Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon {ends 6/20}

"So, you think Ashish is going to come stay with you?"

"Probably. To be honest, I think he's mostly just interested in ogling college girls rather than checking out the merits of the campus." Rishi rolled his eyes.

"Oh, like that thought never occurred to you when you were coming here," Dimple said.

The doors opened to an empty elevator, and both of them stepped in. Rishi turned to her as the doors closed. "It didn't," he said seriously. "I was only thinking of you."

This is probably one of the cutest YA books I've read in a while. I was intrigued by both the premise and the cover (an Indian girl drinking Starbucks or some sort of other drink, who is obviously a bit younger) and the novel did not disappoint.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers ... right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Signed copy of My Last Continent, by Midge Raymond {ends 6/14}

My Last Continent is now officially out in paperback, and I have a signed copy to give away to one of my lucky readers!

GIVEAWAY: Signed copy of My Last Continent, by Midge Raymond About the book:
An unforgettable debut with an irresistible love story, "My Last Continent" is a big-hearted, propulsive novel set against the dramatic Antarctic landscape original and entirely authentic love story.
It is only at the end of the world among the glacial mountains, cleaving icebergs, and frigid waters of Antarctica where Deb Gardner and Keller Sullivan feel at home. For the few blissful weeks they spend each year studying the habits of emperor and Adelie penguins, Deb and Keller can escape the frustrations and sorrows of their separate lives and find solace in their work and in each other. But Antarctica, like their fleeting romance, is tenuous, imperiled by the world to the north. 

A new travel and research season has just begun, and Deb and Keller are ready to play tour guide to the passengers on the small expedition ship that ferries them to their research destination. But this year, Keller fails to appear on board. Then, shortly into the journey, Deb's ship receives an emergency signal from the "Australis," a cruise liner that has hit desperate trouble in the ice-choked waters of the Southern Ocean. Soon Deb's role will change from researcher to rescuer; among the crew of that sinking ship, Deb learns, is Keller. 

As Deb and Keller s troubled histories collide with this catastrophic present, Midge Raymond's phenomenal novel takes us on a voyage deep into the wonders of the Antarctic and the mysteries of the human heart. "My Last Continent" is packed with emotional intelligence and high stakes: a harrowing, searching novel of love and loss in one of the most remote places on earth, a land of harsh beauty where even the smallest missteps have tragic consequences. Half adventure, half elegy, and wholly recommended.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Public Relations, by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini {ends 6/8}

What I knew about Archie Fox before walking into the meeting was as follows: He was twenty-four years old, British, and blew up about five years ago when an amateur video of one of his open-mike-night performances got a million views on YouTube within thirty-six hours. Unlike many YouTube sensations, however, he actually had the goods to support a career, and before the world even had time to process what was happening, his dimpled simple and shaggy hair were everywhere.
...
He seemed charming in person, speaking in a slow, deep drawl—though there was less of that now that he was ducking out of interviews, avoiding paparazzi, and blowing off red carpets. And that was kind of the problem.

This was a very cute book that's being compared to The Devil Wears Prada, though I have to say that the main character's boss in this novel is much nicer than Miranda Priestly. It gives an interesting look into the world of PR, and shows how many celebrity "relationships" are actually manufactured just for the press.

About the book:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Public Relations, by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini
Young PR star Rose Reed is thrown into the big leagues when her boss leaves town the day of the firm's meeting with Archie Fox, a young, hot, internationally famous British singer-songwriter. The meeting is going badly until Rose suggests a staged romance with up-and-coming, young indie star Raya. He'll do it, but only if Rose becomes his publicist.

As the faux-mance begins to rehabilitate Archie's faltering career, Rose finds his herself having unexpected, inconvenient and definitely unprofessional feelings for the crooner. But do late night texts and impromptu burrito binges mean he feels the same? In the end, Rose will have to decide whether to let her fantasy crush go, or to risk her reputation to be with the charming, handsome, scoundrel-y but sweet pop star she's grown to love.


Rose Reed is good at her job - she got promoted at a young age, and currently is only 26. That being said, she's currently falling for her new client, the singer Archie Fox, which is a definite no-no, especially when you are trying to set him up with another new musician (for the press, of course).

Monday, May 15, 2017

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: City Mouse, by Stacey Lender {ends 5/22}

It was the bathroom that finally started us house hunting on the weekends up in Westchester. Sharon and Dave had just moved to Scarsdale from the city and I swear during brunch they slipped Aaron some suburban Kool-Aid with their day-old bagels. While the kids played on a giant plastic gym set in their cavernous empty living room, they proudly gave us a tour of their five-bedroom Colonial, closet by closet. Aaron seemed bored, as usual, but when we entered the en suite master bathroom, complete with double sinks and a rainfall shower, I heard him gasp. "A separate little room for the toilet!" he said, eyes glowing wide with bathroom envy. 

I was surprised to learn that City Mouse is the author's debut novel, as it was very good. It follows a woman and her family who decide to move to the suburbs from NYC, and who does so with doubts, as they she loves the city and doesn't know how she and her family will fare in the suburbs.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: City Mouse, by Stacey Lender
Priced out of their Manhattan neighborhood, Jessica and Aaron move with their young daughters to the one place Jessica swore she’d never go: the suburbs. But to Jessica’s surprise, life in the commuter belt makes a great first impression. She quickly falls in with a clique of helpful mom friends who welcome her with pitchers of margaritas, neighborhood secrets, and a pair of hot jeans that actually fit.

Still, it's hard to keep up in a crowd where everyone competes for the most perfectly manicured home and latest backyard gadgets. And what’s worse, as the only working mom in her circle, Jessica sometimes feels disconnected and alone. So she’s thrilled when she’s invited to a moms-only weekend at the beach, which she assumes will mean new opportunities for real talk and bonding. Instead, the trip turns into a series of eye-opening lessons, and Jessica must decide if she’s strong enough to be honest with herself about the sort of life she really wants.

City Mouse is an irresistible debut that examines what it means to find your place, revealing unspoken truths about motherhood, friendship, and the thorny pursuit to have it all.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Alex & Eliza, by Melissa de la Cruz {ends 5/16}

"I don't know why she cares so much," Eliza said now. "This is hardly the most prominent party of the year."

"Yes, but the Van Rensselaers are coming and the Livingstons, and, of course, that famous young Colonel Hamilton. Husband season is open. The hounds are on the loose."

Eliza's face brightened. "A good thing, then, that I have no intention of being a fox!"

I'm a huge fan of Melissa de la Cruz books, as well as historical fiction so it's not a surprise that I enjoyed this one. The novel focuses on Alexander Hamilton, who meets and later wooes Elizabeth Schuyler, and their romance, of which not much history is known about.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Alex & Eliza, by Melissa de la Cruz
Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quick Pick book review: Confessions of a Domestic Failure, by Bunmi Laditan

book review: Confessions of a Domestic Failure, by Bunmi Laditan
  • Opening lines: Aubrey's ear-piercing cry rattled over the baby monitor yanking me out of a deep sleep.

    My eyes fluttered open. I looked at my phone's clock. No, no, no, no, no. 
  • Reason I picked up the book: Bunmi Laditan is better known as The Honest Toddler on Twitter (@honesttoddler), and her tweets are hilarious.
  • And what's this book about?
  • From the creator of The Honest Toddler comes a fiction debut sure to be a must-read for moms everywhere.

    There are good moms and bad moms—and then there are hot-mess moms. Introducing Ashley Keller, career girl turned stay-at-home mom who's trying to navigate the world of Pinterest-perfect, Facebook-fantastic and Instagram-impressive mommies but failing miserably.

    When Ashley gets the opportunity to participate in the Motherhood Better boot camp run by the mommy-blog-empire maven she idolizes, she jumps at the chance to become the perfect mom she's always wanted to be. But will she fly high or flop?

    With her razor-sharp wit and knack for finding the funny in everything, Bunmi Laditan creates a character as flawed and lovable as Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood while hilariously lambasting the societal pressures placed upon every new mother. At its heart, Ashley's story reminds moms that there's no way to be perfect, but many ways to be great.

  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes "chick lit," or really anyone that is a mom, that knows moms, or that ever wants to be a mom. 
  • Favorite paragraph: Two lactation consultants, bloodwork, a dozen delicious but ineffective lactation cookies, two boxes of lactation tea and a rented breast pump later, I gave in and bought my first tin of failure powder. That's what a mom from my online breastfeeding forum calls formula. Failure powder. For failures like me.
    .....
    One mom even asked - with tears in her eyes, no less - if she could breastfeed my baby for me. As if Aubrey is some malnourished third-world baby on television with flies buzzing around her emaciated body. I may have lied and said that she's allergic to human milk.

    Oh, and we stopped using the million-dollar-a-can organic formula blend when Aubrey was three months old. Now she's on the cheap brand stuff. She's the only eight-month-old I know with zero teeth - probably from all the trace minerals she's missing from my malfunctioning mammary glands. formula. When she drops out of community college, we'll all know why. 
  • Something to know: The "perfect mom" / "mommy-blog-empire-maven" that Ashley idolizes throughout the novel definitely reminded me of The Pioneer Woman, one of the first lifestyle bloggers who has now built an empire for herself, with a dash of Martha Stewart thrown in.
  • What I would have changed: Nothing that I can think of. I liked how the ending was realistic, for the most part, too.
  • Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to pre-order on Amazon. The book will be released on May 2, 2017. 
*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book for reviewing from NetGalley. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

GIVEAWAY - 2 books: The Outliers, and The Scattering, by Kimberly McCreight {2 winners, ends 4/26}

NEW GIVEAWAY: The Outliers, and The Scattering, by Kimberly McCreight.

The Outliers, by Kimberly McCreight, was released in May 2016 (and is only $1.99 on Kindle, currently!). Its sequel, The Scattering, will be released on May 2nd, and two of my lucky readers now have a chance to win both books!

About The Outliers:
It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

About The Scattering:
New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight raises the stakes in the second book of the heart-pounding Outliers trilogy, a uniquely speculative story about secrets, betrayal, and a world where one small group of people are blessed—or cursed—with an incredible power.

Wylie may have escaped the camp in Maine, but she is far from safe. The best way for her to protect herself is to understand her ability, fast. But after spending a lifetime trying to ignore her own feelings, giving in to her ability to read other peoples’ emotions is as difficult as it is dangerous.

And Wylie isn’t the only one at risk. Ever since they returned home, Jasper has been spiraling, wracked with guilt over what happened to Cassie. After all they’ve been through together, Wylie and Jasper would do anything for each other, but she doesn’t know if their bond is strong enough to overcome demons from the past.

It is amid this uncertainty and fear that Wylie finds herself confronted with a choice. She was willing to do whatever it took to help Cassie, but is she prepared to go to the same extremes to help complete strangers . . . even if they are just like her?

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Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 70 books.
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