BOOKS AND BLOGGING PHILOSOPHY

Philosophy is defined as a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought. Well, my theory is if I can add at least 10 new books to my Wishlist and move at least 5 older Wishlist selections to my TBR list every month, then life is a ice cream sundae. And if I can find those 10 books from at least 5 new blogs each month then that's the cherry on top.

NEW VISITORS AND OLD- WELCOME!

NEW VISITORS AND OLD- WELCOME!
Well, I've made it almost 5 years now, so for better or worse, I continue on. I tend to blog in spurts as the urge to be creative erupts. As I don't have an artistic bone in my body, you will see very few changes in the layouts. Hey, I'm a reader not an artist like so many of the awesome bloggers I follow. I know you don't always have the time but if you stopped and looked, take a half a minute and say your piece. Recommend a book that you have enjoyed or hated for that matter. Thank you to all who visit.
Oh, and I moved my Google Friend Connect info and share this buttons to the top, as without our friends, who are we?


Friday, January 4, 2019

Review Of Then She Was Gone By Lisa Jewell- 5*

Title: Then She Was Gone
                                         Author: Lisa Jewell
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Rating: * * * * *
Publishers: Thorndike Press Large Print
(May 2, 2018)
Hardback: 531 pages
FTC Disclosure: Public library

Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.
And then she was gone.
Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?

Ahhh, a very satisfying read!!! 
Although I thought I had figured out part of this mystery, I was pleased that the author threw in enough curves to keep me guessing but still stay true to the story. It was at times horrifying and totally had me wiping tears from my face while still offering a look at the resilience of the human soul.
All of the characters were well flushed out and even the minor ones were believable. The villains were evil but humanized by the events in their lives. In general, I don't like a story told from multiple viewpoints but it absolutely worked in this instance. 
As a parent, I can't imagine the unbelievable horror of having a child disappear without knowing what has happened but I'm not sure if Laurel had known the intimate details of Ellie's disappearance if it could have been any less horrifying. While there is a satisfying ending to the story, the trip is full of bumps and turns that makes it impossible to slow down or take a break until the end is reached.


Lisa Jewell is the internationally bestselling author of eighteen novels, including the New York Times bestseller Then She Was Gone, as well as I Found YouThe Girls in the Garden, and The House We Grew Up In. In total, her novels have sold more than two million copies across the English-speaking world and her work has also been translated into sixteen languages so far. Lisa lives in London with her husband and their two daughters. Connect with her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK and on Facebook @LisaJewellOfficial.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Review of Mary Poppins Returns- 4*


Directed and produced by Rob Marshall, "Mary Poppins Returns" also stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters with Colin Firth and Meryl Streep. The film, which introduces three new Banks children, played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and newcomer Joel Dawson, also features Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury. The film is set in 1930s depression-era London (the time period of the original novels) and is drawn from the wealth of material in PL Travers' additional seven books. In the story, Michael (Whishaw) and Jane (Mortimer) are now grown up, with Michael, his three children and their housekeeper, Ellen (Walters), living on Cherry Tree Lane. After Michael suffers a personal loss, the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins (Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with the optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Miranda), uses her unique magical skills to help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. Mary Poppins also introduces the children to a new assortment of colorful and whimsical characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy (Streep). The film is produced by Marshall, John DeLuca and Marc Platt. The screenplay is by David Magee based on The Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers with Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman writing all new songs and Shaiman composing an original score.


Rating: PG (for some mild thematic elements and brief action)
Genre: Kids & Family, Musical & Performing Arts, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: Rob Marshall
Written By: David Magee
In Theaters: Dec 19, 2018  Wide
Runtime: 130 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures



While I loved Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, Joel Dawson as Georgie Banks stole the show. He was so adorable. 
I probably have not seen the orginal Mary Poppins in 30 years so I'd probably forgotten more than I remembered. This wasn't a bad thing as I wasn't constantly comparing the two movies. I was able to just sit back and enjoy Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and the fabulous musical numbers. So grap a big bag of popcorn, a cold drink, and sit back and enjoy.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Review of The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware-3*

Title: The Woman in Cabin 10
Author: Ruth Ware 
Genre:  Psychological Thrillers

Rating: * * * 
Publishers: Gallery/Scout Press
(July 19, 2016)
Hardback: 352 pages
ISBN: 978-1501132933
FTC Disclosure: My copy

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo's stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo's desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong. 

First of all, loved this cover. There's something about rubbing your hand over a book cover and actually feeling it that always pleases me. But as "they" say, "You can't judge a book by it's cover." That said, I didn't love the book. It wasn't bad just not very thrilling more blah than anything else. It wasn't a quick read, I had to push myself to finish it. Not sure I would have if it hadn't been a book club book. I liked the premise of the book and the murder mystery was twisty enough to keep me reading but I didn't connect with any of the characters at all. I found Lo particularly unsympathetic and found her final act to be totally out of character with how she was throughout the entire book. There were too many moments in the book where I really didn't care what happened next to outweigh the twisty moments. 
While I figured out part of the who dun it, gotta admit I wondered for a very long time if the initial break in had anything to do with the murder.
All in all, not the best psychological thriller I've read but definitely not the worst.

Ruth Ware grew up in Lewes, in East Sussex. 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. Married, with two small children, In a Dark, Dark Wood is her debut thriller.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Review For NOT THE DUKE'S DARLING By Elizabeth Hoyt- 4*

Title: NOT THE DUKE'S DARLING

Series: Greycourt #1
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: * * * * 
Publishers: Forever
(Dec 18, 2018)
Paperback: 496 pages
FTC Disclosure: ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe--the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family--appears at the country house party she's attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins. Sins he'd much rather forget. But she's also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can't resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he'll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya's trust-by whatever means necessary.

Features a bonus novella from New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes!
 


While this isn't Maiden Lane (which I loved, loved, loved), I still enormously enjoyed the start of Hoyt's new series. Hoyt manages again to create some simply awesome heroines and heroes. Freya is definitely not the typical female from 1760 London nor is Christopher the typical Duke. 
It's always a treat to get to read a new book by Hoyt and it blew me away to realize that it was almost 500 pages long.(One of the things I love and hate about the Kindle is not getting a true feel of the length of a book. I  always feel kind of shocked and sad when I realize the story has ended.) It was a weekend read for me that seemed to speed by much, much to fast. Presumably, I slept and ate this weekend (I don't recall) but obviously I must have had the Kindle attached to my hand most of the time as I did finish it so quickly. I love Hoyt's details of life from both the upper class point of view and the staff's. It's rather like getting a Downton Abbey moment with Hoyt's particular recipe for suspense and romance blended to produce a meal that is totally satisfying and filling.
One additional note that I just must add, if you haven't read the Maiden Lane series, it is now complete. Picking up this series for a binge read would be so awesome and I almost hate (nah, not really) I've already read it all cause I never reread a series. Just not enough time to indulge in rereading no matter how great it was.

Greycourt
1. Not the Duke's Darling (2018)


Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weeklybestselling author of historical romance, including reader favorite, The Raven Prince.
Elizabeth was born in New Orleans but grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was fortunate to be able to travel extensively as a child, visiting St. Andrews, Scotland; Germany; France; and Belgium. She spent a year in Oxford, England and was a summer exchange student to Kawasaki, Japan.
Elizabeth has a BA in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and, as a result of having no clue what to do with her life thereafter, a career history as a barista, a (terrible) sales clerk, a Wisconsin Revenue Service data entry slave, and an archeological field work grunt. Fortunately, Elizabeth married relatively young and produced two children who kept her busy until her mid-thirties. At about this time, when her youngest was entering Kindergarten, Elizabeth’s mother hinted that perhaps Elizabeth should get a Real Job.

Sadly, Elizabeth was so delusional she thought writing a romance novel might qualify as a Real Job.
But! Five years later, to everyone’s surprise, she actually sold that romance novel (The Raven Prince) and began a rather successful career as a Romance Novelist. This was most fortunate since Elizabeth is singularly unqualified to do anything else but Make Up Stories. Since then Elizabeth has written over twenty books to critical acclaim including three contemporaries under the pen name Julia Harper.
Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with three dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the ever faithful Mr. Hoyt.



Thursday, December 6, 2018

Review For THE KISS QUOTIENT By Helen Hoang-4*

Title: The Kiss Quotient
Series: The Kiss Quotient#1
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Romance, Graphic Sex
Rating: * * * *
Publishers:  Berkley
(June 5, 2018)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN:  978-0451490803
FTC Disclosure: Library Book
A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
 


Wow! After seeing how many reviews this book had I almost didn't bother. 
First, as a courtesy to those that don't enjoy reading about graphic sex acts, while this is not erotica, it's close enough that it may make you uncomfortable. You can just skip these sections and you really won't lose much of the storyline. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and though it wasn't bust out loud laughingly funny, it did have me smiling through a great deal of it. I don't think I've read a story where the main character has Aspergers and it was pretty fascinating seeing how the mind of someone who has Aspergers works. (Author was diagnosed with this disorder.) I also loved how the author wove Michael's Vietnamese heritage  into the story. A definite plus to the storyline.
Most of all though, I loved the meshing of Michael and Stella. I loved how brave Stella was with putting herself out there and trying to understand how a relationship "should" work. I loved how gentle Michael was with her and understanding of her syndrome, though she did not know that he knew.
It feels kind of weird to use the term "sweet" when speaking of the romance in this book after the graphic sex scenes but this really was a sweet romantic read.
If there was one flaw, it was (I felt) that Michael acted out of character by not being outraged that Stella had basically paid his mother's medical bills. I thought it would have been more in character for there to have been at least a mini spat over this. One other minor flaw, this book so deserved a better cover. Generally, I pay little attention to covers as I read mostly  on my Kindle but this sweet story deserved more. This was a great read that had me up most of the night and I didn't miss those couple of extra hours of sleep at all.

Kiss Quotient
1. The Kiss Quotient (2018)

2. The Bride Test (2019)



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Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.