Friday, March 23, 2018

Review: The Baby Plan

The Baby Plan
by Kate Rorick

Why I chose this book? It sounded like a fun read
When I read this book? March 2018
Who should read this book? Fans of light women’s fiction  
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:   ✰✰✰½    3½ Stars

Here is a synopsis of The Baby Plan from TLC Book Tours
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 20, 2018)
“Smart and funny, The Baby Plan is irresistible! A winner.” -Susan Mallery, #1 New York Times bestselling author
In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries creator Kate Rorick’s first adult fiction novel, we enter the wild, bewildering world of modern pregnancies. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shake your head as you wonder where everyone’s sanity went…
Meet the mothers…
Nathalie Kneller: Nathalie’s plan: to announce her pregnancy now that she’s finally made it past twelve weeks! But just as she’s about to deliver (so to speak) the big news to her family, her scene-stealing sister barfs all over the Thanksgiving centerpiece. Yup, Lyndi’s pregnant too, swiping the spotlight once more…  
Lyndi Kneller:  Lyndi’s plan: finally get her life together! She’s got a new apartment, new promotion, new boyfriend. What she didn’t count on—a new baby! She can barely afford her rent, much less a state-of-the-art stroller…
Sophia Nunez: Sophia’s plan: Once she gets her daughter Maisey off to college, she’ll finally be able to enjoy life as make-up artist to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and girlfriend to one of rock’s hottest musicians. But after 18 years she discovers the stork is once again on its way…
Now these women are about to jump headlong into the world of modern day pregnancy. It’s a world of over the top gender reveal parties (with tacky cakes and fireworks); where every morsel you eat is scrutinized and discussed; where baby names are crowd-sourced and sonograms are Facebook-shared. And where nothing goes as planned…

My Review

When I read the synopsis on this one, it sounded like a quick, fun read. It was, and that was good for me, because I’d just come off a read that was not light or fun. I needed this break.

This tells the story of three women who are at different stages of their life and have just learned they are pregnant. Nathalie is very excited; she’s been waiting for this for years and can’t wait to let everyone know! Her ‘baby’ sister, Lyndi, is also excited, but in a low-key kind of way. She is caught off guard, as she is young and single and struggling making a living. Sophia is not by any means old, but she is an experienced mother of a senior in high school and ready to send that senior on to college. This pregnancy will mean she is starting over again!

Though much of what happens in the story is pretty predicatable, I really did enjoy the book! The women were apprehensive at times, and had situations thrown at them they didn’t expect. But this is a happy story and everything works out at the end, though I wish there would have been a bit more closure for the Sophia and Lyndi stories. Lyndi’s story in particular felt a little rushed at the end.

I also have to say, I was a little misled by the synopsis. Going into the story, I thought we were going to see that Nathalie had it all together, watching out for little sister Lyndi, who, I was led to believe after reading the synopsis, a bit immature and self-centered. Actually, Lyndi seemed in many ways to be the level-headed sister, able to roll with the punches. Nathalie, on the contrary was getting on my last nerve. She was whiny, self-centered, and unable to cope easily when issues arose—and of course she thought SHE was the better sister, always talking down to Lyndi. Nathalie had her plans, and woe to anyone who interfered or didn’t pay proper deference to her and her pregnancy! Think Bridezilla, but with babies. She also held a deep grudge against her stepmother, though I never quite understood why other than that she wasn’t her REAL mother, who had died when Nathalie was a young girl. And her stepmother, though annoying at times, really tried! During one conversation Nathalie reminded me of Lizzie Borden in The Murderer’s Maid and Lizzie’s feelings towards her stepmother.

Despite my feelings towards Nathalie, I really did enjoy the story, This is a great one to pick up when you need a quick, light read; maybe on those warm spring days coming up, or your next trip to the beach! It could also make a good pick for book clubs who are looking for a lighter read that still has discussion value. Some of the possible topics of discussion include stepmother - stepchild relationships and sibling rivalry, or just reminiscing over pregnancies and sharing ‘war stories’ of delivery.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Kate Rorick

Kate Rorick is an Emmy Award–winning writer who has worked on a number of television shows, most recently The Librarians on TNT. She was also a writer for the hit web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and authored the two series tie-in novels, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet and The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet. In her other life, she writes bestselling historical romance novels under the name Kate Noble. Kate lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Find out more about Kate at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.

Kate’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, March 20th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, March 21st: Novel Gossip
Thursday, March 22nd: West Metro Mommy
Thursday, March 22nd: Tina Says…
Friday, March 23rd: Time 2 Read
Monday, March 26th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, March 27th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Thursday, March 29th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, April 2nd: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, April 3rd: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, April 4th: Stranded in Chaos
Thursday, April 5th: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks
Tuesday, April 10th: Staircase Wit
Wednesday, April 11th: Sweet Southern Home
Friday, April 13th: Not in Jersey
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Review: I'll Be Your Blue Sky

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky
Love Walked In #3
by Marisa de los Santos

Why I chose this book? I’d read previous books by the author
When I read this book? March 2018
Who should read this book? Fans of women’s fiction  
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:   ✰✰✰✰½   4½ Stars

Here is a synopsis of I’ll Be Your Blue Sky from TLC Book Tours
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (March 6, 2018)
The New York Times bestselling author revisits the characters from her beloved novels Love Walked In and Belong to Me in this captivating, beautifully written drama involving family, friendship, secrets, sacrifice, courage, and true love for fans of Jojo Moyes, Elin Hilderbrand, and Nancy Thayer.
On the weekend of her wedding, Clare Hobbes meets an elderly woman named Edith Herron. During the course of a single conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she should have done months earlier: break off her engagement to her charming—yet overly possessive—fiancĂ©.
Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died—and has given her another gift. Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay in a small seaside town in Delaware, Blue Sky House now belongs to Clare. Though the former guest house has been empty for years, Clare feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by Edith and her beloved husband, Joseph.
Exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman—and Blue Sky House no ordinary place. With the help of her mother, Viviana, her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown, and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House—a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare discovers a story of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what—and who—she loves.
Shifting between the 1950s and the present and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos—an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and illuminates the tender connections that bind our lives.

My Review

I chose to read this one because I’d read other books by this author. (Falling Together - The Precious One). Oh, and the cover. Isn’t that cover beautiful?! This book was a success! I enjoyed it very much.

The story told in alternating time periods. As the book opens in the 1950s, we meet Edith Herron on her wedding day as her husband Joseph introduces her to their new home. (Pay attention, this is where you will learn the significance of the title). Fast forward to contemporary times when we meet Clare Hobbs as she is about to be married—and having second thoughts about going through with it. Shortly before the wedding she excuses herself to take a walk and meets the elderly Edith. After a very brief conversation Clare calls off her wedding and Edith leaves her house to Clare. Clare goes to see the house and begins exploring, uncovering clues to Edith’s past as she goes. This is how we learn the story of Edith and who she is.

I really enjoyed the Edith story and admired Edith, a strong, loyal woman who cared about others. I didn’t dislike Clare, but her story was not nearly as interesting to me. In many ways, the story ended as I thought it would, but there was also some twists that I didn’t see coming. These really added to my enjoyment of the story. If there was one thing I didn’t enjoy, it was that things were resolved just a little too easily between Clare and her ex-fiance, but it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the book.

One thing I should point out is that this is the third book in the author’s Love Walked In series. I did not realize this when I picked the book up, but I can say that the book works fine as a stand-alone. I never felt that something was missing or that there was some background detail I needed.  

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky was a quick read that I finished in two days, but it could easily have been a ‘one-sitting’ book. This would be a fun selection for a book club that is looking quick, relatively light read that still has plenty of discussion points. Visit the publisher’s website for a reading guide or to read an excerpt.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Marisa de los Santos

A New York Times bestselling author and award-winning poet with a PhD in literature and creative writing, Marisa de los Santos lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with her family.

Connect with Marisa on Facebook and Twitter.

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.

Marisa’s Tour Stops
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Wrap-up Post

February has ended and it’s time to take a look at where reading journey has taken me and where I want to go in March. Below if a summary of my February in reading. You can check my progress towards my goals anytime by clicking the 2018 Challenges and Goals tab above.

Progress Towards Goals

4 books doesn’t really seem like a lot, but Goodreads tells me I am on target to meet my reading goal. In my defense, February is a short month andI have 3 books in progress right now. But to be fair, 2 of the books I finished this month were started in January. I feel like I’m alway trying to catch up to my reading commitments! And I’m still reading about a dozen books a week to my grandson, so there’s that! Here are the books I finished in February.
The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard
The Murderer’s Maid by Erika Mailman
The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
A Piece Of The World by Christina Baker Kline

2018 Nonfiction Reading Challenge
I still haven’t completed a nonfiction book. I did start one book, Friends Divided by Gordon S. Wood, but I haven’t made much progress. I still want to read it, but I may put it aside for now and pick up something else.

I read our book club selection for February, The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, but I still need to write my review. Bonus: I’ve already read our March book club selection, A Piece Of The World by Christina Baker Kline. I was committed to reading it for a book tour. My review appeared on the blog earlier this week.

I did ok with this one in February, reading two books off my shelf. That makes three for the year!
The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard
The Murderer’s Maid by Erika Mailman

2018 Write My Reviews Progress - 3 books reviewed
I’m currently at 86%! I wrote and posted reviews for three of the four books I read last month!
The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard
The Murderer’s Maid by Erika Mailman
A Piece Of The World by Christina Baker Kline

In addition, I wrote and posted reviews for a book I read last year.

This was not a success! I packed up some books to take to book club to give to my friend who has a Little Free Library, but unfortunately, she was not able to come. I thought I knew where she lived so I tried driving by her house to leave them, but I couldn’t find a book box, so I ended up taking them home for next month!

Next Month

I already completed my March book club selection. I have two books scheduled to read for book tours.

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marissa de los Santos
The Baby Plan by Kate Rorick

I also have an ‘in progress’ books that I hope to finish up in March.

I’d like to make a dent in reading my nonfiction. I started Friends Divided but it is due back at the library in a couple of days and there is a reserve list. I have Jefferson’s Daughters by Catherine Kerrison on reserve and hope it comes soon. I also have a few nonfiction books on my own shelves that I’d like to find time for, so hopefully I can check at least one nonfiction book off my list by April 1.

And of course, I also hope to review all of the books I read in March and to catch up on some more of the reviews I didn’t write last year. And I hope to continue freeing up space on my bookshelves. I need to give several away to meet my goal of 72 by the end of the year!

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Review: A Piece Of The World

A Piece Of The World
by Christina Baker Kline

Why I chose this book? I enjoyed Orphan Train by the same author
When I read this book? February 2018
Who should read this book? Fans of character driven stories
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:   ✰✰✰    3 Stars

Here is a synopsis of A Piece of the World from TLC Book Tours

• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 30, 2018)
“Exquisite. A must-read.” –Kristin Hannah
This paperback edition includes a color reproduction of Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World, along with a Q&A with bestselling author Kristin Hannah and a bonus short story, “Stranded in Ice.”
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.
“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.”
To Christina Olson, the entire world is her family farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. The only daughter in a family of sons, Christina is tied to her home by health and circumstance, and seems destined for a small life. Instead, she becomes Andrew Wyeth’s first great inspiration, and the subject of one of the best-known paintings of the twentieth century, Christina’s World.
As she did in her beloved bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction to vividly reimagine a real moment in history. A Piece of the World is a powerful story of the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, her complicated relationship to her family and inheritance, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

My Review

I wanted to read this book because I enjoyed Orphan Train by the same author very much! Unfortunately, my experience with this one did not match my experience with Orphan Train.

This historical fiction, a behind the scenes story of the Andrew Wyeth painting, Christina’s World. Christina Olson is the only daughter in a rural Maine family. Early in her life, she is struck with an ailment that leaves her crippled, and her condition worsens as time goes on, to the point that she is unable to live a normal life.

This is very much a character-driven story, thus the book is slow paced, which probably contributed greatly to my less than stellar experience with the book. In addition, some of the characters are not very likeable, including Christina and her father. I understand that Christina had a hard life, full of disappointments, and this left her frustrated and somewhat bitter. But she was also, in my opinion anyway, selfish and unforgiving. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into the details here, but I think book clubs will have plenty to discuss regarding Christina and some of the decisions she made.

I have to admit, I was totally unaware of the painting Christina’s World, and was only familiar with the name Andrew Wyeth, but not familiar with his work. I imagine anyone with an interest in art, or who is a fan of the painting, will enjoy this story very much!

I also think it will make a great book club pick. I’ll let you know, because my book club is reading it next month. Often I find that i book that I didn’t enjoy very much just after finishing it becomes a favorite after I’ve had a chance to discuss it with my book club. So check back—even though it is only a 3-star read for my right now, that could change next month!

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline is the author of six novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train as well as A Piece of the World. She lives outside New York City and spends as much time as possible on the coast of Maine. Learn more about Christina at

Connect with Christina on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.

Christina’s Tour Stops
Wednesday, January 31st:: Stranded in Chaos
Thursday, February 1st: Dwell in Possibility
Friday, February 2nd: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Monday, February 5th: Instagram: @a_tad_bit_bookish
Tuesday, February 6th: 5 Minutes For Books
Wednesday, February 7th: BookNAround
Thursday, February 8th: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks
Friday, February 9th: Peppermint PhD
Monday, February 12th: Openly Bookish
Tuesday, February 13th: Staircase Wit
Wednesday, February 14th: Life By Kristen
Thursday, February 15th: Man of La Book
Monday, February 19th: Book by Book
Tuesday, February 20th: Rockin’ and Reviewing
Friday, February 23rd: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks
Sunday, February 25th: Instagram: @lavieestbooks
Monday, February 26th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 Caryn, The Book Whisperer

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