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  • WELCOME!

    This is my little corner of the world where I can do whatever I want...review some of my favorite (and not so favorite) books, whine about yet another gray sky, or just share a little of what it means to live in the Pacific Northwest after a lifetime of living in the sun.

    Reading As you spend time on my blog, you may notice that my reading tastes are a bit eclectic. I used to be what I call a "book snob". That was before I began work on my master's degree and needed light recreational reading and discovered that while some books might not be "critically acclaimed", they could still be some great fun to read! Now I read a little bit of everything.

    Writing One of my lifelong dreams (besides meeting John Taylor from 80's Duran Duran fame) has been write the next great American novel . I'm sure many of you share this dream (you might even share my dream of meeting John Taylor, who knows). I've always been afraid to start writing. I put "writing" in the sub-title of the blog hoping that it will force me to begin writing something or else I will have to crawl away in shame...

    Living I'll also be sharing stories about my experiences living and parenting in the PNW. If you're expecting great tips on how to organize your schedule or how to prepare gourmet meals on a shoestring budget...sorry, you won't find that here. I am chronically messy, chronically disorganized, and chronically planning gourmet meals that never get prepared. It's just going to be me...sharing my trials and tribulations of not only leaving 365 days of sunshine for 350 days of gray skies but also the oh so fun adventure of parenting two "tweens" who think they know more than me.

A Great Summer Read: Whisper Beach

Whisper BeachWhisper Beach by Shelley Noble

-Paperback: 416 pages
-Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 16, 2015)

When a group of friends reunite in the idyllic beach town where they grew up, they must reevaluate their loyalty to one another or lose their friendship forever

Twelve years ago, Vanessa “Van” Moran fell in love and lost her virginity, but not to the same boy. She fled Whisper Beach desperate and pregnant, never telling a soul about her secret. Now a professional Manhattan organizer, she must return home for the first time to attend the funeral of her best friend’s husband. Van intends to only stay for a weekend, but her plans fall by the wayside as the troubles of this coastal town draw her in.

Dorie, the owner of the pier’s infamous Blue Crab Restaurant where Van and her friends worked as teenagers, enlists Van’s help to save the nearly bankrupt eatery. While Van throws herself into this new task, the man she once loved reenters her life, willing to pick up where they left off.

As the restaurant begins to thrive and Van reconnects with old friends, trouble comes from an unexpected source and she realizes she must face the decisions of her past or sacrifice this new life she has so carefully built.

For Van, this summer will test the meaning of friendship and trust and how far love can bend before it breaks.

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Shelley NobleAbout Shelley Noble

Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer and has worked on a number of films. She lives at the Jersey shore where she loves to visit lighthouses and vintage carousels.†She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America.

Find out more about Shelley at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

**Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of Whisper Beach.

July 1, 2015 - 5:41 pm

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours - Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Book Review: Burned (Fever #7)

Title:   Burned (Fever #7)
Author:   Karen Marie Moning
Genre:   Urban Fantasy/NC-17
Source:   Purchase
Rating:  3.5
Locate It:  Amazon

 Synopsis:  

It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing.

MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.

When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed.

Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal.

It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil gets blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.

My Thoughts:

I am a huge fan of the Fever series and pre-ordered Burned as soon as it was available for pre-order.  I counted down the days until it was delivered to my kindle and began reading almost immediately (nevermind that it’s taken me months to get around to review it).  I love the darkness of this series.  I love the characters, I especially love the strong independent female characters.

Burned was supposed to be the second book told through the viewpoint of Dani O’Malley.  There was quite a bit of controversy among readers about Dani’s age when Iced came out.  KMM said, “trust me”.  I trusted her as did many other readers but apparently there was a louder contingency of readers who didn’t trust her and to appease them (although KMM vehemently denies changing the series direction/speed in reaction to the loud voices), she did some quick changes with some fancy writer’s footwork  and not only made Mac the main viewpoint but also had Dani age years in the blink of an eye.

For me, it didn’t work.  The first half of Burned was weird, slow and sometimes difficult to follow, especially with what I thought were way too many sex scenes.  There just wasn’t much of a moving plot line. I was so sad.  It took well over half the book for Burned to find it’s Fever pace and become something that I wanted to read.

I’m glad I stayed loyal to KMM and the Fever series because in the end, the last third of the book had me hooked again (and a little mad that just as it was getting good, it ended).  Now, I have the long wait until the next book, Feverborn, comes out in 2016.

 

Book Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Title:   Neverwhere
Author:   Neil Gaiman
Genre:   Fantasy/Horror
Source:   Whispersync purchase from Amazon (both ebook & audiobook)
Rating:  5
Locate It: Amazon

 Synopsis:  
nder the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

My Thoughts:

It took a few pages to realize but I really really loved this book. It took a few pages because this being my second Gaiman novel, I am still getting used to his ideas and style of writing. We jump right in with two parallel stories of a Scottish man named Richard Mayhew and a strange girl named Door in a strange place with a some bad guys possibly trying to kill her.

Door is the type of girl that can open doors where there are no doors and can speak to rats when necessary. Richard is your ordinary businessman engaged to a woman he thinks he loves. The story is strange. The setting is even stranger. But with Gaiman’s writing, it is just spectacular. I don’t know what it is about his writing style and word choice but I absolutely love it.

Neverwhere is another one of those books that I was enjoying so much I didn’t want to be away from it so I ended up buying the audio version as well. That way, when I was unable to sit and read, I could listen to Neil Gaiman reading his own story to me while I washed dishes or drove in my car.

Reading (or listening to) a Neil Gaiman novel is like wading through a dream. Things are never how you expect them. I don’t think he is everyone’s cup of tea but if you don’t mind insane imagery and a bit of darkness, you will love Neverwhere.

 

Series Review: The Wallflowers by Lisa Kleypas

Every now and then I like to indulge in a good romance.  I’m picky and it must be well-written (or at least decently written) so I can probably count the romance authors that I’ll read on one hand.  Lisa Kleypas is one of those authors.   Kleypas’ Rainshadow Road was the very first ARC I reviewed on this blog.  It may even have been the first contemporary romance that I’d read as well.    I then read the first book in the series, Secrets of a Summer Night, back in 2013 as part of a Goodreads challenge.  2013??  Yikes! That shows you how behind I am in reviewing.  Anyways, I’ve gone to read the rest of the series and thought that I’d review them together as a series.

Secrets of a Summer Night:  This is the first book in the series and we are introduced to the “wallflowers”, four young women who have been overlooked by potential husbands and decide to band together to ensure that they find suitable mates.  It’s been so long since I read this one that I don’t remember too many details only that I enjoyed it enough that when I needed to read another romance (for a different reading challenge), I decided to pick up book two in the series.

It Happened One Autumn:  Book two is probably my least favorite.  I found Lillian’s boldness to be a bit unbelievable for the era.  But, that being said, she did end up becoming one of favorite secondary characters in the next books.

The Devil in Winter:  This might have been my favorite of the series.  I liked the unlikely pairing of Evangeline and Sebastian.

A Scandal in Spring:  In book four, it’s time for the final Wallflower to find her husband.  The storyline in this one was a bit more interesting then the others in the series and I did think it gave a nice sense of closure to the series.  That is until I discovered that there was one more book…

A Wallflower Christmas:  Apparently, Lisa Kleypas wasn’t quite ready to give up on her Wallflowers after Daisy found her husband.  In this book, we meet Lillian and Daisy’s older brother, Rafe, when he travels from America to England in search of, what else…a wife.

There is one more book to the series, a prequel, that I haven’t read yet but I do have it on my TBR list.  All in all, if you are one who can appreciate a good historical romance (definitely NC-17) then I would recommend this fun (and sometimes silly) series.

June 1, 2015 - 1:51 am

LEE - I read the first three in the series but never got to book four. I totally agree that A Devil in Winter is best though I hate the fact that I grew to like Sebastian despite some of the horrible things he’d done.

Book Review & Giveaway: Medium Dead

Title:   Medium Dead
Author:   Paula Paul
Genre:   Mystery/Historical Fiction/Cozy Mystery
Source:   Publisher/TLC Book Tours
Rating:  3
Locate It:  Amazon

 Synopsis:  

Sure to delight readers of Jacqueline Winspear and Ellis Peters,Medium Dead features Queen Victoria herself—and she’s rumored to have slain a local psychic in Newton-upon-Sea. Now the task of clearing her name and catching the real killer falls to Dr. Alexandra Gladstone.

Under Victoria’s reign, women are barred from calling themselves physicians, but that hasn’t stopped Alexandra Gladstone. As the first female doctor in Newton-upon-Sea, she spends her days tending sick villagers in the practice she inherited from her father, with her loyal and sometimes overprotective dog, Zack, by her side.

After the corpse of village spiritualist Alvina Elwold is discovered aboveground at a church boneyard, wild rumors circulate through the charming seaside village, including one implicating a certain regal guest lodging nearby. Tales of the dead Alvina hobnobbing with spirits and hexing her enemies are even more outlandish—but as a woman of science and reason, Alexandra has no doubt that a murderer made of flesh and blood is on the loose.

Finding out the truth means sorting through a deluge of ghostly visitors, royal sightings, and shifty suspects. At least her attentive and handsome friend Nicholas Forsyth, Lord Dunsford, has come to her aid. Alexandra will need all the help she can get, because she’s stumbled upon dangerous secrets—while provoking a deadly adversary who wants to keep them buried.

My Thoughts:

I read Medium Dead during a recent trip to Hawaii.  It is a light read set during the Victorian era in a small English village.  I enjoyed the story and found it to be a good book for reading on the 5 hour flight to Honolulu.  The story was interesting and did have me suspecting a few different characters until the end.

The story was nice but I found many of the characters to be a bit too modern for my historical fiction tastes (a problem I recently encountered in another book).  This may not be a problem for other readers but it definitely kept me from giving this book a 4 star rating.  The main character, Doctor Alexandra Gladstone, was so modern in her mannerisms and opinions that she had me researching 19th century female doctors (gotta love Google!) to see if they were more common than I’d thought (they weren’t).

I may not be able to recommend Medium Dead as a great read but I can recommend it as a fun read for those who love cozy mysteries and are looking for something a little different.   **If you’re interested in reading Medium Dead, you can either download the kindle version for $2.99 or enter the giveaway below for a copy of the book plus a $25 gift card**

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**Thank you to the publisher, Alibi, and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a review copy of Medium Dead.  This review is my honest opinion.**

May 8, 2015 - 4:55 pm

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours - I’m glad this was an entertaining way to spend your flight! Thanks for being a part of the tour.

June 4, 2015 - 6:37 pm

Paula Paul, author of MEDIUM DEAD, on tour April 2015 | TLC Book Tours - […] Monday, May 4th: Under a Gray Sky […]

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