Leap Day / Leap Year items

You would think with Leap Day coming only every four years, there would be more stories revolving around the rare event. I could only come up with four titles in our catalog. (Descriptions provided by publisher.)

Lucky Leap Day by Ann Marie Walker — During a whirlwind trip to Ireland, after one too many whiskeys, fledgling screenwriter Cara Kennedy gets caught up in the Irish tradition of women proposing on Leap Day. She wakes up the next morning with a hot guy in her bed and a tin foil ring. With a flight back to LA in four hours, the best thing they can do is figure things out along the way. In LA Finn Maguire spends the nights charming his new bride– and his days going on auditions. Is their marriage the real deal– or was he just after her Hollywood connections?

 

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Leap Year (DVD) – This movie from 2010 introduced me to the Irish tradition that allows women to propose to men on Leap Day. Anna (played by Amy Adams) follows Jeremy to Dublin to propose to him. But after landing on the wrong side of Ireland, she must enlist the help of Declan, a handsome and carefree local man, to get her across the country. Along the way, they discover that the road to love can take you to very unexpected places.

 

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Leap Day by Wendy Mass – This Young Adult novel features a heroine Josie on her fourth Leap birthday, when she turns sixteen. Josie has a number of momentous experiences, including taking her driver’s test, auditioning for a school play, and celebrating with her family and friends.

 

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A Different Dawn by Isabella Maldonado — When the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program database detects two murder incidents “staged to look like double murder suicides,” FBI special agent Nina Guerrera investigates, in Maldonado’s captivating sequel to 2020’s The Cipher. The most recent occurred in Phoenix, Ariz., and the previous one happened four years before in Manhattan, both on February 29. FBI agents soon discover the existence of eight similar crimes at four-year intervals, all involving young couples with an infant or newborn child. As the agents get closer to finding commonalities among the murders and in particular the significance of leap day, things get personal for Nina as she uncovers clues to the crimes related to her entry into the foster system as a child. (Publishers Weekly review, 06/28/2021)

You Lucky Dog by Julia London

‘She’d done everything right. She’d gotten good grades in school, had gotten a good job, and had worked hard. She’d been a decent daughter, a better sister. She didn’t do drugs or drink much. She’d done everything right. It was not supposed to be this way. She was supposed to have it all by now, not be worrying about how to pay her rent.’ – Julia London, You Lucky Dog

Every once in a while, I need a reading break. When that happens, I look up feel good romances that I know will make me smile or laugh. My latest feel good read was You Lucky Dog by Julia London. I won’t lie – the cover hooked me first, giving me 101 Dalmatians vibes with the twisted together leashes. That plus basset hounds and I was ready to start reading. You Lucky Dog is the first in the the Lucky Dog series.

Carly Kennedy is struggling. Her new business, Carly Kennedy Public Relations, is not going well. She only has two clients, yet they are the neediest clients she has ever had and demand so much of her time. Her parents are divorced and are both now going through separate midlife crises that are way too much. Her mother bought her sister a basset hound WITHOUT asking her, causing said sister to completely melt down. Baxter, the basset, is now Carly’s problem. Baxter is a sad basset hound. In fact, Carly thinks he may be depressed. He can frequently be found with his head wedged in the corner of the room no matter Carly’s best efforts to coax him out. Baxter is growing on her though.

Yet another inconvenience is dropped on Carly’s plate when she comes home from work late one night to discover an imposter basset hound in her house. Her dog walker has switched out her sad basset for this perkier female basset who has no boundaries. This one is on her couch, chewing on things she shouldn’t be touching!

Max Sheffington is also confused. His happy basset hound, Haxel, has been replaced by this depressed male basset hound who, for some reason, will not get out of the corner of the room. Max is even more bewildered when Carly shows up on his front step demanding her dog back. It doesn’t help that Carly is pretty and extremely opinionated, facts that distract Max and simultaneously captivate him. He was expecting his dog walker, something that this gorgeous woman is not. Carly was expecting a stuffy old man given the name of the man she was told had her dog. Instead she finds a handsome man who is corrupting poor Baxter! Her dog is sprawled on the couch and has clearly been eating macaroni and cheese.

What most surprises Carly is that Baxter seems to be at home at Max’s house. He loves Hazel and follows her around. Since Baxter’s mood has improved, Carly decides that she needs to spend more time with Hazel and Max to keep him happy. It doesn’t take long for Carly to realize that there are feelings buzzing between her and Max, even though the two couldn’t be more different. Their lives end up being completely altered by an accidental dog swap.

While I enjoyed the premise, I found myself wanting to shake Carly at points (to be fair, I find myself more likely to want to shake the main characters when I’m reading romance – just TALK to each other already). Some of the solutions to her problems were right in front of her face, but she was just not seeing them. Regardless of my frustrations, this novel was adorable and exactly the brain break I needed. The main characters were both genuinely nice and cared about all the people in their lives. The fact that the author made Max’s brother autistic was a breath of fresh air. His portrayal was done sensitively and seeing him through Max’s eyes from both a scientific and familial point of view was also realistic. All in all, I enjoyed this book and am already searching for the second book, It Started with a Dog.

This title is also available in large print, as a Libby eBook, and Libby eAudiobook.

Lucky Dog series

  1. You Lucky Dog (2020)
  2. It Started with a Dog (2021)

‘That was the problem with social media—there were people in the world who seemingly existed just to tear other people down, but you couldn’t give them any oxygen. You couldn’t let them steal your mojo. And the best way to keep your mojo intact was to stay off social media and allow your publicist to post for you and monitor comments.’ – Julia London, You Lucky Dog

Romance Reads: Witches of Thistle Grove series by Lana Harper

‘That was the thing about growing up with magic. Until you left it behind for good, you had no idea how incredible it felt just to be around it.’ – Lana Harper, Payback’s a Witch

Over the last year, I have noticed an increase in paranormal witchy romances, so naturally I decided to read some! My latest adventure into this genre was the first in the Witches of Thistle Grove series by Lana Harper titled Payback’s a Witch. I found this title to be uniquely engaging and full of world-building, yet not overwhelming with the amount of information given.

Emmy Harlow is back in Thistle Grove. After leaving this magical town right after high school, she never though she’d be back. Harlow may be a witch, but she’s not a very powerful one. The time she has spent away from Thistle Grove, plus the physical distance separating her from the town, has depleted her magic. Her exile from her family has been self-imposed due to a complicated relationship with her family, her family history, and relationships with her peers. Emmy has always wanted to forge her own destiny that had nothing to do with being a Harlow witch in Thistle Grove. Add in a nasty breakup with Gareth Blackmoor when she was in high school and Emmy was drawn to leave quicker than she had planned. After all, Gareth is the heir to the most powerful magical family in town. He oh so casually shattered her dreams and broke her heart without a second thought. She had to leave.

Flash forward: Emmy is back in Thistle Grove to perform her family’s role as arbiter in a spellcasting tournament held every fifty years. A massive guilt trip from her family and the lure of tradition was enough to bring her back. Emmy’s plan is to do her duty as arbiter, spend time with her best friend Linden Thorn, and then immediately leave to head back to her life in Chicago. The universe has other plans.

On her first night back in town, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov at a local bar. Talia is another heir to a different magical family who practices darker magic. She is also fresh off a bad breakup of sorts with Gareth Blackmoor. It turns out that Gareth was also dating Emmy’s best friend Linden, at the same time he was messing around with Talia – with both women not realizing the either was in a relationship with him! Scandal! Linden and Talia want revenge on Gareth and believe that with Emmy they can finally get back at him for what he has done to all three. Emmy has to decide if she wants in and if so, what the plan should be. Add in friend drama and romantic drama between the three and Emmy’s short trip home becomes even more complicated than she originally hoped.

This book is also available in the following format:

Witches of Thistle Grove series

  1. Payback’s a Witch (2021)
  2. From Bad to Cursed (2022)
  3. Back in a Spell (2023)

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke

Do you read your star signs? Do you follow what your stars tell you? I’ll admit I sometimes check my star sign (Gemini over here), but it’s not something I do every day. None of my friends really live by their astrological signs either, so when I read Minnie Darke’s debut novel, Star-Crossed, I was pleased to see that I was going to be learning more about horoscopes throughout this novel.

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke tells the story of childhood sweethearts Justine and Nick. Justine is a major skeptic and a Sagittarius, while Nick is an Aquarius  and an astrological devotee. Specifically Nick is a true believer and follower of the horoscopes by his favorite astrologer in a local magazine. After bumping into each other, Justine realizes that Nick’s favorite astrologer works for the same paper that she works for! Moving up as a coffee runner, Justine finds herself with more responsibilities at the newspaper. One of those responsibilities: inputting in the horoscopes for each issue.

Justine and Nick continuously run into each other, leading Justine to believe that the two will eventually fall in love with each other. Nick’s actions continuously prove otherwise. He IS NOT falling in love with Justine. Feeling torn up about this, Justine decides to tweak his horoscope in order to lean Nick more towards her loving arms. By changing Aquarius, Justine is changing fate. What Justine fails to realize is that Nick is not the only astrological devotee of her newspaper. Other Aquarius are making very important life decisions and changes based on Justine’s new horoscopes.

This novel takes fate and destiny and turns them upside down by charting Justine’s meddling throughout months of the newspaper’s horoscopes. By discussing horoscopes, Darke shows readers how going through life on your own is overwhelming, so finding friendship and help through the stars helps people make choices that are hard to figure out when it feels like you are alone.


This book is also available in the following formats:

Online Reading Challenge – Mid-Month Check In

Hello Readers!

How is your October going, reading-wise? Have you found something to read yet? Or are you still looking? Maybe a movie will be your choice this month. Here are a few suggestions.

A Knight’s Tale starring Heath Ledger. The rousing story of lowborn William Thatcher’s quest to change his stars, win the heart of an exceedingly fair maiden and rock his medieval world. Follow this fearless squire and his band of medieval misfits as they careen their way toward impossible glory that’s part romance, part road trip and part exuberant swashbuckling.

Kingdom of Heaven starring Orlando Bloom and Eva Green. Balian, a young Frenchman in Medieval Jerusalem during the Crusades, having lost everything, finds redemption in a heroic fight against overwhelming forces to save his people and fulfill his destiny as a knight.

The White Queen produced by the BBC and based on the novel by Phillipa Gregory. A riveting portrayal of one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in English history. A story of love and lust, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder, it is uniquely told through the perspective of three different, yet equally relentless women – Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. In their quest for power, they will scheme, manipulate and seduce their way onto the English throne.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. OK, admittedly, this one is somewhat lacking in historical accuracy. But! So funny! So British! “It’s just a flesh wound”! “Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries”! The quest for the Holy Grail by King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table is retold in the inimitable Python fashion. Enjoy.

Overboard on DVD

Guest post by Laura V

I remember seeing the original Overboard movie starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn when it was released. I thought it was entertaining but not remarkable enough for a reboot so I was surprised to learn it was remade. This version stars Eugenio Derbez as Leonardo Montenegro and Anna Faris as Kate Sullivan. As far as I remember, it was basically the same plot with reversal of roles, Derbez plays the rich guy and Sullivan plays the poor woman. Eva Longoria plays Kate’s best friend, Theresa, and Mel Rodriguez plays her husband, Bobby.

I recently watched How to be a Latin Lover starring Derbez and was disappointed. There was potential for that movie to make fun of stereotypes and it was squandered at every turn while reinforcing some negative stereotypes along the way. Overboard was better. While it had the predictability that everyone should expect from a remake of an original that wasn’t highbrow cinematography to begin with, it took a huge chance, culturally speaking. To me, that was enough to make it interesting.

We got to see the family to which Derbez’ character belongs speaking Spanish with English subtitles. Yes, they are millionaires who are basically the telenovela (soap opera) portion of the movie, but their over-the-top drama is what makes them absurdly entertaining, just like actual TV telenovelas. They couldn’t have been a more realistic wealthy family because then the story wouldn’t have had the material for the plot. I also enjoyed seeing the more authentic portrayal of Latinos with the banter among the construction workers on Bobby’s job site. The romance felt a bit forced. I felt the daughters developed more of a relationship with Derbez’ character than Faris’ character.

If you’re looking for a lighthearted romp with the courage to include characters of color with their culture still intact, I recommend this movie.

Calypso by David Sedaris

Image result for calypso by david sedaris amazon Now, while I don’t normally listen to books on CD or audio, I truly enjoyed listening to Calypso by David Sedaris, read by the author himself. And I must say that it was a lovely, riveting, and a hilarious ride….ride I say….. in that I only listened to the book on CD while I was riding around town or making my entire family listen to it when we took a short road trip over the Labor Day holiday weekend….and believe it or not, they actually listened, although they did let me know at times that the language was not appropriate for teenage ears….but whatever is all I have to say about that! As the video games I have seen them play are way worse than anything that could have ever been written in this novel. Sedaris’ prose is almost autobiographical writing mixed with what seems to be comedy bits that could have been written by his comedic actor sister Amy Sedaris.  Calypso will keep the reader and/or listener engaged, entertained and especially amused in the comical sense and laughing in a very familial relatable scenes with parents, adolescence, and aging. Check out Calypso David Sedaris’ latest book and you won’t be disappointed….instead it will leave you crying with laughter…at times.

Florence Foster Jenkins on DVD

Florence, possessing a heart of gold and a tin ear, wishes more than anything to be a great opera singer. She is very active in the mid-1940s New York City music scene and rubs elbows with many of the famous including conductor Arturo Toscanini, songwriter Cole Porter and actress Tallulah Bankhead. But while she has many friends and has helped many musicians, her dream remains out-of-reach – until she decides to do something about it.

St. Clair, her beloved husband, knows perfectly well that Florence cannot sing, but he pays her voice coach and new pianist very well to treat her as if she has a lovely voice. When Florence is determined to give a recital, St. Clair makes sure the tickets are sold only to fans and friends and bribes reporters into write glowing reviews. All goes smoothly – well, except for the fact that Florence has a terrible voice – and St. Clair relaxes. Which is, of course, when St. Clair’s well-meaning white lies come around to bite him. Florence, without telling St. Clair, books Carnegie Hall. Oh, and records an album. St. Clair’s carefully constructed safe haven for his wife is about to come crashing down.

Florence Foster Jenkins is simply a lovely movie. Charming, funny but also bittersweet. Starring the always amazing Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant (still so handsome), this is a movie that will make you laugh but it’ll also make you stop and think. It’s about reaching for your dreams, about overcoming the obstacles life throws at you (Florence’s life hasn’t been easy), about finding your true friends and standing with them. It’s about having the courage to follow your passion and never give up.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

I am obsessed with female comedians. I recently stumbled upon Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which I listened to on OverDrive as an audiobook one summer day when I was hiking and I. FELL. HARD. I then branched out to Amy Poehler and a whole slew of other famous women comedians. I personally love listening to these book as audiobooks because it feels like I’m getting my own private comedy show, plus the authors 1)usually narrate their own books and 2) bring in famous friends and family to read sections. Plus there is usually awesome bonus content. If that’s not enough of a reason for you to run out to the library and pick up some audiobooks, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, back to the topic: my recent, yet hard-hitting love of female comedians. When I discovered Amy Schumer and Anna Kendrick were each coming out with new books, I immediately put the respective release dates on my calendar and started scouting for information about their audiobooks. When I saw copies of both books in print on the new shelves, I knew I should just pick them up, read them, and then listen to the audio later. I started with Amy Schumer. (I have Kendrick’s book at home in my TBR pile).

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer is way more than your standard autobiography. Schumer makes it clear in the beginning of the book that this is not a memoir or an autobiography; she says she’s way too young to be writing either of those types of books. Instead, she has collected a series of essays that detail the many different experiences that have made her the woman she is today. Throughout this book, Schumer says over and over that she didn’t luck into her career. She worked insanely hard and even though now some people think she has made it, she still has to hustle to get what she wants. Developing new material and testing it out hasn’t changed. She still tries out material on friends, performs in comedy clubs, and is constantly mining her daily life and interactions for humorous material for her work.

Schumer pulls stories from her past and nothing is off limits. She talks about relationships, her father’s battle with multiple sclerosis, her family, her awkward teenage years, her work, and sex. Schumer is not afraid to strip down and bare her soul in order to make sure readers understand what she is talking about. I was thoroughly impressed with this book. I was expecting something hilarious all the way through. Don’t get me wrong; this book had me laughing out loud, but Schumer gets down and talks about very serious topics that I wasn’t expecting, but those sections were so well-worded, I found myself unable to put it down. I recommend you give it a try and let me know what you think below.


This book is also available in the following formats:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

yes pleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler is a hilarious biography full of anecdotes from Poehler’s time on “Parks and Recreation” and “Saturday Night Live”, as well as stories from her everyday life from both before she became a big star and after she gained fame. If you’ve seen Poehler in anything, then you know that her comedy comes fierce and fast, sometimes catching you off guard in regards to topic and delivery. This book is no different.

I chose to listen to this biography through OverDrive and was not disappointed. Poehler narrates this book, along with several other big name actors and, of course, her parents, popping in for cameos. (Looking for another funny woman biography narrated by the author? Check out Tina Fey’s Bossypants, available as a CD audiobook and an OverDrive eaudiobook.) Each person she has helping her narrate adds another level of humanity and unbridled hilarity to Poehler’s life growing up and her changing career in comedy as she worked to get to where she is today.

Poehler pulls no punches in this biography, talking about subjects ranging from growing up in the 70s, tips on how to deal with being nominated for an award, odes to different coworkers, sex, love, babies, divorce, family, parenthood, and her hilarious relationship with Tina Fey. This humorous book gives readers an all-access pass into Poehler’s life, allowing us to catch a glimpse into the crazy world of Saturday Night Live, letting us see how difficult it is to become a successful comedian, and just how crazy life is.

Poehler travels back to the 1990s, when she was in her 20s, working at ImprovOlympic in Chicago and then with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York. She talks about her previous jobs and her struggle to make it. I highly recommend you listen to the audiobook because you get access to bonus material, as well as extra insight into her life from her many famous friends who make cameos. Choosing to do this book as an audiobook really lets Poehler’s creative talent shine as she weaves together both stories of success and failure to deliver her thoughts on anything and everything. Let us know what you think!


This book is also available in the following formats: