Books Hauls

February 2019 Book Haul

Here are the books I added to my collection during the month of February.

Bought from Chapters

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Sent for Review

The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman

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At the Mountain’s Edge by Genevieve Graham

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Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

Murder in the City of Liberty (A Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery, #2)

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Murder in the City of Liberty
(A Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery, #2)
By: Rachel McMillan

To be Published: May 28, 2019
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Format Read: ARC, NetGalley, eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Series

Rating: 3.5/5

 I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Synopsis

Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren have a new case–and this one brings the war in Europe dangerously close to home.

Determined to make a life for herself, Regina “Reggie” Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish’s hometown of Toronto.

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Murder in the City of Liberty is set two years after the first book Murder at the Flamingo. Europe and Hamish’s homeland Canada are at war, but the US has yet to join. Although they were not yet in the trenches; racism and anti-Semitism was growing fast.

This second book in the Van Buren and DeLuca series was more exciting than Murder at the Flamingo. It did rely on the past events and characters, so I would definitely recommend reading the series in order.

Even though I wasn’t exactly captured by the mystery itself, there were several aspects that I did enjoy. Those include:

  • The baseball storyline, which added to the patriotic theme, that painted a vivid picture of 1940’s America.
  • The way McMillan was able to write a murder mystery centered around such atrocities without using a single racial slur, profanity or graphic descriptions of violence.
  • And of course; my favourite character Hamish DeLuca, who is the epitome of a gentleman.

Rachel McMillan is a talented writer who I would highly recommend.

Additional Notes

There were so many quotes in Murder in the City of Liberty that I paused to re-read. Here are some of my favourites:

.’..life is too short to spend it with the wrong dance partner’


‘It’s amazing what you can come up with when you know someone is watching you as if you could spread wings and f ly.


“Sometimes,” his father always said, “you need to recognize that life will throw a line drive at you. And you have two choices. You can duck in fear and cower. Or you can hit it straight on . You have the choice to react or to anticipate. Use your power to blast that ball out of the field. Trust me. Anticipate.

”Love meant accepting the lowest of a person . The parts that made you tingle and shrug. Love saw through every fight and stilled every fear and weathered every doubt. Love meant pushing past perceptions and surmounting expectations and accepting that someone would never always live up to the ideals you imparted on them.”

Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery Series

Book 1: Murder at the Flamingo

Memes

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary


Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme featuring our most anticipated releases to come. It is hosted by Tessa at Wishful Endings.

The Flatshare
By: Beth O’Leary

Expected Publication Date: April 18, 2019

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Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey each have a problem and need a quick fix.

Tiffy’s been dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new flat. But earning minimum wage at a quirky publishing house means that her choices are limited in London.

Leon, a palliative care nurse, is more concerned with other people’s welfare than his own. Along with working night shifts looking after the terminally ill, his sole focus is on raising money to fight his brother’s unfair imprisonment.

Leon has a flat that he only uses 9 to 5. Tiffy works 9 to 5 and needs a place to sleep. The solution to their problems? To share a bed of course…

As Leon and Tiffy’s unusual arrangement becomes a reality, they start to connect through Post-It notes left for each other around the flat.

Can true love blossom even in the unlikeliest of situations?
Can true love blossom even if you never see one another?
Or does true love blossom when you are least expecting it?

-Goodreads
Memes

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Resistance Women


Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme featuring our most anticipated releases to come. It is hosted by Tessa at Wishful Endings.

Resistance Women: A Novel
By: Jennifer Chiaverini

Expected Publication Date: May 28, 2019

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin.

After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.

As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weiss, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.

For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.

Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

-Goodreads
Book Reviews · Recommendations

Murder-a-Go-Go’s by Holly West


Murder-a-Go-Go’s
Crime Fiction Inspired By the Music of The Go Go’s
Edited by: Holly West

To Be Published: March 25, 2019
Published by: Down and Out Books
Format Read: ARC, Netgalley, eBook
Genre: Mystery, Short Stories, Anthology
Rating: 3.5/5

I was sent a copy of Murder-a-Go-Go’s edited by Holly West, from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

The Go-Go’s made music on their own terms and gave voice to a generation caught between the bra-burning irreverence of the seventies and the me-first decadence of the eighties. Anthems like “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” and “Vacation” are an indelible part of our collective soundtrack, but more than that, they speak to the power and possibility of youth. Inspired by punk but not yoked to it, the Go-Go’s broke important musical ground by combining cheeky lyrics, clever hooks, and catchy melodies, perfectly capturing what it feels like to be young and female in the process.

But beyond the Go-Go’s effervescent sound and cheerful pop stylings, a darkness underlies many of their lyrics and melodies, hinting at the heartache and frustration inherent in growing up. In other words, plenty to inspire murder and mayhem.

Net proceeds from Murder-a-Go-Go’s benefit Planned Parenthood, a crucial provider of women’s affordable reproductive healthcare.

With a foreword by Go-Go’s co-founder Jane Wiedlin and original stories by twenty-five kick-ass authors, editor Holly West has put together an all-star crime fiction anthology inspired by one of the most iconic bands of the eighties and beyond. 

-NetGalley

My Thoughts

It was the concept of this anthology that caught my attention: a collection of stories inspired by songs from the 80s pop-punk band The Go-Gos. How clever! I was impressed to see that the forward was written by bandmate Jane Wiedlin, herself. 


The short stories cover a vast range of settings, characters and plotlines. Many of which have a common theme of revenge. The song titles allowed for the individual authors to explore their creativity. Even Jane Wiedlin couldn’t predict what each story would be about.


Murder-a-Go-Gos was an enjoyable reading experience, that introduced me to new authors, as well as songs by the band that I hadn’t heard before. Unfortunately, like with any anthology, there were some stories that missed the mark for me. There were a few that I felt didn’t fit in with the mystery/suspense theme. And there was one story; a dystopian, that I didn’t finish.


My personal favourite stories included the following:

  • Vacation by SW Lauden
  • This Town by Greg Herren
  • We Don’t Get Along by Diane Vallere 


I would recommend Murder-a-go-gos to those who enjoy mystery anthologies and to fans of the band The Go-Gos.



Challenges · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: February 2019

Total Books Read in February: 3
Total Books Read in 2019: 8

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The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy, Book 1)
By: Sarah Sundin

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance
Rating: 5/5
NOTE: This was my first 5 star read of 2019!
My Review

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Murder-A-Go-Go’s
Edited by: Holly West

Genre: Short Stories, Anthology, Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of Murder-A-Go-Go’s edited by Holly West, from the publisher, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Attachments
By: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 3
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 1
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 1
Total Library Books Read: 1

Challenge Update

2019 New Release Challenge: 1
2019 TBR Jar Challenge: 0

Formats Read

Physical Books: 1
eBooks: 2
Audio Books: 0

March TBR

From My TBR Jar

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Because I didn’t get to it in February

Sent for Review

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Currently Reading

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Everything, Everything
By: Nicola Yoon

Published: September 2015
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format Read: Hardcover, Library Book
Genre: YA Lit

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis


My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

-Goodreads

My Thoughts

I’ve never read a book that I enjoyed so much, but has so many issues with, like I did with Everything, Everything.

This book has been surrounded by so much hype, that I went into it with very high expectations. To some extent it did live up to those expectations, as is evident by my 4 star rating. The light contemporary tone moved the plot along quickly. I really enjoyed the mixed media format, which was illustrated by the author’s husband David Yoon. These two aspects made for a fun reading experience.However this really took away from the serious situations Madeline and Olly were facing in their lives. As a person who has spent her life in isolation, I thought that Madeline would have been more psychologically affected than she was portrayed.

As I read along I kept thinking about the different possible paths the story could have taken. I think that I may have enjoyed Everything, Everything even more if it were told in more of a serious tone. It also could have made for an interesting suspense novel.

Despite the issues I had, I would still recommend Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything to fans of cute contemporary YA lit.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy #1) by Sarah Sundin

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The Sea Before Us
(Sunrise at Normandy, #1)
By: Sarah Sundin

Published: February 2018
Published By: Revell
Format Read: eBook, Kobo App
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis


In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, who pieces together reconnaissance photographs with holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn into something more. But both of them have too much to lose to give in to love . . .

Goodreads

My Thoughts

You know when you see a book and automatically know that you will love it? Sarah Sundin’s The Sea Before Us, was exactly that type of book for me.

This story tells of the planning of the Normandy invasion from the perspective of a British Wren and an American Naval Officer. I found the preparation of the mission to be equally as fascinating as the invasion itself.

Both of the main characters; Dorothy and Wyatt felt true to their nationalities and they both showed good growth throughout.

I would highly recommend The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin and I look forward to reading the second book in the series.

Memes · Recommendations

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads


Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
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The Woman Who Wouldn’t by Gene Wilder

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Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood by Ice-T

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Summer at Sea (Summer, #1) by Beth Labonte

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Secrets of the Old Ladies Club by Nan Tubre

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The Girls they Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter

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Becoming Phoebe by J. Michael Neal

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The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

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Breaking the Story by Ashley Farley

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An Amish Kitchen by Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long and Amy Clipston

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Ebb and Flow by Heather Smith

Book Reviews · Personal Post

Reflecting on re-reading Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

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Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging
(Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #1)
By: Louise Rennison

Published: May 2000
Published by: HarperTeen
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis


There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.


In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones’s Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it’s “Fabbity fab fab!”

My Thoughts

With such a large and ever expanding TBR, it isn’t very often that I take the time to re-read an older book from my collection. However for one of my last books in 2018 I decided to pick up the first book in Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson series.

I first read Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging back in high school, about 15 years ago. I had never read a book quite like this before and found it very entertaining. It was hilarious and I thought the addition of the glossary in the back was brilliant. The following 3 books books in the series were equally entertaining.

Unfortunately my current reading experience was quite different than the first time, all those years ago. I found myself feeling slightly less amused by the story. Perhaps the correct word I should use is cynical. Parts that I once thought to be quirky, now seemed annoying.

I began to think that perhaps I was too old to enjoy Georgia and her musing, after all this time. Then I started to think of this story moreso as a parody of an overly dramatic pre-teen. And once I began to see my reading experience from a different perspective, I began to enjoy it a bit more.

I don’t have any immediate plans to re-read and continue on with this series. Although I will at some time in the future.