The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

the-coincidence-of-coconut-cake-9781501100710_hrIt’s been awhile since I’ve read a light-hearted romance novel. You know the ones. They’re fluffy and easy reading. It doesn’t take much thought to follow them and they almost always pull at your heartstrings. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake does just that. After an exhausting read like American Gods, Reichert’s light romance was great for cleansing the reading palette. Not only that, but it offered a beautiful story of love lost, found, lost, and found again. Reichert brings to life characters that are easy to fall in love with.

In The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, we met Lou (short for Luella, a middle name) who is a chef running her own French restaurant. While Lou might not have her whole life together, she knows what she wants and she’s going for her dreams. Until a local food critic tears her restaurant to shreds on the same day her engagement falls to pieces. But as luck would have it, she runs into a newbie to the town of Milwaukee. A young British fellow who can’t find what there is to love about this town with all the beer. Lou takes it upon herself to enlighten him to all the wonders of their fair town and along the way he captures her heart. But there are secrets buried in this budding romance and Lou’s heart will be tested.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a love story we’ve read before but Reichert’s take on it makes it all the more endearing. I will warn you, if you decide to pick this one up, don’t read hungry. Once you finish though, you can satisfy your cravings with the coconut cake recipe Reichert provides in the back.

The Girl on the Train

514958ss-9l-_sx318_bo1204203200_I’m not big on mysteries. Unless you count those “library mystery” books. You know the ones. They’re around 200 pages long, usually involve a cat and a very bookish owner. Anyway, that’s about as far as my affection for mystery novels goes. I’ve never even read any of The Hardy Boys books!

But The Girl on the Train is the first mystery novel that I’ve delved into and I’m glad it was my first. It was an easy read and kept me entertained. Unfortunately, about two-thirds through the book, I had figured out the ending. The characters, while relatable, were very frustrating. There wasn’t a single character that I absolutely fell in love with. Paula Hawkins manages to highlight every character’s flaw and amplify it. They almost become like those annoying flies that buzz around your head in the dead of summer.

The Girl on the Train had been on my list for quite some time and I especially wanted to read it after seeing that there was a movie coming out. I like to read novels before seeing the movie. This is one instance I think the movie will be much more interesting than the book.

If you’re looking for a mystery novel to kill the time with, The Girl on the Train is a good choice. But don’t expect it to shock you.

 

The Kitchen House

6837103Imagine your entire family gone. No memory of who you are or where you came from, and suddenly being pushed into a world you’re unfamiliar with.

Lavinia is a young girl who is in such a situation. Brought to a Virginian plantation by a captain who found her on a ship, alone and sick. She is placed in the kitchen house with a group of slaves who quickly become her family. But Lavinia isn’t used to the segregation and she doesn’t quite understand the nuances of her new place in the world.

With people like Mama Mae and twins, Fanny and Beattie, her world isn’t just loneliness and heartache. She makes her place in their world, not knowing that one day she’ll soon have to join a different crowd.

Kathleen Grissom brings to light the hardships of being a slave in the 18th century and how one child can change things for the better. The Kitchen House is a tremendous story with underlying tones of issues still going on today. A roller coaster ride of emotions, it’s incredibly difficult to put down. Grissom manages to give two sides to her story without drowning in details and getting lost in the timeline. Alternating chapters between the two main characters, Lavinia and Belle, make for a well-rounded book.

Be prepared if you choose to pick this book up. You will finish it and be emotionally exhausted. But you won’t regret adding this to your bookshelf!

They stick around.

I just recently joined the #bookstagram family and I have to say it is the best and worst thing I’ve ever done. For one thing, I’ve started following quite a few other book lovers. I love being a part of a community who loves to read as much as these people do. Their own instagram accounts are great for recommendations on what to read next. But that’s what leads to my problem. I now have so many books to read that I don’t know when I’ll finish them all!

I guess there are worse problems to have.

In an effort to let you know a little more about me, I thought I would share with you a few books that have stuck with me. These are books I definitely wouldn’t mind reading again.

51gfkfjupcl-_sx322_bo1204203200_1. The Night Circus – If you haven’t picked up this book, I highly suggest you run to your nearest bookstore and grab a copy. Filled with magic, romance, and mystery you can’t go wrong with this novel. It’s been a couple of years since I read it last but I would love to get lost in it again.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird – I have to confess, I didn’t read this until last year. Most people I know apparently had to read it for school but I was never subjected to that. And honestly, I’m kinda happy about that. I think if I’d been forced to read it for school I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did.

3. Orphan Train – I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy this book when I first picked it up. It had been recommended on multiple occasions to me and I couldn’t understand why. But I got pulled in quick! I’m a huge history nerd. I love anything dealing with it, especially World War 2 era. That combined with the intertwiningorphan-train-cover-001 of two different but very similar stories intrigued me to no end.

4. Seveneves – I’m not usually too crazy about sci-fi books. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy them but they’re not my go-to. In fact, I usually judge them by their covers. But Seveneves was amazing. Dealing with the end of the world, Stephenson manages to pull me in and keep me in the midst of the chaos that happens. This book was long. Longer than most of our book club books are. But we got through it, and while I have some complaints about it, overall it was well worth the read.

These are just a few of the books that still intrigue me to this day. Most I will definitely go back and read at some point. And I can’t wait to see what other books make the list of the unforgettable.

What are some books that you could read again and again? Are there any that hold a special place in your heart?

A Dog’s Purpose

7723542If you’ve watched any TV lately, you’ve probably seen a trailer for an upcoming movie titled A Dog’s Purpose. I have to tell you, that trailer made me laugh and cry all in the two minutes it lasts. Which of course, makes me want to go see the movie. But when I’d heard it was based off a book, I had to add it to my reading list.

Best. Decision. Ever.

This is by far one of the best books I’ve read recently. Part of that could because I’m an animal lover but another part of it is because this book is so well written. W. Bruce Cameron takes us on a rollercoaster of a ride starting with puppydom to adulthood and back again. Cameron spins a story of a dog that keeps being born, looking for his purpose in this crazy world. And with each birth, he finds it. From being a stray to a search and rescue, this canine finds its way in the world and then some.

A Dog’s Purpose pulls at your heartstrings and makes you bubble with laughter. I caught myself often wondering if this was how my dog saw the world. I warn you, if you pick this book up, have a box of tissues and a canine companion nearby. You will want nothing more than to snuggle into a dog while reading this charming novel.

Even knowing how it ends, I can’t wait to see the movie later this month. Maybe I’ll even pick up Cameron’s other book, A Dog’s Journey.

The Age of Miracles

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What would you do if the world stopped turning? If the sun no longer set at its usual time? If the crops started dying? If the boy you liked never looked your way?

The Age of Miracles is a unique coming-of-age story about a young girl named Julia and the life she leads when her world literally stops turning. Karen Thompson Walker pulls us into an apocalyptic world like no other. Usually, when I think of the world ending, I envision nuclear warfare, a large meteor striking Earth, a major natural disaster. But Walker’s version is much more subtle however no less traumatic.

Julia is a young girl on the verge of teenager-dom, dealing with the ebb and flow of friendships as she moves from elementary school to middle school. She is living in a world full of personal drama and family drama. Add the end of the world to that, how would you react?

Ms. Walker creates an illusionary world of long days and freezing cold nights. However, as out of the realm this may seem, Walker’s vision seems absolutely realistic. I found myself coming out of her story and wondering why there was nothing on the news about “The Slowing” as she calls it. The Age of Miracles asks what society would do if the apocalypse was not so quick and dramatic as has been portrayed before.

If you’re looking for a unique, out of this world novel, I highly recommend picking up The Age of Miracles.

Unlocked

22574100I grew up in a Christian home. My father is a preacher, my mother the daughter of a deacon. Religion has been a big part of my life. But as such, I’ve never been a big reader of Christian novels. However, I enjoy when someone loans me a book they think I’ll enjoy or just one they want to discuss with me.

My mother loaned me Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury. She’s big on Kingsbury books and has loaned me a few previously. While Kingsbury’s books offer heartwarming stories, her writing style seems like something written by a middle-schooler. Unlocked is no different.

Kingsbury spins a story about an autistic boy and his long-lost best friend. She depicts the trials of having an autistic child and the loss of friendships. We’re pulled into a story that is heart-wrenching yet filled with hope.

If a reader can look past the technicalities of Kingsbury’s writing, you’re sure to find an inspirational story.

A Prayer for Owen Meany

4473 I had never had the pleasure of reading any of John Irving’s books. Little did I know how much of a prolific writer he is. When I was younger, I’d watched the movie Cider House Rules, but being that young I couldn’t really appreciate it. I’d like to go back and watch it again some day.

As part of the book club I take part in, A Prayer for Owen Meany was chosen. I was a bit dubious as to whether I would enjoy this story or not. I know they say never judge a book by its cover but I still tend to do so. And I was definitely not impressed with this one. Written in 1989 about two boys growing up in a small town of New Hampshire, I wasn’t inspired to devour this book as quickly as I usually would.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. We are introduced to the two young characters, John Wheelwright and Owen Meany, as their friendship grows and the adventures they encounter through their years. The town of Gravesend is the setting for these youngsters as they learn to grow up through whatever life may throw at them. Tragedy strikes early and sometimes the boys seek out trouble of their own, but through it all they stick together.

Owen Meany, a strange little boy, is even stranger when it is revealed he thinks that he is God’s gift and that he was put here for a purpose. How many times have we wondered what our purpose is? And here is this young boy who already seems to know. Owen’s “knowledge” makes their escapades even more interesting.

Parts of Irving’s book were a bit dry, and the story was a tad difficult to get into, but after a few pages, it was hard to put down. The ending is a bit predictable but A Prayer for Owen Meany certainly is thought provoking and entertaining.

Wicked Intentions

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I’ve read a few of Elizabeth Hoyt’s books in the past. They’ve always been very enjoyable. So when I had the chance to read her newest book, Wicked Intentions, I was very excited.

Ms. Hoyt is quite the storyteller. She manages to pull the reader in and not let them go. And if you’re into romance novels, she’s an exquisite writer. Wicked Intentions is no different.

Set in London, the story opens upon the widow Temperance Dews. Now a co-owner of her father’s charitable orphan home, she and her brother Winter are fighting to find a way to keep the home open and help the children of St. Giles.

One evening she is approached by a mysterious Lord Caire who seeks her help in an investigation. By doing so, he will introduce her to the high and mighty of society to see if she can find a patron for the home.

The characters are loveable (and frustrating at times). The story flows well and leaves no questions unanswered. However, the erotic scenes in the book seem oddly placed in context with the storyline. Not only that but there is a touch of BDSM in the scenes which makes me feel like Hoyt is simply trying to ride on the success of Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not opposed to this but it feels as if this detail was put in the story simply to attract the same audience. As the story comes to an end, it’s almost as if Hoyt became weary of writing and just wanted the story to end. Very anticlimactic.

For a quick and easy read, this book is perfect. It doesn’t require much thought to follow the progression of the story and allows for some mystery throughout. If you’re looking to get into Elizabeth Hoyt’s novels, this would be a good first choice.