Blog Tour Book Review: News of the World by Paulette Jiles

About News of the World

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 20, 2017)

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act civilized. Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember, strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become, in the eyes of the law, a kidnapper himself.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour  for News of the World by Paulette Jiles. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it! 

News of the World is a Western Historical Fiction novel that takes place in Texas after the civil war. In News of the World we follow Captain Kid, a seventy year old veteran who travels the South making a living literally reading news of the world to audiences. Along his journey he undertakes the daunting task of delivering a young girl who had been kidnapped from her family by the Kiowa. From that day forward they are pretty much inseparable and they form a bond that makes it impossibly hard for him to leave her with people who are virtually strangers. 

I have mentioned a few times on this blog that I’m not a fan of westerns, but this year I wanted to move outside of my comfort zone and give some a try. Now I know that I am DEFINITELY not a fan of western romance so you can imagine that attempting to read another western seemed a bit daunting to me but this book was set some in my hometown of San Antonio so I definitely wanted to read it.

It is a testament to the great writing and storytelling of the author that I ended up really enjoying this book. This was literally a page turner for me. Being set in a historical time, it was written in a way that is not common today and felt like I was reading a western classic. Because of that it wasn’t the easiest book to read or the simplest language to read so it took me a bit to get used to it but once I was in, I was in and read the book pretty fast. 

Since I am from Texas I absolutely loved reading about the places they visit and some of the history of those places because it’s such a very different landscape than the one I know in present day so that made this book that much more impactful for me. I also just loved the journey these two characters go on together, both the emotional journey and the physical of getting from point a to point b. I am a daddy’s girl at heart so I feel like the bond Captain Kidd and Johanna form during their journey hit me right in the heart. I didn’t know I was attached to them though until I had like five pages left and the story started to wrap up. I loved that ending! 

I fluctuate on whether to give this book a 4.5 or a 5 really. It was a great surprise for me and I do recommend giving this book a read if you like westerns or civil war era fiction. This is a great book and I never thought I would say that about a western after my experience with them the past few months. Paulette Jiles changed my mind and I would read another western from her in a heartbeat. 

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Photo by Jill Gann

About Paulette Jiles

Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.

Find out more about Paulette at her website.

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.