1 year Blogiversary!!!!

Holy Moly I cannot believe that I started booksnbites a year ago!! I wasn’t completely sure I knew what I was doing when I started this, but I knew it was something I needed. Books have always been a huge part of my life and it has made me extremely happy to be able to share my love of books and reading with others. Thank you to my closest friends who spent countless hours helping me talk about my plans and ideas for this, without you I never would have taken the plunge. Also, thank you to all who have followed me, now I don’t feel like I’m writing the ramblings of a crazy book lady. Hahahaha!

My 1 year blogiversary happens to fall on 4th of July weekend here in the good old U.S. of A, so I’ve been alternating between reading and spending time with family. Although my niece and I did park ourselves in our deck chairs and get some reading done yesterday afternoon.

I have been playing with taking pictures of books at the lake, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Read just happens to be a great book cover to photograph. Here is my favorite one.

At 3pm I will be joining a Facebook live event of the Facebook group I help Admin, The Reading Corner Book Lounge and we are having Author Stuart Dunne talk with us and share his experiences. I am very excited to be a part of the event and can’t wait to hear what Stuart has to share with us! His two books our are House on Rectory Lane and Turn The Other Way, he also has a new book coming out soon!

I’m off to keep reading about Evelyn Hugo and the seven husbands she had. I seriously cannot put this book down! I hope everyone had a great rest of their weekend. I’ll be posting my June Wrap Up this week, as it was a fantastic reading month!

Happy Reading friends!! 🤓

Lost in books

Wow, it has been entirely way too long since I’ve been here to update you on my bookish adventures. I honestly won’t apologize, as it was a much needed break from social media and a lot of my time was spent with family. I am back though, and boy do I have some books to update you on!

 

First, I’d like to provide my review for the NetGalley ARC of The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins. This book is set to release in July so I am cutting it close. The description from Goodreads is as follows. “New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.”

Book Charmer

I really enjoyed this book, and not just because I’ve been on a contemporary kick lately. I loved how books are the save all to someone in need, as many times books have been my place to go when dealing with life. I absolutely loved Mama G and the role she played throughout the entire book, as well as the mystical seventh daughter of the Dove family. This was a very magical story without crossing the lines into the fantasy genre, and it was very well written. For me, this was a great summer read and sure to tug on your heart strings. With a 4/5 star rating from me, I highly recommend this story to everyone!

 

Other books I’ve read lately and the rating I gave them.

  • The Glass Magician ( The Paper Magician Trilogy #2) by Charlie N Holmberg – 5/5 stars
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – 5/5 stars
  • Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan Mcguire – 4/5 stars
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett – 5/5 stars (this was a reread)
  • Roses of May (The Collector #2) by Dot Hutchison – 5/5 stars
  • Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan – 5/5 stars
  • Meet Cute by Helena Hunting – 5/5 stars
  • The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) by Blake Crouch – 4/5 stars
  • Burn Out (#1) by Kristi Helvig – 4/5 stars
  • Strange Skies (Burn Out #2) by Kristi Helvig – 4/5 stars
  • Stay Dead (Elise Sandburg #2) by Anne Frasier – 4/5 stars

 

Maybe I give 4 and 5 star ratings too much, but I really loved sooo many of these books!!! This year has been such an amazing year for reading and I couldn’t be happier. Time to get back to work, so Happy Reading friends! 🙂

Artificial Intelligence or Alien Invasion?

What would you do if you woke up one morning to your loved one missing from the house, only to find them completely zoned out in an almost trance like state walking down the road and completely unresponsive to all attempts to get a reaction from them? Sounds scary but intriguing right? That is what immediately hooked me on Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, and as I kept reading I fell further and further down the rabbit hole.

Capture

I received an Advanced Reader Copy ebook edition of Wanderers from NetGalley and I never realized how big this book was (800 pages!!!). I can tell you that the length of the book was not noticeable while reading the story because the journey of the “sleepwalkers” just swept you up. My mind was constantly thinking what it could be that was affecting the “sleepwalkers”. Was it some sort of sleeping sickness similar but different enough to what I read about in The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker ? Or is it little bots that take over the person’s brain, or perhaps an Alien invasion?? All I knew was I HAD to keep reading to find out.

I really enjoyed how the different story lines of each important character were intertwined and eventually connected. Definitely one of the better scifi books I’ve read in a while. Artificial intelligence machines built by secret scientific agencies, the CDC top teams who study crazy viruses all over the world, and the thought of alien invasion will always peak my curiosity and get my heart racing. If you’re looking for a good Scifi book that will keep you thinking then I definitely recommend Wanderers by Chuck Wendig!!

NetGalley ARCs haven’t disappointed me yet, and I am so grateful to get a chance to read books before they are released to the public! On to the next, it’s a busy reading month. Happy Reading friends!! 🙂

Hello June, we’re halfway through

I seriously cannot believe that it is June already. How is this even possible?? It feels like I blinked and we jumped into a new month. Time really does fly!

My Wrap Up for May, is a total of 13 books! That’s one of my biggest reading months in a long time.

From an ARC of Blood and Other Matter by Kaitlin Bevis to a classic, Jaws by Peter Benchley. I’d have to say my favorite book that I read in May was Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford, which was an ARC from NetGalley. I shared my love and review of the book on Twitter and Mara liked and tweeted me back! We now follow each other on social media!! 😍🥰🤓😬

Another book I loved, more like trilogoy, is the Caraval trilogy by Stephanie Garber! I ordered the Fairyloot Special Edition box for Finale, which is the final book in the trilogy. Each book was amazing, but as you got to the next book they just kept getting better and better!!!!

So for June, I have assembled a TBR pile but I am not forcing myself to stick to it 100%. My pile might be a little too ambitious. LOL

I have to catch up on past Group Reads from my Facebook groups that I Admin, as well as a few recommended by friends. I have a few rereads in the pile, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Help by Kathryn Stockett, but the rest are all new books to me!! I’m excited for all the reading this month and can’t wait to get going!!!

Well, this booknerd has to finish getting ready for work. I’ll say ttfn and Happy Reading!! 🤓

Lake life reading

It’s Memorial Day weekend here and I’m at my family’s Lake House enjoying some sunshine, fresh air and the water. I’ve come prepared with an audiobook loaded on my phone, Jaws by Peter Benchley, four books and my Kindle. Hmmm, do you think I have enough reading material? I almost finished my current read, Legendary by Stephanie Garber, last night but ended falling asleep with just 36 pages to go. I can’t believe how tired I was. I wanted to tape my eyes open to keep reading, but I have no idea where anything is in this house. I’ll have to explore Today incase I need the tape for tonight. Just Kidding!! 😄

There is no shortage of background sounds for me to read by here. We have the sound of the waves gently meeting the shore, the chirping birds all around (Robins, Cardinals, Wren, Crows, Canada Geese, Red-Winged Black Birds, Chickadees, Merganzer Ducks and so much more!!), the low drone of the motor of fishing boats and once the rest of the lake wakes up the people! This is my happy place for sure! It’s so serene here.

Baxter loves it too! We went on a walk this morning and he was on a mission to smell everything he could. Wish I’d thought to grab my headphones 🎧 to listen to Jaws, but I hadn’t had my coffee yet.

So here we are, sitting out on the deck in the cool morning air. The birds are chirping and I have a book or two in front of me to start my day. Coffee will be ready soon and Mom’s drying up some bacon and eggs for breakfast. We have more family coming later this morning for our get together, so I won’t be reading much. Just remember to enjoy today, Memorial Day, and spend it with your family and loved ones, and take a moment to remember and give Thanks to all who have served our country and sacrificed their lives for us.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!!!! 💕🇺🇸

A review of Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Excuse me while I stumble around in my brain for appropriate words right now. I’m speechless, but for all good reasons! Caraval is a book of adventure, romance, mystique and a little danger. But don’t believe everything you hear and see, for you don’t want to get too swept away in the game you might go crazy!

I read this book in 24 hours and if that doesn’t speak volumes then I’m not sure what does. Caraval is one of the most captivating, magical, thrilling books I have ever read and has quickly nudged it’s way into the top of my favorites list. I could feel my heart beat speed up with the tense and emotional parts, and my brain was all muddled with the twists and turns of the game. It was so much fun to keep reading and try to figure out if someone was Legend, or if Scarlett would get all the clues and save Tella. I wish I could have a chance to play the game of Caraval, but maybe I’ll feel differently after I read the 2nd book, Legendary. It sounds like Master Legend might have upped his game. 😉

If you’re looking for a wild ride, in a mysterious world then this is the book for you… no ticket needed! Just keep your arms and legs safely inside the ride and don’t stop reading! 🤓

Will you play or will you watch?

Oh my lord, I have been swept away by a book and I do not care to come back! I started reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber last night, and ever since I have been sucked in. You won’t hear me crying for help to get out of the rabbit hole I’ve just fallen into! This is the first of three books.

“A legendary competition. A mesmerizing romance. An unbreakable bond between two sisters. Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Stella, live with their powerful. And cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval–the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participated in the show–are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dream-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game at eover or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval… beware of getting swept too far away.”

Need I say more?? The alluring story of a secret yearly performance, that is invitation only, with a catch. Stephanie Garber has written words of magic with this dark world of Caraval, and the characters who must play or suffer the consequences. I will definitely be finishing this book tonight!! Stay tuned for a review to come soon, but while I finish it up I will be feasting on my delicious dinner that I just cooked! Check this out for an easy summertime meal! ☀️😊

Tonight’s meal is grilled chicken and Campari tomato with a merlot marinara over gluten free pea rotini pasta. Sprinkled mozzarella and parmesan, with a drizzle of balsamic. It was very quick and easy to make, if you need it to be dairy free too obviously don’t add the cheese (which is what I should have done). Would also be good as a cold meal, like pasta salad but without the mayo or marinara and maybe an Italian dressing/Greek dressing/or balsamic vinaigrette.

I am definitely looking forward to these leftovers for the week!! 😄😋

I’m going to go continue this Epic read, and my delicious meal. Happy Reading and Buon Appetitive!! 🤓

What day is it?

Do you ever wake up and just go through the motions of your daily routine and then have a dawning realization that you aren’t really aware of what day it is? Yeah, that’s me Today. Hellooooo Lauren, wake up and smell the coffee girlfriend! I went my entire day without really comprehending that it’s Wednesday. *facepalm* I swear I get so busy sometimes that I just know what I need to do and when I need to do it, but I am not aware of the day of the week. It’s times like those that I find I really need to stop and take a break, which usually means reading therapy. Due to how busy I’ve been lately and the fact that it was Mother’s Day weekend last weekend, I have no fun food pictures to share with you and I’m sorry for that. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the seafood boil my brother cooked for Mother’s Day, it was quite something! Corn cobs, potato, onion, sausage, shrimp and crab legs!! We dumped it all in a pile on the dining room table and went to town. Yummmm!!!

I have also been busy reading books, but no surprise there! I just recently posted a review of an ARC of Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford, which was a fantastic read that I gave a 5 star rating to, so please feel free to check that out! I’ve also finished 3 other books prior to the ARC. That brings me up to 6 books read for May so far, I’d like to read at least another 6 books before month’s end.

  • Wayward (book 2 in the Wayward Pines series) by Blake Crouch – 5 stars
  • Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez – 4 stars
  • Dreamers by Yuyi Morales – 5 stars

Ever since I read Dark Matter by Blake Crouch in 2018 I had decided that I would continue reading his other books, and so this year I’ve been reading the Wayward Pines series he wrote. Luckily they are all on Kindle Unlimited so I’ve been enjoying those with the audio book narrations. The Wayward Pines series is a Scifi series and I don’t want to say much more than that because it’s too easy to let slip a spoiler. The first book, Pines, really threw me for a loop and hooked me on the rest of the series. I just have to know what happens, so I’m in it til the end!

Things We Lost in the Fire and Dreamers were two books I read to complete topics for the 2019 BookRiot Read Harder Challenge. I needed to read a Children’s or Middle Grade book that has won a diversity award since 2009, so I chose Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. The illustrations were so vibrant and imaginative that I found myself looking at the pages for a longer amount of time than it took to read the picture book. It was such a cute story about a young mother and her son who come to the US for a better life and find a love to read at their public library. Such an adorable picture book and it portrayed a great story for little developing minds. The other book completed the topic for a translated book written by and/or translated by a woman, which my book was written and translated by a woman. It was a bunch of creepy stories about characters in Argentina, and the stories almost always portrayed socio-economical diversity and struggles among the characters. Some of these stories sent chills down my spine, so of course I absolutely loved them!

 

I know that Reading Challenges are kind of intimidating, especially the typical challenge like the self-imposed Goodreads yearly challenge of “I’m going to read this many books this year”. Many people either miserably fail or blast that challenge out of the water. I always set a Goodreads yearly goal, but I never pressure myself to stick to it. If I read less than what my goal is Great!, or if I read more.. Great! LOL. What I find beneficial are the Reading Challenges that encourage you to read outside your comfort zone and expand your horizons. How do you really know that you don’t like a certain genre, trope, or topic if you’ve never tried it? I always thought I hated Non-Fiction, until I tried one for a Reading Challenge and found that I actually like Non-Fiction, especially books about Serial Killers. Do any of you participate in Reading Challenges? BookRiot has the Read Harder challenge, PopSugar does a yearly challenge… which one do you do? Or do you just read and not keep track? I’d love to know, so please leave a comment! 🙂

 

Well I’m off to go start another book for my local Book Club who follows the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge, this month we are discussing the Children’s book with a diversity award and a Non-Violent True Crime. I’m starting The Map Thief by Michael Blanding, the gripping story of an esteemed rare-map dealer who made millions stealing priceless maps. Drop a comment with what you’re currently reading, I’d love to know!!

Happy Reading!

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford- A Review

I received a ebook copy of Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford from NetGalley, and I was immediately drawn to it by the description and it’s cover.

It’s absolutely gorgeous and hello, there is the ocean and people have an entire village suspended over it! Amazing!!! I seriously love anything to do with the ocean, but even more so when there is folklore behind it (real or made up).

Description- from NetGalley

“For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen…and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

Everyone needs to read this book!!!! I couldn’t put it down!!!! I was even sneaking time on my phone on Mother’s Day just to keep reading it. 😳😂 I absolutely loved the magic of the village of Varenia and the magic and danger surrounding the Blood Coral. Not to mention who doesn’t love a cruel prince and a love triangle? Nor and Zadie definitely share an unbreakable twin bond and it was so heartwarming and heartbreaking to see how far they would go for each other. Tarin is definitely my newest book boyfriend, so hands off ladies!! He’s the younger half-brother of Ceren, the Prince and crown regent who is to marry Nor (disguised as Zadie). The character development was well done, and the world building is great! I want to know more about what is outside or surrounding Varenia and Ilara though, so maybe that will come with a sequel? Hope so!

I don’t feel that this story is quite finished based on the ending of the book, so I’ll be heartbroken if I find out that Mara isn’t planning on writing a sequel. I just didn’t feel there was enough of a resolution for it to be a standalone. However, this is definitely another ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read for me! I can’t believe how many 5 star reads I’ve had this year, but hey… I’m not complaining!! Keep ’em coming! 😃

Ok well I have to get moving and off to work soon, not that I’ll be functional after the book hangover this read has left me with. 😂 Happy Reading friends! 🤓

Tuesdays are for Tacos

TACO TUESDAYYY!!!! Except I’m not having tacos for dinner. I know, I know… why no tacos? I have pulled chicken to eat, and I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to pair it for dinner tonight, but at least I’ll eat. More importantly, what will I be reading!

Lately I haven’t really been reading as much as I normally do. I finished a book over the weekend, Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare which is the third book in the Infernal Devices trilogy. It was amazing, definitely a five star read!! I’m not sure how Cassandra does it, but each of her books gets better and better. I’m really looking forward to continuing on with the Mortal Instruments series, but they’ll have to wait a month or so. My current reads are Wayward by Blake Crouch (2nd book in the Wayward Pines series), The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (for my local book club who follows the Read Harder BookRiot yearly challenge), Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez (also for my group following the Read Harder challenge), and The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (which is for my other local book club).

I’ve been a HUGE mood reader lately, which is why I have more than two books going at a time right now. It’s not really helping with my Book Club reads, but at the same time it’s helping reduce my gigantic TBR list. That list is probably 10 miles long! I might have a teeny tiny little book problem. It’s a good problem to have though. I do have some required reading for work, it’s rework for a Leadership Development class that I’m taking starting Thursday. Those will have to take priority!!

I did stop at my Library to pick up a book hold that came in, and to find some options for a Non-Violent True Crime Story. I’m excited for what I found, I like history and the options sound interesting. I figured if one was boring maybe the other would work. I’ll probably start The Map Thief by Michael Blanding first, and I’m also hoping to read Inspection by Josh Malerman this weekend.

Do you enjoy reading True Crime? Have any favorites, drop them in the comments. Who else is excited for Inspection? Well, my stomach is grumbling like crazy so that means it’s time to sign off and go eat and read. Happy Reading friends, until next time! 🤓