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.

Advertisements
Memes · Recommendations

Top 10 Tuesday: Books that Awaken the Travel Bug in Me


Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy R.eader Girl

Today we are sharing books that make us want to travel.

Destination: Greece

Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Brashares

Grecian Holiday by Kate Cann

Destination: Scotland


The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Destination: Nantucket 

Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer 

Destination: Prince Edward Island


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery


The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams, #1) by Liz Johnson

Destination: Bali 


Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert


The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson 

 

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Rumors (Luxe, #2) by Anna Godbersen

2218252.jpg

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 · Recommendations

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

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

Published: April, 1999
Published by: Bethany House Publishers
Format Read: Kobo, eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

A Chance Encounter Forever Changed Their Lives–and Destinies.
Crafted by two masters of inspirational fiction–Janette Oke and T. Davis Bunn–and combining the engaging historical settings, rich characterization, and heartwarming messages quintessential to both authors, The Meeting Place is another timeless story for you to cherish.

Set along the rugged coastline of 18th century Canada in what was then called Acadia (now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), The Meeting Place re-creates a world that was home to native Indians, French settlers, and English garrisons. Such diverse populations did not live in accord, however. Instead, they were isolated within their own groups by a brewing political tension under the difficult English rule.

Amid such chaotic times two women, both about to become brides and both trying to live lives of quiet peace, meet in a lush field of wildflowers. Louisa, a Frenchwoman, and Catherine, who is English, continue to meet secretly through the seasons, sharing both friendship and growing faith.

The outside world does not mirror their own tranquil happiness, and the dreaded crackdown by the English throne threatens far more than their growing bond. In the face of a heart-wrenching dilemma, Louisa and Catherine strive to maintain their faith and cling to their dreams of family and home.
Winner of the Christy Award, presented by the Christian Bookseller Association to honor the best in Christian fiction.

My Thoughts

Janette Oke is an author with a list of books so long, its hard to know where to start. My first introduction to her books was with Where Trust Lies (Return to the Canadian West, #2) and since then I have been very eager to read more.

I began The Meeting Place with high expectations and definitely wasn’t disappointed. Beginning in 1753, it follows the budding, forbidden friendship between two young women; a French Acadian and an English Colonialist. They learn that despite their different cultures and their warring homelands, they had much in common. The way they built their bond around their Bible study was really quite beautiful.  There were so many passages that I marked to re-read and savor. Strength was a common theme in the Meeting Place, especially when hardships ensued. Catherine and Louisa drew strength from their husbands, their cultures, faith and especially their friendship.

While the cast of characters was interesting, it was the setting that really captured me. My pre-confederation education didn’t exactly shine a light on the British’s expulsion of the Acadian’s, so this era in our history is a fairly new interest of mine. The descriptions of the highland glen, the maritime local and the different seasons the story spanned draws the reader in and plays with their senses. After having the opportunity to visit  Fort Louisburg in Nova Scotia, I was able to vividly picture the landscape and what life was like during that time period. I was pleasantly surprised when that very place was mentioned in this book, as it gave me a better understanding of the different locations mentioned.

The Meeting Place is a wonderful story filled with heartbreak and hope. I would highly recommend it to those who enjoy Christian historical fiction and I very much look forward to reading the second book in the Song of Acadia series.

Notable Quotes

“A man was either French or English, and though villages were but a stone’s throw from one another, most inhabitants would go an entire lifetime without speaking to the other side.”

“The questions which had no answers were best left unspoken, and confessions were best whispered down a dark well at midnight.”

“It’s our meeting place. Our sanctuary. When we come here we come as equals. Women. Wives. Friends. We share the same dreams. The same hopes. We must not let others keep us enemies.”

Additional Notes

To read more about my trip to the Fortress of Louisbourg please visit my old blog: Melissa Lee’s Many Reads.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

Uncommon Type: Some Stories
By: Tom Hanks

Published: October, 2017
Published By: Alfred A. Knopf
Format Read: Hardcover, Library Book
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction

Rating: 2.5/5
♥♥.5

Synopsis

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!

Featuring additional performances by Peter Gerety, Peter Scolari, Cecily Strong, Holland Taylor, and Wilmer Valderrama on “Stay With Us.”

My Thoughts

Uncommon Type is a collection of fictional stories that all have one thing in common; they mention typewriters in one way or another. Now the machines aren’t the main focus of the stories (with the exception of one), but they are weaved into the stories briefly to tie them together.

I admit that I picked up this book on a whim, out of curiosity, being a life long fan of Tom Hanks. Although I would also like to add that I didn’t begin it with the highest expectations, after reading the description. With a 2.5 star rating, it is safe to say that I definitely did not love this book.

I struggled to finish the first story, as it just didn’t interest me and I didn’t care for the characters. Thankfully the second would keep my attention more. However I found that a pattern formed, going from some interest to little as I continued reading.  There wasn’t a single short story that I would have given a rating over 3 stars.

My rating was based solely on my own personal interest in the content and not the ability of the author. Because in reality Tom Hanks isn’t a bad writer. Each story was authentic to Hank’s voice, his own interests and personality.

Unfortunately I think that I would have enjoyed an autobiography written by Tom Hanks, than this collection of short stories. However I would recommend it to others.

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

Monthly Wrap-up: March 2018

March 2018.jpg

Hello and welcome to my monthly wrap-up for the month of March.

I turned 31 years old on the first of the month. Unfortunately the flu went through my house and we had to post-pone my birthday celebration. Once we were all feeling better, we had a nice family dinner. My favourite part was receiving my first birthday card that said “Mom”.

Charlie turned 11 months old on the 19th. He is doing great and learning so much everyday. His current favourites include; monkeys, ABC Kids TV videos on Youtube and trying to copy everything his Pop does. This morning he will have his first visit from the Easter Bunny, along with a turkey dinner with family.

You may recall that several weeks ago, I posted a 21 Day Anxiety Challenge. Well the flu interrupted my progress, but I have completed some of the tasks, just not in the order listed on the image I shared. My progress with the challenge includes:

  • Spend 20 Minutes Outside. I’ve been going out on walks several times a week.
  • Get hydrated. I’ve been taking a water bottle where ever I go, that I sip on throughout the day.
  • Take a long bubble bath. Nothing calms me down like a relaxing bath, paired with a good book.
  • Snuggle with an animal. My cat Nova starts off his day with cuddles every morning.

I really hope to do some meditation and yoga during the month of April.

I’ve started to use my Instagram more during the month of March. If you would like to follow me click the link below:

https://www.instagram.com/melissaleesredhousereviews/

Books Completed

IMG_20180208_132414_905 (1).jpg

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
♥♥.5       2.5/5
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction

Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris
♥♥    2/5
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Note: I was sent a copy of Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris, from the author in exchange for an honest review.

28751588_152708958735215_797138336635420672_n(1)

The Meeting Place (Song of Acadia, #1) by Janette Oke & T. Davis Bunn
♥♥♥♥         4/5
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

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

Formats Read:

Physical Books: 1
eBooks: 2
Audio Books: 0

Total Books Read in 2018: 7

Currently Reading

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

Links

Book Date

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Summer at Sunset (Summer, #2) by Beth Labonte

Summer at Sunset
(Summer, #2)
By: Beth Labonte

Published: December, 2018
Published By: Kindle Edition
Format Read: Kindle, eBook
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5
♥♥♥.5

Synopsis

For Summer Hartwell, holding her and Graham’s wedding a thousand miles from home seemed like a good idea. Even if it is at a retirement community. How else could she avoid planning the wedding with her neurotic, anxiety-ridden mother? But with one week left to go and Summer’s parents arriving on the scene, things begin to quickly unravel. Between the swingers parties, the Viagra jokes, and the copious amount of alcohol, Summer’s not so sure her parents will make it out of there alive. Then there’s the matter of Graham being Grade A top choice meat to every woman over sixty-five, a few of whom Summer suspects of trying to sabotage the wedding!

Can Summer and Graham hold things together long enough to make it down the aisle?
(Synopsis from Goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

Summer at Sunset is a fun contemporary fiction that picks up 2 years after the first book in the series, Summer at Sea. Our main character is now engaged to be married and wins an all expenses paid wedding at her in-laws retirement community.

It was nice to be reunited with the quirky cast of characters, including Summer’s neurotic parents. Ironically she learns that she may not be all the different from them. You know what they say “like mother, like daughter.” We are also introduced to several of the residents from the retirement community, who are young at heart, enjoying their golden years in the Florida sun. Only their daily routines mirror more of a college fraternity than that of a rest and relaxation.

While I found it to be an enjoyable read, I didn’t rate it as high as Summer at Sea. I didn’t like the characters quite as much as I did upon their initial introduction to me. Although I found it perfectly understandable that she would be stressed out, I found Summer to be a bit annoying at times and I wasn’t a fan of her fiance. An inflated ego isn’t a trait that I find attractive at all. The conclusion of this story was more over the top, than I expected.

However I enjoy the way Beth Labonte weaves pop culture into her stories and the personalities of her characters. There were several laugh out loud moments and I especially enjoyed the visits to Disney World.

I look forward to the next installment in this series and I would recommend it to fans of contemporary chick-lit.

 

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

Seriously… I’m Kidding
By: Ellen DeGeneres

Published: October, 2011
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Format Read: Audio Book, Library Loaner, OverDrive
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir, Humor, Autobiography

Rating: 3/5
♥♥♥

Synopsis

Ellen Degeneres’ winning, upbeat candor has made her show one of the most popular, resilient and honored daytime shows on the air, and her life makes for great (and very funny) reading.

“I’ve experienced a whole lot the last few years and I have a lot to share. So I hope that you’ll take a moment to sit back, relax and enjoy the words I’ve put together for you in this book. I think you’ll find I’ve left no stone unturned, no door unopened, no window unbroken, no rug unvacuumed, no ivories untickled. What I’m saying is, let us begin, shall we?”

Seriously… I’m Kidding is a lively, hilarious, and often sweetly poignant look at the life of the much-loved entertainer as she opens up about her personal life, her talk show, and joining the judges table of American Idol.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Seriously… I’m Kidding has been on my to-read list for a while now. When it finally came available to borrow from my library I jumped at the chance to listen to the audio version.

Narrated by Ellen herself, this audio book was just like listening to the opening monologue on her talk show. I enjoyed her observations on the world around her and admire her for keeping her jokes clean. Unlike most comedians, Ellen’s humor is suitable for all ages.

Although an enjoyable listen, I did find some of the rambling to be a bit much and settled on a 3 star rating. I would recommend Seriously… I’m Kidding to fans of Ellen DeGeneres.

 

Challenges · Currently Reading · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: February 2018

I’m a little late posting this wrap-up because cold and flu season is just sweeping through my house at the moment. First Charlie had a cold and was teething at the same time. So this made for one unhappy baby. He finally kicked that then got hit with a stomach bug. Thankfully he seems to be feeling more like his happy, cheeky self again.

I seem to be having trouble with my images in the past couple of posts I’ve made. I’ve tried to save them on my Google account, then add them through there, but the link up option hasn’t been working. Instead I was copying the image link from my Google albums then pasting them into my posts. It looked like it worked at first, but once they were published I noticed the link was broken. Its getting kind of frustrating to be honest. WordPress is still new to me, so I’m slowly figuring it all out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Books Completed


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling
♥♥♥♥       4/5
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Series

 

Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
♥♥♥     3/5
Genre: Non-fiction, Humor, Autobiography, Audio book

 


Summer at Sunset (Summer, #2) by Beth Labonte
♥♥♥.5          3.5/5
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Series
Note: I was sent a copy of Summer at Sunset (Summer, #2) by Beth Labonte from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

The Stats

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

Formats Read

Physical Books: 1
eBooks: 1
Audio books: 1

Total Books Read in 2018: 4

2011 Reading Catch-up Challenge Update:
Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
Books Completed: 4/15

Currently Reading


Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks


Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris

 

Wishing you all a wonderful March.

Happy reading.