Wednesday, September 20, 2017

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week ...  

I chose this book as it is tagged to be a writer who is  that is "A breathtaking science fiction debut from a worthy successor to Octavia Butler."  Having just started reading Ms. Butler's books and really enjoying them ... I couldn't pass this one up!

  • ISBN-10: 1617755885
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617755880
  • Publisher: Akashic Books

  • Release Date ~ October 3, 2017

Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, as they accuse, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls of the brutal ship where she and her ancestors have lived for generations. The lowdeck slums of HSS Matilda, an antiquated space vessel ferrying the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land, is a prison Aster wants desperately to escape.

When an autopsy of Matilda's head reveals a surprising link between his death and Aster's mother's suicide a quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother's footsteps in hopes of finding out the truth behind Matilda's voyage. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer and sowing the seeds of civil war, Aster learns there may be a way out of this life if she's willing to fight for it.

P.S. ~ For those of you who belong to Edelweiss, this book is available as a "read now" choice! {At the time of this posting}

War Cross by Marie Lu

  • ISBN-10: 0399547967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399547966
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (September 12, 2017)

When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Warcross is the first book I've read by author Marie Lu. (Yeah, I know .... where have I been? 😕  I have several of  her other books in my TBR but haven't yet read them.  After reading Warcross, I am definitely moving her books to the top of my list! 

This book  is fast paced, full of action, adventure and a bit of romance.  I was surprised at some of the twists and turns and they definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.

Ms. Lu did a fantastic job of world building and her story is creative, unique and a great read! 

4.5 Stars

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Ms. Lu,  G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers as well as Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

For me, Christmas is a magical time of year.  As it's often a busy time as well, I make a point to set aside time during the holiday season to enjoy a few good Christmas romance novels. I enjoy reading the older books as well as the new but there is something really special about perusing the current year's new book releases.  

While I go through the process of finding and choosing this year's Christmas reads, I remember things like ... cooler weather, hot chocolate, tasty treats, soft Christmas music playing in the background, my favorite reading chair and eagerly immersing myself  for a few hours in a lovely Christmas romance. Pure Heaven!

This year, my Christmas season started early due to some great ARC's that came my way and I'm excited to share them with you over the next few months! 

  • ISBN-10: 0310293243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310293248

Release Date ~ October 3, 2017

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas - and of sacrificial love.
Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. With the bank threatening to evict, she discovers an advertisement for the Women's Relief Society auction and applies for a position - only to discover it's been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity - and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?
Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women's Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of "crinolines" isn't his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies - one, in particular - is far more than he bargained for.

Christmas at Carnton is a wonderful Christmas romance full of history, faith, romance, blessings and new beginnings. 

The author did a wonderful job in providing historical details of the Civil War and it's era that really shaped this story and brought it to life for me. Her characters were realistic, inspiring and the story itself moved me emotionally. 
I was particularly impressed with her ability to weave a gentle theme of faith that I found inspiring, welcoming and warm ~ not preachy or pushy. 

Ms. Alexander has written a beautifully written, vibrant, and emotionally  moving novella. I can't wait to read the next books in this series! 

4.5 Stars

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Ms. Alexander,  Thomas Nelson Publishing and Netgalley  for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Glass Kitchen: A Novel of Sisters by Linda Francis Lee

  • Written by: Linda Francis Lee
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins 
  • Unabridged Audiobook

  • Release Date:06-17-14

  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio

  • Synopsis
  • {from the publisher}

  • Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan . . .
    When she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father, Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream.

  • The Glass Kitchen is a wonderful mix of southern family, relationships, challenges and romance along with a wee bit of magical knowing.  

  • This beautifully written story moved me and I was rather impressed with Ms. Lee's ability to realistically portray in her book the essence of southern meets northern lifestyles which is not always an easy thing to do. 

  • Listening to this story through the audio version via Audible really brought this story to life for me. The narrator, Julia Whelan was excellent and her southern accent rang true and never wavered throughout her entire performance. 

  • My only regret with choosing to listen to the audio version is that the wonderful recipes included at the end of the book were a bit hard to capture. I plan on picking up a copy of this book from my library to peruse through those mouthwatering recipes Portia made in her southern kitchen. I can't wait to make some of them!

  • My final thoughts? 

  • A wonderful reading experience and I definitely recommend this book to you all!

  • 5 Stars

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Right Where You Left Me by Calla Devlin

I absolutely loved reading Ms. Devlin's Tell Me Something Real  so I was super excited to here about this book's release ...  

  • ISBN-10: 1481486993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481486996
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 5, 2017)

About This Book
{From the Publisher}

After Charlotte’s father is kidnapped, she and her mother must overcome their differences and find a way to rescue him in this eloquent, moving portrayal of family from the author of William C. Morris Award finalist Tell Me Something Real.

In search of the perfect story to put a human face on a tragedy for his newspaper, my dad will fly into the eye of the storm. And now he’s heading to Ukraine, straight into the aftermath of a deadly earthquake. I don’t want him to leave. I don’t want to spend the week alone in a silent house with my mother, whose classically Russian reserve has built a wall between us that neither of us knows how to tear down. But I don’t tell him this. I don’t say stay.

I think I’m holding it together okay—until the FBI comes knocking on our door. Now it’s all I can do to fight off the horrifying images in my head. The quake has left so many orphans and widows, but Mom and I refuse to be counted among them. Whatever it takes to get Dad back, I’ll do it. Even if it means breaking a promise…or the law.

Ms. Devlin is a master at writing novels with intricate and challenging family dynamics, overlapping layers of intrigue and suspense, gut wrenching twists and turns that pull the reader in and engage them right up till the very end of the story. 

Right Where You Left Me  starts out so lovingly that you know that something just has to collapse and it soon does.  The trauma of this family crisis becomes more intense as the story progresses.  In addition, the author's portrayal of Charlotte and her Mother's relationship as well as their Russian roots really enhances this hauntingly beautiful story. 

I loved reading every page of this book! The intricacies of the plot, the cast of well developed characters and the experience of a budding young love amidst  a tragic family event just grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go.   

4.5 Stars

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Ms. Devlin, Atheneum Books and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge

  • ISBN-10: 1601429347
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601429346
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (June 13, 2017)


Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas. 

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn't so far away.

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge was a relaxing read that grabbed my attention and provided a wonderful afternoon diversion on  a rainy day.  

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It's well written with well developed characters and rather good dialogue. The plot that had a few twists and turns that I didn't expect at all which added to my enjoyment of this book.  

Overall, a well spent afternoon reading a good book! 

4 Stars 

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Ms. Lodge, Waterbrook publishing and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Can't Wait Wednesday ~ Between You and Me by Alison

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week ...  

  • ISBN-10: 1503941221
  • ISBN-13: 978-1503941229
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Release Date ~ January 9, 2018


When their paths first cross, Ben Livingston is a fledgling screenwriter on the brink of success; Tatum Connelly is a struggling actress tending bar in a New York City dive. They fall in love, they marry, they become parents, and they think only of the future. But as the years go by, Tatum’s stardom rises while Ben’s fades. In a marriage that bears the fallout of ambition and fame, Ben and Tatum are at a crossroads. Now all they can do is think back…
A life of passion, joy, tragedy, and loss—once shared—becomes one as shifting and unpredictable as a memory. As the pieces of their past come together, as they explore the ways love can bend and break, Ben and Tatum come to see how it all went wrong—and wonder what they can do now to make it all right.

Why this book? 

Between You and Me sounds exactly the kind of book I am wanting to read and it's told from the alternating perspectives of both Tatum and Ben. It seems like there is  potential for anything to happen.  

Between the synopsis and that gorgeous book cover, I'm definitely snagged!

What books are you waiting to read? 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Unblemished by Sara Ella

  • ISBN-10: 0718081013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718081010
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 11, 2016)


Eliyana can’t bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength?
Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her like he does: normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.
But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird. Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.
Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. 

How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?

Unblemished  by Sara Ella is a wonderful sci-fi, fantasy novel full of romance, alternate realities, action, adventure, faith, heartache, joy and redemption. 

Ms. Ella did a wonderful job of world building in this engaging novel. The twists and turns in this plot were exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole story. Her characters were well developed, unique to the world and story she built. Her imagery was inspiring ~ it left me feeling as if I was actually there!.

All in all, Unblemished is a GREAT read and I can't wait to dive into the next book in this series, Unraveling.

4.5 Stars

At the time of this posting Unblemished is available at Amazon Kindle for $1.99!

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Ms. Sarah Ella, Thomas Nelson publishing and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Christmas, Cocoa and a Debbie Macomber Romance!

I love to start off my Christmas season by reading Debbie Macomber's annual Christmas romance novel.  I've done this for years and it just gets my holiday season up and running.   

This year, Christmas started a bit early as I was blessed to receive an advanced review copy of Merry and Bright ~ Debbie's 2017 Christmas novel. I grabbed my soda, some cookies and settled down under the air conditioning to enjoy an afternoon of Christmas romance delight. 

  • ISBN-10: 0399181229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399181221
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books 

  • Release Date  ~ October 3, 2017!


Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

Merry and Bright is a mix of holiday cheer, romance and the humor Ms. Macomber is is so well known for!  This delightful tale had me smiling, laughing and cheering Merry on throughout the whole story.   

It was the best afternoon I have spent in a long while and I came away from it with a huge smile on my face and a warm, cozy feeling in my heart. A great way to enjoy  an afternoon!

If you love romance and Christmas,  

you will most definitely enjoy Merry and Bright! 
5 Stars

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Ms. Macomber, Ballentine Books and Negalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.