05.12.20

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Posted in Review at 11:36 am by Amber

Title: Big Summer
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Book Cover of Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

“Sexy and satisfying, Big Summer is the perfect quarantine read.” —USA TODAY

“The beach read to end all beach reads.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Big fun, and then some. It’s empowering and surprising—a reminder to put down the phone and enjoy each moment for what it is.” —The Washington Post

A deliciously funny, remarkably poignant, and simply unputdownable novel about the power of friendship, the lure of frenemies, and the importance of making peace with yourself through all life’s ups and down. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Good in Bed and Best Friends ForeverBig Summer is the perfect escape with one of the most lovable heroines to come to the page in years.

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

My reaction to this book would be head exploding emoji followed by screaming face emoji and ending with a smiling emoji.

I finished this on the heels of Mrs. Everything. Both novels feature female main characters doing the best they can, and trying to navigate relationships, but couldn’t be more different in style, tone, or plot. 

The head exploding emoji is because I was blown away that this was written by the same person as Mrs. Everything. The screaming face emoji because the plot took a turn and it went from an empowerment book into a mystery complete with Scooby gang. The smiling emoji is how I felt about it at the end. Happy I read it and so glad that my life is nothing like most of the characters.

This was a perfect read while staying at home to flatten the curve during the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. It brought back happy memories of Top Sail beach vacations I’ve taken in the past. It was dramatic but it wasn’t serious and heavy. 

This was published on 5/5/2020 and already has over 80 people on the waiting list at my local library. I’m sure this will be a spring/summer hit.

05.11.20

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

Posted in Review at 11:03 pm by Amber

Bite Size Book Review

Why did I read this book?

I happened to see this pop up in my email as being available. I read the first book in the series, Swipe Right, and liked it. There’s a trend in contemporary romances to build a series by focusing on one of the side characters from the first book. This series follows that trend.

What did I think of this book?

I listened to it on audio which I initially found hilarious. The characters are people of color and the voice used for the security guard/love interest sounded like an overly macho white man. The characters alternate chapters and it was just such a contrast to the woman’s voice that it made me laugh the first few times it happened. But I didn’t let it detract from the story. The event that kicks off the action for the characters to change is directly taken from a social media headline. I kept listening because I wanted to find out how they worked things out.

Who should read this book?

Fans of Alisha Rai, anyone who wants to escape a global pandemic for several hours, or wants sex scenes that don’t gloss over anything.

05.08.20

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Posted in Review at 9:37 pm by Amber

Title: Mrs. Everything
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Book Cover of Mrs. Everything

NEW YORK TIMES 100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2019 SELECTION
ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
THE WASHINGTON POST’S 50 NOTABLE WORKS OF FICTION IN 2019
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING’S 50 BEST BOOKS OF 2019

An instant New York Times bestseller

“A multigenerational narrative that’s nothing short of brilliant.” —People
“Simply unputdownable.” —Good Housekeeping
“The perfect book club pick.” —SheReads

Named a Best Book of Summer by Entertainment WeeklyCosmopolitanWoman’s DayPopSugarHelloGiggles, and Refinery29

From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world.

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?

I received this book for review about a year ago when I was reading a burst of ebooks. During the pandemic I find myself once again turning to my trusty ebook reader for new content. These days I’ve been alternating between ebooks and print books to give my eyes a rest from screen time. Just like I try to alternate between a tv show and a movie.

I’d started this last year and it was easy to fall back into the rhythm of the writing and recall what had happened to the sisters since the beginning of the book.

The novel ends just before the 2016 US Presidential election. Knowing what’s happened since then this book made me wistful about the hope present during that time. I’m younger than Jo and Bethie but I recall the hope that a woman reaching the highest political office would be a tangible achievement that women would be believed when they said something horrible was done to them by a man, that women could finally have true autonomy over our bodies, and be treated with respect by all.

Weiner deftly transitions between the two stories. They orbit each other, like moons on different rotations around the planet known as their childhood, coming together on occasion to have shared experiences. I really enjoyed that each character was fleshed out and had her own story in addition to their shared story.

04.21.20

Virtual Events

Posted in Event at 10:16 pm by Amber

In this time of social distancing, everyone is trying to get by with what’s available to them. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anywhere that’s aggregating all the events that are being held.

I’ve watched quite a few of the Metropolitan Operas, and earlier today I watched a Jill Sobule Facebook Live video from the other week. Did you know Michael Chabon is reading picture books on YouTube? (Apparently his kids are giving him grief about the low view count to his channel.)

Anyway, HarperCollins does have a lot of events coming up this week for their authors. Here’s a link to their romance author events that are taking place this week. http://links.e.harpercollins.com/servlet/MailView?ms=MTcyMzE3NzIS1&r=MzE3NDUyODA0ODIS1&j=MTg2MDkwMzMyNAS2&mt=1&rt=0

05.24.18

School for Psychics by K.C. Archer

Posted in Review at 9:49 am by Amber

Title: School for Psychics
Author: K.C. Archer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

School For Psychics Book Cover

 

An entrancing new series starring a funny, impulsive, and sometimes self-congratulatory young woman who discovers she has psychic abilities—and then must decide whether she will use her skills for good or…not.

Teddy Cannon isn’t your typical twenty-something woman. She’s resourceful. She’s bright. She’s scrappy. She can also read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn’t realize: she’s actually psychic.

When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything—her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.

Set in a world very much like our own, School for Psychics is the first book in a stay-up-all night series.

I recently started reading ebooks again so expect my reviews from NetGalley to pick up for 2018. I requested this because I thought it sounded interesting and it coincidentally would count towards my Book Riot 2018 Read Harder Challenge. This counts for Task 20 – Book with a cover you hate.

Thankfully, the contents are better than the cover. The students at the Whitfield Institute have various reasons for attending the school but they all want to learn some self-control over their powers. Most of the story focuses on Teddy’s first-year experience at the school.

Teddy’s cut herself off from people due to her human lie detector abilities. At the school she gains friends and learns maintaining friendships is hard. A lot of the book is spent on the first semester of school and there’s some fast forward through to the end of the year so the pacing felt a little off.

There are clues along the way on who is involved in the strange events but the author added an unexpected player which probably went over my head as I was focused on the characters we’ve been directly introduced to. Hopefully that’s not a spoiler. If you decide to read it, suspect everyone!

05.22.18

My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris

Posted in Review at 8:43 pm by Amber

Title: My Boyfriend is a Bear
Author: Pamela Ribon (Illustrated by Cat Farris)
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Cover of My Boyfriend is a Bear

Nora has bad luck with men. When she meets an (actual) bear on a hike in the Los Angeles hills, he turns out to be the best romantic partner she’s ever had! He’s considerate, he’s sweet, he takes care of her. But he’s a bear, and winning over her friends and family is difficult. Not to mention he has to hibernate all winter. Can true love conquer all?

My book club has been reading Bear by Marian Engel. We have one copy and we write comments in it before passing it along to the next person. The final person finished it and last Friday we got together to do a final review complete with dramatic readings of the comments. As you can imagine, when I saw this title, I HAD to get a copy of it. I mean, first, it would be an inside joke with my book club. Second, the story is odd but the cover is… adorable?

My boyfriend is a Bear isn’t a joke. It had some funny, and sweet moments. When it’s hibernation time, and Nora is left alone to face the relationship criticism from her family and friends, I felt so bad for her. I don’t know of many women who will say anything bad about a person’s partner while the relationship exists. She had her own doubts the relationship would survive the time apart and to have that piled on top of her was just crappy of her friends and family to do.

02.17.18

All The Beautiful Girls Giveaway

Posted in Giveaway at 1:18 pm by admin

Penguin Random House has a early giveaway of All The Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church. It’s open until 2/28/18. Good luck!

02.11.18

Reading in 2018

Posted in Tally at 10:05 pm by Amber

2018 should be an interesting year of books for me. Last year I set a GoodReads Reading Challenge Goal of 52 books which I literally finished on 12/31/2017.

Some of my librarian friends mentioned the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge back in early 2017 and I joined the forums but never visited. This year, I’m in two book clubs and I feel trying to do the Read Harder Challenge will let me be a bit more focused on what I read.

In one book club, the hostess picks the book we’ll read so when we meet up we usually end up having dinner, discussing the book, discussing what’s happening in our lives, and then we talk about our current reading picks. As readers, we’re usually reading another book not long after finishing the book club pick.

In my newest book club, we pick any book we want and talk about it. We’re strongly considering using the Book Riot tasks to focus what we’re reading.

My reading challenge this year is 54 books (I know there will likely be a handful of graphic novels) with more intentions.

09.15.17

Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

Posted in Review at 11:27 pm by Amber

Title: Hot and Badgered
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Publisher: Kensington Books
Source: Publisher via Netgalley – First Chapter Only

Hot And Badgered Book Cover

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

When I requested the book I didn’t realize it was a sneak peek of the first chapter. That was my fault as I only read the book description and the release date when I requested it. My book club’s September host didn’t pick a book for the month. Instead we’re meeting to talk about what we’ve been reading since we last met. I thought this would be a great book to talk about with them since half read romances and half read sci fi or fantasy. Why not a book which combines it all?

The first chapter had me hooked. With Netgalley you can send the file to your Kindle or download a protected .pdf file. I reached the end of the file on my Kindle and had so many questions. I then downloaded the protected .pdf file in case the file on my Kindle was corrupted. Aren’t I silly?!

The first chapter introduces the reader to the two main characters, Berg and Charlie, and a few supporting ones. Some questions include, “Who is trying to kill Charlie?” and “Does Berg get his concert t-shirt back?” There’s no wasting  time with the meet cute and I predict this will be a quick read. The publisher’s description has more spoilers than this review of the first chapter.

08.26.17

Wide-Open World by John Marshall

Posted in Review at 10:44 pm by Amber

Title: Wide-Open World
Author: John Marshall
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Source: Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

 

For readers of Three Cups of Tea; Eat, Pray, Love; and Wild comes the inspiring story of an ordinary American family that embarks on an extraordinary journey. Wide-Open World follows the Marshall family as they volunteer their way around the globe, living in a monkey sanctuary in Costa Rica, teaching English in rural Thailand, and caring for orphans in India. There’s a name for this kind of endeavor  – voluntourism – and it might just be the future of travel.

Oppressive heat, grueling bus rides, backbreaking work, and one vicious spider monkey . . . Best family vacation ever!

John Marshall needed a change. His twenty-year marriage was falling apart, his seventeen-year-old son was about to leave home, and his fourteen-year-old daughter was lost in cyberspace. Desperate to get out of a rut and reconnect with his family, John dreamed of a trip around the world, a chance to leave behind, if only just for a while, routines and responsibilities. He didn’t have the money for resorts or luxury tours, but he did have an idea that would make traveling the globe more affordable and more meaningful than he’d ever imagined: The family would volunteer their time and energy to others in far-flung locales.

Wide-Open World is the inspiring true story of the six months that changed the Marshall family forever. Once they’d made the pivotal decision to go, John and his wife, Traca, quit their jobs, pulled their kids out of school, and embarked on a journey that would take them far off the beaten path, and far out of their comfort zones.

Here is the totally engaging, bluntly honest chronicle of the Marshall’s life-altering adventure from Central America to East Asia. It was no fairy tale. The trip offered little rest, even less relaxation, and virtually no certainty of what was to come. But it did give the Marshalls something far more valuable: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conquer personal fears, strengthen family bonds, and find their true selves by helping those in need. In the end, as John discovered, he and his family did not change the world. It was the world that changed them.

Parents getting to ready to face an empty nest, self-involved teens (aren’t they all?) and trying to find the spark in a marriage… a long family vacation doing good for others seems like a great idea. There are two storylines that run throughout the memoir.

The first is how the trip comes together (which isn’t easy) and the different experiences they have at each destination. Some of the stops include labor and others include working directly with people to share language or culture. The second is about the changes in the family. We’re so connected all the time to everyone that if you don’t respond via text, im or email within 5 minutes that some people actually get upset about it. Each member learns to be more present. When finding an internet connection is close to impossible, they’re forced to notice their surroundings and spend time with each other.

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

All content Copyright held by Amber Stults 2008-2020 unless noted. Run on German Shepherd Power.