This Heart of Mine, C. C. Hunter

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Title: This Heart of Mine

Author: C. C. Hunter

Pages: 384

Genre: YA, Romance

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish date: February 27th, 2018

Summary:

Leah has gone through one heart, and now has an artificial heart in a backpack until she can get a new one.  She understands, and has accepted the few years this will give her, never imagining that she would get a donor.  She hangs out with her parents, talks to her best friend, works on reading 100 books and simply enjoys her time.  Yeah, it would be great to be able to be normal, go to school, have boyfriends… live.  It just isn’t in the cards.  That is, until it is…. one day changes everything.  A young man passes and a heart is available.  The issue?  Once she has the heart, she can feel it’s previous owner.  She has dreams and thoughts she knows aren’t her own.  How do you tell your crush you have their dead twin’s heart and it wants to tell them something?

Matt knows his brother didn’t kill himself…. but he’s the only one.  The evidence is stacked against him, but he just knows something else happened.  Someone took his brother’s life… and they have to pay.  When Leah approaches him, offers help, he can’t believe his luck.  Finally someone believes him… finally he isn’t alone.  Can they find out what’s going on, though?  While they work together, they grow closer and discover new possibilities.  Can it work between a girl who always thought she had an expiration date and a boy that’s seen too much death?

My thoughts:

The premise of this book was really amazing.  I loved the play between characters and the way the book flowed.  It seemed very real, allowing the main characters of Matt and Leah to be, well, teens.  Mature for their age, perhaps; but scared, angry, confused and hopeful.  There was so much heart, so much emotion woven into this story.  I cried, I laughed, I ached for these kids.  The character development was spot on, though the side characters were a bit basic- mainly the book club.  It didn’t stop this from being a fantastic read, though, and one I am getting my niece.  Five stars all the way, and one for creativity.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating  star-709689_960_720

On the adult content scale, there was some violence, language and sexual content.  Nothing too extensive.  I give it a five.  General.svg

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!

The book comes out 2-27-18.  Who’s ready?

Link to book:

Amazon

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The French Girl, Lexie Elliott

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Title: The French Girl

Author: Lexie Elliott

Pages:  304

Genre:  Mystery

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: February 20th, 2018

Summary:

(From Goodreads) They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway–until they met Severine, the girl next door.

For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group’s loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can’t forgive, and there are some people you can’t forget, like Severine, who was never seen again.

Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine’s body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she’s worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free.

My thoughts:

I chose to use Goodread’s summary for my review because I could not find a way to describe it better.  The plot was good, but fairly cookie- cutter (seriously, we have all seen this blurb with different names at least a dozen times).  While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t make one’s heart race like it used to.  What makes each one unique is the character development and interaction.  Here, I feel like Elliot did well.  Even when I hated Kate for her Seb hangup, I loved her.  I felt for her.  I was drawn to, and intrigued by, Severine.  I also loved Tom.    The book moved slowly- almost glacially at times.  I thing I just wanted… more.  More insight into Theo and Severine, less harping on a long lost relationship.  I was also not really satisfied with the way it was all wrapped up.  For me, this ended up being a three star book.  It was good, but it wasn’t great.

normal star rating normal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s a lot of drinking, language, violence, sexual content and discussion of drug use.  This is a book that was definitely geared toward an older audience.  I give it an eight.  mature audience.

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.  first to read

The book comes out 2-20-2018, is it on your TBR list?

Link to book:

Amazon

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The Ballad of Huck and Miguel, Tim DeRoche

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Title: The Ballad of Huck and Miguel

Author: Tim DeRoche

Pages:  270

Genre: Fiction, re-imagined classic

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: February 18th, 2018

Summary:

This is Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, if he was alive today.  Leaving a back-water town that hasn’t changed in decades, Huck is forced to go with Pap, his abusive father, to California.  Having lived with all of Pap’s prejudices, there’s a lot to learn and understand as he moves further into today’s world.  When he escapes his father, he begins his new adventure, learning about friendship, courage, and different walks of life.  When things go south he and Miguel, an illegal immigrant he met at his foster home, travel down the “concrete river” of LA to get Miguel help and clear his name of a crime Pap committed.

My thoughts:
         There is a lot to love about this book.  The plot was well developed and the characters were developed and on point for their classic counterparts, while still being relevant in today’s world…. well, Huck is incredibly backwards but that’s explained by his upbringing.  I loved Huck, whose good intentions and heart shine through in this book.  Miguel was an amazing character, blasting away Huck’s preconceived notions and bringing him into his own circle.  The bond between the two is undeniable.  I also enjoyed Huck’s foster parents, and thought they were interesting and brought a good dynamic to the book.

Unfortunately it had it’s faults.  Huck’s phrasing and language often drove me insane.  Now, I am having trouble remembering it’s classic counterpart, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (It’s been twenty years, after all), but I thing I felt the same way then.  It was often hard to get through some of Huck’s narrative without wanting to scream the correct words.  I don’t know if it just rubbed me wrong because I was reading it… part of me feels like it wouldn’t have been as terrible if I were listening to it in audio-book.  Another reviewer on Goodreads described it as the author wanting to have it be modern, but keeping Huck in the 1800’s.  This is a good description, but even then the wording is often incorrect.  That did drag me out of the book multiple times.  As far as the plot goes, some of it gets… well… a bit more than absurd.  I feel that, again, that is in keeping with Twain’s more satirical spirit.  With all of this, it was still a four star book for me.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there is language which includes racial slurs, drugs and violence.  I give it a seven.  While I think parents might wish to look at it before anyone under thirteen, I would have no problem giving it to a preteen myself.  Parental Guidance

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Redtail Press in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!  pro_reader_120

The book is out now, have you got your copy?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Song of a Captive Bird, Jasmin Darznik

song of a captive birdTitle: Song of a Captive Bird

Author: Jasmin Darznik

Pages: 416

Genre: Historical fiction

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: February 13th, 2018

 

Summary:

A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing poet Forugh Farrokhzhad, who defied Iranian society to find her voice and her destiny.

-Goodreads.

Forugh  was reminded always what Iranian daughters should be: quiet, modest, domestic.  They should always obey their fathers and, later, husbands.  It isn’t that she doesn’t want to be good…. but she always finds ways to rebel.  She wants freedom- like she sees her brothers having.  Her writing is her only freedom, her only escape. When her marriage, arranged by her father for her, becomes too much, she runs off and has an affair that brings her back to her writing and gets her published… and notoriety.  A story of her loss, her pain, anger, love and triumphs; this is a in depth look into what her life might have been like using her writing and what is known of her life as guides.

My thoughts:

I loved and hated this book at times.  The first chapter grabbed my attention, throwing me into the Iran of Forugh’s youth.  After that, it petered and meandered through her early life.  While it was interesting, it wasn’t exactly attention grabbing, at least not for me.  That section took a while to get through.

Half way though the book I had a better picture of Forugh and her sister, and of their home life and the restrictions on them as girls.  I felt for Forugh, even when she did foolish things.  The differences between sisters intrigued me.  The way the author described both her love of Kami and the struggles she had caring for him cut me.  Her pain tore at me.  I loved watching her relationship with Leila and the way she grew throughout the book.  It made me interested in learning more about Farrokhzhad’s work and I bought Another Birth, the only compilation of her poems I could find in eBook.   This book will make you smile sometimes.  More often, it will make you cry, rail at societies that keep their daughters down, and (hopefully) think.  For me, this is a four star book, with an extra one for creativity.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating star-709689_960_720

On the adult content scale, there’s violence, language and sexual content.   This book is definitely geared toward an adult audience.  I give it an eight.  General.svg

I was lucky enough to receive and eARC of this book from Netgalley and Ballentine Books in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.  pro_reader_120

 

The book came out today!  Do you have your copy?

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Wrap it up! February 13th, 2018

Cat stressPersonal life:

  This about sums it up.  Sassy Britches had been sick for quite a while now and we had been trying to take care of her at home.  She had the sniffles but I thought she seemed fine.  My husband is the one that feeds the beasties and didn’t tell me she had stopped eating her dry food.  He just figured she’d eat when she was ready and figured he just didn’t need to fill the bowl as often.  For a literal genius, he can be a nincompoop.  Long story short, I took Sassy to the vet Thursday where she got an antibiotic shot for upper respiratory infection (mostly in the eyes now, but was in the lungs), and I got read the riot act because my 13 year old beauty was now 7 lbs.  She had lost two teeth recently and while the gums were healing well with no signs of infection, while it was raw she wasn’t chewing.  The vet says there’s no reason she can’t, but she won’t.  And so I started trying every known form of wet cat food.  She loves her gravy pouches, but only eats the gravy.  Same with everything else.  I jumped on amazon and got a gel kitty suppliment for vitamins…. she won’t eat it.  Will not go near anything that has it.  What will she eat?  Baby food.  Beef flavor.  Oh, and she likes Kong spray.  The vet had given some to Boo on her visit.  I spent three weeks trying to figure out what cat treat came in a spray can.  The answer is none.   He had given my Boo a dog treat (small amount) to distract her at shot time.  The other vet thought I was crazy when I asked what it was, but I was sure Sassy would love it.  They are both nuts about it.  Unfortunately Boo tried to knock it down and help herself while I was busy with her sister and ended up breaking off the nozzle.  It still works, but it’s really hard and I keep the bottle in the tea cabinet now.   On the bright side, Sassy is getting better.  She is asking for food and coming around more.  Her grooming has even improved.  Oh, and she harasses Boo verbally when ever they’re close.  That’s how I know she’ll be fine; though who ever heard of a cat that hated cats?  She’s super sweet with humans and most dogs so long as they don’t start anything.  Boo, sweet thing, takes it all in stride and doesn’t get upset or retaliate.  She even gave up her portion of Kong when Sassy came over and tried to get to it.  She stepped back and let her sister have it, didn’t even seem to mind even though it is her favorite treat.  She got a second helping for that, and praise for being a good sister.  The only issue we have with this one is that she’s a food thief.  We air pop popcorn and have to leave a portion plain for her.  She still tries to steal ours, but not as bad.  She also goes for Sassy’s bowl after she’s done with it- thankfully never before.  So I have one severely underweight cat and one that’s getting tubby lol.

Bookish life:

  I just finished Song of a Captive Bird a few days ago (review to follow) and am working on The Ballad of Huck and Miguel.  So far I am liking the later, and I really liked the former, but it started slowly for me.  What the book did do for me is introduce me to a poet I had not known before.  I ended up buying one of her eBooks.

song of a captive bird Well, that’s me for the week.  What’s up with you?

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Where the Wild Cherries Grow, Laura Madeleine

34964867spolier alertTitle:  Where the Wild Cherries Grow

Author: Laura Madeleine

Pages:  336

Genre: Historical Fiction

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish Date:  February 13th, 2018

Summary:

Bill Perch wants to be a solicitor- that’s what he went to school for, what his family expects and what Stephanie wants.  When the chance of his first case comes up, he’s trilled.  It seems pretty cut and dry.  He must go out and find proof that a woman that has been missing for fifty years is, in fact, dead so that certain assets can be released.  If she hasn’t been found in that long, what else can it be?  As he dives into Emeline’s past, though, things don’t add up as they should and he soon finds that he needs answers more than a pay check.

The war and illness has taken nearly everything from Emeline Vane.  Her parents, her beloved older brothers… gone.  Her home a shambles, no help, no money.  It is whispered that she herself isn’t right in the head… that grief has made her mad.  Uncle Anthony is willing to help her youngest brother Timothy, and her in a way; but it comes with a price.  Sell her home.  Timothy’s birthright and where her memories all lie.  One night it all becomes too much and in one accidental moment everything changes.  Ushered to a Train to take her away, Anthony says it is for a short stay.  To get better.  But why is he signing so many papers?  And why does she have to be accompanied by a nurse?

An instant decision changes her world.  jumping from one train to another.  Escape.  Adventure.  The chance to leave Emeline behind.  Far south, she finds a tiny town, a tiny kitchen, where Maman and her 19 year old son bring her back to life.

My Thoughts:

I just finished the last page of this book and, my God, it was glorious.  There is such beauty and attention to detail in this writing, flowing smoothly through voices and decades.  The characters are strong, well developed and touching.  I first fell in love with this author reading The Confectioner’s Tale , so when I found another of her books I had to have it.  She has a way of wringing every emotion out of you, and making you beg for more.  I felt so sad, reading about Emeline’s loss, but at the same time there were pockets of hope, discovery, and pure joy.  The descriptions of the food too, as with the last book, made me wish to taste these things.

But let’s get back to this book.  Bill takes up half the narrative and, at first, he’s a hard sale.  There’s not much to him- he wants to do well but hasn’t much money.  Goes on about his one suit, odd shoes.  You see some excitement in him on his way to the old house, but he is still far to interested in the image he projects.  It’s only after he starts really learning about Emeline that he himself starts to shine.  The hunt for information makes him more human, more intense and interesting.  He goes back to London, thinking he’s ready to do what’s right in the eyes of work and family.  What’s expedient.  All signs point to her not being in her right mind at the time of disappearance and that may be enough…. but he can’t do it.  Thus begins his own adventure and the point where I feel he became the hero of his own half the story.    Emeline, on the other hand, you love from the moment you meet her.  She seems so young and shell shocked to be trying to hold everything together and your heart aches with every memory shared of her obviously beloved older brothers.  She tries to stay strong for Timothy, her youngest and last remaining brother.  It’s a lot for an eighteen year old to handle even in those days.  Her determination, and strength of spirit warmed me.  She is the reason I could not put this book down.  Needless to say, I will probably be buying this book in paper form because it is definitely a to share book.  I will also be buying The Secrets Between us, which seems to be the last of this author’s books I haven’t read yet.  Obviously Laura Madeleine has become an author whose books I will buy on name alone.  Five stars!  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s some language, light drug use, and some light sexual content.  Nothing over the top.  While this isn’t written with young adults in mind I can see it being a book my niece and many of her friends would enjoy and I would have no problem giving it to them.  I give it a three.  General.svg

I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.   My thanks!

The book comes out 2-13-18, who’s ready?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Top Ten Tuesday! Books that have been on my TBR list the longest!

TTT-Big2This meme was created by The Broke and the Bookish and has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week’s prompt is going to be about the books that have been on our TBR list.

 

We will start with my eBook portion as they have been with me longest.  From Nook:

2 am at the cat's pajamas A nine year old jazz singer, a divorcee looking for love, and a jazz lounge in trouble.  How can I resist?  I seriously want to read this!

Strange the dreamer  I read so many amazing reviews about this one, and had to have it.  Why haven’t I read it?  For one, I am at odds with Barnes and Nobles now and rarely go into that app at all.  Silly, I know, I was buying my books from them nearly exclusively for years so this is the majority of my library.  I just hate that they require me to have a debit card on file in order to open a book I paid for years ago.

the first fifteen lives of Harry AugustNo matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

Lord, that blurb!  How could I not want to read this?

everything I never told youLydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

I was so excited about this one!  I still have to read it.  I also have her newer book on my TBR.

this is where it endsA school shooting told in four voices.  It sounds crazy good.  I really want to read it.

 

 

 

 

fly away homeI saw a review for this one forever ago, and it sounded great.  I love books like this and am still super excited to read it.

 

 

 

imaginary thingsWatching children play and invent whimsical games of fantasy is one of life’s great joys. But what if you could actually see your child’s imagination as it unfolded? And what would you do if your child’s imagination suddenly became dark and threatening?

Holy crap this sounds great!  Why haven’t I read this?

 

Now for my paper TBR:

teach me to forgetA girl ready to die is pushed to live.  This one sounds like it will wreck me, but it sounds so good.  I bought a paper copy immediately after reading a review for it.

 

 

 

welcome to the worldI had just read Fried Green Tomatoes and loved it.  Then I found this at my favorite used book shop for $2!  It’s been on my shelf ever since, but I swear I am going to read it!

 

 

 

 

literacy and longing in L.A.Some women shop. Some eat. Dora cures the blues by bingeing on books—reading one after another, from Flaubert to bodice rippers, for hours and days on end. In this wickedly funny and sexy literary debut, we meet the beguiling, beautiful Dora, whose unique voice combines a wry wit and vulnerability as she navigates the road between reality and fiction.

So this one just stole my bibliophile heart.  It was at the used book store too.

 

So that’s my list.  What’s on yours?

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