Review of Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner

Goodreads Amazon Author Website

Release date: September 13, 2016

Publisher: Candlewick

Genre: YA

Goodreads blurb: 

How do you move on from an irreplaceable loss? In a poignant debut, a sixteen-year-old boy must learn to swim against an undercurrent of grief—or be swept away by it.


Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.


It’s scheduled for fall 2016; Molly Jaffa at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management brokered the deal. 

Review: 

Otis, Meg and Dara make up this absolutely lovely cast of characters in Garner’s touching debut novel. A story of loss, grief and life, there is something magical about this book.

Otis. Sigh. What an absolutely charming young man. Garner beautifully captured the voice of a sixteen year old boy. He is wry, conflicted, painfully hurt, sensitive, very in tune with his emotions, yet he possesses a quiet strength. His brother Mason died in a tragic accident three years ago and nothing has been the same since. He lost his best friend Meg, right at the time the two thirteen year olds began to fall in love. His parents are irreparably damaged and just so broken. All he has left is Dara, his swimming coach with issues of her own.

Dara lost part of her arm in a horrible accident, thus ending her hopes of being an Olympic swimmer. She’s angry, sarcastic, smart, flawed, brutally honest but above all she is real. Her friendship with Otis is one of the most poignant and gorgeous relationships I’ve ever witnessed. They just get each other in a way that no one else does. It truly touched me deep within my heart.

Meg was Otis’ best friend and for a short while, his first love. Her and her family moved away after Mason died and the two never spoke again. But now, she’s coming back. What does this mean for Otis and Meg? How does Dara fit into all of this?

This book deals with some heavy issues; figuring out how to deal with ones sexuality, death, divorce, and mainly, how to move on after such a devastating loss without forgetting about the past. Is it possible to move on and still have hope for the future?

Even though the issues are heavy, Garner has a beautiful writing style. She truly captures all the feelings teenagers have; confusion, an overwhelming surge of hormones and new feelings, frustration, emotional upheaval. Her dialogue reads true and sounds like teenagers talking to each other, there is nothing false or stilted about it.

I literally cannot say enough good things about this captivating book and about Garner as an author. I cannot wait to see more from her and I predict that this book will be huge. I know that I will hold these precious characters in my own heart for a very long time. So go, pre order your copy now.

Overall rating: 5/5

Huge thanks to Candlewick Press and the Reading Room for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

August Comment Challenge

This challenge is hosted by Lonna at Flylef and Alicia at A Kernel Of Nonsense. The challenge is designed to help bloggers connect by commenting on each other’s posts all month long. I was paired with Lizzie Hiu at Anything but Everything and I’m super excited to check out her blog, I hope you guys will as well.

I think this will be fun and a great way to discover new blogs as I plan to visit the others involved and not just the one I was matched up with. 

Anyone else participating in this? 

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at The Bookdate

What I read last week: 

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and my review can be found here


I also read I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan and my review can be found here.


I also read The Stepmother by Claire Seeber and my review can be found here.


I started listening to The Selection by Kiera Cass. It’s enjoyable so far, I like the narrator and hope to finish it sometime this week.


What I’m Currently Reading:

I started Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner late last night and am really liking it so far. This book has potential to be huge I think.


Up next: 

Summer of Love by Katie Fforde 


Last to Die by Arlene Hunt


Watching Edie by Camilla Way


Lovers and Liars by Nigel May


A little ambitious, I know but I didn’t get as much reading in as planned last week so I’m hoping to know a few books off of my TBR this week.

What are you guys reading this week?

Audiobooks 

Within the last year I decided, somewhat skeptically to give audiobooks a try. Clearly, I’m a total bookworm, but I had never in my life listened to a book. 

Why? I honestly figured that I would get bored just listening and probably fall asleep. Though I liked being read to as a child, I can’t say that I’ve been read to as an adult. Now, I’m only disappointed that I waited as long as I did to give them a shot!

5 reasons you should give audiobooks a try: 

  • Sometimes it’s really hard to find the time to physically sit down with a book. Life is always busy and some days it’s just not in the cards. One of my favorite things about listening to a book is that I can do so many other things while I’m “reading”. I cook, clean, do laundry, drive, the list is endless. It’s multitasking at its finest! Maybe one day if I decide to start working out like I should I’ll listen then too. I imagine for those that have a long commute to work, an audiobook would make the time more pleasant. 
  • The narrators for audiobooks are so fantastic. This is their job after all, and there is something hypnotic about these people’s voices. I’m a sucker for foreign accents and some of my favorite types of books to listen to are from narrators with said accents. In all my time listening to books I’ve only encountered one that had a narrator with a voice I didn’t care for. But, every reputable site I’ve seen that sells audiobooks allows you to sample them before you pay for them.
  • If you’re anything like me, I spend way more time in front of a screen than I should. Computer, phone, TV, etc. Before bed you can listen to a book which is a great way to relax and unwind without staring at Facebook for “five minutes” before sleeping. 
  • My husband is not a reader whatsoever. I think the last time he read an actual book was when he was in high school, though he claims all the articles he reads on Facebook count as reading. I disagree. When we take road trips we listen to a book together. To my surprise and delight, he really enjoyed it! It opened up interesting dialogue between us and it made him understand a little bit why I always have my nose in a book. Just a little though.
  • I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent and well read woman. But listening to books has shown me that maybe I haven’t always pronounced words exactly like they should be pronounced. Whoops. Sometimes characters have unusual names and I know I’m mispronouncing them wrong in my head but I don’t even care. With audiobooks, you are guaranteed to be “reading” words properly. Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary?

Do you listen to audiobooks? If not, why are you hesitant? 

Review of The Stepmother by Claire Seeber

Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: July 15,2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Psychological thriller

Goodreads blurb: 

The perfect wife. A fairytale family. Don’t believe your eyes…

Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.
No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.
And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.
But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.
Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all.
After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending … doesn’t it?
A compelling, dark and twisty psychological thriller that will grip fans of Behind Closed Doors, Between You and Me and The Teacher. 

Review:

Everyone has heard the tale of Snow White, but no one has done a retelling quite the way Claire Seeber has. Yes, this book is loosely based on the old fairytale but with a very modern and twisted spin on the old classic. 

If you follow me on social media you may have noticed that I am a sucker for flowers and books, so I adore this cover. It’s simply beautiful and I need a print copy to add to my library now.

Jeanie recently married Matthew after a rather whirlwind affair. Now she’s just moved into his creepy old estate and is trying to merge two families. There is Matthew’s teenage twins, Luke and Scarlett, Jeanie’s new adult son Frankie, the ex wife Kaye and Jeanie’s sister Marlena. All of this colorful cast of characters have secrets riddled in their pasts, but things are not revealed until the very end.

I was very sympathetic to Jeanie as she truly wants and maybe even deserves to have that fairytale life that every little girl dreams of. There are many hints about her own secrets and troubled past and I was dying to know what she was hiding throughout the book. She seems to be so fragile especially as the story unfolds and she is taunted and provoked so horribly. She becomes paranoid and skittish, but with the creepy things happening in her new home, no one could possibly blame her.

This book is gripping and action packed right from the start. Told primarily from Jeanie’s perspective there are brief interludes from Marlena that I enjoyed. She actually speaks directly to the reader which makes one feel as if they’re having a real conversation with her.

There are so many different angles being played and so many manipulations taking place that I found myself questioning things almost as much as Jeanie was. A sociopath is lurking and is messing with people’s lives in majorly creepy ways, but who is this person…

This book has everything I look for in a good psychological thriller; intrigue, mounting tension, suspense, action, and drama. There was nothing that I felt was missing, and as the twists and turns were revealed I was completely fascinated and hanging on every word.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Bookouture for my copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. 

Five reasons you should visit your local library 

A few weeks ago I was talking to one of the librarians at my local library and we chatted briefly about our mutual love for the library. We talked about how amazed we both were that not many people take advantage of the great benefits of the library.

This really got me thinking. Why don’t more people, especially bookworms, go to their libraries more often? After all, it’s FREE! Libraries have really expanded their services in recent years as well, offering loads of programs and incentives besides the normal borrowing a regular book.

Five reasons you should visit your local library on the regular:

  • It’s free! Did I already mention that? Oh well, it’s worth repeating. Yes, you can accrue late fees if you don’t return your books on time. But they are nominal and much cheaper than actually buying your own copy of the book. Plus, most libraries nowadays have a drive up book drop so even if you can’t get there in time to return your books during business hours, you can still drop them off!
  • This may be my favorite thing about the library actually, but did you know that you can put items on hold so they’re ready for you when you get there? For example, I knew months ago that I would want to read Elin Hilderbrand’s new release so I hopped on my libraries website and placed a hold on Here’s To Us. Generally, titles are added to the online catalogue months before they’re released, so if you plan ahead you could even be the first person to check the book out on its release date! When one of my holds becomes available I get a text and an email saying it’s ready to be picked up. My library also works with a network of other libraries, so if I request a book that they don’t carry, they’ll get it for me using an interlibrary loan.
  • Overdrive is this fantastic app/website that many libraries use. It’s a way to borrow ebooks and audiobooks through the library. You do have to set up an account but it’s also free! The great thing about this is that once you have your library card linked to your Overdrive account you don’t have to actually visit your library branch again if you don’t want to. Books can be downloaded on any smartphone or ereader and there are virtually no late fees as titles are automatically returned when they’re due.
  • Besides borrowing books, most libraries also let patrons borrow movies, CDs, and even Kindle’s. My library has several Kindle’s available that are each pre loaded with tons of books in different genres. For instance, if you’re a mystery/thriller fan such as myself you can borrow a Kindle full of great titles! The only downfall that I can see to this option is that you are liable to any damage to the Kindle while you have it. But as long as you’re careful everything should be great.
  • Besides all things related to books and reading, libraries are full of fun events and programs. Most have story time for little kids and groups/book clubs for all ages from teen to adult. Mine has movies on Monday nights and again it’s free! Stuff like this will obviously vary but if you check your local branch about you may be pleasantly surprised.

Do you already visit your library? Did I miss anything about why they’re so great?

image

Review of I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan

Goodreads/Amazon/Author Website
Release date: June 7, 2016

Publisher: Crown

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Goodreads blurb:

In I Almost Forgot About You, Dr. Georgia Young’s wonderful life–great friends, family, and successful career–aren’t enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, quitting her job as an optometrist, and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love. Like Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, I Almost Forgot About You will show legions of readers what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to life, love, and the possibility of a new direction. 

Review: 

I’m kind of ashamed to admit this, but I’ve never read any of McMillan’s books before. There’s not any particular reason and it’s not like I was avoiding them, I just never got around to it. I am so glad that I finally did though, now I need to add her other work to my TBR.

Georgia is a fifty something strong, independent and extremely intelligent woman. From the outside, she has it all. She’s a successful optometrist with two grown daughters and grandchildren and close friends that love her. All that is missing is love. She’s been divorced twice and she’s sick of the games that come with being in a relationship.

Even though her life is full in many aspects, there is something missing that makes Georgia feel unsettled and lost. On a whim, as she’s reflecting on her past relationships she decides to embark on a journey. She’s going to contact her old lovers and make peace.

All of the female characters in this book are strong, smart and witty. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Georgia and her BFF Wanda. They were so funny and reading their conversations was like listening to my girlfriends banter and chat. It was warm and seriously funny!

I adored Georgia, I want a no nonsense yet still fun loving friend just like her. I’m not quite middle aged, but I could still relate to her. As she’s on this emotional journey, she begins to question her life and the decisions she’s made that lead up to where she is now. She goes through so many emotions that women of any age can relate to; self doubt, body image issues, regret and old heartbreaks that sometimes still feel fresh.

My only very minor complaint is that because there are so many very minor male characters throughout the book I was a bit confused a few times. It was a little hard keeping the names straight, but it didn’t take away from the story.

I felt like this could be a modern day love story for the middle aged woman but as a thirty something woman, I still very much enjoyed it. Georgia isn’t a big fan of social media and I laughed many times when she talked about her dislike and confusion as it reminded me of the women her age in my own life.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Blogging For Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

What’s Next?

What’s next is a weekly meme hosted by Iceybooks that helps choose what I should read next.


Phantom Limbs Blurb:

How do you move on from an irreplaceable loss? In a poignant debut, a sixteen-year-old boy must learn to swim against an undercurrent of grief—or be swept away by it.
Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.


Summer of Love Blurb:
Sian Bishop has only ever experienced one moment of recklessness – a moment that resulted in her beloved son Rory. It’s not that she doesn’t love the outcome of that wild night, but since then she has always taken the safer route. So when dependable, devoted Richard suggests a move to the beautiful English countryside, she leaves the hustle and bustle of the city behind, and she throws herself into the picture-postcard cottage garden, her furniture restoration business, and a new life in the country.
Her good intentions are torpedoed on a glorious summer’s evening with the arrival of Gus Berresford. One-time explorer and full-time heartbreaker, Gus is ridiculously exciting, wonderfully glamorous and a completely inappropriate love interest for a single mum. But Gus and Sian have met before…
Sian has no use for a fling, she simply mustn’t fall in love with the most unlikely suitor ever to cross her path – even if he has now crossed her path twice. But who knows what can happen in a summer of love… 


The Stepmother Blurb:
The perfect wife. A fairytale family. Don’t believe your eyes…

Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.
No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.
And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.
But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.
Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all.
After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending … doesn’t it?
A compelling, dark and twisty psychological thriller that will grip fans of Behind Closed Doors, Between You and Me and The Teacher. 

Please help me out guys! 

What should I read next?

Phantom Limbs

Summer of Love

The Stepmother

 
pollcode.com free polls

Top 5 Wednesday 

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at  Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts On Tomes. Check out the Goodreads group for more info.

Recent additions to my wish list: 

Picking five to share was really hard for me! Am I the only one who adds like a minimum of five books per day to my wish list?!


I was way late to the game in discovering Karin Slaughter, but when I read Pretty Girls late last year, I immediately rushed to see if Slaughter had any other books. To my delight, she has an entire series, with one of my favorite characters ever Will Trent. I’ve been dying to read The Kept Woman since I learned it was coming soon! If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend starting at the beginning. Every single book is fantastic and there is a ton of backstory. Keep in mind these books are raw, gritty and often a bit gory.


This is another installment in the Dublin Murder Squad series and I couldn’t be more excited for it to be released. While the characters in this series overlap, you could read any of these books as standalone novels. But don’t do that. It goes against everything I believe in. 😬😂 Find out more.


I have been a HUGE fan of Coben for years . He always bends the readers mind with an amazing twist. Finally, Myron Bolitar and his sidekick Win are back after five long years! Yes, I realize they had brief appearances in the Mickey Bolitar series, but that wasn’t nearly enough. And calling Win a sidekick isn’t really accurate as he’s so much more. This book sounds like it will be just as amazing as the rest!


I just love Colleen Hoover and just look at that cover! Sigh. She creates such fantastically relatable characters and I swear I always read her books in one sitting. It Ends With Us is being touted as her best work to date and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it lives up to the hype.


My first Moriarty book was The Husbands Secret followed quickly by Big Little Lies. Reading her books just feels like a guilty pleasure and there are just enough twists that it never reads like a typical Chick Lit book. The premise sounds just as juicy as her other books and I’m really looking forward to snagging a copy.

All images courtesy of Goodreads