Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Waiting on/Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Goddesses

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.  Both help us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

The Goddesses
Swan Huntley
Expected publication date: July 25, 2017
When Nancy and her family arrive in Kona, Hawaii, they are desperate for a fresh start. Nancy's husband has cheated on her; they sleep in separate bedrooms and their twin sons have been acting out, setting off illegal fireworks. But Hawaii is paradise: they plant an orange tree in the yard; they share a bed once again and Nancy resolves to make a happy life for herself. She starts taking a yoga class and there she meets Ana, the charismatic teacher. Ana has short, black hair, a warm smile, and a hard-won wisdom that resonates deeply within Nancy. They are soon spending all their time together, sharing dinners, relaxing in Ana's hot tub, driving around Kona in the cute little car Ana helps Nancy buy. As Nancy grows closer and closer to Ana, skipping family dinners and leaving the twins to their own devices, she feels a happiness and understanding unlike anything she's ever experienced, and she knows that she will do anything Ana asks of her. - from Goodreads
This sounds like a really interesting story about relationships, but it seems like there could be something darker going on, too!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I've Read in 2017... So Far

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is best books we've read so far this year.  My favorites of the year so far are pretty varied - some backlist titles, some new releases, some I've reviewed and some I haven't!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Beachy Book Covers

When I was a kid, I loved visiting my grandparents' house at the Jersey shore.  I loved everything about the beach - running along the sand, playing in the water, baking in the sun.  These days I'm more content to sit under an umbrella with a good book and plenty of sunscreen!  To celebrate the beginning of summer, I've put together a collage of covers that all feature the beach!

What are some of your favorite beachy book covers?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: The River at Night

The River at Night
Erica Ferencik
Published January 10, 2017
A high-stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller. - from Goodreads
I love a good survival story, and that's what I was expecting from The River at Night - but it quickly became more like a horror movie!

The story starts off a bit slow as we're introduced to the four main characters, a group of late 30-something women, who decide to go on a whitewater rafting trip in basically an uncharted area of Maine.  For me, red flags were already going up - they are literally going to be in the middle of nowhere with only a new and very young guide.

The action picks up quickly and doesn't stop once the group starts their rafting trip.  Not long into their trip, a freak accident kills their guide on the river and their raft and supplies are lost, leaving the four women stranded.  Should they try to find the raft downriver, or should they try to hike back to where they pushed in, assuming they could even find it? 

When the women see a campfire not far from them in the woods, they think their prayers have been answered, but in reality, things are about to go from bad to terrifying.  This part of the novel, where the women meet these two creepy people in the woods, totally cut off from civilization, is where the book went a bit off the rails for me.  It read a bit like a slasher film and was more than a little unbelievable.  However, the short length of the book kept the story moving quickly, and so I actually didn't mind it that much.

I appreciated that the author took the time to develop the characters, despite the nature of the book.  I felt like I really got to know each distinct woman - the tough-as-nails Rachel, the kind-hearted Sandra, the adventure-loving Pia, and the timid narrator Wini.  I understood their motivations, and their feelings and reactions felt very true-to-life.  I was really rooting for all of them!

The River at Night is a great summer thriller (even though it came out in January!).  If you're looking for a quick, suspenseful read, check this one out.

4 stars

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Chocolate Book Tag

I was tagged by Uma at Books.Bags.Burgers, so today I'll be doing the Chocolate Book Tag!  Thanks, Uma!  Plus, I just love chocolate, so this sounded really fun anyway!

1. Dark chocolate - a book that deals with a dark topic

Jodi Picoult doesn't shy away from difficult topics, but this book about a school shooting is definitely hard to read at times.

2. White chocolate - your favorite light-hearted or humorous read

This was a fun and funny story and it definitely had some relevant lessons on how we let social media rule our lives!

3. Milk chocolate - a book that has a lot of hype that you're dying to read

I'm pretty sure I'm the last person on Earth to read this book!  I really need to get to it soon!

4. Chocolate with a caramel center - a book that made you feel all gooey in the middle while you were reading it

This book makes me melt into a puddle of tears every time I read it.  The relationships between the Bommarito siblings are complicated yet loving, and Henry himself will just steal your heart.

5. Wafer free Kit Kat - name a book that has surprised you lately

Unfortunately, I didn't love this one as much as I thought I would!

6. Snickers - a book you're going nuts about

I've been obsessed with this book since I read it earlier this year, and I'm recommending it to everyone I know!

7. Hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows - a book you would turn to for a comfort read

I love this non-traditional love story, but my favorite character is the main character Joyce's dad.  He is funny and sweet and lovable and wise - I just feel happy when I read this book.

8. Box of chocolates - what series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and something for everyone?

Ok, this is a bit of a cop-out, but Harry Potter really does have something for everyone!  I read it as an adult, and I enjoyed just as much as kids do!

I'd love to read your answers, too, so consider yourself tagged if you want to participate!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Waiting on/Can't-Wait Wednesday: Where The Light Falls

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings.  Both help us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

Where The Light Falls
Allison Pataki & Owen Pataki
Expected publication date: July 11, 2017
From the courtrooms to the battlefields to the alleyways of Paris, with cameos from infamous figures in French history, the Patakis have crafted an epic, action-packed novel of the French Revolution as it has never been seen before. Three years after the storming of the Bastille, Paris is enlivened with the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The monarchy has been dismantled and a new nation, for the people, is rising up in its place. Jean-Luc, a young optimistic lawyer, moves his wife, Marie, and their son to Paris, inspired by a sense of duty to contribute to the new order. André, the son of a former nobleman, flees his privileged past to fight in the unified French Army with his roguish brother. Sophie, a beautiful young aristocratic widow and niece of a powerful, vindictive uncle, embarks on her own fight for independence.

Underneath the glimmer of hope and freedom, chaos threatens to undo all the progress of the revolution and the lives of these compatriots become inextricably linked. As the demand for justice breeds instability, creates enemies out of compatriots, and fuels a constant thirst for blood in the streets, Jean-Luc, Andre, and Sophie are forced to question the sacrifices made for the revolution. Liberty proves a fragile, fleeting ideal, and survival seems less and less likely—both for these unforgettable individuals, and indeed for the new nation itself. - from Goodreads
I'll read anything Paris-related and the focus on the French Revolution is a really interesting time period!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Decluttering My Bookshelves

I would love to have tons of shelves, filled with books, but in our current living situation, that's just not possible or practical.  I was running out of shelf space before my husband moved in several years ago, and since then, I've completely run out of room as Tom is using my bookshelves for some of his things and my collection of books has become overwhelming.

I used to be an indiscriminate book-buyer.  The bargain rack at Barnes & Noble was my best friend.  I rarely went to the library and didn't vet books as well as I do now before buying them.  The result was a collection of books that numbered close to 300.  That might not seem like a lot, but it definitely feels that way when you're living in a one-bedroom condo.  In the last several months, I've taken on the large (but sometimes slow) project of decluttering my bookshelves.  The main reasons are threefold:

  1. I like things to be neat and organized.  Right now I have too many books and not enough space, so there are books stacked in front of other books and it's driving me nuts!
  2. Eventually we'd like to move to a larger place, and packing up and transporting all those heavy books is not going to be fun.
  3. In my former book-buying frenzy, I ended up with a lot of books I'm not crazy about.  At this point, I'd rather just have a collection of books that I love, ones that I can see myself reading for years to come.
My primary method of decluttering is rereading my way through my bookshelves!  I love to reread, so this isn't a problem for me, although it's not necessarily the quickest way since I fit the rereads in between all the other books I want to read.  There are a lot of books that I felt meh about the first time I read them, so I feel like I need to give them one more chance before I let them go.  My feelings about a particular book have been known to change, but if I've read something twice and I still don't feel a spark, I'm getting rid of it.  There were also some that I really didn't like the first time I read them but for one reason or another just hadn't gotten rid of yet; those were the first to go in the donate pile.  I might have problems purging my TBR, but I seem to have way fewer qualms about getting rid of physical books, as much as I love them! 

I've been donating my used books to Goodwill.  I like the idea that they're going back out into the world for someone else to enjoy, instead of gathering dust in my house.  Over the past year, I've brought 24 books to my local Goodwill center, and I have 22 more books waiting to be brought over.  I still have more work to do, but this is a good start!

How many physical books do you own?  How often do your purge your collection?  Do you donate them, sell them, etc.?