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Books

Linking up with Steph and Jana to share my books for the month. Between being home with a sick Zoe for a week early in the month, and Thanksgiving at the end….I didn’t get nearly enough reading time in. Honestly, I only finished two books. But they were both good ones! So here we go….

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Beartown

I feel like I am the last one to read Beartown. I really enjoyed A Man Called Ove, so I was excited to try this one. It took me awhile to get in to, to be honest. People kept saying its about so much more than hockey, and there is a lot of hockey talk. And I feel like you really have to pay attention because they will make references like “there is a man in a sabb” or “there is a mother at the kitchen table” and you might miss which man or mother they were talking about at first if you aren’t 100% focused. However, the deeper I got into the story, the more I was intrigued and then about 60% in I couldn’t put it down. And I will say it, this book is about so much more than hockey.

Bottom Line: I would recommend the book. It was something different and a really good read. It had all the makings of small town politics and sports, lots of dysfunctional family dynamics and imperfect people.

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

This is another that has been on my TBR forever. I feel like it got a lot of hype a few years ago, and usually those are the books that I stay away from for awhile. I completely forgot what it was even supposed to be about until I picked it up. I didn’t really like it at first, but once I was about an hour or two into it….I couldn’t stop. I started getting invested in the characters and needing to know what happened to Bernadette.

Bottom Line: This ended up being an enjoyable read! I felt like it was well written, and once I was settled in to it I was hooked!

Currently Reading

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Where We Belong

I just started this one, I think I am in Chapter  7 right now and all I can think is….I want to be reading my  book! So that is a good sign. What are you reading?

book review, books

Books

I almost feel like we got an extra week to read this month, since the 31st fell on a Tuesday. I got all excited and thought, oh I can get another in! Anyone else feel that way? I was able to knock three Netgalley books out this month, and one Blogging for Books too. I always feel super accomplished turning in those reviews. I read some good ones this month, and there was a DNF too. Balance, am I right? Linking up with Steph and Jana.

Sting by Sandra Brown

Sting

Shaw Kinnard and his partner are hired to kill Jordie Bennet. Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie. He wants to find the $30 million her brother has stolen. Jordie’s brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well.

This book!!! There were plot twists, slow burning sexual tension, the FBI and serious criminals. Lot’s going on. I was hooked after the first few chapters and kept trying to figure out how it was all going to play  out. I was shocked with the twist at the end! Definitely kept me guessing.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a good thriller that will keep you guessing, and you don’t mind a little romance…give this book a try! I was surprised by how much I liked it.

Law and Disorder by Heather Graham

Law and Disorder (The Finnegan Connection, #1)

 Kody Cameron recognizes something in her captor’s eyes that makes her believe she can trust him. Undercover agent Nick Connolly has met Kody before and knows she might very well blow his cover. can they make it out of the Everglades alive?

What is it with this month and captors? This has a lot of  fun historical snippets here and there, but there are a lot of side characters to keep up with and I felt like there wasn’t much character development in general. The story feels very rushed and choppy.

Bottom Line: This was a quick read, but I feel indifferent about it. I enjoyed the action at the beginning but started to get bored with it. It felt a little choppy and rushed to me.

**I received a copy of Law and Disorder from Netgalley in exchange for my  honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Peach Pies and Alibis by Ellery Adams

Peach Pies and Alibis (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery, #2)

Ella Mae can lace her baked goods she serves at her Charmed Pie Shoppe with enchantments.

I loved Pies and Prejudice so much that I quickly got on the wait list for the second book in the series. I still feel like the author overwrites a little with the descriptive language, but this is such a cute cozy mystery series! I love the small southern town charm. There is a lot more magic in this one than the first, but I really loved hearing the history of Ella Mae’s family and I flew through the book! I had the murderer figured out pretty early on, but it didn’t take away from the story.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a cozy mystery that has a little bit of a magical element to it, this is perfect!

My Story by Elizabeth Smart

My Story

June 5, 2002, fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart, was taken from her home in the middle of the night. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. She talks about the constant fear she endured every hour, her hope and faith and how she survived.

I remember hearing about the Elizabeth Smart case when it happened. It was really interesting hearing her recount of what happened and what was going through her mind. I will say that her writing had a bit of childish naivety to it. Maybe it was supposed to come across that way since she was a child when she was abducted? I didn’t care for it. But listening to her story  had my attention.

Bottom Line: If you can get past the childish naivety, this was an interesting read.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzy Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

 Hawthorn Creely has a crazy theory as to what happened to the missing Lizzie Lovett.  In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life and takes her job and even her boyfriend.

This book was too YA for me. I got annoyed with the main character’s obsession with Lizzy Lovett. She was very immature and started coming up with these crazy ideas as to why Lizzy disappeared. When she tried to suggest it was because she turned into a werewolf I quit reading. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Bottom Line: I cant recommend this book. It got on my nerves so badly, and I couldn’t finish it.

What Light by Jay Asher

What Light

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon and moves to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season every year. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. But then Sierra meets bad boy Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

I really enjoyed watching Thirteen Reasons, so I was excited to see another book from the author. This is your typical YA romance story. It was really cute and I enjoyed the Christmas feel to it.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a festive holiday read, this is a great one!

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

The Marriage Pact

Jake and Alice are newlyweds who are invited to join The Pact. At first, it seems like an exciting, elite club. Some of the rules:  1. When your spouse calls answer 2. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly 3. Plan a trip together once a quarter 4. NEVER mention the PACT to anyone. They quickly learn that once you join, there is no escape. 

You guys!!! This book was so good!!! I found myself staying up late several nights because I couldn’t put it down. We all want our marriages to last, but The Pact takes it to a whole other level!

Bottom Line: I highly recommend this one!!! Just read it!

**I received a copy of The Marriage Pact from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson

The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever

Mark Sisson unveils his groundbreaking ketogenic diet plan that resets your metabolism in 21 days so you can burn fat forever.

Chris did the Keto diet last year and lost some serious weight. We are talking around 60+ pounds. Once he got going, he just kept going and going and I watched him shrink and shrink. Of course I was pregnant and all WTF you’re going to chose now to go on a diet? But seriously, I am so proud of him and his willpower. It really worked for him.

When I saw this book, I knew we had to have it! While I already know all about the Keto diet, since I have been cooking and preparing foods for Chris for over a year….I wanted this book to give us some new recipes. It also discusses fasting and lifestyle tips. You get step-by-step guidance, daily meal plans and a decent recipe section. If you are looking to drop some weight, I would certainly look into the Keto diet. I feel like more and more people are jumping on this. For more information about the book you can go here. For more info about the author, go here.

Bottom Line: If you are thinking about trying to Keto lifestyle, this book is a great starting point!

**I received a copy of The Keto Reset Diet from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

 Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

I feel like I got more emotional reading this book than I thought I would. It is written so well, and it is something that everyone needs to read. Unfortunately, it is all too timely with what is going on in the world today, and it makes you see things differently than you might have before. It is heartbreaking and sobering.

Bottom Line: Read it!

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

Merry and Bright

Merry’s mom and brother create an online dating profile for her without a picture. She is reluctant at first but soon finds herself chatting with a charming stranger. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. What happens when they meet in person?!

The last book of Debbie’s I read was a little of a let down for me, so I was skeptical to start this one. I actually read this book in one sitting!!! That never happens. I got in to the story right away and had to see where it was going. Chris and I met online, and so this story had a special place in my heart.

Bottom Line: Such a light and quick little love story with a little Christmas cheer. If you are a fan of Debbie Macomber, read it!

** I received a copy of Merry and Bright from Netgalley in exchange for my  honest review. All opinions are my own.**

Currently Reading

Beartown by Frederick Blackman

Beartown

book review, books

Books

I managed to read a lot of books this month!!! A few of them were rather short, so I suppose that helped. Let just jump right on in! Linking up with Steph and Jana.

Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams

Pies and Prejudice (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery, #1)

A small town girl returns home after her husband cheats on her. You get a little love, an old rivalry, a pie shop and a small town murder with big drama.

So, looking at the title and cover of this book I was expecting a little cheese. And it had it’s cheesy moments, but honestly? I really just loved the story. This is a cozy mystery, which I find myself a huge sucker for. Look at the Stephanie Plum series and the Java Jive series that I read. This one had a real southern feel to it being based in a small Georgia town. I think that parts of the  book were overwritten as far as the imagery goes…but overall it was cute. There is also a little magic, which I actually liked.

Bottom Line: If you love cozy mysteries or southern stories, grab it! It is a series and I feel like I might be in it for the long haul.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls

When Lane discovers her family’s secrets, she runs far away. She returns several years later when her cousin goes missing, forcing her to face those secrets again. 

What a messed up family!!! I sort of had an idea from the beginning what the secrets were and who was behind Allegra going missing. That didn’t take away from the story though. These are some damaged, imperfect characters and sometimes, I just want that in a book. you know? You get some depth that way and an interesting story.

Bottom Line: If you like dysfunctional families and difficult situations, then this would be right up your alley. It could be a trigger for others, so make sure you read the full synopsis before diving in. I would recommend the book.

**I received a copy of The Roanoke Girls from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Expats by Chris Pavone

The Expats

Kate has a secret, her husband is offered a job in Luxembourg and she decides this would be the great fresh start that she needs. Or is it? Another American Couple arrives and her secret is now threatened.

I picked this up after Laura raved about it last month. I did this one via audiobook and I will say, it was a little hard to follow that way with all the time jumping. Could have been a non-issue in book format. You find out bits of Kate’s secret early on, and more and more of it comes together as the book goes on. I was a little shocked at some of the twists and how much lying and deception there is throughout the entire book. It makes you question everything in your own life and what you think you know about people.

Bottom Line: This book kept me interested the entire time and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it if you are looking for something good to read.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

I didn’t know who Felicia Day was before I listened to this book. It sounded interesting and I was looking for something carefree to “read.” (I did this on audiobook, the only way I can really read nonfiction and not get bored.) It was sort of like Felicia was there with me just telling me stories throughout her life.  She is hilarious and a little nerdy, which kind of reminds me of, well, me. And she lived in Alabama for awhile which is pretty cool.

Bottom Line: I got a little bored a few times and sort of tuned out, but overall it was a pleasant read.

69 Million Things I Hate About You by Kira Archer

69 Million Things I Hate About You

Girls has insufferable boss. Girl wins 69 million dollars in the lottery. Girl decides to not quit and see what it takes for her boss to fire her.

This book was so cute and I am so glad that I requested it!!! I think we have all had that boss that we wish we could just pay back a little karma to, no? I literally laughed out loud at some of the things that Kiersten does to Cole throughout the book. This is a romance book, but it isn’t overly racy. You get a nice, slow build and this author is known for her playfulness and happily ever after.

Bottom Line: If you have ever had an insufferable boss, or you just want a laugh. This is for you! So cute! When I was half way through it, I texted Kristen and told her to go request it immediately.

**I received a copy of 69 Million Things I Hate About You from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Reshaping it All by Candace Cameron Bure

Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness

I knew when I looked at the title of this book, there would be a lot of Christian references in it. To be honest, I am just looking for a way to get motivated to work out and get back on the healthy train again and I never really thought about looking at it from a spirituality point of view. I went back and forth from liking this book and feeling like she was getting a little preachy. I think some of the things that she said that I already know, really hit home  hearing her say it. Like, setting goals and sticking to them. She said, if you lost one pound a week, next year at this time you would be 50 pounds lighter. I just sat there and thought…wow…..she’s right.

I appreciated the stories from her childhood, Full House, and her struggles. But don’t read this book thinking it is more of a memoir, because it isn’t. Also, the recipes in this book are ridiculous. I think we all know how to make tacos, no?

Bottom Line: I would be hesitant to recommend this book to just anybody. I think if you are Christian and wanting to lose weight, you would appreciate it more than someone who isn’t as spiritual. For me, I didn’t take much from the book and I honestly skipped over some parts.

Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunal Nayyar

Yes, My Accent Is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven't Told You

Big Bang Theory is one of my absolute favorite shows, so I knew I wanted to listen to this on audiobook. Kunnal himself narrates and he is just as hilarious as you want him to be. He shared stories from his childhood, college years, dating, a little bit about Big Bang and ended with how he met his wife and their wedding.

Bottom Line: If you are a fan of Big Bang Theory and want to learn more about Kunal’s life, this is a fun read. Highly recommend the audiobook version.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

Lara Jean keeps the love letters that she has written to all of her crushes in a box her mother gave her. Somehow the letters get sent, and her personal life is forever changed.

This was such a cute YA read. While it was light and fluffy, I felt like the characters are a little more complex than your typical YA book. I won’t give anything away if you haven’t read it, but there was a character that I was rooting for the whole time and was happy at the end of the book. There are two more books in this series, and I hope to read those soon!

Bottom Line: Read it if you are looking for a cute YA or need a break from darker subject matter.

Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres

Seriously... I'm Kidding

I think Ellen is hilarious and I enjoyed listening to her read this on audiobook. I really liked what she said about being proud of how old you are and that you made it another year. And also about just being yourself. I felt like I wanted a little more from this book? It was kind of short and some of the chapters were very sparse.

Bottom Line:  If you are an Ellen fan, go ahead! This is a really short audiobook, just over three hours. I borrowed it from my library…probably wouldn’t pay for it.

Always by Sarah Jio

Always

Kailey is engaged to the perfect man, but runs into her now homeless first love. Now she must chose who her heart really belongs to.

Bottom Line: I am going to be very honest and say that I did not finish this book. The writing was really choppy for me, and I don’t like being spoon fed while I am reading. I feel like the premise was good, but the writing fell short. I didn’t really feel anything from the characters and life is too short to finish a book you are not enjoying.

**I received a copy of Always from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Currently Reading

Sting by Sandra Brown

Sting

book review, books

Books

Well, book day sure did come around quick this month! Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books!

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life

This was such a cute story, sort of a finding yourself book. Would be great for a twenty something who is making their way in the world. Or you know, a thirty something who still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up and can relate to the shitty commute and politics game at work. I found myself LOL’ing a few times and I could really relate to Katie. I just loved how the theme in the book seemed to be that life isn’t always as it seems or is portrayed on Instagram. The characters were just wonderful and I really enjoyed it!

Bottom Line: Cute read! Just do it!

Rating: 5/5

Turbo Twenty Three by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum Series)

Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum, #23)

You all know my love for Stephanie Plum! It seems like nothing changes in Plum land. She is still juggling Morelli and Ranger, Lula is still hilarious and these idiot criminals keep doing ridiculous things. Sometimes I wonder how many more of these there could really be. Yet, I never tire of reading them! I do wish that she would finally start to chose between Joe and Ranger though, you know? At least have a direction somewhere.

Bottom Line: If you are a fan of the series, this gives you a good dose of Stephanie, Lula, Ranger and Morelli!

Rating: 4/5

Falling by Jane Green

Falling

I do love a good Jane Green novel! You know you can count on her for a solid beach read, and this one is even set in a cute little beach town. You have Emma, a former Banker from the big city, move to a quiet little town and get close with her landlord/neighbor Dominic. I liked the whole aspect of Emma trying to figure out who she is outside the banking/corporate world and turning a new leaf. She starts her own interior design company and I really liked that aspect of the book. Having Dominic’s son and his on and off feelings with Emma kept the book interesting, but there is just something that fell a little flat for me.

Bottom Line: While falling just a little flat, overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend it if you are looking for a beach read or are a Jane Green fan. It wasn’t my favorite of hers, but it is still worth the read.

Rating: 3/5

The Digital Handshake by Paul Chaney

The Digital Handshake: Seven Proven Strategies to Grow Your Business Using Social Media

I always find consumer behavior interesting and like to keep up with the latest in marketing, advertising and just general consumer behavior. Of course, these days a lot of that revolves around the internet and social media. This book was written several years ago, but the main points still hold true today. I liked the author’s passion and thought the book was well written. I liked how he sort of describes social media has a cocktail party where meeting and conversation takes place.

Bottom Line: This is a great book for understanding consumer behavior and how to spread word of your business in a digital age with social media. I think some aspects even apply to blogging. While the book is a few years old, the main message is still very applicable today.

Rating: 4/5

Currently Reading

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls

I started this book last month and I am only 60 pages in…still. It isn’t that it is a bad book, it is just that it is a physical book and I just cant seem to find the time to read right now. All the other books that I “read” this month were audiobooks in the car on my way to and from work, after I drop Zoe off. Zoe likes to listen to music in the car. I hope to finally finish it this month. And jump on the twenty Netgalley books I have sitting around. I wish Netgalley did audiobooks lol. It would make my life so much easier!

book review, books

Books

Another month of books have come and gone! Linking up with Jana and Steph.

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

The Weekenders

I devoured this book much quicker than I thought I would! I picked it up every chance I got. This is much longer than your normal beach read, but it didn’t lag in the least bit and I loved all the details and plot development. The beach town setting was perfect and I loved that it wasn’t always perfect through the story.

Bototm Line: This is the perfect beach read!! You get a little love, a scandal, some mystery and a storm.

Rating: 4/5

Brew or Die A Java Jive Mystery by Caroline Fardig

 

Brew or Die: A Java Jive Mystery

I best describe this series and the leading lady as a more competent Stephanie Plum. This is the forth book and I have to say, I am still enjoying the series! I love all the characters and the shenanigans. Jules is officially a licensed PI and takes it on as a second job. This one kept me reeled in because Jules teams up with someone you would least expect to work work on a case!! The love tangle between Jules, Stafford, Pete and Ryder had me hooked the whole time but then I ended up getting pissed at the very end of the book and slapping my head. I am hoping there is another installment and Juliet finally moves on in one direction or another. I am team Ryder all the way though. As for the mystery part, I sort of had suspicions early on in both investigation she worked on, but there were a few surprises and twists thrown in.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a cute, cozy mystery or you like the Plum series and Janet Evanovich, then give this a try!

Rating:4/5

**I received a copy of Brew or Die from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Royal We by Heather Cocks

The Royal We

When I first started seeing reviews for this book, I rolled my eyes. I could care less about the royal family. I mean, I wish I had Kate’s closet and I think she is gorgeous….but that is about where my thoughts about them end. I was sure I wouldn’t care to read this book….but then all of you…people who normally don’t even read this type of book…gave it a great review. Ok fine, I will read it!!!

Anyways, I LOVED this book!!! It is a long one, and I managed to have it finished in a week which is a pretty big deal for me right now. There is so much character development and little details in this book and I loved all the little side stories leading up to the current time. This was just a super fun read that kept me interested the whole time.

Bottom Line: Read it!! This is probably one of my favorite books so far this year. I really just enjoyed it so much.

Rating:5/5

A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman

A Man Called Ove

At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. I sort of got lost a little in some of the details of the story at the beginning. I will be vague to not give any spoilers, I then realized what was really going on with Ove and what he was tying to do. That kept me interested and then I really started to enjoy the story. I liked how the book bounced back and forth between current day, and stories from his past that shed light to lead him to who he is. I like how Ove is strict with his routines, principals and views on life. I have a feeling we are all going to be a little cranky like Ove when we are older.

Bottom Line: This was a sweet book and I really enjoyed it.

Rating:4/5

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

Dashing Through the Snow

I seriously don’t follow the holidays or seasons when it comes to reading. I needed a little snow in my very hot July! This was a cute love story and I enjoyed the holiday aspect of it. To be completely honest though, I never really connected with any of the characters and the story felt a little cheesy to me and very predictable.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a light holiday read, this might fit the bill. It wasn’t my favorite though.

Rating: 2.5/5

Currently Reading:

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls

I am only about 60 pages in to this one so far, but I can already tell it is messed up, but I am intrigued and enjoying it.