The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own
Book Review / December 28, 2017

Title: The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own Genre: Essays Publisher: St. Martin's Press Release Date: January 10th, 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 220 Source: NetGalley Editor: Veronica Chambers Michelle Obama is unlike any other First Lady in American History. From her first moments on the public stage, she has challenged traditional American notions about what it means to be beautiful, to be strong, to be fashion-conscious, to be healthy, to be First Mom, to be a caretaker and hostess, and to be partner to the most powerful man in the world. What is remarkable is that, at 52, she is just getting started. While many books have looked at Michelle Obama from a fashion perspective, no book has fully explored what she means to our culture. The Meaning of Michelle does just that, while offering a parting gift to a landmark moment in American history. In addition to a tribute to Michelle Obama, this book is also a rollicking, lively dinner party conversation about race, class, marriage, creativity, womanhood and what it means to be American today. Contributors include: Ava DuVernay, Veronica Chambers, Benilde Little, Damon Young, Alicia Hall Moran and…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Rainbow Valley
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / December 26, 2017

Title: Rainbow Valley Series: Anne of Green Gables, #7 Author: L. M. Montgomery Genre: Classic Publisher: Starfire Release Date: July 1st, 1985 Format: eBook Pages: 256 Source: Owned First Published: 1919 Anne Shirley is grown up, has married her beloved Gilbert and now is the mother of six mischievous children. These boys and girls discover a special place all their own, but they never dream  of what will happen when the strangest family  moves into an old nearby mansion. The Meredith clan is  two boys and two girls, with minister father but  no mother — and a runaway girl named Mary Vance. Soon the Meredith kids join Anne’s children in their private hideout to carry out their plans to save Mary from the orphanage, to help the lonely minister find happiness, and to keep a pet rooster from the soup pot. There’s always an adventure brewing in the sun-dappled world of Rainbow Valley. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   As you might have noticed, I’m a bit behind on my #AnneReadAlong2017 reading! Life has a way of changing our free time and priorities sometimes, doesn’t it? In this particular case, while I found Rainbow Valley endearing and adorable, it was a really slow read for me. I found…

The Summer That Melted Everything
Book Review / December 1, 2017

Title: The Summer That Melted Everything Author: Tiffany McDaniel Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin Release Date: July 4th, 2017 Format: Paperback Pages: 320 Source: From Author First Published: July 26th, 2016 Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil. Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town. When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperature as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestle with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change…

The Hidden Face
Book Review / November 25, 2017

Title: The Hidden Face Series: Fifth Unmasking, #1 Author: S.C. Flynn Genre: Fantasy Publisher: The Hive Release Date: November 25th, 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 350 Source: Author Request A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask. Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be? Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires. The Hidden Face is an epic fantasy novel drenched in the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles and is the first book in…

Between Shades of Gray
Book Review / November 16, 2017

Title: Between Shades of Gray Author: Ruta Sepetys Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Penguin Audio Release Date: March 22nd, 2011 Format: Audiobook Pages: 344 Source: Owned Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne’s House of Dreams
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / September 14, 2017

Title: Anne's House of Dreams Series: Anne of Green Gables, #5 Author: L.M. Montgomery Genre: Classic Publisher: Starfire Release Date: November 1st, 1993 Format: eBook Pages: 248 Source: Owned First Published: 1917 Anne’s own true love, Gilbert Blythe, is finally a doctor, and in the sunshine of the old orchard, among their dearest friends, they are about to speak their vows. Soon the happy couple will be bound for a new life together and their own dream house, on the misty purple shores of Four Winds Harbor. A new life means fresh problems to solve, fresh surprises. Anne and Gilbert will make new friends and meet their neighbors: Captain Jim, the lighthouse attendant, with his sad stories of the sea; Miss Cornelia Bryant, the lady who speaks from the heart — and speaks her mind; and the tragically beautiful Leslie Moore, into whose dark life Anne shines a brilliant light. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon     Wow– I thought I would never see y’all again by mid-last-week. I came down with a summer cold (worst), and now with changes at work and some personal things we are deep in the busiest time of the year for me. But it feels…

Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand
Book Review / August 30, 2017

Title: Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand Author: Leela Punyaratabandhu Genre: Cookbook Publisher: Ten Speed Press Release Date: May 9th 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 368 Source: NetGalley From one of the most respected authorities on Thai cooking comes this beautiful and deeply personal ode to Bangkok, the top-ranked travel destination in the world.  Every year, more than 16 million visitors flock to Thailand s capital city, and leave transfixed by the vibrant culture and unforgettable food they encounter along the way. Thai cuisine is more popular today than ever, yet there is no book that chronicles the real food that Thai people eat every day until now. In Bangkok, award-winning author Leela Punyaratabandhu offers 120 recipes that capture the true spirit of the city from heirloom family dishes to restaurant classics to everyday street eats to modern cosmopolitan fare. Beautiful food and location photography will make this a must-have keepsake for any reader who has fallen under Bangkok s spell. (via Goodreads) Amazon In right under the wire! My 4th #ARCAugust review! Finally making a dent in that TBR. 🙂 My Better Half and I love to cook and explore new recipes. We are constantly checking out new cookbooks…

Morning Star
Book Review / July 17, 2017

Title: Morning Star Series: Red Rising, #3 Author: Pierce Brown Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Del Rey Release Date: February 9th, 2016 Format: eBook Pages: 524 Source: Owned Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within. Finally, the time has come. But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender. (via Goodreads) Amazon   This is a review for Morning Star, the third book in the Red Rising trilogy. Spoilers will be marked, but read with caution if you have…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne of the Island
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / July 12, 2017

Title: Anne of the Island Series: Anne of Green Gables, #3 Author: L. M. Montgomery Genre: Classic Publisher: Kindle Edition Release Date: October 11th, 2015 Format: eBook Pages: 278 Source: Owned First Published: 1915 New adventures lie ahead as Anne Shirley packs her bags, waves good-bye to childhood, and heads for Redmond College. With old friend Prissy Grant waiting in the bustling city of Kingsport and frivolous new pal Philippa Gordon at her side, Anne tucks her memories of rural Avonlea away and discovers life on her own terms, filled with surprises…including a marriage proposal from the worst fellow imaginable, the sale of her very first story, and a tragedy that teaches her a painful lesson. But tears turn to laughter when Anne and her friends move into an old cottage and an ornery black cat steals her heart. Little does Anne know that handsome Gilbert Blythe wants to win her heart, too. Suddenly Anne must decide if she’s ready for love… (via Goodreads) Amazon   After reading, and being a bit disappointed with, Anne of Avonlea I wasn’t expecting much from Anne of the Island. I had expected that the magic and charm of Anne of Green Gables faded after book one; that it was all a fluke! Thank goodness…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne of Avonlea
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / June 14, 2017

Title: Anne of Avonlea Series: Anne of Green Gables, #2 Author: L. M. Montgomery Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Puffin Classics Release Date: December 1st, 1997 Format: Paperback Pages: 336 Source: Owned First Published: 1909 At sixteen, Anne is grown up…almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else’s romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behaviour of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Oh, Anne. You are so incredibly endearing. Continuing my #AnneReadAlong2017, I ventured into Anne of Avonlea. While I am still completely in love with Anne Shirley herself, as well as Miss Lavendar and Paul Irving, there are a few more…

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