Book Reviews

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #1) by Sophie Kinsella

Confessions of a Shopaholic
(Shopaholic, #1)
By: Sophie Kinsella

Published: November, 2003
Published by: Dell Publishing Company
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: 2.5/5
♥♥.5

Synopsis

Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London’s trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season’s must-haves. The only trouble is, she can’t actually afford it—not any of it. Her job writing at Successful Saving magazine not only bores her to tears, it doesn’t pay much at all. And lately Becky’s been chased by dismal letters from the bank—letters with large red sums she can’t bear to read. She tries cutting back. But none of her efforts succeeds. Her only consolation is to buy herself something . . . just a little something.

Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.

My Thoughts

I first read Confessions of a Shopaholic in high school. I don’t remember a lot about this book (aside from the basic plot), however I do remember that it wasn’t one of my favourite books. I decided to give it a second try, as I have added the series to a challenge I am trying to complete. I also hoped that perhaps I would enjoy it more than I did the first time around.

It didn’t take me long, once I started reading to understand why I didn’t love this book the first time I read it. Simply put, Becky Bloomwood is probably one of the most frustrating characters I’ve ever come across. She was really quite selfish and superficial. However this seems to be a theme in previous Sophie Kinsella books I’ve read. Another similarity I’ve noticed is that many of her characters have a very overactive imagination. Becky’s personality is meant to be humorous, but I often found it irritating, which was reminiscent of how I felt reading Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada.

Confessions of a Shopaholic isn’t one of my favourite books by this author, but it did have its entertaining moments and it was quick to read. I hope that I enjoy the second installment in this series more than I did the first.

 

 

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Book Reviews · Recommendations

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1) by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)
By: Colleen Hoover

Published: December, 2012
Format Read: eBook, Kindle
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 5/5

♥♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

My Thoughts

Colleen Hoover is another author who I became curious about after hearing a lot of hype on Book Tube. I definitely wasn’t prepared for how much of an emotional impact Hopeless would have.

The dramatic prologue to Sky’s story had me hooked immediately.  However I was unsure if I wanted to continue once I figured out where the plot was heading. The subject matter featured in this book is extremely hard to read. Some may even find it very problematic and triggering. Thankfully I decided to continue on, as this ended up being a 5 star read for me.

Hopeless was one of the most intense books I have ever read. Although I was able to predict early on the outcome, I still couldn’t put it down.

I would highly recommend Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless to fans of new adult fiction. However I advise caution to those who are sensitive to triggering subject matter.

Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: July 2018

Total Books Read in July: 3
Total Books Read in 2018: 17


Ebb and Flow by Heather Smith
Genre: Middle Grade, Poetry
Rating: 4/5


A High-End Finish (A Fixer-Upper Mystery, #1) by Kate Carlisle
Gene: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Series
Rating: 2.5/5


The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 4/5

The Stats
Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 3
Total Number of Non-fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 1
Total Library Books Read: 2

Formats Read
Physical Books: 2
eBooks: 1
Audio Books: 0

Currently Reading



Book Reviews · Recommendations

Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy

Nights of Rain and Stars
By: Maeve Binchy

Published: 2005
Published By: Orion Books
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction

Rating: 5/5

 

Synopsis

In a Greek taverna, high over the small village of Aghia Anna, four people meet for the first time: Fiona, an Irish nurse, Thomas, a Californian academic; Elsa, a German television presenter; and David a shy English boy. Along with Andreas, the old man who runs the taverna, they become close to each other after witnessing a tragedy when a pleasure steamer catches fire in the harbour. NIGHTS OF RAIN AND STARS is the story of one summer when Fiona, Thomas, Elsa and David all have to face the particular life crisis which first made them leave their homes and end up in Greece. With the help of Vonni, a middle-aged Irish woman who lives in the village and is now a near-native, they each find a solution – although not necessarily the one they anticipated…

 

My Thoughts

In this novel a group of very different people find themselves at a Greek taverna as a tragedy unfolds in the bay below them. This catastrophe makes them contemplate their own lives and the decisions that led them to the village.

After hearing my Mom rave about Maeve Binchy’s Nights of Rain and Stars, I bumped it up on my reading list. I’m glad that I did because it allowed us to discuss it when it was fresh in her mind. I ended up enjoying this story much more than I anticipated.

The cast of characters was ripe with flaws and faults. In fact as individuals, they weren’t very likable at all, but together they formed friendships that brought out the best qualities in each other. Not only was the setting beautiful, but the solidarity the villagers showed during the time of tragedy was very touching.

Nights of Rain and Stars would make for a good beach read and I would recommend it to fans of Maeve Binchy.

 

Notable Quotes

“…Someone who had not shown the courage to change because he had not known what opportunities for change there were.”

“Now I will open a bottle of wine to celebrate that we were here tonight, with all our hopes and dreams still left to us as we sit in another night of stars.”

“Cry a lot, but laugh as well. It’s how we survive.”

“If hearts can be heavy in heaven her poor heart will be like a lump of lead.”

Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: June 2018

Total Books Read in June: 3
Total Books Read in 2018: 14

 

Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5/5

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, #1) by Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Contemporary, Humor
Rating: 3/5
NOTE: This was a re-read. 

 

The Stats

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

 

Formats Read

Physical Books: 2
eBooks: 1
Audio Books: 0

 

Currently Reading

July TBR

 

Memes · Recommendations · Tags

2018 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

June marked the 6th month of the year. So lets freak out and see where we are with our reading..

This tag was originally created by Chami at IsThatChami.

Best book(s) I’ve read so far in 2018

Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy 
Hopeless (Hopeless, #1) by Colleen Hoover

 The best sequel I’ve read so far in 2018.


Rumors (Luxe, #2) by Anna Godbersen

New releases I haven’t read yet, but want to.


A Daring Venture (Empire State, #2) by Elizabeth Camden
Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Most anticipated release for the second half of 2018.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

My biggest disappointment.

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

Biggest surprise.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Favourite new to me authors.

Colleen Hoover
Morgan Matson

Newest fictional crush.

None.

Newest favourite character.

Andreas (Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy)

Book that made me cry.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

 Book that made me happy.

Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres 

Most beautiful book I’ve bought/received.

Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy was given to me by my mom.

Favourite book to movie adaptation I’ve seen this year.

None.

Favourite review I’ve written so far.

The Meeting Place (Song of Acadia, #1) by Janette Oke & T. Davis Bunn

Books I need to read before the year ends.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 

 

Did you participate in this tag? If so please leave me your links in the comments below. 

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the Date
By: Morgan Matson

Published: June, 2018
Published By: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format Read: ARC, Net Galley, eBook
Genre: YA Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Rating: 5/5
♥♥♥♥♥

 

I was sent a copy of Save the Date by Morgan Matson, by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

My Thoughts

Morgan Matson is one of those authors who I’ve heard a lot of reviewers rave about. So naturally I became curious and eager to find out for myself if her novels lived up to all the hype. In the case of her latest release, Save the Date, it definitely lived up to my expectations.

Save the Date is much longer than most books in this genre. However I think that I would much rather 1 longer novel than unnecessarily stretching it out into a series. I would describe this novel as a humorous family drama, with a little bit of romance thrown in.

Morgan Matson included some mixed media formatting, with the inclusion of text messages and in the form of a comic strip, illustrated by Charlie’s mother; Grant Central Station. The syndicated comic was based on the hijinks of the Grant family as they grew up. Often times this caused problems within and outside of their home.

This was essentially a comedy of errors that surrounded the nuptials of Charlie’s sister Linney. Anything that could go wrong did and just when the reader begins to think that it is smooth sailing ahead, something else happens.

I found it refreshing to read about a family that felt so real. Charlie’s admiration for her older siblings was very endearing, even if she saw them through rose tinted glasses, so to speak.

Save the Date would make for a fun and entertaining spring/summer read. I would recommend it to those who enjoy light contemporaries in the young adult genre. I look forward to reading more from Morgan Matson in the future.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Rumors (Luxe, #2) by Anna Godbersen

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Rumors (Luxe, #2)
By Anna Godbersen

Published: June, 2008
Published By: HarperCollins Publishers
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA Lit

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

After bidding good-bye to New York’s brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise.

All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family’s only hope for redemption; New York’s most notorious cad, Henry Schoon-maker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind—including Henry; even Elizabeth’s scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency.

As old friends become rivals, Manhattan’s most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to The Luxe, nothing is more dangerous than a scandal . . . or more precious than a secret.

My Thoughts

Rumors is the second installment in Anna Godbersen’s young adult historical fiction series, Luxe. In the first novel we are introduced to New York’s most prominent socialites. Picking up a couple of months after the conclusion of book one, I was glad to learn that we follow the character Diana Holland. As the younger sister to the previous main character, I found her to be much more interesting than the elder Elizabeth.

The Luxe series is often compared to the television show Gossip Girl. However instead of modern day, the first two books take place in late 1899. And instead of an online blog, newspaper columns like the “Gamesome Gallant” report all the latest scandals.

Like in the first novel, I found that some of the character descriptions and fashion to be more modernized than they would have been at the time. I also found that some of the plot lines weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been.

Despite these two grievances, I really enjoyed Rumors. High society and New York are two of my favourite topics to read about. Although I think the most enjoyable aspect of this book was the tone that was portrayed. It was a tone of pure snark that fit perfectly, not only with the gossip columns but the vain characteristics of the socialites.

I would definitely recommend this series to fans of the young adult genre and I’m looking forward to continuing on with the third installment.

Notable Quotes

“It was as though the city had always been wrong for him, and here, far away, where the land was open, he had arrived at his full strength.” pg. 39

“Society does not forget.” pg. 52

“Once a reputation has been too often confirmed, society cannot forget it.” pg. 76

Currently Reading · Memes · Personal Post · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: May 2018

Look at me, getting my wrap-up posted on time, haha. After a late start to Spring, we are definitely getting much warmer temperatures. Normally I’d use this as an excuse to hibernate, but lately I’ve been a bit more active.

Charlie is now 13 months old and is become more and more mobile each day. He sure keeps us on our toes.

Once again I read 2 books this past month and made good progress on another one. I am happy to say that I read my first 5 star book of 2018. I can’t believe it took me so long. Hopefully there will be more to come..

1

Total Books Read in May: 2
Total Books Read in 2018: 11

Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Genre: YA Lit, Contemporary
Rating: 5/5
Note: I was sent an ARC of Save the Date by Morgan Matson, from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. 

More than 50% by Hilda Chaulk Murray
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 3/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 2
Total Number of Fiction: 1
Total Number of Non-fiction: 1
Total Books Sent for Review: 1
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 1
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read

Physical Books: 1
eBooks: 1
Audio Books: 0

2

Hosted by: Book Date 

Book Reviews

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

The Road Home
By: Beverly Lewis

Published: April, 2018
Published By: Bethany House Publishers
Format Read: ARC, Kindle, eBook
Genre: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction

Rating: 2.5/5
♥♥.5

I was sent a copy of The Road Home by Beverly Lewis, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Lena Rose Schwartz hadn’t planned to leave her Old Order community in Centerville, Michigan. But then, she could not have foreseen the accident that made her and her siblings orphans. After her parents’ funeral, her younger brothers and sisters are farmed out to various nearby relatives. But when the deacon in charge of the arrangements tells her there aren’t places enough for everyone, she agrees to go live with her father’s second cousin and his family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Beside the fact that Lena has never been more than a few miles from home, she’s never met the family she will now be living with. But worse than that is the thought of being separated from her siblings. How will they manage without her to care for them–especially eight-year-old Chris? And what about Hannes Lehman, the beau she was sure would soon be asking her to marry him? It was true that he was not the man her father would have preferred for her. Maybe that was what the deacon was hinting at when he said “a fresh start might do you good.”

It won’t be forever, she consoles herself. I’ll come back as soon as I can to take care of my family–and to make a home with Hannes. But doing so may prove far more complicated then she ever imagined.

My Thoughts

Beverly Lewis is an award winning author of Amish fiction and I have been eager to read from her extensive collection. I was thankful to have been given the opportunity to read and review her latest release and began with very high expectations.

I enjoyed learning about the Amish culture in the two different communities; Lena Rose’s hometown of Centerville, Michigan and her adoptive home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The comparisons of the different traditions in these two Old Order communities were surprising to me. Including how the women wore their hair and the style of buggies used. The setting and culture depicted in this story, was by far my favourite part.

Although The Road Home was an endearing story, it didn’t draw me in or captivate me like the other books I’ve read from this genre. The style of Beverly Lewis’s writing was much more stern than I anticipated, so I expected the story to take a more serious or tragic route than it did. Instead I found it to be slightly boring and drawn out.

Unfortunately The Road Home wasn’t for me, however I am interested in giving this author another try. I hope that I will enjoy the next novel more.