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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Saturday, February 15, 2020

5 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!!!⁠
👏🏼

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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Release Week Blitz

Monday, February 3, 2020

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I am so excited that SLOW DANCING ON MAIN STREET by Courtney Giardina is available now and that I get to share the news!

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

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $25 Starbucks Gift Card and signed finished copies of SLOW DANCING ON MAIN STREET AND BEHIND THE STRINGS, courtesy of Courtney 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: SLOW DANCING ON MAIN STREET (Behind the Strings Book 2)
Author: Courtney Giardina
Pub. Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Courtney Giardina
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 135
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle

When Celia Westbrooke was forced to face her past in the heart of Music City, she didn’t expect to find Jesse Rockford tangled up in the middle of it. Jesse’s blue eyes swept her into a whirlwind romance that not only cost her the trust of her best friend, but led her to the last place she thought she’d end up – alone. With Christmas around the corner, it’s the perfect excuse for Celia to escape the bright lights of Nashville for her hometown of Hamden. Deep in the Tennessee mountains Celia can’t help but wish Jesse was there with her, but she knows there is someone else she must fix things with first if she’ll ever have a chance at getting Jesse back. Logan Kent returns home to Hamden for the first Christmas in years where he’ll soon learn that even when you run, you can’t always hide. Celia is determined to show Logan that there is still hope for their friendship even in the midst of a broken heart. She brings Logan for a walk down memory lane, hoping to rekindle what has been lost, but too much damage may already have been done.How will it end for Celia and Logan? Will Celia find her way back into Jesse’s heart? Or will one final secret mean the end of it all?

Teasers:







About Courtney:

Throughout the years Courtney has wanted to be many things. Her aspirations have ranged from Olympics gymnast and actress to a pirate. Yes, a pirate. Growing up she vacationed in the Thousand Islands where every year the town of Alexandria Bay holds a Pirate's Weekend. That is where her love of pirates began. Unfortunately, Courtney's dream of becoming of being a pirate never came to fruition, but as a writer she still gets to play make believe.



Courtney published her first novel in 2013. Tear Stained Beaches defined the staple of what her self-publishing mantra would become, strong, independent women finding their place in the world. She delivers that message in her following two novels, Holding on to Georgia and Behind the Strings.



She has been asked to speak at local book clubs, on podcasts and empowering websites. Besides working on her 4th novel to release in 2020, Courtney spends time developing content that lays the ground work to inspire others to dream big and believe in themselves because life is too short to wonder, “what if.”

Sign up for Courtney's newsletter!




Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a $25 Starbucks Gift Card and signed finished copies of SLOW DANCING ON MAIN STREET AND BEHIND THE STRINGS, US only.

Giveaway ends February 14th at midnight EST.


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Book Club Bingo - A Reading Challenge

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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Was #ReadMoreBooks one of your 2020 resolutions?  If so, participating in a reading challenge might be just what you need to conquer that goal!  

Below is a list of my favorite reading challenges, and I'm pretty sure you will find one that best suits your mood.  Happy reading and remember that it's not about the competition, it's about having FUN!


  • Book Club Bingo is my own reading challenge.  I created it for my local book club, #SOMAbookclub.  Feel free to Pin the image above and share with your friends.  If you do like it, just leave me a comment!

  • #20for2020reads  Join The Literary Life Podcast community in their 20 for 2020 Reading Challenge! 

  • 52 books in 52 weeks - stretch yourself out of your regular reading habits, read more, and have fun with it! 

  • BookRiot's 2020 Read Harder Challenge - back for its sixth year, BookRiot  presents you 24 tasks designed to help you break out of your reading bubble and expand your worldview through books.

  • Modern Mrs Darcy 2020 reading Challenge - To create a vibrant reading life, you need good books, and time to read them.

  • Popsugar Reading Challenge - possibly the most famous and fun of all challenges!

  • The Audiobook Challenge 2020 - last but not least, a challenge for the #audiobook lover!


#SOMAbookclub can be found on Instagram. Click the link to view the latest books and pictures from this local NJ book club!





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The After Wife by Melanie Summers

Friday, January 10, 2020

6 comments

The After Wife
Melanie Summers
Publication date: January 10th 2020
Genres: Women’s Fiction
From bestselling author Melanie Summers, comes a heartfelt and uplifting tale of love, loss, and letting go…
After losing her husband, writer Abigail Carson has all but given up on life. Having spent the last year cocooned in her Manhattan apartment, Abigail is suddenly forced to find a new home where she can stretch her dwindling savings. Intent on isolation, she moves to a tiny village in Nova Scotia where she’ll have no one to interrupt her solitude.
Little does Abigail realize that small-town life offers far less privacy than the big city. With neighbors knocking on the door bearing homemade treats and invitations, Abby soon finds herself immersed in the lives of the people of South Haven. She forms an unlikely friendship with Liam Wright, the handyman renovating her dilapidated cottage, and his daughter, seven-year-old Olive.
As the dark cloud engulfing Abigail lifts, she begins to believe she may have found love again. But just as Abigail is ready to leap, she discovers Liam carries with him a shocking secret that will ultimately cause everything to unravel. Abigail must decide if she will turn away from his pain or open her heart in the most hopeless of circumstances.
Insightful, enchanting, and filled with hope, The After Wife reminds us of the importance of human connection and the inseparable nature of love and survival.
EXCERPT:
IN THIS SCENE, THE MAIN CHARACTER, ABBY, IS AT THE PUB FOR DINNER. IT’S HER FIRST NIGHT IN TOWN, AND SHE’S JUST BEEN TOLD THAT THE PUB OWNERS, PETER AND NETTIE, WILL INTRODUCE HER TO A LOCAL CONTRACTOR, LIAM WRIGHT, WHO CAN HELP HER FIX UP HER DELAPITATED COTTAGE. ABBY SUSPECTS THEY’RE ALSO TRYING TO SET THEM UP ON A DATE…

Why do I not drink more often? I’m almost through my second pint and I honestly can’t remember feeling so good. I don’t even care how out of place I am. Instead, I happily devour a slice of homemade lemon meringue pie. Dinner service has ended, and most of the guests have filed out, replaced by several locals bearing instruments. A new feeling takes over the restaurant. It’s an easy, relaxed vibe full of inside jokes and laughter as they rearrange the tables into a large horseshoe. I rush to finish my dessert, hoping to make my exit before I attract the attention of every snoopy musician in the village.
Peter gives me a nod. “Liam’s just come in now.”
I turn and see a man standing at the entrance. He looks to be in his early forties. Medium height, with the sturdy build of a fisherman or maybe a miner in days gone by. He has shaggy sandy-brown hair and thick stubble that’s somewhere between needing a shave and needing another couple of months to grow. His eyes, though. There’s something about them that makes me stare a moment too long. They’re the shade of ice blue usually reserved for wolves.
He looks straight at Nettie and Peter, and my gaze follows his. They are standing side by side with matching hopeful grins. They look at me, then back at him, and when I glance in his direction again, I’m met with a look of dread. It doesn’t take me more than a second to figure out he thinks he’s about to be set up and he’s absolutely horrified at the thought of having any of his parts touch any of my parts.
And here I am gawking at him like a moron.
Blue sweater vest woman walks by and touches my arm. “You’ve got a bit of a mustache, love.”
She hurries off in the direction of the ladies’ room while I dab my upper lip with a napkin, confirming that I did, in fact, have a frothy white beer mustache.
Well, that’s that, then. The Millhouse boys it is.
“Liam! Come over and meet Abby!” Peter calls.
No. Please don’t. I swivel my stool to face the bar, and in my overly enthusiastic effort, I swing it too far and bang my left knee on the wood bracket. The force of it causes my body to jar and jerk back to my right and I plant my left hand in what’s left of my pie. I’m a regular Princess Di this evening, all elegance and grace.
Check, please.
Nettie gives me a concerned look. “You all right, love?”
“I’m fine. I just remembered I have to make a phone call. Can you put this on my room?” I smile too brightly as I slide off the stool and start for the side door as fast as my legs can carry me.
“Well, come back when you’re done so you don’t miss the music!” Nettie calls.
“And you still need to meet Liam!” Peter yells.
“I most certainly will!” Not.



Author Bio:
Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.
Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.
In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally - then she'll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for 'K' Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn't require makeup and/or nylons).
Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she's not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken 'from above'. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something--more like just staying until they turn the lights off.
She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International. 


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5 eBook Deals you can't miss this Holiday Season

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

7 comments


The Holidays are coming and it's time to relax and get cozy with a hot drink and a book!  I scouted the web in search of the best deals (because at this point you could probably appreciate the $ savings)!  Check out these ebook deals.  They're usually for only a limited time, so hurry up and grab them while you can !!!




CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY is a holiday gift as a thank you! It is available for FREE for a LIMITED TIME!

Twelve bestselling authors have come together to brighten your holiday with six ALL NEW co-written novels. Travel through six cities and fall in love with these enchanting love stories.
Don't miss this chance to read these super romantic (some steam included)! Best of all, it's FREE!



A WOMAN IS NO MAN by Etaf Rum - Kindle format is currently $2.99 on Amazon

A GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS FINALIST FOR BEST FICTION AND BEST DEBUT

This debut novel by an Arab-American voice,takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America.
In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.



25 Days 'Til Christmas by Poppy Alexander - Kindle Edition is $1.99 on Amazon

A contemporary, emotional, but ultimately feel-good, festive up-lit novel for fans of Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson, and Holly Martin.
Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down to the countdown to Christmas. But a few years ago, everything was different. That was before Kate's husband went away with the army and didn't come home. Now she can hardly stand December at all.
Kate's lonely. She doesn't think she's ready for romance, but she needs more than this, and her son Jack needs a Christmas to remember. What Kate needs is a Christmas miracle, and if there isn't one on its way, she'll just have to make her own.
So begins Kate's advent countdown to the best Christmas ever.
She has it all planned out, but you can't plan for the unexpected, and when the path of the loneliest woman in town crosses with that of the loneliest man, she just might find a way to save Christmas for all of them..



Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan - Kindle Edition is $1.99 on Amazon

Treat yourself and your sweet-toothed friends to Jenny Colgan's heart-warming new novel. The irresistibly delicious recipes are guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit and will warm up your Christmas celebrations.

Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She's going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can't wait.
But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie's plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what's best for the sweetshop also what's best for Rosie?




An Heirloom Christmas by Megan Squires - Kindle Edition is $2.99 on Amazon


There’s not much Chrissy Davenport loves more than the small town of Heirloom Point in the midst of the Christmas season. The annual wreath auction kicks off the holiday, and even though this year’s winning wreath is lackluster, Chrissy still hangs it on her candle shop’s door with pride. But she can’t explain the handwritten notes that begin to show up, tucked neatly into the sprigs of greenery. And she can’t make sense of the memories they bring back—ones she’s tried hard to forget.
After a career ending injury, hockey superstar Nick McHenry has no other choice than to return to his hometown of Heirloom Point. But things aren’t easy with his high school sweetheart working in the candle shop directly across from his parents’ hardware store. And it’s even harder to ignore the town chatter regarding his failed career and failed past relationship. Suddenly, he’s reliving the Christmas traditions he thought he’d left behind, and revisiting old feelings he figured were long gone.
Will Nick and Chrissy discover that some Christmas heirlooms aren’t actual things, but the people who make up those nostalgic memories? Or are memories better left in the past where they were made?
An Heirloom Christmas is a heartwarming romance filled with second chances, hometown traditions, and the magical promise of the holiday season.

🎄📚🎄📚🎄📚

So there you have it! 
Go be MERRY and enjoy these wonderful books during the Holidays!!!


...
Please note:
I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any books from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you honest book reviews.

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After the End by Clare MacKintosh

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

6 comments


BOOK REVIEW: After the End by Clare Mackintosh

Release Date:  June 25th, 2019
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My Goodreads Rating


BOOK BLURB:
Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They're best friends, lovers—unshakable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can't agree. They each want a different future for their son.
What if they could have both?
A gripping and propulsive exploration of love, marriage, parenthood, and the road not taken, After the End brings one unforgettable family from unimaginable loss to a surprising, satisfying, and redemptive ending and the life they are fated to find. With the emotional power of Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper, Mackintosh helps us to see that sometimes the end is just another beginning.


MY THOUGHTS:
Every once in a while we have a chance to stumble into a book that releases an emotional tsunami.
This book was it.
It broke me.
It reached deep into my heart and it ripped it in half.
😢
Pip and Max live a happy life. They are best friends and one of those couples that can finish each other’s sentences.
That all starts to fall apart when their son Dylan gets sick and they are given the most impossible choice a parent might face.
Pip chooses one road.
Max chooses another.
Their lives diverge and we follow their trajectory, not to prove that one choice would have been better than the other, but simply to feel the emotional twists each choice has on them.

I have to say that only one other author has made me feel this way over a book, and that was Jodi Picoult. Now I can add Clare Mackintosh to that list.

Grab a box of tissues and read this book. You’ll thank me later.
🙌🏼
I had to literally go out for a walk in order to clear the heaviness in my chest and remind myself to be grateful for everything I have!


"When you stand at the crossroad you cannot see each destination, only the beginnings of the paths that will lead you there. All you can do is hope that someone will walk with you."





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