insinuated itself into her home, threatening to take away everything she holds dear.

    I found Too Close to Home by Susan Lewis to be a moving, emotionally charged story that I enjoyed reading. It is well written with complex characters. The plot is very good and takes some surprising turns that I never would have guessed from the beginning of this book. 

    This story is intense one and at times it became a bit too much for me. I found myself being overwhelmed by the story and I ended up having to step away from it. Allow myself the time to process emotionally and mentally all that was going on in this story. 

    Too Close to Home is a book I very much recommend! 

     4 Stars!

    Thank you to Ballentine Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to receive a free book in exchange for an honest review.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016

    Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR

    Hosted by the Broke and Bookish

    This week we've been asked to highlight the top ten books we've recently added to our TBR. 

    2016 is starting out to be a great year for reading! 

    1. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

    I just finished reading this and will be posting a review in a few days. All I can say is ... WOW! This book is definitely 5 stars!

    2. The False King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

    I just finished this book too and can't wait to read books 2 and 3 of the series! 

    3.  Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson

    I was captivated by this book's synopsis and the cover.   

    The Synopsis:

    From immensely talented debut author Robert L. Anderson comes a stunning, complex, and imaginative story about the fine line between dreams and reality that will appeal to fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle.
    Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never broken the rules.
    Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town. For the first time in her life, Dea feels normal. But both Dea and Connor have secrets, and as she is increasingly drawn to Connor’s dreams—and nightmares—the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate, putting everyone she loves in danger.

    4.  The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien 

    Book 2

    This book caught my attention as well and luckily my library had  a copy available so it's in my TBR to be read soon.  Book 2, The Rule of Mirrors is being released on February 16, 2016! 

    5.  Under Their Skin 


    Margaret Peterson Haddix

    This books has a very intriguing synopsis and hopefully will be just as good as Ms. Haddix's other books.  

    6.  Mark of the Thief  by Jennifer A. Nielsen

    This is book 1 of Ms. Nielson's newest trilogy. She is a new-to-me author and I am enjoying catching up on the books she's written so far.  I a tickled pink the library had a copy I could borrow.  Book 2, Rise of the Wolf is being released on January 26, 2016!

    7. The Impostor Queen  by Sara Fine

    Yeah, it finally was released! 
    I've been waiting for this book for what seems a long time! :)


    Kathleen Baldwin

    This is book 1 of a trilogy and sounded too good for me to pass up.  
    Book 2,  Exile for Dreamers is to be released on May 24, 2016!

    9.  The Diamond of Darkhold by Jean DuPrau

    Book 4 in the Ember series

    I read the first three books in 2015 and really enjoyed this series. 
    Can't wait to finish by reading this one.

    10. The Heir and The Spare by Emily Albright

    (ARC book) ~ Currently reading and will post review soon.

    What books have you recently added to your 

    2016 TBR? 

    Monday, January 18, 2016

    Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo

    • ISBN-10: 0553537679
    • ISBN-13: 978-0553537673

    Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo opens with Harper Scott and her best friend Kate on the verge of graduating from high school and finally being able to live "the plan". 

    What is the plan? Well, Harper and Kate long for only one thing - to dance professionally with the San Francisco Ballet Company.  It has been their dream for most of their lives and they both have done everything possible to make that dream come true.  Still ... life has a way of throwing curves into even the best laid plans. 

    Harper is heart broken when she is turned away by the SF Ballet Company. With her dreams in shatters, she runs away from it all to the far ends of the earth ~ Antartica and the South Pole. 

    What will she find there? 

    Will she be able to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life? 

     At the beginning of reading Up to this Pointe, I had a little bit of trouble getting into the story at first as it is told from two alternating perspectives ~ one being before the San Francisco try outs and the other perspective being after the tryouts. This issue soon worked itself out for me and after about the second chapter, I was hooked!

    I enjoyed reading this book! It was interesting, at times gut-wrenchingly sad and at other times sweet and funny. 

    I have to admit I probably went through about a third of a box of tissues while reading it. For some reason, I  really like reading books that get me all worked up and emotionally committed to the story and it's characters. So Up to this Pointe ended up being just my cup of tea! 

    3.5 Stars! 

    Thank you to Random House Publishers and Netgalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

    Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

    • ISBN-10: 0399175806
    • ISBN-13: 978-0399175800


    On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

    Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

    Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

    Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

    And it may already be too late.

    I decided in 2016 to once in awhile step out of my preferred genre readings and explore those genres that I usually tend to overlook when choosing books, ie thriller, horror, mystery, suspense.
    Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski  being from the thriller/ horror genre for middle grades/ young  adult was my first foray outside my comfort zone for this year. 

    I found Nightfall to definitely be a thriller, suspense novel and slightly horror  but I expect the "slightly" part is due to my age. Younger readers in the middle ages would probably find this a bit more horrifying. Just to clear the air - "slightly horrifying" was absolutely okay with me! :) 

    Some of the story's twists I could see coming but others completely blindsided me. The thriller/horror scenes were set in the background of a very engaging and interesting storyline. As the intensity and suspense of the story grew, I couldn't put this book down! 

    Nightfall ended on a note where the series could continue. I sure hope so!!!

    4.5 Stars!

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

    The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend ~ A Novel by Katarina Bivald

    • ISBN-10: 149262344X
    • ISBN-13: 978-1492623441

    Release Date: January 19, 2016!


    Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...
    Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor -- not much else to do in a small town that's almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she'd start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together – and change everything.
    There's a book for every person ... and a person for every book.

    I didn't know quite what to expect when I chose this book to review. The title alone had caught my eye and after reading the synopsis, I was sold! 

    The Readers  of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is humorous, delightful and full of every day  people living their lives, making choices and hoping for the best. 

    I highly recommend this book ~ it made me laugh, cry and smile! Below is one of my favorite quotes from this story ...

     "There's a person for every book. And a book for every person."


    4.5 Stars! 

    Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark Publishing and Netgalley  for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.