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Monday, May 21, 2018

A Handbook For Beautiful People: A Novel by Jennifer Spruit

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Winner of an IPPY award – bronze in popular fiction

When twenty-two year old Marla finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she wishes for a family, but faces precariousness: an uncertain future with her talented, exacting boyfriend, Liam; constant danger from her roommate, Dani, a sometime prostitute and entrenched drug addict; and the unannounced but overwhelming needs of her younger brother, Gavin, whom she has brought home for the first time from deaf school. Forcing her hand is Marla’s fetal alcohol syndrome, which sets her apart but also carries her through. When Marla loses her job and breaks her arm in a car accident, Liam asks her to marry him. It’s what she’s been waiting for: a chance to leave Dani, but Dani doesn’t take no for an answer. Marla stays strong when her mother shows up drunk, creates her own terms when Dani publicly shames her, and then falls apart when Gavin attempts suicide. It rains, and then pours, and when the Bow River finally overflows, flooding Marla’s entire neighbourhood, she is ready to admit that she wants more for her child than she can possibly give right now. Marla’s courage to ask for help and keep her mind open transforms everyone around her, cementing her relationships and proving to those who had doubted her that having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder does not make a person any less noble, wise or caring.

Praise
“Wonderful, heartfelt, heartbreaking–I can’t recommend this novel highly enough.” –Annabel Lyon

“Jennifer Spruit has such a distinct, poignant voice, and her brilliant debut novel A Handbook for Beautiful People highlights this perfectly. Through sharp characters and their complications, a driven narrative develops, enveloping us before we have a chance to judge. Jump into this novel. It will sweep you up.” –Joseph Boyden

my thoughts:

Love, love, love!! This book was an absolute treat to read!

A Handbook For Beautiful People is a wonderful story about love, complicated relationships, and the ever changing narrative of life.  The writing is fantastic! Rich details and a strong narrative that carries the story forward in such an open and intriguing manner; this book will have you turning pages faster and faster in order to find out what will happen next.  As for the characters themselves - unforgettable! You can't help but fall in deep with this diverse and fascinating cast who are overwhelmed by one drama and after another. I just LOVED getting to know Marla and wondering how she would figure out how to handle everything and anything that life seemed to be throwing at her in a given moment. Such a terrific character!  Overall, this book was such a great read - I really enjoyed getting lost in it. 

I would happily recommend A Handbook For Beautiful People to anyone and everyone looking for their next read - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: A Handbook For Beautiful People
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Weaver's Daughter: A Novel by Sarah E. Ladd

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Kate’s loyalties bind her to the past. Henry’s loyalties compel him to strive for a better future. In a landscape torn between tradition and vision, can two souls find the strength to overcome their preconceptions? 

Loyalty has been at the heart of the Dearborne family for as long as Kate can remember, but a war is brewing in their small village, one that has the power to rip families asunder — including her own. As misguided actions are brought to light, she learns how deep her father’s pride and bitterness run, and she begins to wonder if her loyalty is well-placed.

Henry Stockton, heir to the Stockton fortune, returns home from three years at war hoping to find a refuge from his haunting memories. Determined to bury the past, he embraces his grandfather’s goals to modernize his family’s wool mill, regardless of the grumblings from the local weavers. When tragedy strikes shortly after his arrival, Henry must sort out the truth from suspicion if he is to protect his family’s livelihood and legacy.

Henry has been warned about the Dearborne family. Kate, too, has been advised to stay far away from the Stocktons, but chance meetings continue to bring her to Henry’s side, blurring the jagged lines between loyalty, justice, and truth. Kate ultimately finds herself with the powerful decision that will forever affect her village’s future. As unlikely adversaries, Henry and Kate must come together to find a way to create peace for their families, and their village, and their souls – even if it means risking their hearts in the process.

my thoughts:

A delightful story set in England during the early 1800s - what more could I ask for, right? How about a bit of mystery and a spot of romance thrown in for good measure? Yep, this book has it all and I gobbled it up. Talk about the perfect book for a rainy spring day.

The Weaver's Daughter is about loyalty, tradition, technology, love, and family.  Kate's father is a weaver who is tied to the old ways of weaving and resistant to the new technologies that are being introduced.  The mill owners love this new technology, because it is saving them money and producing more product.  Of course, its also putting the weavers out of jobs. Yikes! Kate's father is not happy about any of this.  Especially, the fact that his son, Charles, now works for the mill owners, the Stocktons.  Yep, the family is now broken and Kate is torn - she loves her father and brother so much and hates seeing them so unhappy.

As for the Stocktons, they are rich and successful.  Grandson and heir, Henry, has returned from war and is expected to step right up and help his grandfather run the mill.  The only problem is that war has changed Henry and he is no longer the same man he once was.  Plus, the town has changed and the people have, too.  Henry quickly learns that moving forward in his life may not be as easy as he had hoped.

Kate and Henry are fantastic characters that you can't help but get attached to. I just loved getting to know them and wondering what would happen to them and between them. Yep, the two meet and meet and meet...soon becoming friendly and then friendlier.   Their families may be warring, but their hearts are quite in sync.  And that is all I will say.

Sarah E. Ladd has written a terrific story that will draw you in and keep you hooked all the way through.  The writing is rich with detail and emotion.  The characters are unforgettable. And the story is unputdownable! You will just LOVE this book to bits. I would happily recommend The Weaver's Daughter to fans of Ladd and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Weaver's Daughter
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Becoming the Talbot Sisters: A Novel by Rachel Linden

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.

Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

my thoughts:

Waverly and Charlie are twin sisters who lose their parents in a plane crash.  They are sent to live with their Aunt Mae who provides them with the stability and care they desperately need.  When the two sisters turn eighteen, they are able to access their trust funds.  Waverly uses her money for culinary school, while Charlie travels to Africa (the country where their parents died) to find out more about the work their parents were obsessed with.  As the two sisters grow up, they grow apart.  It isn't until their Aunt Mae passes away that they are brought together.  As they grieve over their loss, they find themselves longing to form a close bond.  Sharing secrets and stories about their lives, the two sisters reconnect and soon find themselves closer than ever.  Especially, after Charlie offers to be Waverly's surrogate.  Waverly has always wanted to be a mother, but has miscarried with each of her pregnancies.  So, when her sister offers this generous gift, her only hope is that her husband is on board. And that is all I will write about the story.  You need to read it to find out whether or not being a surrogate to her sister will bring them even closer or drive them further apart.  Plus, getting to know Charlie and Waverly, their relationships, their careers, their lives makes for such a fun and fascinating story. You won't want to put the book down for anything!

I absolutely LOVED Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden. What a great story! I really enjoyed Charlie and Waverly - what a pair! Their family drama was deep and palpable.  The setting was terrific - central Europe!  And Linden's writing was top notch - the exploration of sisterhood, plus the way she weaved in hot topics like human trafficking and politics was gripping. I just loved this book!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Becoming the Talbot Sisters
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Friday, April 27, 2018

My Oxford Year: A Novel by Julia Whelan

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Set amidst the breathtaking beauty of Oxford, this sparkling debut novel tells the unforgettable story about a determined young woman eager to make her mark in the world and the handsome man who introduces her to an incredible love that will irrevocably alter her future—perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks.

American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was thirteen: Study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is, until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day.

When Ella discovers that her English literature course will be taught by none other than that same local, Jamie Davenport, she thinks for the first time that Oxford might not be all she’s envisioned. But a late-night drink reveals a connection she wasn’t anticipating finding and what begins as a casual fling soon develops into something much more when Ella learns Jamie has a life-changing secret.

Immediately, Ella is faced with a seemingly impossible decision: turn her back on the man she’s falling in love with to follow her political dreams or be there for him during a trial neither are truly prepared for. As the end of her year in Oxford rapidly approaches, Ella must decide if the dreams she’s always wanted are the same ones she’s now yearning for.

my thoughts:

A light, engaging romance novel about falling in love and following your heart.  I absolutely LOVED My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan.

Ella has always wanted to study at Oxford.  So, when her dream comes true thanks to a Rhodes Scholarship, she's on her way to making her dream a reality.  Plus, she gets offered a job working for a politician who is determined to be the next President.  Talk about achieving one's dreams!  Ella is beyond excited and can't wait to start her new adventure.  Unfortunately, on Ella's first day in England she encounters a man in a shop and winds up having words with him - talk about bad first impressions.  Things only get worse when she finds out that the same man will be teaching her English Lit course at Oxford - what a nightmare! Especially, as the two seem to disagree on everything, thus making their relationship a bit testy.  Of course, this being a romance novel means that their relationship takes a turn for the better.  They develop a deep friendship that truly makes their relationship sweet.

I truly enjoyed getting to know Ella and Jamie.  Their intelligent conversations about philosophy and poetry were fascinating.  Their relationship was refreshing.  And the fact that they are in Oxford makes their story even more fun to read - I just loved imagining wandering around the college and breathing in the fresh English air.  As for Jamie's secret, well, that broke my heart and had me reading even faster to find out what would happen.  I just loved this story to bits!!
   
I would happily recommend My Oxford Year to anyone and everyone looking for their next read - you won't want to miss this one!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: My Oxford Year
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

That's What She Said: Wise Words From Influential Women by Kimothy Joy

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

An artist and activist committed to the empowerment of women and girls has created a gorgeous illustrated volume, blending watercolor and short biography to showcase the contributions of more than fifty influential female leaders whose words and actions are a passionate call to arms.

Distraught by the results of the 2016 election and the realization that the nation was not ready for its first female president, Kimothy Joy found herself poring over the biographies of brave women throughout history—those who persisted in the face of daunting circumstances—to learn from their experiences.

Turning to art, Joy channeled her feelings to the canvas, bringing these strong women to life in bold watercolor portraits surrounded by inspirational hand-lettered quotes. With each creation, Joy found catharsis and hope. She shared her watercolors with her online community and encouraged everyone to raise their own voices and recharge for the battles ahead.

Now, in this beautiful gift book, Joy has gathered her stunning illustrations and quotes and paired them with surprising, illuminating biographies of her subjects to inspire women of all ages, races, and backgrounds. That’s What She Said honors a powerful and diverse group of over fifty women—from Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Virginia Woolf to Sojourner Truth, Malala Yousafzai, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—role models whose words and insights remind us that we must never give up the fight for a more just and equitable society.

Reclaiming the derogatory cultural barb “that’s what she said,” this stunning book celebrates strong female leadership throughout history and empowers current and future generations to find their voices and inspire change in their communities.

my thoughts:

What an inspirational book! I absolutely LOVED That's What She Said: Wise Words From Influential Women by Kimothy Joy.

I really enjoyed dipping in and out of such a lovely book, especially when I was having a rough day.  This book inspired, motivated, and comforted me - it was the perfect pick-me-up!  Its filled with  mini-biographies, watercolor paintings, and quotes that showcase female empowerment.  Women from all over the world are celebrated in this delightful book - their strength, determination, and intelligence leaping off the pages. You can't help but love learning about all of these amazing, influential women and their accomplishments - its fantastic!

Such a treat to read! I can't wait to share this book with friends and family - I just know they are going to fall in love with That's What She Said: Wise Words From Influential Women.  How could they not?!

I would happily recommend this book to anyone and everyone - you will love how inspired you feel whilst reading this book and long afterward.

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: That's What She Said
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!