Blog Tour Book Review: The Wisdom of Moms/Amazing Dads by Bridget E. Hamilton

About The Wisdom of Moms

• Hardcover: 96 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (March 28, 2017)

There is so much we can learn about motherhood from the animal kingdom. We can learn how to be the strong role model a child needs, like the snow leopard that teaches her children to survive and thrive on dangerous mountain slopes; to be as resilient as the hardworking sea otter mom; and to serve our communities like the pika, a rabbit-like animal native to northern climates. This is a beautiful tribute to mothers, full of adorable animal photographs and touching anecdotes that show your appreciation for all the wisdom and care that Mom provides.

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About Amazing Dads

• Hardcover: 96 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (May 2, 2017)

This fun, lighthearted book is a great way to show Dad how much he means to you. Page after page of stunning animal photographs and heartwarming stories of fatherhood in the animal kingdom showcases the bond between dads and their loved ones. This package is the best way to share words of gratitude and appreciation and express your love for the dad, grandpa, uncle, or stepfather in your life.

Stories of remarkable animal dads include:

  • Golden lion tamarins that mash bananas into a mush to hand-feed their babies

  • Wolves that enjoy playful roughhousing with youngsters of the pack

  • Foxes that bury food near the den to teach pups to hunt

  • Rheas, South American birds that not only incubate eggs solo but also serve as single parents

  • Seahorses that carry eggs in their own brood pouch

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Friday!!

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Wisdom of Moms and Amazing Dads. I received both of these book for free from the publisher National Geographic through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of them.

The Wisdom of Moms is a book of photographs of animal moms and their babies. Not only is it filled with beautiful photographs, but it also includes inspirational quotes and facts about animals…some familiar and some that were really suprising and fun to learn. This book is a really cute appreciation of moms of all kinds and how they show their love and protection for their kids. (5 stars)

Amazing Dads is also a book of photgaprahs, quotes and facts but this time it is an appreciation for animal Dads and how they care for their young. This one was a bit different from The Wisdom of Moms as this one also showed photos of baby animals on their own which I didn’t expect. There weren’t many like that but there were maybe 1 or 2. I did learn a few things going through this book as I had no clue about some of things the animals Dads did for their young especially the ones who serve as the primary caregiver. Super interesting.(4.5 Stars)

Overall, as an animal lover I really enjoyed these books. I thought the photographs were beautiful and moving. I didn’t know I needed these photographs in my life until I held these books in my hand. One thing I will say is that I feel like the animal facts should have been the dominant feature on the page with the quote and the fact but that wasn’t that big of a deal. It’s still the same content it just would have made more sense to me that way. I also urge you to take your time going through this book and the photos therein, take the time to fully appreciate every one because they are so beautiful. I think the release of these two small books is timely with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming up. They might serve as a cute gift whether to a parent, an animal lover or even a child. I also think these are beautiful coffee table books that people will want to look through.

Blog Tour Book Review: Killing Wonder Woman by Tenaya T.J. Tyson

About Killing Wonder Woman

Paperback: 264 pages

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing (February 27, 2017)

POW! BLAM! OOF!

Working women of faith are subjected to daily blows of lies and deception. We are barraged with messages that we’re not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, spiritual enough. We believe that our professions mean very little in the eyes of God. We’re feeling tired and discouraged from holding ourselves to impossible standards. These damaging lies and labels now have a name: Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman is a symbol of the unobtainable. She is a blend of all the women both real and fictional–that we idolize. She is the whispers of doubt and negative self-talk that run rampantly through our minds. It’s time to stop listening. It’s time to slay Wonder Woman!

Killing Wonder Woman is more than a book. It’s a long-overdue weapon that we, as working women of faith, can yield to cut down burnout, destroy discouragement, and set ourselves free of unrealistic expectations. Once we break loose of Wonder Woman’s deception, we can open ourselves more fully to trust God’s plan and integrate Him into all aspects of our lives, including in our workplace calling.

Are you ready to win at work and soar in faith? This is your call to arms.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to the author and TLC Book Tours for the chance to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review of it.

Killing Wonder Woman is a nonfiction book all about killing labels with confidence, self love and most of all faith. It is a faith based book with a lot of concepts and teaching rooted in scriptures.

I really liked the message in this book about not living life according to labels that society, our family and even that we, place on ourselves. It’s about shirking the assumptions that if we aren’t perfect like Wonder Woman or or if we don’t look exactly  like women on magazine covers or if our house isn’t as big as our friends that we are somehow failures. It’s about proactively defeating those little voices and allowing our own light to shine because no matter someone else’s timeline or even ours, God has a plan for our life and has made us unique for our own purposes…and that’s okay. Better than okay. 

I am not someone who reads books like this often so at times it was a little much for me. The author did acknowledge that these concepts might seem foreign or uncomfortable to some so I think that was to be expected. I’m also pretty private about my relationship with God so this book shook that up for me which was a good thing I think.  I do agree with some points discussed in this book but I don’t agree with all of them which is normal. I went into this with an open mind and definitely am taking some good strategies on dealing with challenges that present themselves internally and also at work and such. 

Overall, this book had a good message if you are willing to listen and take it in. 3 stars, I enjoyed it and liked it. It was also a super short, inspirational read. 

About Tenaya T. J. Tison

Tenaya TJ Tison is a business leader and entrepreneur, with a proven track record as a strategic advisor and change agent within the small business sector. T.J. has held twenty-seven different jobs throughout her life and finally found her calling in helping businesses grow.

T.J. and her husband of twenty-five years have two grown children and together enjoy the peace of their Wisconsin hobby farm with a myriad of pet animals. In her spare time (ha ha), she likes to run, play golf, read, and cheer on the Minnesota Vikings.

T.J. is also the founder and executive director of Working Women of Faith, a nonprofit that exists to equip women to win at work and soar in faith. To learn more about Working Women of Faith, visit: workingwomenoffaith.com.

Connect with T. J.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour Book Review: The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi

About The Color of Our Sky

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 18, 2017)

In the spirit of Khaled Hosseini, Nadia Hashimi and Shilpi Somaya Gowda comes this powerful debut from a talented new voice—a sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends in Mumbai, India, whose lives converge only to change forever one fateful night.

India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old village girl from the lower caste Yellama cult has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to an entirely different world—one of ice cream, reading, and a friendship that soon becomes a sisterhood.

But one night in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s family home and disappears. Shortly thereafter, Tara and her father move to America. A new life in Los Angeles awaits them but Tara never recovers from the loss of her best friend, or stops wondering if she was somehow responsible for Mukta’s abduction.

Eleven years later, Tara, now an adult, returns to India determined to find Mukta. As her search takes her into the brutal underground world of human trafficking, Tara begins to uncover long-buried secrets in her own family that might explain what happened to Mukta—and why she came to live with Tara’s family in the first place.

Moving from a traditional Indian village to the bustling modern metropolis of Mumbai, to Los Angeles and back again, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and, ultimately, redemption.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Monday! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi. I received a free copy of this book (ARC) from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

The Color of Our Sky is a contemporary fiction novel set in India following two women Tara and Mukta who met and became friends when they were younger when Tara’s father rescued Mukta from her village. Back in her village, Mukta was born into a line of women who were prostitutes in the name of the Goddess. A friendship blooms between these two girls until one night Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room. Eleven years later Tara, who lives with the guilt of Mukta’s kidnapping returns to India to retrace history’s footsteps and endeavor to find Mukta.

When I read the synopsis for The Color of Our Sky, I immediately knew that this book was going to be a story that I wouldn’t want to miss. Unsurprisingly, I was correct in that assumption.

First of all, Amita Trasi’s writing is beautiful and descriptive. I am a huge fan of writing that has a poetic, descriptive feel and the writing in this book definitely fed that obsession for me. The writing completely drew me in from the first sentence and gripped me until the very end. I loved that the narrative takes place both from Tara’s point of view and from Mukta’s, alternating between the past and the present. It was a unique and ultimately satisfying way to deliver the story to the reader.

The topics that are explored in this book were completely gripping to me. I could not put this book down for the life of me. It was a really great combination of the beautiful writing and the harrowing events of the story. I just had to know what happened to Mukta and whether these two women would be able to reunite and find a way to put their past and secrets behind them.

Although beautiful, this book was at times difficult to read because this is actually the reality of the world that we live in. It’s hard to realize that somewhere in the world something similar is happening to little girls and women. I think that’s the magic of books like this, they tell the stories that, although hard for us to think about, are SO important for us to learn about so that we can be informed and maybe start doing something to create change.

I highly recommend picking this book up. It will hurt you but it will also give you hope. There were alot of themes at play in this book that combined together delivered a beautiful, tragic narrative about friendship, pain, hope, love and the danger of tradition. 5 stars! Beautiful read, one of my favorites of the year so far.

Photo by Sameer Rao

About Amita Trasi

Amita Trasi was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She has an MBA in human resource management, and currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two cats.

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

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April 2017 Book Haul

Book Haul (2)

April is almost over!!!! In celebration I thought I would do a book haul! It has been a LONG time since I have done a book haul on my blog or really anything outside of a blog tour book review so I wanted to go ahead and switch it up a bit. It’s definitely something I want to challenge myself to do every month now  that grad school is winding down and we are in our last few weeks of it which means *no more thesis writing* or rather, no more being behind in my thesis writing. So this haul will hopefully be the beginning of a monthly haul post for this blog and I don’t know, I just generally want to post a lot more! So brace yourself kids, you might be seeing a lot more of me. 🙂

So for the month of April I went a little crazy. Last year I put myself in a book buying ban for the latter part of the year so I guess I’m making up for lost time. It’s a combination of some really awesome books coming out and just some really really good book sales that I find super hard to resist. Without further ado, here is my April 2017 book haul.

I love a good cover and all of these are serious eye candy. Which is your favorite of these? Mine is Dark Matter. Love the contrasting colors and it just looks like a dark, gritty read. Hopefully will be getting to that one soon, I’ve heard it’s an awesome Sci-Fi read.

Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller
Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno
The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeton
American Gods (TV tie-in edition) by Neil Gaiman
By Your Side by Kasie West
The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Geekerella by Ashey Poston
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Scwab
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Whew! I’m pretty excited about all of these but I will probably end up getting to Queens of Geek and Geekerella pretty fast as I have a feeling those will be super fast, super cute reads. I’m really in the mood for that right now. I am also getting to The Color of Our Sky and American Gods in May as those are ARCs that were given to me by the publisher through TLC book tours for blog tour reviews. All in all, April was an awesome book buying month. I don’t feel guilty at all.

Bought: 14
Received from publishers: 2

What about you? Did you buy any books this month that you have been looking forward to or have you received any ARCS from publishers that you are dying to read? Have you read any of these and think I should bump any of them up to my TBR for May? Let me know!

Hope you guys had a great month. I’m looking forward to what May brings us! I’ll have a April Wrap up/May TBR post up by Monday and probably a review this weekend of the book I am currently reading!

Happy Reading everyone!

Blog Tour Book Review: Slow Burn Cowboy by Maisey Yates

About Slow Burn Cowboy

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (April 18, 2017)

In Copper Ridge, Oregon, a cowboy’s best friend might turn out to be the woman of his dreams… 

If Finn Donnelly makes a plan, he sticks to it. After his brothers left Copper Ridge, Finn stayed behind, determined to keep their ranch going by himself. And when he realized his feelings for Lane Jensen were more than platonic, he shoved that inconvenient desire away. It was easy…until it wasn’t. Suddenly his brothers are coming home to claim their share of the property. And Lane is no longer just in his fantasies. She’s in his arms, and their friendship is on the line…

He’s been her buddy, her handyman, her rock. But until that one breathtaking kiss, Lane somehow overlooked the most important thing about Finn Donnelly—he’s all man. They’re right together, no matter how much his volatile past has bruised him. Finn wants to hold Lane’s body, but he doesn’t want to hold her heart. But Lane is falling fast and now she’s got a plan of her own…to show Finn there’s nothing hotter than friendship turned to slow-burning love.

Also includes a bonus Copper Ridge novel, Take Me, Cowboy!

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Happy Wednesday everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Slow Burn Cowboy by Maisey Yates. I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

Slow Burn Cowboy is a western romance about a man and a woman, long time friends who each carry their own specific baggage and can’t seem to completely figure out their feelings for each other.

Slow Burn Cowboy is only my second western romance that I have ever read. I decided this year to step out of my comfort zone of fantasy and try new genres and subgenres. I can definitely say that for a few reasons western romances just aren’t for me so this may be my last one I read…I just don’t think I’m the right reader for western anything due to my lifestyle these books are just full of things I dislike alot. If I had known this took place sometimes on a dairy farm I wouldn’t have read it myself. That aside there were things that I did enjoy about this book. I really enjoyed the slow burning romance between Finn and Lane. I absolutely love the “friends to lovers” trope and I think it was done well here. I loved all the angst, the misunderstandings, and the back and forth between the two that happened in this book. I thought plenty of the characters were really likeable too. I really liked Lane and I absolutely loved her friend Alison.

There were a few stories at work in this book which really surprised me and that was a good thing – the obvious romance between Finn and Lane and the drama between Finn and his brothers…just to name a few though there are more. So this book definitely does have it’s interesting merits and some readers will probably love it, it just wasn’t for me so I gave it 3 stars because I did like it. If you are into western romances or looking for something new to try or even if you’re a fan of the “friends to lovers” trope, give this one a try.

About Maisey Yates

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

Connect with Maisey

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour Book Review: Miss You by Kate Eberlen

About Miss You

• Hardcover: 448 pages
• Publisher: Harper (April 4, 2017)

“If ever a couple was ‘meant to be,’ it’s Tess and Gus. This is such a witty, poignant, and uplifting story of two lives crisscrossing over the years, with near miss after near miss. . . . I couldn’t put it down.”—Sophie Kinsella

A wryly romantic debut novel with echoes of One Day that asks, what if you just walked by the love of your life, but didn’t even know it?

“TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Tess can’t get the motto from her mother’s kitchen knickknack out of her head, even though she’s in Florence on an idyllic vacation before starting university in London.

Gus is also visiting Florence, on a holiday with his parents seven months after tragedy shattered their lives. Headed to medical school in London, he’s trying to be a dutiful son but longs to escape and discover who he really is.

A chance meeting brings these eighteen-year-olds together for a brief moment—the first of many times their paths will crisscross as time passes and their lives diverge from those they’d envisioned. Over the course of the next sixteen years, Tess and Gus will face very different challenges and choices. Separated by distance and circumstance, the possibility of these two connecting once more seems slight.

But while fate can separate two people, it can also bring them back together again. . . .

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Miss You by Kate Eberlen. I received a free ARC copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

Miss You is a contemporary fiction novel about Tess and Gus. It is the story of their lives and the choices they make that lead them away and towards each other. It is told in their alternating perspectives throughout the course of many years and many heartbreaks.

When I first started reading Miss You, I immediately thought that it was going to be a cutesy contemporary romance, which I didn’t mind at all. As I continued reading it and got to learn more about our two main character’s lives and got to follow them through various heart breaks and struggles, I realized that this was so much more than what I had expected it to be. Instead of a cutsey romance, I got a story about two characters who make mistakes, struggle through every day life like the rest of us, do the best they can, struggle to grow up and find themselves, and who are obviously just SO meant for each other. As we read about them navigating their way through life, we can’t help but find ourselves rooting for them from the very moment they lay eyes on each other.

You would think that as the reader, I might have gotten frustrated that these two were at times so close to each other but just never made the connection or it seemed like fate had other plans for them at the time. There were moments where I just couldn’t help but hold my breath thinking THIS was the moment that they would look up, see each other and say “there you are, I have been looking for you.” But, I NEVER got frustrated with the pace of the story and I think it’s because Kate Eberlen is such a good writer. Her writing captured me immediately, it was descriptive in the way that when our characters were in Italy I could see the colors, taste the air and feel the excitement they felt. This continued throughout the story and it was a book that I just could not put down. It had me rooting for our main characters all throughout. Some heavy things happened in this book like grief, divorce, heartache, etc…just very real things that our characters had to deal with that very much mimicked real life and made them seem so real to me and made me relate to them so well.

As an adult it is easy to see how a story like this could happen in every day life and I think that made this story really seem magical to me, much more so than the insta-love stories that we very often get. I live in a big city but for how big it is, sometimes it seems very small when I find out that my husband has been friends with someone I have known for awhile as well or when I find out that we used to frequent the same restaurant and took vacations somewhere at the same time. This was the magic of Miss You and Tess and Gus, that reminded me that what is meant to be can sometimes always find a way.

If you are looking for a great summer read, give this one a go! 5 stars from me, I enjoyed this so much!

Photograph by Leanne Dixon

About Kate Eberlen

Kate Eberlen grew up in a small town thirty miles from London and spent her childhood reading books and longing to escape. She studied Classics at Oxford University before pursuing various jobs in publishing and the arts. Recently, Kate trained to teach English as a Foreign Language with a view to spending more time in Italy, a country she loves and has visited many times. Kate is married with one son.

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

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Blog Tour Book Review: Red Leaves by Paullina Simons

About Red Leaves

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (April 11, 2017)

In the tradition of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History comes a suspenseful thriller from the international bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman—an utterly captivating story about four Ivy League students whose bizarre friendship leads to a twisted maze of secrets, lies, betrayal, and murder.

As the star player of Dartmouth College’s women’s basketball team, Kristina Kim is beautiful, intelligent, and fearless. But though she’s just 21, Kristina has already had her share of heartache, loss, and dark secrets that haunt her. She’s best friends with Conni, Albert, and Jim, but the only one who seems to really know her is Albert. With long dark hair, tattoos, and a rebellious streak, Albert doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clean-cut Ivy Leaguers. Like Kristina, he has his share of secrets—secrets that are beginning to unravel this intimate circle of friends.

One wintry Thanksgiving weekend tragedy strikes…

When Detective Spencer O’Malley goes to investigate something suspicious at the foot of a steep hill on Dartmouth’s campus, he doesn’t expect that the frozen, naked body found in deep snow would belong to Kristina Kim—the remarkable young woman he met recently who entranced him. Now Spencer will never know if the chemistry he had with her was real. All he can do is find her killer.

Spencer is pulled into the strange, complex web of the surviving friends. Many important questions about Kristina’s murder cannot be answered, such as: why did none of them report her missing for nine days before her body was discovered? The more Spencer digs, the more clear it becomes that each of the three has a motive for killing Kristina. And as Spencer, seeking justice for a dead girl, is led down a labyrinth of deceit, every new revelation proves more shocking than the last….and more dangerous.

“Simons handles her characters and setting with a certain skill, creating mystery from the ordinary, protected lives of these Ivy League kids, slowly peeling away their deceptions to reveal denial, cowardice, and chilling indifference…an engrossing story.”—Publishers Weekly

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review of it.

In Red Leaves we meet Kristina Kim – star basketball player, dog owner, long time girlfriend and best friend. Beneath the surface of Kristina and her group of friends are betrayal, forbidden love and a mountain of secrets. When a students body is found on campus, all the secrets are brought to light.

Red Leaves is my second read written by Paulina Simons, although both were in two different genres. I find it fascinating when an author can successfully write in multiple genres like Paulina can.

That being said, Red Leaves drew me in with the Prologue but lost me somewhere in the beginning of Part One. For the first 100 and so pages, I was tempted to DNF it but I’m a completionist and I like to give books chances. Part One was definitely lost to me, it was slow and not much really happened, although after finishing and being able look back at the story and how it unfolded I can see why Part One was included as it provides background and knowledge about the characters and their relationships that really does serve to make us think certain ways as the mystery of the “whodunnit” unravels. 

The story definitely picks up in Part Two and finally caught my interest a little more and I was glad to be experiencing the story from a fresh perspective,  once that happened the rest of the book went by quickly and I actually ended up liking it after all. One thing I really enjoyed about thus book was that I always doubted my guesses about “whodunnit”. Always. It was never predictable for me.

Overall, I gave this book three stars, it may not have been exactly  for me but I did find some enjoyment in it. If you like a slow paced mystery you may want to give this book a read but if you are into fast paced thrillers, this may not be your taste. Paullina Simons writing in this book was just as good as I remember in the last book of hers I read, I hear people discuss a few of her books and I am still planning on reading some more of her work. 

Happy reading everyone!

Photo by Renaissance Studio

About Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

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