weekly wrap-up 8/12

• This weekend we celebrated Bay’s adoptionversary! It’s been three years and I can’t imagine life without her ♥

• Apparently I missed out on #InternationalCatDay! I don’t have cats or want cats, but I have an outrageous amount of cat-print clothing. Once I joked with a friend about wanting to wear nothing but cat clothes for a week just to see if anyone at work would notice! I might have missed the official day, but I made up for it the following day with a cute sleeveless blouse!

• But, naturally, sleeveless + office life does NOT mix and I shared a photo of the absurdity happening in my front seat. I have six sweaters and cardigans driving around with me right now, all different colors and weights so I’m always prepared for the tundra that is my building.

• Three books down this week, with hopefully a fourth by this afternoon. Lauren Blakely’s The Real Deal was a fantastic contemporary romance, I reread Wuthering Heights (I haven’t read it since high school – 12 years ago!), and I impulse-grabbed an audiobook called Daphne, written by M.C. Beaton under her penname Marion Chesney. Sweet and short.

• MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? Just one post this week: the novel of August I need to get my hands on. There aren’t too many coming out this month that are calling my name, but out of the 8 listed, I have early copies of 5 of them! Lucky me!

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August 2018 releases I need to get my hands on!

A new month brings new releases that are screaming my name! Inspired by a two-part series I did last year where I highlighted the books of the first and second halves of 2017, this year I’m doing it a little differently. Instead of breaking it down by genre, I’m focusing on each month’s releases I need in my life.

Curious about previous books I featured?
2017
non-fic
sci-fi/fantasy part 1 | sci-fi/fantasy part 2
contemporary part 1 | contemporary part 2
historical fiction part 1 | historical fiction part 2
mystery/suspense part 1 | mystery/suspense part 2

2018
May releases I need to get my hands on!
June releases I need to get my hands on!

Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black | August 7
First mentioned back in November, Girl at the Grave is a novel I’ve been looking forward to for nearly a year! This historical YA follows Valentine, a girl trying to outrun her mother’s infamous legacy. It’s only natural for fingers to point Valentine’s way once a new string of murders shake their small town. The one person who believes Valentine’s innocent? The son of the man her mother murdered.

I’m SO here for murder. Especially historical murder!

With You Always by Rena Olsen | August 7
Cheating already! I received a finished copy of this one a few weeks ago, though I had NO idea it was even a thing! I really enjoyed Rena’s debut, The Girl Before, and am delighted she has a new one for me to devour!

Julia feels lost after a painful break-up until Bryce seemingly swoops into her life out of nowhere. Handsome and charming, he encourages Julia to live her best life and keeps her grounded with his rock-solid faith. Julia views this new relationship as her picture-perfect ending…but as the months go by, she begins to realize her happily ever after is turning into a nightmare.

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker | August 7
Another I already own, but AAAAHHHH NEW K.A. TUCKER!! Honestly, I’ll read anything this woman writes ♥!

The Alaskan wilderness, a ruggedly handsome pilot, a daughter reconnecting with her father. Yes, yes, and yes.

Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang | August 14
Aaand another I have. (Even though I’m not featuring too many releases this month, I’m so lucky that I managed to score so many of the ones I wanted to read!) Jessie should be looking forward to a summer spent at her aunt and uncle’s house. Unfortunately, her cousin has an awful new best friend, which leaves Jessie out in the cold. She takes it upon herself to make the most of her summer, however, and convinces the grouchy neighborhood dog walker to take her on as an apprentice. When a rival dog walker begins stealing their clients, Jessie isn’t going to go down without a fight.

Oddly enough this summer I have two dog walker reads, the other an adult novel. If dog walking is the newest trend in books, sign me up!

Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul | August 21
Dual era ✔
Real historical figures ✔
Scandal and the monarchy ✔ and ✔

If there was ever a book for me, seriously. Another Woman’s Husband bounces between 1911 and 1997 as a 15-year-old befriends a carefree spitfire of a girl named Wallis Warfield and when the death of a princess shook the world. I’ll admit, I’m VERY intrigued by the Wallis Simpson story – though I’m equally looking forward to the Diana one. What’s interesting is that neither woman narrates, both sides are told through the eyes of another. The blurb also mentions “the revelation of a long-forgotten link” and you know I am already hooked!

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick | August 21
I first became aware of Nicola Cornick after a GoodReads Recommends post (based on my favorite read of 2016). I ended up receiving an early copy of House of Shadows and loved it even more than I expected, so it was a no-brainer when I heard she was coming out with a new one: I needed this book in my life. The powers that be smiled down on this little blogger and I received an early copy of The Phantom Tree, aaahhhh!!

While browsing antique shops, Alison comes across a painting of Anne Boleyn, though she knows the true subject is Mary Seymour. How? Because she was there at Wolf Hall with Mary…five centuries earlier in 1557. UM YES!

Vox by Christina Dalcher | August 21
Vox is already one of THE books of the summer and I have a copy all set for me to dive right into! On average, people speak around 16,000 words a day. In Vox, women have been almost totally silenced: now only permitted a vocabulary of a mere 100 words. With the language goes their ability to hold jobs, soon girls are no longer taught to read and write. Dr. Jean McClellan refuses to accept this new America and makes the ultimate decision for herself, her daughter, for every woman silenced: she will reclaim her voice.

In Another Time by Caroline Leech | August 28
1942, the Scottish Highlands. Maisie is doing her part in the war effort as a lumberjill with the Women’s Timber Corps. With her job comes her first taste of independence and blossoming friendships…including one with John. The more Maisie tries to get closer, however, the more John pulls away until a terrible accident one day, leading to John revealing the truth about his past and the pain he’s been carrying ever since.

I mean, what could be better than a swoony WWII Scottish romance? Exactly.

weekly wrap-up 7/5

• This weekend is our local orchard’s Summer Harvest Festival: a farmer’s market, tractor rides, games, and it’s also our town’s wing cook-off! As much as I love summer, we’re heading into all the fall festivals and I am SO excited! (Also, it means my birthday – 30! – is just around the corner!) What fun events does your town do??

• Speaking of birthdays, this week was full of them! On the 2nd, my niece turned 7 and the following day this little blog turned 7 as well!!

• A woman I used to work with would read/re-read one classic novel every summer. I was recently looking for a new audiobook to listen to and ended up becoming inspired by her – I noticed a copy of Wuthering Heights available at my library and pounced. It’s been 12 years since I read it and I’m curious to see how/if my feelings have changed! Have you revisited any high school required reading??

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? I shared my mini review round-up for July: historical romance, non-fic, Middle Grade, and a super buzzy thriller! I also recapped July.

FOR REVIEW
Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey
With a tagline like Has she been stolen or rescued? and blurbs from some pretty fantastic authors (Chevy Stevens, Zoje Stage, Wendy Walker, Kate Moretti, etc), it’s hard NOT to be intrigued! When Sarah spots 5-year-old Emma, she takes her and flees. In Sarah’s mind, she’s saving Emma from a damaging homelife with neglectful parents. Not surprisingly, a massive search for the girl soon gets underway and, as the pair hide out, they begin to form a bond…despite Emma’s real mother waiting at home for her daughter’s return. Over the weekend I started reading a few chapters of this one and I’m looking forward to diving back into it. Thank you, St. Martin’s Griffin!

july 2018 recap


WHAT I…DID

• We celebrated three years of homeownership! Or, as I prefer to think of it, almost our third adoptaversary! Matt said we couldn’t get a dog until we had our own house (the place we were renting was pet-free :(. WELL, he learned the hard way you can’t stand between a girl and a puppy – two weeks after closing on the house, we brought home Baylor. And two years after that we added Nacho to our family ♥

• Speaking of adoption, my mom adopted a puppy of her own last month!

• We binged the second season of GLOW, finished Cheers, started marathoning Frasier, and devoured Lords & Ladles. I am one happy girl.

• Matt and I have fallen hard for this cheddar jalapeno bread. We’ve been long-time buyers at the farmers market, but recently the company opened an actual shop. This is SO bad for our wallets, but so good for our bellies ha!

• In July I read a total of 9 books, 6 print, 3 audio. My favorites were Ghosted (review below!), The Mistress of Paris, A Duke in the Night, and Love From Boy. I’ve been falling a bit behind on my reading, maybe it’s a summer thing? Here’s to seeing what August brings!

WHAT I…REVIEWED

GHOSTED BY ROSIE WALSH was a fantastic, engrossing debut. After a whirlwind week-long romance, Eddie leaves for a holiday in Spain, promising to call once his plane lands. …only, Sarah doesn’t hear from him. As the hours turn into days and then into weeks, she becomes convinced there was a reason for his abrupt vanishing act: he’s not replying to texts, not answering phone calls, not even responding to facebook messages. Her friends think she needs to move on, after all she’s only known the guy a week, but Sarah wants answers. I blew through this one and it deserves all the praise and hype it’s getting! And that twist!!

WHAT I…BLOGGED

JUNE 2018 RECAP

LEAH’S TOP READS OF 2018: PART 1

WHAT’S MAKING ME HAPPY THIS WEEK
7/7
7/14
7/21
7/28

WEEKLY WRAP-UP
7/1
7/8
7/15
7/22
7/29

July’s mini review round-up

A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen | February 20, 2018
The first book in Kelly’s Devils of Dover series, and my intro to her work! Trust me, it won’t be my last! August Faulkner has something of a reputation – with women and with business. He has an extraordinary talent for seeking out good business deals and turning them into even greater profits, so when he learned Haverhall School for Young Ladies was for sale, he leapt at the chance to purchase the grand estate..anonymously, of course.

Ten years ago August, on a dare, asked a young woman for a dance, and Clara Hayward hasn’t forgotten that night. Neither has August. Though deemed a wallflower and a spinster by society, Clara is fully confident in who she is and happy to devote her time to her students (she has some incredibly progressive and eye-opening methods to her teaching!), one of whom happens to be August’s younger sister. A decade after their initial meeting these two are brought back together and I absolutely loved every minute of their story! I would love to spend more time with them, but the second book focuses on Clara’s sister, though I’m positive Clara and August will make an appearance!

A huge thank you to Forever Romance for a review copy!

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage | July 17, 2018
The buzziest of the buzzed-about summer reads. Seven-year-old Hanna loves her daddy oh so very much. Mommy, on the other hand… well, Mommy needs to go. I love a creepy kid novel and Baby Teeth totally fit the bill – Hanna has refused to speak until now, and when she does it’s as Marie-Anne Dufosset, the last woman in France to be executed for witchcraft. Each plot to rid the world of Mommy get more and more creative and brutal, from scattering thumbtacks around Suzette’s bed to legit trying to set her on fire.

Zoje Stage is a Pittsburgh gal and that was one of the reasons I was so intrigued by this one. Oddly enough, the setting (Pittsburgh) took me out of the novel. More than once I found myself completely immersed in the story, only to see a restaurant or radio station I’m familiar with get a shout-out and was instantly brought back to reality. Despite this, Baby Teeth was a fun, incredibly engrossing read that I’m positive will receive a TON of attention this summer.

A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press for a review copy!

California Summer by Anita Hughes | June 19, 2018
After learning of her husband’s infidelity, Rosie leaves their Hollywood home where she and Ben built a life and production company together, for the solitude of Montecito. Her plan is to lie low at her friend’s parents’ estate, licking her wounds while simultaneously winning Ben back and forging a new life of her own. Between running over a man’s surfboard and gaining a new friend in the owner of a chocolate shop, Rosie begins to wonder if Montecito is really right for her…or maybe it’s exactly where she needs to be.

This one is a quintessential beach read, total fluff with some low key drama to keep readers turning the pages. I mean, what else would you expect from a title like California Summer? Rosie ultimately rediscovers a passion for cooking and the book includes a few recipes: guac and fish tacos – both sound absolutely fab and I’m curious to try them!

A huge thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin for a review copy!

Breakout by Kate Messner | June 5, 2018
Told through letters, texts, and journal entries, Breakout is the story of a VERY interesting summer project. With the community planning a time capsule, each student is given the chance to include items for extra credit and they have all summer to work on it. Well! That summer, a pair of inmates escape a maximum security prison and a manhunt unfolds.

I initially went into Breakout expecting a Middle Grade read I would breeze through. I’m thrilled to say this book was SO much more and took me by surprise. Breakout is instead an extremely thought-provoking novel about racism. While this wasn’t the lighthearted romp I anticipated, I’m so glad I took a chance with this one.

A huge thank you to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for a review copy!

The Mistress of Paris by Catherine Hewitt | January 24, 2017
First mentioned in my list of the non-fic of 2017 I needed to get my hands on, The Mistress of Paris instantly appealed to me and it was during a weekend spent doing yardwork that I finally settled in with it. The moment I saw the audiobook was available I pounced! Subtitled The 19th-Century Courtesan Who Built an Empire on a Secret, this bio tells the tale of Comtesse Valtesse de la Bigne, a highly celebrated French courtesan. What the adoring public didn’t know, however, was their beloved Valtesse was born into poverty and lived on the streets before rising to the upper echelons of society. Having princes as lovers, being a muse for renowned painters and authors, Valtesse knew what she wanted – and how to make it happen.

I’m a huge non-fic fan – especially when it comes to audio – and I was more than happy with this one. If biographies of fascinating, self-made women are your thing, look no further.

Love From Boy: Roald Dahl’s Letters to His Mother by Donald Sturrock | September 6, 2016
You all know I’m a massive Dahl fan and might have mentioned this book once or twice or twenty times while reading. From the time he was 9 and away at boarding school for the first time through his years in the military and into fatherhood, Roald Dahl wrote letters to his mother. Unbeknownst to anyone until after her death, she kept every single one of those letters – over 600 in all!

While a good number of them have been mentioned in his autobiographies, I still delighted in reading them – though a thousand thanks to the publishers for having these letters typed: the handwritten copies that made it into the book are VERY hard to decipher ha! Even as a boy he displays the humor I’ve come to adore – and he was clearly a fan of dirty jokes! Though I enjoyed this one immensely, many of the letters felt as though they could have come from any boy away at school or any soldier writing home, especially since so many were censored. I think a casual fan might not find this collection as interesting as I did.

weekly wrap-up 7/29

• Remember the cheddar jalapeno bread I drooled over a few weeks ago? Yesterday Matt and I stopped by for more – it’s so good! He also got us croissants and I was initially hesitant but wow. They were phenomenal and not at all greasy and gross like the croissants I’ve had in the past!

• I just finished reading a nonfic, Love From Boy, a collection of letter Roald Dahl wrote to his mother. The letters span about 40 or so years, from when he was 9 and just off to boarding school throughout adulthood. His mother had kept over 600 of them! A sweet, quick read, and now I’m in that dreaded limbo between books! What are you reading??

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? Rosie Walsh’s fantastic debut, Ghosted, completely captivated me. A couple fall madly in love over the course of a week, then he vanishes. No phone calls, no texts, he doesn’t even reply to her facebook messages. Though Sarah’s friends think she needs to forget about Eddie and move on, she’s absolutely convinced there’s a reason. There was a twist in this one I wasn’t expecting at all! I also shared what’s making me happy this week!

FOR REVIEW
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle
This magical realism novel has been getting a fair bit of buzz this summer! Compared to One Day and Me Before You, this book explores that age-old question of if you could invite anyone – living or dead – to dinner, who would you pick? It’s Sabrina’s thirtieth birthday and as she arrives, she sees not just her friends, but people from her past…and a very perturbed Audrey Hepburn who does NOT appreciate waiting an hour for the birthday girl! I am so so so looking forward to this one! Thank you, Flatiron Books!

what’s making me happy this week 7/28

New feature alert! Inspired by an old feature of mine (the saturday six) and What’s Making Us Happy This Week, a segment on Pop Culture Happy Hour where they share anything making them happy from comedy specials to youtube videos, every Saturday I’ll be sharing a few things that’s making ME happy. Feel free to share what made you smile this week!

THERE’S TALK OF A FRASIER REBOOT!!!! I was at work when I first found out about this and legit shrieked. Frasier is my absolute favorite show ever and – perfect timing, Matt and I are currently binging the series on Netflix! (It only seemed fitting after we finished Cheers!) I could end the post right here, that’s how happy this news made me ♥

• In other exciting television news, Deadwood is coming back!! …as a tv movie, but still!

• In last week’s wrap-up I mentioned having an absurd amount of bananas and that I made banana pecan pancakes. So delicious and I’ve been on a banana pecan pancake kick ever since!

The Librarian and the Astrophysicist.

• I’m currently reading Love From Boy, a collection of letters Roald Dahl wrote to his mother, spanning from when he was 9 and away at school through adulthood. Unbeknownst to Roald, his mother kept every single letter he ever wrote – over 600 in all!

• Can I say FRASIER REBOOT again, because seriously.