Wednesday, June 30, 2021
The Last Thing He Told Me
When Hannah opens the door, a twelve year old girl hands her a note from her husband that says "protect her." He is clearly referring to Owens daughter and Hannah's stepdaughter, Bailey. But what does Owen mean and where has he gone? He won't answer any calls and he has seemingly vanished into thin air. Hannah hears on the radio that the company her husband works for has been raided by the government and people are going to jail. But why would her husband be involved in a scandal like this? And what does Bailey need protecting from - the FBI? Hannah thought she knew Owen well, but the deeper she goes down the rabbit hole the less she is confident about. Even his daughter, Bailey is perplexed. What is going on? Twisty - this thriller will keep readers guessing as they try to figure out why or where Owen has disappeared to.
Wow - Taylor Jenkins Reid writes some of the best characters. Not only are they so real, they have humanity and flaws - they are people you would want to meet in real life! Set in Malibu, this novel goes back in forth in time between one fateful day in 1983 and their mother's early years. Their father is the world famous singer, Mick Riva, but he checked out of their lives when they were just children. Nina is the eldest in her mid twenties and she's a talented surfer and model, next come the "twins" - Jay and Hud, one a world famous surfer and the other his photographer, the baby of the bunch is Kit who is trying to find her place in the world. One insane party that will turn their lives around. The four Rivas kids throw one huge party every year; each year it keeps escalating with more celebrities, more drugs, and more surprises. Readers will wish they had an invite to this over the top party that will end up changing the Rivas' lives forever. Impossible to put down.
Monday, June 28, 2021
The Road Trip
I've read every single one of Beth O'Leary's books and on the whole I really like them. They aren't all fluff but they are heartfelt and thought-provoking. The Road Trip, her latest novel, is my least favorite so far. I'm not sure if it was because I strongly detested one of the characters or if I didn't like the concept - but this one wasn't quite up to par with her other two novels. Addie and her sister Deb are road-tripping to Scotland to go to one of their dear friends wedding when they are rear ended by her ex and his best friend. She knew they would be at the wedding but Addie is no prepared to see him like this. What are the odds?! The car that Dylan and Marcus were driving is no shape to make the trip to Scotland and there is no public transportation available as it's a holiday weekend. It looks as if they are all going to be stuck with each other in one small uncomfortable car. What could possibly go wrong?! The story alternates between now and then - telling the story of how they got together and what drove them apart. I loathed Marcus' character and I wanted him to walk off a cliff so bad. If it werem't for him I think I would have given this a 4 instead of a 3.
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Lived up to the hype and then some! Extremely heartfelt, hilarious, and touching. I was enamored with this unconventional family trying to work through their grief and get to know each other. When Patrick's best friend and sister in law dies after a battle with cancer, his brother asks that he takes the kids back with him to Palm Springs so that he can check himself into rehab. And not just for a little bit either, ninety days - the whole summer! Patrick is a former tv star, a golden globe winner, and a sassy gay man who is perfectly content to be a recluse. Kids?! At his house?! They'll ruin the baby grand piano, trash the pool, ruin his collection of pristine Playbills. And for the whole summer?!? But he'll do it for Sarah. He knows a lot about grief and heartbreak and someone has to be there for his niece and nephew so it may as well be him. Five year old, Grant, and eight year old, Maisie, are a handful but as they get used to their GUP (Gay Uncle Patrick) they start to get into a routine and Patrick discovers that his life has never been more full. The kids are helping him as much as he's presumably helping them. They may not drink martinis but they know how to have a good time. The kids are hilarious and Patrick is someone you'll immediately want to be friends with. I could not put this book down. Soo soo heartwarming.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Dial A for Aunties
Over the top and ridiculous, yet I loved every second of this book. I couldn't put it down! Meddelin Chan accidentally murders someone, a ridiculously wealthy hotel owner who is hosting the wedding that she and her family are putting on the following day. In a panic she turns to her mother and her three aunts. What can they do? In a series of ever growing mishaps, the aunties try to help dispose of the body while still preparing for the over the top wedding. Makup, photography, To make matters worse, Meddelin runs into the former love of her life, the man she dumped so she could stay by her family and not disappoint them like all their sons and husbands did (did I mention there is a family curse?!). Meddy has a body to dispose of, a wedding to photograph, a former flame to avoid, and her mother and aunts who can't stop bickering. Laugh out loud funny, charming, and witty. It may have been over the top but readers will eat this up. What a fun and crazy family.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Sassy, sweet, and endearing, Pumpkin will instantly win over fans. The third book in the Dumplin' series focuses on Pumpkin, an open gay, overweight teen boy who is just ready to get on with his life and begins stage three - out and proud in a new city, a chance to be who he wants to be. He and his lesbian twin sister are both out - to their parents, friends, and school - but Pumpkin wants more. When his favorite plus size drag queen makes it all the way through the reality show only to lose to the small queen; Pumpkin is furious. Alone in his room he decides to put on makeup, lip-sync in the camera, and create an audition tape for his favorite reality drag show telling them how he really feels about their shameful body standards. Pumpkin won't ever send it in - but it was cathartic and a lot of fun. He shows his twin sister, Clem, who shows some people, who show some people, and the next thing you know, Pumpkin is nominated as prom queen. It's mortifying. Pumpkin is so close to going to Austin and getting away from the bullies and now he has to suffer through people mocking his "audition tape" and nominating him to prom court. But the joke is on them because through spite and gumption; Pumpkin is going to leap even further out of the closet and really give them something to talk about. Joyful and fun!
Monday, June 14, 2021
A fantastic follow up to Hidden Scales! I'm not sure if this will be a trilogy or a series, but either way I'm invested in this middle grade fantasy! Mira, Kay, and Peter have returned home to Crispin. Things are pretty much back to normal except for the fact that they still feel guilty about their friends trapped in the everlock sleep. Determined to try and do something, the kids stumble upon the identity of the leader of the Shadowveils, the merrows who will stop at nothing to make sure that all their kind is underwater, away from the prying eyes of humans. When their mother's study and half their house is mysteriously burnt down, it stands to reason that trouble has followed them back. Many of the townspeople are accepting of the two young merrows but there are still some that don't appreciate anything different or out of the ordinary and they will stop at nothing to get them kicked out of town. Mira, Kay, and Peter don't have time to dwell on the bullies however, they've tracked down some clues and discovered some new powers and nothing will stop them from fighting back or saving their friends. Action packed and filled with great world building. This series just keeps getting better!
Saturday, June 12, 2021
A Perfect Amish Romance
I love the concept, a bookmobile librarian that turns into a bit of a matchmaker in Amish country. In this story we have not one romance, but THREE potential romances and one of them is set in motion by the librarian when Aaron Coblentz asks for help finding a tutor to help him study for the GED. He's keeping it a secret from his family, but he's not the only one with secrets. His tutor, Kayla Kauffman, has secrets aplenty about what's going on in her house. Her father can't hold down a job or be bothered paying the bills so Kayla is running herself ragged trying to make sure that everything stays afloat. Their secrets drive them apart at first, but when they open up it starts to draw them together. Thoroughly enjoyable, even if a bit cheesy at times.
Along a Storied Trail
This is my FOURTH packhorse librarian book and I definitely think it's beginning to emerge as a popular sub-genre! I really enjoyed this one because it discussed more than just the WPA packhorse librarian project that took place during the great depression - it also mentioned the Federal Writer's Project. Tansy Calhoun is grateful to have a job riding up and down the Kentucky mountains delivering books. Her pa left nearly a year ago for work and they haven't heard from him since. Her mother and three siblings depend on the money she brings in as a book lady. Tansy years for romance like all the heroines in the stories she reads, she has no idea she might soon be the object of attention for two young men. Damien Fields is an author who has come to write about their county and she has been elected his "our guide." She is immediately smitten with the attractive New York City transplant. But then there is Caleb, recently returned to the mountains to take care of his Ma, sister in law and niece an nephew after his brother's unfortunate death. She always thought of him as a friend, but he has always wanted so much more. With the meddling of an old grannie, an unwed pregnant sixteen year old and a preacher - things in the mountain are about to get interesting. Charming and well written.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Fast paced and kick ass - The Knockout is about an Indian American teen training to compete in the US Muay Thai Open while dealing with a father in failing health, friend issues, and boy troubles. Kareena Thakkar has a lot on her plate and the only thing keeping her level headed is Muay Thai. She revels in the training and clear mindedness she gets when she is in the ring. She's thrilled to have been invited to the US Open but at the same time, so stressed because her family is slowly drowning in medical debt and she doesn't want to burden her parents anymore. Kareena is a tough girl, but sometimes the toughest thing to do is know when to ask for help. She's got her best friend, Lily and Amit, the boy she's been tutoring - but how much can they really help? And is she even Indian enough for Amit? Kareena has a tough relationship with her local Indian community as they haven't been accepting of her mother or the tough sport she plays. A great read for teens that touches on a myriad of issues!
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Imagine an academic Vampira with a blog and a sense of humor and you've got Caitlin Doughty. This memoir is dark, insightful, morbid, and laugh out loud funny. It's not for the faint of heart covering such topics such as: dead babies, embalming, burning bodies, and human decay, but damn is it interesting! Caitlin turned one of her greatest childhood fears, death, into her life ambition; ensuring that people are well educated and comfortable with their inevitable demise. After graduating with a degree in medieval history she decided that working in the funeral industry was the next step logically. Caitlin chronicles her time working in a crematory, going to mortuary school, driving dead bodies around California, and starting her internet forum, "The Order of the Good Death." Humorous, yet respectful, Caitlin's look at the funeral industry will have you questioning everything you ever thought about death. I was lucky enough to meet the author twice in Las Vegas the summer of 2014 at a Library convention. I can confirm that she is as humorous in person as she is in writing. A fantastic read (though not for the faint of heart).
Monday, June 7, 2021
A Lady in Attendance
Hazel is looking for a fresh start after serving five years in a reformatory. She paid for a crime she didn't commit and as such has lost the warm embrace of her parents, siblings, and friends, and must make a new life for herself where no one knows her past. She miraculously finds lodging in a boarding house and work as a lady in attendance for a local dentist. Gilbert is a quiet, hardworking man and he's looking for someone to help him in the office. They quickly fall into a routine and become fast friends. But what if there is more than friendship at stake? How will Gilbert react when h discovers the truth behind Hazel's shameful past? The entire cast of characters is delightful and I really enjoyed the slow burn romance between Hazel and Gilbert as well as Ina and Duncan (their friends). A clean, enjoyable read that shows the power of faith, friendship, and redemption.
A satisfying follow up to Sheets that delves deep into bullying, friendship, and grief. Marjorie Glatt finally has some friends (and not just the ghosts in her family's laundromat), but the only problem is they aren't real friendly or genuine. Marjorie decides to keep hanging out with them because the only other alternative is to hang out with the weirdo who believes in ghosts and carries her camera everywhere or to just be by herself. Eliza (the aforementioned ghost lover) is feeling quite invisible and Marjorie's new friends aren't making it any easier on her. They keep bullying her and she's never felt more alone. Gorgeously illustrated this graphic novel covers, bullying, suicide, toxic friendships, and how to deal with grief.
Unique, creepy, and unsettling are the three biggest descriptors I can think of for this book. When Vern is a teenager she finally escapes the religious compound where she was raised - but not without some serious scars. She's married and seven months pregnant but she is willing to take a chance on the unknown world in order to get away. She gives birth to twins and raises them in the woods, but even though she's escaped she is still a hunted woman. When her body starts to change she knows she'll have to find help to get to the bottom of her upbringing and the compound's dark history. It's dark and filled with elements of black history, queer love, indigenous history, and violent, gothic themes. Even if you don't like it, you won't be able to stop thinking about it. Truly unsettling.
Thursday, June 3, 2021
I would have followed this story soo much better had the audiobook discs six and nine not been mixed. Once I realized that - things finally came together. Extremely fast paced, filled with lots of historical trivia and knowledge and plenty of adventure. Husband and wife duo, Sam and Remi Fargo, are relaxing on the coast of Tanzania. While scuba diving they discover an old ship's bell and it kicks off a new adventure. While they think it's a fun mystery to look into, a corrupt official in Mexico takes the discovery as a serious threat and will do anything to stop the Fargos. Rather than they deter the couple, they launch on an adventure that will span continents and countries and cultures. Never a dull moment, though sometimes it would be nice if our protagonists weren't such rich know it alls.
It's in His Kiss
This was a cute romance and I liked the teensy bit of adventure we got. Hyacinth is the youngest Bridgerton and her mother, Violet, is fairly desperate to marry her off. Hyacinth is a beautiful young girl, but she is headstrong and opinionated which hasn't resulted in too many proposals. She doesn't mind though - none of those men challenged or excited her. It may come as no surprise that one of her biggest role models is the indomitable Lady Danbury, yet when Danbury tries to parade her grandson, Gareth, in front of her; Hyacinth isn't interested. The two keep finding their paths crossing and when he turns to her for help translating his grandmother's Italian diary they become fairly inseparable. What they discover takes them on a treasure hunt but maybe there is more than one treasure to look for. Not a deep romance, but definitely very steamy.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
When He Was Wicked
So far my least favorite of the series - and not for the romantic lead either! For once it was a Bridgerton I was annoyed with. Francesca was such a bore in this one. I got her behavior at first but after it continued to drag out I found myself wishing she would get Malaria as well. Just be with the guy you're having amazing sex with - what is so hard to grasp?! Francesca's husband died suddenly after only two years of wedded bliss. She and Michael (his best friend, cousin, and heir to the title) try to cope with the hole in their life. For Michael it is extra hard because he has coveted Francesca for so long. From the moment he laid eyes on her he wanted her - but would never act on it (even though he is a rake) because he loved and respected John too much. With John out of the picture it's suddenly too much to handle. Will they or won't they? This book spans years so readers have plenty of time to figure it out.
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