July 11, 2018

Wicked and the Wallflower. Sarah MacLean

Published:  Avon
Date:  June 19th 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages:  384
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
4.5 stars
Add to Goodreads
When Wicked Comes Calling… When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it. The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain... Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion... But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted…and the only thing he’s ever desired.

My thoughts banner
Wicked and the Wallflower was a wonderful read.  Although I have heard many a reader proclaim the joy of reading Sarah MacLean's books, this was my first actual dip into one of her books. And I just thoroughly enjoyed it.

The prologue had a fairytale feel to it, it engaged me immediately. The fairytale aspect didn't fade and at times was referred to by the characters. 

The female characters are like no others that I have met in historical romances before. They are not going to be swept under the carpet by their men folk.  No siree. They can stand strong for themselves. Take Felicity for example, wow she is a very dapper hand at being a lock pick and it sure does come in handy.  And a very powerful little skill to have!

Felicity was a heroine easy to like and enjoy. She has been involved in a little scandal previously to the opening of the story, nothing really serious. But you know the ton! They are pretty snooty and well full of gossip and quite considerable meanness, which sometimes borders on the edges of cruelty.  And what's worse for Felicity is that her brother and father have lost all their money and so they see their only salvation is that she marries a rich Duke, if only one were around.

Along comes the hero, with plans to set Felicity up with a Duke, but for hidden, underhand reasons. He is into revenge big time, although with some good reason, his father was a d***. Devil has plans, which was a lot of fun seeing them come undone as he parried with Felicity.

Characters I loved, witty dialogue, an interesting plot - what more could a reader want in an historical romance.   I so want to read the next book in the saga of the Barenuckle Bastards of Covent Garden. And I do believe the next one is  being written right now! If you enjoy historical romance don't miss this one.

July 9, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join them!
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Hope you are all well and that some of you are not being too scorched by the power of the sun. I have a thunderstorm and heavy rain going on overhead as I write.

This week I'd like to introduce you to my commenting partner for July. She has a great blog and for all you food lovers I think it would just go along perfectly for you as its all about reading and cooking. I want to try her recent sharing of a scallop one.  Just have to find some scallops!  So take a click over to Megan  The Hungry Bookworm  and give her a wave  comment. And get... a recipe!

I have seven blocks done for my bookcase quilt. Here is a peek at one block. Isn't that kitten so darn cute. No I didn't design him, I got him in a pattern over at Craftsy!

quilt block of cat and books

What I read last week:

Both great reads.

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I also finished listening to...
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What I am reading at present:

Library book.
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I am also reading this amazing memoir, I just have to keep reading it.

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I am about to start listening to...
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Up next:

Review book.
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Last Weeks Posts
Audiobook Half Year Update
The Bookshop of Yesterdays  Amy Meyerson
Rainy Day Friends   Jill Shalvis
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July 7, 2018

Audiobook Challenge Mid- Year Accounting

2018 Audiobook Challenge
I didn't make my goal in 2017 but I hope to in 2018 ... but am on track. Most likely I need to get a move on! Yes sure I am half way to 20 but really I need to be further into the 20's to be satisfied! Like 28 would be good. However the good thing about doing the mid-year accounting is that I had forgotten to add two books to my total so now it is looking a little healthier!

The Challenge Details can be found at Caffeinated Reviewer   and Hot Listens.

This year I am going  for the Binge Listener Level which is the 20 -30 level, and hopefully it will be closer to 30 than 20.  

  1. The Sea of Tranquillity   Katja Millay. Book 5 stars Narrated: Kirby Heyborne and Candace Thaxton.  5 stars    Length 13hrs 10 min 
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  2. A Grown Up Kind of Pretty   Joshilyn Jackson 4 stars  Narrated: Joshilyn Jackson     5 stars Length: 12 hr 25 min  
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  3. The Secret Hour  Luanne Rice. Story 4.5 stars Narrated: Christine Traister  4.5 stars Length 10hr.53 min  
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  4. The Pearl Sister.  Lucinda Riley. Story 5 stars Narrated: Stephanie Racine; Rehanna MacDonald  5 stars. Length  19hr 55min 
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  5. Sweet Tea and Sympathy.  Molly Harper. Story 4 stars  Narrated by Amanda Ronconi.  4 stars. Length 9hr 27 min 
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  6. Still Me   Jojo Moyes. Story  4.5 stars Narrated by Anna Acton  4.5 stars  Length 13hr 27 min
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  7. The Denim Blue Sea   Joanne Demaio  Story  4 stars  Narrated by Nick Cracknell 3.5 stars Length 10hr 25 min  
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  8. The Endless Beach  Jenny Colgan Story  5 stars   Narrated by Sarah Barron   5 stars Length 10hrs  
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  9. The Secret to Southern Charm Kristy Woodsen Harvey  Story  5 stars Narrated by Janete Metzger; Candace Thaxton.  5 stars  Length 10 hr  
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  10. Meet Me at The Cupcake Cafe   Jenny Colgan Story  4.5 stars   Narrated by Penelope Rawlins 5 stars  Length 14hr 33 min  
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  11. Beard Science  Penny Reid  Story 4 stars Narrated by Joy Nash; Chris Brinkley  4.5 stars   Length 13hr 55 min  
  12. Promise Me Dad.  Joe Biden (Memoir) Narrated by Joe Biden.  5 stars   Length 8hr 53 min

Last month - Audiobook Month I did mean to write a post but life got in the way! So a little more about audiobooks!

Have I always listened to audiobooks and when did I begin?
As I thought about this I realised it began as a child. Yes... on the radio, there were always books and stories read. I grew up without TV (can you believe it!) TV didn't arrive in my house until I was a teen. So we sat around the radio. ( Talking 1950's here). I remember still listening to Nevil Shute's  A Town Like Alice. Magical, I waited every Saturday night for the next episode!

Then many years later I discovered Audible and I am talking early days. Soon after it started I guess.  When it took forever to download a book. And then I had to convert it to CD. Were iPods invented then? I am not sure!  Then I got tired of the slow download and cancelled.

In 2008 I came back. Downloading was a little faster but not much! However so much faster now and of course I have an iPod and an iPad. I don't like listening on my iPhone but I could. Yes I am Apple through and through. Blame it on a Principal at school, my colleague, in the late 1990's who was big time Apple.

My favourite audiobook in the above list?
I pick my audiobooks carefully - well I am paying for them! So I rarely have a dud. Out of this list I have to say I really loved The Sea of Tranquillity.  I guess its YA or maybe New Adult. Who cares, I am neither of those! Heh! Heh!

What's My Least Favourite Thing About Audiobooks?
I hate a narrator that spoils a book. There are some books I'd like to listen to but the narrator is weak so I read them, I love that I can pre-listen to a little bit.  The other thing is I am not an audio person, I like an enormous amount of quiet so I don't have the urge when I am doing housework etc to pick up my iPod.

Oh and I should add a huge pet hate! Lack of world book rights so that we can't listen to a book we want to because ... yes we don't live in a certain part of the world. I know! It happens to us all, right! 
Yes I hate this in my wish list. And how do I get rid of it anyway. Now that I can't have it!!
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Do I speed up the listening?
Anathema! Didn't I tell you I pay for these books. I want the whole experience. Yes listening to a book is a little slower than reading it but so what. The narrator has had to read it at normal speed after all! I want to savour it all.  Savour! 

A book from this list I think is better listening to.
The Pearl Sister for sure. It's a long book and the narrators do a fantastic job of keeping you on focus and besides they just nail it!  They send it up a notch. It's also the longest book on this list! The longest books on audio that I have listened to are the Outlander books (I've read them all and listened to many of them) The narrator of those in a class of her own. Superb. Yes that would be Davina Porter.

What! An author narrating her own book.
Yes well most of them I hate when they try that. Was going to name but won't. Let's just say if they narrate their own book I won't buy the audio version. But......  Joshilyn Jackson - she nails her own books every time. Perfection. Nobody else should narrate them.

Hmm okay. A little listening today, I better get on to it!
Girl listening to audiobook

July 5, 2018

The Bookshop of Yesterdays. Amy Meyerson

Published: Park Row
Date:  June 12th 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 368
Genre: Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
3 stars                                  Add to Goodreads
A woman inherits a beloved bookstore and sets forth on a journey of self-discovery in this poignant debut about family, forgiveness and a love of reading.

Miranda Brooks grew up in the stacks of her eccentric Uncle Billy's bookstore, solving the inventive scavenger hunts he created just for her. But on Miranda's twelfth birthday, Billy has a mysterious falling-out with her mother and suddenly disappears from Miranda's life. She doesn't hear from him again until sixteen years later when she receives unexpected news: Billy has died and left her Prospero Books, which is teetering on bankruptcy--and one final scavenger hunt.

My thoughts banner
A book set in a bookshop is always going to appeal to a reader enough to draw them in, and so the cover and title did that for sure.

The story begins with some kind of mystery and conflict that is happening in Miranda's family. Miranda's mother and her brother Billy fall out in some very significant way and Miranda who adores Billy is left wondering why.  Around when she is twelve he disappears out of her life and she only connects again with him after his death.

Billy has left Miranda a bookstore and a set of clues that she must find to unravel the mystery and the conflict that surrounds her family. Her parents won't talk about it so the air of secrecy has driven a wedge between Miranda and her parents.  The clues are all related to books and passages in books and Miranda must find her way to the next one by solving the previous one.

I had worked out very early what the situation is, I think most readers would, and so I found the whole chase a little laboured.  I found that I didn't really connect too well to the characters because they were surrounded by so many details and descriptions. While the book should have been filled with emotion, somehow for me I just missed it.

Possibly those who enjoy literary fiction will like this book more, as most of the book references were from literary fiction.

What others have said.

“Meyerson writes beautifully, with lush descriptions of LA and believable interactions between characters. Prospero Books is warm, inviting, and populated with lovably quirky employees readers will want to get to know. A lovely look at loss, family, and the comfort found in a good bookstore.” Kirkus Reviews

 “Terrifically fun… Part riddle, part mystery, part family drama, part a bookstore lover's dream, and then more." —Aimee Bender, New York Times bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

“[Meyerson’s] affection for all things literary pours forth on every page and through a cast of characters every book lover will embrace.” —Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman's Tale

July 2, 2018

Rainy Day Friends. Jill Shalvis

Published:    HarperCollins
Date: June 19th 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss/TLC Book Tours
4 stars
Add to Goodreads
Purchase Links
HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife. Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person? Can she even trust herself?

Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.

Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Brown changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build.

My thoughts banner
Rainy Day Friends is #2 in Jill Shalvis' Wildstone series.  It is a moving, fun, light read that still explores how those who have had some very bad experiences in their lives can heal and find life after heartbreak.

Lanie is a graphic designer who has come to work at the Capriotti winery. And oh my, when you walk into that family life is never the same afterwards. From the warm welcoming Cora, the boss lady, to Gracie the dog, they are such a fun, nosey, outspoken lot. I loved them. And would love to see Cora explored a little more in a book of her own. I know she seems very together, but ...  Anyway Lanie's dead husband was a ratfink.  He married four or five others as well unbeknown to Lanie - so trust issues now in capitals.

Mark the dad of twins Sierra and Samantha is pretty hot, plus he is the best most loving Dad out and those twin girls adore him. They have been through the mill as his wife and their mother walked out on them and now Sierra does not talk.  However Mark is not going to open his heart easily to anyone and put the girls at risk.

Add in River who arrives one day at the winery, on her last legs, and heavily pregnant. Immediately Cora takes her under her wing as she is apt to do. River seems to have some ulterior motive - easily guessed - and all that plays out. Lanie and herself develop a friendship that is beautiful but it could be fated to end badly.

There is plenty of warm family love, lots of laughter and some heart ache and poignant moments as this story reveals itself. I really enjoyed it and read it rapidly. It is sort of a cross between romance and women's fiction, which suited me fine.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis is the award winning author of over three dozen romance novels. Visit www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and a daily blog chronicling her I-Love-Lucy attempts at having it all; the writing, the kids, a life …

Find out more about Jill at her website, and connect with heron Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thursday, June 28th: Staircase Wit
Monday, July 2nd: The Book Date
Tuesday, July 3rd: bookchickdi
Wednesday, July 4th: Broken Teepee
Friday, July 6th: A Soccer Mom's Book Blog
Monday, July 9th: Stranded in Chaos
Tuesday, July 10th: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, July 12th: Time 2 Read
Friday, July 13th: Girl Who Reads
Monday, July 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 17th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Friday, July 20th: Not in Jersey

Full House LInk Up July - September

Full House Reading Challenge 2018 banner

While reviews are not mandatory in the challenge, you may choose to link up and at the end of the quarter there will be a random choice of two reviews, and the readers will win a $15 voucher for Amazon or book up to that value at the Book Depository.  Adding one rule here, each review chosen must be from a different reader.

When linking your review share which category the book fits, for example... Classic.

Winners from the January - March link up...
Congratulations to 

Winners from the April - June link up. 

This link up will close at the end of September.  
Even if you forget just link up in the next three months, so long as each review is only linked once that is fine.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join them!
a divide
Well we are into the second half of the year. Right into July, I know some of you are experiencing now very high summer temps. Me - we've had some wonderful hard crisp frosts and glorious sunny days. Not all the time but enough to thoroughly enjoy.

I didn't get that much reading in this past week, but I did start a bookshelf quilt. Something I have been wanting to do for ages.  It is only in the early stages yet, but I am happily visualising it above my bed. I can't hang anything heavy there as we are earthquake prone, so a light quilt should be ideal!

Happy 4th of July coming up to USA reader/bloggers.                      

What I read last week:

Two review books.

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What I am reading at present:

Review book...
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And still listening to Joanne DeMaio's book Beach Blues.

Up next:

Library book...
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Last Weeks Posts
July Book Giveaway - as always a spot on it for the It's Monday readers only.
June Reading Month in Review
The Lost for Words Bookshop    Stephanie Butland - Review

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