Friday, February 17, 2017

My Friday Five...

1.  TWD.  Finally! Its back on the air and I'm excited to find out where this season takes us.  I love seeing Rick and Michonne on the same page again.  That scene where they mow down the walkers was brill.  I'm not happy with Carol, Morgan, Gabriel, Rosita, and Gregory.  In fact, I could pretty much do without all of their unnecessary dramatics.  I didn't like Daryl staying behind, because anytime they separate something happens. As for the ending - a new group? Say what?!  I'm thinking its a new group who may be able to help Rick and the Hilltop finally take down Negan.  My fingers are crossed!

2.  Midori.  I wound up buying a Midori notebook instead of a Sojourner one (for now).  I bought the passport size in dark brown.  I wanted a small one to keep in my purse.  Plus, I wanted to see whether or not I would even like them.  Well, I did.  So, I ordered a black one in the regular size and I can't wait to get my hands on it.  I want to start keeping a journal again and figure that this would be a great notebook to start fresh in.  I will admit to having an addiction to journals - I buy them all the time.  I have a stack of them waiting to be written in.  I've been jotting down quotes in the same one for two years now.  I should just use the ones I have, but I've been seeing so many people rave about the Midori that I wanted to get one.  Plus, I thought it would be a nice reward for sticking with the gym for nearly two months now (1 month and three weeks).

3. Death Cab for Cutie.  I've been listening to Ben Gibbard and gang all week long.

4.  Books.  I received these lovelies earlier this week:

5.   RHOBH.  OMG!! What a show!  The group is still in Mexico and things are definitely heating up.  Last week Kyle found out via Pump that Rinna has been telling Eden crazy lies about her and her sister, Kim.  This week, Rinna and Ashley are in Mexico.  Kyle is uncomfortable knowing that Rinna was talking crap about her family.  EJ decides that Kyle's husband's company party is the time to tell Rinna that Kyle is upset with her.  Seriously!?  Is it in their contracts to always fight at parties?  Anyhow, Rinna goes up to Kyle and tells her that EJ said they should talk.  Kyle confronts her in front of everyone.  Rinna acts beyond shocked that Eden would accuse her of saying such horrid things about Kim and Kyle.  She is shocked and feigns innocence.  Of course, Bravo shows footage of Rinna telling Eden that Kim is still imbibing, near death, and Kyle is enabling her.  I loved the flashbacks - hilarious!  Pump wants Rinna to "own it" a la last year's reunion where Rinna shouted at Pump to "own it".  No one owns anything here.  Rinna denies it all and then goes outside to cry about it.  Talk about a buzzkill.  Next week we see Rinna confronting Eden - I can't wait!  Reality TV is my vice.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! Happy reading!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Fifth Petal: A Novel by Brunonia Barry

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

“Do you think, inside, every one of us is a killer?”

This is the question that haunts the people of Salem, Massachusetts, in Brunonia Barry’s spellbinding, masterful new thriller, THE FIFTH PETAL (January 24, 2017; Crown), a tale of otherworldly powers, ancient myths, and a gruesome triple homicide. Ten years after her New York Times bestselling debut novel THE LACE READER became an international sensation, Barry revisits contemporary Salem, where the dark history of the paranormal continues to reverberate in the lives of the Whitney family and their neighbors. With its release, THE LACE READER became an overnight success, winning numerous awards and rave reviews from the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, New York, People, and being named an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Barry, born and raised in Salem, now returns with a complex brew of suspense, seduction, and murder in her highly anticipated novel THE FIFTH PETAL.

When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. Now Rafferty must uncover who, or what, is killing the descendants of Salem’s accused witches, while keeping the town’s paranoia—all too similar to the hysteria that lead to the infamous witch trials—at bay.

As Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter of Salem’s past, he finds unexpected help from Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the Goddess victims, who has recently returned to town. Discovered at the scene of the crime when she was five years old, Callie survived the mysterious massacre with only scratches on her arms and a perfect stigmata of a five-petal rose in the palm of her bloodied hand. Now Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither Rafferty nor Callie believes the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and honorary aunt to Callie, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But clearing Rose’s name might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if Rafferty and Callie can’t discover what happened that night, will evil rise again?

Grounded in Salem’s true, dark history, Brunonia Barry paints a complex, eerie portrait of a modern New England town living in the past. With magical realism that will appeal to readers of Erin Morgenstern and gothic suspense echoing Deborah Harkness, THE FIFTH PETAL brings the world of Salem to life with Barry’s signature rich and twisting prose. Suspenseful, sinister, and masterfully composed, THE FIFTH PETAL is a haunting novel that will grip audiences long after the final page.

my thoughts:

A murder mystery set in Salem - what more could I ask for?  The second book in the series, The Fifth Petal, brings back all the familiar feels that The Lace Reader first introduced us to and I absolutely LOVED it. 

In 1989, three women were murdered (The Goddess Murders) on Halloween night.  Callie was just a child when she was found nearby and Rose lost her mind.  Fast forward to present day and another murder has been committed on Halloween night.  The local chief of police must uncover whodunit.  He connects the murders via one big thread:  they were all descendants of the witches of Salem (the ones who were hung in 1692).  Ah, the history.  Yes, I love reading all about the Salem Witch Trials and this book most definitely provides the rich details, along with some folklore and the paranormal thrown in for good measure.  It is truly a mystical read.  Did I mention the banshee history - yes, there is or isn't a banshee who may or may not be responsible?  Say what?! With so many twists and turns, this story makes for one captivating read that keeps you guessing which character is the culprit.  Oh, and the characters were just terrific - fully fleshed out, familiar, relatable, and a bit mysterious.  The writing was top notch.  Weaving the past with the present made for the perfect storytelling device.  Jam packed with history, slow reveals, and twists and turns, The Fifth Petal was most definitely a fun and engaging read.  I just loved how Barry brought Salem to life with her vivid descriptions and historical details.  I felt like I was right there alongside Callie and Rafferty.  Such a great book!

I would definitely recommend The Fifth Petal to fans of Barry and fans of great women's fiction - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Fifth Petal
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Life After: A Novel by Katie Ganshert

(Thank you to Blogging For Books for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake. 

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

my thoughts:

Wow! Talk about a powerful read.  I absolutely LOVED Life After by Katie Ganshert.

This is a story that grabs you from the start and doesn't let go.  Its emotional, beautiful, and utterly captivating.  Once I sat down with it, I couldn't get up til I turned the very last page.  And even then, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Autumn is boarding a train one minute and then waking up to the news that she is the sole survivor in a bombing attack.  Twenty-one people died in the blast.  Overcome with shock, horror, and grief she can't help but feel disoriented and numb.  And the one question that stands out in her mind is, "Why?".   Why did she survive?  Why didn't the blast kill her?  Why her?  Why? Why? Why?

Fast forward and its a year later.  Autumn is still struggling to accept that she is the sole survivor in a deadly attack that left so many dead.  She is overcome with guilt and grief.  She can't let go of the question, "Why?" - it haunts her everyday.  She tries to remember what happened.  She tries to remember the people on the train.  She tries so hard to not forget.  Her family is at a loss in how to help her move forward, when its so obvious she doesn't want to or can't bring herself to.  Its sad, frustrating, and difficult for them all.  Of course, its not just Autumn we meet in this story.  We also get to know Paul.  His wife was one of the victims of the bombing and he is now left alone to raise his daughter and son.  He tries to move on.  He needs to.  Except, he can't when he's unexpectedly drawn into Autumn's orbit.  His daughter, Reese, has been writing to Autumn.  Paul finds out about the letters when his daughter runs off to Autumn's.  Now, he's forced to not only deal with Autumn, but he must come to the realization that his daughter is not moving forward like he had hoped.  Talk about facing reality head on. 

Life After deals with grief, loss, guilt, and faith.  It explores the many ways in which survivors and surviving family members cope with tragedy and death.  We see how differently people view the same situation and how they handle their emotions and losses.  We learn about humanity and compassion.  And we learn about time and the ways in which can help to heal all wounds (past and present).

I loved the writing, the characters, and the story.  Life After is such a great read.  I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Ganshert and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!

I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.

Friday, February 10, 2017

My Friday Five...

1.   Weight Watchers.  Its not easy.  I was doing so well calculating all my points and then this past week I sort of fell off the wagon.  Meaning that I didn't jot everything down like I should have.  So, I wound up using all of my extra points already (or at least I think I have).  Ack!  Of course, I feel badly about this, considering I was doing so well with it.  I don't know what happened, except that it happened and now I need to get back on track.  Today I'm writing every last bite down and making sure to tally up my points.  I have noticed that I'm definitely more aware of what I eat and how much of it I eat, which has definitely been eye-opening.  I'm not mindlessly noshing on food anymore.  However, I will be noshing on something sweet for Valentine's Day (aka Galentine's Day - thank you, Leslie Knope!).  I have my eye on a bundtlet - a chocolate one - Yum!  Anyhow, I think I just need to come up with a list of healthy snacks and plan out my meals for the week - that should help me keep track of my points better.  Let me know if you have any recommendations for snacks or tips on how to stay on track - I'd really appreciate it.

2.  Sojourner journal.  I've seen Natalie from Coffee & a Book Chick raving about these for quite some time now.  They are handmade leather-bound journals that just look so amazing to me.  I was on the website the other day and OMG, they all look like the perfect notebook to start jotting down anything and everything in.  I must have one.  I'm trying to decide on which style to pick and what color I want.  Plus, I'm a bit confused about the sizes and not sure how big I want the journal to be.  Has anyone else purchased one of these journals?  What do you think? Which do you recommend?

3.  NetGalley.  Thank you for so many great new reads! Here a few that I'm really looking forward to:



4.  Ladies of London and RHOBH.  Well, it is "cheerio" to the Ladies of London now that the season has ended.  I must say that I definitely enjoyed this season - all the fashion, all the drama, and London were such a treat to watch.  In the last episode, Caroline S. threw a dinner party to say goodbye to the women before her big move to Dubai.  Of course, it didn't go perfectly.  Why is it that people always have to confront one another at a party - why can't you just enjoy the party and chat later?  And what is the deal with everyone's obsession with the word 'loyalty'?  Juliet believes that none of the women have it when it comes to friendship, while many of the women admit to not caring or even believing in 'loyalty' - wow, shocker!  I think that when you trust your friends enough to tell them something personal, they should not go around and tell it to someone else. That's loyalty to me. And its just plain common sense.  Then again, what would the show be, if they didn't go around spilling the beans, right? As for RHOBH - whoa! Kyle asked Rinna why Eden was so obsessed with her and her sister, Kim.  Rinna acted like she had no clue.  Fast forward, Eden tells Pump that Rinna told her Kim was still imbibing and near death's door and that Kyle was enabling her.  Say what?! Now, Pump knows why Eden was always inserting herself into Kim's business.  Fast forward again, the gals are in Mexico and Pump tells Kyle what Eden has told her.  Everyone is shocked (but not really) with Rinna.  The next day Rinna arrives in Mexico and receives a less than friendly greeting from Kyle.  I can't wait to find out what happens when Kyle actually confronts her about it all - what will Rinna say to explain her behavior?!

5.  Tom Petty.  He was my first concert and I still love to listen to his tunes.  I was just jamming out to this song the other day:

Hope you all have a great weekend!! Don't forget TWD is back on Sunday nights - woo hoo! I can't wait to see the gang RISE UP and finally take down Negan.

Happy Reading!!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

New Book

I was on FB the other day and came across this book on my newsfeed:
I loved the cover and decided on a whim to purchase it.  I love Japanese literature and always want to find new-to-me authors, so this book fit the bill perfectly.  And then, today as I was driving to the gym at 5:30 in the morning I put NPR on to wake me up.  Guess what they were talking about?  Six Four!!  How crazy is that?! I'm taking it as a sign that I need to read this book sooner rather than later. 

Happy reading!!