Posted in Book Reviews, Up and Coming Releases

DNF shame: The Best Kind of People, Zoe Whittall

the best kind of peopletitle: The Best Kind of People

Author: Zoe Whittall

pages: 449

Genre: general fiction with mystery aspects

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish date: September 19, 2017

Blurb from Amazon’s website:

A local schoolteacher is arrested, leaving his family to wrestle with the possibility of his guilt, in this exquisite novel about loyalty, truth, and happiness.

The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.

Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence, Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

Provocative and unforgettable, The Best Kind of People reveals the cracks along the seams of even the most perfect lives and the unraveling of an American family.

Thank you to Netgalley and Ballentine Books for the chance to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I fear it just wasn’t for me.  I try to never do this, but after struggling through half the book I am throwing in the towel.  The premise caught my attention immediately- I love books like this where you get a deep look into a family.  The drama, the intrigue… it’s my catnip.  I can’t decide where this one fell flat, all I know is that it never caught hold of me.  I was bored and forcing myself from page to page waiting for a character to make me feel.  Even the opening, which should have been very exciting, seemed dull to me.  I guess I simply didn’t care for the execution.

On the adult content- there’s a lot.  Language, drug use, sexual content…. while none are very graphic, it is there.  Since this is a book I can see appealing to teens, I feel like I should put that warning out.  Again, it isn’t graphic, though, so I give it a five.

The book comes out tomorrow (9-19-2017).  I would be interested to know your thoughts.

Link to book:

Amazon

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Posted in Book Reviews, Up and Coming Releases

Love and Other Consolation Prizes, Jamie Ford

love and other consolation prizesspolier alertTitle: Love and Other Consolation Prizes

Author: Jamie Ford

Pages: 320

Genre: historical fiction, romance

Is this Part of a series?  No

Publish Date: September 12th, 2017

Summary From Goodreads:

Inspired by a true story, this is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. It is a time when the magical wonders of technology on display at the expo future seems limitless. But for Ernest, a half-Chinese orphan who found his way to America through a last desperate act of his beloved mother, every door is closed. A charity student at a boarding school, he has never really had a place to call home. Then one day, his wealthy sponsor announces that if a home is what he wants, then that is what he will have: Ernest will be offered as a prize in the daily raffle at the fair, advertised as “Healthy boy to a good home for the winning ticket holder.” The woman who “wins” him is the madam of a notorious brothel who was famous for educating her girls. He becomes a houseboy in her brothel and is befriended by the daughter of the madam, as well as a Japanese girl who works in the kitchen. The friendship and love between these three form the first real family Ernest has ever known.

My thanks to Netgalley and Ballentine Books for allowing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I have to admit that it took me a few days to process and come to terms not just with the content, but the layout of the book.  We first meet an older Ernest standing in front of the World Fair in the 60’s and thinking about a jumble of things from his wife, Gracie, to the poor record keeping of Chine, and then to radio waves bouncing off Cassiopeia.  Honestly it was a mess, and if I were someone that just reads the first page to decide if I want to read a book this one would have been tossed. That would have been tragic.  As the book progressed, moving from Ernest’s earliest childhood memory- the last time he saw his mother in China- to 1960’s America, it quickly found it’s pace and I was riveted.  There were moments of such haunting sadness, but also sweetness and childlike innocence in the oddest places.  I adored the characters and found them touching and well developed.  The fact that the general ideas behind who is “in the right” and “good” was often blurred and even in question here.  Mostly I was left broken yet charmed by a world  I can’t even imagine.  Due to the issues I had with the start of the book I thought I would give this one a lower rating, but I can’t.  It’s still a five star book for me and I will be searching for a hard copy of this one for my shelves.  (And as a possible gift for one of my aunties- this is right up her alley).  Five Stars  If you loved the lyrical beauty and poignant sadness of Memiors of a Geisha, then you will like this one I think.

On the adult content scale…. well there’s a lot.  Sexual content, though done with care and respect, language and violence.  It hits a lot of hard subjects, but I would still let my niece read it.  I give it a five.  Parental Guidance

The book comes out Tuesday- go get it!!!!!

Link to book:

Amazon

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Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized, Up and Coming Releases

The Future She Left Behind, Marin Thomas

the future she left behind.

Title: The Future She Left Behind

Author:  Marin Thomas

Pages:352

Genre: women’s lit, contemporary

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: September 5th, 2017

Delivered divorce papers by her cheating husband, Katelyn Chandler wants to pack up and head home to Little Springs, Texas.  She wants to reconnect with her mom, rediscover her art, and heal in the pleasant town.

There’s just one problem… Shirly Pratt, Katelyn’s mother-in-law, is not ready to give up the only one that has cared for her in three years.  Hijacking the road trip, she goes along to Texas all the while acting her domineering, manipulative self.  As Katelyn finds herself again she has to face some hard truths and decide where her life is headed.  The reappearance of her ex-boyfriend Jackson Mendoza doesn’t make things any easier as old feelings come back and she finds the new, more mature Jackson even more attractive.  This is one woman’s quest for peace, happiness, and a future forward.

My thanks to First to Read for an eARC of this book.  There was a lot I liked about this book.  For the most part it was a sweet, fast read with an interesting premise and fantastic characters.  On the other hand, I sometimes felt like  I was being beaten over the head with things that got repeated perhaps too often.  The mothers are polar opposites, I got that the first twelve times…. After a while it detracted from my enjoyment.   I liked that Jackson was imperfect, fighting with his view of himself, being a recovering alcoholic, and trying to forge a relationship with the mother that left him and his father.  He was an honestly good man that wanted the best for everyone else and I could not help but love him for that.  All in all, I found the book enjoyable and would recommend it.   Four stars!  Four Stars

On the Adult Content Scale, there’s some language and sexual content.  I would give it a five.  Parental Guidance

The book comes out 9-5-17.  Go check it out!

Link to book:

amazon

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Up and Coming Releases

A Tale of Two Kitties, Sophie Kelly

a tale of two kittlesspolier alertTitle: A Tale of Two Kitties

Author: Sophie Kelly

Pages: 336

Genre: cozy mystery

Is this part of a series?  Yes, this is book 9 of the Magical Cats Mysteries.

Publish Date: September 5th, 2017

With the arrival of two towns members- twin brothers that haven’t been back to their hometown in years- a twenty year old scandal is dredged up.  When one twin is discovered murdered it’s a race to catch the killer.

Cats Owen and Hercules have helped their owner discover things in the past with a well placed paw on a keyboard or a pointed stare.  Kathleen has long since come to terms with the fact that they aren’t “normal” cats, with the ability to comprehend what she is saying and make themselves understood through gesture (and with their other unique abilities).

Many thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for allowing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.  While I had not known it was in the middle of a series when I requested it, I was still able to fall in love with the characters and follow the story.  There is a lot of back story referenced, though, and I recommend reading those books-I have bought the first one and will be doing the same.  Still, this seems like a series that can be started from any point.

I liked the premise here- two cats and their human trying to solve crimes- kind of a Nancy Drew/ Scooby Doo thing.  The characters were well developed and easy to love, I actually miss them now that the story is over.  There were times when I feel like Kelly went a bit far with explanation (magical kitties- got that the first three times it was said),  but the writing style was good and it was a quick, fun read.  Really, I just thought this was adorable.  Four and a half stars.  Four Stars

On the adult content scale, there is very little.  There’s a bit of violence and I think someone cursed a couple times.  I give it a one at most.  This is a book I would hand a young teen without issue.  General.svg

The book comes out on the 9-5-17, have you read the others?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Posted in Book Reviews, Up and Coming Releases

How To Find Love In A Bookshop, Veronica Henry

how to find love in a bookshopspolier alertTitle: How to Find Love in a Bookshop

Author: Veronica Henry

Pages: 336

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish date: August 15th, 2017

Upon the passing of her father, Emilia comes home to take over the family bookshop- Nightingale’s.  A book lover’s fantasy, everyone in Peasbrook has a story about how Nightingale’s- and the owner- changed their world.    As Emilia tries to get the well loved but financially failing bookshop in order, we are introduced to the other lives in Peasbrook.  The lady of the manor, kind hearted screw up/ thug, terribly shy cooking teacher, troubled teen and musical heart throb.  Everyone has a story, but does everybody get a happy ending?

I have to say that there were so many ways where this book could have gone bad.  Having so many POV’s could have made this hard to follow and awkward; instead it was fluid and beautiful- each character adding new dimension with their story without detracting from the overall premise.  Some of the character’s solutions were nearly too easy and could have easily felt like the author had given up on them and wrote in a quick wrap-up to get them out of the way (you know what I mean, we have all seen it).  Instead it seemed honest and thoughtful still.  I adored the play between characters, and descriptions of the place and people.  This became a real, thriving village to me with characters that I quickly fell madly in love with.

Now, as it is about a bookshop I could wish that there were even more references and quotes littered throughout, as with The Little Paris Bookshop.  Still, it might have detracted from the many stories swirling around already.  All in all, I give it five stars.  Five Stars

On the adult content scale there is some sexual content, though very mild, and some language- oh, and hints of drug use.  All three are very tame and I will still be letting my niece choose this book if she wants.  I give it a three.  General.svg

As always, I must thank First to Read for allowing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The book comes out tomorrow- be ready!

Link to book:

Amazon

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Posted in Book spots, bookish rambles, Uncategorized

I may seriously never leave my new library!!

pic of front.jpg We just got a new town library and it is absolutely gorgeous!  I am so excited!  Not only is it at least five times larger than the previous one, but there is more parking, lots of computers, study rooms- yes, rooms that students can rent out and put themselves in so that they can study in peace, conference rooms, a storm shelter and IT support on hand.  Holy cow!

Did I mention how gorgeous it is?!?  Sky lights and open layout, comfy chairs scattered everywhere.  Tables…. freaking vending machines!!!!  That’s right, we have an eating area where I can see myself having a lot of snacks (brought from home, of course, so that I don’t blow my diet), while I read several papers or magazines.

Warren is excited because we are also supposed to get a 3D printer here, along with other tech in the green room (it isn’t open yet, I think they are still getting equipment).

Here are just a few pics I took in my quick tour:

While I love all this, it does hurt that it is so far from me now- it used to be a five minute walk, now it is across town.  Having our area loose fast access has made me consider things like the Little Libraries that are popping up everywhere.  I am blessed in that I have a car and can get anywhere, and have free time.  Some of my neighbors aren’t so lucky.  I had considered taking some of my books- ones that I don’t mind possibly loosing- and setting up one a Little Library outside my house with the idea of people being able to take a book to read and return, or leave a well loved book for others.

In a perfect world this would work flawlessly.  Everyone would only go to the book area and leave the rest of the house unmolested, books would return, and nothing would get broken or vandalized.  But I worry that this would not be the case.  Is it fair of me to invite strangers so close to my home- a home I share with my husband (and his possessions)?  Also, would this affect the neighbors?  And for the love of God, I don’t want to be part of the Little Library site because I would have to enter my information and address!  You have to pay them at least once, maybe more, and I don’t see how they could make this any safer.  I just want a weather proof cabinet outside that proclaims that it has Community Books- take a book, share a book.  That sort of thing.  One would open the cabinet and see a small selection of books.  They would take one to read, and return it when finished for the next reader.  I want to believe this would work!  I also don’t worry about “getting the word out” because it would be small and, with luck, just for my community.  What do you guys think?  Crazy, right?  I haven’t even asked the husband yet because I know he’s gonna nix it lol.  Let me know your thoughts in comments!

Amber

Posted in Book Reviews, Up and Coming Releases

My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen, David Clawson

my fairy godmother is a drag queenspolier alertTitle: My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen

Author: David Clawson

Pages: 336

Genre: YA, romance

Is this part of a series? No.

Publish Date: May 16th, 2017

Summary:

Chris Bellows is just wanting to get through high school unscathed and keep going.  His stepfamily, the Fontains, have had a reversal of fortunes but still have aspirations.   As the mother throws her daughter Kimberly at every eligible bachelor it is up to Chris to do the shopping, cooking and cleaning- because he’s the only one that has ever done it before and knows how.

One night, meeting Drag Queen Coco Channel Jones changed Chris’s life forever.  Not only does he know someone that he can be open with about being gay, but Coco sends Chris off to the ball of the season where he meets J.J.  Kennerly- the most sought after bachelor around.  A shoe catastrophe puts the two together and they have a moment.

The next morning, though, it seems that J.J. is dating his step sister Kimberly.  He has feelings for Chris, but with political ambitions, he is afraid of being out.  They decide to keep it a secret, and use Kimberly as a beard.  Madness, and hilarity follow the couple… but can this ever be enough?  And, as Chris keeps asking himself, is it fair to his step sister?  True love is seriously complicated!

My thoughts:

I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Skyhorse publishing.  My thanks!

I loved this book.  I found Chris, with his rollercoaster of emotions, honest and refreshing.  It was nice to see that he wasn’t a victim.  He never saw himself as the family’s slave or anything like that.  He tried to come to terms with his lot, and even found good in his family.    While Coco very nearly became cliché at times, she never got there completely.  I loved her interaction with each of the characters, and the fact that we got to see multiple facets there.  I like that they portrayed Kimberly as spoiled, yes, but also sweet at times and willing to include and accept Chris.  The brother actually took me by surprise because he was portrayed at this meathead with moments of brilliance.  He was the most openly accepting of the group, though, even if he was a jerk at times.

While this is a very loose retelling of Cinderella, I liked it better for that fact.  I loved the story line and felt that the writing style was really fluid.  I had a great time getting to know the multifaceted characters.  One thing I did not like was the fact that J.J. was fine using Kimberly as a beard- even when Chris was feeling guilty.  He made a lot of choices that were hard for me to accept… and yet seemed sadly realistic.  That aside, this is a five star book for me still.  Five Stars

As far as the adult content goes, there is some sexual content, language and lewd humor but nothing over the top.  My niece will probably be reading it.  I give it a four.  General.svg

The book comes out tomorrow (5-16-17) but the ebook seems to drop on the 30th.  I highly recommend getting it.

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber