Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: Rainy Day Friends

Rainy Day Friends
by Jill Shavis

Why I chose this book? I needed a ‘summer’ read
When I read this book? June 2018
Who should read this book? Readers of contemporary romance  
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:  ★★★★    3 Stars

Here is a synopsis of Rainy Day Friends from TLC Book Tours

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 19, 2018)
Following the USA Today bestseller, Lost and Found Sisters, comes Rainy Day Friends, Jill Shalvis’ moving story of heart, loss, betrayal, and friendship.
Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife.
Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person?  Can she even trust herself?
Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.
Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Green changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build
My Review

Rainy Day Sisters is a contemporary romance and  a quick summer read. As such, there is not a lot of ‘meat on the bones’, and you know exactly what you are getting when you read the synopsis, so you sit back and enjoy the journey.

The highlight of this book is the Capriotti family with their ability to be both nurturing and obnoxious in same breath! And the twin girls were the highlight of the family! However, the main character, Lainie, was at times a real downer. You couldn’t help but pull for her, but at the same time, she was annoying. Yes, she’d been dealt a bad hand, and the death of her husband was a blow, but the embarrassment she felt at learning she was not his only wife didn’t seem realistic. Anger, vengeance, bad-mouthing; all of those would have been understandable. But hiding her past because she felt she was to blame?—that didn’t fly for me.

I enjoyed the book, but the romance between Lainie and Mark was almost too quick to develop and very predictable. I think a couple of the stories with secondary characters would probably have been more interesting to follow had they been allowed to develop; specifically the romance between River and Holden, and the storyline of Mia.

That said, if you are looking for a good read for a lazy summer afternoon, one that lets you relax and enjoy the story, this is definitely worth throwing into the beach bag. Enjoy!

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Jill Shalvis

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis is the award winning author of over three dozen romance novels. Visit for a complete book list and a daily blog chronicling her I-Love-Lucy attempts at having it all; the writing, the kids, a life ...

Find out more about Jill 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.

Jill’s Tour Stops

Instagram tour:
Thursday, June 14th: Instagram: @oddandbookish
Friday, June 15th: Instagram: @booksandballads
Tuesday, June 19th: Instagram: @simplykelina
Tuesday, June 19th: Instagram: @biblio_files
Wednesday, June 20th: Instagram: @worldswithinpages
Review tour:
Thursday, June 28th: Staircase Wit
Monday, July 2nd: The Book Date
Tuesday, July 3rd: bookchickdi
Wednesday, July 4th: Broken Teepee
Friday, July 6th: A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog
Monday, July 9th: Stranded in Chaos
Tuesday, July 10th: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, July 12th: Time 2 Read
Friday, July 13th: Girl Who Reads
Monday, July 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 17th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Friday, July 20th: Not in Jersey

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Review: Becoming The Talbot Sisters

Becoming The Talbot Sisters
by Rachel Linden

Why I chose this book? I like ‘sisters’ stories
When I read this book? May 2018
Who should read this book? Readers who enjoy stories of sisters  
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:  ★★★★    4 Stars

Here is a synopsis of Becoming TheTalbot Sisters from TLC Book Tours
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 1, 2018)
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 Review

I like reading stories about sisters and especially twin sisters, so the title called to me immediately, and the synopsis sealed the deal. Waverly and Charlie are twins who were very close growing up, but have become, if not exactly estranged, at least very distant with one another. Both have secrets they have kept from the other twin, something that was unheard of while they were growing up! Waverly wants to become a mother very badly, but cannot have children. Charlie has a dark secret of failure and personal shame that she has kept from her sister. When they come together at the Aunt Mae’s funeral, they begin to bridge the rift when Charlie offers to carry a baby for Waverly.

There are some unexpected complications along the way, some of which seem a little unrealistic, but still make for an interesting story. Parts a little predictable but that doesn’t damage the story; I expected the outcome, but enjoyed the journey anyway. One thing I did appreciate was that the author provided an epilogue. While I might have enjoyed a few more detail on HOW the characters got to where they were, I can honestly say there are no questions that were left unanswered.

This is a quick read and one of those books that can be read on different levels, which means it will be a great selection for book clubs. You can read this as an individual and enjoy the story, but if you want to go deeper with your book club, you will find plenty to discuss, from surrogacy, to sex trafficking, to family relationships, and more. I read an ARC and there is space left for discussion questions at the end which book clubs may find helpful.

This is classified as Christian fiction, from a Christian publisher, but there is nothing that smacks you in the face shouting ‘I am a Christian book!’ There are a couple of scenes in church and recurring references to Aunt Mae’s motto: Whatever the Good Lord puts in you hand you give back to others. Those are pretty subtle and probably few people would notice or feel offended by them, however a group with a Christian slant could find enough in the book to fuel a discussion of how their values apply in this book.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Rachel Linden

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, a BA in Literature from Huntington University, and studied creative writing at Oxford University during college. Currently, Rachel splits her time between Seattle, Washington and Budapest, Hungary where she lives with her husband and two children. Rachel enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.
Connect with Rachel: Website | Facebook

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

Rachel’s Tour Stops

Instagram tour:
Monday, May 7th: @mrs.literarylovely
Tuesday, May 8th: @theshybooks
Wednesday, May 9th: @chaptershoe
Thursday, May 10th: @createexploreread
Friday, May 11th: @somekindofalibrary
Saturday, May 12th: @bookishconnoisseur
Sunday, May 13th: @theliterarybirds
Review tour:
Tuesday, May 1st: Blooming with Books
Wednesday, May 2nd: Openly Bookish
Thursday, May 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, May 4th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, May 7th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, May 8th: Laura’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 9th: Books a la Mode – guest post
Thursday, May 10th: Midwest Ladies Who Lit
Friday, May 11th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, May 14th: Fiction Aficionado
Tuesday, May 15th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, May 16th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, May 17th: Girl Who Reads
Friday, May 18th: Broken Teepee
Monday, May 21st: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, May 21st: Time 2 Read
Tuesday, May 22nd: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, May 23rd: A Holland Reads
Thursday, May 24th: Peppermint Ph.D.
Friday, May 25th: The Book Diva’s Reads
TBD: Fiction Aficionado – guest post

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don't Do Bedtime!

Penguin and Tiny Snail Don’t Do Bedtime!
by Cate Berry

Why I chose this book? It looked like a cute bedtime read!
When I read this book? May 2018
Who should read this book? Anyone with a small child who likes bedtime stories!  
Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating:   👍👍

Here is a synopsis of Same Beach, Next Year from TLC Book Tours
• Hardcover: 32 pages
• Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins (May 8, 2018)
Penguin and Tiny Shrimp DO NOT have a bedtime story to share with you.
There are no soft beds or cozy covers here. There are fireworks! And shark-infested waters!!
This book will never make you sleepy. Not at all. Not even a little. . .
“Debut Berry revs up her romp… the digital art from Santoso (Peanut Butter & Aliens) energizes Berry’s tactically understated text, often wryly turning it on its head. A buoyantly subversive
anti-bedtime tale.” —Publisher’s Weekly Featured Review
“The story is a smartly comedic entry in the genre of the anti-bedtime story, and the exclamatory dialogue-only text adds energy and humor. This will be a joyous bedtime read.” —Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books
“A definite do for bedtime.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A beguiling pair…much yawning will ensue…and that’s a good thing.” —Booklist
—A Junior Library Guild Selection, Spring ‘18
My Review

I’ve always enjoyed reading to young kids and now that I have a grand, I’m finding new books we enjoy. I particularly enjoy reading stories about reluctant sleepers—possibly because I read to one. So when I was offered the chance to review this one, I grabbed it!

I liked this book for several reasons. There are only one to two sentences per page, which is perfect for a short attention span. When even these are too much for attention span of the youngest listeners, there are fun illustrations of Penguin and Tiny Shrimp that can be used to point to and talk about. The illustrations also help to embellish the story for readers who want to spend a little longer with the book—counting the sheep, naming the different animals, etc. And when the child gets a little older and able to read to himself, those short sentences are perfect for an emerging reader! I think we will enjoy this book for several years to come!

This is a thumbs-up read for us! My little guy enjoys it, too!

Purchase Links

IndieBound | HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Cate Berry

Cate Berry is the author of Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime! (Balzer & Bray/Harper Collins). It was pinned a Junior Library Guild selection and Publisher’s Weekly called it, “A buoyantly subversive anti-bedtime book.” She has forthcoming publications TBA and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Cate is a faculty member of the Writing Barn and also an active member in the SCBWI and Writers’ League of Texas. She speaks at schools, libraries and conferences year round. Visit her at to learn more. You can follow her on Twitter, @cberrywriter. You can also follow illustrator Charles Santoso: @minitreehouse and the publisher, @balzer+bray and @harperchildrens.

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes.
Cate’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, May 8th: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks
Tuesday, May 15th: Wining Wife
Thursday, May 17th: Time 2 Read
Monday, May 21st: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, May 22nd: Instagram: @_literary_dreamer_
Wednesday, May 23rd: Instagram: @theliteraryllama
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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

Why did you choose this book? This was a book club selection that several of us had on our ‘to read’ list
When did you read this book? May 2018
Who should read this book? Readers who enjoy books on dysfunctional families and books that make you think.
Source: library ebook
My Rating: ★★½    2½ Stars
Bookclub Rating: ★★★★    4Stars

Here is a synopsis of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society from Goodreads

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

My Review

I had this one on my TBR for a long time. I’d heard good things about it and it was a recurrent selection for various book clubs hosted by our library system, so I knew I wanted to read it. When our book club realized that several of us had the book on our lists, AND that the movie version is set to be released later this summer, we decided to make it one of our 2018 book club selections..

Sadly, after that build-up I really didn’t enjoy the book much. One thing was the writing style, a epistolary novel written as a series of letters between the main character, Juliet, and other characters in the book. While I think this worked great as an introduction to the story, after a while it became tedious and made it difficult to discern between the characters.

That was another issue for me—keeping the characters straight. In particular, it was hard for me to distinguish between Eben and Dawsey for much of the book. There were just too many characters introduced too early for me to keep them straight.

Another problem for me was the slow pace of the story. Had it not been a selection for my book club, I’m sure I would have given up on it. As it was, I didn’t get finished before my book club meeting, but pushed myself to get to the second part of the book. At that point, the pace picked up, the story got more interesting, and I was able to finish that evening. Unfortunately, just when I finally felt like the story got started—it ended!

The book is classified as historical fiction, but it is not historical fiction at its best. I would classify it as ‘period fiction’; set in a particular period. I didn’t really learn much from the book (other than that Guernsey cows really originated in a place called Guernsey) and I wasn’t inspired to learn more about the period. Admittedly, that may be due to the fact that I read the ‘Deluxe Reading Group Addition’ that was well annotated, giving information about people, events and places mentioned in the book. I actually enjoyed the annotations more than the story! However, that probably slowed my reading and made the story appear more disjointed than it was. I’m not sure whether I’d recommend the annotated edition or not, so use your own judgement here!

One thing I did enjoy were some of the quotes about books that most readers will relate to. Here are a couple I liked.

About a visit to the local bookstore...
“always finding the one book I wanted—and then three more I hadn’t known I wanted”

“It was a sad wrench to part with the Selected Essays of Elia. I had two copies and a dire need of shelf-room, but I felt like a traitor selling it”About giving away a favorite book....

In fairness, I do have to mention that, as often happens, my book club rated the book much differently than I did. There were only four of us in attendance, and the ratings were 4, 4.5, and 5. After finishing the book yesterday, I give it a 2.5, for a book club average rating of 4.

You can visit the publisher’s website to learn more about the authors, read an excerpt, or view a reader's guide.

To learn more about Guernsey and the occupation, click here.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a movie based on the book. It released in the UK last month and on Netflix in August. I think it will translate to film well and be one of the rare cases when I enjoy the movie more than the book.You can learn more about the movie here and view the trailer below.

My rating - 2½ Stars and
Book club rating - 4 Stars with ratings from 2½  to 5.

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