Monday, August 20

Review: Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid


Title: Dr. Strange Beard (Winston Brothers #5)
Author: Penny Reid
My Copy: Author
BookWhisperer's Rating



Hunches, horse races, and heartbreak

Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone.

Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be . . .

Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists.

But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .
Oh, my dear, sweet, lovely, Penny Reid.  How I long to be your best friend in real life.  How I long to pay you in doughnuts and coffee (or tea) to hear all of your thoughts and plans for all of your future characters.  Because every book...every. single. book. does this to me.  I am so wrapped up in the Winston brothers and so happy that I got a sneak peek for all the lovelies that come for Roscoe and Simone.  She is back at home and working in her parent's diner (if that is not a tip-off that something is up then I don't know what is.)  And things are about to get stirred up with Roscoe realizes that Simone is back but just not for the weekend.

If I was being held at gun point and had to describe Simone in just one word (because I would want to describe her in so many words) it would be fiery. FI-ER-Y!  She's one of those women that you just want to be like when you grow up.  Simone knew what she wanted to do for a living and achieved it.  She has her life together and in general just rocks.  And really, I don't think I even have to mention how much Roscoe rocks - but if you need to know, he does as well. Their story is slightly heartbreaking, so sweet, a bit of danger, and filled with wonderful things.  I'm going to go ahead and admit this now, because I do not see it changing anytime in the future, all the Winston brothers are characters that I absolutely love and want to ball them all up into one man and then I want to marry that man.  


Penny Reid just knows how to write real, actual human beings who have problems, who struggle through them, and who may or may not overcome them - and that's okay.  But these fictional characters that she creates, with these interweaving Winston worlds, make bookworms like me happy to be a bookworm and happy to find joy in reading.

Sunday, August 19

Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Title: Circe
By: Madeline Miller
My Copy: Book of the Month
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 




In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.




Ever since my high school Latin class, I have loved the stories of the gods and goddesses.  How they ruled and reigned with their strength and wraith.

Usually, in most stories, there are clearly the bad guys and the good guys (bad gods/goddesses vs. good gods/goddesses) however Circe led with a different approach.  Never a rotten bone in her, little Circe ran through her father's house with a sweet and naive innocence about her.  Growing up changed that for Circe.  Learning that while she could not be powerful like her father, Circe learned another way from her siblings on how to possess strength.  Using witchcraft, our goddess comes close to possessing what she longs for, however it all goes disastrously wrong.

There are many things that kept me drawn to Circe's story.  I seemed to develop a love for her and rooted for her throughout the whole book.  While not quite a normal goddess, she worked with what she could get and cultivated her island.  For living a life of solitude, Circe has plenty of visitors, some good and some bad.  These visitors tested her soul and wisdom in her witchcraft so that she could protect herself and those that she loved. Now Circe is no longer sweet and naive but vengeful.  But out of all of those visitors, Odysseus seemed to bring out the best version of her. I admire how her armor came off and a new Circe emerged.  Odysseus' stories let Circe live out in the real word, beyond the shores of her island.  It was like she could live a normal life.  No longer a prisoner to her island, it was a space that they could share.  I was overjoyed for her at this possibility.  But like always, the wind changes, Circe's life changes, and the book takes on a whole new chapter.

I will say that my favorite event is the very last page.  Pure perfection!

Wednesday, August 8

Cover Reveal: The Truth About Lies by Aly Martinez


Today we are sharing the incredible cover for the first book in The Truth Duet by Aly Martinez. Check it out below, along with the blurb for the title. The Truth About Lies will be releasing on August 23rd! The second title in the duet, The Truth About Us, will be releasing on September 13th!

Be sure to follow Aly's newsletter to be notified when the books are live.







The Truth About Lies (The Truth Duet, #1)

Coming August 23


Synopsis:

Truth: From over a thousand miles away, I watched on the screen of my phone as two men murdered my wife. And I was helpless to save her.
Consumed by hate and rage, I spent four years running from my memories.
Until a shattered woman gave me a reason to stop.
Cora lived in a nightmare, but through sheer force of will, she’d turned it into something beautiful. She had a smile that could pierce the darkest soul. And with one glance, she shredded mine.
Lie: I was only there for a fresh start.
Lie: I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Lie: There was nothing I could do to save her, either.
But that’s the thing about lies—you never know who to believe.



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You won't want to miss this amazing series! Click here to get the links as soon as they're live, and to hear about giveaways and events for this duet.

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:



Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.




AUTHOR LINKS:

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Saturday, June 23

Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Title: The Lying Game
By: Ruth Ware
My Copy: Library
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 


On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister...

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).



I first fell in love with Ruth Ware’s writing after reading The Woman in Cabin 10.  There is something suspenseful in Ware’s writing that keeps you drawn into the plot but not terrified at night when you lay your head down to sleep.  The Lying Gamedoes just that.

I found myself quickly captivated by Isa’s life.  A woman who is a partner, a mother, and a lawyer but also apart of an inseparable group of four women whose childhood game encompassed weaving together lies.  

With one text message, Isa, Thea, and Fatima come running back to their childhood stomping grounds to find that a body has been found and their secret may be uncovered.  While their reunion brings back happy memories of their teenage years, we also get a peek into their troubling past and how they escaped such troubles by passing the time at the Mill.  

The more I read the pages, the more I found myself unable to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  I so badly wanted to be right when guessing the real motive behind all of the lying and betrayal however, I was left guessing until the moment I flipped the page and read the words.  Basically, Ware kept me guessing up until the reveal and I must say that I was shocked. What a wonderful thriller!  

Review: The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Title: The Woman In Cabin 10
By: Ruth Ware
My Copy: Personal
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 


Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo's desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.



My first book by Ruth Ware and I must say that it kept me suspended in a state of constant guessing and complete worry throughout the book.  

Before Lo even sets foot on the boat, she experiences a break-in at her apartment. Rattled beyond words, Lo, a journalist, sets sail on a luxury cruise. All should be smooth sailing, right?

The first night aboard, Lo hears a woman’s screams and witnesses her disappearance when she is thrown overboard.  However, no one claims to have ever seen this woman.  All known passengers and crew members are accounted for and so Lo decides to dig deeper.  She knows she cannot be mistaken; the woman she met does exist and is no longer present.  But the more that Lo digs, the more push back she receives from someone but she doesn’t know whom.  

This book thrilled me to pieces.  Every step that Lo made was to find the missing woman, even after she herself had been threatened.  It always makes me wonder if I would do the same.  Would I just chalk it up to an overactive imagination? Lack of sleep? Too much drinking? Or would I stick to my guns and know what I saw was not a result of anything of the above but of a murder.  The stories that Ware weaves before you in the pages make you second-guess every character.  Almost like you should trust no one.  

Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Title: The Nightingale
By: Kristin Hannah
My Copy: Library
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 


In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.


FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real--and deadly--consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime. 



I want to sit down here and write out every emotion I experienced reading The Nightingaleand how I hoped for the good but got the bad.  How I cried endlessly out of sadness and joy.  How I worried about the decisions that were made. How I feared for the life of these characters.  And how I was in awe of the braveness that some presented.  

I really want to tell you everything thought and detail that happened in this book but it would be such a big spoiler of a paragraph that I am just going to say this…don’t wait to read this book!  Two years ago a friend told me that I would love this book and that I needed to read it.  I put it off because while the synopsis was appealing, I wasn’t in the mood. I wish I hadn’t put it off for so long. I loved everything about this book! No wonder it was a best seller. The two main characters Vianne and Isabelle are the weakest and strongest characters written.  The pure sadness will break your heart but the pure joy will mend it back together again.  I feel like I have said too much but not enough.  Just.  Go. Read. It.

Sunday, October 1

Review: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Title: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
By: Lisa See
My Copy: Library
The BookWhisperer's Rating:

A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.

Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.

In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.

After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters. 



My first introduction to Lisa See was when I read, “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.”  It was incredible eye-opening book that described the ways of the Chinese culture intertwined with the bond of childhood friendship. See continues describing the Chinese culture but intertwines the mother-daughter bond in “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.”

Wow…does this woman know how to write!  Immediately I found myself drawn to Li-yan and her Akha people.  Their lifestyle was fascinating and rough.  They manually labored from dusk to dawn and then some.  Every family member contributed for everything that they made was either sold or used to survive.  One would think that a rough childhood would deserve a smooth adulthood but in this story, you would be wrong.

While Li-yan grows, she finds herself facing multiple troubles in the sense of her future.  Following in her mother’s footsteps is harder than she realizes, especially when she rather continue her schooling and farther her education. Li-yan also falls in love with a young man who is her dream but her family does not approve of him.  She fights for her love only to have her love fight back.


This brings us to the most heartbreaking part of the book in my opinion.  Li-yan finds herself with child and knows the only choice that she has is to give her away.  I was hoping that this was the hardest thing that Li-yan would have to endure during her journey of life but unfortunately there is more hardship.  Without going into more detail, because reading it always half the surprise, I just want to say that this book was an emotional one for me.  To read the ups and downs of Li-yan’s life was heartbreaking as well as rewarding.

Sunday, August 27

Review: Beard in Mind by Penny Reid

Title: Beard in Mind
By: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #4
My Copy: Ebook from Publisher
The BookWhisperer's Rating: 

All's fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.
Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.

Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean missing out on what matters most.



Since the beginning in "Truth or Beard", I have always been curious about Beau.  I mean, he is written as the better of the twins, right?  He is the more sociable, he is kind, he is caring, he is a charmer through and through and never uses it for evil - only good, he is basically less surly than his twin Duane.  How could one not be curious about him?  And now enter his story and *fans my face* he was worth the wait!  Was he a Drew? (Confession - Drew is the love of my life!)  No - but his story is just as good.  

Beau and Shelly's relationship at first is rocky, really rocky.  No words are pleasant if there are any words being said at all.  Shelly calls Beau's face asymmetrical and Beau tells Shelly that she doesn't have to strip for him (he was a little confused on who she was at the time.)  Needless to say, they weren't best friends from the start.  However, when they both open their minds to each other and what is created was absolutely beautiful!

Now, I am going to stop you right here.  I have a few things that I would like to say and I don't want to ruin anything for all of you but I also want to warn you that some slight spoilers are coming your way.

When I first read the synopsis of Beard in Mind, I thought it would be like every other book would be; wonderful and brilliant with a side of quirky.  I didn't know that we were going to get in really deep quirky territory with Shelly.  Never did I think that this wonderful character was going to have extreme OCD and anxiety.  Out of all of Reid's characters, Janie and Cletus seem to stick out the most.  Janie because of her list of random facts and Cletus because, well, he is just Cletus.  We never really got to see a Reid character so extremely vulnerable before and I must hand it to Penny, she did a brilliant job writing Shelly as such.  I found myself worked up when Shelly was worked up on the pages. I felt like I lived every fear with her and every worry with Beau when it came to her fears.  I didn't expect these two characters, especially Shelly, to be so deep.  And I should have; this is Penny Reid for Pete's sake!  I am always astonished with her ability to write in-depth and real human-like characters, complicated family issues, and budding romances.  

Even if you took Shelly and her extreme OCD and anxiety out of the picture, Reid still presented us with a wonderful story about Beau, a Winston sibling to the end.  His interactions with his friends and family show you what kind of beautiful human he is.  


I wasn't expecting this plot line.  I wasn't expecting these twist and turns. I wasn't expecting the absolute love I felt for Shelly and Beau.  And I wasn't expecting the more love I felt for the rest of the Winston gang and associates to grow either. But I got them and so much more that rounded this book into a favorite of mine because Penny Reid writes real people, guys!  And as real people, how could be not love them?

Wednesday, August 2

Release Day Blitz: Beard in Mind by Penny Reid

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Beard in Mind, an all new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid, is LIVE!

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All is fair in love and auto maintenance.
Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.
Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.
Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.
Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.
The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.
LIVE

Read Today!

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)
Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/hsTLLC
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Meet Penny Reid:
PennyReidPenny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.


Connect with Penny:

Twitter: @ReidRomance