Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there! Moms that read books to their children are the best!

For my Mom’s present this year I took her to Painting with a Twist last night. It’s one of those places where you bring your own beverage (wine!) and snacks and take a painting class. It’s the first time either of us have done it and it was so fun! Our pictures didn’t quite turn out as good as they were supposed to, but we were both pretty happy with them. We are definitely going to go again some time!

 

Here is what it was supposed to look like:

Happy Mother’s Day!

Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Names They Gave Us will be available May 16, 2017.

When I think of Emery Lord books, I think of trying too hard.  Even though I’ve liked some of her other books (especially The Start of Me and You), I always feel like she just tries way too hard to be deep and meaningful. It comes across a little self-indulgent and melodramatic to me. While this book did have cute, funny, and even poignant moments, it still felt like it was trying too hard.

I felt like I should’ve found Lucy really relatable (pastor kids unite!), but I never fully connected with her. She was a mostly likable character, though. I mostly liked her group of friends at camp, though I wish they would’ve been developed just a bit more. I did really love Jones, Lucy’s new love interest. He was so sweet and I enjoyed pretty much every scene he was in. I also liked the camp setting and the kids there.

I have heard from people who are hesitant about this book because there is some religious content. If you are one of those people, I would say you might be slightly annoyed at times, but I don’t think it’s written in a way that will “ruin” the book for you. I have also heard from people who were very happy to see a “realistic” Christian character not be a complete psycho. To those people I would caution to not get too excited. Yes, the main character comes from a religious background and is not awful. However, this is NOT a Christian book and the overall message is not of Christian faith. There are definitely a few themes throughout that is congruent with the Christian faith, but at the end of the day the message is more one of universalism and the goodness of people. I mean, it’s still a hopeful message and is more than is in most YA, but I just want to caution my Christian friends.

Overall, The Names They Gave Us, was just ok for me. I felt like it was too long for what little was going on and a little repetitive and then it had a pretty abrupt ending. I did really enjoy Lucy and Jones’ slow burn romance, though. I think that Emery Lord fans will probably still enjoy it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2.5 Stars

Review: Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram’s son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver’s constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she’d finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram’s, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver’s stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But Finley doesn’t want to be won, and she doesn’t want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver’s heart—and keep her own—she’ll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Seeking Mansfield will be available 5/16/17.

I love a good Jane Austen re-telling and I haven’t read any based on Mansfield Park, so picking this book up was a no brainer. It’s been such a long time since I read Mansfield Park that I can’t really comment on how faithful it is to the source material. I do know that the basic structure of it is similar and reading this made me really want to go back and re-read Mansfield Park.

I really liked both Finley and Oliver. I loved their friendship and how they always supported each other. I loved the slow burn romance between them, too. We get both of their POVs throughout the story. Normally when we get dual POVs and find out that both characters have feelings for each other that they think are unrequited it drives me crazy. It often takes away a lot of the tension. However, I really enjoyed getting both perspectives here. I think that I could have ended up disliking Oliver a bit without his thought process of how he was justifying his actions. Instead I thought he was pretty adorable, even if he frustrated me at times.

I loved “uncle” Thomas and how the parents in this book were present. There were consequences for bad behavior and guidance when needed. I thought the other side characters – Harlan and Emma Crawford (Hollywood actors and new neighbors) and Tate and Juliette (Oliver’s brother and sister) were all fairly well developed, though I would’ve liked a little more of Oliver’s siblings. From what I remember of the Crawfords from Mansfield Park I thought Harlan and Emma were really well done, though maybe a little more likable here (but don’t worry, not that likable).

I thought the writing was kind of addictive. Even though it was a pretty character-driven plot and the pace was a little on the slow side, I just didn’t want to stop reading it. My only real complaint is that it got a little too teen-angsty for me at times.

Overall, I really enjoying Seeking Mansfield. I liked the characters and the romance and the message of self-worth and standing up for yourself. It was an easy and addicting read. Though I thought the middle of the story dragged a little bit with too much teen angst, it did pick back up and I really enjoyed it. I think fans of Mansfield Park would be happy to read this re-telling, as would YA Contemporary fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

April 2017 Recap


In April my niece turned 2 and we all went to Canada to celebrate. I can’t believe how much she’s grown since we saw her last summer. It unfortunately took a little while for her to warm up to us – and she seemed to have to start over again every morning or after every nap, but we still had lots of fun with her. The rest of April seemed to pass by in a blur. Work gets steadily more depressing. I finally updated my resume and applied for a new job, but I got an e-mail the following day saying they weren’t interested in “pursuing my candidacy”.  Oh, well.

Books Read: 10

Adult: 8
YA: 2

Favorite Book I Read This Month:

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Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter. 4 Stars. Review coming in June.

Books Reviewed: 5

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett – 3.5/5 Stars

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda – 3.5/5 Stars

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline – 4/5 Stars

A Different Blue by Amy Harmon – 3.5/5 Stars

I Found You by Lisa Jewell – 4/5 Stars

Books Read in 2017 Overall: 48

Funny Fridays:

Hilarious book humor you'll understand if you have "too many" books.:

April 7

10 Images You’ll Understand If You Only Want Books for Christmas:

April 14

Life without books is like an unsharpened pencil ... it has no point.:

April 21

Other Posts:

Disney Princess Book Tag

Happy Easter

Top Ten Tuesday: Things that will make me instantly want to read a book

Top Ten Tuesday: Things that will make me instantly NOT want to read a book

Top 5 Wednesday: Authors I Want to Read More From

Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2017

Book News

Lux spin-off series by JLA announced

As I predicted in my review of Opposition (the last Lux series book), Luc is getting his Origins spin-off! It’s a 3 book deal with the first installment coming out Fall of 2018. I’m super excited to see some Daemon and Katy cameos.

Famous in Love tv show debuts

I read Famous in Love when I heard it was being adapted to tv. Though I had my issues, I enjoyed the book (not so much the second one). So the show aired and…it’s awful. Awful acting. Awful casting. Awful plot changes. I decided not to watch it again, but then it was announced that the whole season was available on demand, in addition to it’s weekly airings, so I thought I’d go ahead and give it another try and binge it. It’s kind of the trainwreck you can’t look away from. I feel like I could rant about all the changes it made from the books, so I might do a post about it soon.

More Shatter Me books

When I finished Ignite Me, I was happy with the ending, but I thought there could be more story to tell. Turns out I was right, because there are three more books coming to the Shatter Me series. And to really get you excited about it, they will be told in dual POV between Juliette AND Warner. Let the swooning begin.

Looking Forward to May:

My reviews for Seeking Mansfield and The Names They Gave Us will post (one is pretty favorable, the other not so much). There are a few books being published that I’m looking forward to: When Dimple met Rishi, Flame in the Mist, A Court of Wings and Ruin, and Sons of Ares. Looks like it’s going to be a good month for YA.