Blog Tour Book Review: The Beach at Painter’s Cove by Shelley Noble

About The Beach at Painter’s Cove

• Paperback: 432 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 13, 2017)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Beach comes another heartwarming story of four generations of women who reunite in their crumbling family mansion by the sea for a dramatic summer filled with love, family, secrets and sisterhood.

The Whitaker family’s Connecticut mansion, Muses by the Sea, has always been a haven for artists, a hotbed of creativity, extravagances, and the occasional scandal. Art patrons for generations, the Whitakers supported strangers but drained the life out of each other. Now, after being estranged for years, four generations of Whitaker women find themselves once again at The Muses.

Leo, the Whitaker matriarch, lives in the rambling mansion crammed with artwork and junk. She plans to stay there until she joins her husband Wes on the knoll overlooking the cove and meadow where they first met. Her sister-in-law Fae, the town eccentric, is desperate to keep a secret she has been hiding for years.

Jillian, is a jet setting actress, down on her luck, and has run out of men to support her. She thinks selling The Muses will make life easier for her mother, Leo, and Fae by moving them into assisted living. The sale will also bring her the funds to get herself back on top.

Issy, Jillian’s daughter, has a successful life as a museum exhibit designer that takes her around the world. But the Muses and her grandmother are the only family she’s known and when her sister leaves her own children with Leo, Issy knows she has to step in to help.

Steph, is only twelve-years-old and desperately needs someone to fire her imagination and bring her out of her shell. What she begins to discover at the Muses could change the course of her future.

As Issy martials the family together to restore the mansion and catalogue the massive art collection, a surprising thing happens. Despite storms and moonlight dancing, diva attacks and cat fights, trips to the beach and flights of fancy, these four generations of erratic, dramatic women may just find a way to save the Muses and reunite their family.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 Happy Thursday and welcome to my stop in the blog tour for The Beach at Painter’s Cove by Shelley Noble. I recover a copy from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

The Beach at Painter’s Cove is a contemporary fiction novel about the Whitaker family. It is very much a family drama centered around the Whitaker women and the estate that has been in their family for generations. Drama and betrayal ensues and the family must figure how to survive and save the home that is so dear to them. 

At first glance this book looks like a perfect beach read and while it was that for me, it definitely was a lot more. It is filled with family drama, healing, self discovery, loss, betrayal, happiness and even some romance. I did not expect all of that to be wrapped up in this book but I was so happy that it was. 

I really loved many of the characters. Our main character Issy was my favorite, I loved her and the way she dealt with things and the way she cared about her family. I loved Fae and her quirkiness and I also really loved Steph’s storyline of self discovery. I also enjoyed exploring the character relationships.

Family dramas are not usually my favorite books to read but I could not put this one down. It was a really fast read, it felt like a light read even though it did deal with a lot of drama and some tough situations/emotions. It’s not a super complicated book but it’s not simple either, it’s a great balance of both and the language and setting make it perfect for a summer read. I think some of it was a little predictable but for me that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story at all. My absolute favorite thing about this book was probably the setting, I loved learning about The Muses and it’s history and it was just interesting how this place played such a huge part in the characters lives. 

This is my first Shelley Noble book and since I really enjoyed it I would gladly read another book written by her. This book sort of reminds me of reading a Susan Wiggs book which typically have some sort of drama with family and some romance and self discovery. Really enjoyed this one! 

If you love family drama, beachy settings or self discovery/homecoming themes, this one is for you. Four stars! 

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About Shelley Noble

Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer and has worked on a number of films. She lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to visit lighthouses and vintage carousels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.

Find out more about Shelley at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Blog Tour Book Review: The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes

About The One That Got Away 

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; Reprint edition (June 13, 2017)

In this irresistible debut novel, a freak accident allows a wife and mother to explore the alluring road not taken.

Meet Abbey Lahey . . .

Overworked mom. Underappreciated publicist. Frazzled wife of an out-of-work landscaper. A woman desperately in need of a vacation from life–and who is about to get one, thanks to an unexpected tumble down a Nordstrom escalator.

Meet Abbey van Holt . . .

The woman whose life Abbey suddenly finds herself inhabiting when she wakes up. Married to handsome congressional candidate Alex van Holt. Living in a lavish penthouse. Wearing ball gowns and being feted by the crème of Philadelphia society. Luxuriating in the kind of fourteen-karat lifestyle she’s only read about in the pages of Town & Country.

The woman Abbey might have been . . . if she had said yes to a date with Alex van Holt all those years ago.

In the tradition of the romantic comedy Sliding Doors and Lionel Shriver’s The Post-Birthday World, Leigh Himes’s irresistible debut novel tells the funny and touching story of an ordinary woman offered an extraordinary opportunity to reboot her life, explore the road not taken, and ultimately, find her true self–whoever that may be.

“An enchanting novel about the choices we make in life and love–by turns hilarious, poignant, and nostalgic. Himes’s novel will make you revisit all the “what ifs” you’ve ever contemplated, from fleeting encounters to almost-weddings . . . a lively debut that will strike a chord in anyone with a romantic past.”–Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook and See Me

“In the spirit of Lionel Shriver’s The Post-Birthday World, Leigh Himes delivers a fascinating novel about the road not taken. I loved the concept and execution of this clever, thought-provoking love story.”–Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Rumor

“[A] brilliantly realized wish-fulfillment scenario in the vein of Liane Moriarty . . . [Himes’s] examination of how the choices we make can define who we become will resonate with readers. For anyone who ever wondered ‘What if?’”–Booklist

“Himes explores what could have been in this charming debut novel.”–Kirkus Reviews

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound .

Happy Monday! I’m back from vacation (on which I read next to nothing despite lofty goals). Needless to say I’m disappointed in myself but I did end up reading two good books including  The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes. I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

The One That Got Away is a contemporary fiction novel about a Abigail, or Abby, a thirty something mom who is tired, overworked, underpaid…just a normal person all around who can’t help but wonder what if? Little does she know that she just might get to find out the answer to that seemingly simple question.

The One That Got Away instantly seemed like a great book to read during the summer, a time when I definitely prefer to read fun contemporaries. I wasn’t disappointed because I really enjoyed this book. Although there are a few similar plot lines to be found in both film and book form, I found that this book was fun and unique it’s in own way. I definitely see this doing well as a rom com on the big screen. I think most of us probably at some point ponder the great What if? and our main character, Abigail gets to explore the answer to that very question…maybe our life would be super different…maybe we would be a different person with a different personality. Skinnier, richer, unhappy, etc.

I think this is a perfect summer read and also a perfect beach read. It’s light, fun and quirky with a little romance on the side. I definitely needed this book to kick off my summer reading. If you are a fan of things like Devil Wears PradaSliding Doors, various Rom Coms and stories with What If scenarios, give this book a try! I know those kinds of stories, regardless of format, are like candy to me. I love them. This book was definitely worth the read.

This was a four star read for me, I really enjoyed it and read it at the perfect time!

Also, JUST LOOK AT THAT COVER!!

About Leigh Himes

Author Leigh Himes has spent fourteen years working in the public relations field. Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, she now lives just outside of Philadelphia with her husband and their two children. This is her first book.

May Book Haul!!

Book Haul

Hello everyone! I am super late in showing you my May book haul but June has already been crazy. This is probably due to the fact that I leave for vacation tomorrow so I’m throwing this blog up pretty early in the morning. I have to wake up in four hours…eek!!! I’ll also be hopefully posting a blog on the books I took on vacation with me (let’s be real, I really wanted to take fifty and it was super hard to limit myself. A girl needs options!). Without further ado, here are the books that I added to my personal collection in May!

I feel like every month and I tell myself I won’t buy any books but then I end up buying a million. It’s a struggle guys, it really is. I’ve already bought some books in June and I keep finding myself eyeing Book Outlet every couple of days.

 

Amazon Purchases
Star Wars: Rebel Rising  by Beth Revis
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Under Rose Tainted Skies by Louise Gornoll
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende
The Dark Tower Series 1-6 by Stephen King
Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales by Margaret Atwood

Book Outlet Purchases
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
Night of the Animals by Bill Broun
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed
Sabriel by Garth Nix
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

All of these books I bought either on Amazon or on BookOutlet. I have already read Brave New World, I read it during the first week of June and I enjoyed it. It was my first time reading it. I also have read Sabriel in the past, I read it in high school and I absolutely loved it. It’s definitely one of my favorite fantasy series and if you love fantasy and haven’t read it, I totally recommend it. I read it in these chunky mass market paperback versions so I have been re-buying them in the nicer, less chunky up to date floppy paperbacks and they’re gorgeous. I can’t wait to reread them! I’d have to say that I am most excited to read Under Rose Tainted Skies. I believe it has a main character that deals with agoraphobia which is something that I also deal with so that just made me instantly curious as to how I am going to feel about the book. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to it soon!

Oh and I also won TWO books this month which is big for me because I have never won anything in my life!

Maria Murnane, author of Bridges and Wait for the Rain had a facebook launch party for the release of Bridges and I won a copy of her book Cassidy Lane! To win it I had to post a picture of something near me that was black and I posted a picture of my Darth Vader phone case and Maria picked my picture to win! Awesome, can’t wait to read it.

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Read it Forward also held a contest and I sent in an entry online just for kicks because I was sure that I wouldn’t win but I DID!!! I won Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which I needed since I mentioned in my previous book haul that I am (shamelessly) hoarding the Star Wars books so I can just burn through them! I am SO excited to have this book!! I can’t tell you how many times I have added it to my cart and not purchased it but now I have it! Yay!

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So yeah! I wanted to post this before I left for vacay. I am going to try to post a blog about the books I took with me on vacation, hopefully I can read all of them. I’d be happy if I read half. I’m taking a few books and some graphic novels that I have been DYING to read. I have a ten hour drive in which I will be doing none of the driving so I’ll be able to hopefully slam out some wonderful books. I have been looking forward to reading all of them and I can’t wait to show them to you as well. I hope everyone has had a great beginning of June so far!

Happy Reading everyone!

 

Blog Tour Book Review: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

About The Essex Serpent

• Hardcover: 432 pages
• Publisher: Custom House (June 6, 2017)

Costa Book Award Finalist, Waterstones Book of the Year, winner of the British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year and overall Book of the Year

“[T]he most deeply satisfying fiction you will read this year.”

Waterstones Book of the Year

An exquisitely talented young British author makes her American debut with this rapturously acclaimed historical novel, set in late nineteenth-century England, about an intellectually minded young widow, a pious vicar, and a rumored mythical serpent that explores questions about science and religion, skepticism, and faith, independence and love.

When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one. Wed at nineteen, this woman of exceptional intelligence and curiosity was ill-suited for the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space in the wake of the funeral, Cora leaves London for a visit to coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend.

While admiring the sites, Cora learns of an intriguing rumor that has arisen further up the estuary, of a fearsome creature said to roam the marshes claiming human lives. After nearly 300 years, the mythical Essex Serpent is said to have returned, taking the life of a young man on New Year’s Eve. A keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, Cora is immediately enthralled, and certain that what the local people think is a magical sea beast may be a previously undiscovered species. Eager to investigate, she is introduced to local vicar William Ransome. Will, too, is suspicious of the rumors. But unlike Cora, this man of faith is convinced the rumors are caused by moral panic, a flight from true belief.

These seeming opposites who agree on nothing soon find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart—an intense relationship that will change both of their lives in ways entirely unexpected.

Hailed by Sarah Waters as “a work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author,” The Essex Serpent is “irresistible . . . you can feel the influences of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and Hilary Mantel channeled by Perry in some sort of Victorian séance. This is the best new novel I’ve read in years” (Daily Telegraph, London).

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Hello all! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review of it.

The Essex Serpent is a historical fiction novel set in the Victorian era. We follow a recently widowed Cora who having gained her independence from an abusive husband travels to Essex. Rumors of a fabled sea serpent rising from the depths of the sea as a result of an earthquake draws her attention, as well as an unlikely friendship with the local vicar who is struggling to assuage the fear from the townspeople on the basis of faith.

I knew next to nothing going into my reading of this book and I am really glad. For some reason I thought it was purely a romance book but when I started reading it I was pleasantly surprised. I have been missing a book like this in my life for awhile.

The Essex Serpent is gothic-esque in its atmosphere and feel. It reminded me of the books that made me fall in love with English Literature in college like works written by Wilkie Collins. The language and writing was just beautiful and I found myself deeply absorbed in the story from the get go because the whole Victorian era, gothic vibe was just beautifully done in this book.

There are a slew of interesting themes to take away from this book but the one that drew me the most was the relationship between religion and science, which we see embodied in two of our main characters.

This was a super interesting, super absorbing book. It was dark, beautiful and creepy at times. It’s not a super fast paced read as most classics aren’t (and this book was so similar to a classic in writing style) but if you love the style of Victorian literature and gothic literature you will love this book! I can’t wait to see more from this author!

Also, isn’t this cover just gorgeous?!

Photo by Jamie Drew

About Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979. Her first novel, After Me Comes the Flood, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Folio Prize. She lives in Norwich. The Essex Serpent is her American debut.

Find out more about Sarah at her website, and connect with her on Twitter.

Blog Tour Book Review: Stones Don’t Speak by Gry Finsnes

34080564Title: Stones Don’t Speak by Gry Finsnes
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 311 pages
Format: E-Book (ARC)
Publisher: White Stag (an imprint of Ravenswood Publishing)
Publication Date: February 25, 2017
Rating – 4 stars

1941, Norway. The population tries to cope with the German occupation. After her successful debut concert as a pianist, Ellen Langmo, resists the Nazis who want to use her talent in their endeavor to convince people that Hitler’s ideas are right. At the same time the resistance movements begin to take form and her friends want to involve her. Trying to escape the conflicting and dangerous demands, she flees from Oslo to Stavanger on the West Coast where life is calmer. She is still looking for Friedrich but tries to accept his death when she has a strange encounter.

Hello! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Stones Don’t Speak. I’d like to thank the author and the publisher for giving me the chance to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review of it.

Stone’s Don’t Speak is a historical fiction romance set during Hitler’s regime and the Nazi occupation of Norway. The story centers around Ellen, a professional pianist whose fiancee has disappeared without a trace and who finds herself being pulled in different directions because of her unique talent and associations she made in trying to find her fiancee. Her fellow Norwegians start to see her as compassionate to the Nazi agenda due to events in her past and her attempt to befriend a German officer in order to get information for the resistance. In the midst of all of this, her missing fiancee and the love they shared is never far from her mind.

It has been a couple of months I think since I last read a book that was set during WWII. Every time I return to that time period in a book, I am completely blown away by the tragedy, the danger and even the hope that is found there. This book definitely added to that for me. I really enjoyed this book, especially our main character Ellen. I thought she was great and really believable. The whole book I found myself rooting for her and for Freddie, hoping against all hope that they would be reunited somehow, some way. I felt the danger she felt as she was placed in these situations that I imagine would be harrowing to be in.  I enjoyed working through her struggles with her.

What I liked most about this book though was the writing. I thought it was beautifully written. It was one of those books where you can smell what the character is smelling and taste what they are tasting. I especially can’t get the opening scene out of my mind because I think it was just so beautifully done. It completely hooked me on the first paragraph. It was a slower read but most historical fiction books are because they unpack a lot and this one definitely had to give the reader a little bit of background on Ellen’s past and of course, the political atmosphere of her world at the time. While I thought the romance aspect of this book was good, I don’t think it was the thing that stood out the most for me. What I took out of it was of course all the tragedy that occurs but also what I focused on alot during this story was the resistance and Ellen’s place in it. I was also struck by all of the women who took the reins in the movement whether it be gathering and dissemination of information by spying or being  a leader of a resistance group. I really enjoyed this book, four stars from me!

If you love historical fiction with romance and danger, this one may be for you!

image descriptionGry Finsnes, Norwegian, has lived in Sweden, India, England, Germany and France. After university studies in Oslo in French and English literature, she started her career as a teacher, but had to give it up as she moved out of the country. She has published two thrillers in Swedish but has recently written in English.

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Blog Tour Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

About American Gods

• Paperback: 576 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; The Tenth Anniversary Edition, with TV Tie-in jacket art (March 28, 2017)

Now a STARZ® Original Series produced by FremantleMedia North America starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber | Premiering Sunday, April 30, at 9pm EST

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies . . . and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.

PLUS… don’t miss American Gods: The Official Coloring Book, featuring illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert, Craig Phillips, and Jon Proctor. Indulge your inner artist and revel in the stunning imagery of the gods and people, places and artifacts of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Purchase Links for the TV Tie-in Paperback

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Monday everyone! Welcome to my stop in the blog tour for American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through TLC book tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

Truthfully I have had American Gods on my TBR list for so long so I was really excited at the possibility of reviewing the anniversary edition. This is only the third Neil Gaiman book that I have read but I admit that I had pretty high expectations for it because I loved the other two.

I find it difficult to summarize this book in my own words because it’s super unique and I think it’s one that you have to go into without knowing anything about it. It’s been so long since I saw the synopsis myself so I felt like I was going into my reading experience of it pretty blind as well. There are different layers to this book, there is the surface story which is awesome but that serves as an allegory and is a really wonderful blend of genres.

I always go into a Neil Gaiman book assuming that I am going to be falling into a story that is super unique and a little odd but in the best way possible. I think that accurately describes this book for me. I was completely enthralled from the first page throughout. I have heard that this book is very divisive and Neil also mentions this in the introduction to the book, you either love it or you hate it, you get it or you don’t. On that spectrum I definitely fell into the category of loving it. After reading this book and being completely pulled in by it I have come to the conclusion that there is just something about Neil Gaimans writing that jives with me, I think it’s gorgeous and masterful and I love the way he can craft a narrative that is so different and wonderful. It’s the perfect balance of show and tell where most books are either one or the other.
I’ve never read anything like this and I think I said the same thing about Neverwhere. I would love to just live in his mind for a day. This story was intricate, fun, dangerous, odd and just a really fantastic read, I’d count this book among y favorite reads. I loved it, 5 out of 5 stars for me. I cannot wait to begin the TV show which I will be doing within the next few days.

Also I must thank the publisher and TLC Book Tours for also sending me a copy of the American Gods coloring book. I adore it, it’s beautiful and I am so appreciative of it. Here are a few pics of it. I’m having a great time coloring it, I haven’t finished one yet because of my colors are running out but the pictures are gorgeous and just everything.


What about you, have you read American Gods? Did you love it, yay or nay? Are you going to check out the TV show? I am hearing great things about it so far and I’m super stoked to see what I think!

Anyway, thanks for stopping in and I hope everyone has a great reading week!

Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

About Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Find out more about Neil at his website, find all his books at his online bookstore, and follow him on InstagramFacebooktumblr, Twitter, and his blog.

Bridges by Maria Murnane Virtual Launch Party

Hey everyone! I just wanted to post an invitation to the Bridges Virtual Launch Party today! It is being hosted on Facebook! It is being held 6-9 CDT and 7-10 EDT to celebrate the release of this wonderful book. Everyone is invited and there will be an Ask the Author segment, relationship advice, party favors and just sounds like a good time. This is the first virtual launch party I’ll be attending and I think it’s a super cute idea. Hope to see you there!

If you would like to attend here is the link: Bridges Virtual Launch Party . If you want to check out my review of Bridges, you can do so here: Bridges by Maria Murnane Review