Wednesday, November 23, 2016

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie Mclemore




Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.


***Many thanks to Net Galley and St. Martin's press for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's opinion:

The writing in this novel is so beautiful at times that it is almost painful. Yet, it was so fantastical in parts that it was unbelievable. I am torn in rating it. Some of the paragraphs were stunning and lovely and read them over multiple times just to hear the words on my tongue again. However, it didn't all mesh up well together and by the end I was rather happy to turn the final page. 

Note: The author's note at the end was five stars alone and made me weep. Don't pass that up at the end. 

Rating: 

3 stars- some may love it, others may not. 

Worth staying up all night to read?

Maybe

Want to buy on Amazon? Check it out below(affiliate link):


SaveSave                                                                 
SaveSave

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis


Book synopsis(via Goodreads): 

Fiona Davis's stunning debut novel pulls readers into the lush world of New York City's glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success in the 1950s, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon's glitzy past.

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn't belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she's introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that's used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon's gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby's involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman's rent-controlled apartment. It's a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby's upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose's obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.
 

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Penguin for the advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's opinion: 


Yet another book that's been buzzing about that I'm not sure about my feelings on. 

On one hand, it's engrossing at the beginning and has an element of suspense. Darby is a likable character and I think many readers will identify with her clumsy awkwardness and struggle to fit in. 

On the other hand, there were long boring stretches in which I wasn't really sure that I cared about the mystery at all. 

This one is a wash for me. 

Worth staying up all night to read?


Not for me, but maybe for others. 

Rating: 


3 stars

Want to read more? Head over to Amazon(affiliate link)


                                                             

5 Books About Gratitude for Thanksgiving Season


This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, my American friends(and our friends around the globe that celebrate it with us). It seems that summer and it's bounty just left us and here we are preparing for the holiday season.

If you are like me, the holiday season and the mad rush of cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, party-going, etcetera can be overwhelming and take away from the spirit of the season. Thanksgiving is all about gratitude for the our lives and loved ones. I am planning to sink into that gratitude with some help from books about gratitude and thankfulness.

1. Gratitude: A Journal by Catherine Price.

Okay, so this one isn't really a book, it's a journal. I first started keeping a gratitude journal after watching an episode of Oprah years ago when she talked about this practice(that woman has a lot of wisdom). It is life changing. What is unique about this journal is that it has prompts for when you are feeling stuck. The cover is also gorgeous.



This is a collection of essays and practical suggestions for tapping into the joy in your life. Easy to read even for those who may not be regular readers. 



This book is not like the others. It has ten guideposts from the always insightful Brene Brown as she gives us the courage to not only embrace the "good" parts of ourselves, but to learn to also embrace the imperfect parts of ourselves. I love all of Brene's work. 



This book is extraordinarily emotional and heart-filled book penned by Oliver Sacks after he was diagnosed in 2015 with a reoccurrence of cancer and penned an essay in the New York Times that inspired people over the entire world. These four essays will spark inside you a deep gratitude for your own individual path and the world that we live in. 




This ones for the kiddos. Your kids, like mine, may love Mo Willems. This is in the Elephant and Piggie series and is an adorable and accessible way to help teach our kids gratitude for everything. 






Sunday, October 30, 2016

Worthy


Book symopsis(via Goodreads): 
When we feel that we aren’t enough, or that we aren’t good enough,
we also fear that we’ll never have enough
Money. We love it. We hate it. If we don’t have enough, we’re struggling to get more. If we do have it, we’re fighting to hold on to it. Why does money have to be such a source of anxiety? Is it possible to find a balance? Yes! According to integrative life coach Nancy Levin, the real key to creating financial freedom isn’t changing what we do, it’s changing how we feel—and that requires more than just learning how to invest.

In Worthy, Nancy makes an essential, eye-opening connection: the state of our net worth is a direct reflection of our self-worth. Then she shows us how to get to the root of the problem and do the internal work that’s needed to replace feelings of unworthiness with a stronger sense of our own value. Filled with inspiring real-life stories and thought-provoking questions and answers, her 10-step plan helps us to:

·         Get real about the money issues we face every day
·         Examine the excuses we use to avoid creating the life we really want
·         Be willing to see ourselves as worthy of abundance in all its forms
·         Take back our financial power—and watch amazing things start to happen

Whether we’re looking for financial ease or a new relationship with money and ourselves, Worthy will give us the tools to clear the path for wholeness, fulfillment, and richness in all areas of our lives, not just in our bank accounts. 
***Many thanks to Net Galley and Hay House Publishing for the advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ***

This insomniac's opinion:

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this one. I've realized rather recently that my mindset is one of fear and lack so I've begun picking up books in regard to money mindset. This one is one that I neither loved nor hated.

I'm sure that there is good advice in this book, its just delivered in a rather boring and clunky way.

Worth staying up all night to read?

No, it definitely isn't that kind of book!

Rating:

3 stars. 


Interested? Check it out on Amazon below(affiliate link)!
                                                          

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Thank and Grow Rich by Pam Grout


Book synopsis(via Goodreads):


Thank & Grow Rich is for anyone interested in hooking up with the magnanimous energy field of the cosmos. Author Pam Grout, who likes to call herself the Warren Buffet of Happiness, says it all starts with getting on the frequency of joy and gratitude.

Thanking (rather than thinking) puts us on an energetic frequency—a vibration—that calls in miracles.

Science has proven that when we observe the world from a place of gratitude, when we use our attention to spot beauty and gaze at wonder, we develop the capacity to radically rev up our day-to-day experience.

Brazen gratitude, it seems, provides a portal—an entry point—straight into the heart of the field of infinite possibilities described in Grout’s bestseller E-Squared. 

This book also offers an updated perspective on abundance, which goes way beyond financial capital. It shows readers how to grow and expand their creative capital, their social capital, their spiritual capital, and much, much more!

There’s even an abundance worksheet that tracks your thank-and-grow rich portfolio and a money-back guarantee offering four personalized gifts straight from the always-accommodating universe.

Your credit union might offer a butter dish or a koozie, but an investment in this book comes with your own personal sign from the universe, an answer to an important question, a customized totem, and a one-of-a-kind gift from the natural world.

But more importantly, this 30-day experiment will upgrade your life experience from ho-hum to wahoo! From like sucks to life rocks! From woe is me to yippie-ti-yi-yay!!

***Many thanks to NetGalley and Hay House Publishing for the advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ***


This insomniac's opinion: 


I have to admit that this book was not on my radar at all. That is, until multiple friends read it and immediately recommended it to me. I have read E-Squared by this author and was fascinated and not necessarily wowed by it. So, I was willing to give it a try. 

I have to say that book was really impactful for me. I really could feel myself making a shift towards less fear and worry and to more daily gratitude. I plan on keeping this on my shelf and rereading it when/if I get caught in fear-based thoughts. 

I did not read the book over a thirty day period, but instead read it over a week or so. I do wonder if it would have been even more impactful if I had read it in the manner that you are supposed to. 

Worth staying up all night to read?


Well, it's not really a stay-up-all-night read, but it is definitely a worthy read. 

Rating: 


4 stars

Sound interesting? Check out on Amazon below! (affiliate link)



                                                              
SaveSave

Friday, October 21, 2016

Radical Self Love by Gala Darling


Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

Have you ever dreamed of a life full of laughter, love and sequins... But felt totally clueless about how to make it happen? You're not alone. I spent years in soul-sucking jobs, battling depression, an eating disorder, and a preference for chaos and disaster, simply because I didn't know how to create the life I dreamed about.
In RADICAL SELF LOVE, you'll begin to discover exactly what makes you so magnificent, and you'll uncover a litany of tools and techniques to help you manifest a life that bursts with magic, bliss and adventure.

When you love yourself, life is limitless. You can do anything you want. It's time to throw off the shackles of expectation, and start living from your heart. It's time to astound yourself with how beautiful your life can be. It's time to treat every single day like a celebration... Cake, candles and confetti very much included!

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Hay House Publishing for the advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ***

This insomniac's opinion:

I've not been a big non-fiction reader in my life but recently have started a non-fiction book club and have been reading a rash of books to weed through and find ones that I want to share(do you have one that you love? If so, please comment with the name below!). 

I've followed Gala Darling's blog for quite some time and am enamored with her beautiful site that is image heavy and lovely. I was thrilled to get this book to review. Unfortunately, it wasn't for me. I felt that it was a book that was far more about living a life just like her and less about finding your own path. Pieces of it, like sections on fashion, felt stilted and judgmental. 

I think this book has an audience, but I, apparently, am not it. 

Worth staying up all night to read?

Not for me. I still love her blog, though. 

Rating: 

3 stars. Totally neutral. Not for me but others may like it. 

Want to check it out on Amazon? Click below(affiliate link)


SaveSave                                                              

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Favorite Books for Fall

This post may contain affiliate links. 


I don't know about you, but the cooler temperatures that arrive with Fall make me want to dive under the covers with a good book. Fall, to me, means cozy blankets, thick books and campfires.

Each season seems to make me want to read a certain kind of book and fall is no different. Here is my list of books that simply scream fall to me.

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling


                                                          

I'm not sure if it is the thickness of these books or the back-to-school sections in each novel but this series is often a fall favorite at our house(along with the movies). My children and I often read them together while snuggled under the covers at bedtime.

The Cider House Rules by John Irving


                                                         

To be honest, nearly all John Irving's novels scream Autumn to me. Most of his novels are set in New England(this one takes place in Maine) and New England in the fall is somewhere that I've always wanted to go. This novel follows that story of an orphan, Homer Wells, who leaves the orphanage he was raised in to work on an apple orchard. It is an emotional read that I've read many times and never seem to tire of.

Dead Poet's Society by NH Kleinbaum


                                                          

As with Harry Potter, I imagine what makes me think about Fall when I think about this book is that it takes place at a school. In this book(made famous when Robin Williams took on the role of the teacher) boys at a stuffy boarding school are inspired by their English teacher to take a new look at their lives both through literature and the way they live their lives. I usually watch the movie after finishing the book.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman


                                                          

Fall wouldn't be complete without reading a book about magic, would it? With the coming of Halloween, I long to hunker down with a book that is a tad freaky and very intriguing. I love all of Alice Hoffman's work but have a special affinity for this novel about sisters who have the gift of magic and are forced to come together to right a wrong they created together with black magic. It's mildly spooky but won't keep you up all night afterwards.

Dracula by Bram Stoker


                                                            

This classic is easy to find at any library and takes you immediately into the dark, suspenseful world of Transylvania. Dripping in intrigue and a strange, nearly sexual tension, this novel is one that has haunted the minds of many since it's release in 1897.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson


                                                               

Another classic that is easily found at your local library- sometimes on it's own, sometimes in a compilation of Shirley Jackson stories(The Lottery is another short story of hers that will not let your mind rest after reading). This 1959 work follows a group of people as they knowingly walk into Hill House- a house known for strange happenings, and get far more than they bargain for.


That's my Fall list, for now. What fall reads are your favorite?

We Are Unprepared

This post may contain affiliate links.


Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

Ash and Pia's move from Brooklyn to the bucolic hills of Vermont was supposed to be a fresh start—a picturesque farmhouse, mindful lifestyle, maybe even children. But just three months in, news breaks of a devastating superstorm expected in the coming months. Fear of the impending disaster divides their tight-knit rural town and exposes the chasms in Ash and Pia's marriage. Ash seeks common ground with those who believe in working together for the common good. Pia teams up with "preppers" who want to go off the grid and war with the rest of the locals over whom to trust and how to protect themselves. Where Isole had once been a town of old farm families, yuppie transplants and beloved rednecks, they divide into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Harlequin for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. ***
This Insomniac's Opinion: 
There were parts of this book that were really lovely. I fell into the characters and the story of the two of them starting over. The characters seemed charming and the story moved along slowly but surely. But, then the prepping and the really odd happenings began. I no longer could lose myself in the story. I wanted to love it, but end it was too far out there. I was actually relieved to turn the last page. 
Worth staying up all night to read?
Maybe. Or maybe not. 
Rating:
2.5 stars

                                                                    
SaveSave

The Vanishing Year

This post may contain affiliate links. 



Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre.


***Many thanks to Net Galley and Atria books for this advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's opinion: 
Absolutely ravishing domestic thriller. I lost myself inside the mystery of who Zoe is and what exactly her past was. I read the book cover to cover in one weekend(even as I was busy with my three kids activities). A perfect thriller to read under the covers as the night's grow cold.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes.

Rating:

4 stars.


SaveSave                                                                 

Something in Between

This post may contain affiliate links


Book synopsis(via Goodreads):


Jasmine de los Santos has always done what's expected of her. Pretty and popular, she's studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she's trying to make sense of her new world, it's turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she's not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own. 


***Many thanks to Net Galley and Harlequin Teen for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***


This insomniac's opinion: 


I work with refugees and immigrants in my job and was surprised with the honesty that this book was written. The quotes before each chapter were perfect and the sentiment behind the life that immigrants live was right on. I admit that there were pieces of the book that were too dramatic and juvenile for my taste(but likely would not have been for a younger reader, whom I imagine this book was made for) but, overall, it was a highly involving and interesting novel. 


Worth staying up all night to read?


Yes.


Rating: 


4 out of 5 stars.



 
 
SaveSave                                                                
SaveSave

Monday, September 26, 2016

Vassa in The Night by Sarah Porter


Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair. . . .

Inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful and Sarah Porter’s years of experience teaching creative writing to New York City students.
 

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Macmillan/Tor/Forge for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's opinion: 

Ugh. You guys. This one was painful. Just a discombobulated mess of weirdness. Can someone please regift me the time that I spent reading this one? Please?

Worth staying up all night to read?

Not even a little bit. 

Rating: 

One star. If I'm being generous. 

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

This review may contain affiliate links. 


Book synopsis(according to Goodreads):


In her latest book, The Universe Has Your Back,New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein teaches readers how to transform their fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life. Each story and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to what they most long for: happiness, security and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. Readers will learn to stop chasing life and truly live. 

Making the shift from fear to faith will give readers a sense of power in a world that all too often makes them feel utterly powerless. When the tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, this book will help guide them back to their true power.

Gabrielle says, “My commitment with this book is to wake up as many people as possible to their connection to faith and joy. In that connection, we can be guided to our true purpose: to be love and spread love. These words can no longer be cute buzz phrases that we merely post on social media. Rather, these words must be our mission. The happiness, safety, and security we long for lies in our commitment to love.”

When readers follow this path, they’ll begin to feel a swell of energy move through them. They will find strength when they are down, synchronicity and support when they’re lost, safety in the face of uncertainty, and joy when they are otherwise in pain. Follow the secrets revealed in this book to unleash the presence of your power and know always that The Universe Has Your Back.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Hay House Publishing for the advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ***




This insomniac's opinion:


Gabby Bernstein! Eeek!

 Ahem. Excuse me for a moment while I calm myself down.

 Let me explain my excitement. Gabby Bernstien(or Gabrielle Bernstein or Gabby B.- she goes by a few names) honest to God changed my life three years ago with her book May Cause Miracles, a book that helped me greatly lower my anxiety and turn around my very negative inner thoughts. That book was the beginning of an spiritual journey of sorts for me and was the the start of a whole new life for me. I consider Gabby to be my guru, even though I've never met her. So, you can see my excitement when I received the advanced reader's copy of this book(confession- I also ordered a hard copy for myself to lend out to friends!). 

I've read nearly all of Gabby's work and this new book may be my favorite. It has Gabby's characteristic spunk and brutal honesty but is the sort of book that a reader can take at their own pace, which I really enjoy(MCM is a 40 day journey that you should read everyday for those 40 days). I think this is a great follow-up for those that love Gabby's other work OR a great starting place for someone that isn't familiar with Gabby. There are lots of very useable tips to change your life in this book. I can't wait to lend it to all of my friends!

Worth staying up all night to read?


Heck yeah!

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

So what are you waiting for? Go grab yourself a copy!