Book Related Topics

Giveaway! – The Luxe Candles

Hi Guys!

The Holidays are practically around the corner and in the spirit of thanksgiving, we would like to say thank you to you guys who are kind enough to read and support us by working on a giveaway with The Luxe Candles. Made in the USA with a Nigerian entrepreneur, The Luxe Candles is a line of hand poured scented candles. Made with a blend of paraffin and soy wax it allows for a long lasting, cleaner burn and the quality fragrance oils allows for amazing fragrances.

Okay, so about the giveaway. There will be 2 winners and they will be receiving 3 candles each. 2 of them will be the scent of their own choice and the last candle will be the lime-basil-mandarin scented candle inspired by the novel, Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan.

How To Enter:

  • Follow @theluxecandles on Instagram
  • Follow @nightstands2 on Instagram (if you are already following that’s fine, just do the step above)
  • Leave a comment on this post letting us know what book you are currently reading. Be sure to also leave the handle you used to follow on instagram, so we know who to contact if you win!
  • Visit www.theluxecandles.com to pick out the scents you’d like
  • The giveaway is open to everyone but you MUST have a U.S mailing address for your candles to be mailed to you.

Eazy peezy, right? The winner will be announced on Monday, November 19. Don’t forget to share and tell a friend and feel free to make purchases. Never too early for Christmas shopping! Good luck!

romance

Book Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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The Kiss Quotient is a debut romantic novel by Helen Hoang with protagonists, Stella and Michael. Stella is on the spectrum, she has Asperger’s syndrome and struggles with all that comes with being autistic. She has a hard time socializing with people, struggles with touch from other people, obsessive over things etc. With all of this, it’s no surprise that Stella struggles with romantic relationships. All her sexual encounters have been torturous for her and her mom decides to let her know that she is ready for a grandchild. A coworker makes a passing remark to Stella that she needs to learn how to seduce a guy and she takes it seriously.

Cue Michael. The escort Stella hires to help teach her how to be good in bed. Michael is not an escort by choice. He is in over his head in debt. Devoted to his family, especially since his Swedish dad left (his mom is Asian) and mired by personal baggage. As an econometrician, Stella is used to being able to predict behavior but all that is out the window when she meets Michael.

I liked this book. It usually won’t be a book I’d pick on my own but a friend recommended it to me and I needed something very light. It really is basically a rom-com in book form. For those familiar with Mills & Boons, it’s a modernized version. Meaning it followed the basic formula of boy meets girl, they hit it off superbly, misunderstanding drives them apart and they eventually get it together. This is not a spoiler because this is not hard to figure out when you start the book.

The book reads like it is YA because honestly it comes off a bit juvenile. For example, phrases like “he palmed her sex” or “he tried to control himself from spilling” are used BUT it is definitely not YA as there were very many sex scenes that were graphic. The author only referred to penis as cock in the entirety of the book and some how that made me laugh.

If you read this book, you are going to have to HEAVILY suspend belief. Because as soon as she meets him, she suddenly has no issues with touch or tongue in her mouth and is a sex pot. It’s a little unbelievable that they liked everything about each other and nothing annoyed them about the other. I kept wondering whether Stella was Asian but eventually figured out she was white.

I will say though, we constantly say representation matters and sometimes when it doesn’t apply to ourselves we forget all the kinds of representation that matter. The author Helen Hoang was just recently diagnosed as being on the spectrum 2 years ago at age 34 and it helped her in writing the book. I saw a review in which a reader only via reading this book did she associate the symptoms mentioned with herself and she felt so seen. I thought that was such a great thing.

Overall, I recommend this book. As Leggy would say, “It’s a good palate cleanser”. I read this book in two days and I am not a fast reader. If it matters to you, The Kiss Quotient was a finalist in the romantic fiction section of Goodreads Year End Awards. Not surprisingly, the film rights to the book has been optioned. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Taynement

Fiction

We Chit Chat: Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

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“Unfairness is a far more natural state in the world than fairness”

Taynement: It’s been months but I finally finished the sequel to Beartown which I loved! (it was my favorite read of 2017)

Leggy: Yes, finally. How was your reading experience?

Taynement: When I first started, I kept wondering what the point of the sequel was and you can’t get lightning in a bottle twice. Then, I think somewhere around chapter 20, something switched and I don’t know why I ever said that and I was all in.

Leggy: I felt that way through out the book. Why did he feel it was necessary to write this sequel? I think he’s a fantastic writer and don’t get me wrong, It’s hard to read a Backman book and not think this man is so damn talented but I do not think this book added anything to the Beartown universe. It wasn’t a story that needed to be told.

Taynement: I beg to disagree. If we look at it from that point of view, honestly all sequels that aren’t part of a series would be stories that didn’t need to be told. His fantastic writing made it a story I didn’t know I wanted. He was able to carve out a focal point and theme of community.

“Culture isn’t just what we encourage but what we allow to happen”

Leggy: How did you feel about Maya’s family in this book and the journey each of them took?

Taynement: The one thing I liked about this sequel was how real it was. More specifically, about the many struggles we all face in life and how it’s easily misunderstood. I’ll just say right now that my least favorite character was Peter Andersson. What a coward.

Leggy: He was my least favorite character too. I couldn’t stand the passages that were about him. He was honestly a terrible husband. He was way too obsessed with the game at the expense of his family. At some point, I felt like he was willing to put his family through anything horrible for a game in a town that hates him so much. I would have moved. He should have moved. His wife sacrificed so much for him and he expected her to keep sacrificing even when it became her turn to shine.

“It’s impossible to measure love, but that doesn’t stop us coming up with new ways to try”

Taynement: The book has always focused on the hockey obsession and their devotion but at this point i’m not sure what he was getting out of it, that he was willing to put his family through what they went through. But that shouldn’t be surprising, he was totally a man, super selfish. The obsession I could deal with, they all were obsessed. He kept harping on their obsession but I could see what each person was getting out of it except Peter.

Also, thinking about the rivalry between Hed and Beartown I kept thinking this is kind of ridiculous and it suddenly occurred to me that the depiction in the book could be seen as a metaphor of where we are as a country with the left and right wings.

Leggy: The way the grownups participated and escalated the situation blew my mind. I think my favorite character in this series is Benji.

Taynement: He was definitely my favorite in book 1 but I think my favorites kept alternating. There were a lot of likable characters. I liked Zackell, the new female coach, also Kira.

Leggy: I liked Zackell too. And I really like Bobo’s family, that is one family that you don’t expect to work but they do and they love and protect each other so fiercely.

Taynement: Which goes back to the book being all heart. Because Kira was real – a strong woman just trying to keep it together. She’s lost a child, she’s had a daughter raped, an obsessive husband and she’s still trying to be a career woman but she was scared of nothing.

Leggy: I absolutely agree. I felt frustrated for her most of the time. Just seeing her life getting more and more complicated and her having to turn down taking shots at her dream for her family.

Taynement: Can we talk about Backman’s writing? How does he do it? This book solidified that he is the answer now whenever I’m asked “Who is your favorite author?” This is his third book of his I like.

Leggy: Backman is a fantastic writer. Sometimes, I’m like you’re just showing off now.

Taynement: Ha ha ha ha and I bet he isn’t even trying. The point where the book does a turn for me there are so many events that I felt my heart was being squeezed till the end of the book.

Leggy: There are so many quotes that just hit you in the heart and mind you, Tayne, these books are all translations!

Taynement: Yes! (which is why I have them sprinkled over this post for a taste) So I was going to to touch on this. Is he still great in Swedish or is it the translation that makes him great?

“You know why you can never rely on men? Because they love men. No one loves men as much as men do. They can’t even watch sports if it’s not played by men”

Leggy: He has to be so damn fantastic in Swedish because he’s so huge in Sweden. We’re just getting him now because A Man Called Ove was translated and did so well here but he’s been big there for so long. Can you imagine if he’s even better in Swedish? Like how is that even possible?

Taynement: It’ll be too much! Can’t tell you how many quotes I have highlighted. I don’t remember how the first book went but I also enjoyed how he went deep into the minds of the individual characters. For example: how a character explained why he was impulsive and what it’s like in his brain, or how Bobo explained how everything outside of playing hockey is so hard but in the rink he knows who he is.

Leggy: The premonition in a lot of the passages was nerve wracking because you know something terrible is coming and you’re just holding your breath wondering who it’s coming for.What did you think about Maya’s brother’s storyline? I was really frustrated by his actions because I kept wondering why he was doing what he was doing and why nobody was noticing?

Taynement: I think it could have been better but then what could be? It’s not easy being the overlooked child and I think the not noticing was to highlight the disintegration of Peter and Kira’s marriage.

Leggy: That’s true. How did you feel about the way it ended?

Taynement: Much better than Beartown! I think it wrapped everything up while giving an epilogue in a subtle way BUT why the caginess on who Zackell’s father is? I don’t want any more sequels!

Leggy: I loved how Beartown ended. I was satisfied with the end of that book. I think this is the last book in this universe, at least I hope it is because I don’t think I will be reading another one.

Taynement: Can I say I totally see this being a movie? Did you know A Man Called Ove is being remade in English with Tom Hanks? The Swedish one was nominated for an oscar.

Leggy: Really? I actually think that book would make such a good movie. That’s one of the things I thought when I read it even though I didn’t love it, I thought it would make a much better movie. I’m excited about that.

Taynement: Anyway, loved loved loved this book. I want to give it a 4 stars because it took sometime to rev up but I might forgive that and give it a 5, we’ll see.

Leggy: High praise. I gave it 3 stars. I enjoyed it but honestly, I could have done without it.

“When terrible things happen, most people become waves, but some people become rocks. Waves are tossed back and forth when the wind comes, but the rocks just take a beating, immovable, waiting for the storm to blow over”

Leggy & Taynement

Fiction, romance

Book Review: The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

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The Perfect Couple is centered around Benji’s and Celeste’s fairytale, high society wedding in Nantucket. It’s wedding season there and this Island is overrun with tourists and wedding guests alike when the maid of honor is found drowned on the morning of the wedding day by the bride herself. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom’s famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield–and no couple is perfect.

Through the investigative work of Chief Ed Kapenash, an unraveling of the many alibis and a host of memories from multiple perspectives, Elin takes us back to the beginning—to how Benji and Celeste came to be the perfect couple set to say “I do”. We find out how they met, how their relationship progressed to the proposal. We find out the dirty secrets and the secret love affairs between the most surprising characters and everyone takes a turn being a suspect. Was this drowning a murder or an accident?

Hilderbrand is the queen of beach reads (all her book covers are people sitting in front of the ocean) and multiple book releases a year, this woman knocks them out like books are going out of style soon. In fact, she already has a new book out just a couple of months after this one (4 months to be exact). She is also quite good at writing such distinct characters that actually make you feel things. I did not care for the main character, Celeste, her actions and the holier than thou attitude were just too much for me to take. I know that good people do bad things but I got tired of being told how good, kind and so independent she is while watching her make shitty decisions that would hurt her supposed fiance if she is ever found out.

If you’re looking for a murder mystery book, this really isn’t it. I mean there is an investigation for 24 hours and you quickly realize that this was just a plot by the author to tell us about family secrets and forbidden love. This is chick-lit through and through. I could not stand the love at first sight story line between two of the characters, it was dumb and it was a bit insulting to the reader’s intelligence. I rolled my eyes so hard during all their interactions and did not root for them at all. I thought they were selfish and hurting people whose intentions were clear and pure just for their own stupid gain. Also, the end was pretty anti-climatic for me.

I gave this book two stars. It was a quick read and I think if you’re looking for something easy to read, this is the book for you.

 

Leggy.

 

Book Related Topics

SOS! Reader’s Block!

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Earlier in the year, I told you guys how I was having reader’s misfortune in that, I was just unimpressed with the books I had been reading. My fortune changed and I have now read a few books I liked but now I have encountered the worst of the worst – Reader’s block!

There’s two months left in the year and I have no desire to read anything anymore. I am bogged down with reader’s fatigue (I could be misdiagnosing myself). On a regular schedule, I am usually reading a book and listening to an audio book. Now, every time I pick up a book, I want to drop it and read a magazine instead and when I hit play on an audio book, I’d rather be listening to music or one of my many podcasts.

I have gone through this in the past and honestly there has not been any quick fire cure to it. I just stop reading till I feel like reading again. I think the difference this time is the blog. I feel like it adds a level of guilt like I should be reading more to have more inspiration for material.

Usually when you mention a block to people, they automatically assume the cause is the current material and finding the right book will solve the issue. I know the cause of my block has been life and its interference and it is more of a mental thing especially since I actually like the book I had started when I got struck.

My Goodreads challenge number isn’t even high but as it stands I am 4 books behind – wah! That being said, the year is not over and 2 months is a long time so all hope is not lost yet! Do you ever face reader’s block? How do you get past the hump?

Taynement

 

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Uncategorized

What I’ve Been Reading Lately : 4 Quick Fire Reviews.

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I have officially completed my goodreads challenge! Woohoo!! 70 books!! Anyway, instead of giving you just one book review, I decided to do a quick fire review of the last 4 books I have read, that way you have 4 more books to decide to put on your TBR or to decide that you definitely won’t be reading.

1. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hodd

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“Very little worth knowing is taught by fear.” 

This is the first book in the Farseer’s trilogy. This book follows the story of Fitz, the king-in-waiting’s bastard who his mother drops off when he was 6 in the care of the king’s man, Burrich. Immediately the king- in- waiting hears that he has a bastard son, he abdicates the throne to his younger brother and exiles himself completely from the kingdom leaving Fitz alone in the palace with all the royal politics and treachery. Hobb is a fantastic fantasy writer and i’m appalled that it has taken me so long to get into her books. Also, she’s that rare woman in the fantasy world that writes straight fantasy without much regard to romance which I love. If you’re looking for a book filled with action that starts off with a bang, this is not the book for you but if you’re looking for a slow burn and character development and have the patience to wait it out then give this one a try, you wont regret it. This book was published in 1995 so i’m definitely late on the Hodd train but i’m not getting off anytime soon. Gave this one 4 stars on my goodreads.

2. Strange the Dreamer by Taylor Laini 

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“On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky. Her skin was blue, her blood was red.”

This is the first book in the Stranger the Dreamer duology (the second book just came out a couple of days ago). Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has been obsessed with the lost city of Weep since he was 5 years old. He has scoured the entire library looking for even a whiff of this city’s existence until one day he is given a chance to embark on a journey to the very city he has dreamt about all these years with the “godslayer” and his band of warriors. Once he is in Weep he starts dreaming about a blue beautiful girl who talks to him in his dream and who he starts falling in love with. If all the gods are dead, who is this blue girl in his dream who looks exactly like one of the slain gods in the pictures Lazlo has seen in Weep. I think the premise of this book is fantastic, and Laini is a talented writer. I’m rarely ever invested in romance in fantasy novels so I really skimmed a lot of the romance between Lazlo and his blue girl but this is one of those books that you know the sequel will be so much better  and I already put that on hold at my library. I gave this book three stars on my goodreads.

3. Heartburn by Nora Ephron 

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“I married him against all evidence. I married him believing that marriage doesn’t work, that love dies, that passion fades, and in so doing I became the kind of romantic only a cynic is truly capable of being.” 

In real life, Nora Ephron’s second marriage ended because her husband cheated on her with someone she knew while she was 7 months pregnant, so what better way to get over a breakup and make money off of your misery by writing this exact story in a barely disguised fictionalized form? Ephron’s Heartburn tells the story of the breakdown of a marriage. Honestly, I think I only got through this book because I did it on audio and MERYL FREAKING STREEP reads it. This is just a fabulous audiobook. This book is only 179 pages so I probably would have still finished it if I had done this on paperback but there would have been a ridiculous amount of skimming. Apart from the synopsis I have given you, nothing else happens in the book. Honestly. There is a reason this book is just 179 pages long. There is no depth, no complexity, there is even barely a plot. I have been on a Nora Ephron kick lately, I read all her memoirs which I quite enjoyed and because I love “When Harry Met Sally” the movie, I decided to give one of her novels a shot. I think I enjoyed the listening experience more than I enjoyed the book. Also, this book was published in 1996. I’m really hitting those backlist titles! Gave this two stars on my goodreads.

4. Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a J. K. Rowling)

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“I think marriage is nearly always an unfathomable entity, even to the people inside it.”

This is the fourth book in the Cormoran strike series, this just came out a couple of weeks ago. This book begins right where the old one stops with the wedding ceremony of Robin and the most arsehole, gaslighting boyfriend ever, Matt. Fast forward to a year after the wedding and this young mentally ill boy, Billy, comes into Strike’s office with a story of a strangling he witnessed when he was young. He’s not even sure if it really happened and wants to know if this is just part of his hallucinating. Strike is further intrigued when he gets a call from a politician who he discovers has ties to Billy asking him to take a private detective job in the house of commons. From here the plot gets more an more complicated, involving politics, blackmail, upper class dynamics and murder. I love whodunnit it mysteries, i’m so tired of “this could be the next gone girl” books. So i dived straight into this one once it came out and I was not disappointed. Galbraith writes the crap out of these books and they always keep me guessing. My qualms with this book is that they’re way too long for what it is, and I hope the next ones aren’t this long. Also, I do not want Strike and Robin to get together, I hate Matt and I want her to move on and find love or not but I do not want her to be with Strike. Why can’t men and women just have a good working relationship? Also, Galbraith is terrible at writing romance. Gave this one four stars on my good reads.

Leggy

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Uncategorized

Books Touching On Loss [But Aren’t Quite About Loss]

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Don’t leave yet!

I know when people hear the word “loss” in relation to a book, they will immediately think that it’ll be a post full of self help books dealing with grief and loads of sadness but that isn’t always the case and isn’t the case here.

The truth is that life is full of losses that come in many different forms besides death. Loss of a job, loss of youth, loss of a love and so on and so forth and as negative a topic as it may seem, it’s one of those things that is a part of life like breathing.

With this post, I decided to list a couple of books I have read, that touched on loss (in the death form) in some way,  BUT isn’t necessarily the whole focal point of the book, just more of a…landscape. I felt like these selections were true to life in that, while it happens, there are still other sides to life that meld with it and sometimes sprout from it. All books touching on loss aren’t necessarily depressing!

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The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes: Best known for her novel, Me Before You, this was a novel I read some time ago right after I read the aforementioned (and promptly decided to take a break from Jojo Moyes haha). The novel centers on two couples. One in the time of WWII, Sophie and Edouard and in modern times, Liv and Paul. Liv is a recent widow (the loss) and is still trying to navigate life as one. When she starts dating, she meets Paul who recognizes a painting given to her as a gift from her late husband. This leads to a court case and as part of finding proof it belongs to her, Liv goes way back to the past and to 1916 where Sophie and Edouard exist.

The book was okay but I found the story of Sophie and Edouard more compelling than Liv. Although, now that I think about it, that may have been the intent. I think it is a good addition to a TBR list but not necessarily a must read.

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LaRose by Louise Erdrich: It’s summer 1999 in North Dakota within a Native America tribe and Landreaux Iron just realized that he has accidentally shot his neighbor’s 5 year old son, Dusty (the loss). Dusty also happens to be his son’s best friend, LaRose. Following an ancient tradition, he and his wife decide to give LaRose to the grieving parents as retribution. The book shows how LaRose blends into his new “family” especially his new mom, who has a heavy darkness within her.

This book was a great example of words woven beautifully. There were so many components and many points of views that gave a whole picture of how a lot of the characters were feeling and also gave good lessons on Native American culture. That being said, this book wasn’t for me. I can’t pin point any particular reason why and I also don’t have any strong criticisms and it simply could be a case of reading it at the wrong time but I will admit it is a unique premise and would recommend reading to see if it is for you.

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The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs: Nina was 37 and a mother of two boys when she was diagnosed with cancer (this was while she was caring for her mom who was also battling cancer and she had a grandfather who had breast cancer). Not long after, she found out it was terminal and decided to journal about her experiences.

I’ve been dying to read When Breath Becomes Air but I just can’t bring myself to, so it’s a bit surprising that I picked this up. But I did because the book was sold as being helpful and having tools in dealing with death but it absolutely wasn’t about that. Nina had such a great demeanor for someone dealing with terminal cancer. She lived life as usual and was funny in many parts and truly enjoyed her last days on earth. Hmm, maybe that was the point of the book? To appreciate life in all its glory.

Fun Fact: Nina’s husband finished her book when she died as did the wife of When Breath Becomes Air and last I checked those two were dating.

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The Blessings by Elise Juska: I don’t know how I stumbled on this book but I loved this book a lot. The Blessings are a close knit Catholic family and the death of John Blessing (the loss) rocks the family and we see the aftermath of who they become after his death from cancer. Each chapter focuses on a different family member in a different time period as they grow older. I loved this book for how it depicted a family who is as messy as any real life family. The stories were very compelling and there was something for everyone in terms of relatable issues.

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Love, Loss and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi: Best known as the pretty faced host of Top Chef, Padma writes a memoir that chronicles her life from India to where she is today with all the messy in betweens. Padma is pretty honest about her life in this book and also her love for cooking and passion for ingredients. She talks about her daddy issues which explains her love for older men romantically, her battle with endometriosis. How it affected her marriage and was a contributing factor to their divorce. She also talks about how she was told she would never have children and ended up getting pregnant and not knowing who the father was.

She was hoping the person she was romantically involved with at the time was the dad. He ended up being diagnosed with cancer and she chronicles the downward spiral of his sickness to his death (the loss) and how it affected her and her daughter. This was a pretty quick and easy read and I think the way she sprinkled in illustrated recipes in between pages was a nice touch.

Well, those are my “loss” picks. Are there any that intrigue you? Let me know in the comments!

Taynement