Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Holidays and a Giveaway!

It's going to be quiet around here until 2018. I may post a few things before New Years like my "End of Year Book Survey," but other than that I'm going to be spending time with my family, soaking up the holiday season, and probably eating too many Christmas cookies. The holiday season seems to go by faster and faster each year!





I'm thankful for you guys and it's been a great year of book blogging. I am giving away one book from the list below to one lucky US winner.  Please refer to my giveaway rules and the giveaway is open until January 2nd.







 
 

  • Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase #3) by Rick Riordan
  • ARC of It Should Have Been You by Lynn Slaughter
  • City of Sand by Tianxia Bachang
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  • ARC of The Amateurs by Sara Shepard
  • Over the Underworld (Unbelievable FIB #2) by Adam Shaughnessy
  • The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel
  • Random Illustrated Facts by Mike Lowery
  • ARC of It Started With Goodbye by Christina June
  • The Next Together by Lauren James

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with family and friends and an amazing start to 2018.


Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Book Review: Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Pages: 288
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author:  Emerald Coast
French Coast, and White Sand, Blue Sea
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "A charming, glamourous love story set at Claridge's in London during the magical week before Christmas starring a sweet NYC baker and the Cooking Channel Producer who could change her life.  It’s a week before Christmas and Louisa Graham is working twelve hour shifts at a bakery on Manhattan's Lower East Side. When a young cooking show assistant comes in from the rain and begs to buy all the cinnamon rolls on her tray, she doesn’t know what to do. Louisa is just the baker, and they aren't hers to sell. But the show burned the rolls they were supposed to film that day, so she agrees. The next morning, Louisa finds out that her cinnamon rolls were a hit, but the star of the show was allergic, and the whole crew is supposed to leave for London that afternoon. They want Louisa to step in for their annual Christmas Eve Dinner TV special at Claridge's. It’s a great opportunity, and Digby Bunting, Louisa’s famous baking idol, will be there. Even if he does seem more interested in her than her food. And then there’s Kate, the show's beautiful producer. On their first day in London she runs into the skinny boy she jilted at St. Andrew's in Scotland ten years ago. Now he’s a handsome, brilliant mathematician, and newly divorced. Their familiar spark is still there, but so is the scar of how they left things. Kate and Louisa are busy preparing for the show, but old and new flames are complicating their work. Set during London's most festive time of year and filled with delicious food, Christmas in London is about love and friendship, and the season's most important lesson: learning how to ask for and give forgiveness."

Louisa works at a Manhattan bakery with, like most chefs, hopes to open her own restaurant one day. At the last minute, a TV show buys up all of her cinnamon rolls, because their rolls burned, and while they are a hit, they actually cause the TV show host to have an allergic reaction.  Drama ensues as the whole crew was to leave for London that day to film a special Christmas show at Claridge's.  The producers wants Louisa to go instead; this would obviously be a once in a lifetime opportunity for her and a chance to work with the famous chef Digby Bunting.  Louisa takes a chance and goes to London and it's pretty much a dream come true for her.  Then there's the show's producer, Kate. While in London, Kate runs into her college boyfriend, Trevor, and sparks ignite. He isn't the nerdy math geek he was in college though. He's successful, handsome, brilliant, and a divorcee.  Could they actually be together? Will both Louisa and Kate have a Christmas to remember in beautiful London? Christmas in London by Anita Hughes is a heartwarming Christmas tale that is reminiscent of a Hallmark movie all set with the beautiful backdrop of London at Christmastime.

While both Louisa and Kate get to narrate their story in Christmas in London, I found myself gravitating towards Kate's story the most. I loved the whole idea of randomly meeting up with a college ex during the holidays in London. I liked the flashbacks to their relationship at St. Andrew's and learning more about their past.  Then there was Louisa and her story of finding her place and taking a risk to be on the cooking show. It's a whole new world for her and I loved exploring London at Christmastime along side of her.  She, too, has a possible Christmas romance and it's a cute one as well.

I loved Hughes's descriptions of London. You could really tell that she is familiar with all the city has to offer. The food, the holiday decorations, the restaurants, the landmarks -- all very well done. It had me wanting to pack my bags to visit London and see what the city has to offer during the holiday season.

Some parts of Christmas in London were a bit overly saccharine for my taste and some of the dialogue didn't seem realistic at all, but I didn't let that bother me too much. It was similar to a Hallmark movie, which was exactly what I was in the mood for.

So, if you, too, are in the mood for a holiday read that will put a smile on your face all while having you dream of London, definitely give Christmas in London a try this holiday season. 


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Boardwalk Summer

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

Boardwalk Summer by Meredith Jaeger
Pub. Date: June 19, 2018



Goodreads says, "In this new novel from the author of The Dressmaker’s Dowry, two young women two generations apart discover the joy and heartbreak of following their dreams. Aspiring Hollywood actress Violet makes a shocking choice in 1940, and seventy years later, Mari sets out to discover what happened on that long ago summer. Santa Cruz, Summer 1940: When auburn-haired Violet Harcourt is crowned Miss California on the boardwalk of her hometown, she knows she is one step closer to her cherished dream: a Hollywood screen test. But Violet’s victory comes with a price—discord in her seemingly perfect marriage—and she grapples with how much more she is willing to pay. Summer 2007: Single mother Marisol Cruz lives with her parents in the charming beach cottage that belonged to her grandfather, Ricardo, once a famed performer on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Drawn to the town’s local history and the quaint gazebo where her grandparents danced beneath the stars, Mari sells raffle tickets at the Beach Boardwalk Centennial Celebration, and meets Jason, a California transplant from Chicago. When Mari discovers the obituary of Violet Harcourt, a beauty queen who died too young, she and Jason are sent on a journey together that will uncover her grandfather’s lifelong secret—his connection to Violet—a story of tragedy and courage that will forever transform them."

This cover alone had me adding this book to my TBR....a beach bag must! What do you guys think?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Book Review: The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Pages: 368
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date:  November 14, 2017
Publisher: Harper
Source: Library
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "In the bestselling tradition of Fannie Flagg and Jenny Colgan comes Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s U.S. debut about a local librarian who must find a way to rebuild her community and her own life in this touching, enchanting novel set on Ireland’s stunning West Coast.  As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip.   With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off travelling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined. "

Hanna Casey is a librarian on Ireland's remote southwestern coast and has returned home after living for some time in England. You see her husband has cheated on her, so she has returned home to start her life over in Ireland.  Hanna isn't your regular librarian though. She drives the library van all throughout the coast to the small Irish villages.  Hanna currently lives at home with her mother and although she appreciates her, she knows it's time to find her own place.  Her great-aunt has left her a run-down cottage on the coast and she decides now is the time to restore it, but it's going to be a big job.  Hanna does have the time to focus on this though since her daughter is an adult now and off on her own.  Hanna's plans go awry though when she finds out developers want to close the library. She knows she needs the community's help regarding this and she'll have to ask the very people she avoided to help her out for the sake of peninsula and the future of the library.  Felicity Hayes-McCoy's The Library at the Edge of the World is a quiet read that will warm your heart.

I really liked the character of Hanna in The Library at the Edge of the World. Who doesn't love librarians? I was really intrigued by the fact that she wanted to restore her great-aunt's cottage on the coast. Can I move in? With the news of the library's possible closure, Hanna realizes that not only are her plans to restore the cottage may not come to fruition, but she has to rely on people in the community to deal with the possible library closure. Some of these people she has avoided interacting with since she returned from England with her tail between her legs.  I love that she has to grow in a sense and I loved "meeting" the cast of characters in her hometown.


Hayes-McCoy's descriptions of the coast of Ireland were fantastic in The Library at the Edge of the World. I felt like I was there and it had me dreaming of an afternoon exploring the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, one of my favorite spots in Ireland. In fact, her descriptions made me feel like I was reading a Maeve Binchy novel, which is high praise coming from me.


I have to admit that parts of The Library at the Edge of the World were a bit slow, but I liked that it was one of those quiet reads that you can curl up with knowing that there's no violence, murder, or horrible secrets. It's more focused on small community drama and for that I was grateful as I needed a palate cleanser after reading a psychological thriller.


So, if you are ok with a slower read or you want a change of pace and love stories set in Ireland, check out The Library at the Edge of the World. I loved being transported to beautiful Ireland.



Sunday, December 17, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (54)


Book Review: The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam
Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Books of 2017



Next week I'll be sharing my thoughts on The Library at the Edge of the World. It was a really cute read, slow and quiet at times, but delightful. I really enjoyed the Irish countryside setting.  I'll also be taking a blog break for the rest of the holiday season!







More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer - Thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley
Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys - Thanks to Atria 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, December 15, 2017

My Favorite Picture Books for Christmastime

Christmas is such a special time of the year and one of my favorite times to snuggle up and read with little ones. Here's some of our favorite holiday picture books as well as board books:


Picture Books:




1.  The Story of Baby Jesus by Mary Kelly  - A gorgeous picture book that covers the true meaning of Christmas. It's written simply for little ones to appreciate.

2.  The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert  - A breathtaking book with beautiful photographs all about a little girl who wants to be one of Santa's elves.






3.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Barbara Shook Hazen - A classic in every sense of the way.

4.  The Littlest Elf by Brandi Dougherty - This book is so cute! It's about a little elf, who although small, finally finds his purpose amongst Santa's elves. 




 

5.  The Christmas Baby by Marion Dane Bauer - This book not only celebrates the birth of Jesus, it also celebrates babies everywhere.

6.  It's Christmas! by Tracey Corderoy - This is a delightful picture book all about a little reindeer's excitement for the holiday. He can't contain himself and he ends up in some predicaments.




 


7.  The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan and Mike Berenstain - I love that this book reminds us that it is better to give than receive.

8.  The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore - Another classic that cannot be missed.




 

9.  Strega Nona's Gift by Tomie dePaola - Of course there's Big Anthony getting himself into trouble in this book, but it also covers Italian Christmas traditions as well as feast days. 

10.  Frosty the Snow Man by Annie North Bedford - I love this story, but I especially appreciate this 1950s classic.






11. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss  - A favorite in our house!

12.  The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg - Another modern classic that is beloved in my house.



 


13.  A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz - Who doesn't love this story?

14.  The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett - I especially love the illustrations in this book covering the famous Christmas carol. 






15.  The Gingerbread Pirates by  Kristin Kladstrup - This is such a fun Christmas story about a little boy who makes gingerbread men and at night they come to life as pirates and encounter Santa. 

16.  Night Tree by Eve Bunting - I love this story of a family who decorate a Christmas tree with treats for the animals in the forest.



 

17.  The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers - A beautifully illustrated version of the classic tale.

18.  My Treasury of Christmas Stories by Caroline Pedler - This treasury includes many Christmas classics, such as A Christmas Carol, The Snow Queen, and more. 




 

19.  Jingle Bells by Kathleen N. Daly - This book is one of my favorites from my childhood. I love how the animals help Santa deliver the gifts and the lyrics of Jingle Bells are throughout.

20.  Over the River & Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure by Linda Ashman - Kids can especially appreciate this one if you have a busy holiday of traveling to visit family.





21.  The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne - A beautiful book set in the 1800s that will be sure to bring a tear to your eye as it reinforces the importance of kindness as well as the origin of Christmas stockings.

22.  Room for a Little One by Marin Waddell - The illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful! I love this nativity story and some of the new animals in this heartfelt tale.



Board Books:



 

1.  Biscuit's Pet and Play Christmas by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
2.  Merry Christmas, Daniel Tiger! by Angela C. Santomero
3.  Merry Christmas, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff
4.  That's Not My Snowman by Fiona Watt
5. A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer by Jennifer Adams



On Our TBR List:
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
The 12 Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Little Blue Truck's Christmas by Alice Schertle
A Pirate's Twelve Days of Christmas by Philip Yates
A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

What are some of your favorite picture books to read during the holiday season? Any of your favorites that I missed? Let me know in the comments below. 

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