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

images

 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! 

images

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 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: 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 

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.

tlc logo

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: 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.

tlc logo