Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Lady Jane

26795352Goodreads Says:    Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

My Thoughts:

-    This one fell a little below expectation for me, but I thought it was fun. 

-    I appreciated the humor and everything throughout the book. Some of it was really funny, and other times I rolled my eyes. I also liked when the narrators spoke to the reader. I also liked the quote stealing and vague references. 

-    I liked that this was very VERY loosely based on a historical figure that isn't very well known. 

-    The book was just too long. Comedies should never be too long. I just wanted the story to end. I liked that the book had a great story with humor, but 100-200 pages needed to be chopped. I enjoyed most of the book while I was reading, but towards the end, I was burnt out and wanted to finish quickly. 

-    I liked the magical elements that were added. Some of the moments of change seemed a bit too convenient, but it made sense I guess. 

-    Overall, this was a fun read, and I can tell the authors had a blast writing it, but I probably wouldn't pick it up again. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business

9580315From Goodreads:    Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles. 
            
His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner, who has written the foreword to this memoir), was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s and introduced another major television star, Mary Tyler Moore. But Dick Van Dyke was also an enormously engaging movie star whose films, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have been discovered by a new generation of fans and are as beloved today as they were when they first appeared. Who doesn’t know the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
            
A colorful, loving, richly detailed look at the decades of a multilayered life, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, will enthrall every generation of reader, from baby-boomers who recall when Rob Petrie became a household name, to all those still enchanted by Bert’s “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” This is a lively, heartwarming memoir of a performer who still thinks of himself as a “simple song-and-dance man,” but who is, in every sense of the word, a classic entertainer.

My Thoughts:

-    Dick Van Dyke is one of my favorite entertainers. He is a joy to watch, and I appreciate that he is a kind and family oriented guy on and off the screen. 

-    It was fun to read about his career. I loved when he talked about The Dick Van Dyke Show. It was fun to get back story to some of the episodes. I never knew the show's theme song had lyrics. I also enjoyed learning more about his role in Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

-    I really loved his honesty about his smoking and drinking problems. They never got bad enough that it was debilitating, but he knew it was a problem and sought help.

-    I really adore Dick Van Dyke for sticking to a higher standard of entertainment. He said he never wanted to do anything he would be uncomfortable for his family to watch. I love that!

-    This book went by too quickly. It was packed full of stuff, but it was easy and pleasant to read. I enjoyed learning more about Mr. Van Dyke, and I'm SO excited to see him next month! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Kiersten White


Jenni, Brittany, and I went to see Kiersten White at The King's English last week. She was promoting Now I Rise, the second book in her Conqueror's Saga.

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Funny and witty as ever, Kiersten covered a myriad of topics.

She talked about her research and trip to Romania. She also delved into historical customs and how they would appear to us today.

She was excited to tell us about her upcoming Buffy book, Slayer. She said she has been auditioning for the job since Paranormalcy, and she was excited to create her own Slayer.

She talked about comic con and how she got engaged to Dan Stevens.

She talked a lot about writing and how she has WAY too many projects right now, and it is rough. She talked about her writing process, and balancing family life.

She covered a lot of other stuff, but this is what I remember.

Jenni is the only one who bought a book and got it signed. All of my Kiersten books are already signed, and I'm trying to be better about buying books I haven't read yet.

We stopped at Olive Garden for dinner on the way home, and it was awesome!

It was a very fun evening, and I'm glad I have a great bookish community and great bookish friends.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Night Divided

22024488Goodreads Synopsis:    From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen comes a stunning thriller about a girl who must escape to freedom after the Berlin Wall divides her family between east and west.

With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can't help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.

But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

My Thoughts:

-    Jennifer is one of my favorite Utah Authors. Her books are so clever and amazing, and she is just an all around nice lady. I've only read her False Prince books, but I've been wanting to read more, and I finally did! 

-    The writing is so good! When I read this, it felt effortless. The story just unfolded in my mind, and it didn't even feel like reading. I just absorbed the story. 

-    I love stories about the Berlin Wall. It intrigues me, especially stories about the Candy Bomber. 

-    Most of the story is about dirt, and digging the dirt, but I wasn't bored. I was thoroughly entertained the whole time.

-    I think this book is perfect for the target audience. It covers the sad and scary parts of history in a very real but safe way. I also love that anyone could pick up this book and enjoy it. Great storytelling!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Utah Book Week


It's that time of year again! My favorite event is Utah Book Week! I love our bookish community in Utah, and I love celebrating it.

Utah is home to an amazing book community and Utah Book Week is designed to bring that community together. We host an annual event held each August to celebrate all things Utah. This year, we will celebrate from August 25 - 31, 2017. Follow the official Utah Books blog for all the details you need about the event. 
-The Utah Books team

I'll be hosting a challenge during the week, and I'm pretty excited about it! I hope you'll join us!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Star Wars: Death Star

3577785From Goodreads:    

“THAT’S NO MOON.”
–Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Death Star’s name says it all, with bone-chilling accuracy. It is a virtual world unto itself–equipped with uncanny power for a singularly brutal purpose: to obliterate entire planets in the blink of an eye. Its annihilation of the planet Alderaan, at the merciless command of Grand Moff Tarkin, lives in infamy. And its own ultimate destruction, at the hands of Luke Skywalker, is the stuff of legend. But what is the whole story, and who are the players, behind the creation of this world-killing satellite of doom?

The near extermination of the Jedi order cleared the way for Palpatine–power-hungry Senator and Sith Lord–to seize control of the Republic, declare himself Emperor, and usher in a fearsome, totalitarian regime. But even with the dreaded Darth Vader enforcing Palpatine’s sinister will, the threat of rebellion still looms. And the Emperor knows that only abject fear–and the ability to punish dissent with devastating consequences–can ensure his unchallenged control of the galaxy. Enter ambitious and ruthless government official Wilhuff Tarkin, architect of the Emperor’s terrifying dream come true. 

From inception to completion, construction of the unprecedented Death Star is awash in the intrigues, hidden agendas, unexpected revelations, and daring gambits of those involved on every level. The brightest minds and boldest egos, the most ambitious and corrupt, the desperate and the devious, all have a stake in the Death Star–and its potential to control the fate of the galaxy.

Soldiers and slaves, loyalists and Rebels, spies and avengers, the innocent and the evil–all their paths and fates will cross and intertwine as the Death Star moves from its maiden voyage to its final showdown. And a shadowy chapter of Star Wars history is stunningly illuminated in a thrilling, unforgettable adventure.

My Thoughts:

-    I've always wanted to read a Star Wars book, but I never knew where to start, and I was a bit intimidated. Well, I finally picked one and read it! 

-    The beginning was very dry and very slow. I wasn't sure if I was going to finish the book, but I kept going, and slowly it became more and more interesting. 

-    There are a lot of characters, and it takes a long time to learn the characters and for them to start interacting with each other. Most of the book, I wondered why these characters were important, and why I should care about them. Now that I've finished the book, I'm still wondering why I should care about them. 

-    Darth Vader and Tarkin were the most interesting people to read about. I already knew who they were, and I why they were important. Plus, they are the ones that intermingled with the part of the story that converges with A New Hope

-    I liked getting to know Tarkin better. His character intrigues me, and he was interesting to read about. 

-    The story really took off for me during Part 2. That is when A New Hope starts, and I loved seeing the Empire's side of the story. 

-    The writing is very dry, and it took me a while to get used to. Once I was used the writing, the book became more enjoyable. 

-    Overall, I'm glad and proud that I finished this book, but I probably wouldn't read it again. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Big Little Lies

19486412Goodreads Synopsis:    Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.


My Thoughts:

-    Whoa! This book is packed with so much! It was crazy and amazing all at the same time. 

-    So many forms of abuse were covered: sexual, verbal, physical, etc. It was like an overdose of terrible things, but the writing is so good and every issue was handled so tactfully and realistically. 

-    The kindergarten moms were crazy! I'm scared to get involved with parents at school now. 

-    I loved the mystery aspect of the book. I knew there was going to be murder, but who was going to be and why and how? Trivia Night could not come soon enough. 

-    The language was pretty heavy. There were a lot of f-bombs, and there was even a use of a four letter word that is very degrading to women. I was pretty shocked it was in the book.

-    My heart just ached for poor Celeste and Jane. I had a lot of sympathy for Madeline too. What Abigail did was nuts! Yikes! I don't know how I would handle the situations these ladies were in/were in. 

-    I loved that all three women came out stronger and better because of their experiences, and I love that certain people in the community became closer and better as well. Even though all these horrible things were happening, the ending was filled with hope and happiness. 

-    This is my second Liane Moriarty book, and I can't wait to read more. Her books are like crack. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Endure

25440127Goodreads Says:    At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the enemy. Even worse, Alexa remains at the mercy of the evil Dansiian Rafe, who controls her mind and can force Alexa to kill or harm Damian at any moment. Despite this, Alexa is determined to rescue Rylan, which soon leads her far from Damian and deep into enemy territory.

When she arrives, what awaits her is deadlier than anything she could have ever imagined: an army of black sorcerers and a horrifying plot to destroy the world as Alexa knows it. Will she be able to gather the strength to free herself, protect the love of her life, and save the land? Will there ever be true peace?

Acclaimed author Sara B. Larson has woven a stunning, romantic, and evocative finale to the Defy trilogy that is sure to leave readers breathless until the very last page.

My Thoughts:

-    This was a good conclusion to the series. I was happy with how everything wrapped up.

-    I really wanted Damian to take a bigger role in this book. I wanted to see his amazing fighting and magic skills, but there wasn't much of it. I was disappointed. I think it would have been cool to see Alexa and Damian go on an adventure together. They are equally matched, and I wanted to see more of that.

-    Damian and Alexa's relationship still bugs a bit. Damian pretty much became Four in the beginning of the book. 

-    I liked all the action and I thought the story telling was well done. 

-    I really wish Rylan had been replaced with Marcel. I don't like the love triangle, but it would have been awesome if Alexa had been trying to save her beloved brother. I could have gotten behind that. 

-    Spoiler! People die. For a little bit I was thinking the author was killing people off just to kill people, but I'm actually okay with the deaths. I feel like the character's deaths weren't wasted, and it made the book more realistic. 

-    I like how the author portrayed war as something horrible for both sides. She didn't sugar coat anything, and I appreciate that. 

-    I would consider this more of a fluff fantasy trilogy, but I enjoyed it. 

Previous Books
(covers are linked)

17406847 22323658

Monday, August 7, 2017

Bout of Books 20

Bout of Books

I haven't participated in Bout of Books for a while, and I think I'm ready for a read-a-thon!

What is Bout of Books you ask?

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

This is a really fun event, and I love connecting with other bloggers through this event!
Are you signing up?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie

27276279Goodreads Synopsis:    From the author of the “clever, creative, and sweetly delicious” (Kirkus ReviewsThe Coincidence of Coconut Cake comes a novel about a frustrated wife and mother who hatches a scheme to reignite her marriage—and risks everything in a gamble she hopes is a sure bet.

When Milwaukee-area wife and mother MJ Boudreaux notices her husband Chris seems more interested in the casino than her, she’s more bothered that she isn’t upset than by her husband’s absence. She picks up poker as a way for them to spend more time together—and reignite their marital flame.

Although the game doesn’t give her the quality time with Chris that she’d hoped, MJ finds she has a knack for it. Increasingly unhappy at home, she turns to the felt top of the poker table for comfort. Intoxicated with newfound freedom, MJ begins spending more time at the gambling tables and less with her family, finally carving out for herself a place outside her role of wife and mother.

After a string of great wins, MJ finds herself in Vegas, attracting the attention of a certain magnetic poker star. But when she’s forced to choose between her family and her new exciting lifestyle, the stakes may be higher than she thought and MJ will have to play her hand carefully…or risk losing it all.

My Thoughts:

-    I have a new favorite author to add to my list! I love Reichert's books! Her take on relationships is perfect, and her stories are so addicting. 

-    The heartache and struggles of marriage were so relatable. I'm sure a lot of women can sympathize with MJ's feelings.

-    I knew some of the decisions MJ made were not smart, but everyone makes mistakes, and I love that MJ realizes the mistakes she's made and becomes better because of it. The ending is amazing! I love the MJ's character growth.

-    I LOVED that some of the characters and the restaurant from The Coincidence of Coconut Cake made an appearance!! 

-    I liked the coconut cake book better, but I still enjoyed this one a lot. I can't wait to read more from this author. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Collected Poems

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My Thoughts:

-    I picked this up because some of Sara Teasdale's poems were in Falling For You, and I wanted to read more.

-    I've never read a book of poems before. This was an interesting and enlightening experience for me. 

-    There is something beautiful about Teasdale's way with words. 

-    Not all of the poems made sense of spoke to me. Most of them were eh, but some of them really spoke to me, and there was everything in between.

-    Some of my favorite poems were Guenevere, A Winter Night, I Shall Not Care, The Unseen, If Death is Kind, Thoughts, and Alone.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dead Cert

8525From Goodreads:    As jockey Alan York looked at the back of Bill Davidson astride the great horse Admiral, one thing was different. Before his rival reached the last hurdle, he was dead. Alan knew racing was dangerous; he also knew Bill's death was no accident. It was the kind of knowledge that could get a man killled....














My Thoughts:

-    I usually don't read mystery, but I'd like to get into it. One of my favorite authors said this was one of her favorite authors, so I decided to try it out. 

-    I was bored, really bored. It was very dry, British dry. 

-    I don't know very much about horse racing and jockeys, and I think you need to know more about the sport than I do to comprehend everything that was going on. 

-    I think part of my boredom stemmed from a major book hangover from the coconut cake book.

-    I really want to give mystery another chance. Any recommendations? I'd like to read Agatha Christie, but I don't know where to start. I open to whatever though. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Star Wars #26 - #30

33623632Goodreads Says:    With one of our rebel crew captured and imprisoned…we turn once more to the journals of Ben Kenobi…and a legendary adventure of Jedi Master…Yoda!
















My Thoughts:

-    I'm excited for the new story, especially one that focuses on a different character.

-    I really like Salvador Larroca's illustrations. I'm glad they used him again. 

-    I love that Qui-Gon Jinn and young Obi-Wan made an appearance.

-    I never thought of Yoda as an amazing pilot, but I guess it makes sense that he would be able to fly. 

-    This was a very interesting and intriguing issue. I'm excited to read more.


33983981From Goodreads:    Master Yoda finds himself on an all-new world…full of vicious, mysteriously powered children?! Not easy, will this be.

















My Thoughts:

-    The planet Yoda has landed on is weird and way different from anything I've seen in the Star Wars universe.

-    The weapons on this new planet look like the ancient weapons in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

-    I like that this is a story being read by Luke and told by Obi-Wan.


34095748Goodreads:   Master Yoda finds himself overpowered and captured! Imprisoned within the caves, the master must become a student once more. Plus…Ben and Luke feel the ripples of the Jedi Master's tale!















My Thoughts:

-    I wonder why they added this story to the Star Wars comics instead of doing a separate Yoda series. 

-    I love the cover on this issue!

-    I always like seeing pieces of Obi-Wan's life. He really needs his own series. 

-    I love all of Yoda's qualities.


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My Thoughts:

-    Does the guy on the cover look like Apocalypse to anyone else? Yoda fighting Apocalypse, that is something I'd love to see.

-    Gah! This is one of the worst cliffhangers!! I need to know the end of Yoda's story and what happens to Luke!! 


34804954From Goodreads:    It seems a battle from Yoda's past has come to Luke's present! Luke has stumbled upon the last native on the planet…and the stonepower is strong with this one!
















My Thoughts:

-    This was a very uneventful ending to this story.

-    Not a lot happened in this issue.

-    The best panels were at the end. It was cool to see Yoda on Dagobah. 

-    I'm excited to read the next few issues. They are a Doctor Aphra cross over. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

25650078Goodreads Synopsis:    YOU'VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

My Thoughts:

-    This was almost the perfect chick lit. Other than some minor complaints, I really enjoyed this one!

-    I enjoy cooking and baking, and I love cooking shows, so this book had the perfect setting. I loved every minute of Lou's cooking, and I wanted to sample every dish she made. 

-    Al's personality was a little weird in a couple parts. I liked him for most of the book, but his instant adoration for Lou seemed out of character for him. He was the big bad food critic, but when it came to Lou, he was mush. I got tired of him adoring her during their first couple of "none dates." I wish he had been more standoffish during the beginning of the relationship. I like brooding guys with a gentle side, and that is what I wanted Al to be. However, I love how Lou made him want to be better, and how he started looking at everything in a new way after meeting Lou.

-    I'm a sucker for You've Got Mail type stories, and this one falls smack center in that category. I loved it!

-    I really liked Lou, and I sympathized with her. I loved the side characters too. Sue, Harley, and John were fabulous. Otto and Gertrude were perfection. They made me cry. 

-    Romance usually makes me bored, but I enjoyed the kissing and love making in this one. It was swoon worthy, especially the teasing. 

-    I'm so excited to try the coconut cake recipe in the back of the book. I was thrilled when I saw it there! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Scarecrow of Oz

833140Goodreads Says:    Come along on a magical journey to Oz with a whole new group of intrepid adventurers.

Trot, a young girl from California, and her peg-legged sailor friend, Cap'n Bill, find themselves on a perilous and exciting voyage when a whirlpool leaves them stranded in an underwater cave. There they are befriended by a most curious creature--the Ork. With four paddle-like wings, legs like a stork's, a parrot's head, and a tail like a propeller, the Ork proves to be a very welcome and helpful companion.

After escaping the cave, the three friends make their way to the magical Land of Mo, where it snows popcorn and rains lemonade. Here they find Button-Bright--lost once again and eager to join in their adventures.

Together, the four travel across the deadly desert and into the Land of Oz, only to find themselves in new troubles with the scowling King Krewl and Blinkie, a wicked witch. But when everything seems its worst, who should come to their rescue but the Scarecrow of Oz himself! Thanks to the Scarecrow's wondrous brains, our friends just might have a chance to prevail against their heartless enermes.


My Thoughts:

-    Scarecrow doesn't come into the story until about halfway through. He is the title character! The story should have been more about him.

-    There were some elements that reminded me of Alice in Wonderland.

-    I thought Glinda hid Oz so no one could find it anymore. Where are these people coming from?

-    Trot and and the other girl from the previous book are just like Dorothy. Why didn't the author just use Dorothy. We don't need more girls that are practically the same. 

Previous Oz Books
(covers are linked)

60181 430480 560635
702480 765296 833135
560637 548260