January Wrap-Up and What I’m Looking Forward to in February

January was a pretty so-so month for the books I selected. Six Tinder Weeks was by far my favorite book.  The other books I read in January were not horrible, they just lacked a little extra something, mostly character development, that would have added that sparkle I was looking for that would reel me in and hold my attention until the very end.

I am looking forward to Linda Fairstein’s next Alex Cooper book and I also look forward to writing a stellar 5-star review to go with it. It still smarts to have given Deadfall such a low rating, but 3 doughnuts is not the worst rating and I know Linda has some exciting things ahead for Alex and the gang.

In January I discovered the app Libby. It is through Overdrive, but I prefer the look and ease of Libby. If you have a library card, this is a great way to rent audiobooks and read books on your Kindle (or you can read on your phone!). If the book you want is not available, you can place a hold on it and as soon as it’s available, the folks at Libby will automatically check the item out to you! And there’s no chance of accruing fines because when the 2 week loan period is up, the item simply disappears from your shelf! Sorry…I feel like I am at work, enthusiastically encouraging our patrons to download Libby ASAP. It is truly that neat of an app 🙂

I am excited about February! Things are looking up and I just finished one amazing book, Liars, by Frances Vick and I am almost finished with The Wife Between Us (it’s so intriguing!). Here are the books I am excited to read this month:

 

Thank you for taking some time to read my blog. I appreciate you and I hope you have a beautiful week.

Cheers,
Brooke

Advertisements

Book Review: A Stranger in the House

Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 7.33.44 PM A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena
Published August 2017

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door

He looks at her, concerned. “How do you feel?” She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, “Glad to be home.”

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good. 

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

 

My Thoughts:
I don’t think there has been another book that has had me so confused when it comes to the characters. It did help me to stay engaged and observant for the duration of the book.

Rating: 3.5 doughnuts out of 5 🍩🍩🍩

Review:

This book is dominated by characters. The environments are not overly complex and they are described in enough detail for the reader to paint a sort of mental picture of what is happening on each page.

The author does a remarkable job of creating a cast of characters that I found unlikable and sometimes extremely irritating. I think that is commendable because I believe creating truly unlikable characters might possibly be more difficult than writing about likable and engaging characters. There was not one character in the entire book that I liked, most of all Tom. He was whiny, weak, lacked any sort of spine, and when he made poor and frankly, stupid decisions, he blamed others in order to seem innocent and tortured.

The book was well paced and I was unable to figure out the ending (which is always a plus!). The author also threw in several subplots that were mildly suspenseful. I found myself getting irritated often because the characters  were just so…annoying and for lack of a better word…idiotic. Especially Tom. A spineless creep who can’t think for himself. I know I’m being tough on Tom, but he truly is one of the most dreadful characters I have ever encountered.

Would I Recommend this Novel?:
Yes

To Whom Would I Recommend this Book?:
Those readers who enjoy domestic thrillers, authors who excel at making their readers truly feel something for the characters (whether negative or positive), and multiple narratives.

 

Thank you for reading my review!

 

 

Book Review: Deadfall (Audio Book)

deadfall Deadfall (Alexandra Cooper #19)
                                                        by Linda Fairstein

 

Book Blurb (from Goodreads):

Hunting a killer within New York’s urban jungle becomes the biggest case of Alexandra Cooper’s career in New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein’s latest unputdownable thriller. 

A wild heart beats within New York City. Amid concrete and skyscrapers, the Wildlife Conservation Society works to preserve and protect the animal kingdom both within and beyond the borders of the five boroughs. But dangerous creatures don’t always have claws and fangs, as Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace know all too well. Predators lurk close to home, and in the aftermath of the shocking drive-by murder of an important city employee someone Alex has worked with for years the trio must discover who the bigger snake is: the killer or the victim.

Investigations into the death provide more questions than answers, as a tangled mess of secrets slowly comes to light. From bribes to secret societies, from big-game hunting to the illegal animal trade, from New York City zoos to behind closed doors in government buildings, Alex will have her work cut out for her if she wants to uncover the truth and uphold the integrity of the office she has so proudly served.

 

My Thoughts:
My husband and I listened to this title during a recent trip to Disney World. This is the first and only Alex Cooper novel I will listen to on audio book.

Rating: 3 doughnuts out of 5 🍩🍩🍩

Review:

I’m sad to have given Deadfall only 3 stars, yet at the same time I feel I am being generous. The story was very long and drawn out, but Alex finally stopped whining to and about everyone and everything. I feel like we finally got the old Alex back, for the most part. There was so much of this story that I felt was repetitive, confusing, and unnecessary. However, I usually adore Linda Fairstein’s writing so I am chalking this up to the fact that the story and I just didn’t mesh well and that’s okay. The majority of the story revolves around poaching and big game hunting. Just a bit of a warning before you start reading. Those topics are away upsetting for me and I have a hard time getting them out of my brain. Also, the ongoing discussion of Alex’s PTSD left me a little confused at times. I can’t think of a better way of explaining my feelings on her PTSD except that it was talked about a great deal and then it sort of seemed to disappear *poof* just like that. A side note: I may be more sensitive to the mention of PTSD and its treatment in this book because I myself have been diagnosed with PTSD. I find that I get very picky, maybe unreasonably so (I don’t think so 🙂 ), when mental illnesses are included in the story line.

Now, onto where my true complaint lies. I have read every Alex Cooper novel and I feel so connected to Alex, Mike, Mercer, and Vicki. I had the hardest time reconciling the voices on the audio book to the voices I created in my head over the past 21 years that it took a toll on how much I was truly able to enjoy the audio book. I don’t want to get too picky or disrespectful, but Mike’s voice is just the worst – in my opinion. He sounds like a little old man who has smoked for the majority of his however many years on this earth. Mercer’s voice I am not a fan of either. I feel like it should be more powerful, deeper… now, at the same time I am complaining, I realize that many audio books have only one narrator and that she is doing her very best to portray a myriad of characters. And this book had plenty of characters! I respect that very much. I just wanted to give my true opinions.

While I hit a bump in the road with Deadfall, I will still continue to read this series. I think that’s bound to happen, especially with an author and/or series I hold in such high esteem. 🙂

Would I Recommend this Novel?:
Maybe…perhaps?

To Whom Would I Recommend this Book?:
Those readers who have been along for the ride since book one, Final Jeopardy. And I would recommend reading it as opposed to listening to it, if you are able.

 

Thank you for reading my review!

 

My Goals for 2018

I’m really excited to write this post. Maybe putting my hopes and goals out there for the world to see will make it easier in some way? Today I am struggling mightily with depression and anxiety. It was hard to get out of bed. I felt like I was stuck in mud or oatmeal, or maybe a black hole. Here I am complaining after I begin the post with thoughts of how excited I am. My brain is funny like that.

For a while I was pondering changing the name of my blog, but then I realized it was just right. The “Beauty” part was bothering me because my initial goals of making this a book and beauty blog has changed drastically. What I want to write about are books, my cats, and beauty, still beauty, but have that piece pertain to my mental health, my mental illness, growth, difficulties…things like that. We shall see!

Here are my goals as of Friday, January 19, 2018

  1. Practice mindfulness. So often I am living in the future and becoming anxious over things I cannot control. This leads me to neglecting friends and family and missing out on what could be fun events because my anxiety has rendered me immobile, sad, and utterly hopeless.
  2. Make at least 2 blog posts a week.
  3. Post at least one book review per week (I’m giving myself tiny goals out of self preservation, but I hope to surpass these goals).
  4. Lose x amount of weight and get healthy and in shape.
  5. Read (or listen to) at least 2 books per week.
  6. Become more active on social media. Responding to friends, making my own posts…you get the drift 🙂
  7. Yoga!
  8. Start a gratitude journal.
  9. Become better at my job. Make better story times, better outreach programs, remember the names of our dear patrons (which is hard because my meds sabotage my memory, but I will try!), create more of my own programming and have fun with it, be a better team player. Be someone my coworkers can count on. There’s so much more, but that’s a start.

 

So almost 10 goals. That sounds good. Maybe I will add some, subtract others. Only time will tell 🙂

I hope that you know what a treasure you are. Thank you for reading through my goals and thank you for your kindness. I wish for you a beautiful tomorrow.

Cheers!
Brooke

Book Tour! Six Tinder Weeks by Bena Roberts

About the Book
Forty-something scientist Helen leaves her husband after twenty
uninspired years of marriage. Plagued with making the wrong decisions she looks
towards holistic therapy and the universe to guide her choices. She meets
hairdresser Alex and takes his advice to download the dating app SPRK.
Helen embarks on a voyage of self-discovery, paganism, hedonism
and desire. What could go wrong? Well for one secret agent CJ is convinced that
Helen is part of a notorious Romanian smuggling gang.
Six Tinder weeks is not the usual romantic novel; it is
realistic fiction full of twists, turns that will make you laugh out loud. If
you like something different, then you will enjoy this Pandora’s box of love,
action and the unexpected.
My Thoughts
Thank you to Bena Roberts and CLP Blog Tours for a complimentary copy of Six Tinder Weeks. In return, here is my honest review.
Rating: 4  doughnuts out of 5 🍩🍩🍩🍩
Looking for a book  to lose yourself in and break your reading slump? Try Six Tinder Weeks!
Review:
Just about everyone has heard of Tinder and most of us know one or ten folks who have used the app. In this book we meet Helen, who is experiencing a tumultuous time in her life and after receiving an amazing makeover, her new stylist recommends a Tinder-like app to help spice up her life.
We follow Helen through her ups and down with the dating app and while most of her experiences are ultimately unsatisfying, she learns a lot about herself through the journey. She learns to love herself and what she will and will not put up with when it comes to potential romantic relationships.
Helen’s story is so realistic, so authentic. It made me laugh, it made me feel for Helen and I was able to The author, Bena Roberts, put a great deal of work into making sure that her readers were getting a genuine story about a woman who could be their neighbor, sister, and friend. I laughed, I pondered, I empathized with Helen, and I found myself wondering what I would do if I were in Helen’s position. Very interesting to think about! 🙂 I enjoyed reading this book so much because it is so realistic, such a well told story.  Thank you, Bena! Also, I am hoping this is going to be a series. I’m not ready for Helen’s story to end!
Would I Recommend this Book?
Yes!
To Whom Would I Recommend this Book?
Readers who enjoy chick lit with some sensuality; character growth and progression; chapters that go back and forth between characters to enhance the story and learn about different points of view.

Tour Schedule

January 15 – Chick Lit
Plus
– Review

January 16 – Chick
Lit Goddess
 – Novel Spotlight

January 17 – Book
Lover in Florida
 – Review

January 18 – Beauty Books and Cats With
Brooke
 – Review

January 18 – Tranquil
Reader
 – Review

January 19 – Rainy DayReviews – Review

January 19 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review

 

About the Author

Bena is an expat British woman living with her family in
Germany. She was a journalist, blogger and analyst as well as CEO of quite a
few geeky companies. She is a bookworm, gym bunny and partial to dry Italian
red wine.

 

Bena’s passion for writing began as a child in the cosy
corner of her parent’s bookshop in London. She grew up reading Sidney Sheldon,
Judy Blume and Marian Keyes.  Six Tinder Weeks is her debut novel and is
realistic fiction that will appeal to women, mums and especially those just
divorced.

MHM: Little Black Rain Cloud…

It finally happened. I cried for the first time in 3 years. I don’t mean a few tears that escaped without permission only to be wiped away before anyone else could detect them. No. I cried, on the floor, with such force behind each sob that eventually I found myself unable to breathe. As I gasped for air, I had a sudden push to call my mom. The one person who can spread peace throughout my rattled and tortured mind and body. Today was no different except this time I had my dad in the background voicing his love and support for me to hear.

When I ended the call with my mom, I could breathe, the tightness in my chest was gone and I felt like I could be human enough for a few minutes to take a shower. I turned to get up and glanced at my Winnie the Pooh plush. I thought about how Mom had just helped me to lift the little black rain cloud that was taking up residence in my brain. Pooh has a song about a little black rain cloud, hence the association.

What brought on today’s episode? I can’t put my finger on it, so it must be a lovely concoction of past and future worries, with a little bit of psychosis present who clearly let himself in through the front door without invitation. I began feeling like poo around 4pm. Seemingly out of nowhere, I started thinking about how Van would be so much happier, more successful, more fulfilled if he were married to someone else. I picked out ex-girlfriends who seemed leaps and bounds better and of course, there are the women out there I am not aware of who would probably be great, too. They would be normal, without mental illness, successful, make a great salary, treat him well, impress his family and coworkers, so on and so on.  He wouldn’t have to constantly live in a state of mild fear that his wife might, at any moment, kill herself, or make a seemingly feeble attempt. No Schizoaffective Disorder, no Mania, no PTSD, no multiple manifestations of anxiety. He could have the perfect woman and live a beautiful life.

But now that I am a little more lucid I realize that Van has been with me for 18 years. He could have left at any time, but he is still here with me. I cannot talk circles around that fact, I cannot debunk it. It is truth…a truth I need and want to let into my little dark heart.

I’m hitting a point where I feel some babbling coming on. If you have read this, thank you. When I was in the shower it seemed like the best thing ever – write a blog about my episode! Now I am in that foggy, cloudy place where utter exhaustion meets the effects of my nighttime meds.

I would like to share that you are enough. You are beautiful. You are valued, loved, unique and above all, you matter. Now, Brooke, some may say, can’t you say those things to yourself. How can you tell other people these things when you don’t even believe them about yourself? I’ll tell you. It’s so much easier, almost effortless, for me to love and care for others, but it’s very difficult to show that same care for myself.

Book Review: Howling at the Moon (Tales of an Urban Werewolf, Book 1) by Karen MacInerney

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 9.59.41 PM

Book Blurb:

Sophie Garou seems to have it all: a great job at a prestigious accounting firm, a closet that rivals a Nordstrom showroom, and a terrific boyfriend who isn’t afraid to use the “M” word. There’s just one little itty-bitty problem: Sophie is a werewolf – and HER time of the month has a whole new meaning.

Needless to say, life among yummy flesh-and-blood humans is no piece of steak… er, cake! , but regular doses of wolfsbane tea and a mother who runs a magic shop have helped Sophie keep her paranormal pedigree under wraps.

Still, when a sexy, golden-eyed werewolf prowls into town, Sophie finds herself struggling to keep her animal impulses in check – not to mention trying to keep things on track with her super hot (and super HUMAN) lawyer boyfriend. What’s more, someone is threatening to expose Sophie for what she really is. And when her mother is accused of selling a poison-laced potion, Sophie must sniff out a culprit before the fur hits the fan.

My Thoughts:

Thank you to Karen MacInerney for a complimentary copy of this book. In return, here is my honest review.

Rating: 5 doughnuts out of 5🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩

Howling at the Moon took me back to my childhood when I would get lost in a book so deeply, it took away my worries, calmed my mind, and pulled me right into the story so that I felt I was a part of it. 

Review:

Every chance I had, I found myself reaching for my kindle to read more about Sophie. The characters came alive for me so quickly, so early on in the novel that it felt wrong to leave them there waiting for me. I love Sophie and I cannot wait to read more about her. She is spunky, intelligent, thoughtful, and she loves Kate Spade. I think she could be my fictional best friend! Plus I do love wolves quite a bit. This was a fun read that kept me guessing and thinking. Not once did I become bored and I did not skim the pages, which is something I do with just about every book.

Would I Recommend this Book?

Absolutely, 100%!

To Whom Would I Recommend this Book?

Readers who enjoy attention to detail, strong female characters who are well-rounded and interesting, and a storyline that is at once serious, fun, and thought-provoking. I would also recommend this to those who are interested in the paranormal, seeing as how the main character, Sophie, is half-werewolf, half-human (her mother is a witch).

Thank you for reading my review!