Monday, August 22, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?







"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is a fun meme hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. This is where we share the books we have read the last week and our reading plans for this week.


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I almost quit blogging (again) as I had been on a constant 'life busy mode' for the past months. But I just couldn't give up THIS! So I took an almost two-month-long hiatus (my 3rd this year btw!), read tons of books not thinking of doing ANY reviews. It was a good decision. I felt refreshed. Now here I am, happy to be blog hopping again! Happy Monday!



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Books Reviewed

Review

Summer dreamed of becoming an artist and painting natural beauty on canvas. But all that changed when she married Joshua Hart, a man carrying a powerful dream of his own. With a temper to match his wild-boy good looks, he stormed out of their marriage to pursue a life as a musician, leaving her alone and, unbeknown to him, pregnant. 

Five years later, Summer is busy raising her daughter and managing the family’s camp and retreat center in the woods of Eastern Washington. With her artistic dreams all but forgotten, her world turns upside down the day Josh shows up with an offer to help her get the camp ready—and plans for divorce. 

Only Josh didn’t expect to find a blue-eyed darling who calls him “Daddy” living at Hart’s Camp. Not to mention his surprise over the attraction he still feels for Summer Day. Can he make amends for the past? Or is it too late? 

Ty and Winter Williams, marriage-retreat speakers, share their heartwarming story of second chances, and Summer and Josh must face the choices they’ve made. Is God’s grace enough to carry them through the divorce? Or can He change their hearts and help them find their way back to love? 




I came to work for Blake Carson under a ruse. I never guessed those false pretenses would lead to a job as his assistant. 

Or that I would end up pressed against a glass wall in his mammoth empire, naked and begging. 

I thought I was just using him to get back the only thing that mattered to me. And that he was using me too, for his own selfish, seductive reasons. Turns out neither of us have any clue who is using who. And it feels too incredibly good to stop. 

Especially since someone is out to get us—and Blake may be the last person I can trust. 
Or the only one.



The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them. 

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business -- and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life -- upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways. 

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future. 


Books for Review

It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections — rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds — are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby — a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to.. if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.


What would you do if the love of your life doesn’t want the same life you do?

Hadley Beckett has failed in not only her career, but as a daughter, friend, and girlfriend. Hadley’s longtime boyfriend, Finn Wilder, who is Richmond, Virginia’s local daredevil and favorite sportscaster, isn’t afraid of anything…almost. Hadley desperately wants a marriage and kids with him, the two things Finn infamously dreads. 

Finn pressures Hadley into moving in with him, but being traditional, she wants to be married first and she wants to stick to her beliefs, just as he clings to his own. On the other hand, Finn has tolerated Hadley’s stubbornness long enough and he’s reaching his breaking point. 

Fearing at 33 that she will soon be too old to have kids, Hadley wants Finn to change his mind and marry her, yet her insecurities about his public life and from his constant rebuffs have her questioning her aspirations. With conflicting advice from her friends, Hadley concludes she should take things into her own hands.

But then again, Finn Wilder has his own story to tell.



After two years on the run, best friends Rose and Lissa are caught and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a private high school for vampires and half-bloods. It’s filled with intrigue, danger—and even romance.

Enter their dark, fascinating world through a new series of 144-page full-color graphic novels. The entire first Vampire Academy novel has been adapted for book one by Leigh Dragoon and overseen by Richelle Mead, while the beautiful art of acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli brings the story to life.





Introducing Anita Blake, vampire hunter extraordinaire. Most people don't even bat an eye at vampires since they've been given equal rights by the Supreme Court. But Anita knows better--she's seen their victims. . . . A serial killer is murdering vampires, however, and now the most powerful vampire in town wants Anita to find the killer.








For readers throughout the world, The Hobbit serves as an introduction to the enchanting world of Middle-earth, home of elves, wizards, dwarves, goblins, dragons, orcs and a host of other creatures depicted in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion -- tales that sprang from the mind of the most beloved author of all time, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Newly expanded and completely redesigned, Douglas A. Anderson's The Annotated Hobbit is the definitive explication of the sources, characters, places, and things of J.R.R. Tolkien's timeless classic. Integrated with Anderson's notes and placed alongside the fully restored and corrected text of the original story are more than 150 illustrations showing visual interpretations of The Hobbit specific to many of the cultures that have come to know and love Tolkien's Middle-earth. Tolkien's original line drawings, maps and color paintings are also included, making this the most lavishly informative edition of The Hobbit available.

The Annotated Hobbit shows how Tolkien worked as a writer, what his influences and interests were, and how these relate to the invented world of Middle-earth. It gives a valuable overview of Tolkien's life and the publishing history of The Hobbit, and explains how every feature of The Hobbit fits within the rest of Tolkien's invented world. Here we learn how Gollum's character was revised to accommodate the true nature of the One Ring, and we can read the full text of The Quest of Erebor, Gandalf's explanation of how he came to send Bilbo Baggins on his journey with the dwarves. Anderson also makes meaningful and often surprising connections to our own world and literary history -- from Beowulf to The Marvellous Land of Snergs, from the Brothers Grimm to C. S. Lewis.


DNF'd

Most of these I gave up reading after the first quarter/half of the story. For the past 8 years, I felt guilty of DNF'ing books so this time, I made sure reading would be guilt-free.  



Crystal Frost has spent her whole life believing she's ordinary, and her mother has long held the secret of her heritage. When Crystal begins seeing the ghost of a dead classmate, her life spirals out of control. She’s faced with the threat that everyone will find out she’s a freak, as if the struggle to figure out her new-found abilities wasn’t enough pressure. Crystal has to find some way to save the people who have come to her for help all while trying to keep her abilities a secret. Will she be able to fulfill these overwhelming demands while solving the mystery that is the ghost of Olivia Owen?


Is she a criminal or a victim? Or both?

After the deaths of two husbands and a fiancé, Claire Saint-Ange is branded the Widow Spider in her coastal Maine town. Tormented by threatening phone calls and desperate to prove her innocence, Claire hires a P.I. But her attraction to the rugged investigator poses an even greater threat. She can’t risk losing someone she cares about… not again. Never again.

Two tragic losses cause federal agent Michael Quinn to submit his resignation, but he’s forced into one last gig—spend Christmas investigating the widow’s connection to her last husband’s drug smuggling. Uncovering this lovely, mysterious woman’s darkest secrets should be just an assignment, but her gentle soul and passion break down his walls and make him long to believe in her innocence.


Annie Donavan’s life as a veterinarian is safe. And boring. Between focusing on keeping her small, inner-city clinic running, paying off student loans, and living in the tiny apartment above the clinic she has no time for fun or dating and certainly not for anything adventurous.

Then one night, danger and surprise show up in the alley behind her clinic. And Annie is in for the ride of her life.

Stoney is a mystery. A man of few words but smoldering looks. She decides to take a risk and after a night of passion finds herself thrown into a world that she never knew existed. A world of drugs, danger and intrigue.

Shane is a detective, who vows to keep Annie safe at all costs. Losing his heart to her is the easy part. Keeping her safe and earning her trust will prove to be his most difficult task.


Hannah Wilson is having a bad day. Her cruel boss, Craig Allen, has just trashed the presentation that she’s been slaving over. This time she’s had enough. She’s going to tear up the presentation, march back inside, and quit. She’s sick of controlling, pushy men wreaking havoc in her life. 

So when a mysterious stranger intervenes to ask if she’s OK, Hannah is in no mood to entertain his enquiry. She just wants to be left alone. But when she discovers that this mysterious stranger is none other than her next big client, and just looking at him sets her lust aflame, she starts to realize that she may be in over her head. 

Brandon’s on a mission to protect Hanna - but will he find a way to give up her control and surrender to his power? 


Jillian Grayson is a disillusioned divorcée and best-selling romance novelist who suddenly can't write a chapter without her hunky male heartthrob suffering ED, an STD, or even worse. Brian Nash is a tennis-obsessed college senior who's unlucky in love and the roommate and best friend of Jillian's son, Rob. When Rob brings Brian home for Spring Break, and Brian meets the surprisingly young and tennis passionate Jillian, their shared interest quickly develops into an intense mutual attraction. After nearly giving in to their feelings, they hatch a plan, while under the influence (of something more than just the perfect Miami night), to be Friends With Partial Benefits, complete with rules to define the boundaries. Will the lonely pair continue with this distinctive relationship, actually explore their desires, or discover all of it is a really bad idea? 





The Pirate Cats have traveled back to Milan, Italy in the year 1770, in order to steal one of the most important musical works in history: a symphony composed by a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart It's up to Geronimo and his friends to go back in time and stop the Pirate Cats from their dastardly deed.





Even my sister Thea told me a ghost was haunting New Mouse City's subway tunnels, I knew I had to get the scoop for The Rodents Gzette! So I set off with Thea, Trap and my assistant editor PinkyPick.







Currently listening to:



Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands.

How about you? What are your reading plans this week? 
Happy Monday!

4 comments:

Jessica @ a GREAT read said...

Ooh nice! Those are mostly all new to me books! Loved The Vampire Academy graphic novel, though still devastated it never went through all the books! And ooh I still need to read The Glittering Court as well! Happy Reading!

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Greg said...

I've heard really good things about the Srah Addison Allen books, especially First Frost. Hope you enjoy them as well. And I haven't read Vampire academy but I did see the movie, I had heard it wasn't very good but I actually liked it. :) And that Annotated Hobbit looks like a good one too!

Kathryn T said...

Really good idea to take a break, so that it feels like fun not work. Love reading Sarah Addison Allen.

Kaori King said...

Jessica - While I generally loved the VA graphic novel, I didn't like Dimka here so I think I'm gonna skip the g.novels.

Greg - yes! Loved both books! Wish she could write more in that series. Annotated Hobbit - loved it nice illustrations

Kathryn - True, more often blogging feels like work... LOL

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