Review: The Carriage House by Louisa Hall

The Carriage House: A Novel by Louisa Hall
Publication: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Scribner
Format: ARC provided by publisher
Rating: 2/5

After suffering a stroke, patriarch William Adair wakes up in his hospital bed and realizes that his family has changed: they are less extraordinary than he had remembered. For more than thirty years, his faith in life was grounded on two indisputable principles: his three daughters’ exceptional beauty and talents and the historical resonance of a carriage house built by his grandfather. Now, both have begun to collapse.
The carriage house, held captive by a neighbor since a zoning error classified it as her property, has decayed beyond recognition and risks being condemned. William’s daughters—all tennis champions in their youth—are in decline. Having lost their father’s pride, the three sisters struggle to define themselves. William’s ailing wife is suffering from dementia. As she forgets her daughters, they forget themselves.
To help him recover, William’s daughters take on the battle for the carriage house that once stood as a symbol of their place in the world. Overcoming misunderstandings, betrayals, and wrong turns deep in the past, each of the Adairs ultimately finds a new place of forgiveness and love. The Carriage House is a moving, beautifully wrought novel about the complex bonds of siblings and about rebuilding lost lives.

My Thoughts
When I first read what this story was about I was really tempted to read it. I seemed like a great story of a family brought together after their father’s stroke. Boy was I disappointed. I couldn’t for the life of me get into this story. I tried several times but just couldn’t. I never like to not finish a book so I struggled several times to get to the end.
I wasn’t connecting to the characters. The patriarch William was a man who in my opinion was just plain mean and insensitive to his daughters. All he cared about was imagine, the old carriage house and what others thought of him and his family. All three daughters tried so hard to live up to his expectations that they failed to really live their lives for themselves. Not to mention their mother who was suffering from dementia was mainly unheard of since she was isolated upstairs most of the time. Then there was her caretaker, who if you asked me was a character one too many. I mean there were so many characters it was kind of hard to keep track of them all. If William had put more of an effort into caring for his daughters much as he did trying to save that carriage house maybe I’ve enjoyed the story more.

In the end there were just too many loose ends and things I didn’t get to truly enjoy this book. It wasn’t a bad book there were some good parts, just not enough for me to have this book worth it for me.


Blog Tour: None of The Regular Rules...Review + Giveaway

None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing
Publication date: November 20th 2012
Genre: YA Romance/Coming-of-Age
Rating: 3/5

Sometimes, a few dares can change lives…
The weekend before the start of senior year, Sophie Erickson and her best friends, Ella and Grace, discover a handwritten list of dares tucked away in the glove compartment of Sophie’s beat-up old Toyota. But this isn’t just any list; it’s a dead girl's bucket list.

Sophie's beloved aunt Suzy died as a teenager in a fatal fall, leaving Sophie with an overly cautious family, a few fading photographs, and a bucket of bolts that barely passes for a car. But now, Sophie has Suzy’s list of the things she wanted to do in her last year of high school. Sophie can't help but wonder: What would happen if she tried to fulfill Suzy’s last wishes, to live out the longed-for life of her aunt, her hero?

As Sophie and her friends attempt to knock off the things on Suzy's list of dares, love blossoms in unexpected places and Sophie begins to feel that her life is finally coming together...when in fact, everything is slowly unraveling around her. When the truth about a long-held family secret threatens to shatter everything she believed to be true, Sophie is forced to question everything she knew about the life and people she believed in, and ultimately herself.

 My Thoughts
I found this book somewhat inspiring. Sophie and her friends find a list and dares and decide to try and fulfill her dead aunts bucket list. While in the process of doing these dares Sophie not only finds out secrets about her aunt but about herself also.

Sophie has always been the reliable “good” girl. While trying to complete the list she comes to realize she never has really done the whole teenage thing. So she decides to use the list as a way to free herself and challenge herself like never before. This also means opening herself up and admitting her crush on the guy next door Johnny. I loved the romance between these two. They totally brought out the good things in each other. It’s a very sweet romance that’s never rushed or forced.

All in all this is a great coming of age story about growing up and finding out who you are. That discovering the past doesn’t define who you are; it’s just a pathway to becoming whom you were meant to be.

Add to Goodreads

           AUTHOR BIO

Erin Downing has written more than a dozen books for young adults, tweens, and kids. Her guilty pleasures include an unhealthy obsession with reality TV and cheesy romantic dramas (Revenge! Alias!), an addiction to Us Weekly magazine, and cupcakes. Before turning to writing full time, Erin worked as a book editor, spent a few months as a cookie inventor, and also worked for Nickelodeon. Erin has lived in England, Sweden, and New York City, and now resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and kids. More information about Erin and her books can be found at: www.erindowning.com.

Author Links:

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WoW [18]

Waiting on Wednesday (WoW) is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s Wow feature is:
The Registry by Shannon Stoker
Expected Publication: June 11, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow

Summary via Goodreads...
The Registry saved the country from collapse. But stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained by the state to fight to their death.

Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous thoughts. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.

All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.

….This just sounds really good…plain and simple. All this action you can’t help but be taken in.

So what are you all waiting on? Please share.


Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Authors I have on Auto-Buy

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list. List 10 things on the topic [or as many as possible]. Feel free to leave your link in the comments.
This weeks topic:
10 Authors I have on Auto-Buy...
Gillian Flynn

Rainbow Rowell

John Green

Emily Giffin

A.S. King

Lisa Kleypas

Jodi Picoult

Nicholas Sparks

Kristin Hannah

Wally Lamb

Gayle Forman

Those are my go to authors for reads I know will never disappoint. What are yours? Please leave me your link.


IMM [16]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren
It was a week filled with nothing but E-books!

 For Review via Edelweiss

Kindle Free Reads


Thanks to: Balzer & Bray, St. Martin’s Press, Washingston Square Press, Knopf, William Morrow, and Harper

 That’s my haul what’s yours? Please link me up.


Review: The Statistical Probability of Love by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Publication: January 2, 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Format: Purchased Kindle copy
Rating: 3/5
Challenges: 2013 TBR Pile & E-Book

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything? Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more? Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

My Thoughts
I’ve always been a believer in fate. Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me but I’ve always hoped that there was something more out there than meets the eye. I’ve imagined that all things happen for a reason so when I heard about this book I was totally taken by the concept of it.
As much as I liked the idea of the book when I read it I wasn’t that taken by it. I know I’m in the minority here. I’ve heard so many amazing things about it that maybe I just built it up too much in head. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it, I just wasn’t swept up by it like so many other people. Personally I just didn’t buy into the whole Hadley and Oliver "couple". I enjoyed their personal stories more.

All in all I enjoyed this story. I just think I would’ve enjoyed it more if I didn’t build it up in my mind so much. I think I just put too many expectations on it before I read it.


WoW [18]

Waiting on Wednesday (WoW) is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s Wow feature is:
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
Expected Publication: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books
Summary via Goodreads...
A gritty, psychological thriller that asks the question: How well can you know anyone? On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives—and unknowing families to protect—will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?

….I love a good thriller! This has everything that I love in a book. It has secrets, set in the summer, and a carnival? Now that’s something new.

So what are you all waiting on? Please share.


Top Ten Tuesday: Fave YA/Fiction Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and TheBookish.
Since my blog is equal YA and fiction I’ve decided to break it down in equal parts.

Top 5 YA Contemporary Characters

Park [Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell]
Park is someone I would’ve totally fallen for back in the day. A guy who could make me a mean mixtape wins my heart.

Dash [Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohen & David Levithan]
I like a guy who’s a bit of a smart-ass. I like that he would keep you on your toes.

Allie [The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz]
When her vinyl collection is described I knew I meant my kindred spirit.

 Katniss [The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins]
For her strong fearless self.

Mia [If I Stay by Gayle Forman]
The struggle she deals with deciding to fight or let go is haunting. Very touching.

Top 5 Fiction Characters

Ingrid [White Oleander by Janet Fitch]
For being a mean ruthless mom who even when in jail still has control over her daughter.

Holden [The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger]
One of my fave coming of age characters.

 Every character [To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee]
Simply put…  perfection!

Sidney [In The After by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro]
For being the ultimate keeper of secrets and for truly being a best friend.

Landon [A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks]
The bad boy with the heart of gold. All the things he did for Jamie just made me cry. I want a guy like that.
 That’s my Top Ten…what’s yours?


IMM [15]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren

YES!!! I was gifted this by my mom & sis this week. I’m so happy with this upgrade. It’s still in the plastic til I get a new cover this week.

For Review via Blog Tours
Things I Can't Forget [Hundred Oaks #3] by Miranda Kenneally
Expected publication: March 1, 2013
Sourcebooks Fire
Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
Expected publication: March 26, 2013

For Review via Edelweiss
The Vow by Jessica Martinez
Expected publication: October 15, 2013
Simon Pulse

The Time Between by Karen White
Expected publication: June 4, 2013

Kindle Free Reads
The Sisters Montclair by Cathy Holton
Published: August 1, 2012
Branwell Books

 Thanks to:
Sourcebooks, Bloomsbury, Simon Pulse, and NAL for all the fab reads!
That’s my haul what’s yours? Please link me up.


Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay [If I Stay #1] by Gayle Forman
Published: April 2009
Publisher: Speak
Format: Kindle E-Copy
Challenges: 2013 TBR Pile & E-Book
Rating: 5/5

 A critically acclaimed novel that will change the way you look at life, love, and family. In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heart wrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time. [Goodreads]

My Thoughts

Why on earth have I waited this long to read this book??!! From the first page I was hooked. I loved the story of Mia and her relationships with her family and especially Adam. The moment I realized she was in the accident I wanted to cry. Ok so I did cry several times throughout the book.

The writing was so realistic and beautiful it took my breath away. Now I know why everyone loves Gayle Forman’s writing so much. The way she writes through Mia’s voice was heartbreaking. Struggling with what choice to make was gut wrenching. Needless to say I’m now an official fan and will buy any and everything she writes.

I can’t wait to read Where She Went, which is the second book in the series. I read the sample via my Kindle and man oh man I was hooked again. Seeing how it’s told through the voice of Adam I so excited to see what happens! This is one series and author I just can’t get enough of.


WoW [17]

Waiting on Wednesday (WoW) is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
This week’s WoW feature is:
All The Summer Girls by Meg Donohue
Expected Publication: May 21, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Summary via Goodreads...
Three former best friends must confront secrets of their teenage past in order to find happiness in their adult lives in this charming and moving novel set among the sunsets and dunes of the New Jersey shoreline.

The lives of childhood best friends Kate, Vanessa, and Dani are unraveling. In Philadelphia, good girl Kate is dumped by her fiancé the very day she learns she is pregnant with his child. In New York City, beautiful, restless Vanessa, a stay-at-home mom, finds herself obsessively searching the Internet for news of an old flame. And in San Francisco, Dani, the wild child, an aspiring writer who can't seem to put down a book-or cocktail-long enough to pick up a pen, has just been fired from her twelfth job in half as many years.

In an effort to escape and regroup, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani return to the New Jersey beach town where they used to spend their summers. Emboldened by the seductive cadences of blue-sky days and warm nights, the friends find themselves doing things they would never do in their September-to-May lives. When the dark secrets they have kept from one another regarding the death of Kate's brother threaten to surface, the women begin to realize just how much their lives, and friendship, have been shaped by the choices they made on a fateful summer night eight years earlier. In the hope of finally moving forward, the women turn to one another for forgiveness-but how can they forgive each other when they can't forgive themselves?
First off...how cute is the cover? If this doesn't scream summer read I don't know what does. Besides that I can't pass up a book about underlying secrets. Sounds like a great summer time read with a little mystery thrown in for good measure.
So what are you all waiting on? Please share.


Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Expected Publication: March 5, 2013
Format: NetGalley/Finished copy from publisher
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Rating: 5/5
"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under. 

My Thoughts
How much can one love a book? Because I truly love this one. I haven't enjoyed a book as much as I did this one in a long time. As much as I enjoy reading sometimes it can become the same old same old or dare I say...boring?! I was so suprised when I read this one. It was a breath of fresh air. Though it takes place in the 80's it isn't dated.

As a child of the 80's I can totally relate. Although the time period drew me in, it's the love story that make me...frankly fall in love with this book. The story of your first love is something we can all relate to...good or bad. I've never smiled so much or laughed out loud as much as I did with this book. It's hard enough being a teenager much less falling in love and dealing with all those new and sometimes strange feelings.

Elenanor & Park is a wonderfully written book by the fab Rainbow Rowell. I mean come on her name alone makes me smile. I loved this book so much that I went searching for any previous books. To me that's a sign of a great writer, when you just want to read any and everything they've written.

All in all this is one of those books I will pass on, promote and tell everyone who will listen...GO AND GET THIS! Trust me you won't be disappointed.