Monday, September 11, 2017

Of Mess & Moxie

Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious LifeOf Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply adored this book.... & I wish I were rich or won the lottery because I would buy this book for every one of my Christian Sisters in my life. I want every woman to read it & laugh, & ponder & weep & find joy & to know you're not alone in your mess... & to show how much moxie they have as well.
I wasn't out of the intro before I had all the feels going. & they just went through the whole book. From laughing, to reflecting, to feeling heart ache of life, to laughing again.
Each chapter has its own little touch of moxie itself... & I would especially love the "HOW TO" chapters... be ready to cackle out loud.
If you want a book to just take your weekend & make you feel like you're surrounded with friends, get this book & settle in.

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Jen Hatmaker believes backbone is the birthright of every woman. Women have been demonstrating resiliency and resolve since forever. They have incredibly strong shoulders to bear loss, hope, grief, and vision. She laughs at the days to come is how the ancient wisdom writings put it.

But somehow women have gotten the message that pain and failure mean they must be doing things wrong, that they messed up the rules or tricks for a seamless life. As it turns out, every last woman faces confusion and loss, missteps and catastrophic malfunctions, no matter how much she is doing "right." Struggle doesn't mean they're weak; it means they're alive.

Jen Hatmaker, beloved author, Big Sister Emeritus, and Chief BFF, offers another round of hilarious tales, frank honesty, and hope for the woman who has forgotten her moxie. Whether discussing the grapple with change ("Everyone, be into this thing I'm into! Except when I'm not. Then everyone be cool.") or the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip ("Why are we in San Antonio?"), Jen parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere who, like her, sometimes hide in the car eating crackers but also want to get back up and get back out, to live undaunted "in the moment" no matter what the moments hold

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why did I wait so long to read this?
I read all the reviews & all the raving on it - man, oh man. This one is totally in my top 5 of favorites.
I love Ove. The gruff old man who has such a wall up & seems like he's got a heart of stone... but we see those cracks of his goodness seep through.
I would honestly be laughing on one page & then choked up on the next. & when it ended, I was just a ball of emotions, from the ending, to not wanting the actual book to end.
I adore this book.
I had it from the library, but need to go purchase it for my own book shelf - especially because I want to highlight so many quotes from it too.
Cant say enough good about this

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A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Vanishing Girls

Vanishing GirlsVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars (They REALLY need 1/2 stars here!!!)
I didnt realize until after I read it that it was the same author as "Before I Fall" which I really enjoyed.
Dont want to say too much on this - but it was a really twist turn mystery kind of book.... it had me thinking I had it figured out at one point, & then threw me off again, & all over again... which totally made me like the book because I couldnt wait to get to the end.
The only down side is that it did a lot of jumping - which I'm usually good & like switching characters perspectives ... but this was a little TOO much because there's characters changes as well as diary entries & newspaper clippings of a whole other mystery... & it did get a TAD confusing... but not enough to ruin the book for me.

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Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1)Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had a weird love/hate/like relationship with this book.
It started off where I was literally laughing out loud in public reading it ... & then near half way through, it just seemed to take a drawn out turn that just felt like it was full of long words, weird characters & just things to fill up pages. ... but the last 2 or 3 chapters, especially the ending pulled me back to where I didn't close it with a thump saying how much I hated it. It saved me to bump it back up to an "ok" book.
It did make me laugh... I did like some of the characters... hated others ... & then was just meh about a lot of the side stories.
I know these are the same people that wrote Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist & now I'm afraid to read that one....

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“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dumplin

Dumplin' (Dumplin', #1)Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just adored this book.
Maybe because I feel like Willowdean could be when I was a teenager.
A girl that is the 'heavier' girl in school, the one with the cute friend, the one who is insecure but still has some sass to her... & of course, a girl that loves Dolly Parton.
I honestly need this to be a movie - & FAST.
I loved that even at my age, it was great to see a group of girls stand up for what they believe in & take a risk, creating new friendships & seeing that believing & loving yourself is what matters. A universal message for any age.

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Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Castaways

The CastawaysThe Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My 2nd Elin Hilderbrand book & I think I'm hooked.
Loved the story of 4 groups of friends & what happens after one couple is killed in a horrible boating accident.
The aftermath of so many truths comes out & reveals so much about the relationships of the group, The Castaways.
Because there were so many people, I legit had an index of names & arrows connecting who to who & what to what... it could get a little confusing at the beginning...
I enjoyed the story though - anxious to see how the friendships would survive this loss.

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Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.

Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meet Me Under the Stars

Meet Me Under the StarsMeet Me Under the Stars by K.D. Proctor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun book....
First, I have to say, this isn't typically anything like I would read. It left me blushing a lot & saying "Language" out loud over & over... & then it just became part of the characters & I didnt seem to mind it as much. But again its NOT my typical book I read.
But I HAD to read this...just HAD to because the author is someone I have followed through the years & am so excited for her debut novel.
& I absolutely loved the store of the book. The characters of Charlie & Nate & this passionate love they had & then tore apart ... & the reason they have to come back together to their old stomping ground at camp, where they used to be camp leaders along with all of their old camp friends.
I feel like I should just be wearing shorts & flip flops & ratty t-shirts & hair in a braid reading it.
It was a fast read with parts that made me laugh, brought back memories, but would also make me cringe with frustration for the characters & heart ache for the people just not getting their act together to get to that happy ending.
The only reason I didnt give a full 5 stars is again, just because of my own hang ups on the content. I know some people that usually read chick-lit-beach-reads would think nothing twice of some of the stuff that had me blushing & saying "Oh gosh" ... & again, it didnt distract from the story - only made it more clearer of the passion of these two characters.
I'm sad to let Nate go... the perfect English accent boyfriend... every girl needs a Nate - I'm convinced of it.
Keep an eye out for this book if you are a fan of some hot steamy chick-lit reading... & you dont blush easily ;)

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When ratings for her popular DIY show start to circle the drain after the sudden death of her sister, Charlotte “Charlie” Conti has only one mission—to plan a comeback. But her sister had other plans. As part of the will, Charlie must work with *him* to create a memorial scholarship in her sister’s memory. The same *him* Charlie fell in love with three years ago while working at a summer camp.

The same *him* she dumped, to protect his heart.

Sexy, British player, Nate Walsh, has sixty days to find a new job or he’ll be deported back to England where he’s no longer welcome. He doesn’t have time to work on a memorial scholarship with *her*. The same *her* who shattered his heart without explanation or warning.

The same *her* he’s never gotten over.

Unable to agree on the specifics of the scholarship, Nate and Charlie challenge each other to a winner-takes-all competition. They both know the only way to win is to turn up the heat and tempt one another with the one thing they both want: each other. But as sparks fly, their true feelings resurface. Nate and Charlie must decide if their love is worth the effort and if they can overcome their disastrous past mistakes to spend forever together.