Monthly Archives: September 2016

Review – Shining Sea – Anne Korkeakivi

shining-seaShining Sea
Author: Anne Korkeakivi
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Opening in 1962 with the fatal heart attack of forty-three-year-old Michael Gannon, a WWII veteran and former POW in the Pacific, SHINING SEA plunges into the turbulent lives of his widow and kids over subsequent decades, crisscrossing from the beaches of southern California to the Woodstock rock festival, London’s gritty nightlife in the eighties to Scotland’s remote Inner Hebrides islands, the dry heat of Arizona desert to the fertile farmland of Massachusetts. Beautifully rendered and profoundly moving, SHINING SEA by Anne Korkeakivi is a family story, about the ripple effects of war, the passing down of memory, and the power of the ideal of heroism to lead us astray but also to keep us afloat.

One source of books that I often find to be intriguing when I’m looking for new books to read are the lists published by various magazines called “most anticipated books of…,” “books you can’t wait to read in…” and other various ways to title lists. Mostly I’m curious to know how the books that are selected for these lists are selected – who determines that they are the “most anticipated” – is it some kind of algorithm based on sales (although since sometimes these posts are done months in advanced of publishing dates I find that hard to rectify); is it based on preferences of the article writer or staff at a magazine…and there is a reason behind my meandering here…I had a profound sense of disappointment as I read Shining Sea and struggle to understand how it ended up on a most anticipated list.

The beginning of the story was interesting with how a family dealt with tragedy, but about 1/3 of the way through it just started to meander a bit – lots of focus on family drama (mostly focused around 1-2 of the family members) rather than the family saga that I was kind of expecting. I also kind of expected more than two generations to be part of the story – maybe I had a bit of an over-inflated sense of expectation because of how it was presented on the Most Anticipated list…I will stay that I enjoyed the earlier portions of the book that had shorter chapters that jumped through different time periods – so there was one chapter that would be in 1965, and then another in 1967 for the first couple parts of the book. Then there was a portion that was a good 100 pages and honestly, there is where the author started losing me…i just wanted engaged in that portion of the story – it just felt out of place. I think that is kind of where I started to wonder exactly what I was reading…up until then i was ambivalent, but that is just where i turned from ok to ehhh….but i did stick it out until the end and while the second to last chapter (prior to the epilogue) was solid and fulfilling – once again after I finished reading the epilogue I was like ehhh….

Maybe i’m just not the right audience for this book – i’m sure there are people who would enjoy it – it just didn’t work for me – 2.5 stars overall.

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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Book Review, Review


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It’s Monday – What Are You Reading? (26 Sep)


It’s Monday – What are you reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

I don’t know about you, but i really feel like this year is just flying by and that it was just Monday a couple of days ago…unfortunately, I can tell you (based on how my body currently feels) that that isn’t the case. Last week wasn’t a solid reading week for a number of reasons, the most important being that it was my last big training week prior to my Ironman triathlon in 2 weeks. So this week consisted of a 20 mile run (yeah, you read that right)…as well as a 4000yd swim and a race day sim (3k swim, 6hr bike and 5 mile run)…so i’m pretty much hobbling around right now and I barely made it to bed before i passed out most nights.

What I finished reading/listening to:


Last week i finished listening to 1 audiobook and finished up 3 books (1 print from the library, 1 ebook from the library and 1 borrowed via Kindle Unlimited). While I enjoyed listening to Grunt and it was interesting to see how many of the technologies I take for granted in my daily work (since I am in the military) were developed, it wasn’t as enjoyable as some of her previous ones. Bonk is still my favorite by her of all the ones i’ve listened to. Of the 3 books that I finished reading, I was pretty much unenthused by them – they all had potential but in the end was just left feeling blah – which is always disappointing…

What Am I Listening To Now?


Keeping with the theme of multiple audiobooks – i’m still listening to two of the books that I mentioned last week – mostly because Grunt (the one audiobook I managed to finish last week) was due back on Thursday and I needed to finish it up. And in keeping with the theme of books needing to be returned – after waiting close to 2 months, the audiobook of The Dirt on Ninth Grave came in and with a waitlist for it, I knew I had to get it listened to sooner rather than later – so I’m about halfway through right now and will probably finish up early in the week and then will concentrate on finishing up my other 2 books.

What Am I Reading This Week?


A couple of my books this week are carried over from last week and then I have a batch of books just borrowed via KU that I’m going to try and read. I’m most looking forward to reading Harlot by Victoria Dahl because i’m in the mood for a (hopefully) good historical romance and with a fallen woman as the heroine – I hope its as good as it sounds. I’m also going to check out Terri Osborn – who is an author that several Goodreads friends of mine have recommended over the last couple of years but I just haven’t had a chance to get to her yet. I also found out that one of the books I finished up this past week, has a second book in the series just released last week (Perfectly Ms Matched) – so I’m going to check that one out too.

How About You – what is on your reading pile this week?


Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


Waiting on Wednesday – 21 September

New WoW

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers spotlight eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.

the-german-girl This week’s Waiting on Wednesday pick is an upcoming historical fiction set in the lead-up to World War 2. Its kind of weird how sometimes it seems like authors are in my brain examining ideas for what I would love to see featured in a book – and this book is no different.

A few months ago I was at the Holocaust Museum in DC (which if you have never been there, find a way to visit). Anyways, on the first floor you enter (which is actually the 5th floor) there are lots of displays about the lead-up to WW2 and one of the featured events was the sailing of the Saint Louis to Cuba from Europe – which many Jewish families were hoping to use as a way to escape Hitler’s persecution.

Added to being intrigued by what could potentially have happened on that ship and not knowing if anyone had even written anything about this period in history – I was immediately intrigued when I saw an advertisement for The German Girl by Armanda Luca Correa.

the German Girl has a release date of October 18, 2016 and while I don’t often pre-order books, I broke my rule for this one and can’t wait to read it.

In 1939 before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. Her family moved in Berlin’s highest social circles, admired by friends and neighbors. Eleven-year-old Hannah was often taken by her mother for an afternoon treat at the tea room of the beautiful Adlon Hotel, both dressed in their finest clothes. She spent her afternoons at the park with her best friend Leo Martin. But, in an instant, that sunlit world vanished. Now the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; their fine possessions are hauled away, and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. The two friends make a pact: come what may, they promise to have a future together.

As Hannah and Leo’s families desperately begin to search for a means of escape, a glimmer of hope appears when they discover the Saint Louis, a transatlantic liner that can give Jews safe passage to Cuba. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart from Hamburg on the luxurious passenger liner bound for Havana. Life aboard the ship is a welcome respite from the gloom of Berlin—filled with masquerade balls, dancing, and exquisite meals every night.

As the passengers gain renewed hope for a bright future ahead, love between Hannah and Leo blossoms. But soon reports from the outside world began to filter in, and dark news overshadows the celebratory atmosphere on the ship; the governments of Cuba, the United States, and Canada are denying the passengers of the St. Louis admittance to their countries, forcing them to return to Europe as it descends into the Second World War. The ship that had seemed their salvation seems likely to become their death sentence.

After four days anchored at bay, only a handful of passengers are allowed to disembark onto Cuban soil, and Hannah and Leo must face the grim reality that they could be torn apart. Their future is unknown, and their only choice will have an impact in generations to come.

Decades later in New York City on her eleventh birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah, a great-aunt she has never met but who raised her deceased father. In an attempt to piece together her father’s mysterious past, Anna and her mother travel to Havana to meet Hannah, who is turning eighty-seven years old. Hannah reveals old family ties, recounts her journey aboard the Saint Louis and, for the first time, reveals what happened to her father and Leo. Bringing together the pain of the past with the mysteries of the present, Hannah gives young Anna a sense of their shared histories, forever intertwining their lives, honoring those they loved and cruelly lost.

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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Wishlist Wednesday


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It’s Monday – What are you reading?


It’s Monday – What are you reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

so I promised at the end of August (jeez, has it been 2 weeks already) – that I was going to try and do better about being more consistent with blog posts – and what better way to do that, than the do a weekly meme about what are you reading? I’ve participated in It’s Monday, what are you reading? on and off through the years – and its always a good way to just capture my thoughts on different books that i have in progress…so without further ado…

Currently Reading:
Like always, I have a variety of books that are currently in progress – some are on my kindle, some are in print and others are in audiobook. I know of describe it as a reader’s version of ADD (also know as multiple book syndrome).


I have (at least) 6 books that are currently in reading progress – from a non-fiction about mental endurance when it comes to endurance thoughts – because seriously, my brain decided to screw with me every time I do a long distance race (and my review of the book when I post it will focus more on that); to a cult classic of Peyton Place (also known as the book that shocked the nation); to a new author I discovered via Kindle Unlimited (Alison Kent). Pretty much all of the books that I am currently reading are related to different reading challenges that I am currently participating in – which is probably what makes my reading choices seem so bi-polar at times.

My book ADD is continuing with my audiobook choices – normally, I only have 1 book going at once, but for some reason, while I’m enjoying the books i’m listening to, I have a short attention span right now.


I think its safe to say, after listening to the first 2 CD’s (and a bit) of Grunt that I now know more about genital reconstruction than I ever wanted to know – but that honestly doesn’t surprise me because where her brain goes in these books honestly scares me at times. I’m also alternating between book 2 in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy – about a world where corporations reign supreme and genetic engineering is taken for granted; and Dark Skye, book 15 in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. It’ll be interesting to see how I balance listening to the three of these over the next week – haha!

What about you – what is on the reading pile for this upcoming week?


Posted by on September 19, 2016 in It's Monday! What are you reading?, Meme


Review – Bookish – Olivia Long

Author: Olivia Long
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

My name is Aubrey Britton. I was your every day average nerdy book blogger, obsessed with the hot guys on the covers but lusting from afar. I knew I’d never meet a guy like the ones in my books, with muscles like that, with eyes like that, with a mouth like that.

I knew I was destined to be an old maid, get a bunch of cats, work at a book store and live in my fantasy world until the day I died.
Hot, steamy sex was something reserved for the girls in my books, not a girl like me.
Until the day I literally fell for Isaac James, the hottest man to grace the cover of any romance novel.

And he wanted a girl like me.
And he had muscles like that.
And eyes like that.
And a mouth like that…and was a filthy talking sex god in the bedroom.

But we both had our secrets and we both had our guarded pasts. When all was revealed, would the nerdy book blogger get the guy?

Or was I destined to be alone forever?

One of the many things that I love about Goodreads are the friendships that I’ve made and the book recommendations that I get from them. Bookish is just one of those recommendations – it popped up in our August what are you reading thread in one of my romance groups and the mini-review by the member that posted caught my eye. Of course, seeing that it was also available via Kindle Unlimited helped (since I could borrow it as part of my subscription). Double bonus was that it fit into a reading challenge as I needed a book that featured a writer (including book bloggers) as a main character.

I’ll admit that there wasn’t anything in Bookish that blew me away writing or plot wise. In fact, I actually found how the story unfolded to be kind of predictable – there weren’t really any surprises in what happened (and at least to me, much of it was telegraphed through previous actions of the characters). Also, I have to admit that insta-love is one of my least favorite romance tropes.

But don’t get me wrong – just because I found the plot to be fairly predictable, didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Bookish and I found Ms Long’s writing to be fluid with few errors – just solid – which is this day and age I find to be a bonus. If you are looking for a cute, but predictable romance with an insta-love trope, then Bookish might be the book for you.

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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in Book Review, Review


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Audiobook Review – Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover – Sarah MacLean

never judge a lady by her coverNever Judge a Lady By Her Cover
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: #4 in the Rules of Scoundrels series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Justine Eyre
Run Time: 11hrs 55min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Audiobook Publisher

By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a Duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking—in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered . . . until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear… including her heart.

Sometimes I just have to laugh at how I end up listening to different audiobooks – specifically, I’ve had the ebook of Never Judge A Lady By Her Cover on my kindle since it was released in 2014 and yet, I hadn’t read it…so it was kind of like fate when it showed up as a nominee for the romance category on the Audies (yeah, I know this review is a little bit late, overcome by events has been a standard term of phrase in my life recently). It seemed like perfect timing because I was in the mood for some historical romance and I’ve been a fan of Justine Eyre’s narration in the past.

If you had been reading (or listening) to the Rules of Scoundrels series then we knew who Chase was (as it been revealed in a previous book) – but even before that, I had wondered who Chase and looking back there were hints that were there but that I had kind of glazed over. And Duncan West…what can I say about him – its hard because I hated him at first, then grew to like him, then hated him again and then liked him again – it was a very love-hate relationship. But that just made the ride to their HEA all the more enjoyable. There were a few times where I just wanted to scream (and it is probably good that no one rides in my car with me while i’m listening to audiobooks)…and other times, where I just wanted to sit and wait to see what happened (causing me to be slightly late to work).

Justine Eyre’s narration fit the story perfectly as it had will the previous books I’d listened to by her – her narration style just fit perfectly with Sarah MacLean’s writing – there is a witty banter style to her narration that just is perfect. As I hadn’t listened to the previous books in the series – I had my own idea of how I thought Chase/Georgina would sound and amazing enough, Justine’s narration was actually pretty close to how I envisioned Chase would sound. Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover was a solid way to close out the series and overall, I gave it 3.5 stars and Justine Eyre’s narration 4 stars.

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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review


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