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Books

Book day is here!!! Normally I don’t like Tuesdays. They are my least favorite day of the week. Book day makes them so much better! I read several really good ones this month, so let’s just jump right in. Linking up with Steph and Jana.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

Bring Me Back

Coming back from holiday, Layla goes missing at a rest stop. Finn moves on many years later, but then an item appears that can only be from Layla. Is she alive? Finn is engaged to be married and is happy now. But he cant help but wonder. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind? 

B.A. Paris really knows how to suck  you in to a book and get you hooked! You can never trust any of her characters for very long, and I love that I am always trying to guess what is really happening and looking for clues. I had figured this one out early on, then ditched everything I believed only to have been right from the start. I love how I (and Finn!!!) kept changing our minds on what was really happening. I liked The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors a little better than this one, but it was still good!

Bottom Line: This book will be out in June, be sure to get on the wait list at the library now!! If you enjoyed her other two, you are sure to like this as well.

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

Smitten by Janet Evanovich

Smitten (Elsie Hawkins #2)

Single mom Lizabeth Kane isn’t exactly carpenter material — she’s never picked up a hammer in her life. But she desperately needs the construction job that builder Matt Hallahan is offering. And even though he knows trouble is ahead, Matt can’t refuse Lizbeth’s irresistible smile.

I actually didn’t realize that this was the second in a series until I grabbed the link to write this post. It totally works as a stand alone novel. I love Janet Evanovich and have read all of the Stephanie Plum series and a  few other of her novels. I am going to be honest and say this was probably my least favorite from her. It is one of her early day novels (from 1990) and is just sort of silly. The relationship between Elizabeth and Matt moves way too fast and is just absurd at times. Elizabeth sort of reminds me of Stephanie Plum with her brown curly hair and her inability to do simple tasks like put a lid back on a can of paint. Then there is Aunt Elsie who is basically Grandma Mazur. I believe I read somewhere that Evanovich actually modeled Grandma Mazur after Elsie. She was actually pretty hilarious and just what you would expect from an Evanovich character. The novel was really short, and so at least there weren’t any dull, unnecessary parts.

Bottom Line: Overall, the story line was pretty cute. I just didn’t really love Matt or Elizabeth to be honest. True Evanovich fans would really appreciate Elsie though. And it was worth a read if you are just looking for mindless fluff to pass the time.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood

Leonora, a reclusive crime writer, reluctantly agrees to make the trip to a hen weekend with an old friend she has lost contact with. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured  with the knowledge that someone is dead. She tries to piece together the events of the past weekend, and remember things from the past.

I was hooked from the very beginning of this one! I liked how the book started out in the hospital, and then moves back and forth in time between the present and the past. You aren’t quite sure who you want to trust the deeper you dig. I enjoyed the imperfectness in the relationships with some of these characters as well as their development throughout the book. I had a hard time putting it down.

Bottom Line: This was a really good read!

Every Crooked Nanny by Mary Kay Andrews writing as Kathy Hogan Trocheck

Every Crooked Nanny

Former cop Callahan Garrity trades in her badge for a broom and starts a housekeeping business. She’s on the job when her client announces that her nanny has disappeared—along with jewelry, silver, and some sensitive real-estate documents. Soon Callahan and her crew are involved in a job messier than any they’ve ever encountered. Illicit love triangles, crooked business deals, long-distance scams— it’s going to require some industrial-strength sleuthing on Callahan’s part to solve this one.

I love a cozy mystery. I was drawn to this book because I enjoyed The Weekenders by MKA and saw that this book takes place in Atlanta. It was written in 1992 and I loved that aspect of it. Before social media and all of that. Plus, those of you in the south remember Rich’s department store??? Nostalgia at it’s finest.  I ended up enjoying this book a lot more than I thought I would. I did this on audiobook and the southern accents were perfection. As you can see below, I went and binged on the second in this series directly after, that is how much I loved it.

Bottom Line: This is a super fun cozy mystery series if you enjoy that kind of thing!

To Live and Die in Dixie by Mary Kay Andrews writing as Kathy Hogan Trocheck

To Live and Die in Dixie

Callahan Garrity has no idea what she’s getting into when she agrees to work for infamous antiques dealer Elliot Littlefield. The first day on the job she and her crew discover the bloodied body of a young woman in a bedroom — and are soon on the trail of a priceless Civil War diary stolen by the killer. As if two crimes aren’t enough, deadly serious collectors, right-wing radicals, and impulsive teenagers make the case even more difficult to tidy up … and more dangerous.

I enjoyed the first in this series so much, I decided to jump on the second while it was still available at my library. This one is just as good as the first. I am so invested in Callahan and her mom Edna. This one takes place shortly after the first and we get a whole new cast of characters that are just as quirky. You are never sure who to pin the murder on and have several theories before it is all said and done. I love that.

Bottom Line: This is a super fun cozy mystery series if you enjoy that kind of thing!

Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber

Any Dream Will Do

Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, she realized she would give up everything for him. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold. Pastor Drew Douglas lost his wife. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew. The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose.When Caden returns to town, it threatens to destroy everything Shay has rebuilt.

I do love a book about second chances. This is much more faith based than the other Debbie Macomber books, but I didn’t mind. In fact, if you are looking for a good love story….but don’t enjoy the sexy talk, this would be for you. There is no graphic scenes in the book.  I really loved the main characters in this book, you get to know them on an emotional level and there is a lot of development. This story is rich with deep emotion and intense feelings. I feel like the ending was perfect as well, it wasn’t rushed at all.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed this one. If you are looking for a story about hope, faith, second chances…this is for you.

**I received a copy of Any Dream Will Do from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Arrogant Devil by RS Grey

Arrogant Devil

Everyone in Cedar Creek, Texas, knows Jack McNight is an arrogant devil. When Meredith shows up on his door step at the Blue Stone Ranch needing a job and a place to stay, she has no idea what she is getting in to. 

Every time I think of RS Grey and her books, I cant help but smile. I fall in love with her characters so quickly!! She is hilarious and these are true romantic comedy books that I have read so far by her. I couldn’t get enough of Jack and Meredith’s banter. I loved all Meredith’s thoughts and inner dialogue that we get. Total perfection. This is a good, slow burn. You have the love/hate relationship, some cute side characters, a wonderful farm/ranch setting in the heat of Texas. Love love love! This is a story of second chances, restarting your life. The way this one progressed is so believable and not forced.

Bottom Line: Read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is on pre-sale right now for 99 cents!!!!!

**I received an ARC copy of Arrogant Devil from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

 

book review, books

Books

Another month of books! Linking up with Steph and Jana and jumping right on in!

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

The Sunshine Sisters

The Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by their mother Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes.

Jane Green is always a solid read for me, and this one was no different. I actually really enjoyed this book!!! You get to know all the characters so well and watch them grow. In the beginning, I felt like none of the characters were particularly likeable, but I did end up liking all of them in the end. There were a few things about the ending that sort of made me scratch my head, but I liked how it all came together. If you like books about dysfunctional families, this would be right up your alley.

Bottom Line: Another solid read from Jane Green.

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

The Breakdown

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods. She learned the next day that the woman died. Since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby. And then there is the silent caller. 

I am coming to love B. A. Paris. Man, can she write a good book! I sort of guessed early on a little of what was really going on, but there were a few twists I didn’t see coming. I really enjoyed the development of characters in this book. There was a point in the book where I hardly trusted any of the characters. That is how you know you are sucked in and must continue on!

Bottom Line: Read it!!!

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

The Family Next Door

The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and children play in the street. Isabelle Heatherington doesn’t fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers. But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread – and they’ll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.

This is my second book by Sally Hepworth, I really enjoy her writing. I got in to this one right away. It moves at a fast pace, but it is easy to keep up with the different POV. It sort of reminded me a little of Big Little Lies, following the lives of five separate women who all have their own secrets. I was actually surprised at the depth of some issues it touched on and it really shows how complicated marriage, relationships, and parenthood can be. I felt like anyone could relate to each of the characters in some way, and they were well developed without the author dragging on.

Bottom Line: If you liked Big Little Lies and reading about drama with a little bit of suspense and imperfect lives…I think you would enjoy this one!

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

The Hating Game by Sally Throne

The Hating Game

I request that my library purchase books all the time. Nothing makes me sadder than when I really get excited about one and find they don’t even have it. I got an email that a book I requested for purchase was now available and squealed in delight when I realized it was The Hating Game!!! Kristen speaks so highly of it, so I knew I had to read it. I am going to go ahead and say it. I LOVED this book. I think this is my favorite read so far this year. It was so light, romantic, funny. I absolutely adored it and cant recommend it enough! I had such a horrible week last week, and this book is really what go me through. It was just what I needed. I loved the build up of the characters and all the witty banter. I had such fun reading it!

Bottom Line: Read it if romantic comedy is your thing. So good!

The Healing Powers of Essential Oils by Eric Zielinski

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I have dabbled in essential oils in the past. Mainly tea tree oil for acne and argan oil for dry skin. I have never really diffused any or used them to make cleaning products around the house or anything. I would like to get more in to them, and I thought this would be the perfect book for that. This book has a lot of information and is a great place to start. I really like that there are recipes for many things and suggestions to help with conditions like inflammation, anxiety, and skin disorders. I have been looking at diffusers on Amazon and am about to pull the plug on one and get started!

Bottom Line: Great book full of basics and more to get started with essential oils.

**I received a copy of The Healing Power of Essential Oils from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

 

book review, books

Books

Does anyone start their next book post the same day the current one goes live? I do! Just about every month I have already started another book that I go ahead and get the Goodreads link for it and picture of the cover so I can keep up with my post as I read the books. If I didn’t do this, I would probably forget of half of what I read. Truth. Linking up with all the cool kids, Steph, and Jana.

The First Wife by Erica Spindler

The First Wife

An idealistic young woman marries a man she barely knows only to discover his first wife disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

So I don’t even know where to begin with this one. First of all, some of the names (Raine, Roane, True) sort of bothered me. I dont know why. What kind of name is True? Anyways. I wanted to smack Bailey a few times. She kept second guessing her husband and she would think he did all the things people accused him of but  then she would be like no, he is my husband, I have to trust him. Girlfriend knew her husband all of two minutes before she married him. She didn’t know him at all. And he kept lying to her and hiding things from her. Hello! Red flag! Honestly, I found myself not trusting hardly any of the characters. Any of them could have been the one who killed these girls. And I went back and forth on who I thought it was several times.

Bottom Line: This was a decent who done it. There were things about the book that annoyed me, but I was also hooked and had to know!!!

When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Image result for when we were worthy

In a small Georgia town, three cheerleaders die in a car crash. At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. 

So this book took me forever to read. I am not quite sure why? It was definitely a heavy subject and I found myself asking what I would do if I were these characters. The book sort of reads like Beartown in that it takes place in a small, gossip filled town and you get a lot of character development of many situations. This one passed the time just fine. I think I wanted it to be a little more of something, just not sure what? The premise of the book was really good.

Bottom Line: If you like to read small town drama, you would probably enjoy this one just fine.

**I received a copy of When We Were Worthy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Eleven by Sandra Cisneros

Eleven

This is just one short story. Dani shared a link on it on her blog and I really liked what she said about it. The fact that the author says when  you are eleven, you are still ten, nine, eight, etc is how I feel about a birthday. I always say that I don’t actually feel like I am a grown up most of the time. And the anxiety that Rachel feels about not speaking up was totally me when I was younger, and still is today in some cases.

Bottom Line: This story literally only takes a few minutes to read and I feel would be enjoyed by anyone.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible (The Austen Project, #4)

I still have yet to read the original Pride and Prejudice, but I seem to enjoy retellings  of it. This book was so so cute! I found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it, a sign of a good book. You get to know every last character in the book pretty well. Some of them you love, others you want to slap. It made all the side stories much more enjoyable. This book also touches on homophobia, racism, sexism, eating disorders, sperm donation. I wasn’t expecting the depth that it had! I didn’t even realize this was the forth in a series, it is very much a read alone book. The chapters in the book were very short, so it was easy for me to find breaks and good stopping places.

Bottom Line: Read it! I found this book witty and charming, and the characters are developed so well! Such a cute read!

Currently Reading

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

The Sunshine Sisters

book review, books

A Tasty Review

We have all seen the Tasty videos being shared on Facebook. The ones you can’t help but watch. They get you salivating and ready for your next meal! I was excited when I saw that they had their own cookbook!

The book itself is filled with gorgeous pictures!! There are some recipes that have lots of pictures, and others that don’t. This is the perfect cookbook for hosting a party or tailgating during football season. This is probably the last cookbook you will pick up if you are on a diet. There aren’t too many waste friendly options. But YOLO! You have to enjoy and indulge sometimes, am I right? There are a few vegetarian options, so you definitely get something for everybody.

I think the recipe I am most excited to try are the carne asada fries! Basically fries covered in meat and all kinds of delicious toppings. The  pastel glitter-bombed unicorn cake would have been perfect for Zoe’s birthday party!! The one thing I will say about the book, there is no rhyme or reason to the order of the recipes. They are sort of all over the place which makes narrowing down a specific meal a little hard.

What do  you think of the Tasty videos? Have you made any of the recipes yourself?

**I received a copy of Tasty Latest and Greatest from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

book review, books

5 Great Kid’s Books to Gift

One of the most colorful books is When God Made Light. The illustrations are so vibrant and beautiful!!! Zoe points at all the pictures and they really hold her attention. Plus, the message in each of the books we have read by this author are wonderful. When God Made Light is obviously about creation and the very beginning of time. But it also talks about the light that is in each and every one of us and how special that is. This book would make a wonderful gift!

You can see what I am talking about with the amazing illustration and get a sneak peak of When God Made Light here.  And read more about the author here.

**I received a copy of When God Made Light from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Crayon Box that Talked

The The Crayon Box that Talkedis another one of our favorites. It is such a cute story about a box of crayons that doesn’t get along. A little girl over hears them talking about each other in a store and buys the box to bring home and show them that they need each other for the big picture.

The Pout-Pout Fish

The The Pout-Pout Fishis about a fish who was born with a pouty face, so he let’s that determine who he is. One day he meets someone who looks just like him, but she has a completely different outlook about their situation and he realizes he can be happy too! There are a lot of characters in this book, and I change my voice for all of them when I read and Zoe founds my pout voice to be hilarious.

Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!

Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! (Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners)is always a fun one. Marvin can’t take the hint that he has worn out his welcome. The narrator comes up with all kinds of fun ways in which he can kindly leave. Zoe finds this book hilarious.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Board Book)is always a fun one to read about the alphabet!! This version is a board book which works great for younger kiddos too.

What are some of your favorite kids books? Zoe’s collection is always growing and I plan to share some more of her favorites in the future.