Friday, September 1, 2017

My Friday Five...

1.  Taylor Swift's new video and single: Wow! Talk about a refresh.  She is back and she is fierce!

2. My current reads:

3.  Real Housewives of Auckland, NYC, OC, and Dallas...oh my! Talk about a TV show addiction. I can't help it though, these shows are just too good to resist.  So much drama!! In Auckland, someone used a word they should never use and now she's suing the production company - crazy! NYC is in reunion mode, which means everyone is blasting everyone.  OC has Shannon blaming Vicki for her weight gain and Lydia trying to be the "friendship whisperer".  As for Dallas, the besties are no longer BFF and its really bugging me.  Its all soooo good!! 

4.  Fall.  I'm itching for Fall to get here already. I am looking forward to the cooler weather, Halloween, monster cupcakes, and the new season of The Walking Dead.  Hurry up, Fall!!

5.  Country music.  I have been listening to Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn lately.  I don't know why, but I've just been in that kind of mood.  I love this song by Dolly:

And now, I'm off to continue reading the latest book in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, The House of Unexpected Sisters.  Happy reading!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My Rad Life: A Journal by Kate Schatz and Illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

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

An inspiring, empowering journal that encourages its owners to think, create, reflect, and explore their own radness. 

A companion to the New York Times bestsellers Rad American Women A-Z and Rad Women Worldwide, this cool guided journal draws from a number of the “rad” women featured in both books, while also including a diverse range of new women, all of whom come to life via inspirational quotes and paper cut portraits. Blank pages invite doodling, lined pages encourage writing, and a collection of thought-provoking prompts encourage users to get to know themselves better by recording their thoughts and ideas on paper.

my thoughts:

I am a journal addict, so I was super excited to receive My Rad Life.  Especially, since I LOVED Kate and Miriam's previous book, Rad Women Worldwide.  I just knew that this journal would be a treat to write in.  And I was absolutely right.

My Rad Life is filled with fantastic illustrations of inspiring and amazing women who make great role models for anyone.  I'm talking about Venus and Serena Williams, Susan Sontag, Patti Smith, Alice Walker, J.K. Rowling, Michelle Obama, and Audre Lorde to name a few.  Plus, the journal includes quotes and prompts to help get you thinking about your "rad" self.   I loved the positivity flowing through the pages of this book - it was truly inspiring.  You can't help but want to write down your ideas, your feelings, and anything else that pops into your head.  This journal is seriously a fun way to express yourself.  I really loved it!

I would definitely recommend to all you journal lovers to get your hands on a copy of My Rad Life - you will absolutely enjoy writing in it.

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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It's Messy: On Boys, Boobs, and Badass Women by Amanda de Cadenet

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

In this deeply personal collection of essays, creator of the The Conversation Amanda de Cadenet shares the hard-won advice and practical insights she’s gained through her experiences as businesswoman, friend, wife, and mother.

Amanda is on a mission to facilitate conversations that allow all women to be seen, heard, and understood. Through her multimedia platform The Conversation, she interviews some of today’s most bad ass women—from Hillary Clinton to Lady Gaga—in no-holds-barred conversations that get to the heart of what means to be female. Now, in It’s Messy, Amanda offers readers an extension of that conversation, inviting them into her life and sharing her own story.

From childhood fame to a high-profile marriage (and divorce) to teen motherhood to the sexism that threatened to end her career before it started, Amanda shares the good, the bad, and the messy of her life, synthesizing lessons she’s learned along the way. Through it all, she offers an original perspective as a feminist on the front lines of celebrity culture. Edgy, irreverent, poignant and provocative, It’s Messy addresses the issues, concerns, and experiences relevant to women today.

my thoughts:

The only thing I've heard about Amanda de Cadenet is that she's a great interviewer who's able to get her subjects to let their guard down.  Oh, and that she had a show on Lifetime called, The Conversation.  So, I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from her book of essays, It's Messy: On Boys, Boobs, and Badass Women.  Luckily, the book turned out to be quite a fun and fascinating read.

De Cadenet shares with us stories about her life: getting married by twenty, having twins, her career, etc.  She provides these stories in such an open and honest way, that you feel as if you are getting to know her, just like you would a new friend.  Her writing is clear, precise and insightful.  You can't help but easily get caught up in reading about her personal history - you find that you love learning about this strong, determined woman.  I definitely enjoyed spending time with de Cadenet through her essays and look forward to reading more of her work.

I would happily recommend It's Messy to fans of Amanda de Cadenet and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang

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

Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned—and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.

Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails.

As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone—even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim.

my thoughts:

Historical fiction for the YA set, A Beautiful Poison, is a fun, engaging murder-mystery that will have you turning pages faster and faster to find out "whodunit".  Set during the Gilded Age, this story centers on three BFFs - Allene, Birdie, and Jasper.  All three besties are now eighteen, which means they are embarking on adulthood and all the responsibility that it entails.  Allene is rich, privileged and about to be married.  Her love of science is seen as a hobby that is to be forgotten about, according to her father.  Birdie and her mom used to work for Allene's family until they were thrown out of the household and are now trying to scrape by a living.  As for Jasper, he is living with his uncle who refuses to leave the house, so he is forced to fend for the both of them.  The trio reunite for Allene's big engagement party.  A party that will impact them in ways they never could have imagined.

At the party, a young woman named Florence dies.  She's fallen down the stairs and broken her neck.  Everyone assumes she was drunk and in a clumsy accident, she fell.  However, Jasper sniffs the glass that Florence was drinking from and discovers the scent of almonds.  What does that mean?  It means that cyanide was in her drink.  Does that mean she was murdered? Well, it seems pretty likely, especially once Allene finds a note that reads, "You're Welcome".  How crazy is that?  What does that even mean?  Someone killed Florence as a favor?  Say what?!  Yep, looks like the three besties have a murder to solve - or at least they decide that they do.  Allene, Birdie, and Jasper resolve to figure out what really happened to Florence.  Through their investigation, they discover truths about their friendships and themselves that show them just how much they have changed and grown apart.  They also discover that love and friendship is even stronger than they imagined. 

A Beautiful Poison is a terrific story that entertains and captivates.  The writing is rich and full of gorgeous details about the Gilded Age.  The characters are flawed, selfish, and focused on helping themselves by any means necessary.  Their friendship is broken and dysfunctional, filled with betrayals, jealousies, and mistrust.  And yet, they do care about one another, and that love does shine through at times.  As for the murder-mystery they set out to solve - its filled with red herrings that throws them off the scent, but eventually the truth is revealed.  All in all, a truly fun read.

I would happily recommend A Beautiful Poison to fans of Kang and anyone looking for their next mystery story - you will LOVE this book!!

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes: A Stewart Hoag Mystery by David Handler

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

HARLAN COBEN calls it “One of my all-time favorite series! …David Handler is so good at writing one smart, funny page-turner after another that he makes it look easy.”

Fans of JANET EVANOVICH and CARL HIAASEN, get ready. If you haven’t yet discovered wisecracking sleuth Stewart “Hoagy” Hoag and his faithful basset hound Lulu, you’re in for a sharp, hilarious treat.

Once upon a time, Hoagy had it all: a hugely successful debut novel, a gorgeous celebrity wife, the glamorous world of New York City at his feet. These days, he scrapes by as a celebrity ghostwriter. A celebrity ghostwriter who finds himself investigating murders more often than he’d like.

And once upon a time, Richard Aintree was the most famous writer in America — high school students across the country read his one and only novel, a modern classic on par with The Catcher in the Rye. But after his wife’s death, Richard went into mourning… and then into hiding. No one has heard from him in twenty years.

Until now. Richard Aintree — or someone pretending to be Richard Aintree — has at last reached out to his two estranged daughters. Monette is a lifestyle queen à la Martha Stewart whose empire is crumbling; and once upon a time, Reggie was the love of Hoagy’s life. Both sisters have received mysterious typewritten letters from their father.

Hoagy is already on the case, having been hired to ghostwrite a tell-all book about the troubled Aintree family. But no sooner does he set up shop in the pool house of Monette’s Los Angeles mansion than murder strikes. With Lulu at his side — or more often cowering in his shadow — it’s up to Hoagy to unravel the mystery, catch the killer, and pour himself that perfect single-malt Scotch… before it’s too late.

my thoughts:

First off, I need to mention that this book is the ninth in a popular series (A Stewart Hoag Mystery) by David Handler.  And secondly, I've never ready any of the books in the series until now, so I honestly didn't know what to expect.  Why did I pick up a book way down in the line of a series?  Well, I loved the title and I loved the sound of it - a celebrity ghostwriter who is an amateur sleuth?  How crazy fun does that sound?! I just had to find out for myself if the book would be as fun a read as I imagined it to be.

I grabbed my copy, a huge cuppa, and settled down for a long afternoon of reading.  I knew that if I loved it, I wouldn't be getting up for anything.  And boy, did I love it!

The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes is a jolly good murder-mystery that deals with writers, books, celebrity scandal, and pet pooches.  Its light, fun, and easy to get lost in.  I absolutely enjoyed getting to know Hoagy and Lulu (his doggy sidekick) - they are quite the investigative pair.  Apparently, once upon a time, Hoagy wrote a novel, a bestselling novel.  However, he soon realized that he only had one novel in him.  So, he turned to ghostwriting for celebrities and became a part-time amateur sleuth.  Talk about a career change, eh?  Well, in this book, his agent calls him up and tells him about a new job.  Apparently, he is to write about the celebrated author, Richard Aintree and his family.  Hoagy sets off to stay with one of Aintree's daughters - Monette.  The other daughter, Reggie, was a love of Hoagy's once upon a time.  It seems both daughters have recently received letters from their father, who has long been in hiding, following his wife's death - and that was twenty years ago!  And then, there's the murder.  Yep, a murder!  Seems like Hoagy is going to need to call upon his sleuthing skills to find out what the heck is happening.  He needs to find the murderer, figure out who wrote those letters to Aintree's daughters, and find Aintree.  Hoagy definitely has his work cut out for him.

Handler has written a great new story to add to his collection of mysteries starring Stewart Hoag. Set in 1992, we get plenty of references to the nineties lifestyle and culture - all of which felt like a nice blast from the past.  We also get to know a terrific cast of characters who keep the story moving along with their dramatics and complicated lives.  The story itself has a noir-ish feel to it, which I just loved.  And the writing was top notch.  The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes is a delight for fans of Handler's books and anyone looking for a new mystery series to get lost in - you will LOVE this book!!  I know that I can't wait to get my hands on the first eight books in the Stewart Hoag mystery series - woo hoo, new books to devour!  I would definitely recommend this book!

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