Weekly Wrap Up: 7/29-8/5

Reviews:


Currently Reading:

I didn’t finish any books this week because I have been in a massive slump. Next week, I will be on vacation so I’m hoping to get some great reading in!

July Wrap-Up

This week was the change from July to August! Can’t believe how fast summer is flying by! You can see my July Wrap-Up here!

Giveaway:

I posted a giveaway on my Instagram, Facebook, and blog on Thursday! The giveaway ends on Thursday, August 10th, and I will pick a winner Friday the 11th! It’s a brand new hardcover of Debbie Macomber’s If Not For You! See the details here!

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Hope everyone had a lovely week! I don’t know if I have ever put this out, but I am a huge sports fan (especially football), and this week is the last week without football until February so I’m very excited ☺. Have a great week everyone!

Sex & Sweet Tea Series by Juliette Poe

#1: Ain’t He Precious
Published: April 11th, 2017

“Welcome to Whynot, North Carolina, population 3,872. It has one stoplight, one bar, and the one-and-only Trixie Mancinkus.

Eleven years ago, Trixie graduated Harvard Law, turned down a job offer from one of the most prestigious law firms in Boston, and headed home to Whynot to open her own firm. Not only did she leave behind the big city, but she also left her boyfriend of three years. And just so we’re clear… that would be me.

So what am I doing in Whynot at this very moment? It seems Trixie needs help with a legal case and for some insane reason, she called on me for assistance. I’ve been in town for five minutes, and I’m every bit as out of place as I feel. Trixie is all sweet, southern curves to my tailored suits and high-priced haircuts. It’s a culture clash of north versus south and about the only thing we have in common is our physical attraction to each other.

But I have a new motto since coming to Whynot: When life hands you lemons, all you need is a little sex and sweet tea to make things better.”

Review:

Trixie and Ryland made life choices that left them both without love for eleven years. He stayed in Boston, working at one of the biggest firms there, while Trixie went back home after Harvard. When Trixie needs help on a case, she asks Ry to come help her in her hometown of Whynot, NC. Trixie is exactly where she is supposed to be and Ry sticks out like a sore thumb. After denying their chemistry for so long, it’s bound to happen that things will escalate in the way that they both want it to.

This book was so fun to read. Sawyer Bennett is using a different name to write as Juliette Poe. There were so many memorable and hilarious quotes that could come from this book. One of my favorites was from Ryland: “The people in this town are nuttier than squirrel shit.” There were moments where I laughed out loud.

The chemistry that this book had was unbelievable. I read tons and tons of romance. It’s one of my favorite genres. “Ain’t He Precious” had some of the best chemistry that I have ever read. I love the story of this book too. Two loves from college get away from each other: if it’s meant to be, it will be.

The last thing was the characters. Juliette Poe did a magnificent job describing what it’s like to live in a small town. I live in a town where it’s only two miles long. It’s very true that when you go out into town, you know everyone. When we have family or friends visit, they always say, “Wow, you know everyone, don’t you?”.  Juliette Poe wrote the small town narrative perfectly.

Overall, this was a wonderful book that I would recommend to any romance lover. If you like a little steam, you’ll get that too! The writing style and characters were all phenomenal. Read. This. Book!

The second book of this series: Stubborn As A Mule, is published as of July 20th, 2017. This is a story of Trixie’s brother Lowe, and how he got himself in deep trouble with the law. There’s a historical house that belongs in the Mancinkus family and it was bought from underneath of him by a woman named Melinda. So, what does Lowe do? He vandalizes the house and paints it bright pink. The second book will be about Lowe and Melinda’s journey to fix the house as court ordered by a judge.

Rating: ★★★★★

#2: Stubborn As a Mule
Published: July 20th, 2017

Down in Whynot, NC, there are three things that hold true: 1) life moves just a little bit slower, 2) family means everything, and 3) you don’t mess with history.

When his family decides to sell a home that’s been part of their history for over a century, Lowe Mancinkus is madder than a hornet. To add insult to injury, the woman who purchased it is some fancy pants, city girl looking to fix it up and sell it off. Doesn’t matter that she’s sexy as hell or that just being near her gets his blood racing like never before. That home belongs to his family, or at least it did until she came to town.

Well that just won’t do, now will it?

From the moment that she laid eyes on the historical home in rural North Carolina, Melinda Rothschild knew Mainer House was something special. The perfect escape from life in New York City, Melinda signed the papers and set to work restoring the house to its natural beauty. That is until an angry Lowe showed up on her doorstep one day. With a scowl on his handsome, chiseled face. And a shotgun in his strong, muscular arms.

Is it getting hot in here?

Melinda’s about to get a lesson on life in the south, but Lowe is about to learn a lesson of his own – this city girl doesn’t back down from a fight. ”

Review:

I waited and waited months for this book to come out and let me say, I am NOT disappointed. Stubborn as a Mule starts off with Lowe and Melinda in the court room trying to figure out a punishment for Lowe’s vandalism. The judge has known Lowe and his family for a long time, so when the outsider, Melinda, starts putting up a fight about how much punishment he is actually getting. When the judge finds her to be a nuisance, he summons both of them to work on the house together for 200 hours. When they begin working together, it’s not a surprise that there is chemistry there. Melinda learns the hard way of a town that is so small, running into Lowe’s ex-flings and having to hear all the details. Lowe is falling for Melinda and vice versa. The perfect story yet again.

I should just copy and paste my review of the first in the series. This book was absolutely fantastic. Honestly, it was the perfect sequel. This book had a different premise than the first. The first book was more of a “one that got away” story line, and this one was enemies-to-lovers. It was amazing.

The characters were great. I loved Lowe because even though he acts tough on the outside, he’s sweet and romantic on the inside. I didn’t like Melinda at first. She was just so mean and her attitude was holier-than-thou. However, I loved her by the end. She’s a strong, independent woman that hasn’t been in a relationship in a long time. Again, Melinda learns how it is in a small town. Juliette Poe continues to really bring that home.

Overall, again, a perfect love story about learning how to be patient and kind. Trixie and Ry were mentioned in this book, so it’s important to acknowledge that this series is staying together. I love this series and can’t wait for the next!

As of right now, this series is five books long. The next book is called “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” and it’s about Trixie and Lowe’s sister, Laken, who is the only veterinarian in Whynot. What will happen when a new dog shows up in town with a very cute owner? We’ll find out in September of 2017!

I will continue this post as a series when each book comes out!

Book Giveaway: If Not For You by Debbie Macomber

Hello everyone! I’m currently hosting a book giveaway on Instagram, so I thought, why not bring it to my blog and Facebook?! I’m hoping people will enter!

If you would like to enter on Instagram, you can do so here!

If you would like to enter on Facebook, you can do so here!

Or, if you would like to enter here on my blog: here are the rules:

  1. Follow my blog (www.laceyslibrary.com)
  2. Like this post
  3. Comment your favorite read this year!

Good luck! This giveaway will end on 8.10.17!

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

Published: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time. ”

Review:

Mark and Ryan head out to a club in the city unbeknownst to their parents. Mark and Ryan are something and then, they’re not. Mark wants Ryan, and Ryan doesn’t know what he wants. He wants someone who isn’t afraid to live. However, Ryan is in the closet still. There is a underwear competition at the club, and Mark wants to show Ryan that he can be the life of the party. After the competition, Mark makes eye contact with the girl he’s sat next to all year in calculus, Kate. Kate understands not to tell anyone that she was there and vice versa. This is a story of friendship and the struggles of coming out.

I flew through this book in a day. It was so, so, so good. I love this story and how important it is to have people that support you around you in life. The friendships that this book portrays is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. I was hooked right from the start.

The character development in this story was phenomenal. I went back and forth with these characters, especially Ryan. I also struggled with Kate for a little, as well. The best character was Mark. He was absolute favorite. He knew what he wanted from day one, and his head was always on straight. There were times where Mark would be struggling with love and I would be in tears. The authors did such a great job with the characters.

My favorite part of this book was how it was written. Nina LaCour and David Levithan began writing this book back and forth for a few years. They would send a chapter back and forth electronically until it was finished. I think that is the coolest thing ever and I would love to co-write with someone like that one day. I think that takes real talent to pick up where someone left off.

I was going to give this book a five star rating, but I feel like there was just one tiny thing missing. If I say what I think was missing, it would be a spoiler. The book was amazing the way it was, but personally, I wish the ending had a little bit different of a finish.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Published: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

“In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.”

Review:

We all know the story of Lizzie Borden:

“Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.”

This debut novel from Sarah Schmidt describes what seems like what happened the day of the murders of Mr. and Mrs. Borden. This book is told by four people: Lizzie, Emma, Bridget, and Benjamin. Going through each individual part, they each have their own story to tell. There are some things I actually learned from this book. I never knew that Mrs. Borden was their stepmother, for example. I liked this book, but it didn’t do spectacular things for me.

I think that Sarah Schmidt did a great job for her debut novel. This story was pretty interesting, and how she wrote it was pretty cool too. This is what she posted on her Goodreads page:

“I met Lizzie Borden in a second hand bookstore when a pamphlet about the Borden case fell off a shelf and landed at my feet. I wasn’t interested in the case whatsoever. I put it back and left the shop. That night I dreamt of Lizzie sitting at the end of my bed and she told me, ‘I have something to tell you about my father. He has a lot to answer for.’ It was one of the creepiest and most unsettling dreams I’d ever had but I ignored it, tried to go back to sleep. I had the same dream every night for a week. So I decided to write the dream down hoping it would go away. That was the very beginning of See What I Have Done. I had no idea it would take me 11 years to write it.”

This response, the synopsis, and the cover are what interested me in this book in the first place. This seems like she really thought about this book a lot, especially if it took 11 years to write.

First, the characters were all very good. I think Lizzie was the best in my opinion (as she should be). Sarah Schmidt made Lizzie come to life as a young girl who’s living with the explosive personality of her father and the spite of her stepmother. Sarah Schmidt really writes Lizzie like she is crazy, and I appreciate that so much. Emma moved out and receives the news that her father has been murdered. It seems like there is sadness there, but not too much. Benjamin is just a weird, weird guy. Every time I read his parts I thought the same thing over and over again.

I thought that the story was brilliant, but it just didn’t have the pizzazz for me. It didn’t shine like I expected it to. The writing style seemed a little slow at times, especially during the middle section of the book. There were some parts where I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again. It definitely felt repetitive at times, but towards the end, it really picked up for me. I was very happy about that because I didn’t have a problem finishing the book. The ending was very, very good and I love the way Sarah Schmidt wrote it.

The last thing that I was confused on were the flashbacks and taking the reader to a different time. I feel like they were a bit out of place, and made me have to stop and go back. It stopped flowing for me a few times, unfortunately.

Overall, I think this book had a lot of potential and was good, but it definitely had it’s flaws. It’s expected from a debut novelist that it will have flaws, but I think Sarah Schmidt did very well. I love the story of how this ended up being written, and the cover makes me have heart eyes. I think this book is a job well done, and Sarah Schmidt should continue writing her dreams into reality!

Rating: 3.75/5

 

July Wrap-Up

I changed everything around in July! I finally bought my domain, I changed my theme, and changed my reviews page to A-Z!

Here is where you can see all of the posts I made in July!

I started a bookstagram on July 2nd! I almost have 250 followers. When I reach 500 followers, I will do a giveaway ☺

If you would like to follow my bookstagram, here is where you can do so!

Lastly, in July, I surpassed 50 followers on WordPress and 200 friends on Goodreads! If you would like to friend me on Goodreads, here is the link to do so!

I hope everyone had a wonderful July! Here’s to reading a lot in August ☺

Until I Fall by Claudia Burgoa

Published: April 3th, 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace

“ER doctor, Aspen Zimmerman is no stranger to pain and loss. The tragic death of her fiancé catapults her life into a promise of healing—of being the best damn ER doctor her hospital has ever encountered. After all, it makes her feel like she’s making a difference when she couldn’t so long ago. And when her most beloved patient suffers horrifically, all Aspen cares about is healing her—even though her son has a special way of igniting a fire she thought fizzled out long ago.

As a private security officer, Anderson Hawkins puts everyone’s life before his own. With his mother fighting for her life, Anderson is hellbent on finding a way to save her. On the plus side, he gets to spend his time with a sexy and fiery ER doctor who would do anything for his mother. Though Aspen seems to be pulling back—away from any feelings she may have for him. Now, it’s up to Anderson to prove that they can build a future together if they both let go of the past. Can Aspen trust her heart with someone when she already feels “dead on arrival?”

Review:

This book blew. me. away. I had my eye on this book for a while now because of the cover. I love the fact that it started to tell the story just from looking at it. The story starts off as Aspen is engaged to a SEAL named Michael. They’re so in love and everything is looking forward to the future. When tragedy strikes, Aspen feels like she has to start all over. Eleven years later, Aspen is denying herself love because of her past. When she meets Anderson, her neighbor’s son, she lets her walls down to find love again. Well, she tries and through careful consideration and the pushing from her friends and family, she lets herself indulge in love for the first time since the death of her fiance.

The beginning of this book had me in tears. It wasn’t shocking that Michael’s death was happening because it was given away in the synopsis. However, Claudia Burgoa wrote the grief that Aspen was feeling so well that I feel like I really felt her pain. I felt the loss she was going through. There was nothing more that I wanted than Aspen making it through and falling in love. When Anderson came in the picture, I wanted to swoon. He was so good with her and her feelings, and yet, he also wasn’t afraid to call her out on things. When she was open and then put her walls back up, Anderson would tell her like it is. Sometimes, people need to just hear it like it is.

Aspen’s best friends were also pretty awesome as well. The characters and their developments were written well. This book flowed amazingly and I would recommend it to anyone.

The only thing that would bother some is that there are a few grammatical errors. I usually knock off a star for that because I am a massive grammar snob, but the story was so good that I had to give this book five stars. I really hope Claudia Burgoa has more books on the way!

Rating: ★★★★★