Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Can we just take one second and talk about how beautiful this cover is?  I just love it and after finishing the story, I now understand the fragility implied within.  As for the narrative itself, I've never read one that quite dealt with these types of issues before...hoarding specifically.  That's not really a spoiler, as it's addressed throughout the entirety of the novel - but of course there's other more deep-rooted matters at hand here, as is often the case with unresolved wounds. It was sad - it was moving - it was tragic......AND it was redemptive.

I very much enjoyed The House We Grew Up In and without giving away too much, I think it gives a very real look into today's crumbling family model when pain, selfishness and mental issues are involved.

Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an opportunity to read an Advance Copy!  You can snag your own copy here!

Description: Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children's lives.

Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they've never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in -- and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.

Told in gorgeous, insightful prose that delves deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the captivating story of one family's desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

Rating: ****

Recommend: It's definitely a no holds barred type of family drama, but nonetheless I would for sure recommend. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Apparently I'm not the only one!

So it looks as though enjoying the smell of books isn't as rare as I thought!  Check out this soy candle in the fragrance "Old Books" by Frostbeard Studio on Etsy!

Old Books -- Book Lovers' Scented Soy Candle              -- 8oz jar

This candle needs to be in my house like yesterday.  A little pricey at $15 for an 8 oz candle (I typically support my candle addiction with Bath & Body Works when they have a half-off sale).

But seriously, you NEED to visit their shop and see all their fun & unique candle scents!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

So.  Uh-hum.  This is one of those books that somehow knows about all the private conversations you've ever had with your closest girlfriends regarding the questions or mysteries involving sex. It was so blatant at times that I was blushing in the privacy of my own room - but so freakin hilarious at other times because I swear we've all wondered the same things or identified with some of the same issues that the main character faces. Well, okay, or maybe it was just me.

I was 26 years old when I married my husband - and yes, I was a virgin, in every sense of the word.  There's not many of us out there that decide to wait, and being as how I was raised in a religious background where sex was NEVER discussed, there was a whole lotta stuff I had NO CLUE about until after I got married.

Though the main character, Ellie is on an outright mission to lose her virginity at the age of 21, I felt that the way this story resolved itself and the lesson she learned at the end of it all was actually quite poignant.  I do not regret one bit saving myself sexually for my husband - there is a HUGE amount of pressure on teens and young adults to be sexually active and unfortunately our culture is so obsessed with sex that it can often easily define us.  I laughed, I winced, I squirmed - I did all the things that I have done with my best girlfriends discussing these very things.  Freakin hilarious book - but definitely not for everybody. Lol, but then again, maybe it should be.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this advance copy to give an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  If you dare, pre-order your copy here!

Description: Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.

Yet.

This is normal, right?  I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

Rating:  ***

Recommend:  This is a tough one - if you're interested in picking it up, you cannot go into it hoping you don't get offended.  It's crass, funny, detailed, crude and ridiculously laugh-out-loud funny.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Since You've Been Gone by Anouska Knight

I'm a sucker for light & romantic reads - especially ones that add in a little baking and snarky British humor.  This book was so fun and I cruised right through it!  Not to mention, the publisher sent me an actual hard copy of the book, which was such a refreshing change of pace, since I've been devouring ebooks left and right.  I know, I feel like a traitor.  I never thought I'd be such a huge ebook fan, but I cruise through them so much faster!

The cover is beyond darling and the writing was just so dang effortlessness.  A perfect beach read - or if you're like me and unable to afford the time or money to get to a beach - a great summer afternoon book curled up on the couch with an iced coffee.

Thank you Harlequin for the Advance Copy, super fun & adorable story!  Since You've Been Gone releases on August 1 - but you can pre-order your copy here!

Description: How do you learn to love again?

In one tragic moment, Holly Jefferson s life as she knows it changes for ever. Now to the external world, at least she s finally getting back on her feet, running her business, Cake. Then she meets Ciaran Argyll.

His rich and charmed life feels a million miles from her own. However, there s more to Ciaran than the superficial world that surrounds him, and he too is wrestling with his own ghosts. Will Holly find the missing ingredient that allows her to live again and embrace an unknown and unexpected tomorrow?


Rating: ****

Recommend:  Yes, but be aware there were for sure a couple of steamy scenes too.