Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: "Duty to the Crown" by Aimie K. Runyan

From Goodreads:  In 1667, an invisible wall separates settlers in New France from their Huron neighbors. Yet whether in the fledgling city of Quebec or within one of the native tribes, every woman’s fate depends on the man she chooses—or is obligated—to marry.

Although Claudine Deschamps and Gabrielle Giroux both live within the settlement, their prospects are very different. French-born Claudine has followed her older sister across the Atlantic hoping to attract a wealthy husband through her beauty and connections. Gabrielle, orphan daughter of the town drunkard, is forced into a loveless union by a cruel law that requires her to marry by her sixteenth birthday. And Manon Lefebvre, born in the Huron village and later adopted by settlers, has faced the prejudices of both societies and is convinced she can no longer be accepted in either. Drawn into unexpected friendship through their loves, losses, and dreams of home and family, all three women will have to call on their bravery and resilience to succeed in this new world…

My Thoughts:  Duty to the Crown is such a great sequel.  I loved the first book and was eager to read more about the amazing characters.  Duty to the Crown did not disappoint and I was sucked back in almost immediately.

There are a lot of highs and lows in this book.  At times it felt like an emotional rollercoaster but I really appreciated the fact that the author kept the story real.  She didn't sugar coat anything and events that transpired were in line with what the reality of that time.  There were sad moments but when I sat back and thought about them, I remembered that those kinds of events happened all the time in that era and I like that the author kept the story more historically 'real'. (Sorry for being vague, I don't want to give anything away!).

The characters still continue to be great.  I loved watching the girls grow into smart, strong young women.   Gabrielle experienced some hard times but I enjoyed seeing her strength as she dealt with so much adversity.  I think Claudine became one of my favorites in this book.  I really didn't like her in the beginning but she changed so much throughout the course of the story and she became such a fascinating character.  

This book also showed a little of the legalities of life in the Canadian colony and I found the court proceedings detailed in the story as well as some of the laws pertaining to women and marriage to be really interesting.  The laws didn't work out much in the favor of women but I always find it interesting to read about the status of women in different time periods.

Duty to the Crown is another great story from Aimie K. Runyan.  If you haven't read any of the 'Daughters of New France' books, I would highly recommend them!  4 stars.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Review: "Hungry Heart" by Jennifer Weiner

From Goodreads:  Jennifer Weiner is many things: a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Twitter phenomenon, and “an unlikely feminist enforcer” (The New Yorker). She’s also a mom, a daughter, and a sister; a former rower and current cyclist; a best friend and a reality TV junkie. In her first foray into nonfiction, she takes the raw stuff of her personal life and spins into a collection of essays on modern womanhood as uproariously funny and moving as the best of Tina Fey, Fran Lebowitz, and Nora Ephron.

Jennifer grew up as an outsider in her picturesque Connecticut hometown (“a Lane Bryant outtake in an Abercrombie & Fitch photo shoot”) and at her Ivy League college, but finally found her people in newsrooms in central Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, and her voice as a novelist, activist, and New York Times columnist.

No subject is off-limits in this intimate and honest essay collection: sex, weight, envy, money, her mom’s newfound lesbianism, and her estranged father’s death. From lonely adolescence to modern childbirth to hearing her six-year-old daughter’s use of the f-word—fat­­—for the first time, Jennifer Weiner goes there, with the wit and candor that have endeared her to readers all over the world.

By turns hilarious and deeply touching, this collection shows that the woman behind treasured novels like Good in Bed and Best Friends Forever is every bit as winning, smart, and honest in real life as she is in her fiction.

My Thoughts:  I fell in love with Jennifer Weiner's books when I read Good in Bed in college. Since then, I have read quite of few of her books and I feel like her books always speak to me.  She writes about topics I can relate to and I think that's why I enjoy her books so much.  
This memoir, like her novels, spoke to me in ways that I can't even describe.  I know it's her life story but there were so many parts of the book that felt so familiar to me.  I was an awkward, bookish kid from a dysfunctional family and reading the stories of her childhood made me feel more normal. I especially loved her descriptions of the difficult children in her family, they reminded me very much of my own little girl and cracked me up.  Everything she wrote about motherhood was spot on!  I also enjoyed her discussion of  books and reading and how they impacted her life; as someone who has always been an avid reader, her stories really hit home for me.

 Hungry Heart is an incredibly funny book and I found myself laughing out loud multiple times (which is kind of embarrassing when you're in the middle of an airport).  But it was also really poignant to read about her father, his issues, and how she and her family dealt with that.  I was impressed with her strength and ability to overcome the situation with her father.

Overall, I really, really loved this book.  I was impressed with Ms. Weiner's activism, ties to her family and how goal oriented she is.  Honestly, after reading this book, I personally see her as a role model for women everywhere.  I am so glad I read this book and I would highly recommend it to anyone (even you haven't read Ms. Weiner's works of fiction).  4 1/2 stars.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

September 2016 Wrap Up

It's fall and the holiday season is fast approaching!  I am so excited as the next few months are my favorite time of the year!  My daughter and I read a bunch of Halloween books yesterday, did a Halloween craft and we watched Halloweentown this morning.  I love the holidays! I've also already started listening to Christmas music (don't judge!). : )

September felt like a slow reading month but I still managed to read 9 books this month so I can't really complain.  Since I already met my goal of 52 books for the year, I decided to bump it up to 80.  I only have to read 6 books a month for the rest of the year to hit that goal so I think it's doable.  I haven't been super excited about most of the books I'm reading and I'm hoping that will change soon.  I'm really close to beating my non-fiction numbers from last year and I'm so happy about it!  I'll have to back and see what my non-fiction goal was for the year but I'm pretty happy with where I'm at.

Here are my reading stats for September:

-9 books read
   -3 non-fiction
   -2 historical fiction
   -1 review book
   -6 library books
   -2 books I own
   -5 ebooks

What I read in September:

1.) Dreamers by Eileen Truax - 4 stars
2.) Finding Rebecca by Eoin Dempsey - 3 stars
3.) My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege - 3 stars
4.) Days of Sun and Glory by Anna Belfrage 
5.) The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller - 3 stars
6.) Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas - 4 stars
7.) The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller - 3 stars
8.) The Marriage Season by Linda Lael Miller - 3 stars
9.) Higher Education in the Digital Age by William Bown
I hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Mailbox Monday (66)

I haven't done a Mailbox Monday post in a while and since I got a ton of books this week, I decided to go ahead and put one up.  It's been such a relaxing weekend and today is my 6 year wedding anniversary so it's been a good few days!

My local library had their big fall sale this week; I had two coupons for free books and decided to stop by.  I meant to only get two books and wound up getting 10 books and visiting on two different days.  They had an amazing selection of non-fiction books this time and all of the books I got are practically brand new so I couldn't resist the price! 

For Review:

From the Library:



My Life by Bill Clinton

What books did you get this week?
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