Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Wicked City

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that features soon to be published titles.

This week's pick: The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
Due out: January 17, 2017

New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams recreates the New York City of A Certain Agein this deliciously spicy adventure that mixes past and present and centers on a Jazz Age love triangle involving a rugged Prohibition agent, a saucy redheaded flapper, and a debonair Princetonian from a wealthy family.
When she discovers her husband cheating, Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves out of their SoHo loft and into a small apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. Her surprisingly attractive new neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement at night. Tenants have reported strange noises after midnight—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the place hid a speakeasy.
In 1924, Geneva "Gin" Kelly, a smart-mouthed flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin becomes entangled with Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.
Headstrong and independent, Gin is no weak-kneed fool. So how can she be falling in love with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent when she’s got Princeton boy Billy Marshall, the dashing son of society doyenne Theresa Marshall, begging to make an honest woman of her? While anything goes in the Roaring Twenties, Gin’s adventures will shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead—secrets that will echo from Park Avenue to the hollers of her Southern hometown.
As Ella discovers more about the basement speakeasy, she becomes inspired by the spirit of her exuberant predecessor, and decides to live with abandon in the wicked city too. . . .

Monday, October 24, 2016

TLC Book Tour: News of the World

When I saw that Paulette Jiles had written a new book, I knew that she was an author I had read before, but it had been a while, and I couldn't remember much beyond that. However, I love historical fiction novels, and News of the World sounded like a great read.

And I was right.  This is a slim novel, and didn't take me long to read the entire story of Captain Jefferson Kidd who spends his days traveling from one remote Texas town to another, reading news to the residents.  His news reading allows him to save money for the future, as he waits for his daughters to move to Texas.  Both daughters are still living in the South, but times are hard there after the Civil War's end. 

Captain Kidd finds himself escorting a ten year old girl to her aunt and uncle after she was held captive by the Kiowa for four years.  Her immediate family was murdered in the Indian raid, and she sees herself as Kiowa, not understanding many of the ways of the white man.

Kidd realizes that her aunt and uncle have no emotional interest in this girl, and see her only as an indentured servant.  Although taking on a child is the last thing he needs, Kidd must decide if he can leave her with these people, or if there is another option he can find.

I really enjoyed how the relationship between Captain Kidd and the girl developed, and their interactions as they learned more about each other.  This is a book that will stick with me for a long time, and is a fantastic story that I'll be thinking about for a long time.

Thanks to TLC Book tours for providing a copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

Visit Harper Collins to learn more about this title.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Five

TGIF! It's been a long week around here.  And the weather is getting cooler.  I thought the heat in my car was fixed, but today I had to turn it on again and was still cold when I got to work twenty minutes later.  Now I've got another appointment to fix it next week.  Until then I will just have to wear mittens while I drive around.

I also have managed to get my first cold of the season.  So, since it appears that winter is coming, I'm in a winter clothes buying mood.

1.  Cold Control Lite Stripe Puffer Jacket

This seems so retro to me and I love it.  Gap is always having sales, so if I could wait until it gets to be 40% off, I might cave and get it.

2.  Gap Beaded Utility Jacket

I'm also pretty easily influenced by anything that is beaded.  I've seen the up close pictures of the beading and think it is super cute.

3.  Gap Cold Control Max Women's Hooded Puffer Vest

A few weeks ago I was all into vests and ended up buying a burgundy colored one.  I like this one, too, which I didn't see when I was shopping around.  

Loft has everything 40% off right now.  I am really liking these marine colored cords, which are a little bit different than navy.

And this Prana jacket is fantastic as well.  

Maybe I don't even need the heat to get fixed since if I bought a warm coat I might still be nice and cozy while driving around.

How about you? What's caught your eye this week?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

TLC Book Tour: Just Fine With Caroline

Just Fine With Caroline is the perfect novel for someone looking for a nice story with a town full of interesting characters to get to know, a little romance, and some lovable pets as well.

Caroline moved back home a few years ago to help her father take care of her mother who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Caroline's life seems to be on hold because of this, although she does appreciate the time with her parents and her cousin Ava Dawn.  

Caroline runs her mother's bait shop and is enjoying the presence of Noah Cranwell, the newly-returned grandson of Jep Cranwell, who has some connection from long ago with Caroline's mom.  Caroline and Noah definitely have some chemistry together, but Noah has a few troubles of his own.

I loved the setting of this novel and the way Noblin included information about the Missouri Ozarks in her book.  The small town way of life is definitely something I understand, and I felt a little bit like a story like this could be written about my hometown.

The Butternut Lake novels and Cape Light novels are read-alikes to Just Fine With Caroline. I'm hoping that this is just the beginning of getting to know these Cold River residents and can't wait to learn more about them.

Thanks to TLC Books for providing a copy of the book for review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

Visit Harper Collins to learn more about Just Fine With Caroline. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

TLC Book Tour: Six Days in Leningrad

Six Days in Leningrad is a fantastic memoir, a pleasant surprise I wasn't expecting.  I have never heard of Paullina Simons before, but quickly jumped at the chance to review this book because of my love of memoirs.

Simons traveled to Russia with her father as part of the research she was conducting for an upcoming novel, The Bronze Horseman.  Born in Russia, Paullina lived there until she was ten, then moved to the United States. Although this trip back home was for research purposes, it was also an amazing experience for Paullina to go back to where she had lived when she was little.  

Places that Paullina had built up in her mind were not always as she remembered them. The home she has happy memories of is dilapidated looking.  In fact, although she has no recollection of her bedroom being in a kitchen, that is what she comes to realize when she sees her former bedroom as an adult. 

She tries to find her great-grandmother's grave with her father, a task they find extremely difficult and almost give up on, only to be rewarded with their driver's persistence in finding it.

These personal stories made Paullina's trip to Leningrad come to life for me.  I loved the way Simons wrote about her trip by incorporating her own childhood memories into this book.  

This is a fast read.  I flew through it quickly and also loved seeing the photographs that Paullina included

I know that fans of Simons other books will love this one, but even without knowing Simons previously, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks to TLC Books for providing a copy of this book for my review.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Six Days in Leningrad is published by Harper Collins and can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sleepwalker

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that highlights a soon to be published book.

This week's pick: The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian 
Due out: January 10, 2017

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire—the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night. 

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee's disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee's husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs' Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee's disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body? 
     Conjuring the strange and mysterious world of parasomnia, a place somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness, The Sleepwalker is a masterful novel from one of our most treasured storytellers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Would the Newbery Committee Please Read These?

I feel like I am usually so bogged down with books I need to review that I never get around to reading a lot of the children's books that are on my TBR.

This past weekend I camped out on the couch with a cold one morning and enjoyed two fantastic books.

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet was a book I had heard about as a possible Newbery contender a few weeks ago.  Upon reading it, I implore the Newbery committee to consider it. I loved it.

Set in 1989 Noah and his family move from the United States to East Germany where the Berlin Wall is still standing. Noah's parents change their names as they leave the United States and now Jonah (as Noah is now known) is told to keep quiet in his new home.  Noah has a stutter which makes him stick out a bit everywhere he goes, and this is also the case in his new home.  

He meets a neighbor his age, Claudia, and gets to know her. But when her grandmother refuses to let the two spend time together, they are devastated.  

There are lots of secrets and the East Germans are very suspicious of everyone fearing for their own safety.  The 1989 setting is also important as it is near the time when the Berlin Wall comes down.

I felt a bit as though I was watching an episode of The Americans while reading this one and loved the way Nesbet incorporated so much history in this book without it coming across as preachy or educational.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds was my second great read of the weekend.  Ghost tries out of the track team one day. He's got talent but he doesn't have running shoes or any clothes to wear to practice except jeans that are baggy and belted tightly.  The coach decides to take a chance on him, telling him that he can be on the team as long as he stays out of trouble.

Which of course is impossible for Ghost since there's a kid at school who feels the need to pick on him.  Ghost is dealing with some heavy stuff: his dad's absence, not having very much money, and not feeling like he fits in.

Reynolds does such a great job of creating Ghost's character. I loved Ghost. I loved the coach and I loved that Ghost got to be part of an amazing team.

This is another one I couldn't put down. 

I've already passed both books on to friends and can't wait to hear what they think. And I am hoping that the Newbery Committee takes a long hard look at these books, too.

Monday, October 17, 2016

TLC Blog Tour: Spot 12: The Story of Birth

Spot 12: The Story of a Birth by Jenny Jaeckel is a graphic novel that chronicles one mother's scary experience in the NICU after it is determined that there was potentially something wrong with her baby.

Although I've been meaning to try reading a graphic novel, I have never actually done it.  So, Spot 12 was a reading experience that was out of my comfort zone, but one I enjoyed.

I admit to not spending a great deal of time looking at the illustrations, but I really enjoyed the story. 

My oldest child spent over one hundred days in the hospital in 2005 after she was diagnosed with stage IV hepatoblastoma (liver cancer) and endured eight rounds of chemo and an eleven hour resection surgery among many other procedures.  Reading Jaeckel's account brought back some not so pleasant memories, but also allowed me to relate to this mother and her time in the hospital in a way many other readers probably (and hopefully) cannot.

I would encourage readers who haven't tried a graphic novel before to give this one a chance.  I feel like the story is interesting enough that even if you don't normally read graphic novels, this is one many readers will enjoy.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book for my review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Salon: Another Weekend Is Almost Over

How do the weekend seem to go so quickly?  Here it is Sunday already and I'm not at all prepared for the upcoming week.

Yesterday was the conference XC meet.  Both Big Sister and Middle Sister participate, so it was a big day at our house.

Middle Sister finished a two mile run in 13:24 and took sixth place in the race.  She has had a great first season in this sport.

Big Sister has been running varsity much of the year - as a freshman. She had a personal best yesterday, too, with 22:45 for her 3.1 mile run.  The girls team took second place and run again on Thursday. If they finish in the top three teams they will go on to the state tournament.

Today we had church, Little Sister's soccer game, and a Green Bay Packers game to watch. Big Sister helped out by folding all the clean laundry, so at least it is in organized stacks.  

There is a beautiful tree in our neighborhood right now, and as I look in our backyard most of our trees are getting very yellow.  It must be fall!

I'm looking forward to starting up my exercise class again tomorrow morning. We've been off for a week, and it's great to do that three mornings a week and be in a routine.

I've also got several books that I've read and need to review.  There are so many great titles coming out right now and absolutely no way for me to get to everything I want to read.

How was your weekend? And what's up for your upcoming week?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Five

It's Friday!  We've got a day of professional development planned for us at school and later tonight a home football game where Little Sister will perform a cheerleading routine at half time.  

Yesterday morning it was a brisk thirty degrees, which might not have been so bad except my heater doesn't work in my van.  I'm taking it in today to get fixed because I just don't think it's going to warm up a lot any time soon.

I've had a little time to do some online browsing this week, and this is what I've come up with:

1.  Podcast In The Dark - my friend Kristin recommended this podcast to me. It was in production prior to the remains of Jacob Wetterling being found, and chronicles the case of his disappearance.  My middle daughter was in the car with me when I started listening and now she's hooked, too.

2.  Terrell Cardigan - I'm not sure what it is about camo, but I love it.  I have a short sleeve T that I've been wearing with a denim jacket for fall, but if I had this cardigan I could wear camo all year long.

3.  Curvy Skinny Corduroy Pants - I have a pair of these from Loft in a burgundy color from last year and love them.  Right now they're on sale for $39.50 in a few different colors. I'm loving this marine blue.

4.  Mixed Stripe Wool Cardigan - Anthropologie is having a great sale right now but unfortunately this sweater doesn't qualify for it.  I'm going to be keeping my eyes on this one.

5.  Knuffle Bunny Fabric - Sadly I have probably spent more time looking at this fabric than anything else online all week.  In my defense, the kids at school are crazy for Mo Willems, and this quilting fabric themed after his Knuffle Bunny series of books is super cute.  I might have to look into having a quilt made for me with it.  

So how about you? What's caught your eye this week?