Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend and a Giveaway!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend for those who celebrate. It's the unofficial start of summer (my favorite time of the year!) and I can't wait to head back to the beach with a book in my hand.

I am giving away a copy of The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan to one lucky US reader.  It's the first book in his new series called The Trials of Apollo.  The deadline is June 5th and please refer to my giveaway rules.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, don't forget to enter my other giveaways: 

Thanks for visiting and have a great holiday weekend,

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Review: The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Pages: 368
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Ecco
Source: Library
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.  Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives. This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love."

The Plumb family has left their children a hefty inheritance, except that they cannot access it until the youngest child turns forty.  The Plumb children knew their whole lives that their inheritance or "The Nest" was coming, so they didn't fret too much over college tuition or large bills.  However, everything changes when the eldest child, Leo, leaves a wedding early with one of the waitresses and crashes his car.  The waitress loses her foot in the accident; plus, Leo was high and drunk.  In order to pay for all the hospital bills and pay the waitress, their mother has allowed Leo to access "the nest" early.  In fact, he has burned through almost all of it! When the other siblings find out, they decide to call a meeting to discuss how Leo is going to pay them back. He will, right? Just out of rehab, Leo shows up to the meeting and makes many empty promises, which the other siblings fall for.  Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's debut, The Nest, is an enertaining novel that examines relationships and has tons of family drama.

In The Nest, the point of view switches quite often from the various Plumb siblings as well as other minor characters.  First, there's Leo, the charismastic, but troubled eldest son.  He just can't seem to get it together. Then there's Bea, an aspiring writer, and Jack, who everyone refers to as Leo Lite. Jack was always in the shadow of his big brother.  Lastly, there's Melody, the youngest Plumb sibling, who is a heliicopter parent to two teenage girls. All four Plumb siblings have issues and many of them have financial issues, which is why when they find out that "the nest" has been depleted, it's a huge blow.  Jack has found himself in a financial bind and Melody may even lose her house in the suburbs.  Things are starting to look dire. Will Leo rise to the occasion?

While I liked hearing from the various point of view in The Nest and getting to know each Plumb sibling, I felt that the other points of view from minor characters weren't always necessary and messed with the flow of the novel from time to time.  I wanted the focus to be on the four Plumb siblings a bit more, so that was my one gripe with the novel.

Nonetheless, if you like books filled to the brim with family drama and secrets, you should definitely check out The Nest this spring to see what is in store for the Plumb family.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: What the Dead Want

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  "Waiting on Wednesday" spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

What the Dead Want by Norah Olson
Pub. Date: July 26, 2016

Goodreads says, "16 -year-old Gretchen takes photographs to understand the world around her, a passion her mother Mona fostered and encouraged when she was still around. Since her mom disappeared years ago, Gretchen and her dad have lived on their own in New York City, haunted by Mona’s absence. When Gretchen’s great aunt Esther calls unexpectedly to tell her that she has inherited the pre-Civil War mansion on her mother’s side of the family in upstate New York, Gretchen understands nothing except that her aunt needs her help. But what she finds there is beyond her imagination. The house is crumbling apart, filled with stacks of papers and journals from decades, even centuries past, and it’s crawling with rodents. It’s also full of secrets and a legacy of racism and violence so reprehensible that the ghosts of the past are exacting revenge on the living. Somehow the mystery of Mona’s disappearance and the atrocities that happened on the land during the Civil War are inextricably intertwined, and it’s up to Gretchen to figure out how…before even more lives are lost."
I love old and mysterious houses, so this book caught my eye. Even though this isn't my typical summertime read, it sounds like a compelling mystery. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Beach Reads About That One Special Summer

There are so many YA novels out there that focus on that one magical summer.  If you want to know my thoughts on each novel, click the title to head to check out my review. Here are some of my favorites:

The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski 

The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila Howland

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton

The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

So, what are some of your favorite young adult novels that focus on that one special summer?  Let me know in the comments below. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Pages: 519
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date:  May 3, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour,
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Andie had it all planned out.  When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks). But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.  And where’s the fun in that?"

Andie Walker is the daughter of a Connecticut congressman and is used to having it all planned out.  That is until her father is involved in political scandal and instead of spending all of his time in Washington D.C., he moves back home for the summer.  This doesn't sound like a big deal, but Andie isn't used to having her dad around; she is accustomed to being on her own, especially after her mother died.  Andie had her summer all planned out. She was going to intern at John Hopkins, but after her father's scandal, she lost her place in the internship.  This throws Andie's perfectly planned world upside down.  Instead of having a prestigious job or internship for the summer, she finds work as a dog walker, which at first is a major step outside of her comfort zone.  But as time marches on, she realizes how much she loves it. Plus, she meets Clark (she walks his dog!) and has feelings for him. So perhaps this summer isn't a bust after all? The Unexpected Everything is an adorable summertime read that I thoroughly enjoyed and I highly recommend it for fans of YA contemporary fiction.

Andie isn't necessarily someone I could relate to, but I enjoyed her journey nonetheless. She's rather Type A and likes to control everything, so her unplanned summer throws her for a tailspin. What I enjoyed the most about Andie was her friendships. Andie has a group of close friends and they are constantly text messaging, discussing details at the diner, heading to the beach, and generally just being there for one another. I absolutely loved Matson's portrayal of this group of friends. It felt genuine and real. I also loved how The Unexpected Everything also focused on Andie's fractured relationship with her father. This summer isn't just about a possible first love, but it's also about repairing things with her dad and enjoyed that aspect of the novel.

Clark is such a great character in The Unexpected Everything. He's nerdy, but he's a hot nerd and I loved that about him.  Matson does such a great job creating memorable leading men and she hits it out of the ballpark with Clark.  I loved his summer romance with Andie and even though there were some bumps in the road, I was rooting for them all along.

My only issue with The Unexpected Everything was the length. The middle of the story dragged on a bit as it's a rather long book, but thankfully, the second half of the novel really picked up.  I was dying to know how things were going to end up for Andie and the end really tugged on my heartstrings.

If you are a fan of contemporary fiction as well as Morgan Matson, you won't be disappointed by The Unexpected Everything. Make sure you add it to your summer TBR pile and take it with you on vacation! 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (103)

The Graces by Laure Eve - Thanks to Amulet Books and NetGalley
All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank - Thanks to LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Beachy and Me by Bob Staake - Thanks to Random House
Three Magic Balloons by Julianna Margulies - Thanks to Random House
The Perfect Dog by Kevin O'Malley  - Thanks to Random House


Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano - Thanks to Penguin

Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly - Thanks to Disney-Hyperion
Love & Friendship by Whit Stillman - Thanks to Little, Brown & Company and NetGalley

So what do you guys think? Have you read any of these books or are they on your TBR list? Let me know! This meme is hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Five (30) and a Giveaway

Happy Friday! Sometimes I like to talk about what I am currently into that is not necessarily book related. Here's what I have been up to/thinking about/enjoying lately. Let me know what you think!

1.  Bloodline - I am a huge fan of this show and can't wait for it to come back on at the end of this month. I love Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor forever!) and the setting of the Florida Keys is right my alley. Anyone else a fan? 

2. Belgravia by Julian Fellowes - As you guys know, I am part of this progressive blog tour. I will be sharing my thoughts on "episode" nine of the novel this June.  The tour has already started and you can read Belgravia as a serialized novel, which I think is so much fun! So far I am really enjoying it and it's filling the void that Downton Abbey left.

3. Newborn Snuggles - My reading has taken a hit, because I am now taking care of a newborn and a three year old....cue all the craziness! If you missed it, I had a baby boy in April. Despite all the craziness, I have been really enjoying all the newborn snuggling. This phase goes by too fast, so I am trying to soak it all in even if I am trapped on the sofa!

4.  Carla Hall's Peaches and Cream Trifle - I love peaches in the summertime and this recipe caught my eye. How delicious does this sound? I definitely plan on making it this summer. 


5.  A Giveaway - The winner will choose two books from the following: 

The giveaway is open to US readers and the deadline is May 29th. Please refer to my giveaway rules. Good luck!

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