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.

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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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 

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!