Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review - Stuck in Downward Dog Chantel Guertin

Stuck in Downward DogStuck in Downward Dog by Chantel Guertin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Mara is stuck in a rut. At twenty-eight she is working a dead end job at a plastic surgeons office, has just been dumped and is watching her friends live their seemingly perfect lives. She had one thing going for her and that was her weekly yoga session with her lifelong best friends, Olivia and Mitz, but that too falls apart. In attempt to get out of her rut she creates her OM List, a list of things she wants to improve in her life. Get a better job, a better body, become well read, learn to cook and decorate and host a dinner party. Things go from bad to worse for Mara as she attempts to be perfect like her friends and check things on her OM list, in the end though, she learns to embrace who she is and slowly begins to get herself out of her rut.

Stuck In Downward Dog, is light chic lit - entertaining and an easy read but not much more. Mara is about the only likable character and I kept questioning why she was even friends with Olivia and Mitz, they were horrible selfish people. Bradford, her other friend, was much more likable and I enjoyed his role in the novel. Mara's sister, Victoria, is just as horrible as her friends, swooping in to save Mara but really filling her own selfish needs. Mara's OM list was ridiculous in that she gave herself and extremely short amount of time to complete her goals, a perfect body in 6 weeks - ha - good luck with that. I also hated that the author constantly made Mara sound like a whale, despite that she was a size ten. It was a little bit Bridget Jones, just not as well done. Despite, everything I did find the book relatable - Mara was struggling with things many twenty-somethings struggle with and that I could identify with. Overall this book was just ok, however, I did think the ending sort of redeemed it and I found Mara to be much more likable and realistic, even her friends became just a tish more likable.

I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley in exchange for a fair review.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TBR Tuesday - The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

I won, I won I won I won! I won a Goodreads first reads give away today - I tend to get overly excited about these! So today's TBR Tuesday will highlight The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden - a Goodreads first reads giveaway! I will read this right after receiving it so watch for a review soon!
When prestigious plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister. Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not a proper southern belle she appears to be with ambitions of loving who she chooses and Sarah equally hides behind the façade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible and it will leave you enraptured until the very end. Told through alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius’ wife, Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift is an intimate portrait that will leave readers breathless. (taken from Goodreads)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Feature & Follow - Favorite Childrens Books

I had lots of favorite books as a child - I remember my dad reading one to us at night, but have no idea what it even was any more but I loved it! I also had an Adventures of Black Beauty set that I read over and over and over - I have always loved horsey books! Berenstein Bears were a staple! I got excited every time the Troll Book Order form was handed out at school and still have many of the books I got from them - two of my favorites were The Ordinary Princess and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review Keeping Score by Jami Deise

Keeping ScoreKeeping Score by Jami Deise
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sports brings out the best and the worst in people and Shannon Stevens sees it all as her son Sam plays his first season on a travel baseball team. This book isn't something I would typically pick up, however, I found it to be an entertaining and decently written novel. Even if you don't know baseball this novel, explains plays and how the game works in way that is not to technical or to dumbed down, it was just right. The conflicts between the women were realistic without being over the top or to cliche. Obviously, the author has spent time following traveling teams! Towards the middle and end the novel began to lag and the author gave too much detail about individual games and plays, I found myself quickly skimming the play by plays to get to the real action between Shannon, her friends, family and potential boyfriends - I found that to be the real story. Overall I enjoyed this book and think if you are a parent with children on traveling teams you would really enjoy Keeping Score.
I received a copy of this book from Chick Lit Central in exchange for a fair review.

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To Be Read Tuesday Help for the Haunted By John Searles

Today you can get to your local bookseller, library or get on your Kindle or Nook and purchase this to be read feature.  Today is Help for the Haunted's release date and I wish I was running out to buy it but it is going to have to sure how long I can hold out though!
Help for the Haunted has been highly recommended by Wally Lamb and Gillian Flynn, two of my favorite authors, so it has to be good, right!  Hailed as a creepy, unique, suspenseful and compelling read, I can't wait to get my hands on it!

It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter.

As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family's past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years. (taken from Goodreads)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

To Be Read Tuesday Riders by Jilly Cooper & a Giveaway!

I love horsey books and today's featured book has been on my TBR list for way to long for any horsey book, but my library doesn't have it and I haven't found it in any discount bins!  It's an oldie, first published in 1985, but based on reviews its a fun read that includes, horses, 80s fashion, sex, scandals and romance!  Any one have a copy of Riders by Jilly Cooper they want to part with!

Also - don't forget to enter my Blogiversary GIVEAWAY, click HERE to enter! 

Set against the glorious Cotswold countryside and the playgrounds of the world, Jilly Cooper's Rutshire Chronicles, Riders, Rivals, Polo, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous, Appassionata and Score!, offer an intoxicating blend of skulduggery, swooning romance, sexual adventure and hilarious high jinks.

Riders, the first and steamiest in the series, takes the lid off international showjumping, a sport where the brave horses are almost human, but the humans behave like animals.

The brooding hero, gypsy Jake Lovell, under whose magic hands the most difficult horse or woman becomes biddable, is driven to the top by his loathing of the beautiful bounder and darling of the show ring, Rupert Campbell-Black. Having filched each other's horses, and fought and fornicated their way around the capitals of Europe, the feud between the two men finally erupts with devastating consequences during the Los Angeles Olympics. 

(taken from Goodreads)

Monday, September 9, 2013

The After Wife Gigi Levangie Grazer

The After WifeThe After Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hannah Bernal is a forty-something producer, mother and recent widow - a title no one is Santa Monica, California knows how to deal with. Luckily, Hannah has her grief team, her gay best friend and producing partner Jay, Chloe, the organic dog toting neighbor and Amiee, an over the hill actress still waiting for her big break.
This novel is light romp through the first year of widowhood, don't expect a tear jerker, do expect lots of quirky characters and lots of pop culture references. The writing was solid, it kept my interest and it had a few unexpected moments that added to its appeal. If you are looking for a fun, light read check out this novel.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Its My Blogiversary and a Giveaway!

Two months ago this blog began and to celebrate I am giving away a copy of  The After Wife
(watch for my review later today) by Gigi Levangie Grazer.  Giveaway opens at 12:00 September 10th and closes at mid-night September 16th!  Good Luck!

The After Wife 


Gigi Levangie Grazer, the New York Times bestselling author of The Starter Wife, returns with a hilarious and spirited tale of love—both lost and found.

L.A. is no place for widows. This is what forty-four-year-old Hannah Bernal quickly discovers after the tragic death of her handsome and loving husband, John. Misery and red-rimmed eyes are little tolerated in the land of the beautiful. But life stumbles on: Hannah’s sweet three-year-old daughter, Ellie, needs to be dropped off at her overpriced preschool, while Hannah herself must get back to work in order to pay the bills on “Casa Sugar,” the charming Spanish-styled bungalow they call home.

Fortunately, Hannah has her “Grief Team” for emotional support: earth mother and fanatical animal lover Chloe, who finds a potential blog post in every moment; aspiring actress Aimee, who has her cosmetic surgeon on speed dial; and Jay, Hannah’s TV producing partner, who has a penchant for Mr. Wrong. But after a series of mishaps and bizarre occurrences, one of which finds Hannah in a posh Santa Monica jail cell, her friends start to fear for her sanity. To make matters worse, John left their financial affairs in a disastrous state. And when Hannah is dramatically fired from her latest producing gig, she finds herself in danger of losing her house, her daughter, and her mind.

One night, standing in her backyard under a majestic avocado tree, in the throes of grief, Hannah breaks down and asks, “Why?” The answer that comes back—Why not?—begins an astounding journey of discovery and transformation that leads Hannah to her own truly extraordinary life after death.

 (taken from Goodreads) 

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

To-Be-Read Tuesday - on Wednesday this week!

Ahhhh, I know it is Wednesday!  The long weekend has totally screwed me up and I meant to post this last week and didn't get to and this week is seriously messed up so just to get this started its going to be To Be Read Tuesday on Wednesday!  But I promise, it will be on Tuesday from now on!

This is my first weekly meme! I even made a sticker (thanks to picmonkey)! On Tuesdays I will highlight books I am excited to read, but due to an overly long to be read list and a pile of ARCs they have to wait, sadly.  These books could be new releases, oldies but goodies or ARCs, the sky is the limit!  I invite you to join me in highlighting books on your TBR as well!  

Hannah Kent's debut novel, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life   depends upon the stories told by others?
(taken from Goodreads)

I read an interview with the author recently and learned that this book was researched as part of her doctoral dissertation (if I remember correctly) and it does sound like it was researched very very thoroughly.   I love historical fiction (history nerd here) and hate reading a book that is not authentic or poorly researched, Burial Rites sounds like it will satisfy my requirements!  Currently, the novel has 4.22 rating on Goodreads and the reviews are great, I can't wait to pick this up from the library.  I should probably reserve it now! 

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?