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As I mentioned in this post, I can't wait to participate in my first blogger read-a-thon! I picked a good one to start with, since I love holiday themed books. They are not usually known to be too heavy or emotionally demanding, but that is just what I like during this hectic time of year.

Here are the books I have lined up to read. As you can see, I tend to go overboard on the holiday books, so I'm probably going to have plenty to still keep me busy after the read-a-thon is over 🙂

 

From my bookshelf:

 

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From netgalley (on my Kindle):

TheLittleChristmasKitchen

 

Arriving any day:

TheReluctantElf

 

Cannot wait to get started! Are you joining me?

 

Thursday November 6

What I'm Reading: My True Love Gave to Me

Pages read today: 149 pages

 

Friday November 7

What I'm Reading: My True Love Gave to Me

Pages read today: 172 pages

 

Saturday November 8

What I'm Reading: Winter Street

Pages read today: 246 pages

 

Sunday November 9

What I'm Reading: The Reluctant Elf & Mr. Miracle

Pages read today: 230 pages

 

Monday November 10

What I'm Reading: Mr. Miracle & The Little Christmas Kitchen

Pages read today: 117 & 7%

 

Tuesday November 11

What I'm Reading: The Little Christmas Kitchen & The Polar Express

Pages read today: 18% & 32 pages

 

Total: 4 books completed, 1 18% done, and 1 children's picture book

Grand total pages read: 946 pages + 18% (of appx 300 pages=54) ===== 1000 pages!

5

Attachments
by Rainbow Rowell

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. Attachments(Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

 

My review...........5 stars!!

Confession time......this is my first Rainbow Rowell book! Where have I been??? How could I have missed out on this? This story is absolutely adorable!! I loved all the characters, but especially Lincoln. If I was still single, I would want to be Beth in this book 🙂 It did get a little over the top cutesy in the end, but at that point, I didn't care! Nothing was going to spoil how much fun I had reading this book. It's definitely a light read, but one that will put a smile on your face throughout.

This is a super short review because I have nothing else to say but go read this book! You can bet I've got all her other books lined up on my tbr list. Rowell writes both young adult and contemporary fiction, and I'm going to try them all.

8

Accidents of Marriage

 

Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he’s lashing out at her during his AccidentsOfMarriageperiodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids – which works to keep a fragile peace – until the rainy day when they’re together in the car and Ben’s volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.Randy Susan Meyers takes us inside the hearts and minds of her characters, alternating among the perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and their fourteen-year-old daughter. Accidents of Marriage is a provocative and stunning novel that will resonate deeply with women from all walks of life, ultimately revealing the challenges of family, faith, and forgiveness.

ACCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE explores a topic rarely shown in fiction: the damaging effects of a spouse’s emotional abuse.

 

My review...........3 stars

 

I picked up this book since I had read a few glowing reviews of it. I'm not really sure how to describe my reaction to this book except to say I liked it, but I didn't love it. It was well written, and I thought the subject matter was important, and something not overdone in books (emotional abuse vs physical abuse). I just didn't get into any of the characters. I went from feeling something for them (and their pain), to wanting to slap them (maybe not the best choice of words in a novel about abuse). My favorite character was the teenage daughter, who was really well written, but (as is typical with a teenager) some of her behavior just made me so annoyed! I was happy with the ending, but the author did leave it kind of open ended in a way I would not want, so I'm going to make up my own ending to what I would like 🙂

This is my first book by this author, and I would not hesitate to pick up another. I liked her writing, these particular characters just didn't work for me. Go check out other reviews on all the book sites to decide if this one is right for you.

 

2

The Book of Unknown Americans

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave MĂ©xico and come to TheBookOfUnknownAmericansAmerica. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery-the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes-will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles. At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from PanamĂ  fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she's sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America. Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, this poignant yet unsentimental tale of young love tells a riveting story of unflinching honesty and humanity that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be an American. An instant classic is born.

My review...............4 stars

This book really opens your eyes to the plight of many of the immigrants who come to this country looking for a better life. I'm not going to get into a social commentary on immigration, but it does challenge you to not lump all "types of people" into the same category. For the most part this is a sweet love story between two teens, but there are lots of supporting characters that we are introduced to throughout the book. They all live in the same housing complex, and pop in and out of the story at various points. If I had one complaint with the book it would be that I felt that it was hard to keep these characters straight. Their stories were only a couple pages long, and they were not mentioned enough that I could remember who was who. It didn't really detract from the story, and about half way through the book, I read their stories and didn't worry about where/when  they showed up again. It certainly did not end the way I would have thought or hoped, but in retrospect, I think the author ended it the way it probably would have gone down in real (not fiction) life.

This was a pretty quick read, and I'd love a follow up on what became of these characters, especially Mayor (who was my favorite!). I would recommend this, especially if you like books that are character driven.

3

The Silent Sister

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is TheSilentSisteralive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain. 

My review..............5 stars

Oh my, what a wonderful read! I've read several books by Diane Chamberlain, but this is the best one yet! The story was riveting, there were several things that I never saw coming, the characters were really well done. I can't say enough good things about this book. I read it in two days, I couldn't put it down! If I had to try to come up with anything to pick on, it would be that I thought the ending was a little too tidy. But that is a small quibble, and honestly I liked the way it ended, so it worked for me.

I had the pleasure of attending the release event for this book. Diane lives near me, and is involved in doing author events at my local Indie bookstore. It was great to hear her speak about how this book came about (from a story her writer-brother had shown her). She also told a fun fact about the two police officers she interviewed for this book. After getting a ton of information from them, her editor told her to ditch the police officers and write more about the brother. We were all chuckling about the officers who thought they were going to be in a bestselling book........and then weren't 🙂 The real point of the story was of course, the amount of research an author sometimes does (that may not even be used), and the importance of an editor (to decide what works and what doesn't). She did talk briefly about her next book that she is currently working on. The only thing I remember is that it should be out next fall, and it has dancer (or dancing) in the title.

Here are a couple of pictures from the event. Thank you to fellow book blogger Tanya (Mom's Small Victories) for taking the one of me with Diane 🙂
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Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore for this one! Next fall seems like a long time to wait for the next Diane Chamberlain fix.

2

I love Christmas/holiday/winter themed books so I'm going to be participating in my first ever read-a-thon! Anyone want to join me? You don't have to be a book blogger to join. Head on over here for the rules, and happy reading!!

 

To check my daily progress, and what I'm reading, please head over here to this post.

 

Back by popular demand, Jennifer @ The Book Shelfery  and Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer are once again hosting the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon. So break out the cocoa, the coffee, and cookies! Grab those holiday theme books and bring your holiday spirit. Prepare to enter challenges, win prizes, meet new friends and Twitter chat with us. You can join for a day or sit by the fire and hang out every day. The more you participate the more entries you will earn for the Participant Giveaway.

 

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We love holiday themed reads from the covers to the warm & fuzzy tales on the inside. For this read-a-thon you must read holiday themed or winter setting reads. For bloggers, we have spoken to most of the main publishing houses and for ARCS of holiday books released in Sept/Oct, they are fine with you posting a review in November and December since that is when folks look to buy them. For our non-blogger friends you can join too. Just link your Goodreads, Tumblr or Facebook account.

 

 

 

2

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Shopaholic #2)

The irresistible heroine of Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Ties the Knot is back! And this time Becky Bloomwood and her credit cards are headed across the Atlantic....
With her shopping excesses (somewhat) in check and her career as a TV financial guru thriving, Becky's biggest problem seems to be tearing her entrepreneur boyfriend, Luke, away from work for a romantic country weekend. And worse, figuring out how to pack light. But packing takes on a whole new meaning when Luke announces he's moving to New York for business--and he asks Becky to go with him! Before you can say "Prada sample sale," Becky has landed in the Big Apple, home of Park Avenue penthouses and luxury boutiques.
Surely it's only a matter of time until she becomes an American TV celebrity, and she and Luke are the toast of Gotham society. Nothing can stand in their way, especially with Becky's bills miles away in London. But then an unexpected disaster threatens her career prospects, her relationship with Luke, and her available credit line! Shopaholic Takes Manhattan--but will she have to return it?

My review...........4 stars

I finished this book a couple days ago, but decided to wait until today to post my review since this is the release day of book #7 in this series! I had read the first book (Confessions of a Shopaholic) a few years ago, but wanted to continue a bit with the series before the new one makes its way to my TBR pile. I had also recently read some rather intense books, and knew this one would be a light, fun escape. That is exactly what I got! I know these books are not for everyone (most reviewers seem to either love them or hate them), but I like that they can make me laugh out loud while reading! Other than the fact that I do enjoy shopping, I am nothing at ShopaholicTakesManhattan'all like the main character Becky Bloomwood. Her forays into debt, because of her shopping addiction, is probably what turns people off from these books, but I can separate that this is a fictional character! Her mounting debt from shopping, and the resulting ways she deals with it, are what makes the story work. In this book we also have the added benefit of her boyfriend Luke, a character I love because he ultimately accepts Becky for who she is, the bad and the good. I had fun with the setting of NYC, since I've been there several times, and know most of the places (and shops) she talks about.

My advice, if you're not sure about these books, would be to pick one up at the library or at a used book shop, and try them out. Even if you are not a fan of Becky Bloomwood, you really should try another book by this author (there are several that are stand alone books). I guarantee you will find yourself laughing wile reading, as well as enjoying a darn good story.

3

The Same Sky: A Novel

In this heartrending and poignant novel, award-winning author Amanda Eyre Ward tells the story of Alice Conroe, a forty year old Texas barbecue owner who has the perfect life, except she and her husband long for a child. Unable to conceive, she’s trying desperately to adopt but her destiny is quickly altered by a young woman she’s never met.

Fearless thirteen-year-old Carla Trujilio is being raised by her grandmother in Honduras along with her four year old twin brothers. Her mother is sending money home from Texas where she’s trying to make a better life for her family, but she only has enough to bring one son to her. When Carla’s grandmother dies, Carla decides to take her fate into her own hands and embarks on a dangerous journey across the border with Junior, the twin left behind.

Two powerful journeys intersecting at a pivotal moment in time: Alice and Carla’s lives will be forever and profoundly changed. Heartbreaking, emotional, and arresting, this novel is about finding the courage to trail blaze your own path in life with faith, hope and love, no matter the struggle or the tragedy.

My review.........4.5 stars
Oh my goodness, what a gem of a novel! Wonderfully written, told in alternating chapters from the two main characters, Alice and Carla. While both stories were great, I absolutely fell in love with Carla! What an inspiring girl, Ward has written her perfectly. You do figure out how it's going to end before the actual ending, but the last entry from Carla had me bawling (I'm not going to reveal whether it was tears of sadness or joy, you have to read this to find out!). I would TheSameSkyLOVE a sequel to this book, and hope the author decides to make one. I couldn't get enough of these characters, and there were enough loose ends to warrant reading more of them.
This is my first novel by this author, and you can bet I'm going to go back and read some of her previous work! I got this book from netgalley for an advance review. The actual release date is January 27, 2015. I wish it was closer, many may forget about it by then, so go put it on your wish lists, tbr lists, whatever method you have. You don't want to miss this one.

Lost Lake

Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn't believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life?Sometimes lost loves aren't really lost. They're right where you left them, waiting for you to find them again.

My review.........3 stars
I've been looking to read this book since it's release back in January. For some reason, I didn't purchase it when it came out, and by the time I got to the library for it, the waiting list was miles long! I was puttering around on book outlet the other day (a very dangerous place to be....lol) when I spotted it! At about 70% off, how could I resist?
LostLakeI thought this book was a pleasurable, pretty fast read. I think there were a lot of characters, so I didn't feel like any of them were given time to be fully developed. I also did not like the magic parts of the alligator, but that is just me. Anytime I read the words magic, dystopian, sci-fi, on a book synopsis, I'm usually not likely to pick it up (with a few exceptions). It was not distracting enough in this book to keep me from continuing to read it, but I kind of wish it had not been there at all.
This was my first book I've read from this author, and I know others have gotten great reviews, so it will definitely not be my last. She has a new one coming out in January, and the cover is to die for (yes, I'm a sucker for a beautiful book cover!).
Enjoyable read if you can pick it up on sale or at the library.

2

Hello From the Gillespies

For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth....The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when a bump on the head leaves Angela with temporary amnesia, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways....

My Review............3.5 stars
The premise of this book was so clever, and something I felt had not been done before, which I really appreciate having read as many books as I do. I love reading the annual Christmas letters from friends (and I have sent them myself), but they almost always portray only the good things that have happened over the years (with the occasional reference to an elderly parent dying). This woman pours her heart out with what is really happening to her family, never intending for the letter to be sent.......but by mistake, it gets sent out! The book is pretty much the fallout of the reactions to the letter. I say pretty much, because it gets a bit lost from the topic during the second half. I loved the first half of the book, but it almost started to take on a soap opera-ish feel in the middle of the book. It did get back on track as far as the character study of the family. I particularly liked the way she wrote the young son Ig into the second half. I did like the writing style, and I did want to find out how all the characters made out at the end of the book.
HelloFromTheGillespies
Overall, a good (but lengthy) read. Had it not been for the divergence from the original plot, I most likely would have given it another star.
This book is being released on November 4, 2014. I've seen other versions of the cover, so this may not be the US cover. I really like this cover, as it ties into something significant in the book, so I hope they keep it. Thanks to netgalley.com for the advance review.