Friday, April 17, 2015

From LA to S.D.

Beautiful Addictions by Season Vining
Published
: January 28th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin
I love the idea of New Adult books. I think life in your early twenties is such an amazing time and I period of my life I'd love to relive, which is why the idea of escaping there in a book is such a great idea. And yet, in general, I wind up not being a big fan of most New Adult books I read.

The reason for this is that I'm really looking to read about normal adults in their early twenties. Instead every New Adult book I've read is about damaged characters. On top of that they're people who make some of the worst decisions ever, far worse than what I'd read in a YA book. I just wish someone would write a book about college-age students where they made relatable decisions.

Unfortunately, this book isn't that, which made it hard for me to enjoy. It's too bad in a way because out of all the NA books I've read, this was probably the best. But it's just so hard for me to enjoy reading about characters whose decision making abilities seem so wrong.

With that said, there were still some high points of this book for me. It was great reading a book that took place in both Louisiana and California (San Diego specifically, hence the post title. And I loved hearing the back story of Josie and Tristan's relationship. But not to repeat myself, I just wish they turned out to be a little more normal.

I definitely had high hopes for this book and due feel a little disappointed. But I do think, if you enjoy New Adult books this is one of the better ones out there.

3.5/5

Disclosure: I was provided this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

From China to Hawaii

Diamond Head by Cecily Wong
Published
: April 14, 2015 by Harper
While I really wound up loving this book, because of the way it was written it took me a while to get into it. Each chapter is divided in half, with the first section the days surrounding Bohai Leong's funeral, and the second half as a flashback where the story is told by a one of Boahi's female family members (his mother, wife, aunt, and daughter). Except those flashbacks aren't in chronological order either, so it definitely took me a while to figure out what was going on and who everyone was.

But once I did, I couldn't get enough of this book. Actually, before I even finished I was ready to start rereading that way I could pick up a bit more from the start. In a way I wasn't a huge fan of the way this book was presented, but then as I finished the last pages, it all made sense. So much of this book is about secrets, and the way you read it, it's as if you're slowly being let in on all the hidden family stories.

I was expecting the book to transport me to Hawaii a bit more. And while it's definitely featured, China is what really came alive. This still makes sense, since parts of the book are in China and the characters are Chinese as well. While I was actually a huge fan of the China we got to see, it just wasn't what I thought I was in for.

I went into this book really excited by it. Interestingly enough, while I really loved reading it, it wasn't quite what I expected it to be. I'm actually really looking forward to rereading it, but even more so, I can't wait to see what Cecily Wong writes next.

4.5/5

Disclosure: I was provided this book through TLC Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mailbox Monday (111)

Somehow it's been almost a month since I've posted a Mailbox Monday. I've had every intention of posting before now, but with what's becoming my new normal it hasn't happened... till now. So finally, here are the books I've recently picked up.
Mailbox Monday
From Goodreads
Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
First can I say that even though this is an ARC, I absolutely love the cover! I don't know much about it, but it's a chick lit that takes place in New York City, that from the summary reminds me a bit of the Real Housewives. Definitely one that looks intriguing.

Purchased
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
I'm so, so excited for this one! I've been wanting to read something of Rainbow Rowell's forever and it's finally happening. This was my suggestion for our book club this month, so hopefully everyone else is just as excited to read it as I am.

What did you find in your mailbox this week?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Down on the Farm

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Published
: 1971 by Harper & Row
First Published: 1933
Series: Little House #3
The first time I read the Little House books I didn't want to read this one. After all, it was about a boy and I wanted to keep reading about Laura. I even asked my mom if I could just skip ahead, but thankfully did keep reading them in order.

I do really enjoy this one, but don't remember it as clearly as the other little house books. Which meant that it was a little bit like reading it for the first time. Things did come back to me as I made my way through, but it was a bit of a different experience than what I had reading the first two.

One thing I have noticed about these books is how little dialogue there actually is. Yes, you hear the parents scolding, but in general they seem to be the only ones who get to talk. Instead most everything else is descriptions. Interesting, because if I were to read another book written this way I may not be a huge fan, but here it really works.

5/5

Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

March in Review

I feel like March was such a lazy month. Honestly looking back on it, we didn't really do much. A lot of it was due to the cold and having a baby, but hopefully in the months to come, as days start getting warmer, we're able to get out a little more. Really looking at this past month there's a bunch of food, and not a whole lot else. But at least it's delicious looking food, right?

In March...
Pesto Risotto
...After seeing Carissa post about pesto risotto, I asked the boy to make some as well. It was pretty good, although not quite as good as his normal mushroom risotto.
Biscuits & Gravy
...The boy also decided to make biscuits and gravy. I'm not normally a big fan of this, although it's really more that I never think about having it, but even so, I thought it was quite delicious.

...I posted reviews of 5 books and 1 movie.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Infants and Mothers by T. Berry Brezelton, M.D.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson
Race to Tibet by Sophie Schiller
Fifty Shades of Grey
As for a favorite, I actually can't believe I'm about to do this, but I think it's likely Fifty Shades of Grey.

...7 years ago, in 2008 (Crazy to think it's been 7 years!) I posted about my family's trip to Japan. This was actually before the blog really existed, so instead what you're reading are excerpts from e-mails I wrote to the boy, bad grammar and all.
Me and My Mom before doing pottery
What are some of your highlights from this past March?

Friday, April 3, 2015

From NYC to Paris {Giveaway}

The Witch of Painted Sorrows coverThe Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose
(historical suspense / paranormal)
Published: March 17, 2015 byAtria Books/Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 978-1476778068
Hardcover, 384 pages
Also available as ebook
It's interesting that reading this book reminder me of so many others. The aspect of a young girl painting in France and want to take classes was quite similar to A Mad, Wicked Folly. The Jewish mysticism reminded me of the Rashi's Daughters Trilogy. And of course, I couldn't help but be reminded of the last M.J. Rose book I read The Collector of Dying Breaths. Yet, with that said, this book is still so uniquely itself.

There's a sense of magic about this book. Yes, the title tells you it's about a witch, but it's more than that. It's hard to really articulate, but it's the whole mood of the book. It may sound a bit crazy, but I think the cover actually captures this pretty well. In a way the beauty and magic of the cover is exactly how it feels to read this book.

Then of course there's the ending. I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger exactly, since you aren't left wondering what happens, but more that it's so hard to believe that's it. I had to double check that there wasn't more, especially since I wasn't quite ready to say good-bye to this characters.

This is the first in a series, and while I'd love to see these same characters again, I'm not sure that will happen. Given that this is the first book in the The Daughters of La Lune series, and La Lune was a distant ancestor of Sandrine, the main character here, I'm assuming that the other books will have to be about Sandrine's daughter or grandmother to start. Either way I can't wait to see where Rose decides to go with this series.

5/5

SYNOPSIS

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

mj-roseNew York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice… books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Please visit her website, her blog: Museum of Mysteries
Subscribe to her mailing list

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

***

You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.
Visit each blogger on the tour:
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$20 gift card

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Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

From France to Tibet {Giveaway}

Race to TibetRace to Tibet by Sophie Schiller
(historical fiction)
Self-Published: January 26, 2015 by Tradewins Publishing
336 pages
ISBN: 978-0-692-25409-7
This book was unlike anything I've ever read before. I've read book that take place in the late 1800s before. I've even read books that take place in Tibet before, but really, nothing could have prepared me for what I was getting into here. And I truly do mean that in the best way possible.

This book tells the adventure of a group of explorers, including a Prince and a woman looking for her lost husband, who travel from France to Tibet in the late 1800s in a quest to be the first Europeans to make it to Lhasa. It's a risky and pretty miserable journey traveling in freezing cold temperatures over mountains. Not only are the elements standing in the way of their trip, but there are the Tibetans who don't want anyone to have access to their holy city.

This book had so much potential, and in a lot of ways it was met. You really did feel yourself in the barren lands with the travelers. And like the freezing cold days must have dragged on for them, unfortunately much of the book did as well. There just seemed to be so many scenes that repeated themselves, that I think if the book was a little more concise it would have packed a more meaningful tale.

Still I don't think this is one I'm going to forget, and I'd love to hear more about Tibet during this time period. I would have expected that 150 years ago Tibet wasn't such a secret to Westerners, and I'd love to read more about how that slowly changed.

3.5/5

Disclosure: I was provided this book through France Book Tours. All opinions expressed are my own.

SYNOPSIS

An intrepid band of explorers headed by Gabriel Bonvalot, France's greatest explorer, and his partner, Prince Henri d'Orleans, attempt to be the first living Europeans to reach Lhasa. Before they leave Paris, Bonvalot meets Camille Dancourt, the beautiful, strong-willed wife of a French surveyor who disappeared in Tibet, who desperately wishes to join the expedition. When the caravan sets out they face freezing temperatures, violent winds, mountain sickness, hostile Tibetans, duplicitous Chinese Mandarins, and a beguiling Tibetan Buddhist princess with a deadly secret. When the explorers reach Tibet, they discover a land of mystery and intrigue, a land of danger that promises them only one thing: death. On the verge of collapse, Bonvalot realizes they must resort to deadly force if they ever wish to escape Tibet alive. (provided by the author)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Race to Tibet - Sophie SchillerSophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies. Among other oddities her family tree contains a Nobel prize-winning physicist and a French pop singer. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently at work on a new historical thriller set in the Caribbean.
Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter
Buy the book: Amazon

***

You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.
Visit each blogger on the tour:
Tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!

5 winners
Print/digital for US/Canada residents
Digital for other countries

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, EXCERPTS, AND INTERVIEWS.

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