Showing posts from July, 2018

Review: The Whale: A Love Story

Paperback, 288 pages Published June 26th 2018 by Penguin Books  9780399562358
SummaryA rich and captivating novel set amid the witty, high-spirited literary society of 1850s New England, offering a new window on Herman Melville's emotionally charged relationship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and how it transformed his masterpiece, Moby-Dick

In the summer of 1850, Herman Melville finds himself hounded by creditors and afraid his writing career might be coming to an end--his last three novels have been commercial failures and the critics have turned against him. In despair, Melville takes his family for a vacation to his cousin's farm in the Berkshires, where he meets Nathaniel Hawthorne at a picnic--and his life turns upside down.

The Whale chronicles the fervent love affair that grows out of that serendipitous afternoon. Already in debt, Melville recklessly borrows money to purchase a local farm in order to remain near Hawthorne, his newfound muse. The two develop a deep connection …

Audiobook Review: Not That Bad

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture Edited by Roxane Gay Published May 1st 2018 by HarperAudio 9780062848703 Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
Summary In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and best-selling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are "routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied" for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is …

Review: Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way by Kamin Mohammadi

Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way by Kamin Mohammadi Hardcover, 304 pages Published May 8th 2018 by Appetite by Random House 9780449016749
Summary One woman's story of finding beauty, and herself--and a practical guide to living a better life, the Italian way! 
Kamin Mohammadi, a magazine editor in London, should have been on top of the world. But after heartbreak and loneliness, the stress of her "dream life" was ruining her physical and mental health. Gifted a ticket to freedom--a redundancy package and the offer of a friend's apartment in Florence--Kamin took a giant leap. It did not take her long to notice how differently her new Italian neighbors approached life: enjoying themselves, taking their time to eat and drink, taking their lives at a deliberately slower pace. Filled with wonderful characters--from the local bartender/barista who becomes her love advisor, to the plumbers who fix her heating and teach her to make pasta al pomodoro-…

My Year With Moby Dick

My Year With Moby Dick
In 2017 I, along with my children, began to read the American classic tome, Moby Dick. This book has taken up real estate on my shelf for almost a decade. It's been on my to-read list for even longer. I read In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick in 2016 and watched the movie based on said book as well. When I read that the events that took place In the Heart of the Sea inspired Melville to write his masterpiece,  it spurred me on to finally read it.

Since I had just the one copy of Moby Dick, I downloaded a digital copy for my kids to read on their Kindles. Moby Dick is available in the public domain so this cost me nothing but the time it took to download it. I also decided that maybe listening to it as an audiobook would be a good addition to our little book club. I checked out, and they had many options that are probably really fantastic, but I decided to go in a different direction.

Through my online search for an audiobook I came a…

Audiobook Review: The Secret of Flirting

The Secret of Flirting (Sinful Suitors #5) by Sabrina Jeffries, narrated by Justine Eyre  Audiobook, 416 pages Published March 27th 2018 by Simon Schuster Audio
Summary The moment spymaster Baron Fulkham meets the stunning Princess Aurore of Chanay, he's positive her royal persona is a ruse and that she's actually Monique Servais, the mysterious actress he met three years before in Dieppe. But as he pursues his suspicions, he uncovers a plot of attempted assassination and betrayal that could very well destroy his career, expose his own secrets...and ruin the woman he's rapidly coming to love.
The Secret of Flirting is a sizzling historical romance filled with fast-paced storytelling, an enchanting heroine, and a sexy hero, perfect for fans of Regency romance. 
My Thoughts Justine Eyre could narrate a takeout menu and I would listen. She's an actress, model, and most importantly, one of the best narrators on this planet. She played all the characters extremely well and…

@audiobookSYNC gets adventurous with this week's #free #audiobook titles #ILoveAudiobooks

Summer has flown by, and this is the final week for Sync's Summer of Free Audiobooks for Teens. Thank you to Sync for putting on this fantastic event, as well as the publishers for making these titles available for a free download. Remember these titles are available to download for free 07/19 - 07/26only. Everything you need to know about downloading this week's titles can be found at

by Elizabeth Fama | Read by Katherine Kellgren Published by Macmillan Audio
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a …

Review: City of Bastards

City of Bastards (Royal Bastards #2) by Andrew Shvarts 377 pages Published June 5th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion Summary Tilla, bastard of House Kent, has it made. Safe from her murderous father in the dazzling capital of Lightspire, she lives a life of luxury under the protection of the Volaris King, alongside her boyfriend Zell and best friend, Princess Lyriana.
So why isn’t she happy? Maybe it’s the whispers and stares that follow her wherever she goes, as the daughter of the traitor waging war against Lightspire. Or maybe it’s the memories of her beloved brother, Jax, who lies cold in his grave even as she tries to settle into a life in the city's prestigious University.
Then, Tilla stumbles upon the body of a classmate, a friend. The authorities are quick to rule it a suicide and sweep it under the rug, but when Tilla herself is attacked by a mysterious man with terrifying powers, she’s convinced of a conspiracy. Her friends beg her to stay silent; what she's suggesting is im…

J.R. Ward's Ebook The Wedding From Hell Pt. 1 Is Out Today And It's FREE

The Wedding from Hell
Part 1: The Rehearsal Dinner
by J. R. Ward
Available: July 17, 2018
Gallery Books | E-book Original
ISBN: 9781982105365 | Free

Don’t miss #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward’s three-part ebook serialization: The Wedding From Hell. This exclusive prequel to her upcoming standalone suspense Consumed (available in Fall 2018) takes us back to where it all started between arson investigator Anne Ashburn and ‘bad boy’ firefighter Danny Maguire. The Wedding From Hell is a sexy standalone novella that sets up Consumed’s storyline, leaving fans hungry for more and dying to snatch it up.

About the Book: It’s a classic recipe for disaster: Take one bridesmaid who thinks pink is the root of all evil, mix with a best man who’s hotter than a four-alarm fire, add in their explosive sexual attraction, a nightmare bridezilla, two cat fights, and an emergency call, and you have the wedding from hell.

Experience the sizzling start of Anne and Danny’s intense relationsh…

Review: On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service

On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service (Her Royal Spyness #11) by Rhys Bowen Paperback, 304 pages Published June 26th 2018 by Berkley Books 9780425283516 Buy from Amazon
Summary When royal sleuth Georgie Rannoch receives a letter from her dearest friend Belinda, who's in an Italian villa awaiting the birth of her illegitimate baby, she yearns to run to her side. If only she could find a way to get there! But then opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way--her cousin the queen asks her to attend a house party in the Italian Lake Country. The Prince of Wales and the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.
What luck! A chance to see Belinda, even if it is under the guise of stopping unwanted nuptials. Only that's as far as Georgie's fortune takes her. She soon discovers that she attended finishing school with the hostess of the party--and the hatred they had for each other then has barely dim…

Sync's Summer of Free #Audiobooks Week 12 is Live, and This May Be My Favorite Week Yet

Can you believe we're already at week 12 of Sync's Summer of Free Audiobooks for Teens? Next week is the last week. Where did summer go? Remember these titles are available to download for free 07/12 - 07/19only. We're going to Colonial New England this week with The Scarlet Letter and How to Hang A Witch. Everything you need to know about downloading this week's titles can be found at

by Adriana Mather | Read by Adriana Mather Published by Listening Library
Salem, Massachusetts, is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials—and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves the Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were? If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a…

I read the 4th book in the Poldark saga, and the storyline has taken a dark turn.

Warleggan (Poldark #4)  *Originally titled The Last Gamble Paperback, 490 pages Published September 8th 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books 9781509808687
Summary Cornwall, 1792-1793. Ross Poldark plunges into a speculative mining venture which threatens his financial security and his stormy marriage to Demelza. When the old attraction between Ross and Elizabeth begins to rekindle itself, Demelza retaliates by becoming dangerously involved with a Scottish cavalry officer.
My Thoughts I first became aware of Poldark back in 2015, when PBS brought this remarkable series back to the small screen. I, along with many others, became enraptured by the complexities of characters and plot. And it has been my absolute pleasure to read the books that coincide with the series. The first two books in the series, Ross Poldark and Demelza, go along with season one. Books three and four, Jeremy Poldark and Warleggan, go along with season two. The television series follows the book remarkably well. But of cour…


The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwell Publication Date: July 17, 2018 eBook; Choc Lit; 313 Pages AudioBook; Soundings Genre: Historical Romance Series: Cornish Tales #3

Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive …

Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she has been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him.

Brought together by unknown circumstances, and fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … a…

Review: Brightly Burning

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne 400 pages Published May 1st 2018  by HMH Books for Young Readers 9781328948939
Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.
But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.
My Thoughts Alexa Donne's debut novel, Brightly Burning, is the retelling of Jane Eyre set in space. The title interested me for two reasons. One, I love retellings. I love seeing beloved characters in a new light. Two, I'm cu…

Review: Royal Bastards

Royal Bastards (Royal Bastards #1) by Andrew Shvarts Hardcover, 352 pages Published May 30th 2017 by Disney-Hyperion 9781484767658
Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.
At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.
Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered prin…

Challenge Yourself To See Beyond Assumptions With This Week's Free #Audiobook Titles From #Sync

Week 11 of Sync's Summer of Free Audiobooks for Teens starts today! Only a few more weeks left. These titles are available to download for free 07/05- 07/12only. Overlooked heroines is this week's theme with The Invisible Girls and Girls Like Us. Everything you need to know about downloading this week's titles can be found at

by Sarah Thebarge | Read by Kirsten Potter Published by Oasis Audio, LLC.

A girl scarred by her past. A refugee mother uncertain of her future. Five little girls who brought them together. After nearly dying of breast cancer in her twenties, Sarah Thebarge fled her successful career, her Ivy League education, and a failed relationship on the East Coast and started over in Portland, Oregon. She was hoping to quietly pick up the pieces of her broken life, but instead she met Hadhi and her daughters, and set out on an adventure she’d never anticipated. Hadhi was fighting battles of her own. A Somali refugee abandoned by her husband, she…

Research says people are reading less, audiobooks have a greater impact than films, and a biography of Anthony Bourdain

A Pew Research Center study showed that "76 percent of U.S. adults have read a book in the last year, which is down from 79 percent in 2011. Jenna Bush Hager and TODAY are on a mission to get more Americans excited about reading with the "Read More TODAY" series." The Today anchors shared their picks for the best summer read. You can view it here. Here's my pick:

When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.
Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?
The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling…