April Book Haul | ARCs and Overindulgence

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Remember last month when I said I was hitting my stride? Yeah, that’s all over now. I went NUTS in April. Completely off the rails. Down the rabbit hole of indulgence and poor impulse control. One treat yo self turned into a lottttttttt of treat yo selves… you get the idea.

New Purchases:

I bought 16 brand new books this month. Oops. Daisy Jones and the Six, Fly Girls, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? were all bought at nearly full price at my local bulk store, and Rumple Buttercup was my only (and first ever) pre-order. Wicked Saints came from my OwlCrate box, and the rest were snagged super cheap at either my dollar store or a local discount store where books are only a couple of dollars a pop.

Used Purchases:

These are a mix of thrift store finds and books I got with my store credit at Second and Charles. I was especially excited to find The Nightingale for only 4 bucks!

Digital ARCs:

When I saw The Flight Girls on Netgalley I squealed. Literally. A noise came out of my mouth because I was so stinkin’ excited by the cover. Women Airforce Service Pilots are one of my all time favorite historical topics and I’m so mad at myself for somehow not knowing there was a historical fiction book being written about them! Then on the opposite side of the spectrum, I’ve been craving a good contemporary romance and Fix Her Up sounded too good to pass up.

Physical ARCs:

An Amish Reunion was delivered to me on its publishing date and I immediately started reading. I’ve been loving the Amish short story collections on audiobook and this was the first one I’ve actually read. Review coming soon! Nottingham was a bit of a surprise – I think I must have won it in a giveaway I don’t remember entering – and is a big hunk of a book. All I know about it is Robin Hood and Maid Marian are involved and that’s pretty much all I need.


Phew, we’re finally done! What did you haul in April?

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Review: The Yankee Widow by Linda Lael Miller

The Yankee WidowTitle: The Yankee Widow
Author: 
Linda Lael Miller
Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: eBook, ARC
Rating: 3 Stars


A richly drawn, multigenerational saga writ large against the complexities and heartbreak among families of both sides as men take up the war to presserve the nation or defend their way of life. Told in a smart, assured and compelling voice, the novel is the story of Caroline, the young wife of Jacob, who together live on a farm raising their daughter Rachel just outside of Gettysburg. When Jacob joins the Northern army to do his duty and help save the Union, no one anticipates he will not return. Caroline gets news that he is wounded and has been taken to Washington DC with his regiment, and so she must find her way there and navigate the thousands of wounded to find him. Thus begin this saga that focuses on the strong women and men of both sides and both races who sacrificed so much and loved so well during this critical juncture in American history.


Review_The word that keeps running through my mind as I try to write this review is atmospheric. The Yankee Widow does such a good job of sucking you straight back to the 1860’s, even when you’re reading it on your smartphone under your electric blanket with white noise playing on your computer in the background.

The language Linda Lael Miller uses sets the tone which, in my opinion, really drives the plot of this book. The characters are well-developed with flaws and strengths, which can sometimes be hard to find in characters from the 1800’s for whatever reason, and the setting was vivid. Although the farm that the majority of the story takes place on is in fact in Gettysburg, the Battle of Gettysburg doesn’t swallow the whole book. We follow the characters for quite a while before the battle happens and a long, long time afterwards. I really enjoyed the two male characters and found their relationship endearing – not to mention a great example of the division wreaking havoc on the country as one fought for the Confederacy and the other the Union – except for at the very end. The last two chapters of the book found Caroline, the main character, doing things that she claimed she wouldn’t and having feelings that were totally different than what I last knew to be true. To be fair, this all happened directly after a year’s time jump so that could explain the change in behavior, but I found it a little off-putting.

It’s obvious that this book was very well researched on several fronts – farm life and everyday tasks, propriety, language, child rearing, and then the actual Civil War on top of it all. My only complaint is that there were instances throughout the book where a bit of dialog or a description of the farm would slide into info-dumping about the politics of the war or the leaders of the war, etc. It made the reading dense at times and I would just sort of skim those parts and move back into the story.

If you’re a fan of atmospheric Civil War novels, particularly about the home front and losses, then you should give this book a try!

3 Stars

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review

March Book Haul!

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Y’all, I’m finally hitting my stride. In March I only bought ONE book. ONE! I mean, I did go a little crazy checking books out from the library and downloading free ebooks, but it still counts! Hopefully the trend continues and I can get myself back on track.

Purchases:

The Huntress was my only direct purchase this month as I got Four Dead Queens in my first ever OwlCrate box! Woohoo!

ARCs – eBooks

 

ARCs – Physical
Under Currents


Yay for self-control and using the library more!

MASSIVE Thrifty Book Haul! | February Book Haul

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I bought 18 books this month, y’all. 18.

There’s a chain of thrift stores in my area that has an amazing book selection, and when my mom suggested we go to a few I couldn’t say no. Then I went to Second & Charles to trade my latest unhauled books in and bought more books that I got rid of browsed around while I waited for them to tell me how much store credit I had. February was the perfect book buying storm.

Here’s what I got:

I’d already read a few of the books I picked up this month, and quite a few of them – like The Mark of Athena, Midnight Jewel, Glass – I bought to start series building since they were soooooo cheap!

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Did you buy any books this month?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Love That You Probably Don’t Know About

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about books we love that don’t have many ratings on Goodreads. Turns out, I read a lot of obscure books. Like, a lot a lot. Here are my favs and a few reasons why I love them! 


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A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

Ratings: 844

If you were here around Christmas time, then you know I ADORE this book. The cover is gorgeous (and it’s full of things that matter in the story, isn’t that such a novelty?), and the book is short and sweet. It’s the perfect pre-Christmas read.

Read my full review!

 

 

 


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The Vintner’s Daughter by Kristen Harnisch

Ratings: 645

When I picked up The Vintner’s Daughter I didn’t have super high hopes. I’m not a wine drinker, I’m not super into French or California culture…. none of that mattered. This book sucked me in and refused to let me go until I finished. By the end of it you would have thought I owned my own vineyard, I was so into the wine making process. The characters were great, and the sequel – The California Wife – was an awesome read too.

 


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A Woman of War by Mandy Robotham

Ratings: 498

If I was writing this list just a few months from now, A Woman of War wouldn’t be on it. There’s absolutely no way that this book would have less than 2,000 likes by then. Although it’s technically alternate history, it’s so hard to remember this book is fiction when you’re reading it. The characters are so real and the ‘alternate history’ bit… let’s just say there’s a really, really good chance it could have happened.

Read my full review!


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Staircase to the Moon by Elizabeth Haran

Ratings: 137

I honestly don’t understand how this book only has 137 ratings! I read this way back in the beginning of 2016 and while I can’t remember the exact plot of this book, I remember falling in love with the setting and the characters. When I went hunting for the cover on Goodreads I saw that Elizabeth Haran has 3 more books out (WWII and WWI related! Hello, is she writing just for me?). I can’t wait to read them!

 


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Far More Terrible for Women 

Ratings: 161

I get why this book doesn’t have very many ratings. It’s a collection of oral histories, so how do you put a star rating on someone’s recollection of life? BUT, even though it’s barely been rated, it’s a fantastic book. This collection takes you through some of the most compelling oral histories of former female slaves, but there are other books that focus on individual states. 

 


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Longbourn’s Songbird by Beau North

Ratings: 187 

I will sing (get it?) the praises of this book until I die. It was SO. GOOD. and it’s basically a sin that I’m admitting I read it because – wait for it – this is a Pride and Prejudice retelling and I STILL haven’t read Pride and Prejudice. I know. Honestly, I don’t even care because this book was just that good. 

 

 


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Jenny of the Tetons by Kristiana Gregory

Ratings: 267

I read this in 2013 (!) and I remember closing the book and having that mush-brain feeling you get after you’ve finished a book that rocked your world. Kristiana Gregory is a well known name in children’s historical fiction – she wrote quite a few Dear America books. I’m looking forward to rereading this book soon and seeing if I still feel the same about it.

 

 


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A Heart’s Disguise by Colleen Coble

Ratings: 526

A Heart’s Disguise is one of six novella’s in their own little series, all six of which were rated less than 2,000 times. I think this is the book that surprised me the most because Colleen Coble is such a huge name and these stories were so darn fun! I picked them all up on Book Outlet super cheap and would read an entire book in one sitting. They deserve more love!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Favorites | TTT Throwback

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This week’s topic is actually ‘Upcoming Releases I’m on the Fence About’ but I don’t have any! I thought it’d be fun to fill in any topics I don’t want to do by working my way down the original Top Ten Tuesday topics. The very first Top Ten Tuesday topic was childhood favorites, so that’s where we’re starting!


 

 

The Little House on the Prairie Series and Dear America series were my absolute favs, although A Series of Unfortunate Events was a close runner up! I’d like to do a few posts this year revisiting and reviewing my childhood favorites.

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What was your childhood favorite?

Review: When Will This Cruel War Be Over? by Barry Denenberg

When Will This Cruel War Be Over
Title:
 When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
Author:
 Barry Denenberg
Publication Date: November 1, 2003
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating:4 Stars


The peaceful, traditional Southern life that Emma Simpson and her family know is shattered when the Civil War reaches their soil. Soon, Emma’s father and brother are called to battle, but her family is confident the South will quickly win the War between the States.

As the months drag on, though, the harsh realities of war set in. Death and hardship are all around Emma, and food, medicine, firewood, and ink for her to write in her diary become increasingly scarce as troops from the North march deeper into the South. Finally, even her home is commandeered by the Yankees.

Still, with a brave spirit and the knowledge of what is most important, Emma never loses hope that the war will end.


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The Dear America books never fail to impress me! They were my favorite as a child and still are now, as I slowly read (and in most cases, reread) them as an adult.

The story opens the day before Christmas as Emma Simpson’s brother is deposited at her home in a coffin, his death the product of a wound and disease. That singular event sets the tone for the rest of the book as Emma struggles with profound loss after loss, the supposed sanctity of the south, and gradually realizing that life will never be the same. She feels the first stirrings of love, but wrestles with the concept of something pure and happy when so many lives – including her own – are in turmoil. Most of all, she rocks back and forth between melancholy and hope.

The Civil War is such an intricate topic, with so many different facets that Dear America could have featured 20 diaries from 20 girls with different vantage points to the war, but somehow this book surmised most of them. Emma is from the south, but in under two hundred pages we meet Southerners that are abusive and determined to keep slavery alive and others that are fighting for their homeland out of a sense of honor and responsibility. There are Yankees that loot and burn and terrorize, and others that help feed the people who have nothing left. Slaves that steal and rebel, and slaves that maintain the work they were doing before the war. Basically, I think this book was incredibly well balanced given the breadth of the topic. A lot of Dear America books act more like a snapshot and, let’s be real, deal with much less controversial topics. This one nailed it!

4 Stars

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