Photography

Photography
Random Adventures

Lifestyle

Lifestyle
Lifestyle and Other Items

Writing

Writing
Writing and all related items

#SOMAbookclub 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

16 comments



Wow! 2019 just flew by...

Thanksgiving is upon us and that means more time to read! 
Reading is the one thing that you can do, no matter how you decide to spend your holiday time off:  at the lake, camping, hiking, skiing, (audiobook, why not?), relaxing at home by the fire...

Here's the list of books that #SOMAbookclub read this year! It's a collection of some of the hottest page-turners, so grab a drink of your choice and come with me on this magical reader's ride :-)


CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi
This was our YA pick.  The plot is phenomenal.  Adeyemi delivered a well-crafted, action-packed story.  The character-development is also amazing.  Princess Amari grew from a weak girl, full of doubts, into a fighter, the future queen.   The bond that developed between Zelie and Amari was my favorite part.  In the world of  King Saran, they should hate each other, yet, they learned to trust each other and became friends.  Amari's brother, Inan, was a character that I disliked and did not trust, but he was an important piece of the puzzle and I do believe his secrets will be uncovered in book 2 of the series.
And, book #2 was already voted for our January 2020 pick!!!


AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie
We picked a murder/mystery book, which is also part of PBS Great American Reads...unfortunately, we had no idea of the words in the original song from the book.  That generated some well deserved anger, specially when we realized that this book is considered the world's best-selling mystery, and with over 100 million copies sold is one of the best-selling books of all time. What?  Most of us could not move past the racist words...

BEL CANTO by Ann Pachett
March was the month we picked a book made into a movie and Bel Canto was the chosen one.  This one was not a favorite and some people even watched the movie :-(

ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline
April was the month of picking a book by a local author and Christina Baker Kline lives in NJ.  Orphan Train talks about a part of our American history that I was completely unaware of. Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck...

CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber
May was the month for a Fantasy novel.  This was another book with a LOT of hype!  I'm the fantasy lover of the group and I didn't love Caraval...

1984 by George Orwell
June was the classic novel month!  I remember this book being my first buddy read before #buddyreads were even a thing.  My father and I discussed this book back then.  A true classic!


DEAR MRS. BIRD  by AJ Pearce
Dear Mrs. Bird was delightful and such a page-turner!
By combining humor with the voice of the young Emmy, Pearce's novel showed us how people had to carry on with their lives and find hope in the midst of war. A perfect bookclub read!

PACHINKO by Min Jin Lee
August was our Historical Fiction month and what a fantastic family saga we chose to read!
This was, quite simply, one the most memorable books I have ever read (right up there with The Kite Runner)!  It's an extraordinary novel about perception, prejudice and above all, the resiliency of women and the loyalty of their family. Even though this is a Korean-Japanese historical fiction, make no mistake, the emotional impact is universal...

RED CLOCKS by Leni Zumas
September was the dystopian novel month.  I'm going to quote the review from one of our members: "This book was very confusing and the plot synopsis wasn’t accurate. The mixing of names was all over the place and it was hard to follow the characters. The premise made for a good story but it never came to fruition."

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro
October was the "suspense" month and somehow, even though you could consider Never Let me Go in that category, I don't think it's the right one...
The beauty of the book is how the author approaches the subject of what makes us humans? How can we define being human? Is it because we have memories? Express emotions? Feel Love? Maybe it is the ability to differentiate right from wrong, but that can get all twisted when the world you live in is unethical, by removing the ability to choose one’s purpose.

NINE PREFECT STRANGERS by Liane Moriarty
November is the month for NY Times Best Seller!
🧘‍♀️ "Welcome to Tranquillum House!⁠⠀
Enjoy your daily smoothies during your 10 day stay and be prepared to transform your life!"⁠⠀
⁠I'm a fan of Moriarty's books and I was SO happy when my book club picked this one for our November selection!  It's an interesting tale of nine people checking into a health resort, each looking for a different result, or different "transformation". Moriarty is great with character development and as we learn more about these characters, they all sound familiar, like, "yeah, I know someone exactly like that" kind of way.  Moriarty's usual humor and writing style made this a fun read (and I do think that this was somehow, her way of making fun at today's lifestyles)... ⁠⠀

FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES by Min Jin Lee
December was an open month and since one of our members got 10 free copies from an online raffle, we decided to go with it!
Review coming up soon.


Are you in a book club?  What are you reading?




Read More

Dark Paradise by Randi Cooley Wilson

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

No comments


Dark Paradise | A Revelation Series Novel

By Randi Cooley Wilson
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November 12, 2019
Cover Design: Hang Le @ByHangLe

Grab Your Copy of Gage Gallagher

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2POyVRW
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/36zGm5s
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2WMXcct
B&N: http://bit.ly/32xwLK6
Apple Books: https://apple.co/33JcKAr

I lost the one person who gave my life meaning and purpose. My love. My soul. My
only reason for breathing. Unwilling to bury her memory, my heart turned reckless and
my soul darkened. Then she walked into my life.

It was only supposed to be a moment. Just one. A moment where I could get lost in
someone else and forget my pain. In that one moment, she saved me from the
memories that found me in the dark. She tore my world apart. Wrecked me. And with
one kiss, she changed everything.

Her love became my dark paradise.

DARK PARADISE is the story of the Revelation Series’ Gage Gallagher. It is meant to be
read after the bestselling Revelation series and/or Royal Protector Academy novels.
Intended for mature readers.



#TheRevSeries #DamnGargoyles #TeamGage #books #newrelease #paranormal
#paranormalromance #nareads #romance #supernatural



About the Author:


Randi Cooley Wilson is the bestselling author of The Revelation Series, The Royal Protector Academy Novels, The Dark Soul Trilogy, “Covetousness” a Havenwood Falls Novella, and “Inamorata” a Havenwood Falls High Novella. She resides in Massachusetts with her husband and daughter.
For more on Randi, please visit her website, www.randicooleywilson.
Or connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/authorrandicooleywilson and/or Twitter @R_CooleyWilson.
 
Read More

After the Flood Book Review

Friday, October 25, 2019

No comments


BOOK REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW: After The Flood by Kassandra Montag 

Release Date:  September 3rd, 2019
Genre: Fiction / Dystopia 
Published by William Morrow
5 ⭐️rated and reviewed by guest blogger, Suzanne (Instagram: @thebookblondie


BOOK BLURB:
A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water.

Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Artic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.

On their journey, Myra and Pearl join forces with a larger ship and Myra finds herself bonding with her fellow seekers who hope to build a safe haven together in this dangerous new world. But secrets, lust, and betrayals threaten their dream, and after their fortunes take a shocking—and bloody—turn, Myra can no longer ignore the question of whether saving Row is worth endangering Pearl and her fellow travelers.


SUZANNE'S THOUGHTS:
A century in the future, America has been overcome by rising floodwaters. Our country is nothing more than a few colonies atop the mountain peaks that poke out of the surface of the water. Myra and her young daughter, Pearl, are surviving on their small boat and trade fish on the dry land to sustain life. Myra has been torn apart for 7 years after her husband stole their other daughter and left her pregnant and lonesome. When Myra hears that her other daughter, Row, was seen in a colony near the Arctic Circle, she pours all of her faith into a voyage to rescue the child that was taken from her.

This book has potential to be THE best book of 2019. There, I said it. The plot is simply captivating and the language paints such a stunning portrait of this futuristic earth that is hard to conceive. Some stories read like a movie. And while this one is vivid, I can only express that it reads like a song. It’s lyrical and each sentence flows into the next. Montag invented such dynamic and well-rounded characters- each with their own secrets, but the storyline never gets muddled with unnecessary dialogue or detail. You know an author has talent when they're able to develop a protagonist who lives in a world entirely different from your own and still make that character relatable. Myra has so many qualities and desires that we all can relate to. She's a woman who is accustomed to being fiercely independent and she constantly fights her desire for companionship despite her urge to be part of a team. She wades through a dense present while she is tethered to her past, and I think that’s something we can all relate to. Myra holds out this desperate hope that she'll be able to find her estranged daughter, Row, and rebuild her life with both girls by her side proving that hope is such a strong driving force in this story. Of course, Myra and Pearl are not the only characters as the mother-daughter duo encounters other travelers amidst their quest. Every single chapter ends with the reader wanting more, which only encouraged me to binge-read like I’ve never binged before. As the plot shifts between the present and Myra’s memories of the past, your heart breaks and is mended and then breaks again.

“I knew it was sometimes easier to love ghosts more than the people who were around you. Ghosts could be perfect, frozen beyond time, beyond reality, the crystal form they’d never been before, the person you needed them to be. Sometimes I wanted only the good moments to surface in my memory.”

Doesn’t that quote just tug at something deep within your soul? 

I promise you that I was not AT ALL disappointed or bored while reading this masterpiece. Please pick this one up and tell me your thoughts! This book undoubtedly gets 5 stars from me ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️




A HUGE thanks to Suzanne for the great review and for being a guest blogger/book reviewer! 
Please pay a visit to her Instagram account @thebookblondie and let her know you read this review❤️

Read More

14 Reasons why the AUDIOBOOK was better

Monday, October 7, 2019

14 comments



Was the book better? 

14 Reasons why the AUDIOBOOK was better than the book!


I lost count of how many movies I have watched and discussed with my friends and in the end we all agreed that the book was better.  Except, lately, I have noticed a new trend, one that involves audiobooks, when the Audiobook happens to be BETTER!

How is that even possible?

It's still the same book...you might be thinking.

Well, as it turns out, a narrator can really make all the difference, therefore, I do believe some books are made to be listened to.  To prove my point, I put together a list of 14 audiobooks where the narrators completely made the stories come alive, but don't just take my word for it, try it for yourself and let me know what you think!


🎧 A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult,  Narrated by Bahni Turpin
   A normal day at a women’s reproductive health services clinic turned into a hostage situation.  A police negotiator trying to do his job even when he finds out his 15 year-old daughter is inside the clinic.   The story is told in a reverse chronological order, so the first chapter is the end of the hostage negotiation with a cliffhanger, which then develops into the paths each character took that brought them to that specific situation. Brilliant!


🎧 Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Narrated by Kim Mai Guest, Johnathan McClain, Candice Moll, Lincoln Hoppe, Steve West, Erin Spencer, Jonathan Todd Ross and Donabella Mortel.
   A squad of misfits. A girl frozen in space over 200 years.  An ordinary mission turned into an intergalactic heist, filled with action, sarcasm, and the possibility of inter-species love…
If you ever wished you could combine Star Trek with a sparkle of Guardians of the Galaxy, look no further.
  Multiple narrators give each character a distinct voice easy for the listener to catch up with the different POVs.


🎧 Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Narrated by Bahni Turpin
     A phenomenal plot. A mission to bring back magic.  Adeyemi delivered a well-crafted, action-packed story, which combined by the talented narrator, keeps you wanting more.


🎧 Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce, Narrated by Anna Popplewell
    By combining humor with the voice of the young Emmy, Pearce's novel showed us how people had to carry on with their lives and find hope in the midst of war. A perfect bookclub read and a delightful audiobook.


🎧 Frankly in Love by David Yoon, Narrated by Raymond J. Lee
    Frankly in Love was such a memorable audiobook! I fell in love with it.  I laughed out loud with it.
It deserves a place on my TOP 10 YA books of all time shelf!!!


🎧 A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Narrated by George Newbern
    Different people had recommended this audiobook to me but I didn't think I would like a book about a grumpy old man that no longer wants to live because his wife passed away.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I was WRONG!
I adored this book ! I laughed out loud while driving to work and I also cried one night in my kitchen while cooking dinner...


🎧 One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, Narrated Kim Mai Guest, MacLeod Andrews, Shannon McManus and Robbie Daymond.
    If you like thrillers, mystery and teen drama, get this one. You won't be disappointed.
You get into the detective mode from the start, and throughout the book I had different opinions about who killed Simon. The author did a great job at throwing clues and lots of secrets that could turn any one of them into a possible murder.  Excellent job with multiple narrators!


🎧 Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by the author
   I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman's books.  Neverwhere is the old tale of an outsider who becomes an unlikely hero, meets the heroine who has very little chance to succeed, and makes the reader root for both of them!  Narrated by none other than Gaiman himself, it's a treasure!


🎧 Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, Narrated by Shvorne Marks
   I loved Queenie!  It was funny and quirky, while also touching trauma, family drama and the stigma that comes with mental health.  The narrator did such an incredible job with the different accents 🖤


🎧 Recursion by Blake Crouch , Narrated by Jon Lindstrom and Abby Craden
   I’m a sci-fi fan and even though the whole concept of time-travel has been explored in a lot of books and movies, Crouch was able to explore a new angle, one that merged actual scientific advances into a fictitious reality that might not be too far from the near future.
The narrative is fast-paced, leaving the reader with no time to think twice going thru chapters.  To make it even more interesting, there’s also a love story.


🎧 Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson, Narrated by the author
   "Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society's failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice-- and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore." (from Goodreads). 

🎧 The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, Narrated by Caroline Lee
    Liane Moriarty's writing is exceptional and the audiobook narrator, Caroline Lee, did an incredible job bringing the characters to life!
This novel is full of "what ifs" situations and it really makes us think about all the possibilities and consequences of the choices we make. How far would you go to protect a loved one? Can you forgive a mistake from over 20 years ago?


🎧 The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce, Narrated by Steven Hartley
   The Music Shop is a nostalgic homage not just to vinyl lovers in general, but to a time when record stores were a place where one could go and talk about their love of music…it deserves to be heard.

🎧 The Outsider by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton
    A gruesome crime. Witnesses and evidence that pointed out to a specific suspect. But could the suspect be in two places at the same time? Could anyone? It was a crime story and it was SO good.

Read More

Pretty Revenge by Emily Liebert

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

No comments



BOOK REVIEW: Pretty Revenge by Emily Liebert

Release date: July 2nd, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Published by Gallery Books
3.5 ⭐️ rated by Sabrina Harrell (catch her on Instagram Tea.Thrillers.Travel )


BOOK BLURB:

Kerrie O’Malley, jobless and in an unfulfilling relationship, can isolate the singular moment in her life when things veered off course—the night she was irrevocably wronged by someone she looked up to. Eighteen years later, when Kerrie sees the very woman who destroyed her life on television, a fire ignites inside her. The stakes are high. The risks are perilous. But she’ll stop at nothing to achieve the retribution she deserves.

Jordana Pierson is a gilded New Yorker who appears to have it all: wealth, glamour, a successful and handsome husband, and a thriving wedding concierge business. Her record is spotless. Her business is flourishing. No one knows the truth about her and the dark shadows of her past.

No one, that is, except Kerrie.

Exploring just how far someone will go for vengeance, Pretty Revenge is a riveting, compulsively readable novel bursting with twists and turns and plenty of suspense.

SABRINA'S THOUGHTS:

Kerrie. Olivia. Jordan. Jordana. Who is who? And what’s going on?

Kerrie moves to Manhattan. She leaves behind a life and a boyfriend that wasn’t helping her get to where she wanted to be...but more than this she moves to Manhattan to get revenge on a person who wronged her 18 years ago. She makes a plan with her new friend Sara to disrupt a woman’s life in the worst possible way and to get her oh so deserved revenge.

Jordana is living the charmed life that she has worked tirelessly for. She has everything: money, a reputation, a wealthy husband, and almost anything she wants. But what did she have to do to get it? And what does she keep doing to maintain it?

I have mixed feelings. I don’t think it’s a thriller or really even a mystery BUT it is a good story if you don’t think too hard when reading it. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking where is the thrill? When will things be revealed? And with that expectation I was a bit disappointed. There wasn’t a real ‘omg’ at the end. But I feel the author did a great job of keeping my interest the entire time. I wasn’t able to put it down because I kept wanting to know more about the characters. It did feel a little unfinished and I wanted to see the different relationships at the end develop so I thought the ending was a bit flat in that aspect. I also wanted to know more regarding the fallout, but it did have sort of a happy ending!

I would recommend if you’re looking for a quick read that piques your interest throughout!



Read More

Frankly In Love by David Yoon

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

15 comments


The HIGHLY anticipated YA novel Frankly in Love by David Yoon comes out TODAY!

I fell in love with it.
I laughed out loud with it.
It deserves a place on my TOP 10 YA books of all time shelf!!!

Yes, it deals with high school seniors, first love, college choices, family pressure and all that drama you normally expect from YA books, BUT (yes, there's a but) it somehow talked about some heavy issues, without being a total emotional meltdown. The sense of humor sprinkled throughout the book, was just the right amount and the main characters were so lovable!

And like Selena Gomez once sang "The heart wants what it wants" ❤️

It's truly impressive to think that this book is a debut for David Yoon and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

You can get your copy TODAY from BOTM YA (@yasofthemonth) for just $9.99 with code GROW.  
Just click this link.





**Note:
I got a free review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and as an BOTM YA Affiliate, I will get a free book if you sign up for a subscription using my link.
Read More

BOOK REVIEW: American Royals by Katherine McGee

Monday, September 2, 2019

8 comments

#Bookreview

BOOK REVIEW: American Royals by Katherine McGee

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
4.5 ⭐️ rated by Katie Brownfiel (Instagram: @_katie.reads)


BOOK BLURB:

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown.
Two girls vying for the prince's heart.
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren't just any royals. They're American. And their country was born of rebellion.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America's first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she's breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn't care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there's Samantha's twin, Prince Jefferson. If he'd been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.


KATIE'S THOUGHTS:

I don’t know about you, but I love the British monarchy. I remember waking up at the crack of dawn for Will and Kate’s wedding...and again for Harry and Megan’s. I shamelessly binged The Crown and Downton Abbey, but I was missing a book that could capture those same conflicting experiences of extreme privilege and unparalleled scrutiny, beautiful ceremonies and seemingly inescapable traditions. American Royals (release date September 3) is the perfect edition to any royalty-loving bookworm’s collection.

Set in an alternate timeline in which George Washington became king instead of president, American Royals follows the experiences of America’s 21st century heirs: Beatrice, Samantha, and Jefferson. Like any other young adults, they face their challenges: deciding what ballgown to wear, choosing which college to attend, falling in love with the one person it would be impossible to date, being swept up in a high-society love triangle. Okay, maybe not all of those experiences are relatable, but the emotional core of their experiences are achingly accurate. Who among us hasn’t been jealous of our sibling or best friend for seemingly having it all? Who hasn’t felt pressure from their parents to follow a certain path in life? Who hasn’t felt lost as they try to decide who they want to be?

The novel is told from the viewpoints of Beatrice, Samantha, Nina (Jefferson and Samantha’s childhood best friend), and Daphne (Jefferson’s social climbing ex-girlfriend). Each woman is faced with impossible expectations, and though they strive to find a balance between societal pressure and their own hopes and dreams, that tension causes significant stress in their relationships and personal lives.

Nina was personally my favorite character because she is the sort of hero you can’t help but root for. As a woman of color with a part-time job and two mothers, Nina is not the woman you would expect to be a prince’s girlfriend, but, at the same time, she is exactly who you want to see in an American ruling family. Just as the world rejoiced to see Megan Markle become a duchess, so too will you want to see Nina impart her real-world wisdom on the monarchy. Plus, Nina is the sort of character you would want as your best friend.

Engrossing and addictive, prepare to have American Royals become your next binge read.
I have to warn you, though.
The ending will leave you dying to see what happens next. 




Read More
Copyright © TRENDY SIMPLE LIFE. Blog Design by SkyandStars.co