Friday, July 21, 2017

Blog Tour and Book Review: Bring Her Home by David Bell

I'm excited today to be a part of the Bring Her Home blog tour! It's been awhile sine I've read a good mystery and this one looked so good, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read and review it when Berkley contacted me about joining the tour. I'm so glad I took the chance on this author because not only was this a fun read but I think I may have found a new author or try again in the future as well.



Title: Bring Her Home
Author: David Bell
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published By: Berkley Books (July 11, 2017)
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Book Description:
In the breathtaking new thriller from David Bell, bestselling author of Since She Went Away and Somebody I Used to Know, the fate of two missing teenage girls becomes a father's worst nightmare.... 

Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price's fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer's bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer's life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He'll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family...






About the Author:



David Bell's newest novel, BRING HER HOME, will be released by Berkley/Penguin on July 11, 2017. His previous novels include SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University and can be reached via his website at www.davidbellnovels.com, on Twitter at Twitter.com/davidbellnovels, and on Facebook at Facebook.com/davidbellnovels.





It isn't often anymore that I read a good mystery or thriller, not because I don't love them, because I do, but because for whatever reason, more often than not, they get forgotten about but when I saw the synopsis for Bring Her Home, I knew I needed to make the time for it. Not only was Bell a new to me author but reading a mystery to me lately, was as well. And isn't summer the most perfect time for a good mystery? Okay, when isn't a good time for a good mystery but I digress. 

Bring Her Home turned out to be quite a refreshing read for me. Not only was it well written but it was also told through the point of view of Bill who not only lost his wife a few short years ago from the start of the novel, but like every parents worst nightmare, now has his daughter's whereabouts unknown to him. 

What parent doesn't fear this very thing happening every single time our child leaves the house?

This book played on my emotions in so many ways and while I did figure out who the bad guy was very early on it was okay because so many other things happened along the way that I didn't see coming and those things, those horrifying and seriously mysterious things, kept me reading and turning the pages. 

This really was a read that kept me guessing all the time on what could possible turn up next, knowing who the bad guy was or not and I loved that about it. It really was perfect for summer and kept me entertained all the way through.






Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blog Tour and Book Review: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

I'm so very excited to bring you a book that I absolutely adored this summer. I am always a sucker for a retelling but for whatever reason, a one about Robin Hood always draws me in and makes me even more excited to read it so of course I jumped at the chance to not only read a retelling, but to read a retelling with a fun little twist. 

I bring you, No Good Deed by Kara Connolly:




Published By: Delacorte Books (July 18, 2017)
Genre: Modern Retelling
Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Description:
Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future. 





About the Author:

Kara Connolly loves history, though she's never time traveled. She lives and writes in Arlington, Texas. To learn more about Kara and her books go to karaconnolly.wordpress.com or follow @karaconnolly4 on Twitter and @readkaraconnolly on Instagram.


I have always loved a good retelling. There is just something slightly magical about someone else putting a spin on an old childhood favorite and Robin Hood has always been one of my favorites. I think there is something so fun about the underdog succeeding and of course the good always triumphing over evil. 

When I saw the synopsis for No Good Deed and saw that not only was it a retelling of a classic story we all know and love but with a slight twist to it, I was all over it. What better time to go stomping through Sherwood Forest than in the summer time right?

I loved the twist the author did with this not only because I have family members who are huge in archery but because, hello a girl narrator! It was just so much fun and I couldn't help but love all the characters. 

A flamboyant Will, a softy John, and a fun eager sidekick Much not to mention a knight in shining armor and even one of the bad guys that you couldn't help but love and other bad guys you wanted to reach through the pages and give a good spanking too. 

Seriously, so much fun! I loved every minute of this and the whole time travel aspect was super easy to understand and didn't get into the way of the rest of the story, instead it was just a fun side element to the story that felt completely a natural part of it. 

Truly a fun read for any fans of the story or anyone just looking for something fun for summer that you will thoroughly enjoy and be entertained by. I just couldn't put this one down.






Friday, July 14, 2017

Guest Post and Excerpt: Searching For Irene by Marlene Bateman


I'm excited to have Marlene here today because not only is she a great writer with some fantastic stories that are clean, but her newest release also happens to be in one of my most favorite genres and I couldn't be more happy about it. 
Not only do we get a sneak peek at her new book but she has a great guest post planned for us too so stick around and check it out. 



Release Date:  July 1, 2017
Book Description:
When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, has mysteriously disappeared. Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

Caught up in a maze of intrigue in a tormented and troubled household, Anna sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance. She is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart. 

But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. Then, her life is threatened, and Anna is left to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene—




About the Author:




Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner. 

Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die. 




Excerpt:
The tallest parts of the mansion—fanciful turrets and a circular tower—were visible only in glimpses Anna caught between lofty oaks and towering pines as her cab wound through the knolls and hills of eastern Virginia. 

When the cab turned up the long driveway lined with dogwood trees in full bloom, Anna Coughlin reached for her handbag, gripping it with a tension that had knotted her muscles ever since getting on the train. 

The vast estate stood on a hilltop, like a castle—and she craned her neck to better view the starkly impressive gray-stone mansion of Ashton Hall—where she hoped to be hired. With its arched, leaded windows and slate roof with numerous chimneys, the house rivaled pictures she’d seen of castles in Europe. 

Instructing the driver to wait, she climbed out, patted her hat in case it was askew, then smoothed her gray suit with gloved hands in hopes of presenting a professional appearance. Anna had no confidence she was clever enough or bold enough to pull this off, but she had to try.

Her eye was drawn by a tall man—more than six feet—who came from the side of the house. Since the man was striding toward her so purposefully, Anna stopped and waited. As he drew near, Anna noted his deep-set eyes were as black as his hair. His skin was tanned, his thin, long-fingered hands brown and strong.

“Miss Coughlin?” He stretched out a hand and shook hers, but there was no warmth for her in his eyes. “I’m Tyler Richardson. Unfortunately, your services are not needed after all.” A touch of arrogance marked his manner, as though he was long accustomed to command those around him.

“Your father called only last week to have someone come out,” Anna blurted in dismay. “May I ask what caused him to change his mind?” 

A fleeting glimpse of discomfiture crossed Mr. Richardson’s face. “I wasn’t consulted about his hiring another secretary to replace the one who left so suddenly. My father isn’t in good health, and the last thing we need is someone coming in and upsetting him by making a muddle of things.”

His words kindled a fire that glinted in Anna’s eyes. How dare he make such an assumption? It was difficult to hang on to her temper, but there was too much at stake to let his boorishness sidetrack her. “Since I’m here, I’m sure you won’t mind if I keep my appointment. After all, your father is the one who requested my services. I’m sure he’s expecting me.”

Her words hit home.It took a few bitter seconds, but he finally acquiesced. “Come in, then,” he muttered ungraciously before leading the way up the steps and opening the door. 

Following his rigid back down the narrow hall, Anna’s brows furrowed as doubts crept in. How wise had she been to come to this remote place? Especially when the previous secretary had disappeared so mysteriously? Even her employer thought it odd that no one in this mansion seemed to know where Irene had gone or where she was now. It was as if Irene had vanished into thin air.




How I Get Ideas for My Novels
by Marlene Bateman, author of Searching for Irene

People often ask where I get ideas for my novels.  Most often, they start with a germ of an idea I gleaned from books I’ve read. I’ve been a voracious reader all my life and read hundreds and hundreds of books.  For many years, when I finished reading a book, I would write up a short summary of it and file it away. Now, I have binder after binder filled with book summaries.

When it’s time to come up with a new idea for a book, I pull out and look through all of these binders of summaries, which give me endless ideas and inspiration to create a totally new book. 

As I skim through the summaries, I find an idea that leads to another, then another. Gradually, these ideas come clear and allow me to come up with a bare-bones idea for a new book. As I begin to write, changes always come because of the characters and the plot, which often takes things in new directions. It’s always exciting to see how my original idea has morphed into something totally new. 

Searching for Irene started with a germ of idea that came from a book I read eons ago, and it led me to eventually come up with the idea of a woman who is hired to replace a secretary who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. 

Books aren’t the only things I get ideas from. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas, and quite often, I get a spark of inspiration from reading the daily newspaper, from watching TV, or even seeing people in a grocery store, park, or at a campground.  

When I write, I always begin by developing the characters. Knowing who they are, what they want, and what they fear, helps me develop the plot and drives my fiction. We all are products of our upbringing and I enjoy showing how my character’s background and past experiences molded them into the people they are now. I strive to create characters who are living, breathing people. 

In Searching for Irene, Anna arrives at a castle-like mansion to replace a secretary who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Now, any good story has conflict, so I came up with an opposing force by the name of Tyler Richardson. Arrogant, condescending, and handsome, he wants nothing more than for Anna to leave. But he’s met his match in Anna, who stands up to him. Anna soon realizes she has come into a troubled household and as she uncovers some secrets, must tread warily because she has a few of her own that must stay hidden at all costs. 

Because I strive for rich characterization, I gave Tyler and Anna some personal dilemmas. Each of them display their humanness and although they make mistakes, each has a moral compass and a belief in God, which prompts them to work on overcoming their faults and being better people. Because they are thrown together so much, they confide in each other and love begins to blossom. 

Part of the reason I enjoyed writing Searching for Irene so much was because of the time period—the early 1920’s. I loved researching that time period and learning how life was back them. When the writing flows, as it did for this book, it’s a deeply satisfying experience. I sincerely hope people love reading Searching for Irene much as I enjoyed writing it!

****


Thank you so much Marlene for being here today and sharing a guest post and excerpt with us!






Monday, July 10, 2017

Blog Tour Guest Post: Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine


What better way to celebrate release week of one of my most favorite series out there right not than a guest post from the author! I'm so excited to have Rachel on the blog today. Many of you know that her series the Great Library has been a favorite of mine since book one and with the release of book three out this week, I can honestly say, this series is just getting better and better (see my review HERE for Ash and Quill). 

So without further ado, I give you a little info about this amazing series and of course, the Rachel's guest post. You guys, if you haven't already, please check this series out, it is just amazing and so suspenseful and fun. I can't get enough of it. 

Check out the amazing trailer too while you are at it, you are going to love it!





Title: Ash and Quill
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Book Three in the Great Library Series
Published By: Berkley (July 11, 2017)
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!



Book Description:

The unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire unite to save the Great Library of Alexandria from itself in this electrifying adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.


Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny....



Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.


Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library....





*Amazon*B&N*Kobo*iBooks*Indiebound*Books-a-million*Powell's*


About the Author:



Rachel Caine is the New York Times, USA Today, and #1 internationally bestselling author of more than 45 novels to date ... and more on the way. 
Rachel Caine is a pen name of Roxanne Longstreet Conrad.

She has also published as:
Roxanne Longstreet
Roxanne Conrad
Julie Fortune

Ian Hammell

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Thanks for giving me room on the blog today! I’m so excited about the release of Ash and Quill, and since the topic of your blog is My Guilty Obsession, I have to admit that the Great Library of Alexandria was something of an obsession for me for many years. I still own a pin from my teen years that says “They got the Great Library of Alexandria, they’re not getting my books!” Prized possession, that one.

The question posed to me was what character do you feel is most like you in this series, if you had to choose just one?

That’s a tough question in many ways. I think as a writer, every character has some aspect of me behind it, even if it’s a tiny little seed no one can ever see. Generally, though, I do see myself as Jess Brightwell: someone a little out of place in the world. A little out of step with my mom’s family (most of whom are conservative, and not much given to flights of imagination).

I’m an only child, while Jess in many ways feels like an only child; he has a twin brother, but they don’t exactly see eye to eye. The other thing Jess and I have in common, most strongly, is our love of books ... the joy of finding new ones to discover, the feel of a lovingly bound old volume. Jess is fascinated by those things, and I am too. Like Jess, I’d rather curl up alone with a good book; like Jess, I’d love to spend a day browsing through a warehouse full of rare works. Do I have the physical stamina to run from automaton lions and survive Wolfe’s extreme training? Probably not! But it would be amazing to try. I’d take that risk to see what wonders a resurgent Alexandria could hold.

I’m a great believer in families you choose--people with whom you can share love and loyalty and friendship. So Jess, though naturally a loner (and a good deal more practical than most) finds people he can trust and rely on ... and that strength carries them all through. That mirrors my college experience ... for the first time, I found a real community of people who shared my geeky interests, my specific obsessions--and with whom I found real, deep, long-term friendships.

So I would likely be Jess. Except for the running. So much running.

Who I’m most not like? Probably Thomas, because I have zero ability to invent. Or even repair. Seriously, do not give me tools. But I do love those who can can make that happen. Closest thing to magic I can imagine.

To close out, here’s a quick excerpt from Ash and Quill:

“Can you bring the wall down?” Jess asked her.

“No. But I can remove the protections that keep it from melting under Greek fire and other kinds of attacks. If I succeed, I can make it vulnerable.”

“Enough for Thomas to finish the job.” He sighed. He felt the beginnings of a headache coming on. He didn’t like the moving parts of this plan, didn’t like the ifs and maybes. “Morgan—how hard is this for you?”

“Not bad,” she said, and he was almost sure she was lying. That she’d lost weight since he’d seen her in the morning. That the shadows beneath her eyes—in her eyes, too—were darker than they should have been. “Jess. Wolfe’s right. We need at least two ways out of here. Three, if we can manage it. But if I can help . . .”

“We can find a way for you to help without destroying yourself.”

She reached up a hand, put it on his cheek, and looked into his eyes. A serious, steady regard. “We all take risks,” she said. “This one’s mine.” The coolness of her skin shocked him, and he curled his fingers around her wrist. Her pulse beat fast under the skin, but it seemed to be providing her little warmth.

So he wrapped his arms around her to share some of his own. She sighed, as if it was a great relief, and for just a few moments, there weren’t greater issues, or worries, or plans.

Just the two of them, under the stars.



Thanks again for making me welcome! If readers want to find me, I’m available at rachelcaine.com, plus on Twitter @rachelcaine, and Facebook at rachelcainefanpage.


Thank you so much Rachel for being here today and sharing this with us! I adore this series and am so excited there are still a few more books left in it! I can't wait for the next one!!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!!



Due to the holidays I won't be around this week but I still wanted to wish everyone in the states a very Happy and safe Independence Day. I'm so thankfully for all the soldiers that fought for our freedoms and still are fighting and protecting us today and even though my country isn't perfect I'm so very thankful for the freedoms and liberties we have here and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. 

So to all those celebrating, have a wonderful day. Remember those that died and fought for us. Eat lots of yummy food, enjoy the fireworks and most importantly, have a fantastic time with your family and loved ones. 

I'll see you next week on the blog!




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Title: Wildfire
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Book Three in the Hidden Legacy Trilogy
Published By: Avon (July 25, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars!


Book Description:
Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.


As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke. 








It is so hard going into what you know will be the last book in a series. You want to both devour the sucker and take your time and make it last forever. 

This series was one that, from the moment I picked up book two, so was very thankful that I had book two and three, because I needed more. It was so addicting in all it's Rogan and Nevada goodness that I just couldn't help myself. 

I don't want to go into any of the details but I will say that Nevada is even more kick butt as she slowly discovers what she can do and is capable of while still trying to stay the person that she is and being able to take care of her family and still have Rogan be a part of her's as well as dealing with all that her magic entails. She is one feisty kick butt heroine that is full of duty and full of heart and I adored her throughout this whole series. She has stayed constant and true to who she is no matter what the circumstances. 

And Rogan has of course, continues to be, well Rogan with maybe just a little bit more softness around the edges but still as strong and tough as ever. I loved seeing a bit more of a softer side to him ever now and then, it was nice but still made him ever bit of the bad a$& that we've come to  know and love. 

I loved how this ended. That while it was a conclusion to the story line, it was also a new beginning and yes, there is a part of me, maybe even a big part of me, that hopes that slightly open new beginning ending,  could lead somewhere down the road to a continuation of the series. 

Wonderfully written, plotted, and executed, this was a series worth waiting for.






*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price

Title: Grave Ransom
Author: Kalayna Price
Series: Book Five in the Alex Craft Series
Published By: Penguin Books (July 31, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars


Book Description:
In the thrilling fifth book in the USA Today bestselling Alex Craft series, Alex comes face to face with the walking dead.

Grave witch Alex Craft is no stranger to the dead talking. She raises shades, works with ghosts, and is dating Death himself. But the dead walking? That’s not supposed to happen. And yet, reanimated corpses are committing crimes across Nekros City.


Alex’s investigation leads her deep into a web of sinister magic. When Briar Darque of the Magical Crimes Investigation Bureau gets involved, Alex finds herself with an unexpected ally of sorts. But as the dead continue to rise and wreak havoc on the living, can Alex get to the soul of the matter in time? 









There are very few series that focus heavily on the fae that hold my interest and yet, The Alex Craft series has from the very beginning and with each new installment, I still can't seem to get enough of it. I think the blend of witch craft, a different kind of supernatural world, and of course the fae, all somehow make such an interesting read that I can't help but be sucked in by it. And while this series isn't unique in design, it does have some very unique elements and therefore, holds its own in the urban fantasy genre.

With a rag tag bunch of friends and people who aren't quite friends and not quite enemies, this series really is a fun one. With old faces (yay Briar!), new adventures, and a little bit of heartbreak along the way, this was a solid addition to the series and while I still wish somethings about Alex, would finally be mentioned and cleared up, it was nice to see Alex develop her powers and use them in new unexpected ways. 

With an ending that was less than happily ever after, it will be interesting to see where the author takes Alex, her love interests, and her friends next. This continues to be a series that I can count on for a fun time and will always give me a bit of the unexpected and unanticipated. 




*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Discussion Post: Have Your Tastes Changed?



It occurred to me the other day when I was making my reading summer list how much over the past few years my tastes in books and genres have changed.

There was a time when I read nothing but mysteries and while I still love a good thriller or mystery, it seems more often than not, if I do make time to read one, it isn't strictly a mystery anymore. It has some supernatural or paranormal element to it. I use to read Mary Higgins Clark like it was crack, now, not so much. Is it because her writing has deteriorated or it is because my tastes have changed? I still love mysteries so what is my problem?

Same goes with romance. I think we all go through a romance stage. For me, it was Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson, I read every single romance they had and would be on edge waiting for their next release, now...I can't even remember when I last read one of their books, let alone a book that was strictly a "romance novel". 

Isn't it funny how our tastes change and grow over time?

I also think over time, as I've read more book I've become more picky. I know books that I read even two years ago that I gave five stars to, today if I read them I would only give them four. Why is that? Did my taste change or did those really good writers some how sway other work for me, as in, I don't think it was/is as good as theirs therefore I wouldn't rate it as high now. Have I become a book snob?

Ahhh the great mysteries of life. 

So what about you? Have you noticed a trend in your reading habits? Do you still read the same genres you always have or have they changed? Have you branched out or do you stick with what you like and love?

Along with genres, I can say the same about authors too. I use to read anything Charlaine Harris and Jeanine Frost wrote and now I don't even get excited when they get a new release. Is it the vampire thing and being so over it or something else?

I will say this though, no matter how much my reading habits have changed and how much I have branched out and tried over the years, especially since blogging, I am thankful that there are so many genres and new authors to try. 

Even five years ago, I never would have imagined I would like historical romance so much or UFs or PNR but here I am, reading them like crazy. And my once YA phase...not so much now. With a few exceptions of series and authors, I don't read this genre as much as I once did. Heck, there was a time when there was nothing but YA on here and very little anything else.

Anyways, apparently these are the things I think about when I should be writing a review and am stalling for time. ;) But I really am curious how much your reading habits have changed over time, either since you started blogging or just because, share with me, curious minds want to know! 



Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

Title: The Garden of Small Beginnings
Author: Abbi Waxman
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Berkley Books (May 2, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Women's Fiction
My Rating: 5 Solid Stars!


Book Description:
Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.


After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not… 








It isn't often anymore that I connect so well with the characters of a story that they truly not only seem like friends and family, but that I'm so sad when it is over because it means that I will never see them again. It is also rare that I stay up late into the night reading because I love the story and characters so much and yet, Abbi Waxman managed to do both of those things for me with her debut novel The Garden of Small Beginnings.

I am so glad that Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings recommended me this story because honestly, I was asked to read it before and turned it down because it sounded sad and a bit depressing and while there are sadder moments in this story, it is about grief after all, there are so many happy and funny moments that they outshine anything else. 

I connected with this story, right from the beginning on a level that I honestly, wasn't expecting. I teared up, I laughed, I cried, I smiled but most of all through it all, I was rooting for every single character I met (expect maybe Dirto).

This wasn't a story about one women but instead a story about many people. Diverse people that come together in a tiny space of time and truly become so much more to each other. In fact, they become so much more than friends but instead, a family. A very diverse, crazy family and it couldn't have been more beautiful. 

Waxman created something beautiful in this story, so much more than how to move on or about grief. It's about being strong when you have to but realizing you don't always have to be strong. About coping and growing and becoming something so much more than you were before. Truly one of the best stories I've read in a really long time.






*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*