Friday, February 23, 2018

Children's Book Roundup - Truck Edition

Trucks are a very popular topic for most preschoolers and whether you have a truck lover in the family or are heading to a birthday party for a preschooler, these truck books are sure to be a hit. Here are our favorite truck books for children:

Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle
I'm Dirty! by Kate McMullan
I Love Trucks! by Philemon Sturges
Trucks by Byron Barton
I Stink! by Kate McMullan
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry
My Big Truck Book by Roger Priddy
Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemensha
I Stink! by Kate McMullan

Red Truck by Kersten Hamilton
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres
Busy Trucks on the Go by Eric Ode
Construction by Sally Sutton
Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney
The Big Book of Big Trucks by Megan Cullis

On Our TBR List:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday: The Summer I Met Jack

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable
Pub. Date: May 29, 2018

Goodreads says, "New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between JFK and Alicia Corning Clark - and the child they may have had. Based on a real story - in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.  Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.  The Summer I Met Jack is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together."

I love all things Kennedy, so this one immediately caught my eye. Also, I adored Michelle Gable's last novel, The Book of Summer, so I am excited to get my hands on a copy of this novel.   It would make for a great vacation read, right? What do you guys think? 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Book Review: An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

Pages: 820
Genre: Adult Fiction/Historical Fiction
Pub. Date:  January 1, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: Personal Copy/Audio Book
Other Books in the Series:  Outlander, Dragonfly in AmberVoyager
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Jamie Fraser, erstwhile Jacobite and reluctant rebel, knows three things about the American rebellion: the Americans will win, unlikely as that seems in 1778; being on the winning side is no guarantee of survival; and he’d rather die than face his illegitimate son — a young lieutenant in the British Army — across the barrel of a gun. Fraser’s time-travelling wife, Claire, also knows a couple of things: that the Americans will win, but that the ultimate price of victory is a mystery. What she does believe is that the price won’t include Jamie’s life or happiness — not if she has anything to say.  Claire’s grown daughter Brianna, and her husband, Roger, watch the unfolding of Brianna’s parents’ history — a past that may be sneaking up behind their own family." 

Brianna, Roger, Jem and Mandy have moved into Lallybroch in the 20th century. Brianna, although she misses her parents greatly, knows that things are safer for her children during this time period; plus, Mandy was able to get the helped she desperately needed. Jamie and Claire have left Brianna and Roger letters updating them on things that occurred. One of the letters mentions where the hidden gold is, but we know that Jem is actually the only person who knows where it is and Brianna is fine with that.  So, this shouldn't pose a problem. Or will it?  In the past, we have Claire, Jamie, Ian and company who are inevitably going to be involved with the Revolutionary War. Jamie wants to head back to Scotland to see Jenny and family and retrieve his printing press, but he doesn't make it there right away. Disaster ensues and they are stuck in the colonies for quite sometime. To complicate matters further, Jamie's son, Lord William Ellesmere, is fighting for the British, which worries Jamie greatly as he will be fighting against his own son.  Claire knows how things will end up for the Americans, but is it foresight enough to keep her family safe?  Book seven in the Outlander series, An Echo in the Bone, is (mostly) an exciting novel filled with adventure, romance, history, and a lot of action. 

I absolutely love Claire and Jamie's relationship in An Echo in the Bone. They are always on adventures, they are at some point usually separated by some complicated circumstance, and there's always something horrific that happens, but it's so darn entertaining. There were a few events towards the end of this novel that left me a bit perplexed regarding Claire and Jamie's relationship, but nonetheless, I truly care about them.  Throwing Jamie's son, William, into the mix definitely makes things more interesting and truly tugged on my heartstrings since it's a complicated relationship.  William doesn't know Jamie's his father and Jamie tries to avoid him, but they keep ending up in each other's company....even on the battlefield.

Speaking of William, readers get to know him a bit more in An Echo in the Bone. At first, I didn't care for his storyline one bit. I thought it was monotonous as it was mostly details about the various battles and situations he was in towards the beginning of the war. It was, honestly, a snoozefest. Once Jamie and Ian's plot lines starting intersecting William's, things started to get very, very interesting as we know who William truly is and he, well, doesn't. By the end of the novel, William grew on me and I ended up caring for him after all.

Lord John Grey's story lines, which were also interspersed throughout the novel were equally boring.  Once we got about half way through An Echo in the Bone, things started to pick up again for Lord John, but that was only because Jamie and Claire entered the scene.  The thing is I really like Lord John, but his part of the story was too slow moving. I wanted to get back to Ian, Jamie, Claire or even Brianna and Roger.

Which leads me to Brianna's family who lives at Lallybroch in the 20th century.  Brianna and family are trying to figure out where they belong in modern day, where they should work, how to go to modern school, and how to, essentially, live without their family.  It's a tough transition and unlike William and Lord John's story line, I enjoyed following the events of this family, especially when Brianna would read through Jamie and Claire's letters.  Things definitely pick up for this family when an unexpected visitor arrives at their door and of course things get very complicated.

The last quarter of An Echo in the Bone was addictingly good. I was flipping the pages till late at night, which was a nice change of pace as this novel was very, very slow in numerous parts.  Nonetheless, I am still loving the Outlander series, which says something, because by now in a series I usually grow tired of the plot.  That is not the case here. I am still a fan and can't wait to read the next book in the series.  I think I'm going to have to take that one slowly though since Gabaldon hasn't finished book nine yet!

It must be noted that I listened to this audio book and although it took me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to get through it, I really liked it as Davina Porter, the narrator, is incredible.  If you like audio books, you must check out the Outlander series; she does a phenomenal job!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (60)

Can't Wait Wednesday: Women of the Dunes
Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I'll be sharing my thoughts on An Echo in the Bone, which is Outlander book seven. It took me just about forever to get through the audio book! I am still a big fan of the series, so I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you all! 

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory - Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley
Where I Live by Brenda Rufener - Thanks to Harper Teen

Let Me List the Ways by Sarah White - Thanks to HarperTeen and Edelweiss
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren - Thanks to Gallery and NetGalley

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews - Thanks to St. Martins and NetGalley
Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine - Thanks to Atria and NetGalley

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable - Thanks to  and NetGalley

Have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for visiting. This meme is hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Friday, February 16, 2018

It's Not You, It's Me (22)

It's not you, it's me." This feature will be showcasing books that I never finished or reviewed; you know…...the dreaded DNF.

One of my goals for 2018 is to put aside books that don't interest me initially. If I am not feeling a book by page 50, I have vowed to put them in my DNF pile, because there are WAY too many other novels that I want to read. Here are the latest books that have joined this pile.

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner 

Goodreads says,"When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered. For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance. In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race..."

My Thoughts: Guys, I loved These Broken Stars, so I thought this was going to be sure-fire hit for me. However, that wasn't the case. The story didn't pull me in, at least in the first 50 pages, and the characters felt flat to me. I didn't care about them enough to continue with the story, which is a real bummer.  Perhaps I am just done with sci-fi? 

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Goodreads says,"On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she'd become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn't. And then she died. Now she's stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge--as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past. Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly's afterlife has been miserable. But this year, everything is about to change."
My Thoughts: I absolutely love Cynthia Hand and I love A Christmas Carol, so why didn't this book work for me? For starters, the writing didn't feel as compelling as Hand's previous novels. Something just felt off. I was hoping for a heartwarming tale to read at Christmas, but I just wasn't feeling it. The reviews for the book have been pretty decent though, so maybe I'll pick it up again next Christmas.

Have you guys read these books? Should I reconsider them? What books have you recently set aside? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday: Women of the Dunes

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine
Pub. Date:  July 24, 2018

Goodreads says, "From the author of the acclaimed novels The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River, a rich, atmospheric tale set on the sea-lashed coast of west Scotland, in which the lives of a ninth-century Norsewoman, a nineteenth-century woman, and a twenty-first-century archeologist weave together after a body is discovered in the dunes.  Libby Snow has always felt the pull of Ullanessm a lush Scottish island enshrouded in myth and deeply important to her family. Her great-great-grandmother Ellen was obsessed with the strange legend of Ulla, a Viking maiden who washed up on shore with the nearly lifeless body of her husband—and who inspired countless epic poems and the island’s name.  Central to the mystery is an ornate chalice and Libby, an archaeologist, finally has permission to excavate the site where Ulla is believed to have lived. But what Libby finds in the ancient dunes is a body from the Victorian era, clearly murdered…and potentially connected to Ellen.  What unfolds is an epic story that spans centuries, with Libby mining Ellen and Ulla’s stories for clues about the body, and in doing so, discovering the darker threads that bind all three women together across history."

I love reading a good historical mystery in the summertime! What do you guys think? 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Pages: 579
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: February 8, 2011
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Library
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says,"Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery, so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks, but her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries--and she's the only creature who can break its spell."

Diana Bishop, a professor and scholar, is doing some research at Oxford.  Diana isn't your run-of-the-mill history buff though; she's a witch.  She comes from a long line of witches, but Diana doesn't practice witchcraft; in fact, she avoids it at all costs despite her family's wishes for her to at least be familiar with her powers. While at Oxford, she comes across an enchanted book that obviously has some type of spell on it, but it doesn't pique her interest initially. However, the same can't be said of the other paranormal creatures lurking in Oxford. They are VERY interested in this manuscript. Ever since Diana found this book in the library, there's been other witches, demons, and even vampires trying to engage with her. What secrets are hidden in this book? Enter another scholar, Matthew Clairmont, who is not only very smart, but he's also a vampire. Yes, a vampire.   But he isn't your usual dangerous vampire, if you will, but instead he wants to help Diana figure out what secrets the manuscript holds.  Once they start working together an entire adventure ensues in A Discovery of Witches that includes a lot of historical details, romance, paranormal elements, and lots of magic.  Despite my annoyance with the fact that this book had a vampire in it (I am SO over them!), I loved it!

Diana Bishop is my kind of character. in A Discovery of Witches. I love a smart character that is into nerdy things (she practically lives at Oxford's Library!), is stubborn, strong, and cares about her family.  Diana's past is a bit sad though; readers will find out what happened to her parents, who are also witches, and why she grew up with her aunt as her guardian.  I loved her interest in history and her extensive knowledge of alchemy, but she did frustrate me regarding her "magic." She really didn't want anything to do with her powers as witch; that is, until she finds herself in the front row of a paranormal dilemma and other paranormal creatures coming out of the woodwork.  

That's where Matthew enters in A Discovery of Witches. I really enjoyed his character as well and I liked learning more about his past. I will have to admit that I sort of hated myself for liking a vampire. I mean I am SO OVER vampire stories. I am not trying to be a book snob or anything, but I thought I was done with all of that. Until Matthew. What a fun character! I could have done without his possessiveness, but I truly loved Diana and Matthew's budding relationship.  A witch and a vampire? It can work!

The historical details in A Discovery of Witches were absolutely fantastic. That is definitely what sets this book apart from other paranormal fantasies. Harkness is a professor of history and you can really tell when reading her novel. All of her historical tidbits truly shine through the story in every aspect. The book is chock full of interesting facts and descriptions of the past that will be sure to keep fans of historical fiction totally engaged. 

I loved the magical world that Harkness created as well. One of my favorite parts of the story was when Diana learned more about her magic (hello, Hogwarts!), and connected with her aunt and visited her childhood home. Can I just say that I want to live at her house --it's so, so cool! I haven't enjoyed a witchy story like this since Harry Potter.

So, don't be silly like me and postpone reading A Discovery of Witches, because you think you are over vampire stories. A Discovery of Witches is so much more than a vampire or witch novel; you won't be disappointed. I was thoroughly entertained and I can't wait to continue with the series. Also, I am ecstatic that this book is also being made into a TV show with Matthew Goode as Matthew Clarimont. I can't wait! 

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