Books Hauls

Book Haul: May 2019

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

Sent from Author

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Snow Fence Road by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Sent for Review

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Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock

Library Book Sale

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, 2) by Jacqueline Winspear

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Birds of a Feather
(Maisie Dobbs, #2)

By: Jacqueline Winspear
Read by: Kim Hicks

Published: January 2004
Published by: Audiogo
Format Read: Audiobook, Library Book
Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

It is the spring of 1930, and Maisie has been hired to find a runaway heiress. When three of the heiress’s old friends are found dead, Maisie must race to find out who would want to kill these seemingly respectable young women before it’s too late. As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers lie in the unforgettable agony of the Great War.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Private investigator Maisie Dobbs is back in the second installment of Jacqueline WInspear’s series. Like the first book, she is on the case of a mystery linking to World War I.

This series is of great interest to me as it is explores the aftermath of the first world war and the lasting affect it had on those who lived through it. Although 15 years have passed, the roles that some played during those terrible years, still haunt them.

One of the many reasons why I liked the Maisie Dobbs, book one so much was due in part to the methods of deduction used in solving the mysteries. This method was even more compelling to me in Birds of a Feather and in the end I enjoyed it more than the first.

Initially I was disappointed that Rita Barrington wasn’t the narrator, but as I listened I realized that that Kim Hicks was a great fit for the role as well.

Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series is a clever historical mystery that I would highly recommend.

Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: May 2019

Total Books Read in May: 4
Total Books Read in 2019: 20

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Welcome to Moonlight Harbor
(Moonlight Harbor, #1)

By: Sheila Roberts
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Rating: 3/5

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Birds of a Feather
(Maisie Dobbs, #2)

By: Jacqueline Winspear
Genre: Audiobook, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 5/5

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Serious Moonlight
By: Jenn Bennett

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, YA Lit
Rating: 5/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett, from the publisher, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Bungalow Mystery
(Nancy Drew, #3)

By: Carolyn Keene
Read By: Laura Linney
Genre: Mystery, Series, Middle Grade, Classics
Rating: 4/5

DNF

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I struggled to get into this book and at 200 pages in, I decided not to read any further. This was really disappointing for me as the previous book I read by Maeve Binchy I absolutely loved. Perhaps I went into Tara Road with my expectations set too high.

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 4
Total Number of Fiction: 4
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 1
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 0
Total Library Books Read: 3

Challenge Update

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

June TBR

From My TBR Jar

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Because I DNF’d my TBR Jar selection for the month of May, I will be aiming to read 2 books from my shelf this month.

Sent for Review

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Currently Reading

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

Mini Contemporary Reviews: April-May 2019

Today I would like to share with you two reviews of contemporary books, that I read during the months of April and May.

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Me Before You
By: Jojo Moyes


Published: December 2012
Published by: Penguin Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:


The beloved New York Times bestseller—with more than five million copies sold—by the author of One Plus One and The Girl You Left Behind

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

-Goodreads

Quick Thoughts

Me Before You is a beautiful story of the relationship between a man whose life has been forever altered and the women who is hired to assist him. This book made me cry, smile and laugh. I couldn’t put it down. Yes it’s subject matter is quite controversial, however I felt that the author did a good job of presenting both sides of the debate. I would highly recommend Jojo Moyes Me Before You to fans of contemporary fiction and books that have been adapted to film.

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Welcome to Moonlight Harbor
(Moonlight Harbor, Book 1)
By: Sheila Roberts

Published: April 2018
Published by: MIRA
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romace
Format Read: Library Book, Paperback
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis


USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts returns with a brand-new series set on the charming Washington coast

Once happily married, Jenna Jones is about to turn forty, and this year for her birthday—lucky her—she’s getting a divorce. She’s barely able to support herself and her teenage daughter, but now her deadbeat artist ex is hitting her up for spousal support…and then spending it on his “other” woman.

Still, as her mother always says, every storm brings a rainbow. And when she gets a very unexpected gift from her great-aunt Edie, things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Aging Aunt Edie is finding it difficult to keep up her business running The Driftwood Inn, so she invites Jenna to come live with her and run the place. It looks like Jenna’s financial problems are solved!

Or not. The town is a little more run-down than Jenna remembers, but that’s nothing compared to the ramshackle state of The Driftwood Inn. Aunt Edie is confident they can return it to its former glory, though Jenna feels like she’s jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the beach fire.

But who knows? With the help of her new friends and a couple of handsome citizens, perhaps that rainbow is on the horizon after all. Because, no matter what, life is always good at the beach.

Featuring all the warmth, romance and trademark humor of Sheila Roberts’s writing, this new series will delight longtime fans and welcome a generation of new readers.

Goodreads

Quick Thoughts

Welcome to Moonlight Harbor kicks off Sheila Roberts series of the same name and follows a woman and her daughter starting over after a messy divorce. I am always drawn to stories that feature some sort of renovation and the aspect I enjoyed the most in this book was the refurbishing of the Driftwood Inn. Although it had its cheesy moments and some that made
me roll my eyes, it was a cute story with a light hint of romance. It also featured a colorful cast of characters and encompassed the small town atmosphere. I am interested to see where the author will take this series in her further releases. Welcome to Moonlight Harbor would make for an enjoyable beach read, that I would recommend to fans of contemporary fiction.

Book Reviews

California Girls by Susan Mallery

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California Girls
By: Susan Mallery

Published: February 2019
Published by: MIRA
Format Read: ARC, eBook, Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Rating: 2.5/5

NOTE: I was sent a copy of California Girls by Susan Mallery, from the publisher, via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis


The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

-Goodreads

My Thoughts

Susan Mallery’s California Girls is a contemporary fiction that follows three sisters, who all get dumped by their men on the same week. All the bases are covered here: one sister was married, another was engaged to be married and another was dating. Anyone who has ever been through a breakup will find something to relate to in California Girls.

I went into this book looking forward to a quick, heartwarming story about the bond between sisters. After reading the synopsis, I thought that they would really rally around each other to recover from their individual heartbreaks. Even though there were moments where they briefly came together, I felt that there was such a distance between each character. Although this was to be expected considering their upbringing with self-centered parents, it brought a different reading experience than I anticipated.

There were aspects from each sister’s story that I enjoyed including: behind the scenes in the television industry with Finola, Ali’s character development and Zennie’s friendship with Bernie. However I found the climax of events to be incredibly predictable.

Unhealthy diet, eating habits and body image were depicted in a way that I found problematic as it felt as if they were being justified instead of discouraged.

California Girls did keep my attention and had moments that were enjoyable, however I wasn’t able to connect with the characters and the plot as I hoped I would.

Books Hauls

April 2019 Book Haul

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

Sent for Review

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A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards

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The Summer Retreat (Moonlight Harbor, #3) by Sheila Roberts

Library Books

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Welcome to Moonlight Harbor (Moonlight Harbor, #1) by Sheila Roberts

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Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs #2) by Jacqueline Winspear

Recommended to me by my mom

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Library Book Sale

Knot the Usual Suspects (A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery #5) by Molly MacRae

Winter Wonderland (Love Travel, 10) by Belinda Jones

Windfallen by Jojo Moyes

Wrecked (Regan Reilly Mystery, 13) by Carol Higgins Clark

A Wandering Heart (Angel Island, #3) by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer

A Christmas to Remember (Cape Light, 7) by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer

There’s Something About Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Challenges · Memes · Tags

Reading Habits Book Tag

I saw this book tag over on the Musings of a Literary Wanderer blog and decided to share my answers with my readers today.

DO YOU HAVE A CERTAIN PLACE AT HOME FOR READING?

I have no shame in admitting that I’m a bathtub reader.

BOOKMARK OR RANDOM PIECE OF PAPER?

Generally I end up using a random piece of paper. At the moment though I am using a bookmark for my current physical book.

CAN YOU STOP READING ANYTIME YOU WANT OR DO YOU HAVE TO STOP READING AT A CERTAIN PAGE, CHAPTER, PART, ETC.?

I prefer to stop at the end of a chapter, but often that isn’t possible.

DO YOU EAT OR DRINK WHILE READING?

Yes sometimes.

CAN YOU READ WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC/WATCHING TV?

Yes I can.

ONE BOOK AT A TIME OR SEVERAL AT ONCE?

I usually have 2 books going at once. A physical book and an eBook or audio book.

READING AT HOME OR EVERYWHERE?

I get more reading done at home, but I always have a book with me when I go out somewhere.

READING OUT LOUD OR SILENTLY IN YOUR HEAD?

Silently in my head. Although I do spend a good amount of time each day reading aloud to my son.

DO YOU READ AHEAD OR SKIP PAGES?

No never.

BREAKING THE SPINE OR KEEPING IT NEW?

I try not to break the spine.

Have you done the Reading Habits book tag? If so leave me your link in the comments.

Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: April 2019

Total Books Read in March: 4

Total Book Read in 2019: 16

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Mending Fences
(The Deacon’s Family, #1)

By Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish Fiction
Rating: 5/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of Mending Fences (The Deacon’s Family, #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Random Passage
By: Bernice Morgan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
NOTE: Random Passage was my TBR jar pick for the month of March. This is the third time I have read this book and enjoyed learning about life in a secluded Newfoundland out-port in the mid-1800s.

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California Girls
By Susan Mallery
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Rating: 2.5/5
Note: I was sent a copy of California Girls by Susan Mallery, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Me Before You
By: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 4
Total Number of Fiction: 4
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 2
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 2
Total Library Books Read: 0

Challenge Update

2019 New Release Challenge: 2
2019 TBR Jar Challenge: 2

May TBR

From My TBR Jar

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Sent for Review

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Currently Reading

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Book Reviews

First & Then by Emma Mills

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First & Then
By: Emma Mills

Published: October 2015
Published by: Henry Holt & Co.
Format Read: Trade Paperback, Library Book
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, YA Lit, Romance

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis


Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Emma Mills debut novel First and Then is said to be a modern day Pride and Prejudice. When I came across it at my local library, I was leery as I’m not a Jane Austen fan. And truth be told that particularly novel is among my least favourites. However I decided to borrow it anyway as I have been looking forward to reading from this author. The football storyline also caught my interest.

First and Then was a quick young adult contemporary novel that I enjoyed, for the most part. I liked the authors style of writing and the bits of sarcastic humor. The bond between Foster and Ezra was my favourite part of this book.

Unfortunately I didn’t quite connect with the main character Devon and I struggled to see where she fit in. Devon seemed more of a narrator or a way of connecting the side characters. There were some minor characters that I felt should have played more of roll in the story and I was disappointed how they were kind of cast aside.

Although First and Then wasn’t my favourite, it did have moments I enjoyed and I do plan to read more from this author in the future.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Mending Fences (The Deacon’s Family, #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Mending Fences
(The Deacon’s Family, #1)

By Suzanne Woods Fisher

Published: February 2019
Published by: Fleming H. Revell Company
Format Read: ARC, eBook, Kindle, NetGalley
Genre: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction

Rating: 5/5

I was sent a copy of Mending Fences (The Deacon’s Family, #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis


Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers’ favorite characters.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s latest release is aptly named as this story is indeed about Mending Fences. Not only figuratively but literally as well. Fans of this author may remember the troubled Luke Schrock from her previous novels that follow the Amish Stoney Ridge inhabitants. Readers follow as he tries to turn over a new leaf and make amends for the pain he has caused.

The numerous series set in Stoney Ridge, are always a heartwarming reading experience and Mending Fences is no exception. I love the community this author has created and being reunited with past characters from previous installments.

Although some of the earlier decisions made might have been questionable, there was immense character growth throughout this novel. Not only from our main characters, but in those who were more secondary as well. The connections between different storylines, was well thought out and I enjoyed the different comparisons used in respect to Luke’s journey.

I am very much looking forward to the next installment in this Deacon’s Family series and would highly recommend Mending Fences.