Book Reviews · Recommendations

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Shopaholic 2) by Sophie Kinsella

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Shopaholic Takes Manhattan
(Shopaholic, 2)
By: Sophie Kinsella

Published: September 2001
Published by: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Series

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis

With her shopping excesses (somewhat) in check and her career as a TV financial guru thriving, Becky Bloomwood’s biggest problem seems to be tearing her entrepreneur boyfriend, Luke, away from work for a romantic country weekend. That is, until Luke announces he’s moving to New York for business—and he asks Becky to go with him! Before you can say “Prada sample sale,” Becky has landed in the Big Apple, home of Park Avenue penthouses and luxury department stores.

 

Surely it’s only a matter of time until Becky becomes an American celebrity. She and Luke will be the toast of Gotham society. Nothing can stand in their way, especially with Becky’s bills an ocean away in London. But then an unexpected disaster threatens her career prospects, her relationship with Luke, and her available credit line. Becky may have taken Manhattan—but will she have to return it?

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

The second book in the Shopaholic series takes Becky Bloomwood on a potentially life-changing trip to Manhattan with her workaholic boyfriend Luke.

I couldn’t remember if I had read this installment of the series back in the early 2000s, but as I got further into to story I realized that I had indeed read it. My first impression of it probably played a role in my decision not to continue on with the third book. I supposed I found our main character as annoying then as I do now.

I understand that Becky’s personality is supposed to be taken as humorous (and there are moments when it is) but for the most part I find her to be a whiney liar. Shouldn’t that be seen as more of a problem, than for entertainment value? I also don’t really like her and Luke as a couple. However this could be due in part to the limited time given to establish their relationship.

So why have I decided to continue on with the Shopaholic series, you ask? Well there were parts of Shopaholic Takes Manhattan that I did enjoy like the NYC setting and the direction the story took in the end. I also do enjoy Sophie Kinsella as an author and reading this series makes me nostalgic for the fashions, décor and all things late 90’s- early 2000s.

As I continue on to read the third book, I hope to see more character growth.

Articles · Memes · Recommendations

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Wish I Read as a Child

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Since I started blogging I have caught up on some children’s books that I didn’t read back when I was growing up. I’ve also added to this list since I became a Mommy, three years ago. In today’s TTT, we are talking about books we wish we had read as a child.

Books I have read as an adult

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burett

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel

Children’s Books on my TBR

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery

Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary

The complete Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Have you read any of these books? What books did you wish you had read as a child? Let me know in the comments.

Book Reviews · Character Spotlight · Recommendations

The Number of Love (The Codebreakers 1) by Roseanna M. White

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The Number of Love
(The Codebreakers, 1)
By: Roseanna M. White

Published: June 2019
Published by: Bethany House Publishers
Format Read: eBook, ARC, Kindle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3.5/5

NOTE: I was sent a copy of The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.

Source: Goodsreads

My Thoughts

The Number of Love is the first book in a new series by Roseanna M White, called The Codebreakers. Fans of this Christian fiction author may already be familiar with some of the characters in this book from her previous series Shadows Over England.

I was attracted to the synopsis of The Number of Love at the mention of intelligence working to decipher enemy codes. I have previously learned about code breakers in World War II and was eager to learn about their World War I counterparts.

Margot De Wilde was a very unique character. I appreciate how the author wrote her as an indispensable asset to Room 40, despite her differences. This book shined a light on how people who may not interact in a way that is considered socially “normal”, or experience feelings like the majority, are indeed worthy of love and friendship. Although her understanding of mathematics went far over my own head, I found the way she interpreted the numbers in her head to be fascinating.

I would highly recommend The Number of Love by Roseanna M White, to fans of Christian historical fiction.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Snowfall and Secrets (Omega Mu Alpha Brothers, 1) by Kimberly Loth

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Snowfall and Secrets
(Omega Mu Alpha Brothers, 1)
By: Kimberly Loth

Published: September 2016
Format Read: eBook, Kindle App
Genre: Romances, Contemporary Fiction, Series

Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis

Tess escapes from Florida with a secret as big as Miami. She needs to find someplace to lay low and hide from her overbearing family. Mackinac Island, Michigan, should be the perfect place to hide out. However, her timing is a little off, it’s the dead of winter and she’s never been in temperatures below fifty degrees. Just her luck, her landlord, Lukas, is as hot as the sun. He’s also moody and hiding secrets as well. Which suits Tess fine. A man is the last complication she needs. A Michigan blizzard leaves them trapped in the same house together and things heat up, fast. Tess finds herself falling for Lukas, in spite of the secrets that could ruin everything before it even begins.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Snowfall and Secrets attracted my attention for two main reasons;

1. It is set during my favourite season: winter.

2. Mackinac Island is one of my bucket list locations.

I don’t usually pick up romance novels like this as they tend to be too over the top for my liking. And yes, Snowfall and Secrets did have those kind of moments, however I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed Tess and Lukas story as much as I did. The author got straight to the point with their attraction to each other. Although their individual circumstances kept boundaries in place.

As I anticipated, the setting, season and community on Mackinac Island were my favourite parts of this book. Now I want to visit there more than ever. The story behind the fraternity brother’s dogs and their names was a clever way to keep them connected so long after they finished college and thus giving a basis for this series.

I would recommend Snowfall and Secrets to fans of the romance genre. However I am not interested enough to continue on with the Omega Mu Alpha Brothers Series.

Challenges · Memes · Recommendations

Top 10 Tuesday: Titles that Would Make Good Band Names

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This weeks topic for TTT was so fun! We are sharing book titles that would make great band names. The following are only a short list of titles that I thought suiting. I didn’t even go through my TBR lists. Hopefully we will re-visit this topic again in the future.

1. One for the Money (By Janet Evanovich) I think this would be a great name for a classic rock band.

2. The Lightkeeper’s Daughters ( By Jean E. Pendziwol) I picture this to be the name of a Celtic group of sisters with fiddles and mandolins.

3. Saltwater Joys (By Wayne Chaulk) This is actually the title of a song, written and performed by the author, but was turned into a children’s book. However I think it will also make for a great name for a traditional Newfoundland style band.

4. Serious Moonlight (By Jenn Bennett) would have made for a great 80’s soft rock band name.

5. Submerged (Alaskan Courage, 1 by Dani Pettrey) Submerged could be a great name for an angsty punk-rock band. Even the series title Alaskan Courage would make for a good band name.

6. Appalachian Serenade (By Sarah Loudin Thomas) would make for a great Bluegrass band name.

7. The Obituary Society (By Jessica L. Randall) is another great idea for an angsty punk-rock band.

8. Reconstructing Amelia (By Kimberly McCreight) I imagine this band being a girl rock/pop group.

9. Astor Place Vintage (By Stephanie Lehmann) could be a name for an indie band.

10. Last Chance for Paris (By Sylvia McNicoll) could be a pop duo.

Books Hauls

March 2020 Book Haul

Sent for Review

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A Study in Scarlet By: Arthur Conan Doyle
Adpated by: Stephanie Baudet
Illustrated by: Arianna Bellucci

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What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Audio books

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Billy Kelly: This Is A Family Show! by Billy Kelly

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

eBooks

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Too Late by Colleen Hoover

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Never Never (The Complete Series) by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

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Links by Lisa Becker

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Starfish (Starfish, 1) by Lisa Becker

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Dear Future Self (Starfish, 1.5) by Lisa Becker

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A Hard Day’s Night (The Lonely Hearts Club, 1.1) by Elizabeth Eulberg

Articles · Character Spotlight · Recommendations

Check out the Corona Princess Diaries!

In the past several weeks many different authors have been offering specials or exclusive content for their readers to enjoy during these difficult times. One of my favourite authors has jumped on the bandwagon and is sharing some special content on her website. That author is Meg Cabot. And if you too are a fan of her, you are in for a treat.

Meg has brought back her beloved character Mia, from the Princess Diaries series. On her blog she is sharing Mia’s Corona Diaries! And the best part is, its FREE!

Click here to read Princess Mia’s quarantine diary.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

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The Flatshare
By: Beth O’Leary

Published: May 2019
Published by: Flatiron Books
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

One of the most read releases of 2019 was Beth O’Leary’s debut novel The Flatshare. When I first read the synopsis, I knew I had to read it. The premise of two people who haven’t met sharing a flat and a bed, communicating via notes sounded like a great idea for a contemporary novel.

Tiffy and Leon were interesting characters that I could relate to. Written in dual perspective, Beth O’Leary really gave her characters their own distinct voices. I can understand why some people didn’t like how Leon’s sections were written but I thought it stayed true to his personality.

The story took a very serious turn, that I wasn’t quite expecting, as the tone of the book started in more of a lighter contemporary style. It is for this reason that I advise caution, as it might be a trigger to some people due to the subject matter.

Other aspects of The Flatshare, I enjoyed included how Tiffy and Leon got to know each other and Leon’s relationships with his patients at the hospice.

But for some reason this book didn’t captivate me like I anticipated, nor did it garner a 5 star rating. With so many aspects that I did enjoy, I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it was the slow pace, or maybe it was the shift in the tone.

Regardless, I would still recommend The Flatshare to fans of slow burn contemporaries.

Memes · Recommendations · Tags

The Easter Time Book Tag

I’m sure that I can speak for many when I say that Easter looks a lot different this year than it has in the past. However we are making the most of these worrisome times. I hope that you are all safe and healthy.

In honor of the holiday I have decided to share the Easter Time Book Tag, today. This tag was originally created by Theresa @ Calico Books.

Easter Egg

Name a book that feels like a hidden gem.

Bloom

A debut novel you loved.

Chocolate Bunny

A book so good you didn’t want it to end.

Cheep Cheep

A book you bought for super cheap.

Jelly Bean

A book you thought was oh so sweet.

Church

A book that changed your life.

Easter Basket

A book filled with so many surprises.

Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Read-a-thons · Recommendations

Charlie's Corner: Book Review: A Study in Scarlet (The Sherlock Holmes Children's Collection 1)

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.
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A Study in Scarlet
(The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection 1)
By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by: Stephanie Baudet
Illustrated by: Arianna Bellucci

Published: November 2019
Published by: Sweet Cherry Publishing
Format Read: eBook, ARC, Kindle
Genre: Middle Grade, Adapted Classics, Mystery

Rating: 3/5

NOTE: I was sent a copy of A Study in Scarlet, adapted by Stephanie Baudet, from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Body thought to be that of E.J. Drebber discovered last night in empty London house. No obvious cause of death. Address given as Cleveland Ohio. Any information would be appreciated.

After a mysterious murder leaves the police baffled, the world’s best amateur detective is asked to investigate. Along with his fellow lodger, Dr Watson, Sherlock Holmes sets about uncovering a quest for revenge that runs far deeper than anybody suspected.

About The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection

Elementary-age reading, my dear Watson! This fun series adapts the classic mysteries of Holmes & Watson for young readers, and makes the perfect introduction to whodunit fun for ages 7 and up. All titles are also leveled for classroom use, including GRLs.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

It has been quite a while since I read any of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, so this was a great refresher. I was excited to see that these stories are being adapted for a younger audience. My hope is that it will encourage young readers to appreciate classic literature.

Although it follows the basic plot of the original A Study in Scarlet, this book has simplified sentences and side notes that describe terms used that might not be familiar to kids today. An example of these side notes include the description of words like; hansome cab. Illustrations are also included.

Sherlock Holmes himself, has even been adapted for the younger audience. He is portrayed as more chipper and whimsical than the well-known character Arthur Conan Doyle created.

This version of A Study in Scarlet is being promoted as Middle Grade, however the story does center around a murder. Therefore I would recommend it to slightly older ages or even those who fall under the ages of young adult. I look forward to reading more of the Sherlock Holmes adaptations in the future.