What She's Reading Now

Have you ever had that one book that seemed to haunt you, saying "read me, please!"
Well this is that book. It's been following me around for a couple of years now, and it started when my boss recommended it and kept telling me about it. And then, thanks to the Literary Junkies Book Club, I heard even more people recommend it. 

So this holiday, I've dove in.


From the back cover: 
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives

So far, it's "okay." I'm intrigued but it's not like some of the other books that I wasn't able to put down. 
Have you read it, is it one of your favorites? 
If so, let me know so I'll be encouraged to keep reading! 

And just in case I couldn't get into it and then would be left without a book over the holidays, 
I went to the library and checked out this book: 

The Orchardist 
Book Description: 
 At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, a solitary orchardist named Talmadge carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century. A gentle, solitary man, he finds solace and purpose in the sweetness of the apples, apricots, and plums he grows, and in the quiet, beating heart of the land-the valley of yellow grass bordering a deep canyon that has been his home since he was nine years old. Everything he is and has known is tied to this patch of earth. It is where his widowed mother is buried, taken by illness when he was just thirteen, and where his only companion, his beloved teenaged sister Elsbeth, mysteriously disappeared. It is where the horse wranglers-native men, mostly Nez Perce-pass through each spring with their wild herds, setting up camp in the flowering meadows between the trees.

One day, while in town to sell his fruit at the market, two girls, barefoot and dirty, steal some apples. Later, they appear on his homestead, cautious yet curious about the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, Jane and her sister Della take up on Talmadage's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Yet just as the girls begin to trust him, brutal men with guns arrive in the orchard, and the shattering tragedy that follows sets Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect them, putting himself between the girls and the world, but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

I thought it sounded intriguing! I have a ton of books on my To Read List on Goodreads.com but couldn't find any at the library, unfortunately.
 They didn't even have a copy of 
One Hundred Years of Solitude

 One Hundred Years of Solitude 

 Which I have been wanting to start too. It's on my list of 2013 must reads.

Speaking of those, I made a couple lists of my 2012 favorites and must reads for the coming year for a guest post for Lanaya at Raising Reagan (go say hi, she's pretty amazing) 
so I thought I would share my lists.

 Clockwise from the right; Wife 22, Gone Girl, The Light Between Oceans, Tiny Beautiful Things The Fault in Our Stars and Unbroken. These aren't in any specific order, but if they were, Gone Girl would be number one for sure. (Click on the titles to read my reviews!)

Click on each title to read more about the book on Goodreads.com! 

Happy Reading Friends!

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars

   
The Fault in Our Stars
 
 
 
I wish I had enough words to describe this book to you. I'll just start with giving it this rating:
 
From GoodReads.com:
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
 
********************
Let's just dive right in, shall we?It sounds a little despressing, I know. Cancer, kids, it just doesn't get much sadder than that. And usually, I tend to shy away from sad books.
 
 Unless it's about an unrequitted love. That stuff reels me in everytime. But this. This book is amazing.
 
Hazel is a child who is old enough to see her future and she is way to pessimistic for a 16 year old girl but how could she not be? She lives in the reality that she is dying. The way Hazel lives in matter of fact, which makes me sad. The machines that keep her breathing at night, the medicine and the way her parents look at her...they are all her reality.
 
And then she meats Augustus after being forced to go to a cancer support group.
 
And thus is a love story I'll never forget.
When does love become more than just love?
Here, in this story, is the answer.
 
I always thought I would describe a book the best that I could when doing a review, so that you would get a great idea about the plot and whether or not you'd want to read it.
But I can't really describe this book. It's sad, but hopeful at the same time.
Hopeful because the emotion is so real that it makes you realize that hope, love, friendship and healing from hurt are all possible.
 
The most heartbreaking part in the book is when I realized why Hazel was hesitant to let Gus love her back.
"I'm like a grenade, Mom. I'm a grenade and at some people I am going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualities, okay? I just want to stay away from people and read books and be with you guys. There's nothing I can do about hurting you, you're too invested. Just let me please be here."
 
She didn't want Gus to love her because she knew he'd lose her. She wanted to save him the pain. I guess that's a pretty good indentication of young love. I wanted to tell her, that  even then when you know you'll probably lose someone, it's still worth it to love.
 
Just read it. Here are my highlights/favorite passages:
 
"I liked Augustus Waters. I really, really liked him. I liked the way his story ended with someone else. I liked his voice. I like that he took existentially fraught free throws. I liked that he was a tenured professor in the Department of Slightly Crooked Smiles with a dual appointment in the Department of Having a  Voice That Made My Skin Feel More Like Skin."
 
"You gave me forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful."
 
"I fell in love like you fall to sleep. Slowly, and then all at once."
 
There are many more, but the contexts won't make sense unless you read it.
 
Happy reading, friends.
 
 


Book Review: The Healer's Daughter

The Healer's Apprentice

Goodreads.com Description: 
Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.

When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny

My Rating:

I really enjoyed this book. I considered my glass half full because the book was an easy read with a lot of great imagery that brought out the 1300s and midevil living. I love reading about the flowing dresses, heroic knights, castles, secrets and the notion of true love's first kiss.

 There's an element of mystery to the book that I loved. Rose is an innocent young woman is also very smart. She lives in a part of the castle, learning how to be a healer from a woman who took her in as a child to teach her. The author does a great job of subtlely letting you know there's more to the story than Rose knows but doesn't relieve too much. The princes who Rose describes in the first couple pages had me intrigued. They sound so regal, I couldn't help but imagine who would play them in movies. I picked Chris Hemsworth for Lord Hamlin and Scott Caan for Rupert.


Nice ehh??

Anyway what was I talking about? Oh yes, the books.

There's a mystery involving Lord Hamlin's betrothed, a woman whose life has been threatened by a conjurer and whose parents have kept her in hiding for years. Lord Hamlin's mission is to find the conjurer to secure his bethrothed safety before they can marry.

Rose meets the two princes because Lord Hamlin is injured and she doctors his wounds. They become friends and soon enough, Rose falls in love with him. How could she not? But his brother, Rupert, also falls in love with Rose.

I wish I talk more about the book, but to do so would give too much away so I will just let you find out for yourself. Read this book if you love the mid evil period  mystery, a little make believe and a good love story. It was wonderful because it would truly a love story that had a happily ever after ending.

The reason this book didn't get a full glass rating is because, unbeknownst to me when I started it, it's a Young Adult book. Which pretty much just means there were just pecks on the cheek when what you reall want are passionate scenes. If this were a "smut novel" as my hubs calls them, there would have opportunities for some really steamy encounters ;) The young adult version means it was a little watered down for my taste, which made scenes seem a bit boring to me when otherwise, they could have been pretty exciting.



Book Trailers Galore

There isn't anything in the entertainment category that I love more than reading. 
Give me a blanket, a comfy couch, silence and book and I am good.

Granted, if my house is totally silent, there must have been an apocalypse, but still.

Getting off track here but I have a little funeral for nap time. I think it's time I finally come to the realization that my kids will no longer nap in the afternoons. Major Sad Face.

Ok, so back to my happy place. Reading.
But you know the next best thing?
Movies. And even better, movie trailers. I love them.



Anyhooters, so imagine my utter glee a couple weeks ago when I discovered that  they make movie like trailers for BOOKS.

It's like my too favorite things got together and made a love child and then cuddled afterwards.

So here are some book trailers from the books that are on my Good Reads Shelf

The Diviners by Libba Bray
 (which I've already read but the trailer is really cool so I wanted to share again) 

 The Changling, by Philippa Gregory




My Dear I Wanted To Tell You, By Lousia Young



Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson



Have you seen any book trailers that led you to read a book?

Do you know of any sites that have a lot of trailers? I Googled the crap out of them and can't find many. Post in the comments if you've seen some! 

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

Hey Franndss! 

I am really excited to tell you about this next book!

The Light Between Oceans
From Goodreads:
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel
If you're a mommy, take note: This book really tugs at your heart strings.
It was really sad to read the mother's emotions.
Can  you imagine losing three babies, before you even get a chance to hold them and have them grasp your finger in that special little death grip only new babies have?
Imagine living on a secluded island with your husband and after losing your third child,
a baby washes up on shore in a boat, the only other passenger is her dead father?
What would you DO?
There's no communication, there's no way to get word about the child until months later when your supply ship comes in. That's alot of  time to fall in love with the child.
Enough to want to keep her for your own...
Can you imagine?
I don't want to give too much away but I will tell you that I think the author did a perfect job of discovering all the reasons why Tom and Isabel chose to keep the baby as their own.
And why that decision would walk beside them every day of the rest of their lives.
It was easy to understand Isabel's yearning to be a mother and to keep the baby. What was also interesting was the many layers of Tom's characters. I usually don't connect very well to male characters, especially if the story is being told from his point of view. But Tom is such an interesting character. A mother who was deemed "unfit" and time in the war has left Tom a loner who only wants to do what is right and follow the rules leaves him with guilt after the baby arrives that he can't bear. And who can blame him? But can you blame him for keeping her?
Here's a passages that I dog eared because it perfectly sums up the relationship with Isabel and the baby, which is the catalyst of the story:  
"The simple fact was that, sure as a graft will take and fuse to a rosebush,  the root stock of Isabel's motherhood-her every drive and instinct, left raw and exposed by the recent stillbirth- had grafted seamlessly to this scion, this baby who needed mothering. Grief and distance bond the wond, perfe ting the bond with a speed only nature could engineer."
My advice: Read it!
I give this books a glass that is

It's great and the only reason the glass isn't all the way full is because it was a little dry/boring at some points and I was disappointed in the ending.
Here's something new and exciting!
I have come up with a new way to rate books.
If you really knew me (or if you follow me on Twitter)
You way notice that I love wine and coffee.
So I've decided to combine my love of drinks and reading to make





 


Book Review: The Diviners




The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

How COOL is this? A trailer for a book! 

I die. I love movie trailers, as in I watch them like most people watch full episodes of sitcoms on Netflix. Join my addiction at Rotten Tomatoes.
Why watch a whole movie when
 someone has already put the best parts in a 4 minute montage??




As you can probs tell, this book is a super natural mystery. Normally, it's not my go to genre but with Halloweenie coming up, I thought it would be a fun mix up. I also listened to this on audiobook which I am glad I did because the voices really added to the creepiness of the book.

The synopsis is this: It's the 1920s and 16 year old Evie O'Neill is busy causing trouble with her spicy attitude and constant addiction to stirring up trouble and getting attention. She's a super cute character who spouts of the funniest 20s-ish sayings through out the book, like "everything's jake, that's just the berries! and I'm posi-TUTE-ly certain!" I want to bring those diddies back, so watch out! 

Evie has a gift that she keeps to herself. She can read objects. As in, she holds a personal object of someone's in her hand and she can see that person's secrets in her mind. It plays out like a movie in her head. Which is how she ends up in big trouble with her parents and they ship her off to New York City to live with her Uncle. Someone needed to tell her 'rents that shipping your 16 year old off to the Big Apple during the prohibition is hardly a punishment. 

Here's some addition background from GoodReads: 

New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.


Evie, her pals Mabel and Theta, plus her uncle and his warden Jericho and a pick pocket named Sam Lloyd are some of the most entertaining, well-developed characters I have read about in a long time. Each one is so unique, it's hard to believe one person (Bray) created all of them. 

All of the characters play an important role in catching this killer that is terrorizing NYC.  It turns out that Evie isn't alone in her powers...

The murder scenes are gruesome and actually pretty terrifying. I couldn't get them out of my head. But then the next minute, Evie is saying something like "that's posi-tutely the jimmies!" and you loosen up soon after.

The killer is a very cool character and there are a lot of elements like spirits, super natural powers and creepiness that does keep you on the edge of your seat.

Read it, if you like this type of make believe, thrillers, the 20s and aren't afraid of a little blood. 

The only downside is that after the plot has climaxed, it's kinda of boring even though the books goes on for a couple chapters after the most exciting part happens. I think Bray should've ended the book on a higher, most exciting note. But there's definitely another book coming, I can tell because of the way it ends, plus the website calls it a series. (I'm a real detective, see?) 

Happy Friday, Fraaannndss! 

Today, I am linking up, check it out! 

Book Review: The Dressmaker


Last night I finished 
The Dressmaker

And it was really good! 
I'd give it a go it you like historical fiction.
It's based on non fictional characters who survived the Titanic. 
Tess Collins is a servant girl who dreams of one day being a famous clothing designer and seamstress. The book opens with her impulsively quitting her job as a maid and finds herself on the dock that is boarding passengers on the Titanic. Fate leads her to literally bump into Lucille Duff Gordon, a world renown fashion designer who is boarding the ship. Lady Duff Gordon has just lost her personal servant and agrees to let Tess have the ticket and become her maid. 

I loved Tess' character right away and wanted to hate Lady Duff Gordon because she's a snotty pretentious type that is rude to her hubby and very entitled. But she has soft moments too and it's hard not to like her when she has tender moments of compassion towards Tess. You can see their bound changing as the book proceeds, sometimes they are confidants, sometimes mother/daughter.
Lady Lucille Duff Gordon
What happens when the ship sinks is the pinnacle that the rest of the story revolves around. Tess and Lady Duff Gordon survive, but the costs they have to pay are heavy once they get to the United States. It's an interesting look into what happened to the survivors and the choices they made in the moments of fear and desperation while they tried not to parish.

This is an actual photo (I think Lady Lucille Duff Gordon is the woman on the left). The taking of this photo is covered in the book. 
One thing I did not know about the Titanic is that after it sank, there were trials. Survivors, both shipmen and passengers, were called to witness and the White Star Line faced a lot of scrutiny.

The characters in the books are forced to testify about what happened in the lifeboats and there are secrets some try to keep and guilt some try to relieve. 

I loved Tess' determined spirit and another character, a reporter named Pinky, reminds me of a modern day girl. She's pushy and a crusader for women's rights. You'll root for her. 

The ending is triumphant and satisfying. The middle is easy going and thought provoking. 

The downside is that I think it just scratched the service and I think the author could have written in a more emotional voice when it came to the tragedy of the sinking ship...but that's a daunting task to undertake.



One added bonus in the book is the fashion. LOVE the 1900s fashion! Lots of details on the fabric and cut of gowns...and funny that showing your ankles was scandalous. Oh, if they could see us now! 

What She's Reading Now

Time for an update!

Tigers in Red Weather was a bust.

We didn't even talk about it at book club.
This month's bookclub was fun, our hostess had a bonfire and we sat around outside. Though we didn't talk about the book, we did cover a list of other worthy topics, like


Sex (morning vs. night)
Kids and toothpaste
Our moms
Getting pregnant
Banana Cream Pie
Corn yields (lots of farmers' wives in the group)


So as you can clearly see, it was a great night, even though we didn't talk about the book. 

Tigers in Red Weather was a mess of under developed stories lines.  I felt like none of the ideas ever got the full attention they deserved. A tennis match was written with more description and detail than a young girl and boy finding a dead body. It was weird. I didn't finish it. I tried to find the ending by Googling it but all I could find was that the ending was crazy. (so sounds like a fitting ending to a crazily boring book) One part I did like was the descriptions of the 50s era. The fashion, homes, cars and everything from that time always interest me.


So next up! I am reading this: 



The Dressmaker

From Goodreads: Just in time for the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the Titaniccomes a vivid, romantic, and relentlessly compelling historical novel about a spirited young woman who survives the disaster only to find herself embroiled in the media frenzy left in the wake of the tragedy.



Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she's had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes.

Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy. Others—including the gallant Midwestern tycoon—are not so lucky...


And that's where I stopped reading the desciption because I didn't want any spoilers/ideas. 

I am enjoying it so far! 

I am also listening to this in the car: 
The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

It's a little different from what I normally read but I am excited to try something new! 
From Goodreads (4.27 stars!)
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

What She's Reading Now

Short and Sweet: What She's Reading Now

For Book Club: Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann
Tigers in Red Weather: A Novel
2 women in the 1950s, struggling in their roles as housewives and mothers. Lots of descriptions about the fashion and lifestyle of that era, which I love. Lots of love, relationships, struggles. Good so far! 
Average 3.5 star rating on Good Reads.

In the car: 
Heartbroken By Lisa Unger
Heartbroken
Description: Heartbroken is a tense, mesmerizing novel about the limits of dysfunctional families, of an island haunted by dark memories and restless ghosts, and of the all-too-real demons we must battle.  Wonderfully suspenseful, exquisitely crafted, and written with raw, emotional power, this is Lisa Unger at her very best. Average 3.5 rating on Good Reads.

Next Up:
Another Piece of My  Heart
By: Jane Green
Another Piece of My Heart
From Good Reads: From the New York Times bestselling author of JEMIMA J, and THE BEACH HOUSE, comes Jane Green’s most emotional and powerful novel yet: a story that explores the complications of a woman marrying into a ready-made family, and the true meaning of motherhood. 
Average 3.65 rating on Good Reads
Why I chose it: Jane Green is like Jennifer Weiner to me, they are great go to authors that I know I will enjoy without even reading the back cover. 



What are you reading right now ? 


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