My Last Reads of 2017

 

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Summary: Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways. – via good reads

My thoughts: This was another great read by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It was an incredibly interesting story, and it gave you a great group of strong characters. It has everything that makes a book a great read, from good characters, some romance, and even some twists that give it a little mystery.

Favorite quote: “Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”

Should you read it? Definitely yes! 

Winter Storms – Elin Hilderbrand 

Summary: Some of the stormy weather of the past few seasons seems to have finally lifted for the Quinns. After a year apart, and an ill-fated affair with the Winter Street Inn’s old Santa Claus, Mitzi has returned to rule the roost; Patrick is about to be released from prison; Kevin has a successful new business and is finally ready to tie the knot with Isabelle; and best of all, there’s hopeful news about Bart, who has been captured by enemy forces in Afghanistan.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few dark clouds on the horizon. Kelley has recently survived a health scare; Jennifer can’t quite shake her addiction to the drugs she used as a crutch while Patrick was in jail; and Ava still can’t decide between the two lovers that she’s been juggling with limited success. However, if there’s one holiday that brings the Quinn family together to give thanks for the good times, it’s Christmas. And this year promises to be a celebration unlike any other as the Quinns prepare to host Kevin and Isabelle’s wedding at the inn. But as the special day approaches, a historic once-in-a-century blizzard bears down on Nantucket, threatening to keep the Quinns away from the place–and the people–they love most. Before the snow clears, the Quinns will have to survive enough upheavals to send anyone running for the spiked eggnog, in this touching novel that proves that when the holidays roll around, you can always go home again. – via good reads

My thoughts: This is the third installment of the series and boy did this one throw me two curve balls that I didn’t see coming. This series has made me want to take a trip to Nantucket this winter to see if its a beautiful as described! I am a Marthas Vineyard girl myself as I spent my summers growing up there – but the way Elin Hildebrand describes the island it sounds so beautiful. I just ordered the 4th book so I’m hoping its here soon! This is a perfect series to read around the holidays!

Favorite quote: “When you’re in love, every day is like a present you get to open.”

Should you read it? Yep. But only if you’ve read the previous two books!

Behind Closed Doors – B.A. Paris

Summary: Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie? – via good reads

My thoughts: This book was a pretty quick read because although the description kind of gives away the story, it is full of thrill which made me want to know what happens for Jack & Grace. Although I don’t think any other book I have read has made me hate a character as much as this one.

Favorite quote: None.

Should you read it? I am torn. It was a book that I thought was good because it was suspenseful but isn’t on the top of my list of “yes you should read”. Part of this is because I hated Jack SO MUCH.

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The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Summary: An astonishing novel about redemption and forgiveness from the “amazingly talented writer” (Huffington Post) and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult.

Some stories live forever . . .

Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t.

Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shame­ful secret and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths to which we will go in order to keep the past from dictating the future. – via good reads

My thoughts: Besides being a pretty long book, it was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I love books that are fiction but bring in my favorite part of history which is the Holocaust. Jodi Picoult is such a great author and this book definitely is in the top of ones by hers that I’ve read.

Favorite quote: There are all sorts of losses people suffer – from the small to the large. You can lose you keys, your glasses, your virginity. You can lose your head, you can lose your heart, you can lose your mind. You can relinquish your home to move into assisted living, or have a child move overseas, or see a spouse vanish into dementia. Loss is more than just death, and grief is the gray shape-shifter of emotion.

Should you read it? YES! YES! YES! Did I mention yes?!

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Book Review: The Couple Next Door

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Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Genre: Thriller
Publication Date: July 14, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

 

Description

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors—a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco  soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Review

I picked this up after seeing a few recommendations from fellow bloggers, since at the moment I am really into these types of stories. My soon-to-be sister in law and me keep giving each other recommendations and she read this one too. While the story keeps you guessing throughout the whole book, the characters were not my favorite & they did not impress me that much. But what was more important than the characters was the way the author gets right into the story and takes us on a crazy journey of who did what and why.

I was glued to the book from the get go and it only took my 3 (work) days to read because the way its written keeps you completely engaged in the story. For once I didn’t guess what could have possibly happened, and was taken by surprise towards the end when you start finding out these surprises you never thought were going to happen. I definitely recommend this book to you!

Quotes

“…nobody makes that much money without taking advantage of somebody. It’s much easier to make money if you don’t care who you hurt. If you have scruples, it’s much harder to get rich.”

“He stares at her back and thinks about how much she has changed since the baby was born. It was entirely unexpected. They’d looked forward to the baby so much together–decorating the nursery, shopping for baby things, attending the birth-preparation classes, feeling the baby kick in her tummy. They had been some of the happiest months of his life. It had never occurred to him that it would be hard afterward. He hadn’t seen it coming.”

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday Friends! I cannot believe that we have only a week left until Christmas weekend! I have so much to do so little time, but I am in the merriest of moods because I love nothing more than this time of year! Except the artic temps we have here in Massachusetts, I don’t know how it is where yall live but its so cold here it hurts. Here’s a few things I’m loving this week, enjoy!

  • Our Christmas Cards! This was my first year using shutterfly and I LOVE them. They seriously provide the most beautiful cards, from start to finish, and the creation process is fun and simple! I love receiving and sending them out and I have so much fun creating them.

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  • Ugly Hat Yankee Swap: Family friends of ours have a holiday party every year with a $15 limit for yankee swap, it is so fun and one of my favorite events we have during the holidays! This year instead of ugly sweaters, we have to wear ugly hats! I’ll be making my own headband for it, here are some of my fav’s from pinterest!
  • These Brown Butter Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies are spot on. My friend Holly made them for a  cookie swap she had and let us girlies have some on our girls night….I ate 4….and I will be making these this weekend!
  • Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand. I love all her books and this one is perfect to read around the holidays!

In A Dark Dark Wood

Weekends this time of year always seem to go by way to fast. I am trying so hard to capture every moment because the older I get the more I feel like time goes by in a blink of an eye. I finally finished ‘In A Dark, Dark Wood’ last week, here’s my thoughts on it…

Title: In A Dark, Dark Wood
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Thriller
Publication Date: July 30, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

Description

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

Review

I picked up this book despite some review that it wasn’t one of Ruth Wares better books. But I found myself really into the book. The lead character, Nora, wasn’t my cup of tea – I found her very unlikeable.  The book starts off by her getting invited to the hen (a bachelorette for you who didn’t know) of her old best friend Clare, whom she hasn’t spoken to in 10 years. She decides to go along, even though she is really unsure of her decision. Just like other books in this genre I couldn’t put this book down, there were many nights that I laid in bed unable to stop reading – just needing to get through one more chapter. In the beginning it is a little hard to get into but once you get to a certain point you won’t want to put it down. That being said, I would recommend this book to you guys, as it is an easy and enjoyable read.

The Blogtember Challenge Day Three: Summer Favorites

This summer has by far been one of the best summers with so many great memories to look back on, so here are some of my favorites!

Book: Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline.

Recipe: Grilled Honey BBQ Bacon Chicken Kabobs

TV Show: Big Brother, this is my guilty please EVERY summer.

Song: Song for Another Time by Old Dominion, seeing them live at country fest for the second year and hearing this song live was amazing!

Memory: My two favorite memories from this summer were very easy to pinpoint. First would be out trip to Bar Harbor, best most relaxing vacation we have been on since we have started dating! And coming in at a close second is Country Fest, which is always a summer favorite in my book.

Do you have any summer favorites that will be sure to stay with you for a while?

Until Next Time,

Rebecca

What I’ve Read: March 2016

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Since starting the #popsugarbookchallange I have been reading so much more. I am trying to make time every night to read, and it helps that Bobby has been watching his shows that I cannot get into (such as Dual Survivor). I have been able to check off 5 books from the list this month…woot woot. I also love reading other blogging ladies selections of books so I decided to start linking up with them for their Reading Lately link up and I’m super excited!

Here’s what I read this month:

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes ★★★★★ This book was so good. I really enjoyed the main character Louisa Clark she is one determined woman and I value her determination with helping the other main character Will Traynor. I suggest this to anyone looking for a book to read, but be warned tears will be involved. I will be picking up the sequel to this soon. ALSO this is becoming a movie this summer, so excited! BTW this books was for ‘A book that’s becoming a movie this year’.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green ★★ I chose this book for the ‘A book about a road trip’ selection, since I have read almost all of John Green’s books I was hoping to enjoy this one as well. But I didn’t. Colin Singleton is just not a good character, unless you like whiny little boys. Because I didn’t like him the whole book just didn’t do it for me.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige ★★★ This book was for the ‘A book based on a fairy tale’ selection and it didn’t disappoint. It was a little hard to get into because if you are familiar with the original Wizard of Oz, the twist throws you a bit. By the end I was glad I picked this book for this category. Now I just need to read the rest of the series. I also have read that they are thinking about making this series into a TV show, I would totally watch it.

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot ★★★★ This book I picked up when I walked into the book store for my ‘The first book you see in the book store’. I loved The Princess Diaries and was like let me give this a shot and knock one of the categories off my list. It was a good book, but I wish it would have focused more on the wedding and had a little more adult content, it definitely should be classified as a young adult novel. Overall it was a good read.

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A Man of His Own by Susan Wilson ★★★★★ I chose this as my ‘book from a library’ (aka the library of my mother) she said it was a great book. I loved history and animals and the fact that this was about both was why I picked this out of all the options my mother had. It shows how the unconditional love for and from a pet is sometimes all you need. I really really liked this book.

Until Next Time,

Rebecca

Michelle Lately

 

 

2016 Reading Challenge: Challenge Accepted

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Every Year PopSugar provides its readers with a Reading Challenge, last years I didn’t quite make it through the whole list but this year I am determined. I have a slight issue with reading books that are out of my interest, but this challenge helps you pick a diverse range of books. The best part is that they don’t choose the book for you, they give you the category and you can go ahead and pick the books you want to read.

To hold myself accountable for the list I have it pinned to my board at work. PopSugar has also created a hashtag so you can keep track on social media, #popsugarreadingchallange.

Since I am so book obsessed, I have already picked the books I want to read. I have had a long book wish list for a while and now is the time to check some of the books off that list. Check out my  list below (in some categories I have a few I want to read), and if you’ve read any let me know what you thought of them!

A book based on a fairy tale: Cinder, Dorothy Must Die, Beauty, Briar Rose, September Girls, Tiger Lily, Mirror Mirror

A National Book Award Winner: Redeployment

A YA bestseller: Eleanor and Park

A book you haven’t read since high school: To Kill a Mockingbird

A book set in your home state: Summer by the Sea, Sing You Home

A book translated to English: Anna Karenina

A romance set in the future: Clockwise

A book set in Europe: Paris Letters

A book that’s under 150 pages: Poke the Box, Lifeboat No. 8, Large Than Life

A New York Times bestseller: Cress, The Nightinggale

A book that’s becoming a movie this year: Me Before You

A book recommend by someone you just met: STILL NEEDED (Recommendations welcome!)

A self-improvement book: The Five Love Languages 

A book you can finish in a day: Tuck Everlasting

A book written by a celebrity: The Perfect Letter, Someday Someday Maybe

A political memoir: I Am Malala

A book at least 100 years older than you: Sense and Sensibility

A book that’s more than 600 pages: Winter

A book from Oprah’s Book Club: Wild

A science-fiction novel: Never Let Me Go

A book recommended by a family member: The Girl on the Train

A graphic novel: STILL NEEDED

A book that is published in 2016: Most Wanted

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation: STILL NEEDED

A book that takes place during the Summer: All Summer Long

A book and its prequel: The Rosie Project & The Rosie Effect

A murder mystery: The Cuckoo’s Calling

A book written by a comedian: Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

A dystopian novel: Divergent

A book with a blue cover: Beautiful Ruins

A book of poetry: The Complete Poems

The first book you see in the bookstore: STILL NEEDED

A classic from the 20th century: Rebecca

A book from the library: STILL NEEDED

An autobiography: Conquering Choas

A book about a road trip: An Abundance of Katherines

A book about culture you’re unfamiliar with: STILL NEEDED

A satirical book: STILL NEEDED

A book that takes place on an island: The Summer Book

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy: Girls Who Travel

I’d love to know what you guys are reading! If you have any recommendations for the ones I still need please share!

Until Next Time,
Rebecca