Monday, March 25, 2019

Giveaway Winners!

You are the lucky winner of "Sweet Bitter Cane:"
Cassandra D.

Friday, March 22, 2019

It's Boekenweek!

I am so happy to be participating in Boekenweek 2019! It's an annual celebration of books in the Netherlands and Belgium and has been celebrated since 1932. World Editions, a publisher dedicated to getting translated works into English and into the hands of readers, has all sorts of plans for Boekenweek! This fits in perfectly with my goal to read a book from every country this year.

I will be hosting reviews on Saturday, March 30th for "We & Me" and "Thirty Days!" Get psyched!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Review: The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

Title: The Water Cure
Author: Sophie Mackintosh
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date: January 8, 2019
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "King has tenderly staked out a territory for his wife and three daughters, Grace, Lia, and Sky. He has lain the barbed wire; he has anchored the buoys in the water; he has marked out a clear message: Do not enter. Or viewed from another angle: Not safe to leave. Here women are protected from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland. The cult-like rituals and therapies they endure fortify them from the spreading toxicity of a degrading world.

But when their father, the only man they’ve ever seen, disappears, they retreat further inward until the day three strange men wash ashore. Over the span of one blistering hot week, a psychological cat-and-mouse game plays out. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. Can they survive the men?"

My Two Cents:

"The Water Cure" is the story of three daughters, Grace, Lia, and Sky, who have always been protected from the world by their parents. When their father dies suddenly, he leaves behind his wife and his daughters to fend themselves from the world, a world that is very dangerous for women.

I was super intrigued by the premise of this book and oh, how I have loved the onslaught of new speculative and sci-fi fiction that seems to be cascading out of the book industry lately. I love when familiar things are turned on their head, which is certainly what you have here with "The Water Cure." The rules and norms in this book to include all of the rituals that the sisters are familiar with and go through in this book is fascinating.

World-building is always super important to me in speculative fiction. To me, this is where I was looking for more from this book. We get a sense of the world that the sisters are living in but I wanted to know the origin. I can't say much without giving anything away but a lot of the reality of how the world is is definitely left up to the reader to determine. I wanted more detail: How long had things been like this? How did things get to be like this?

This book had a lot of promise but I wanted to know more about the world in which this family lives in.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Review: A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

Title: A Dangerous Collaboration
Author: Deanna Raybourn 
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: March 12, 2019
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker's brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly's house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée--much to Stoker's chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly's wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband's mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker's help to discover the host's true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund..."

My Two Cents:

"A Dangerous Collaboration" is the fourth book in the wonderful Veronica Speedwell mystery series by Deanna Raybourn. This is such a fun series and this was another good entry. In this episode, Veronica must pose as Stoker's brother's fiance in order to sneak into the Romilly house where a host of mysteries awaits. There's nothing like a mysterious estate full of secrets to make for a good read.

While I have really enjoyed this series and have liked all of the books, you certainly don't need to have read all of the other books in order to pick this one up. You may miss out on the nuances of the relationships between some of the characters (the banter and relationship between Veronica and Stoker has been so charming). So while not necessary, I think you will appreciate the book more if you read the other few first.

Speaking of Veronica and Stoker, they really make this series tick. The back and forth between them is so funny and so full of chemistry. I love seeing how they bring out the best of each other and how they bounce ideas off of each other about the secrets throughout the book. They make a great team and truly made for an entertaining read.

This continues to be a great series and I am very excited to see what the next book has in store for Veronica and Stoker!


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Giveaway: Mary Poppins Returns Prize Pack

I'm very excited to be able to give away a "Mary Poppins Returns" prize pack. Thank you to Think Jam for this opportunity. The prize pack includes:
  • 1 Blu-ray Combo Pack of Mary Poppins Returns 
  • 1 Mary Poppins Compact Mirror with digital messaging
 I missed this movie when it came out in the theaters and I hope I get to see it soon!
Interested in winning? Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below (U.S. only, please!):
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Thornton

Title: American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt
Author: Stephanie Thornton
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publish Date: March 12, 2019
Source: Author and Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "Alice may be the president's daughter, but she's nobody's darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves--oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements.

But Washington, DC is rife with heartaches and betrayals, and when Alice falls hard for a smooth-talking congressman it will take everything this rebel has to emerge triumphant and claim her place as an American icon. As Alice soldiers through the devastation of two world wars and brazens out a cutting feud with her famous Roosevelt cousins, it's no wonder everyone in the capital refers to her as the Other Washington Monument--and Alice intends to outlast them all."

My Two Cents:

"American Princess" is the story of Alice Roosevelt, daughter of my favorite President, Teddy Roosevelt. I love the whole Roosevelt family (cousins included) but Alice has always been terribly fascinating to me. In a family full of boisterous, big personality people, she still found plenty of ways to make herself well known. She was a celebrity of her time with media following her every move. She was also smart, strategic, and savvy. Her life was also very tumultuous! Thornton explores all of these aspects with panache and fine attention to detail!

The problem (if you can call it that) of being so involved with the book world is that sometimes you find out about books long before they are released and waiting for books like this one can be super difficult. I found out about this pretty much as soon as it sold and I have been waiting and waiting for it. I was definitely not disappointed and it's true, good things come to those who wait.

Alice is such a good character. The book begins when she is a young debutante angling for the way to make the biggest splash so we get to meet her fairly young. The book goes through all of the trials and travails of being the First Daughter and trying to navigate the scrutiny. As with everything else in her life, Alice goes her own way and makes up her rules as she goes along. I loved watching her make her way through so many decades of American history.

Love triangles, particularly historic love triangles, are fascinating to me. Alice marries Nicholas Longworth and it's an amazing political dynasty match but her heart belongs to William Borah, eloquent Senator from Idaho. Oh, boy - watching how these three sides merge and grapple with each other was fantastic! I don't want to give anything away but I loved how the author infused so many of the complicated emotions that would accompany such a high profile triangle.

It is no secret that I have loved Thornton's other books. I love her writing style and that she chose to make Alice the narrator, giving us a front row seat to her life. This was a very effective mechanism for getting me into the book. Alice has a truly unique voice and this was a wonderful tribute to a wonderfully wild woman!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

TLC Book Tours: The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood

Title: The Quintland Sisters
Author: Shelley Wood
Format: ARC
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: March 5, 2019
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins

What's the Story?:

From "Reluctant midwife Emma Trimpany is just 17 when she assists at the harrowing birth of the Dionne quintuplets: five tiny miracles born to French farmers in hardscrabble Northern Ontario in 1934. Emma cares for them through their perilous first days and when the government decides to remove the babies from their francophone parents, making them wards of the British king, Emma signs on as their nurse.

Over 6,000 daily visitors come to ogle the identical “Quints” playing in their custom-built playground; at the height of the Great Depression, the tourism and advertising dollars pour in. While the rest of the world delights in their sameness, Emma sees each girl as unique: Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Marie, and Émilie. With her quirky eye for detail, Emma records every strange twist of events in her private journals.

As the fight over custody and revenues turns increasingly explosive, Emma is torn between the fishbowl sanctuary of Quintland and the wider world, now teetering on the brink of war."

My Two Cents:

"The Quintland Sisters" tells the story of the Dionne quintuplets, a famous set of siblings born in Canada in the 1930s. While quintuplets are still not common, they were really not common back then as this was well before the age of fertility interventions like IVF and the like. The Dionne sisters become celebrities of a sort almost from the time that they were born. They 

If you've followed my reviews or my blog for any length of time, you may know that I have twin girls. They are identical and we get a lot of attention when we go out. I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to have quintuplets and the uproar that it would still cause today. The Dionne family had people parking outside of their home waiting to catch a glimpse of the babies napping. Even from their earliest days, the Dionne sisters' lives are strange. I liked how the author was able to capture the uproar that constantly seems to thrum in the background of the girls' lives. 

I liked that the book was narrated by Emma, a nurse whose first taste of nursing comes from helping to deliver the Dionne girls. She loves these girls and is protective of them as much as she can be. I really enjoyed seeing things through her eyes. We see as the girls' lives are upended over and over again throughout the book. People like Emma become some of the only constants that they had.

I felt so bad for the Dionne quintuplets throughout the book. You have to wonder what not having much of a childhood and constantly being on display must have been like. The book certainly gives us a taste of that and made for an enjoyable albeit sad read.

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