Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim

First line: I learned I had no name on the same day I learned fear.

From the back cover: In early twentieth-century Korea, Najin Han, the privileged daughter of a calligrapher, longs to choose her own destiny. But her country is in tumult under Japan's harsh occupation, and her family's traditions, entitlements, and wealth crumble. Narrowly escaping an arranged marriage, Najin becomes a companion to a young princess, until Korea's last king is assassinated, and the centuries-old dynastic culture comes to its end.

Najin pursues a coveted education and is surprised to find love. After one day of marriage a denied passport separates her from her new husband, who journeys alone to America. As a decade passes and the world descends into war, Najin loses touch with her husband. Will the love they share be enough to sustain her through the deprivation her country continues to endure? The Calligrapher's Daughter is a "vivid, heartfelt portrait of faith, love and life for one family during a pivotal time in history."

My thoughts: This was an exceptionally written historical fiction novel. While the novel starts out a bit slow and has a somewhat languorous pace, it works well for the story. It's definitely not a quick read - but rather one that you must put down every so often to take it all in. When I started reading this novel, I wasn't familiar with the history of Korea at all, so I feel like I learned a great deal about the country and its people.  I was pulled into the story right from the beginning when we meet a young girl of five who does not yet have a name -- her father refuses to name her. Most of the book is written in first person from Najin's point of view since for the most part this is her story. I loved having her insight into the events in her life as well as what was occurring in Korea -- I felt as if I really could understand her feelings and get to know her. There were also parts that were written in the form of letters to Najin from her mother. This was a great way to speed up time without bogging us down with unnecessary storytelling. I truly enjoyed this book and plan on recommending that my book club read it - it's a book I would love to read again.

I received a complimentary copy of The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim from Henry Holt and Company Publishers to review.

Booking Through Thursday: Series (9.30.10)

Today's Booking Through Thursday question asks: 


 
If you read series, do you ever find a series "jumping the shark?" How do you feel about that? And, do you keep reading anyway?
 
I love reading series - I feel that you really become invested in the characters and am always sad to see a series end. I tend to be very anal about series - I need to start at the beginning and if I do happen to pick up a book in the middle of a series, will often stop reading it until I can read the ones that came before...I just feel that in series, you get a better feel for the development of characters and their relationships if you start at the beginning. I even found a great site, FictFact that allows you to track the series you are reading and let's you know the order of the series and when the next one will be out.
 
I tend to read a lot of series:  James Patterson's Alex Cross, The Women's Murder Club, Michael Bennett; Laura Child's Tea Shop Mysteries and Scrapbooking Mysteries; Iris Johansen's Eve Duncan Forensics; Catherine Coulter's FBI series; Stieg Larsson's Millenium series; Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street series and Cedar Cove series; and countless series/trilogies by Nora Roberts - most recently her Bridal Quartet series.
 
I have enjoyed/continue to enjoy every one of these series. I've rarely come across a book within these series where the author has "jumped the shark." The only one that comes to mind as being close to "jumping the shark" is the last Eve Duncan book I read, Blood Game - I felt that this book had a little too much paranormal to it and didn't really focus on Eve's forensic sculpting, which is my favorite part of the series. I did hear that in the coming books, the focus moves back to that, so I will continue reading.
 
What about you?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review: The Postcard Killers by James Patterson

First line: "It's very small," the Englishwoman said, sounding disappointed.

From the insider cover: NYPD detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of Europe's most gorgeous cities. But the sights aren't what draw him - he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each cafe through the eyes of his daughter's killer.

Kanon's daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend were murdered while on vacation in Rome. Since then, young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Stockholm have been found dead. Little connects the murders, other than a postcard to the local newspaper that precedes each new victim.

Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter Dessie Larsson, who has just received a postcard in Stockholm  - and they think they know where the next victims will be. With relentless logic and unstoppable action, The Postcard Killers may be James Patterson's most vivid and compelling thriller yet.

My thoughts: Another James Patterson hit - I absolutely loved this book and read it in one day! It was a riveting, suspenseful story that had me hooked from page one. The story follows New York Homicide detective Jacob Kanon on a journey to capture the monsters who have murdered his daughter while she is vacationing in Rome. The killers are known as the 'postcard killers' as they send a post card to newspaper reporters in the city they intend to take their next victim from. The story moves at a rapid pace, with adult themes and some pretty heavy violence. The plot itself is not a classic "whodunit," but more of a how-do-we-catch-the-villains. The international settings and the controversial biography of the villains add an interesting dimension to the straightforward plot.  

(I purchased this book.)

A-Z Wednesday: H (9.29.10)


Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicki at Reading At The Beach. To join in, visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in a comment.

THIS WEEK'S LETTER IS: "G"
My book is:


True Colors by Kristin Hannah

Synopsis from Amazon:
True Colors is New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s most provocative, compelling, and heart-wrenching story yet. With the luminous writing and unforgettable characters that are her trademarks, she tells the story of three sisters whose once-solid world is broken apart by jealousy, betrayal, and the kind of passion that rarely comes along.

The Grey sisters have always been close. After their mother’s death, the girls banded together, becoming best friends. Their stern, disapproving father cares less about his children than about his reputation. To Henry Grey, appearances are everything, and years later, he still demands that his daughters reflect his standing in the community.

Winona, the oldest, needs her father’s approval most of all. An overweight bookworm who never felt at home on the sprawling horse ranch that has been in her family for three generations, she knows that she doesn’t have the qualities her father values. But as the best lawyer in town, she’s determined to someday find a way to prove her worth to him.

Aurora, the middle sister, is the family peacemaker. She brokers every dispute and tries to keep them all happy, even as she hides her own secret pain.

Vivi Ann is the undisputed star of the family. A stunningly beautiful dreamer with a heart as big as the ocean in front of her house, she is adored by all who know her. Everything comes easily for Vivi Ann, until a stranger comes to town. . . .

In a matter of moments, everything will change. The Grey sisters will be pitted against one another in ways that none could have imagined. Loyalties will be tested and secrets revealed, and a terrible, shocking crime will shatter both their family and their beloved town.

With breathtaking pace and penetrating emotional insight, True Colors is an unforgettable novel about sisters, rivalry, forgiveness, redemption---and ultimately, what it means to be a family.

WWW Wednesdays (9.2910)

A Week in Books


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…



  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi - this is for my book club.


What did you recently finish reading?
Kiss Me If You Can by Carly Phillips
What do you think you’ll read next?
~ Most likely I will be reading Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi - this is also for my book club.




What about you? What are you reading?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FIR '10: Reading Question #1

FIR is hosted by Katrina at Callapidderdays.

Every Tuesday this fall, Katrina will be posting a question about reading.

Today's question: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to your reading? What prevents you from reading as much as you’d like?

Well, my biggest obstacle tends to be the internet...I go on to check email, facebook, and the other great blogs out there and soon realize a hour or more has gone by...it's so easy to lose track of time reading everyone's latest post. I try to go on the computer first thing in the morning after I get back from the gym and sometimes find I have to limit myself to how long I can stay on. I find that sometimes I have to set aside time to read (not that that always works!)...case in point: my book club is meeting Thursday evening and I am only a quarter of the way into the book. I decided I would read for a few hours this morning before going out to run some errands, and then realized I needed to email someone something, then checked my blog and saw I had a few comments I wanted to respond to and then saw someone had posted this question, so I needed to put my response together, so needless to say I only got in an hour of reading...it's a vicious circle!

If I can only stay off the computer, I do tend to get a lot of reading done. I always have a book with me, so if I get stuck somewhere, I can just read a few pages. And, I always read at night before I go to sleep. 

What about you? What are your biggest obstacles in reading?

REMINDER: Wind Warrior Blog Tour Giveaway ends 9.30.10



For those of you are interested in the Cynthia Roberts Giveaway, you will need to read the rules here and once you have fulfilled the rules leave your name and email address. I'll be choosing five potential winners to take part in the Grand Prize Drawing on September 30th and will post their names and email the entrants to get their mailing addresses later on. Head here to enter. Good luck to all entrants!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (9.28.10)

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts Teaser Tuesday. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here's a tease of what I am currently reading:

One reason for my choice of these particular girls was the peculiar mixture of fragility and courage I sensed in them. They were what you would call loners, who did not belong to any particular group or sect.

From Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi, pg. 12.

Please leave a comment with a link to your teaser so I can stop by.

In My Mailbox (23) 9.27.10

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store.


For Review (1)
Love Means Zero by Daisy Jordan

Library (0)

Purchased (0) -

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (1) -
The Recessionistas by Alexandra Lebenthal (from CMash Loves to Read)

What's in your mailbox?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Current

Today's Booking Through Thursday question asks: 


 
What are you reading right now? What made you choose it? Are you enjoying it? Would you recommend it? (And, by all means, discuss everything, if you're reading more than one thing!)
 
 
Right now I am reading Kiss Me If You Can by Carly Phillips. This is from her newest series of books, the Bachelor Blog series. I love it, as I have loved all her books. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a light, sexy read!!!

What about you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Into Reading Challenge 2010



Katrina over at Callapidder Days is hosting the Fall Into Reading Challenge. The challenge is to pick books you would like to read this fall and then keep a record of how you do. The challenge runs from September 22 to December 20. If you'd like to join, head over here to sign up.

Here's my list as of now:
  1. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
  2. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapri
  3. Love Means Zero by Daisy Jordan
  4. Let's Eat by Denise Burroughs
  5. Devil's Foodcake by Josi S. Kilpack
  6. Key Lime Pie by Josi S. Kilpack
  7. What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen
  8. Killer Heat by Brenda Novak
  9. A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent
  10. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
  11. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
  12. A Veiled Deception by Annette Blair
  13. Kiss Me if You Can by Carly Phillips
  14. Love Me if You Dare by Carly Phillips
  15. A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
  16. House Rules by Jodi Piccoult
  17. Honeymoon by James Patterson
  18. Don't Blink by James Patterson
  19. Cross Fire by James Patterson
  20. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
  21. 1022 Evergreen Place by Debbie Macomber
  22. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
  23. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
  24. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
  25. Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani


This is a combination of books I need to review as well as books I have on my TBR pile and my book club selection for the next two months. I think I should be able to get through all these, plus a few others.

Wish me luck! Let me know if you are joining so I can see your list!

A-Z Wednesday: G (9.22.10)


Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicki at Reading At The Beach. To join in, visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in a comment.

THIS WEEK'S LETTER IS: "G"
My book is:
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Synopsis from Amazon:
Sisterly rivalry is the basis of this fresh, wonderfully vivid retelling of the story of Anne Boleyn. Anne, her sister Mary and their brother George are all brought to the king's court at a young age, as players in their uncle's plans to advance the family's fortunes. Mary, the sweet, blond sister, wins King Henry VIII's favor when she is barely 14 and already married to one of his courtiers. Their affair lasts several years, and she gives Henry a daughter and a son. But her dark, clever, scheming sister, Anne, insinuates herself into Henry's graces, styling herself as his adviser and confidant. Soon she displaces Mary as his lover and begins her machinations to rid him of his wife, Katherine of Aragon. This is only the beginning of the intrigue that Gregory so handily chronicles, capturing beautifully the mingled hate and nearly incestuous love Anne, Mary and George ("kin and enemies all at once") feel for each other and the toll their family's ambition takes on them. Mary, the story's narrator, is the most sympathetic of the siblings, but even she is twisted by the demands of power and status; charming George, an able plotter, finally brings disaster on his own head by falling in love with a male courtier. Anne, most tormented of all, is ruthless in her drive to become queen, and then to give Henry a male heir. Rather than settling for a picturesque rendering of court life, Gregory conveys its claustrophobic, all-consuming nature with consummate skill. In the end, Anne's famous, tragic end is offset by Mary's happier fate, but the self-defeating folly of the quest for power lingers longest in the reader's mind.


This is the book that caused me to fall in love with The Tudors, Philippa Gregory's writing and historical fiction!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer Reading Challenge Finish Line


This is the first challenge to come to a close that I am participating in and I think I did pretty well. As you can see from my list, I read 24 out of the 25 books I had listed, plus I read 8 additional books for a total read from June 21 to September 21 of 32 books!!!



Here's my original list:
  1. Sand in My Eyes by Christine Lemmon
  2. This Must Be the Place by Kate Racculia
  3. Tuesday Tells It Slant by Holly Christine
  4. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
  5. Betsy Ross and the Making of America by Marla Miller - DID NOT READ YET
  6. The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim
  7. The Somebody Who by Katie Gates
  8. Home in Carolina by Sherryl Woods
  9. Sweat Tea at Sunrise by Sherryl Woods
  10. Honeysuckle Summer by Sherryl Woods
  11. Seven Year Switch from Claire Cook
  12. The Perfect Family by Kathryn Shay
  13. This One is Mine by Maria Semple
  14. Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young
  15. Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner
  16. She's Gone Country by Jane Porter
  17. With Friends Like These by Sally Koslow
  18. The House on Olive Street by Robyn Carr
  19. The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens
  20. Fireworks Over Tocca by Jeffrey Stepakoff
  21. Summer Blowout By Claire Cook
  22. The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand
  23. The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
  24. Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
  25. The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America by Robert Love
Additionally I read the following:
  1. White Heat by Brenda Novak
  2. Private by James Patterson
  3. Fragile by Lisa Unger
  4. Georgia's Kitchen by Jenny Nelson
  5. Body Heat by Brenda Novak
  6. The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell
  7. Stay by Allie Larkin
  8. The Postcard Killers by James Patterson
Thank you to Julie over at My Book Retreat for hosting this challenge!!! I got a lot of books read that have been sitting on my bookshelves, in addition to all the review books I had to read. Now I'm off to set up for the Fall into Reading Challenge being hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days.

Teaser Tuesdays (9.21.10)

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts Teaser Tuesday. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
 Here's a tease of what I am currently reading:


As I walked home, the lengthening shadows seemed darker, their origins unknown. I wondered if it was cheating to make the same promise to God for Yee Sunsaeng-nim as I had for my father.

From The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim, pg. 91.

Please leave a comment with a link to your teaser so I can stop by.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In My Mailbox (22) 9.19.10

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store.


For Review (1)
What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen

Library (1)
Ann of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Purchased (1) -
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (going to get this autographed Monday night!!!)

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Closet Confidential by Mary Jane Maffini
False Impressions by Terri Thayer
Death Threads by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
Delicious and Suspicious by Riley Adams
Murder Past Due by Miranda James
Buzz Off by Hannah Reed
***These books came in a lovely hand-stamped tote bag from Sharon...Thank you!!!

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review: Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux

First line: Amy closed her suitcase and looked around the bedroom she shared with her husband, Stephen.

From the back cover: Magic most definitely resides in the Maine summerhouse where the mysterious Madame Zoya has granted the innermost wishes of its visitors. Now, three women have come to this special place with one thing in common: a painful past they would each like to rewrite. Amy, who hides a heartbreaking loss behind her seemingly perfect marriage and family...Faith, a widow in her thirties whose deepest grief is for a man from years ago...and Zoe, an artist stunned by her hometown for reasons she doesn't know, after a traumatic night erased her memory. With their mystical powers, Madame Zoya and her sister Primrose are about to transport the trio to eighteenth-century England to alter Amy's ancestry. But although surprises await each of them, will stepping back in time bring the women the happy endings they seek?

My thoughts: Even though time travel/mysticism is not my usual type of read, I had to read this book to see what happens. I read The Summerhouse (click on the title to see that review) and loved it, so this one just called out to me. I definitely wasn't disappointed. This time, the three women are all transported together back to the eighteenth century - where Amy has decided she must go to help save the life of a man she believes is a relative of her husband's. While there, Faith and Zoe each find something about themselves that has implications on their current lives - they all, in fact, learn something about themselves that ends up helping them. Once back from the eighteenth century, Faith and Zoe each have an opportunity to go back in their lives to rewrite history...do they go and if they do, do they accept to change the past? Again, as in The Summerhouse, Jude Deveraux takes a very creative look at the road not taken.

(I purchased this book.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review: The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux

First line: Leslie Headrick looked out her kitchen window at the old summerhouse in the back.

From the back cover: Three best friends, all with the same birthday, are about to turn forty. Celebrating this turning point at a summerhouse in Maine, Leslie Headrick, Madison Appleby, and Ellie Abbott are taking stock of their lives , their loves, and their choices. But none of them expects the gift that awaits the trio at the summerhouse: the chance for each of them to turn their "what-might-have-beens" into reality...when a mysterious "Madame Zoya" allows them to relive any three weeks from their pasts. Will the road not taken prove a better path? Each woman will have to decide for herself as she follows the dream that got away...

My thoughts: This is the first Jude Deveraux book I've read and I really enjoyed it. It is a very light, easy read that reminded me of a modern day fairy tale. Ellie, Madison & Leslie are about to turn 40 and bitter about life. As they meet again for the first time since they were 21, they get a mystical chance to see what their life would have been like had they chosen different paths. Don't we all wonder what we would change if we could go back in time and have a "redo"? And would we really change anything? There have been many times when I have wondered if I made the best decisions in my life...and what if one little decision had been different?  This novel takes an interesting look at the "what ifs" in life and how the choices we make so deeply affect us. It explores those possibilities...and then after exploring them, these women have to decide if they want to keep their new life, or keep their old life. What a choice! Who can resist finding out what might have been? While this book is not realistic and not my usual type of read, I did find it a rather creative way to explore the road not taken and am glad I picked it up! 

(I purchased this book.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WWW Wednesdays (9.15.10)

A Week in Books

 
WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…



  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading? 
Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
What did you recently finish reading?  
Stay by Allie Larkin
What do you think you’ll read next? 
  ~ Most likely I will be reading In Zoey's Head by Sandy Ward Bell









What about you? What are you reading?

A-Z Wednesday: F (9.15.10)


Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicki at Reading At The Beach. To join in, visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in a comment.

THIS WEEK'S LETTER IS: "F"
My book is:
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Synopsis from Amazon:
Fowler, a captivating and good-hearted satirist, exuberantly pays homage to and matches wits with Jane Austen in her most pleasurable novel to date by portraying six irresistible Californians who meet once a month to discuss Austen's six novels. Coyly shifting points of view, Fowler subtly uses her characters' responses to Austen as entree into their poignant and often hilarious life stories. The book club is Jocelyn's idea, a fiftysomething gal who seems to prefer the company of her show dogs to men. She has known Sylvia since grade school, and even used to date Sylvia's husband, who has abruptly moved out, inspiring their beautiful, accident-prone, lesbian artist daughter, Allegra, to move back in and join the book club along with her mother. Also on board are disheveled and loquacious Bernadette; Prudie, a high-school French teacher; and Grigg, the only man. Fowler shares Austen's fascination with the power of stories, and explores the same timeless aspects of human behavior that Austen so masterfully dramatizes, while capturing with anthropological acuity and electrifying humor the oddities of our harried world. Fellow Austenites will love Fowler's fluency in the great novelist's work; every reader will relish Fowler's own ebullient comedy of manners, and who knows how many book clubs will be inspired by this charming paean to books and readers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Virtual Book Tour and Review: Stay by Allie Larkin



First line: Six years ago, Peter and I were having one of our weekly dinners at this little Italian restaurant just off campus.


From the inside cover: Savannah "Van" Leone has been in love with Peter Clarke ever since she literally fell head over heels in front of him on the first day of college. Now, six years later, instead of standing across from him at the alter, Van is standing behind her best friend Janie as maid of honor, trying to mask her heartache and guilt as Janie marries the only man she's ever loved. Before Van's mother died, she told Van never to let Peter go, but as the couple exchanges vows, Van wonders if her fairy-tale ending will ever come true.

After the wedding, Van drowns her sorrows in Kool-Aid-vodka cocktails and reruns of Rin Tin Tin, and does what any heartbroken woman in her situation would do: She impulsively buys a German Shepard over the Internet. But the pocket-size puppy Van is expecting turns out to be a clumsy hundred-pound beast who only responds to commands in Slovak. Van is at the end of her rope...until she realizes that this quirky giant may be the only living being who will always be loyal to her, no matter what.

Van affectionately names her dog Joe, and together they work to mend the pieces of Van's shattered heart. And it certainly doesn't hurt that Joe's vet is a rugged sweetheart with floppy blond hair and a winning smile. But when the newlyweds return from their honeymoon, Van is forced decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice in order to have everything she ever wanted - proving that sometimes life needs to get more complicated before it can get better.

Warm and witty, poignant and funny, Stay is a big-hearted, unforgettable debut that illuminates the boundlessness of love and marks the arrival of an irresistible new voice.

My thoughts: I loved this book - it was a quick read, filled with humor and had me laughing out loud in quite a few places. Being a first-time dog-owner myself, I could easily relate to Van as she adjusted to having a large dog in her home - I have a chocolate lab that is almost 100 pounds and I'm constantly picking up handfuls of fur and listening to loud sighs from my dog. Stay is a wonderful novel about friendships of all types - girlfriends, boyfriends (past and present) and the very special bond animals make with us. The characters in this book are very well developed and we get to see inside Van's head as she deals with the complexity of life in general, and relationships both past and present, and how somethings (despite how hard we try) simply cannot stay the same forever. Some of the best parts of the book though are the scenes with Joe, the large German Sheppard puppy. Whether you have a dog or not, you'll find yourself laughing and crying as Joe and Savannah find their way in life. For a debut novel, Allie Larkin has hit the mark and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future!



About the author: Allie Larkin lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband, Jeremy, their two German Shepherds, Argo and Stella, and a three-legged cat. She is the co-founder of TheGreenists.com, a site dedicated to helping readers take simple steps toward going green. STAY is her first novel.

You can find more information about Allie by visiting her website.

I received a complimentary copy of Stay by Allie Larkin from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour.

Teaser Tuesdays (9.14.10)

MizB of Should Be Reading hosts Teaser Tuesday. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
 Here's a tease of what I am currently reading:


Faith got a tea bag out of a box, put it in a cup, and poured boiling water on it. She took her cup to the wooden table and sat down. "I don't know about you, but I have no idea why I was sent here"

From Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux, pg. 35.

Please leave a comment with a link to your teaser so I can stop by.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Musing Mondays (9.13.10)

Musing Mondays2 This week’s musing asks: 

Where do you get/buy most of your books?


 
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks. 

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading
 
I tend to go in spurts where I buy a lot of books, from either Barnes and Noble or Target, and then there are times when I only get books from the library. Lately, I have gotten a ton of books from library sales - my job takes me to the different libraries in my county, so whenever I go into any of the 17 libraries I always make sure to check out the book sales they are having.
 
What about you?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review: The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens

First line: Alone in the evenings, when the light had drained from the slate roof of her small rural home, and when her husband was working late, Mary Gooch would perform a striptease for the stars at the open bedroom window: shifting out of rumpled bottoms, slipping off blousy tops, liberating breasts, peeling panties, her creamy flesh spilling forth until she was completely, exquisitely nude.

From the inside cover: On the eve of their silver anniversary, Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband, Jimmy - still every inch the handsome star athlete he was in high school - to come home. As night turns to day, it becomes frighteningly clear to Mary that he is gone. Through the years, disappointment and worry have brought Mary's life to a standstill, and she has let her universe shrink to the well-worn path from the bedroom to the refrigerator. But her husband's disappearance startles her out of her inertia, and she beings a desperate search.

She boards a plane for the first time in her life and flies across the country to find her lost husband. So used to hiding from the world, Mary learns that in the bright sun and broad vistas of California, she is forced to look up from the pavement. And what she discovers fills her with an inner strength she's never felt before: perfect strangers who come to her rescue, an aging, sometimes hostile mother-in-law who needs her help, friends who enjoy her company. And through it all, Mary not only finds kindred spirits, but reunites with a more intimate stranger no longer sequestered by fear and habit: herself.

With the generosity and delicate grace that had readers falling in love with her best-selling novel, The Girls, Lori Lansens brings us another moving and beautifully wrought story, this time of a woman taking small, yet courageous steps toward her authentic self.

My thoughts: This was a powerful story of a woman's coming of age. It was so easy to get caught up in Mary's life. She comes across as a real woman, with real fears and real hopes - her story isn't one that's tied up with a little red bow. She shows us how our own inner strength can give us the power to change our lives, by taking a chance and doing something new when the old way is no longer working for us. This is an insightful read into the world of those with eating disorders/addictions - it is fascinating that Mary can trace all her weight gains to significant events in her life. Lansens seems to possess a keen insight into the world of the seemingly damaged among us and how they are perceived by society. I really enjoyed the author's unique voice. The writing makes it feel like Mary Gooch is a real person that you know. A lot of time is spent revealing her thoughts, imperfections, changes. It's not a plot-drive story, but rather about a character and her quest for self-discovery. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to picking up more of Lori Lansens' books.

(I won this book from Bookin'with Bingo.)

In My Mailbox (21) 9.12.10

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store.



For Review (0)


Library (1)
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapri

Purchased (3) -
1022 Evergreen Place by Debbie Macomber
Love Me If You Dare by Carly Phillips
Secrets of a Shoe Addict by Beth Harbison

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (0)

What's in your mailbox?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Review: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen

First line: The year I turned forty-three was the year I realized I should have never taken my Mennonite genes for granted.

From the back cover: Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her seriously injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family's home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda's good-natured mother suggested she get over her heartbreak by dating her first cousin - he owned a tractor, see.)

Written with wry humor and huge personality - and tackling faith, love, family, and aging - Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.

My thoughts: I have to say that one of the reasons I choose this book was because of the cover - the little black dress set against the turquoise background just pulled me in. It is a fascinating book that chronicles Rhoda's divorce and shares childhood adventures and misadventures growing up Mennonite. Not knowing much about the Mennonites, I felt Rhoda gave us just enough information to whet our appetites, plus the primer at the end of the book helped to fill in some blanks. There are so many parts of this book that are very funny, particularly Rhoda's parents. Filled with honest introspection, this book pulled me in. I look forward to seeing what else Rhoda Janzen will write. 

I received a complimentary copy of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen from Henry Holt and Company Publishers to review. 

Book Blogger Hop 9.10.10

It's that time again.... time for the weekly Book Blogger Hop!  Brought to you by Jennifer at Crazy For Books, this is a fun way to get to know other book bloggers.


This week's question:  Post a link to your favorite post or book review that you have written in the last three months.

What a great idea!!! In looking over the book reviews that I have done in the past three months, I would have to say that my favorite one was for The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell - I just can't seem to get this book out of my head - I loved the story and the twists and the locations - it was remarkably well written and I highly recommend it if you haven't picked it up yet!

What about you?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

WWW Wednesdays (9.8.10)

A Week in Books

 
WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…



  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
What are you currently reading? 
A Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens
What did you recently finish reading?  
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
What do you think you’ll read next? 
  ~ Most likely I will be reading The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux









What about you? What are you reading?

A-Z Wednesday: E (9.8.10)


Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicki at Reading At The Beach. To join in, visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in a comment.

THIS WEEK'S LETTER IS: "E"
My book is:
A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand
Synopsis from Amazon:
After the extreme heat of her Nantucket studio causes her to go into early labor with her youngest son, renowned glass artist Claire Danner Crispin now devotes her life to her four children. Part of her charm and part of her problem are her perpetual feelings of guilt. When asked to cochair the Nantucket Children Summer Gala, she agrees, adding an impossible burden to an already busy life. She also agrees to create a museum quality piece of artwork when the head of the charity, Lock Dixon, asks her to because Lock’s wife suffered a serious accident after going out drinking with Claire and her friends. Truly, Claire hasn’t a free moment, what with caring for her children, working with the elitist cochair from Manhattan, asking her teenage rock-star boyfriend to play the event for free, and creating a masterpiece, all while conducting a clandestine affair with Lock. A gem of a summer read with a glamorous location, elite lifestyle, and Hilderbrand’s appealing take on the constant stress that fills the lives of women everywhere.
 

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