Weekly Wrap Up: October 27th through November 9th 2019

Books I’ve Read:

Awakening

Agent Jack

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories

This Earl of Mine

Let It Be Me


Books with Pending Reviews:

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae—Review coming November 4th


Books with Published Reviews:

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae—Review Here

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore—Review Here

The Brutal Time—Review Here

Fever—Review Here

This Earl of Mine—Review Here

Let It Be Me—Review Here


NetGalley Requests:

All the Best Lies—St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

A Highlander in a Pickup—St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Wild, Wild Rake—St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Queen of the Unwanted—Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

The Other People—Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

No Mercy—Saint Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books

The Vanishing Season—Saint Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books


Author/Publisher Requests:

Been There, Married That—St. Martin’s Press


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz/Cover Reveal:

Aces High—Book Blitz

Dark One’s Bride—Book Blitz

Forged by Fire—Book Blitz

My Path to You—Book Blitz

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae—Blog Tour

The Event—Book Blitz

The Brutal Time—Blog Tour

Angel Blue: Season One—Book Blitz

Death Among Us—Blog Tour

Dorothy in the Land of Monsters—Book Blitz

Princes of the Lower East Side—Book Blitz

On His Bended Knee—Book Blitz

Shopping for a Baby’s First Christmas—Book Blitz

All of Him Anthology-–Cover Reveal

This Earl of Mine—Blog Tour

Panic—Book Blitz

Disenchanted—Cover Reveal

Under His Skin—Book Blitz

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae—Excerpt

The Traveler—Book Blitz

The Assassin and The Soldier—Book Blitz


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

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Blog Tour: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by [Butland, Stephanie]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: October 29th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Where you can find The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.
She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point.
She knows she needs to find her father.
She’s missed so much that her friends have left her behind.
She’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.

And then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart.

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .


First Line:

It’s 3 a.m. here in cardio-thoracic.

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

My review:

I wasn’t expecting how emotional The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae made me. I knew, going into it that it was a book about life after a transplant. The physical limitations, the medications that need to be taken, and don’t forget, the mental adjustment is enormous. The author did a fantastic job of showing that all.

The plotline for The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae was well written and well researched. There were a few times where I wished that there was a glossary for different medical terms. I liked the pacing of the book too. It wasn’t too fast, and it wasn’t too slow. It was just right for me to get settled in and read.

I liked Ailsa. The strength that she showed during the book was unbelievable. I mean, she had a heart transplant!! I loved her sense of humor and her determination to have a healthy life. There were things about her I didn’t like. She was too trusting and wore her heart on her sleeve. She battled her mother about her biological father. And then there was Seb….sigh.

I wasn’t a fan of the blog inserts. I get why the author wrote them. It gave additional insight into how Ailsa’s mind worked. It showed how her mindset evolved from right before the transplant to the end of the book. Still, I wasn’t a fan. I had an issue transitioning between the POV. It went from 2nd person (the blog posts) to 3rd person. Also, while I am on it, I wasn’t a fan of the articles written about Ailsa and Seb. To me, those articles show everything that is wrong with today’s society. No wonder Ailsa freaked out. I would have too.

Ailsa’s relationship with Seb was cute until the end. Then it got confusing. After that sound bit was released (and yes, it sounded awful), I wasn’t sure what they were. That last email between them only muddied the waters for me. I hate being confused!!!

I do want to mention that a lot of British and Scottish slang is used. I did have an issue with the Scottish slang. Mainly being that I only read historical Scottish romances and modern-day slang isn’t allowed. Again, it would have been handy to have a glossary included.

The storyline with Hayley, Ailsa, and her biological father broke my heart. I was with Ailsa at first. She had every right to learn about her biological father. I couldn’t understand why Hayley wasn’t so forthcoming. Then, at the end of the book, everything was revealed, and I understood. I won’t say much more about it except that Hayley handled everything like a BOSS!!! I loved her!!

The end of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae was emotional for me. There was confusion about Seb and Ailsa. But it was the final chapter that had me sobbing. I loved it!!


I would give The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae an Older teen rating. There is a mention of sex. There is mild language. There is no violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Excerpt: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

For fans of Josie Silver’s One Day in December, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a wholly original, charismatic, and uplifting novel that no reader will soon forget.

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that—just in time—saved her life. Now, finally, she can be a normal twenty-eight-year-old. She can climb a mountain. Dance. Wait in line all day for tickets to Wimbledon.

But first, she has to put one foot in front of the other. So far, things are as bloody complicated as ever. Her relationship with her mother is at a breaking point and she wants to find her father. Then there’s Lennox, whom Ailsa loved and lost. Will she ever find love again?

Her new heart is a bold heart. She just needs to learn to listen to it. From the hospital to her childhood home, on social media and IRL, Ailsa will embark on a journey about what it means to be, and feel, alive. How do we learn to be brave, to accept defeat, to dare to dream?

From Stephanie Butland, author of The Lost for Words Bookshop, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae will warm you from the inside out.


Excerpt

It’s 3 a.m. here in cardio-thoracic.

All I can do for now is doze, and think, and doze again. My heart is getting weaker, my body bluer. People I haven’t seen for a while are starting to drop in. (Good to see you, Emily, Jacob, Christa. I’m looking forward to the Martinis.) We all pretend we’re not getting ready to say goodbye. It seems easiest. But my mother cries when she thinks I’m sleeping, so maybe here, now, is time to admit that I might really be on the way out.

I should be grateful. A baby born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome a few years before I was would have died within days. I’ve had twenty-eight years and I’ve managed to do quite a lot of living in them. (Also, I’ve had WAY more operations than you everyday folk. I totally win on that.) OK, so I still live at home and I’ve never had a job and I’m blue around the edges because there’s never quite enough oxygen in my system. But –

Actually, but nothing. If you’re here tonight for the usual BlueHeart cheerfulness-in-the-teeth-of-disaster, you need to nd another blogger.

My heart is failing. I imagine I can feel it oundering in my chest. Sometimes it’s as though I’m holding my breath, waiting to see if another beat will come. I’ve been in hospital for four months, almost non-stop, because it’s no longer tenable for me to be at home. I’m on a drip pumping electrolytes into my blood and I’ve an oxygen tube taped to my face. I’m constantly cared for by people who are trying to keep me well enough to receive a transplanted heart if one shows up. I monitor everyicker and echo of pain or tiredness in my body and try to work out if it means that things are getting worse. And yes, I’m alive, and yes, I could still be saved, but tonight it’s a struggle to  think that being saved is possible. Or even likely. And I’m not sure I have the energy to keep waiting.

And I should be angrier, but there’s no room for anger (remember, my heart is a chamber smaller than yours) because, tonight, I’m scared.

It’s only a question of time until I get too weak to survive a transplant, and then it’s a waste of a heart to give it to me. Someone a bitter, and who would get more use from it, will bump me from the top of the list and I’m into the Palliative Care Zone. (It’s not actually called that. And it’s a good, kind, caring place, but it’s not where I want to be. Maybe when I’m ninety-eight. To be honest, tonight, I’d take forty-eight. Anything but twenty-eight.)

I hope I feel more optimistic when the sun comes up. If it does. It’s Edinburgh. It’s October. The odds are about the same as me getting a new heart.

My mother doesn’t worry about odds. She says, ‘We only need the one heart. Just the one.’ She says it in a way that makes me think that when she leaves the ward she’s away to carve one out of some poor stranger’s body herself. And anyway, odds feel strange, because even if my survival chances are, say, 20 percent, whatever happens to me will happen 100 percent. As in, I could be 100 percent dead this time next week.

Night night, BlueHeart xxx

P.S. I would really, really like for one of you to get yourself a couple of goldfish, or kittens, or puppies, or even horses, and call them Cardio and Thoracic. My preference would be for puppies. Because I love the thought that, if I don’t make it to Christmas, somewhere there will be someone walking in the winter countryside, letting their enthusiastic wee spaniels off the  lead, and then howling ‘Cardio! Thoracic!’ as they disappear over the brow of a hill intent on catching some poor terrified sheep. That’s what I call a legacy.


Purchase Links:

Publisher


STEPHANIE BUTLAND lives with her family near the sea in the North East of England. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and when she’s not writing, she trains people to think more creatively. For fun, she reads, knits, sews, bakes, and spins. She is an occasional performance poet and the author of The Lost for Words Bookshop.

Weekly Wrap Up: July 21st through July 27th 2019

Clicking on titles under Books I’ve ReadNetGalley Haul,and Email Haul will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on titles under Books with Pending Reviews and Books with Published Reviews will take you to Amazon.

Clicking on titles Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz will take you to that specific blog post.

Clicking on links under Giveaways I’ve Entered will take you to that giveaway

Clicking on the titles under Freebies I Scored will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on the links under Weekly Posts will take you to that specific blog post.



Books I’ve Read:

Jake’s Redemption

T-Minus

Lost and Love: Thailand

Clockwork Image

Every Love



Books with pending reviews:


Books with published reviews:

Clockwork Image: Review Here

Nocturne in Ashes: Review Here

Every Love: Review Here

All Boy—Review Here


NetGalley Haul:

Naked Mole Rat Saves the World

Diamond City

The Curious Heart of Alisa Rae

What Rose Forgot


Email Haul:

Rise of the Dragon

Return of the Long Lost Earl (not on Goodreads yet)

Look for Me Under the Rainbow

The Kilwade Tragedy


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz:

Every Love—Blog Tour

All Boy—Blog Tour


Giveaways I’ve Entered:

What Red Was—Read it Forward


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Freebie Sunday

Music Monday

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Theme Thursday