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9 Book Pairings to Enhance Your Reading

Friday, May 22, 2020

9 comments

A Guest Post by Karen Geiger


My 5th grader is required to write a book report every week, and one of the recurring questions is, “Does this book remind you of another book you have read?” Suffice it to say, making connections between books is something we are taught to do from a young age. These days, I love creating both obvious and not-so-obvious pairings between books I’ve read. Here are 9 of my concoctions, visualized!


Writers & Lovers by Lily King 
Normal People by Sally Rooney
You would think Writers & Lovers is a book about present-day millennials, but it takes place in the 1990s. 31-year-old Casey Peabody is facing the aggravation of early adulthood, just as Connell and Marianne do in Normal People. They suffer from the consequences of foolish choices, missed connections, and crippling indecision. In between wanting to yell at them, you will recognize yourself in their vulnerabilities.




Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid 
Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin Kiley Reid and Laura Hankin have each written searing, satirical accounts of wealthy Manhattan mommies behaving badly. These privileged moms are juxtaposed by their younger hired help – an African-American nanny in Such a Fun Age, and a singer turned playgroup musician in Happy & You Know It. When the moms try to befriend their employees, be prepared for all hell to break loose.






The Dutch House by Ann Patchett 
The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe
The first person male narration immediately connected The Dutch House and The Knockout Queen for me. In both stories, the narrators are outcast from their homes as young boys. They then spend their formative years pining (non-romantically) after females that have protected them. Patchett and Thorpe have created utterly unique characters with unconventional yet compelling relationships.




Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb 
Listen to the Marriage by John Jay Osborn 
It turns out that witnessing the dialogue between psychotherapists and their patients is a surprisingly effective narrative device. Lori Gottlieb is a practicing psychotherapist who shares the journey of four real-life patients, while Listen to the Marriage is the fictional account of a separated couple’s experience with therapy. There are universal truths inside these pages that will make you realize you probably need therapy, too.




Three Women by Lisa Taddeo 
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell Russell’s fictional account of a 15-year-old girl groomed by her 42-year-old teacher is highly reminiscent of Taddeo’s true account of 17-year-old Maggie's story in Three Women. Neither victim can come to terms with what they’ve experienced, as they grapple with how the most formative relationships of their lives could constitute abuse. Both stories are at once shocking and palpable.




Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This is probably my most unconventional pairing, but it rings so true for me. Untamed is a powerful anthem to women: to dismantle the world’s expectations of us and begin reclaiming who we are truly meant to be. Convenience Store Woman is the story of Keiko, who never quite fits in and struggles to conform….until she delightfully decides to live her quirky, unabashed truth.





On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong 
How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones Both Vuong and Jones take a deep dive into intersectionality, with coming of age stories of young gay men of color. What makes them distinct is their language. Vuong is a poet whose lyricism is lush, layered, and at times inscrutable. Jones delivers a more straight-forward narrative with language that is refreshingly unadorned, yet no less profound.





The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes 
The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
The Giver of Stars and The Henna Artist give new meaning to The Resistance: we are not the first, nor will we be the last. Both books feature fierce, unapologetic feminists who fight the patriarchy in 1930s Kentucky and 1950s India respectively. Moyes’ Alice Wright and Joshi’s Lakshmi Shastri are downright modern in their insistence on charting their own paths regarding marriage, motherhood, and career.





The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah 
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Educated by Tara Westover
Three stories of young women facing harsh circumstances – on the Alaskan frontier, the marshlands of the North Carolina coast, and a survivalist’s compound in rural Idaho. The sense of place in each story provides an immersive backdrop for each woman’s transformative journey. You will be transfixed as they break through devastating cycles of violence, mental illness, and isolation.





Bio: Karen Geiger is a technology executive by day and a voracious reader by night. She resides in the Bay Area, California with her husband, two young boys, and a Labradoodle. She shares book musings and reviews on Instagram at @kindlepics.


Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think of Karen's Book Pairings! 
Do you have pairings of your own?  
Do tell.
πŸ“š
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In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Release Date: March 10th, 2020
Genre: Romance/Fiction/Contemporary
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My Goodreads Rating 

BOOK BLURB:

Perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day—a striking, powerful, and moving love story following an ambitious lawyer who experiences an astonishing vision that could change her life forever.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

MY THOUGHTS:

What if you wake up one day, 5 years in the future, and your life is totally different?  Different apartment.  Different fiancee.  How did this happen?⁠

Well, grab a copy of In Five Years and you're in for a ride! It's a love story, but don't jump into any conclusions, because the real love story is about a lifelong friendship and all the memories built throughout the years...the love of NYC, the love of bagels, the beach house, all the summers spent together, the careers they chose, and the promise of forever.⁠

Dannie and Bella have the kind of friendship you last saw on the movie "Beaches" (I know, that's an oldie) and I think I too, longed for that feeling.
OMG, so many feelings!

I liked this audiobook SO much that I now want a physical copy for my personal library!

“You mistake love. You think it has to have a future in order to matter, but it doesn't. It's the only thing that does not need to become at all. It matters only insofar as it exists. Here. Now. Love doesn't require a future.”⁠

⁠⁠🎧Thank you @librofm & @atriabooks #ALCprogram for the gifted listening copy!
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Social Distancing and April 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up

Thursday, April 30, 2020

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8 GREAT BOOKS WE READ WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING 


April 2020 was the first full month while social distancing and #stayathome time.  It took a lot of adjusting to this new reality of working from home, virtual classes, virtual book club meetings, video conferencing, grocery deliveries (if you're lucky to get a time slot)...all of this while dealing with the uncertainty and anxiety of what's to come.

I had enough time to binge watch a few shows on Netflix and Amazon, but mostly, I wanted to catch up with my reading πŸ“š

Here are the books I read in April and feel free to click on the links to see my full reviews:

πŸ™ŒπŸΌFAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH
     

❤️BOOKS I LOVED

     A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
     Wild at Heart by K.A.Tucker
     The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

🀩BOOKS I LIKED
     
     Verity by Colleen Hoover
     The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
     The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

πŸ‘ŒπŸΌBOOK THAT WAS JUST OK
     
     Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey


What about you?  
Any favorite books and/or TV shows?  
Please share in the comments section!



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Travel through books when social distancing

Saturday, April 11, 2020

9 comments



#SocialDistancing messed up your travel plans?  Mine too, but instead of moping around the house feeling sorry for myself, I embraced a different attitude and so far, have "travelled" to  the following places without leaving my house:

  1. Travelled to Vietnam for a bike ride (The Red Lotus) only to come back to NYC and face a biological threat - sounds familiar?
  2. Drove to Fell, NY to stay in a haunted motel (The Sun Down Motel) and help solve a series of cold cases.
  3. Went back to NYC to experience what true friendship is when faced with the most difficult time (In Five Years).
  4. Was summoned to The London ShadowHunters Institute to slay some demons (Chain of Gold).
  5. Flew back to Coney Island, to work in a funeral home and fall in love with a vampire Prince (Reborn Yesterday).
  6. Transported myself to Crescent City to live in The House of Earth and Blood, hang out with a Fallen Angel and become a legend.
  7. After all that I needed to relax, so I went to live in Alaska, near Anchorage with a sky cowboy, a goat, a raccoon and a grumpy neighbor (Wild at Heart).

Where have your books taken you to lately? Did you learn anything about the places? 

Books give you somewhere to go when you have to stay where you are - and that can lead you to a wonderful adventure...C'mon, tell me when was the last time you slayed a demon or talked to a ghost?

And, right now, you have the chance to get the new and old releases for free:


  • Scribd.com is giving 30 days free, no credit card, no commitment.  Download e-books, audiobooks, podcasts and magazines.
  • Libro.fm gives you the chance to support a local bookstore of your choice.  Enjoy the first month free and feel good about supporting a local store.
  • Hoopla lets you borrow digital movies, music, eBooks and more, 24/7 with your library card.  That's a game changer!
  • If you are an Amazon Prime member, you already have access to Prime Reading which includes a selection of more than 1,000 books and magazines.  Best of all, dozens of Prime Reading books are available with Audible narration — so you can listen while you are busy cooking, gardening or just relaxing.
With all of these free options, you have no excuse! Grab a book in the format of your choice and Happy Reading!  Who knows? Maybe you and I will meet at some distance land conquering kingdoms! LOL.
πŸ—‘πŸ‘‘


“That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet."― Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake




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COURT OF SAVAGES by Christy Sloat BLITZ

Monday, April 6, 2020

8 comments


I am SUPER excited that COURT OF SAVAGES by Christy Sloat is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Christy Sloat, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for an eBook from Christy’s collection courtesy of Christy. and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


About The Book:
Title: COURT OF SAVAGES (The Savage Hunt Series Book 1)
Author: Christy Sloat
Pub. Date: March 31, 2020
Publisher: CHBB Publishing 
Pages: 180
Formats:  eBook
Find it: Amazon Goodreads

High atop a mountain crest sits the grand Gahana Royal Hotel. The world’s most elite are dying to see what lies beyond its iron gates, yet only a select few earn an invitation.

How do they find themselves on that VIP list? By being truly monstrous human beings capable of the most fiendish acts. Once an invitation is extended, the evaluation begins. The Court of Savages thrive off the hunt, the thrill of the chase and the delight of the feast. Yet they adhere to a strict code. Never will they harm a human who is innocent, good, or reformed. Their beastly pallets require the most vile of beings and an invitation to the secretive resort has just been extended to London Stiles.

Can she prove there’s enough goodness in her to save, or will her check-out date be postponed indefinitely?


Excerpt:
The last to speak was Nola. When she spoke, everyone listened intently, her presence commanded silence. Especially when it came to Lathan. His dark eyes constantly watched her, even as she was just merely watching others. Whether she knew he was looking her way was never known.

She pulled her red hair out of her face.

“And these humans you hired as staff, they’ll keep our secret?”

Amon nodded.

“How can you be sure?” she urged. Amon smiled at her. She was his favorite, not because he was in love with her like Lathan was, but because he respected her more than the others.

“Do you doubt me?”

Without hesitation, she said, “I do not trust humans, Amon. Do you not remember how my family died? How the humans hunted us down like we were the monsters. All we killed then were their livestock and they killed my family like they were killing their children. All we took from them was their food. What would the humans do here, if they knew we were killing their own kind?”

A good question for Amon, who didn’t look shaken by it. Still, she didn’t trust Amon’s plan. He leaned forward and touched her cold cheek.

“My dear Nola, you must understand that I have this under control. I am older than all of you put together. I have seen the earth before humans inhabited it. Before they became the kings and queens that ruled. My life has given me one thing, and that’s an understanding of how they work.

“I know what makes them tick. What they desire. And that is to see their kind suffer. Not the ones who are innocent, no. The humans who deliver nothing but cruelty. The hatred they have for their kind that do bad onto others. The evil they hold in their hearts for those who have hurt them. It’s delicious. Can you not taste it, my friends?”

Amon pressed a button and the door to their room opened. In walked fifty humans, dressed in Amon’s strict uniform as the new staff of the hotel. Their fear apparent on their faces and in the air.

“Taste it, friends,” Amon said quietly before he addressed his staff. “Humans, tell my court here how much you hate the humans who have hurt you. But, do not use your words. Use your mind. Think of how they damaged you inside and how badly they deserve to die by our hands. Go ahead, you are safe with us.”

With that they closed their eyes, or stared at the monsters who sat in front of them. And Nola sniffed the air around her, her teeth-baring and she rubbed her throat as the familiar feeling of hunger clung to her senses. Mariet’s teeth chattered as she gripped the table in front of her; hunger boiling in her belly.

Lathan stared at Nola as he had learned to control his hunger, but not to control his desire for Nola. God how he’d love to pull her onto the table and undress her. He wanted nothing more than to stare down at her bare pale body and treat her like the goddess she was.

The twins writhed in their seats, barely able to control the burning rage in their bones. They were born to deliver justice to these people. The Sister’s Karma, they were sometimes called, but sirens of the sea they truly were.  For them the hunger was overpowering, for they truly only fed on humans who did the worst. Siren’s often got overlooked the most.

“Do you believe me yet?”

As they all anticipated feeding, now more than ever, Amon dismissed his staff. He addressed his friends once again.

“Well, what say you? Are you to be in my court? To trust me in taking care of you and delivering justice to those humans who have been wronged. I assure you, you will be treated as the royalty you are.”

Lathan smiled at Amon, and gave his nod of approval. The twin’s both said, “Aye,” in unison. Mariet made Amon promise that the humans who resided in the sleepy town some miles away would never know what was happening. Once he did, she seemed content.

It was Nola who was the hardest to convince. There were too many what if’s for her to consider. She’d seen too much horror in her life and she wanted a peaceful existence.

“Nola,” Lathan said, addressing her from across the table. “You lost a family, let Amon give you that back. With us you’ll have safety. Out there, there are no promises.”

Something struck a chord within as she seemed to relax a bit more. Lathan was known to calm many. Perhaps it was his dashing good looks, or maybe his deep voice. But whatever the reason, she said, “I’m trusting you here. Do not make me regret it.”

“Oh, I won’t,” Lathan assured her. He meant it.

“Well then it’s settled, we are the Court of Savages, truly and surely. Welcome to your new home.” Amon said.

About Christy: 

I am Southern California native, now living in New Jersey! How did that happen? I am married and have  two beautiful little girls who love to read just like Mommy. I have had a passion for books since I was a little girl and an imagination for just as long. I hope my books can inspire others to read and to write too.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads












Giveaway Details:
1 winner will win an eBook from Christy’s collection, International.


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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Saturday, February 15, 2020

8 comments




BOOK REVIEW: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Genre: Fantasy/Fiction/Adult
Published by DoubleDay Books
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My Goodreads Rating 



EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
“Once, very long ago, Time fell in love with Fate. This, as you might imagine, proved problematic. Their romance disrupted the flow of time. It tangled the strings of fortune into knots.  The stars watched from the heavens nervously, worrying what might occur. What might happen to the days and nights were time to suffer a broken heart? What catastrophes might result if the same fate awaited Fate itself? The stars conspired and separated the two. For a while they breathed easier in the heavens. Time continued to flow as it always had, or perhaps imperceptibly slower. Fate weaved together the paths that were meant to intertwine, though perhaps a string was missed here and there. But eventually, Fate and Time found each other again... And so time goes as it should and events that were once fated to happen are left instead to chance, and Chance never falls in love with anything for long. But the world is strange and endings are not truly endings no matter how the stars might wish it so.  Occasionally Fate can pull itself together again.  And Time is always waiting.”


MY THOUGHTS:
Let me start by stating that I do believe The Starless Sea is a literary MASTERPIECE.  The reason why I feel the need to state this first is that just in case I'm unable to do this book all the justice that it deserves, you'll only need to remember my first phrase!
Got it?
Keep that in mind!

The Starless Sea is entirely different from anything you ever read.  It's an intricate labyrinth of stories within stories and even though they might not seem connected as you read them, the pieces of this ginormous puzzle will all come together in the end.

To describe how I felt as I was midway through it, I have to borrow a line from the book:

“Like I’m losing my mind but in a slow, achingly beautiful sort of way.”

Erin Morgenstern delivers such powerful imagery through her words that at times I felt like I, (or our main character, Zachary) was inside a video game.  Zachary finds a book in the university library and somehow one of stories in the book is from his own childhood.  Zachary is a gamer and this book sparks his curiosity.  The book tells him there are 3 things lost in time: a book, a sword and a man.  Find the items. Solve the puzzle.  Which is pretty much how Zachary ends up inside the NYC Public Library, falls into the rabbit hole, or more specifically, the hidden underground library that leads to The Starless Sea.
Part Mystery.
Part Fairy Tale.
Part Myth.
Part Love Story.
Part choose your own adventure type of game.

My conclusion:
  1. This is a book that needs to be read more than once (I'm actually craving to do so)!
  2. If you didn't like The Night Circus, it's pretty safe to assume you won't like The Starless Sea.
  3. As a reader, you need to allow yourself to get lost within the stories, in order to appreciate them.  Don't try to make sense of them.   
  4. I'll wait another 8 years to read whatever Erin Morgenstern comes up with next!!!


“Strange, isn’t it? To love a book. When the words on the pages become so precious that they feel like part of your own history because they are. It’s nice to finally have someone read stories I know so intimately.”



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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Thursday, February 13, 2020

11 comments



BOOK REVIEW: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Fiction
Published by Celadon Books
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My Goodreads Rating 


BOOK BLURB:
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him...


MY THOUGHTS:
I really didn't expect to like The Silent Patient as much as I did. When I saw the genre listed as "Psychological Thriller", I was like, alright, here we go again... Much to my surprise, I actually got really into this story, and wanted to know why this famous painter shot her husband 5 times and never spoke again! ⁠Would Theo, the criminal psychotherapist be able to solve this mystery?
 ⁠🀫
I was on the edge of my seat for most of the time, had a few of my own suspicions, and even texted one of my #somabookclub buddies when I was at the 78% mark, with one of my wild theories, and her response was: "my lips are sealed", which made me want to text her back with a few words that I'm not too proud of (sorry Lesia )... in the end, I did not see the final twist coming, and to that, I can only say, BRAVO!!!⁠
πŸ‘πŸΌ

This book is part of the #SOMAbookclub  2020 picks and I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks about this one!!!

“We are made up of different parts, some good, some bad, and a healthy mind can tolerate this ambivalence and juggle both good and bad at the same time. Mental illness is precisely about a lack of this kind of integration - we end up losing contact with the unacceptable parts of ourselves.”


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