New Release: Scone Cold Killer

This week, I’d like to bring to everyone’s attention a great new cozy mystery that comes out tomorrow, the 23rd.  The first in the All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery series, Scone Cold Killer, follows Gia Morelli, who has recently divorced from her husband, leaves New York and finds herself in a small town in Florida.  There, she fulfills her lifelong dream of opening a restaurant: the All-Day Breakfast Cafe.  Things are going well until one day when she finds her ex-husband dead in their dumpster.

What I love about the set up of this series is the motivation behind Gia getting involved in a murder investigation.  There are so many series out there where the amateur sleuth suddenly becomes devoted to solving a mystery for seemingly no reason.  Gia has the perfect reason for finding the killer: she has to prove that she wasn’t it.  Gia’s desperation to prove she didn’t kill her ex is the perfect way to propel this story and keep it going until the very end.

I have every intention of continuing on with this series.  It was easy to read, compelling, and realistic. The plot was paced well and I wanted to keep reading.  it wasn’t perfect, but it was a pleasure to read.

Four stars.

Book Stats

Author: Lena Gregory

Publisher: Kensington

Pages:

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Finished: Civil Disobedience

A quick familiar read was definitely a good choice in beginning this project. I feel energized, motivated, and pleased with myself for taking the first step at tackling my list.

There is something about Thoreau’s writing that just makes me feel at peace.  I read Civil Disobedience in one sitting, and when I was finished I felt oddly calm, which is especially odd, considering the topic of the essay is about what is wrong with the government.

I always take pleasure in reading Thoreau, even I don’t agree with everything he thinks, like in this essay.  I know that there are serious problems with the government, and there still were in his time, but I still understand the importance of it.  In his essay, Thoreau stands by the premise that one should prioritize doing what they believe is right, even if it means going against what the government and accepting whatever punishment is given.  I understand and agree with this in theory, but in application, I just can’t see how it could always work.  Government, to an extent, is meant to prevent utter chaos, and if everyone stood up to the government in the way Thoreau advocates, chaos is what we would have.  There is a balance out there, and I honestly don’t think that balance will ever be achieved.

Again, I don’t agree with everything Thoreau stands for in his essay.  But I do appreciate his stance, and I found his essay thought-provoking and made me think about when it is appropriate to go against government and truly stand up for what you believe in.

Four stars.

Book Stats

Author:  Henry David Thoreau

Publisher: Dover Thrift Edition

Pages: 96

Top Ten Bookish Resolutions

This is the first Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl, and I’m excited and grateful that we can continue on posting our Top Tens

This week’s prompt is very appropriate for this time of year. It asks us to list our top ten resolutions or goals related to books!

  1. Blog more.  I have been terrible at blogging lately, but I’m really going to try to change that.  I want to have a bigger presence online among my book-loving people! I need a space where I can discuss great books!
  2. Read more from my own shelves.  As I’ve previously stated on here, I am curbing my book buying and reading from my own TBR piles that are presently all over my house.  I’ve got so many great reads in front of me; it’s about time I took advantage of them!
  3. Use my library more.  I’ve got a really lovely library nearby, that I really should use.  Libraries are perfect for books I want to try or don’t know if I really want my own copy.
  4. Classics.  I’m going to slowly go through my Classics List, and the main reason for that is because I want to read all these really good books that have stood the test of time and are still considered some of the best books ever written.  I want to challenge myself with these books.
  5. Keep up with new releases.  I don’t mean read all the new releases, but I want to know about what’s coming out and what’s big in the book world.
  6. Follow the literary prizes.  I love knowing what’s going on with the Pulitzer, the Man Booker, and the National Book Award.  It also is a great way to add some amazing books to my TBR that I may have never heard of before!
  7. Track my reading.  I’ve been using the BookOut app for a year now, and I absolutely love it.  I’ve never been able to keep up with reading spreadsheets, but BookOut keeps track of so much of that info for me, right on my phone, with very little effort from me.  I plan on keeping up my BookOut use this year, too.
  8. Participate in a book club or readalong.  One of the reasons I had always wanted to start a book blog was because I wanted a space where I could talk to other about books.  Book clubs and readalongs are something I’ve never really tried, but think they are fantastic.  I want to participate in one this year.
  9. Comment.  I am really good about lurking on the internet, but not so good at making my presence known.  I’m sure a lot of book blogger, Booktubers, and Goodread users don’t realize that I follow them and their reading closely.  This year I want to actually have conversations with them. Again, that’s the whole reason I got on here in the first place.
  10. Read what I want.  While there are certain books that I want to read and challenges I want to participate in, I don’t want reading to become a chore.  I want to challenge myself, but be happy with the results and the journey itself.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else’s bookish goals are!

New Release: The Girls in the Picture

The new release I’ve got my eye on this week is Melanie Benjamin’s The Girls in the Picture.  Benjamin is an auto-buy author for me now, ever since I read The Swans of Fifth Avenue, and I was so pleased to get my hands on this new novel.

It’s the year 1914, and Frances Marion leaves her husband and her home to go to Los Angeles, where silent movies are all the rage.  She finds herself becoming a writer for this new sensation and befriending Mary Pickford, the sweetheart of silent movies. Throughout their journey, they encounter the kind of drama one would usually associate with Hollywood, as they struggle with working and finding love.  Ultimately, this is a wonderful story about friendship in a difficult climate.

This time period is not an era I typically read, but I just gobbled this book up.  I thought it was fantastic, dramatic, and pleasurable.  Benjamin lived up to her previous novels and has delivered a great story that perfectly places you in the glitz and glam of old time Hollywood.

Five stars.

Book Stats

Author:  Melanie Benjamin

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 448

Book Review: Fever Dream

I read Fever Dream because it’s a sure thing for the Tournament of Books short list. It won the ToB Summer Reading Challenge, guaranteeing its spot on the brackets. And it’s super short, so I thought it would be a breeze. And it was. I read it between two short readings.

What can I say about this book? It really lives up to its name. I felt like I was having some odd fever dream when I read this. I followed the story, and I was entertained, but it was all so weird and confusing at the same time. I was so confused, I honesty can’t even give you a decent plot synopsis. I really don’t even know what happened in it.

I flew through the first two-thirds of the book, but after that, I hit a wall. I kept reading because I was expecting things to be explained and for there to be some awesome ending, but it just didn’t happen. I felt absolutely no connection to any character, and I felt oddly separated from them. I didn’t really care what happened to any of them, except for maybe the narrator’s little girl.

What this book did succeed in doing for me, is thrill me, in a way. Because I didn’t know what was going on, the story seemed scarier to me somehow. Confusion and the unknown do create a good combo for instilling fear in a reader.

With this book being so short, I don’t feel like I wasted my time or anything, but I definitely would not have read this if the Tournament of Books hadn’t brought it to my attention. I will pay close attention to the commentary on this book during the Tournament, because I’m really curious on why everyone thinks this book is so great.

Two stars.

Book Stats

Author: Samantha Schweblin

Translator: Megan McDowell

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Pages: 189

2018 TBR Pile Challenge

I own too many unread books.

I have followed the Roof Beam Reader since long before I even considered starting my own blog, so I’ve always been aware of the TBR Pile Challenge he hosts every year.  It’s a simple concept with a simple goal: read twelve books that have been on your TBR list for at least one year.

With this challenge, I’m turning to all those books that I’ve been “meaning to get to” for years.  Those books that I’ve had big ambitions to tackle and have just somehow not found the time or been too intimidated to start.  While I generally suck at challenges, I feel like this might be a challenge I could succeed at. Getting rid of some of my unread books is a major goal of mine this year. And if I don’t succeed, at least I’ve eliminated a few books from my TBR.

So, here is my list of books I plan on reading for this challenge:

  1. Some Luck by Jane Smiley
  2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  3. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  4. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  5. Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  7. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  8. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  9. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  10. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  11. Home by Marilynne Robinson
  12. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Alternates

  1. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  2. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

I’ll be posting a page at the top of my blog for this challenge.  There you will find my list, my progress, and links to reviews of the books as I finish this challenge.

Ten Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and Totally Plan to get to in 2018!!)

It’s time for my first Top Ten Tuesday of 2018! And it’s also the last of the TTTs on the Broke and the Bookish for a while.  Next week, things will be moving over to That Artsy Reader Girl, so start checking over there for more great prompts and blog responses.

Without further ado, here are ten books I wish I had gotten around to reading in the year 2017. Maybe these books will have better luck in 2018.

  1. Sourdough by Robin Sloan
  2. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  3. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  6. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  7. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  8. Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
  9. The Idiot by Elif Batuman
  10. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel by [Reid, Taylor Jenkins]The Lying Game: A Novel by [Ware, Ruth]A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by [Towles, Amor]Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel by [Khong, Rachel]The Idiot by [Batuman, Elif]

What books did you mean to read last year but are finally going to get to this year?