TBR Thursday: I’m Bringing it Back!

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I’m bringing back TBR Thursday!

I had originally gotten rid of it because I was barely finding the time to get all my book reviews up, yet alone attempting to add anything else.  But I have decided it is time to get this post series back up and running again.

I miss being able to share books I’m anticipating to read and I love sharing it this way rather than attempting to make a list of what I plan to read within the next month.  This also feels like a unique way of showing my TBR list and explaining why I want to read each book.

Raise your hand if your excited for TBR Thursdays again and be on the lookout for the first one tomorrow!

Happy Reading,

Meghan

 

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At Water’s Edge: Book Review

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“In all its beautiful, tragic fragility, there was still life.”
― Sara GruenAt the Water’s Edge

Title: At Water’s Edge

Author:  Sara Gruen

Publish Date:  March 31, 2015

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Reading Format:  Paperback

Summary:

Maddie is married to Ellis, who comes from a very wealthy family.  Maddie and Ellis financially depend upon Ellis’ parents until Ellis drunkenly embarrasses his father at a New Year’s Eve party and finds himself and his wife cutoff from the family fortune.  Determined to defy his father, Ellis decides to do the one thing his dad could not which is to find the Loch Ness monster.

With the help of their best friend Hank, Maddie and Ellis set out to Scotland in 1943 to find the monster.

Review:

If you place any book in Scotland I’ll probably read it, especially a Historical Fiction novel.  At Water’s Edge has both those elements and was an easy purchase to make.  Finding the time to read it was a whole other story as it only took two years to finally pick the book up after I had bought it.

My first impression when I had finished reading At Water’s Edge, was the author Sara Gruen does not have a fondness for husbands.  This might be a slight spoiler to the novel, but Ellis is anything but a good husband (or person for that matter).  And I make that comment because she also wrote Water for Elephants and the husband in that book was also an awful person.  Though I’ll confess I haven’t read Water for Elephants, but I have committed the cardinal sin of seeing the movie without reading the book and in the movie the husband is a horrible person. So with that assessment I can conclude husbands in Sara Gruen novels equal not good people.

After making that assessment (and small tangent), I found that At Water’s Edge was entertaining but not overall satisfying.  3/4 of the book is mostly build up to the climax of the story and then it quickly wraps up everything, which left me feeling a bit confused and as though I had been cheated out of the plot line. Sort of.  Though I suppose it was set up that way because you are following along with Maddie and she is really naive and then suddenly enlightened by the end.  Which is how I felt as the story unfolded.

The story line is also a little odd and I’m not just talking about the fact that three rather wealthy Americans decided to hunt for the Lock Ness monster, but that they would be allowed to go to Scotland while a giant war is happening in the first place.  At Water’s Edge is set in 1943, so literally smack dab in the middle of World War II, and they manage to be allowed to cross the Atlantic to go to Scotland.  Call be crazy, but wealthy or not, there is no way any private citizens were permitted to travel to Europe during this time. Let alone be willing to do it. Though *gasp* I could be wrong.

There is also the fact that Ellis and Hank aren’t serving in the military during this time because Ellis is colorblind and Hank is flat footed.  Both men claim to be ashamed of the fact they can’t serve and are embarrassed by those who shame them for it.  So logically why not go to the front lines of the war, obviously they’ll be super supportive of you….Oh wait! They aren’t.  I just feel as though the author wanted the drama of the War but the story would have been better suited for about 10 years after, or it just should have been a World War II focused book.

Honestly At Water’s Edge was not really what I expected.  It is one of the better books I have read this year so far, but that isn’t really saying much because I have truly read some duds this year.  The writing as a whole was pretty good and I like Sara Gruen’s writing, I just wasn’t fond of some of the plot holes that show up along the way.  I think if you are looking for a book set in Scotland there are so many others you could choose from, so maybe pass on this one if you have another book in mind.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Happy Reading,

Meghan

I’m back!

Long time no see!

I feel like it has been forever since I have last reviewed a book or written a post on my blog, but I’m ready to writing again.

I took a much needed break and found that it is harder to review books when you don’t feel very motivated to do so.  Oddly though I haven’t felt that way about reading.  Since January I have already read 16 books so far!

So be prepared for many book reviews headed your way! And let me know if there is anything you would like to see on my blog more.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

January 2018 Wrap Up

I was able to read 6 books this month!  It makes a great head start for my reading challenge this year.  I do feel as though I cheated a bit, however, two of the books I finished at the beginning of January were ones that I had started in December.

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My favorite book this month was Snowed In.  It’s one of my favorite guilty pleasure reads and while the beginning was rough I found it to be a delightful read and it helped me accomplish January reading challenge of a book set in winter.  If you haven’t checked out the reading challenge I created for this year there is a link to it above. It isn’t too late to join!

And the most disappointing book was A Discovery of Witches.  It’s incredibly long and has about a thousand plot lines all running at once with out really ever moving the story forward.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

 

Resolution Redue

2017 might simply have been one of the fastest years of my life. No sooner had 2016 ended before I find myself already decorating again for Christmas in 2017. So as I wrap up the last year (no pun intended) and place all my Christmas things away, I thought I’d write a post about the New Year.

Last year was hard, for lack of a better word, both personally and from a world perspective. There are many I know who greatly welcome 2018, though what it will bring is a mystery. It is usually during this time my social media is flooded with New Year’s resolutions. Something to resolve before year’s end. Something to change, make better, or remove. But I’ve never been good at resolutions and usually February comes with no progress but completely giving up on whatever I had challenged myself to do.

Except last year that changed for me, I decided that if I couldn’t handle resolutions I could instead handle goals. Goals sound nicer, less final than resolutions and more forgiving when they aren’t met by a certain deadline. And last years goal was a spiritual one. I wanted to know the word of God more. To read it everyday and have it to recall on both when everything was fine and also when it wasn’t. So I started doing bible studies with She Reads Truth and I signed myself up for their auto shipping program for each new study.

Did I read my bible everyday? No. But I did retain a lot more than even I could have imagined. Am I reciting verses left and right to all who are around me? No. But I’ve grown in my relationship with God and it is stronger than it has been before. So my personal goal for 2017 helped me grow as a person. It helped me to better understand myself and it provided comfort in those hard times.

2017 goal gave me confidence that I can grow and it has made me want to learn more about myself. Which has made me ponder what I’d like to make a goal in 2018 and I’ve decided to make it about a year of learning.

Here are a few things I’d like to learn:

  • To play the Ukulele
  • To learn a second language
  • To learn some graphic design techniques

I don’t want to grow my list too long, but I hope to accomplish something no matter how good I am at it or not.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year. And may it bring you joy, love, and health.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Counted with the Stars: Book Review

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Title: Counted with the Stars

Series: Out of Egypt

Author: Connilyn Cossette

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

Publish Date: April 5th, 2016

Reading Format: Kindle book

Review:

Over the summer I was given the opportunity to review Wings of the Wind, the 3rd book in this series Out of Egypt, but at the time I had thought it was a standalone book.   It hadn’t seemed to matter that I’d read the last book first; however, now that I’ve started from the beginning I’m seeing how different Wings of the Wind could unfolded as some the characters would have been familiar.  Counted with the Stars makes the title of the series more understandable, as the first book is mostly set in Egypt.  The novel follows Kiya, the daughter of a prominent man in Egypt, who is sold into slavery after her father loses all of his money.  Kiya serves in a house along with Shera, a Jewish slave, who begins an unlikely friendship with Kiya and can explain all of the strange things happening in Egypt.

This book is a Christian Historical Fiction novel and it centers on the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and follows along with the events during the seven plagues.  Much like the other story I read in this series, the author writes the events that happen during the Old Testament from the points of views from those who would have witnessed them first hand.  Biblical Historical Fiction in Christian novels are far more preferred by myself than those set in Victorian or early 20th Century eras.  I find the latter to often feature the lead female of these novels with weakened character traits who are too enamored with romance and toil over seemingly mindless things.  While Biblical Fiction can be more adventurous and have stronger female characters that I often like reading about better.

Counted with the Stars flows much like Wings in the Wind did, which is common in most books written by the same author.  This wasn’t however too evident while reading Counted with the Stars and I didn’t feel that the plot was becoming overly predictable.  I enjoyed following the events through Kiya’s eyes.  Seeing it as an Egyptian who witnesses the plagues before her and not understanding it as Shera did, Kiya makes for a great narrator.  When I originally read the summary I assumed that half of the book would focus on Egypt and the other would concentrate on the exodus, but much to my surprise a majority of the book is set in Egypt.

I would rate this book higher than Wings in the Wind, though barely.  The series has been really great so far and I look forward to when I’m able to read the second one.  As has been the case with other book series I’m almost certain the second book will be my favorite.

 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Anna and the French Kiss: Book Review

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“Boys turns girls into such idiots.”

-Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Series: Anna and the French Kiss Series

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: YA Romance

Publish Date: December 2nd, 2010

Reading Format:  Paperback

Review:

I’ve seen this book floating around on Booktube for a while now and I finally broke down and bought it.  Anna and the French Kiss is about an American girl who is sent to France by her estranged father to spend her senior year at a boarding school in Paris.  There Anna meets Étienne St. Clair, a boy she becomes best friends with and wants to potentially be something more, except one problem he already has a girlfriend. (Of course)

The book is a fast read.  I read it in one weekend and for me that’s an accomplishment because I am a slooow reader.  It’s a YA contemporary romance that comes with all the drama and angst one would both expect and hope for.  This story was cute and frustrating all at the same time and I was entertained from start to finish.  Typically I don’t often read within this genre because I can find teenage lead female characters to be too whinny.  Anna did not come across that way to myself but others may disagree.  Étienne would have been totally crush worthy to my teenage self had I meet him when I was 17 and he makes a great love interest in the book.

Anna and the French Kiss is the first in a series of three novels.  I was hoping to have already read the second book by now, but I accidentally picked up the third book and haven’t gotten around to buying the second yet.   I’ll get around to it I’m sure but I’ve got so many other books I’ve either started to read or am hoping to get too eventually soon, and this series may have to be saved for next year or next summer.  There is something about YA contemporaries that I feel they should be read during the summer, perhaps it’s because they make great vacation reads.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan