Melissa’s Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit The Hobbit
written by J.R.R. Tolkien
published by Harper Collins, 2012

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazoniBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I’ve read it before and enjoyed it. This time my husband and I decided to introduce it to our 5-year-old via audiobook on a road trip. I have two comments about what I think everyone agrees is an excellent book:

1 – I always forget how FUNNY this book is. I can’t tell you how many times I giggled.

2 – It’s super cool to watch your son fall in love with the same books you love.

 

Would I recommend it: Of course!

 

Melissa


About the book – from Goodreads: 
This is the story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected…

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further then the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag-End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day, to whisk him away on a journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…

 

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Chrissy’s Review: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Talking As Fast As I Can
written by Lauren Graham
published by Ballantine Books, 2016

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

Did I enjoy this book? 
I did enjoy it. It was a great glimpse into Lauren Graham’s life and career.

I loved Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. Those are two of my favorite television shows ever. Lauren Graham is a fantastic actress, and reading about her career and life was interesting. Some of the book read like Lorelai Gilmore; at least, that’s how I heard Ms. Graham’s voice in my head as I was reading it. I wish the sections about Gilmore Girls and Parenthood were longer. I guess on the whole I just wanted a bit more. But I’m happy with what I got, too. I need to read her novel, Someday, Someday, MaybeI have it . . . I just have to read it.

 

Would I recommend it? If you are a fan of Lauren Graham, then yes, I would recommend Ms. Graham’s book.

 

Have you read Talking As Fast As I Can? Are you a Gilmore Girls or Parenthood fan?

 

Chrissy


About the book – from Goodreads: 
In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

 

 

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Melissa’s Review: Kept In The Dark by J. Ronald M. York

Kept in the DarkKept In The Dark
written by J. Ronald M. York
published by St. Broadway Press, LLC, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazoniBooksBook 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 complicated, and not just because of the subject matter. I’ll try to be succinct.

Mr. York is a brave man to shout his family’s dirty secrets so loudly, and I applaud his courage. It must be heartbreaking and frustrating to have such important questions go unanswered, and I hope writing this book gives him a bit of the peace I’m sure he’s seeking.

However.

It’s often difficult to draw the line between what you are passionate about and what makes a good story, and while I mean no disrespect to Mr. York, his family, or the people he writes about, as an avid reader I have a few concerns. This story is riveting; I know why Mr. York wanted to tell it. His delivery, though, leaves me a bit disappointed. It must have been difficult for him to sift through his parents’ letters and choose the ones he thought most pertinent, but I think York’s narrative is a much better (and more interesting) perspective for this story. I would love to see this book reworked: York’s narrative interspersed with powerful quotes from the letters rather than the bulk of the letters themselves. Barring that (and hopefully this is a problem I experienced because I was given an Advanced Reading Copy), the letters ought to at least switch fonts with each writer. It’s a more distinct difference, and it would help a lot with those of us who tend to skip over headers and chapter numbers while reading. I would also have appreciated the character description at the beginning of the book so I could easily refer back to it.

I don’t know what to say about the subject matter. I want to say it would make a great movie, but I’m afraid that’s insensitive. I want to (and don’t want to) know the details of what happened so I can draw my own conclusions. The fifties were not kind to the LGBTQ. Is this an excuse? No. Could it be an explanation? Yes. On the other hand, molesting children is never, ever, EVER okay. I don’t know, and will never know, what actually happened, and so I feel some sense of the frustration Mr. York must deal with daily. This is not a happy story, but not every good story is.

 

Would I recommend it: I honestly don’t know.

 

Melissa

 

About the book – from Goodreads: The jail was located on the top 9 floors of the Dade County Courthouse in downtown Miami. The young father could look down from the 21st floor, to the street below. His wife and child would come each night, stand on the sidewalk and wave to him. They would flash the car lights to signal they were there and he, in return, would strike a match from his window to let them know he was watching. Although separated by just a few miles, they were only able to see each other each Sunday, for 2 hours, through glass and wire. Writing letters became their way of communicating and 100 letters were exchanged during an 8-week period.

This was a secret my parents, family and a few close friends took to their graves. No one ever told me and I was too young to remember. And yet, a box containing the letters, yellowed newspaper clippings, faded photographs and cards of encouragement from friends was left for me after everyone was gone.

Although the crime took place more than 60 years ago, it is still as current as today’s headlines. After much thought and reflection, I am ready to share this story. Controversial and uncomfortable, it is still deeply rooted in unwavering love. A horrific mistake was made leaving a family to heal, rebuild their lives and hopefully, forgive.

 

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Jaclyn’s Review: Emma vs. the Tech Guy by Lia Fairchild

Emma vs. the Tech Guy
written by Lia Fairchild
published by

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

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

Did I enjoy this book? 
This was a cute, short read. This book was exactly as promised–a fun and funny, chick lit, no stress read. The author really builds up the big “secret,” as well as Emma’s challenges with social interactions. I thought both of these fell a little short. When the big “secret” is revealed at the end, the whole thing is sort of glossed over. There isn’t very much story dedicated to the ramifications of keeping the secret and it’s eventual revelation. I wanted a bit more there.  In addition, the author continued to tell us how socially inept Emma is–but it would have been more effective to SHOW us. Truthfully, Emma’s social grace–or lack thereof–didn’t really seem to play into the story line at all. I’m not sure why the author made such a big deal of this. This plot point could have been completely removed and I don’t think it would have hurt the story at all

 

 

Would I recommend it? This was definitely a cute read. It was a happy story, just enough drama to make it interesting, but not so much that I felt stressed out while reading it. I didn’t want to put this one down until I found out what the big secret was! Can a story be compelling and relaxing at the same time? If so, this is it! Yes, I would recommend this book.

 

jaclyn

About the book – from Goodreads: If you think you know me, you’re dead wrong. Yes, I’m driven and calculating and my colleagues see me as a cold, workaholic who has stopped at nothing to create the top fashion magazine in Southern California. But working my ass off isn’t the only reason I got there. And those little indiscretions used to be content hiding in the back of the closet.

Then Guy Walker enters my office. Sexy, sweet, and super popular, the new tech guy is taking our office by storm. Sure, I notice him. But I won’t risk him derailing every strategy I have in place. If he gets too close, he might discover my secrets, and that could ruin my career and turn my life upside down.

This hilarious chick lit book will pull you into its world and leave you loving its fun, witty characters

 

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Chrissy’s Review: The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser

The Book Jumper
written by Mechthild Gläser
published by Feiwel & Friends, 2017

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

Did I enjoy this book? 
I really wanted to. I really, really did. But I just couldn’t get into it.

Okay, first, look at that cover!! I know, I know . . . you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, but the cover is the first thing I noticed and had me looking the book up. Next, the premise. How awesome to have a family of individuals who can JUMP INTO BOOKS and visit the characters, the places, and interact with them. How awesome would that be? This sounds like any book lover’s dream. Right? Well . . . it had so much promise, but it was just too slow for me. It didn’t move. The story could have been so much more interesting, but I found myself skimming quite a bit. It took a lot for me to even pick the book up to continue reading it.

Maybe my expectations were too great. I don’t know, but I was disappointed in The Book Jumper.

 

Would I recommend it? I wouldn’t.

 

Chrissy

What about you? Have you read The Book Jumper? Did you enjoy it? Do you love the cover?


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother’s childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. Amy learns that she is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy’s new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever the cost.

 

 

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Jaclyn’s Review: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
written by Rhoda Janzen
published by Henry Holt and Co., 2009

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

Did I enjoy this book? 
I’ve actually never read a memoir before, so this was a new experience for me. Once I got past the fact that there really isn’t a plot, I found this book cute. I like the idea of simply peeking inside someone else’s life for a bit. You get to see the funny, the crazy, a little sad, and ALL the real! You can definitely tell that the writer has an English background (she’s a professor), because she uses a very broad vocabulary. Overall, this was a unique read for me and I’m glad the author shared a piece of her life with us.

 

Would I recommend it? If you want to read a memoir, this is worth the time. Since there was no plot, I never felt an overwhelming desire to pick this up and keep reading. I was never eager to see what happened next–something I need from a good book. If you’ve never read a memoir before either, I wonder if there is a better choice to introduce you to the genre. Overall, it was a good read, but I wouldn’t pick it up to reread.

 

jaclyn

About the book – from Goodreads: A hilarious and moving memoir—in the spirit of Anne Lamott and Nora Ephron—about a woman who returns home to her close-knit Mennonite family after a personal crisis.

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her brilliant husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her with serious injuries. What was a gal to do? Rhoda packed her bags and went home. This wasn’t just any home, though. This was a Mennonite home. While Rhoda had long ventured out on her own spiritual path, the conservative community welcomed her back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda’s good-natured mother suggested she date her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.) It is in this safe place that Rhoda can come to terms with her failed marriage; her desire, as a young woman, to leave her sheltered world behind; and the choices that both freed and entrapped her.

Written with wry humor and huge personality—and tackling faith, love, family, and aging—Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.

 

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Boost It Tuesday! – April 25, 2017

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Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free Chance BooksIf These Books Could Talk, and Between My Lines.

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

 
Boost It Poster

 

We will be featuring one blogger or author on the Boost It Tuesday post. We hope that you will visit that blogger or author and give their page a bit of extra BIT attention!

 

 

If you would like to be featured one week, please fill out the form below.

Click Here to Sign Up to Be a Featured Booster!

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 



If These Books Could Talk,

 

    if these books could talk   Between My Lines
 

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It’s Raining Books: The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey (Chrissy’s review)

 

The Saturday Evening Girls Club
written by Jane Healey
published by Lake Union Publishing, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book 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 enjoy this book. It was a good, fast read.

I like reading this type of historical novel. It’s a more recent era, one that I would like to read more books about. It was fun reading about Caprice, Ada, Maria, and Thea. They were the best of friends and had very different struggles. It was a different time and culture in the early 1900s, but it was an interesting one. Watching these young women figure out their futures was amazing. They each had expectations placed upon them, but they each had a different idea of where they thought their lives should go.

I read the author’s note at the end and learned that this story is based on a real Saturday Evening Girls Club and the women in it. That fascinated me and made the story all the more real.

 

Would I recommend it: I would. If you like easy, historical reads, this is a good one.

Chrissy

About the book – from Goodreads: 
For four young immigrant women living in Boston’s North End in the early 1900s, escaping tradition doesn’t come easy. But at least they have one another and the Saturday Evening Girls Club, a social pottery-making group offering respite from their hectic home lives—and hope for a better future.

Ambitious Caprice dreams of opening her own hat shop, which clashes with the expectations of her Sicilian-born parents. Brilliant Ada secretly takes college classes despite the disapproval of her Russian Jewish father. Stunning Maria could marry anyone yet guards her heart to avoid the fate of her Italian Catholic mother, broken down by an alcoholic husband. And shy Thea is torn between asserting herself and embracing an antiquated Jewish tradition.

The friends face family clashes and romantic entanglements, career struggles and cultural prejudice. But through their unfailing bond, forged through their weekly gathering, they’ll draw strength—and the courage to transform their immigrant stories into the American lives of their dreams.

 

 

 

About the author: Jane Healey was inspired to write The Saturday Evening Girls Club after learning of the group’s history while researching an article on their namesake pottery, also known as Paul Revere Pottery. She became fascinated by the relatively unknown stories of these smart, sassy, enterprising young immigrant women living in Boston’s North End at the turn of the twentieth century.

In addition to being a fiction writer, Jane is a freelance journalist and consultant. Her publishing credits include the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, AOL/Huffington Post, the Street, Publishers Weekly, and New England Home.

Jane holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree from Northeastern University. She shares a home north of Boston with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. When she’s not writing, she enjoys running, reading, and cooking.

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

 

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Chrissy’s Review: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Scrappy Little Nobody
written by Anna Kendrick
published by Touchstone Books, 2016

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


Did I enjoy this book? 
I really did enjoy this book!

I didn’t know much about Ms. Kendrick beyond Twilight and Pitch Perfect–her other films, her stage performances, her Tony nomination–so this book was a great glimpse into her history and life.

If you have ever seen an interview or television appearance of Ms. Kendrick, you will definitely hear her voice throughout this book. I could hear her telling me these stories as I read. I definitely laughed a lot while reading this book.

 

Would I recommend it? Yes! If you are a fan of Ms. Kendrick, then you should definitely read this autobiography!

 

Chrissy


About the book – from Goodreads: 
A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

 

 

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It’s Raining Books: A Ring of Truth by Michelle Cox (spotlight, giveaway)

 

 

A Ring of Truth (A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel, #2)A Ring of Truth
written by Michelle Cox
published by She Writes Press, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazon, iBooksBook Depository, TargetGoodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Newly engaged, Clive and Henrietta now begin the difficult task of meeting each other’s family. Difficult because Clive has neglected to tell Henrietta that he is in fact the heir to the Howard estate and fortune, and Henrietta has just discovered that her mother has been hiding secrets about her past as well. When Clive brings Henrietta to the family estate to meet his parents, they are less than enthused about his impoverished intended. Left alone in this extravagant new world when Clive returns to the city, Henrietta finds herself more at home with the servants than his family, much to the disapproval of Mrs. Howard and soon gets caught up in the disappearance of an elderly servant’s ring, not realizing that in doing so she has become part of a bigger, darker plot. As Clive and Henrietta attempt to discover the truth in the two very different worlds unraveling around them, they both begin to wonder: Are they meant for each other after all?

 

 

 

Michelle CoxAbout the author: Michelle Cox holds a B.A. in English literature from Mundelein College, Chicago, and is the author of the award-winning, A Girl Like You, the first in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series. She is known for her wildly popular blog, “How to Get Your Book Published in 7,000 Easy Steps—A Practical Guide” as well as her charming “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. Michelle lives with her husband and three children in the Chicago suburbs.

Find Ms. Cox here: webblog, FacebookTwitter, Goodreads

 

 

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