Monday, August 10, 2015

What Are You Reading Monday #19




Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information go to Book Journey and join in!

Books Completed This Week (links go to my review):

Reading Now:
  • Nation of Enemies by H.A. Raynes (ebook, netgalley, review coming mid-August)
  • The Boleyn King by Laura Anderson (audiobook, audible)
Next: 
  • Brother Odd by Dean Koontz (audiobook, library)
  • Write For Me by Michelle Holt (ebook, review)
  • Vexed by a Viscount by Erin Knightley (ebook, novella, review)
  • Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter (ebook, review)
Other Reviews Completed This Week:
Summary -
Busy week with sports practice resuming for my oldest son.  I haven't had to ferry him back and forth (thank goodness for one of the other moms), but I have attended one scrimmage game, one parent meeting and taken him to scouts one evening this week.  All while working a 40-hour week and cooking supper on occasion.  My husband has been a wonderful help this week when my energy was flagging.  He took oldest son to get his cleats.  This is momentous because my husband has nothing to do with sports.  He likes to hunt and fish and doesn't care for the rest.  He will watch our kids' games and cheer them on, but that's where his support begins and ends.  However we both had a sleepless night and he knew I needed a nap instead of running back into town to get cleats so he took our son and I took a nap. It was amazing.

Reading has been great. I'm enjoying setting up review books for the coming months and picking out other books to read.  I am starting to post on Instagram a little more, though that will take some time.  I love to look through Instagram though!


So how was your week?  Do you have an Instagram account?  If so, leave a comment with your name so I can come see your photos!  My Instagram is @myreadingroomblog.  Come see me and follow and I will follow in return.  Hopefully I will begin to take some more interesting bookish pics!  Meanwhile I am inspired by all I see on there.


Friday, August 7, 2015

Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt



Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: NAL

Publish Date: 8/4/2015
Pages: 368

Series: Hartley-By-The-Sea #1
Format: Trade paperback, ebook








My Review:
If you are looking for heartwarming, entertaining and real in a novel, then Rainy Day Sisters is just the book for you.  And now that I have read it and fallen in love with the village of Hartley-by-the-Sea and some of the townspeople, I cannot wait for future books in this series by Ms. Hewitt.

Rainy Day Sisters is a primarily character-driven novel.  Lucy leaves Boston after a public embarrassment to go to England to stay with her half-sister and seemingly find herself.  Lucy imagines herself on a quintessential British holiday, however she doesn't realize how far out of the way Hartley-by-the-Sea is or how two cultures can speak the same language yet not be understood. She also pictured bonding and healing with her half-sister Juliet.  However as expected in a book, things don't go as planned.  But sometimes things that aren't planned work out for the best.

Juliet extends the invitation to her sister then wonders why she did it.  She's not a total recluse, she runs a B&B but she doesn't have anyone really steady and involved in her life.  She sees the townsfolk and talks to them and she and her neighbor Peter talk from time-to-time but she doesn't even realize that she doesn't have any close bonds.  And she doesn't expect any to form with her half-sister who their mother took with them when she left England and left Juliet behind.

There are bumps in the road with the relationship between Juliet and Lucy, but I was always pulling for them.  I wasn't sure if I liked Lucy at first but she grew on me.  I liked Juliet and could relate to her (well except for the being estranged from her mother).  Both women want something more but they don't realize that they will find that something more together.

It's a great, fun novel about finding yourself and learning to trust others and trust yourself and decisions you make.  Of course the path isn't easy, but life isn't. There are funny moments, sad moments, and profound moments.  The writing is great. I think Ms. Hewitt told this story very well, interspersing humor and wit with the serious aspects.

If you enjoy women's fiction or just a great relationship read with some hints at a romance plot then this is the book for you. There is something for everyone in this one.  Sisters, friendship, romance, failed relationships, family squabbles, small village life, it's all in there.  And I loved the setting. I want to go to Hartley-By-The-Sea.  No the weather is not always ideal but somehow it does sound like that quintessential British village in the countryside.  I felt like I was there getting to know Lucy and Juliet and the townspeople.

I loved this book, the characters, the writing, the storyline and I look forward to future books in this series.  Give this book a chance and I think you will really enjoy it.  I suggest you find yourself a comfy place and just enjoy.

My favorite comfy place - a front porch hammock.
My Rating: 5.0/5.0


Summary


The USA Today bestselling author presents a heartfelt novel about two sisters struggling toward new lives and loves.

Welcome to Hartley-by-the-Sea in England’s beautiful Lake District, where two sisters who meet as strangers find small miracles tucked into the corners of every day....

When Lucy Bagshaw’s life in Boston falls apart, thanks to a scathing editorial written by her famous artist mother, she accepts her half sister Juliet’s invitation to stay with her in a charming seaside village in northern England. Lucy is expecting quaint cottages and cream teas, but instead finds that her sister is an aloof host, the weather is wet, windy, and cold, and her new boss, Alex Kincaid, is a disapproving widower who only hired her as a favor to Juliet.

Despite the invitation she offered, Juliet is startled by the way Lucy catapults into her orderly life. As Juliet faces her own struggles with both her distant mother and her desire for a child, her sister’s irrepressible optimism begins to take hold. With the help of quirky villagers, these hesitant rainy day sisters begin to forge a new understanding…and find in each other the love of family that makes all the difference.


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Author Biography
Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of 35 romances with Harlequin Presents, hundreds of short stories, and several historical novels and anthologies now available on Kindle. Her first women's fiction with Penguin/NAL, Rainy Day Sisters, will be out in August 2015.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in New York City, she now makes her home in a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at http://www.acumbrianlife.blogspot.co.uk.

Social Networking Links
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads Author Page



***I received this book from the publicist for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free. My links for Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. ***

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer


Fishbowl by Bradley Somer
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publish Date: 8/4/2015
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover, ebook












My Review:
I'm not even sure how to convey how I felt about this novel. It's amazing but on an entirely different level. The fact that the author, Bradley Somer could weave the plot lines together like he did and make them work, make the reader care about each and every character on some level is more than amazing.  This is a book I will think about for years.  And it will make me think about the people I cross paths with more patience, care and love.  Yes there will still be that guy driving slow in the left lane that will tick me off, but this book will cause me to consider lives of others besides mine.

Mr. Somer starts us off with the tale of Ian, who at that moment in the first chapter is still happily swimming in his fishbowl on the top floor of The Seville on Roxy.  And there begins this tale.  First it's a tale of Ian's descent after he jumps out of his fishbowl, but it's also a tale of other people in the building and how even though they only know each other in passing, if even, they cross paths with each other and their lives overlap in small and large ways.  It's a story of how one small gesture can mean the world to someone.  It's a story of separate lives that touch in some way.  It's a story of people.

I loved each and every character in some way or at least I could relate to them in some way.  I was amazed at how someone I hated in the beginning was someone I liked by the end.  Each chapter alternates with glimpses into the lives of Conner, Katie, Faye, Deb, Petunia Delilah, Danny, Claire, Herman, Garth, and Jimenez and yes Ian the goldfish.  Each has a story and every story will bring out some emotion and a way to connect to each character.  By the end of the book, I felt like I was living in The Seville on Roxy and they were all my neighbors and friends.

The plot is character-driven. Learning bits and pieces about each character through the present and sometimes flashbacks, it's wonderful to move through the book and slowly put the building blocks in place to see how all the characters overlap, meet and mingle and how each touches the life of another in some way, sometimes a way that's not even noticeable. It shows a look at the beauty in the world and hope in circumstances that seem to lack hope and beauty.

I am in awe.  This book was a wonderful and entertaining read.  The characters are heart-warming, they are funny and most important, they are real. To show how much the story touched me, I still remember specifics and think on them almost a week after finishing the book.  A lot of the time, I forget what I read except for a few things after I finish reading.  Not with this one, I still feel like I am living with the characters.  It's great, it's entertaining and it's refreshing. It teaches you so many things. So go out and grab this one. I loved it.  I hope you will too.  Come join the group at The Seville on Roxy, pull up a chair and get pulled into their world, their building and their lives.  Mr. Somer is a master at making you feel right there.  Check it out, you won't regret it!

And you have to get the hardback of this just because the little surprise on the pages is adorable and so appropriate.  If you buy the ebook, make sure you get to a bookstore to check out the pages of this gem.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Summary

A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He's longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

There's the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and the other woman; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building's super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become.

Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, "An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had."


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Author Biography

BRADLEY SOMER was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up in Canada and holds degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals, reviews and anthologies. His debut novel, Imperfections, published in Canada, won the 2013 CBC Bookie Award for debut of the year. Bradley currently lives in a little old house in the city of Calgary, Canada, where he works on his writing projects and tries to ignore the wild growth that his backyard has become.


Social Networking Links
Website
Twitter


***I received this book from the publicist for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free. My links for Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. ***

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Author Interview: Bradley Somer, author of Fishbowl


I recently read an amazing book that was sent to me by St. Martin's.  When the publicist offered me a chance to send the author questions, I jumped at the chance.  Devising the questions was easy because I was 2/3 of the way through the novel and it was so interesting, crazy and real that I was excited to ask questions.

The book is Fishbowl by Bradley Somer. I will have my review up of this wonderful, fun, zany and real novel tomorrow.  But for now to whet your appetite for his new book, enjoy what the author has to say.  Please welcome Bradley Somer to My Reading Room and feel free to comment about the interview, I would love to hear your thoughts.




Q:  I'm reading Fishbowl and loving it so far. I love how the interactions between characters and events are connected. It's so intricate and fun. I love seeing a connection before you explored it in the next chapter or reading it after I had read it from another point-of-view.  But it struck me that it had to be hard to keep up with where you wanted to go. So, how did you keep up with how the characters/events were connected?
Happy to hear you're enjoying it! There were a lot of moving parts to keep in line in Fishbowl. Part of the fun of writing it was all the little puzzle pieces, things that get a mention early on and become much more relevant to the story farther down the line. The answer to your question... a lot of notes and tons of re-reads, while it was being written and after the rough manuscript was complete. There were also a ton of little rewrites to make sure it all fit together when it was supposed to fit together.

Q: We have two goldfish that were won at our Seafood festival so I never expected them to last a day but the oldest is at least 4-years-old now.  That said, I loved the parts about Ian. Do you currently have a pet goldfish?
How hilarious, in a skewed sort of way... goldfish given out at a seafood festival? I don't have a goldfish at the moment but I did growing up. We also had a few guppies that later became lots of guppies. Lots and lots of guppies. Those things are their own renewable resource.
Crystal: I never thought of the irony of goldfish as a prize at the seafood festival - that is hilarious, now I'll never look at it the same.  Not to mention that I actually wonder if our goldfish are looking for a life of adventure . . . 

Q: Where were you when the idea for Fishbowl first came about?
I was actually in an vacant penthouse apartment with a downtown view. There was an empty fishbowl sitting on a worn-out folding table on the balcony. There were the quiet sounds of life coming through the apartment walls, people moving inside the building and traffic noises from outside. That was the seed for the story. Fishbowl's original incarnation was as a short story called “Sunburnt Cosmonaut.” There was still so much more to the story though, I had to work it into a novel.

Q: How did you feel as you were writing Fishbowl?
Fishbowl was a joy to write. It was about two years in the making, concept to completion, and the whole time was just playing with all the characters, the language and the stories.

Q: What's one word that would describe how you felt when you finished Fishbowl?
Energized. That's the one word, now here's some more words... as soon as the last word was written, I was charged up to get back in and start tweaking and editing it.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time (assuming you have some)?
Free time...I have a vague recollection of that. Reading is up there, of course. I also really enjoy just visiting with friends and family. Also, I try to get out hiking when I can. Snowshoeing in the winter.

Q: What three things do you need in order to write?
Coffee, tunes and some downtime to get in the right headspace.

Q: Sum up Fishbowl in 140 characters or less.
Fishbowl is a half hour of life in The Seville on Roxy. It's the story about how we don't live our own life, we live each other's together. 

Thank you Bradley for taking the time to answer my questions.  I loved Fishbowl, so come back tomorrow and see my review.  Already interested, buy links are below.  Trust me it's amazing.




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About Fishbowl:

A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He's longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

There's the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and the other woman; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building's super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become.

Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, "An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had."



Author Biography

BRADLEY SOMER was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up in Canada and holds degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals, reviews and anthologies. His debut novel, Imperfections, published in Canada, won the 2013 CBC Bookie Award for debut of the year. Bradley currently lives in a little old house in the city of Calgary, Canada, where he works on his writing projects and tries to ignore the wild growth that his backyard has become.





***Links to Amazon an Book Depository are to my associate accounts, if you purchase through these, thank you!  I will make a small amount of money to it to improve the blog and facilitate future giveaways. ***

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press

Publish Date: 8/4/2015
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover, ebook

ISBN: 9781501112317










My Review:
This was one crazy and suspenseful ride.  If you pick this up, be prepared to read it until you are finished.  It is that good.  I didn't get to read it in one sitting but when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about what I had read and what could possibly happen next. And then I would try and figure out what the twist would be. That made the book even better.

The characters.  Nora is our main character and the book goes from the present which is after the hen party and flashes back to before and during the hen party. It was obvious from the start that something bad has happened.  The problem is Nora can't remember what happened or what role she may have played in it.  I liked Nora; she's a somewhat reclusive writer who has a past that is hinted at through the book.  Nora was very well-developed as the main character and I enjoyed getting to know her.  I also enjoyed the unreliable narrator aspect. That is always fun for me because it keeps me guessing and has me questioning all I thought I knew about the main character. The other characters are Nina, Mel, Thomas, Flo, who hosts the party and of course Claire, who is the bride-to-be.  I really felt like I got to know each character and it felt like I was at the hen party right there with them.  If I had to pick a second-favorite character it would be Nina.  I loved her sarcastic, witty personality.  I liked how she loved deeply and cared for others even through her tough exterior.

The plot was amazing.  While the character development moved things along as the six acquaintances get to know one-another, the plot starts speeding along to what I knew would be an exciting climax/plot twist.  And I was not disappointed.  Did I guess what would happen, I did try and I got part of it right, but the twist was very "dark and twisty" (to coin a Grey's Anatomy phrase).  It was awesome, it was exciting and I enjoyed the ride through the whole book. I found the plot very believable.  I wouldn't want it to happen to me for sure, but I could definitely see it happening.

If you love gothic, psychological-thriller-type books then In a Dark, Dark Wood is just the book for you.  I loved this.  The plot kept me entertained, the characters felt like friends (or frenemies) and I enjoyed every minute of the book.  Ruth Ware can spin a tale and she has spun a great one with this book.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Summary
Someone's getting married. Someone's getting murdered.

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room....

Some things can’t stay secret for ever





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Author Biography

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her d├ębut thriller.


Social Networking Links
Website
Facebook
Twitter


***I received this book through Netgalley for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free. My links for Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. ***

Monday, August 3, 2015

What are you Reading Monday #18



Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information go to Book Journey and join in!

Books Completed This Month so far (links go to my review):
  • The Wrong Man by Kate White (ebook, netgalley)
  • The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark (library) 
  • Friction by Sandra Brown (ebook, netgalley, review coming mid-August) 
  • Forever Odd by Dean Koontz (audiobook, library)
  • Fishbowl by Bradley Somer (book for review from publisher, review coming this week!)
Reading Now:
  • Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt (book, for review from publisher)
  • The Boleyn King by Laura Anderson (audiobook, audible)
    Next: 
    • Brother Odd by Dean Koontz (audiobook, library)
    • Nation of Enemies by H.A. Raynes (ebook, netgalley, review coming mid-August)
    Summary -
    Great reading week and I've spent time organizing and planning reviews for my blog.  Right now I'm in a good place to read books and schedule post and still have time for library reads and reads from my own tbr.  I feel good about blogging again and look forward to reconnecting to the blogging world!

    This is my last true week of summer.  Our oldest starts high school soccer practice on Monday at 8am, so there went my lazy, get out of bed when I want and go to work when I want schedule.  Even if another Mom takes him, I'll have to get him up and motivated and get him something to eat.  Not sure if practice will stay at 8am, so we'll see.  I love my job and flexible hours and I am not looking forward to starting a routine again.  Oh well.

    So how was your week?  What were your temps like where you were?  Are your kids starting sports for the new school year yet? Any great books to share from the past week or ones you are looking forward to?


    Thursday, July 30, 2015

    What's Next #1


    What's Next is a meme hosted by IceyBooks, click on the link above to learn more about the meme or go link up at this week's installment.

    So I know what is on my to-be-reviewed pile, but as I start the blog back up I'm trying to not overwhelm myself with new books to review and leave time to read some of the books I have accumulated over time.  Yes it's a large stack, both print books and my ebook-library.  So I'm narrowing it down to three choices this week, all by author Jennifer L. Armentrout/J. Lynn. Can you believe I have not read these books?  Help me choose which one to start by casting your vote in the comments.


    Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout (A Wicked Saga #1) 
    I bought this when it came out in December of last year but haven't read it yet.

    Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

    Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

    Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

    But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.


    Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux #1)
    I've had this forever, heard wonderful things about the series, but never can make the time to start!

    Starting over sucks.

    When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

    And then he opened his mouth.

    Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

    The hot alien living next door marks me.

    You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

    If I don’t kill him first, that is.


    Stay With Me by J. Lynn (Wait for You #3)
    So I have actually started this series and love it.  I bought this one when it came out and even have Fall With Me bought and ready to go when I finish this one.


    At 21, Calla hasn’t done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

    But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she'd left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

    Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn’t give them her mom.
     



    So what should I start?  Which series do you love best?  Would love to hear your opinions!