Search Results for: how do you know

Chrissy’s Review: How Do You Know? by Meredith Schorr

How Do You KnowHow Do You Know? (Seeking Happily Ever After #1)
written by Meredith Schorr
published by Booktrope

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy Ms. Schorr’s new release. It was a good read that went fast and kept me reading from beginning to end. I laughed. I was sad. I was hopeful. I experienced it all.

I enjoyed watching Maggie grow and come to terms with herself. You can’t help but love Maggie. She’s real, klutzy, comical. She’s down-to-earth, relatable. I’d go out for a drink with her and her friends during Happy Hour. And I loved the ending. It was fabulous. And not at all how I thought it was going to end.

I think How Do You Know? will relate to quite a few women, their status notwithstanding. I don’t think it matters if you are in your early twenties, turning forty, single, or married, we all asked ourselves, “How do I know?” What was funny to me was that I remember thinking that I would be in Maggie’s position when I hit 40. I would bet most women have thought that, or at least considered it. Some may be experiencing it. Whatever the circumstance, you will get what Maggie is going through.

All-in-all, a good read!

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Would I recommend it: Yes, I would recommend it. I would recommend all of her books.

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About the book: 
What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding towards her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly-aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.

Meredith Schorr, best-selling author of light women’s fiction, digs deep in her newest novel and raises the age old issue of the ‘proverbial clock’ that haunts many women, in a way that is refreshing and sassy no matter your age or relationship status.

 

 

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Book Blast: XGeneration 1: You Don’t Know Me by Brad Magnarella (spotlight, giveaway)

XGeneration banner 7

XGeneration 7XGeneration 1: You Don’t Know Me
written by Brad Magnarella
published by Brad Magnarella

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

Purchase your copy at AMAZON for 99 cents during his book blast!

 

About the book: In the fall of 1984, Cold War tensions between Washington and Moscow are close to breaking.

But in sleepy Gainesville, Florida, fourteen-year-old Janis Graystone is mainly worried about starting high school, earning a spot on the varsity soccer team, and keeping her older sister from running her life. And then there are her nighttime experiences. Experiences where she awakens in her backyard—out of her body—with the disturbing sense that someone is watching her.

For Scott Spruel, the start of high school means the chance to start over. And he’s willing to ditch everything—computer hacking, Dungeons & Dragons marathons, even his comic book collection (well, except for his X-Men)—if it means getting closer to Janis, the secret love of his life. But will Scott’s past be so easy to shed. And what about the eerie delay on his telephone, a delay he senses through powers he is only beginning to understand?

Welcome to the gripping new series, XGeneration: part The X-Files, part Freaks and Geeks, and totally ’80s.

Rated 16+ for language.

Brad Magnarella 7About the author: Brad Magnarella grew up in North Central Florida. As a boy he discovered Marvel Comics, text-based gaming, Bruce Springsteen, and Stephen King, roughly in that order. The prize, however, was a creek that wound through his neighborhood, providing him and his friends a wooded sanctuary in which to lose themselves, while discovering natural Florida.

A graduate of the University of Florida and American University, Brad has long aspired to write the kind of fiction that colored his childhood. His books include The Prisoner and the Sun trilogy and the first in his new young adult series, XGeneration.

Brad lives in Washington, D.C. When he’s not writing, he’s somewhat hard to find.

His latest book is XGeneration 1: You Don’t Know Me.

Sign up to Brad’s mailing list for new releases: http://bit.ly/bdmlist.

Find Mr. Magnarella here: Facebook, Goodreads

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Blog Tour: Shadow by Colleen Oakes (Chrissy’s review)

 

Shadow (Wendy Darling, Vol. 3)
written by Colleen Oakes
published by SparkPress, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I really did. The Wendy Darling series is a fantastic series that gives a different glimpse into the Neverland world. You can read my reviews of Stars and Seas at the links provided.

I don’t want to spoil Stars and Seas, or Shadow for that matter, so my review will be on the vague side. Read those books, then this one. Seriously.

Shadow had me staying up WAY past my bedtime reading. I had to know how this story ended. The emotions were there, and dang it if Ms. Oakes didn’t have me tearing up again. (I’m telling you, I don’t cry during books, movies, etc. But man, this one had me misty-eyed just like Seas.) Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat. I was heartbroken. I was happy. I was every emotion at some point. Some questions were answered; some hopes were dashed.

Shadow is a fitting end to this fabulous Peter Pan retelling. Am I satisfied with the finale? Yes. Do I wish for more? Absolutely. But, sadly, all stories must end sometime.

 

 

Would I recommend it? Yes, but definitely read the first two books first. Seas is my favorite.

 

Chrissy

About the book: 
Wendy Darling has found herself once again in the arms of charming Peter Pan, the god-child who desires power above all things. This time, though, Wendy burns not with passion but with a secret: with Hook as her ally, she is there to defeat the evil that lies inside of Peter, the evil that holds all Neverland hostage—the Shadow.

To do this, Wendy must quietly undo Peter from inside his heart while at the same time convincing Tink to betray the twisted love that binds them together. This is a task made nearly impossible by the arrival of Booth, her sweetheart from London and a new pawn in Peter’s manipulative game—a boy whose heart she must break in order to save his life.

As all of Neverland prepares to fight, Wendy races to untangle Peter’s connection to the Shadow, a secret long buried in the Forsaken Garden. When the time comes, pirates, mermaids, Lost Boys, and the Darling family will all rise—but if Wendy can’t call the Shadow, they will all be destroyed by Peter’s dark soul. War has come to paradise, and Neverland will never be the same.

 

 

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DNF: Dreams of Youth by Christopher Abraham

Dreams of Youth: The Vindicated

Dreams of Youth 
written by Christopher Abraham
published by Christopher Abraham, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links)  Amazon, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Where I stopped reading: page 132

Why I stopped reading: I tried. I really did. I tried to get past the grammar issues and enjoy the What Dreams May Come vibe, but then I got to chapter 13, where Abraham introduces a third set of unrelated characters, bringing the total character count up to what seemed like seventy zillion. I felt like I was starting all over at the beginning of an entirely different book, and I’ll be honest, the plot lines of the first two sets of characters are so weird I just couldn’t take anymore.

 

Melissa

 

What others have rated this book: There are no ratings and no reviews on Goodreads.  There was one 4-star review and one 3-star review on Amazon. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you won’t.

About the book – from Goodreads: The first novel in the Dreams of Youth Series.

“From vindicated actions to twisted hearts, the shooting stars form our destiny.”

It’s a sickening feeling in ones core when ones life cannot be defined. Dusk Hollow, a young man living on the planet known as Eryu, experiences this first hand. When someone precious to him is taken, Dusk must face the trials and tribulations of that undeniable truth. He will do all that he can to get her back. He will journey through landscapes he could only picture in his head. He will defy the odds against those who wish to crush him. He will deny death.

——-

There sits a girl who always gazes at the stars, wishing they would take her someplace far away. Her mother disappears one afternoon and her story unfolds thereafter. Through blank pages and close friends, Essa Starlight begins to understand who she is. She learns sometimes that harsh words are said with good intentions.

This is a story where a dream can shape everything.

This is a story, where what’s inside matters most.

 

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Heather’s Review: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

 

Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4)
written by Diana Gabaldon
published by Delta, 2001

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazoniBooksBook Depository, Walmart, TargetGoodreads


Did I enjoy this book: 
Yes, but not nearly as much as the other three. In fact, after reading this one I had to take a break. This book opens with Brianna taking her turn through the circle of stones to find her parents and hopefully save them from a fatal moment. My heart was all for that trip, but the problems and situations that came after just made my head spin. I found a few of them unnecessary, and when Jamie’s nephew, Ian, sacrificed himself–I almost gave up.

 

 

Would I recommend it: Yes, but only if you’re planning to finish the series. And I do plan to–in 2017.

 

 

About the book – from Goodreads: In this breathtaking novel—rich in history and adventure—The New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon continues the story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser that began with the now-classic novel Outlander and continued in Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager. Once again spanning continents and centuries, Diana Gabaldon has created a work of sheer passion and brilliance….

It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.

Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna….

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history … and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past … or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong….

 

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Heather’s Review: Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Voyager (Outlander, #3)

Voyager (Outlander #3)
written by Diana Gabaldon
published by Delta, 2001

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Target, WalmartGoodreads


Did I enjoy this book: 
Yes. This is the book that made the long reads of the first two worth it. Claire returns to the stone circle and travels back to find Jamie. Can you imagine a love so strong, so true that you would willingly leave behind your child and take a chance? The two of them struggle with their reunion–after all, 20 years have passed and a lot of water flows under that bridge. But their love survives and flourishes and it’s a great book. And to keep you on your toes, Brianna has a love affair!

 

 

Would I recommend it: Absolutely. ​Definitely worth the time investment!

 

About the book – from Goodreads: From the author of the breathtaking bestsellers Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber, the extraordinary saga continues.

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her… and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her…the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland… and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love.

 

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Jaclyn’s Review: If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton

If You LeftIf You Left
written by Ashley Prentice Norton
published by Mariner Books, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazon, iBooks, Book Depository, WalmartGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
This was a pretty standard work of fiction. It held my interest, but I didn’t really feel a compelling urge to finish reading it. It wasn’t a bad read, but it wasn’t great either. I liked that it didn’t have a “neat” ending.

  

Would I recommend it: I wouldn’t search out and buy this book. If you found it in a beach rental next summer–or if you find it on a friend’s bookshelf, I’d read it.

 

jaclyn

 

About the book – from Goodreads:

A seductive novel about a privileged but damaged Manhattan wife whose main source of stability — her marriage — comes under threat, from forces both without and within.

For most of their marriage, Althea has fluctuated between extreme depressive and manic states — what she calls “the Tombs” and “the Visions” — and Oliver has been the steady hand that guided her to safety. This summer, Althea decides that she will be different from here on. She will be the loving, sexy wife Oliver wants, and the reliable, affectionate mother their nine year-old daughter Clem deserves. Her plan: to bring Clem to their Easthampton home once school is out — with no “summer girl” to care for her this time — and become “normal.”

But Oliver is distant and controlling, and his relationship with their interior decorator seems a bit too close; Clem has learned to be self-sufficient, and getting to know her now feels like very hard work for Althea. Into this scene enters the much younger, David Foster Wallace–reading house painter, who reaches something in Althea that has been long buried.

Fearless, darkly funny, and compulsively readable, If You Left explores the complex dance that is the bipolar marriage, and the possibility that to move forward, we might have to destroy the very things we’ve worked hardest to build.

 

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Fall Reading Challenge: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (Chrissy’s review)

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behind-closed-doorsBehind Closed Doors
written by B.A. Paris
published by St. Martin’s Press, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksTarget, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I loved it. I read it every free chance I had. I didn’t want to put it down.

I can’t say too much in this review for fear of giving away too much of the story. However, I will say that this story is well written and a bit unpredictable. There were a few things I thought I had figured out, but I did not. The story moves and keeps you turning pages. So, why not 5 stars? I had a few minor issues. I can’t discuss them here, but if you have read this book, please let me know. I’d love to know what you think about the few issues.

4.5 stars

Would I recommend it: Yes. I couldn’t put it down.

 

Chrissy

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

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Spotlight: If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton (interview)

If You LeftIf You Left
written by Ashley Prentice Norton
published by Mariner Books, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads:

A seductive novel about a privileged but damaged Manhattan wife whose main source of stability — her marriage — comes under threat, from forces both without and within.

For most of their marriage, Althea has fluctuated between extreme depressive and manic states — what she calls “the Tombs” and “the Visions” — and Oliver has been the steady hand that guided her to safety. This summer, Althea decides that she will be different from here on. She will be the loving, sexy wife Oliver wants, and the reliable, affectionate mother their nine year-old daughter Clem deserves. Her plan: to bring Clem to their Easthampton home once school is out — with no “summer girl” to care for her this time — and become “normal.”

But Oliver is distant and controlling, and his relationship with their interior decorator seems a bit too close; Clem has learned to be self-sufficient, and getting to know her now feels like very hard work for Althea. Into this scene enters the much younger, David Foster Wallace–reading house painter, who reaches something in Althea that has been long buried.

Fearless, darkly funny, and compulsively readable, If You Left explores the complex dance that is the bipolar marriage, and the possibility that to move forward, we might have to destroy the very things we’ve worked hardest to build.

Interview

 

So, when people ask, how do you answer the “what’s your book about?” question? 

I usually make something much more interesting up because people never remember anyway.  No, seriously, IF YOU LEFT is about the effect manic-depression has on a marriage. Oliver is a fabulous caretaker when Althea has episodes of mania or depression, but during periods of  stability he’s patronizing and acts out by having affairs because he’s furious at how her disease has taken their life hostage. 

The book takes place over one summer in East Hampton when the situation comes to a head and they must decide whether or not they can save their marriage. There is also the issue of their adopted daughter, Clem. Althea knows that if there its any chance for things to work out between her and Oliver, she must finally try and break out of her self-absorption and mother the girl, who she has up until now, mostly ignored. 

Sounds pretty heavy.

Well, it’s definitely dark at times, but also funny. It’s told from Althea’s point of view and she is able to see how ridiculous and small her life is at times. She doesn’t even know where the mugs are kept in her own kitchen for example, but even she can see how laughable this is. She lacks so many skills, emotional and practical, because she has been ill for so long, but never feels sorry for herself. At least that’s the way I wrote it.

What interested you about manic-depression? 

People always ask me if I had to do a lot of research on the topic to write this. Usually when we are chatting at a cocktail party. Rather than generate an “awkward moment” and explain that, like Althea, I have manic-depression myself, I usually just say I know a lot of people with the illness, which I do. My experience is both similar and different than Althea’s though. I’ve also been hospitalized for clinical depression and undergone ECT, but I’m also lucky enough to be highly functional with a stable, loving marriage, three wonderful children, and a career. I guess I wanted to write this book and tell it from the point of view of the manic-depressive because usually the story comes from the partner’s POV. 

Are you trying to educate people about bipolar illness with this book?

Yes and no. IF YOU LEFT is like any kind of book. It’s about something, and if the subject is new to the reader, they will learn something. But IF YOU LEFT is a novel, not a manifesto or textbook. And Althea doesn’t represent an archetype. For the first time in forever, she is waking up to her true self, her goals and desires, after years of being stymied by Oliver. The challenge facing Althea, however, is to see if she can finally stand up for herself, if it is not too late. I won’t say any more for fear of spoiling the book.

Was this a hard book to write?

It’s never the subject of the book, it’s the discipline. But I have a friend who I send daily logs to tracking how many hours spent, how many pages written, etc. When there is enough we go over them. Keeps me honest.

Do you have a writing routine?

I write anywhere from three to four hours a day during the school year, either on my bed with my pug, or downtown in the Writers Room. In the summer, I can write up to five to six hours at the East Hampton library, much to the consternation of my family who thinks I should be at the beach or playing tennis. When I’m working, I can’t. I just can’t.

Are you working on anything right now?

Sure. It’s about intimacy and friendship. At least for now.

ashley prentice nortonAbout the Author: Ashley Prentice Norton is the author of If You Left and the critically acclaimed novel The Chocolate Money. She is a graduate of Exeter, Georgetown, and the creative writing program at New York University. She lives in New York with her husband and three children.

Find Ms. Norton here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

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Melissa’s Review: The Shadow Garden by Allen Houston

The Shadow Garden (Nightfall Gardens, #2)

The Shadow Garden (Nightfall Gardens: Book Two)
written by Allen Houston
published by Flycatcher Books, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
This book is, without a doubt, the creepiest thing I’ve read in a long time. It’s like Houston somehow crawled inside everyone’s darkest nightmares and wrote them down. I liked the first installment in this series a bit more than this one . . . The Shadow Garden suffers from a lack of copy editing, and we all know how much that annoys me. Jonquil’s story doesn’t quite make sense as a flashback; it’s written like a diary, and people just don’t talk like that in real life. I keep trying to imagine what this series would look like as, say, a Tim Burton movie, but I think actually seeing the images Houston writes about would warrant a more mature rating than the YA he’s going for. I think the story would also read better if Lily were, say, 16 instead of 14 . . . I felt mildly uncomfortable when a member of the Shadow Guard asked her for a kiss.

This is still a good series, though, and I’m slated to start The Labyrinth, um, right now. *grin*

 

GOLDEN LINE

“The best part of being a child is the part that comes before you are aware that the world has teeth.”

3.5 stars

 

Would I recommend it: Absolutely. This series is creepy and worth it.

 

Melissa


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Precocious Lily Blackwood carries a responsibility far greater than other people. As the last female Blackwood, she must keep the evils in Pandora’s Box from destroying the world.

With the help of her younger brother Silas, the dusk riders and her best friend Cassandra, she must protect Nightfall Gardens and ensure that the fairy-tale monsters, old gods and deathly shades stay separated from humanity.

But now, the creatures bound to the Gardens are gaining strength and threatening to break loose. Bemisch, a malevolent witch, has escaped into the mist land to join forces with Eldritch, a powerful nature god. The mysterious Smiling Ladies hold the key to a dark secret from the Blackwood family’s past, and something once again roams the halls of the manor, trying to kill Lily.

Worse yet, her fourteenth birthday is approaching and with it a dangerous rite of passage. Lily must enter the Shadow Garden, home of all that is nightmarish, and come face to face with her most terrifying threat yet.

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