Monday, February 28, 2011

It's Monday - What Are You Reading? (2.28.11)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

Books Completed last week:

  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (book club book, library book)
  • Multiple Choice by Claire Cook
Reading Now:
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (book club book, mine)
  • The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir (library audio book)
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (review)
Next:
  • The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg (library book, online book club) 
  • Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner Molaski (review)
Reviews completed this past week:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Scones and Bones by Laura Childs (review book)
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (book club book, library book)
  • Multiple Choice by Claire Cook (mine)
Contest information:

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (44) 2.27.11

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)
Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner Molaski

Library (0)

Purchased (0)

Free Downloads (0) 

Borrowed from family member/friend (1)
Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (1) - from Crystal at My Reading Room (book from Book Depository) 
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
 

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: Marrying Daisy Bellamy by Susan Wiggs

First line: The bridegroom was so handsome, Daisy Bellamy's heart nearly melted at the sight of him.

From the back cover:
There are days on Willow Lake...
Daisy Bellamy has struggled for years to choose between two men - one honorable and steady, one wild and untethered. And then, one fateful day, the decision is made for her.

When the wind is so still and the water so calm...
Now busy with a thriving business on Willow Lake, Daisy knows she should be happy with the life she's chosen for herself and her son. But she still aches for the one thing she can't have.

You can almost hear your heart beat...
Until the man once lost to her reappears, resurrected by a promise of love. And now the choice Daisy thought was behind her is the hardest one she'll ever face...

My thoughts: This is the eighth installment of Susan Wiggs' Lakeshore Chronicles and it is Daisy's story - a story that many of us who read this series have been waiting for. Since meeting Daisy in the first book, we've watched her grow up - and what a roller-coaster her life has been from early teens to adulthood. She became a single mom at eighteen and grew up real fast. Marrying Daisy Bellamy takes us along as Daisy tries to support herself and her son Charlie with wedding photography, even though her real hope is to make it as a professional photojournalist. Still in the picture, however, are both Julian, Daisy's love interest from her first summer at Willow Lake and an adrenaline junkie, and Logan, Charlie's father, who's from a well-to-do family. This is definitely a character-driven story, where each of the three main characters, Daisy, Julian and Logan, are well-developed. They may not always be likable, but you find yourself feeling empathy towards them just the same. Watching the love triangle play out, with the many twists and turns thrown in, makes you not want to put the book down. I particularly loved the flashbacks to Daisy and Julian's first summer together. It helped refresh in my mind on some things that had happened in the earlier books. I found this story to be heart-warming and filled with hope and pray that this is not the last book in this series.

(I purchased this book.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (audio book)

From the back of the audio case: New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult brilliantly explores the complex dynamics of troubled American families in her captivating novels. With The Tenth Circle, she crafts the tale of a brokenhearted teenage girl and the father who will do anything to protect her.

Trixie Stone is only a freshman in high school when Jason, the junior she thinks she loves, dumps her. Then one night at a party, their paths cross again. A few hours later, a visibly shaken Trixie comes home and tells her father that Jason sexually assaulted her. Daniel Stone has always done everything in his power to keep his daughter safe. But he never imagined anything so devastating could happen to Trixie - and now he's not sure how to help her.

Read by: Carol Monda

My thoughts: This was a very powerful, compelling story. One of the reasons I love reading Jodi Picoult is that she is not afraid to write about timely, yet sometimes controversial, topics. The Tenth Circle definitely falls into this category. It is a disturbing and memorable story of a family in deep crisis. Telling it from multiple characters' points of view only adds to the tension that mounts as this story unfolds, giving us insight into their true feelings and thoughts. As glimpses of each character are revealed, you start to feel as if they are people from your own town and you grow to care for them and root for them. Jodi Picoult does an excellent job of making the reader feel empathy and sympathy for all the characters, especially Trixie and Jason. One thing that I seemed to have missed out on by listening to the audio version of this book are the comics that are included throughout. I might have to go pick up the book form just to take a look at them! On the other hand, I didn't have to struggle with the native words that occasionally appeared in the book - the narrator spoke them for me. Despite the tough topic of this story, I really enjoyed it. Filled with many twists and turns, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and is a story that stays with you long after the last words are spoken or read.

(I borrowed this audio book from the library.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Scene of the Blog


Today I am being featured over at Kittling: Books for her Scene of the Blog feature. Please stop by to check out my workspace and my bookshelves! Leave a comment there telling me what you think - I'll be stopping by throughout the day to visit as well.

Not sure what the Scene of the Blog feature is? Basically, book bloggers from around the world each have a “space”, somewhere they throw together that marvelous place you see on your screen every time you stop by. Well, Cathy’s feature takes a glimpse into the unknown behind some of the best bloggers out there. You get to see the messy, the clean, the cluttered, the organized work spaces of anyone and everyone. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

First line: Kenny Traveler was lazy.

From the back cover: Lady Emma Wells-Finch, the oh-so-proper headmistress of England's St. Gertrude's School for Girls, knows only one thing will save her from losing everything she holds dear: complete and utter disgrace! Skirts flying, umbrella pointing, and beautiful mouth issuing orders, she arrives in Texas on a mission: She has two weeks to lose her reputation.

World-famous playboy-athlete Kenny Traveler has been suspended from the sport he loves. Now only one thing can restore his career: complete and utter respectability! Unfortunately, he's been blackmailed into chauffeuring bossy, single-minded Lady Emma, who's hell-bent on visiting honky-tonks and tattoo parlors...and worse. Lots worse.

LOVE, ALL-AMERICAN STYLE

When a gorgeous man who can't afford another scandal meets a hardheaded woman who's determined to cause one, anything can happen. But love? Oh dear, that's impossible, outrageous...inevitable!

My thoughts: Lady Be Good is the second in Susan Elizabeth's American's Lady series. I read the first one, Fancy Pants, many years ago, not realizing it was part of a series. With the recent release of Call Me Irresistible, the third in the series, I realized that I had never picked up Lady Be Good.

I loved this story...it was a fun, romantic story that had me laughing out loud in some spots, cringing in others and tearing up occasionally, too. Lady Emma is as straight-laced as they come and wants one thing during her visit to the states - to put a blemish on her reputation. Kenny is nothing but trouble and desperately needs to show the world he is and can be a stand-up guy. When they are thrown together, it takes determination and skill to see who will come out succeeding in their individual missions. As in all Susan Elizabeth Phillip's books, the characters are funny and have great personalities. The story is entertaining with light-hearted, witty romances that make the book hard to put down. Emma and Kenny are characters that are easy to love and quite hilarious, too. Add to that a sexy secondary romance between Kenny's sister, Torie, and Dexter O'Conner, the reappearance of Dallie and Francesca and the now grown-up Ted (from Fancy Pants) and this story is truly character driven. I look forward to catching up with these characters again in Call Me Irresistible.

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Monday - What Are You Reading? (2.21.11)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

Books Completed last week:
  • Scones and Bones by Laura Child (review)
  • Marrying Daisy Bellamy
Reading Now:
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (book club book, mine)
  • The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir (library audio book)
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (book club book)
Next:
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (review)
  • The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg (library book, online book club)
Reviews completed this past week:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (library book)
  • The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (library audio book)
  • Scones and Bones by Laura Childs (review book)
  • Marrying Daisy Bellamy by Susan Wiggs (mine)
Contest information:

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: The Diva Paints the Town by Krista Davis (e-book)

First line: Dear Sophie, My miserable cousins have been pawing through Grand-pa's house, claiming they're there to spruce it up.

Synopsis from Barnes & Noble: When Sophie's neighbor-a reclusive professor-dies, his final wish is for the Domestic Diva to throw a dinner party in his honor, and he's planned everything down to the letter. But what no one planned for is the corpse of a student that Sophie finds in his house.

My thoughts: This is the third book in Krista Davis's domestic diva mystery series. It was a fun, quick read - the first book I read on my NOOK, and I flew through it! This time around, Sophie is in the middle of overseeing the Rooms and Blooms event when her neighbor, Mordecai dies. But, of course, his death isn't the only problem, he actually leaves Sophie a request - to plan and host a dinner for a group of people who turn out to be previous students' of his. In the midst of this, Natasha, Sophie's rival and neighbor, has decided Mordecai's house would be the perfect place for her next project - the Decorator's Guild house walk - and she decides to have a different person in charge of decorating each room. Filled with some familiar faces and some new ones, this book had me laughing out loud at times. It's quite fun following the antics of Sophie and her friends once they get involved in a murder. I also loved the little helpful hints at the beginning of each chapter - this time all dealing with home improvement. I look forward to seeing what Sophie finds herself mixed up in next.

(I purchased this e-book.)

In My Mailbox (43) 2.20.11

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 (2)
The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Purchased (5)
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig
The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig
All the Queen's Players by Jane Feather
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Free Downloads (0)

Borrowed from family member (0)

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (0) - 
 

What's in your mailbox?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Author Interview: Anjali Banerjee

I am pleased to welcome Anjali Banerjee, who wrote Haunting Jasmine to Always With a Book.  You can read my review of her book here

About the author: Anjali Banerjee was born in India, and raised in Canada and California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She has written five young adult novels and two adult novels.  Banerjee lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and beloved cats.  For more information about Banerjee and her work, visit her website.



Thanks to Anjali for answering a few questions.

What inspired you to write this book?
Jasmine Mistry here. Anjali Banerjee apparently “dreamed me up” as the main character in her new release, Haunting Jasmine, but I didn’t come from anyone’s imagination. I’m real. She “borrowed” me for her novel, in which I agree to leave my busy job in L.A. for a month to run my Aunt Ruma’s bookstore on the rainy Pacific Northwest island of my childhood. Aunt Ruma is off to India to “heal her heart”, and I’m worried about her health. So I agree to help her, although I hate the idea of sitting in a musty old bookstore for a whole month. I can’t remember when I last had time to crack open a book.

After my aunt leaves, I’m left with way more than books. She conveniently forgot to tell me about the ghosts of dead authors haunting the bookstore. They try to help me slow down and reinvent my life - even though I don’t want help. Not at first.

So what was Anjali’s inspiration for the story? Me, of course. I’m so spectacularly fascinating. Okay, truth. Her idea popped up from nowhere. She wondered what would happen if dead authors could come to life in a bookstore and try to get people to read their books.

She thought me up after she created the ghosts. Well, thanks a lot.

Oh, she says maybe the hunk came next - the mysterious, sexy man named Connor Hunt, the guy who keeps showing up in the bookstore at all the wrong moments to ask me on dates. Like right after a rogue wave sweeps up the beach and soaks me. At Auntie’s bookstore, I throw my wet clothes in the dryer and borrow Auntie’s purple polyester pants and bunny slippers and go commando (temporarily)… and who should show up, but that annoying man.

Next question.

What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or ...?
Anjali says her process is different each time. Sometimes she starts with a hook – the dead authors in a bookstore – and then tries to think up a main character (like me), and sometimes she starts with a character who has a problem. In LOOKING FOR BAPU, she began with an image of a boy who longs to bring back his dead grandfather’s spirit.

Characters in her novels always have problems to solve. Just for the record, I don’t have a problem. Never did.

As a child, did you ever dream that you would be a published author? As a child did you like to read and write and if so, what were your favorite books?
Anjali won’t admit it, but she always dreamed of becoming a published author. As a kid, she typed Agatha Christie-type mystery stories on her rickety toy typewriter, stapled the pages together and pasted little copyright notices inside the front covers. She even illustrated the books herself. After she read The Diary of Anne Frank, she started keeping a journal. Now she has boxes of them.

She loved to read Curious George, The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep, the Chronicles of Narnia, Enid Blyton novels, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, science fiction novels (The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, the four Tripods books by John Christopher, beginning with The White Mountains), novels by Alexander Key, and many more.

What’s your writing routine? Do you write every day or just when the mood strikes?
She should write every day, but often she doesn’t have time – for example, if she’s promoting a new book or on deadline for her telecommuting job (she writes stock trading cost reports for an investment consulting firm). Normally, she likes to write for two to three hours a day, usually in the morning before the demands of the day set in. She lives with a husband and five crazy cats who often demand attention.

I try to stay out of her way.

What are you reading right now?
Who, me? I’m re-reading the classics. But I have to ignore Edgar Allan Poe, Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen, and other bookstore spirits who hang around and provide a running commentary on their books while I’m reading.

Anjali is also reading a number of books – too many to name. She needs to settle down and focus on one.

Are you currently working on another book?
Anjali is working on another women’s fiction novel, tentatively titled Enchanting Lily, in which a young widow -- who owns a vintage clothing store on a Pacific Northwest island – comes out of her isolation and finds love again with help from a magical cat.

I’m lobbying to make a cameo appearance in the novel. We’ll see.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
While I’m waiting for Anjali’s response, here’s a bit of advice. Listen to us, your characters, and stop throwing conflict and dilemmas at us. We don’t always want to change - just leave us in peace.

Anjali disagrees. She thinks stories are all about strife and conflict and characters that need to evolve.

Fine. Whatever.

Anjali says aspiring writers should also read widely and take their writing seriously. That means you need to practice, learn the craft, meet with other writers, take classes, go to conferences. Think of yourself and treat yourself as a writer. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Big ones. Write gloriously crappy first drafts. You can’t revise a blank page.

I agree.

Happy writing!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Virtual Blog Tour & Review: Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee

First line: I didn't see this turn of events coming, or going. 

From the back cover: Divorcee Jasmine Mistry is intent on restarting her life when she gets the chance to do just that. A call from the past brings her home to Shelter Island, a green dot in the middle of Puget Sound, to run her beloved aunt's bookstore. The familiarity is heartening - the rocky beaches, pewter skies, country boutiques, and above all, Auntie's Bookstore, nestled in a quaint Queen Anne Victorian, and believed, not incidentally, to be haunted.

With that knowledge, Jasmine embarks on a mystical journey, urged along by her quirky family, guided by the highly emotional spirits of long-dead authors, and moved to heal her broken heart when she unexpectedly falls in love with an enigmatic young stranger. He knows about blurring the lines between reality and illusion. He opens new doors between truth and fantasy. In redefining the meaning of everlasting love, he urges Jasmine to reinvent herself in a place she calls home. All she has to do is close her eyes and say yes.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Anjali Banerjee and I really enjoyed it. The story is quite interesting - Jasmine returns home to help out a favorite aunt with her bookstore, a bookstore that is haunted by some of the spirits of long-deceased authors. I wasn't sure I was going to like this book after reading the initial blurb from the publisher - I'm not really a fan of ghosts - but being that the main setting was in a bookstore, I was intrigued. And I wasn't disappointed. It was magical and entertaining. I absolutely loved the premise: what if dead authors could come to life in a bookstore and try to get people to read their books? What an interesting way to remind us that even though an author might not be around, their books still live on. I truly believe that a really good bookseller knows what book fits a person, and this story reinforces that - Aunt Ruma and Jasmine are able to push the right books into the hands of their customers. Filled with humor,  a little romance, second chance love, and little factoids about the Indian/Hindu culture, this book is a fun, easy read that reminds us: Sometimes you have to take a risk and grab life with both hands, even if only for a day!

About the author: Anjali Banerjee was born in India, and raised in Canada and California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She has written five young adult novels and two adult novels.  Banerjee lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and beloved cats.  

For more information about Banerjee and her work, visit her website


 
I received a complimentary copy of Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee from Erin at Penguin Group USA as part of the tour.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guest Post and Giveaway: Dr. Jennifer Freed (Giveaway Closed)


Please join me in welcoming Dr. Jennifer Freed, author of  Lessons from Stanley the Cat to Always With a Book!  


Does First Love Last?   

by Dr. Jennifer Freed, author of new top selling book Lessons from Stanley the Cat

The lessons of first love last forever. Everyone will tell you that you never forget your first love.   Most of us feel like when we fall in love for the first time that it will be eternal.  We are innocent. We are idealistic.  We are overcome with the profound emotions that accompany truly loving another person.   We even can feel like no one has ever felt this way before.

The truth is that it is rare for a love relationship that begins in High School to endure for a lifetime.

Why? 

Our brains are not fully formed till we are about 25 years old and our growth and reproductive hormones are raging during our teen years.  Together this combination provides a drug-like concoction of fantasy, lust, and unchained romanticism.  In other words we are not yet able to use all our best judgment; we are charged with chemistry that is out of this world; and we are feeling invincible when it comes to love.  

A love relationship that lasts needs:
1) A balanced and mature mind   2) A connection that goes beyond chemistry (because that first divine charge fades with time no matter what) 3) An ability to work through disappointment, loss, and disagreements 4) A shared value system that can grow and change through time 5) The absence of addictions, violence, and dishonesty

Is it wrong to believe your love is so special and beautiful that it will beat the odds? No!   That belief is a way that we move forward in our lessons in love. However it is important when completely diving in to consider that it may not last. The minute you get sexually involved with someone you lose objectivity and the ability to make rational assessments about the appropriateness of a romantic partner.  The glue of sexual intensity can make anyone seem essential to you, and many people have made damaging decisions based solely on this physical craving.  It is hard to believe that superhuman attraction doesn't equal life long compatibility but it doesn't.

If we can tolerate the possibility that this may not work out (emotional maturity and logic) then we can make better decisions based on emotional safety, sexual wisdom, and keeping our friends and worlds intact instead of giving everything to one person. 

A relationship can last if we take it slow and really get to know someone deeply. It takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for the LOVE DRUGS of attraction to wear off, or wane.  Therefore it really should be about two years before you make any permanent decision to be with anyone. It takes about that long to see the other person clearly without the haze of the intoxicating hormones of romance.    If you are aiming for a lifetime with someone then a two-year trial period is no big deal right?

So can FIRST LOVE LAST?  Yes if you are willing to go super slow even when your heart is beating extra fast and you are committed to your own balance and growth more than the fantasy of being saved by love.  More importantly the first love that matters most of all is the one you have for yourself: your integrity, your self worth, your talents and skills, your health and healthy habits, your education, and your future.

This love will never let you down and will last forever.



About the Author: For more than 25 years, Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., has been a licensed marriage and family counselor, group psychotherapist and educator.  She was the Clinical Director at PACIFICA GRADUATE INSTITUTE, one of the country’s leading centers for depth psychology, where she continues to serve as a professor and workshop leader.
Dr. Freed is a recognized expert on behavioral matters such as teen bullying, character development, marriage and family relationships, and diversity issues.  She has provided thousands with the practical tools to compassionately reassess personal behaviors and make significant life changes.

National media appearances include GOOD MORNING AMERICA, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, ABC NEWS, FOX NEWS, SIRRIUS RADIO, AIR AMERICA, USA TODAY, DISNEY.COM, LIFESCRIPT.COM, and others.  Jennifer Freed currently hosts the popular radio program FREED UP! on Voice America.

Jennifer Freed is the co-founder/director of the highly successful teen program called THE ACADEMY OF HEALING ARTS (AHA!), which serves more than 1000 families annually in the state of California. AHA! is dedicated to the development of character, imagination, emotional intelligence, and social conscience in teenagers , while helping them set goals, support their peers, and serve their community. For The Academy of Healing Arts, Dr. Freed created the educational book series “BECOME YOUR BEST SELF”, which includes workbooks on Relationship Wisdom, Character, Compassion and Creative Expression, targeted to teens and young adults.

In addition to the workbook series, Dr. Freed has published THE ULTIMATE PERSONALITY GUIDE, a popular interactive guidebook for understanding personality typologies. Her latest book published by Penguin, LESSONS FROM STANLEY THE CAT: Nine Lives of Everyday Wisdom, inspired by a beloved feline friend, has received rave reviews. To learn more about Stanley, please visit stanleythecat.com.

Dr. Freed is the recipient of the 2009 Santa Barbara’s Local Heroes Award and THE HOPE AWARD from Sierra Tucson Treatment Center, in recognition of her innovative curriculum for high school teenagers, which led to a 75% reduction in school suspensions. The Academy of Healing Arts was just awarded YOUTH PROGRAM OF THE YEAR by the City of Santa Barbara in 2010 and AHA! is also the recipient of the 2010 Southern California Teen Coalition Teenie Award in the category of Be the Change Award – this category recognizes youth/teen groups/organizations that are working to help teens make a difference in the world or in their community by projects, activities or personal changes that actually make tangible differences. The membership of the SCTC is about 500 strong with about 70 or more agencies represented.

She also was the founder of the statewide program called THE MEDIA PROJECT which worked with teens to produce media products for the prevention of drugs and violent offenses.

Additionally, Jennifer is a renowned psychological astrologer with thousands of clients all over the country and the world. She is the director of Astrological Counseling Seminars which has provided classes to over a thousand students. She has also maintained a clinical practice in Santa Barbara serving individuals, couples, and families for 26 years.

You can visit her website at www.jenniferfreed.com.

Thank you Dr. Freed for visiting and now on to the giveaway.

GIVEAWAY RULES (closed):

I have one copy of Lessons from Stanley the Cat for readers of this blog open to US and Canada readers only.

Rules:

  • For ONE entry enter your name and email on the form below.
  • For TWO entries follow my blog. If you already are following me through Google Friend Connect thank you for following my blog. Just let me know in form by answering the optional question three.
  • For THREE entries post about this giveaway to spread the word. Be sure to share the link of your post in optional question four on the form.

Giveaway will end on March 2nd 2011 at midnight.
I will draw one winner using Random.org on March 3rd 2011
To be entered no entries by comments.
YOU MUST FILL OUT THE FORM OR IT WILL NOT COUNT.

*Form closed

Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: Love Letters by Geraldine Solon

First line: As Chloe Rogers put her car in reverse, she couldn’t stop looking at her princess-cut diamond.

Synopsis from Amazon: Bridal shop manager Chloe Rogers will soon marry Richard Foster—so she thinks—until suddenly, she bumps into her childhood sweetheart, Josh Goldman, whom she hasn’t seen in thirteen years. The sparks between Chloe and Josh fly, but Richard provides safety, financial security. Should she follow her heart or her head? The answer comes in a surprise twist. While cleaning her attic, she stumbles upon love letters written to her estranged mother forty years ago from a man she loved. When Chloe secretly brings them together again and sees how much time they’ve lost, she is challenged not to make the same mistake her mother made. Will Chloe opt for security or will she risk her heart and marry her true love?


My thoughts: This was the perfect book to read leading up to Valentines Day! It was a fun, quick read that really makes you think about the decisions you make when it comes to love. It's about second chances presenting themselves and having to decide if it's worth risking your heart to take it. This story reminded me of my husband and I. Like Chloe and Josh, we met while in school, in the 8th grade. We became friends and even though he wanted to date and I didn't, we remained the best of friends until high school graduation, where we each went our separate ways. Fast forward fourteen years and we reconnect, start dating, and end up getting married. For Chloe and Josh, it's a little different. When they reconnect, Chloe was already engaged to another man - a man completely different from Josh. As she struggles with what to do, she comes across a box of love letters addressed to her mom - not from her father but from another man. Trying to figure out what happened, Chloe does some digging and then ends up bringing her estranged mother together with her long-lost love. It's during this time that she realizes what she needs to do. Filled with romance, humor, and some heartbreak, this is a great love story that really hit close to home for me. I look forward to reading more from this author.


Book Trailer:



Thank you to the author for sending me this book to review - I loved it!

It's Monday - What Are You Reading? (2.14.11)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

Books Completed last week:

  • Love Letters by Geraldine Solon (review)
  • Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (library book)
  • The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (library audio book)
Reading Now:
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (book club book, mine)
  • The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir (library audio book)
  • Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee (review)
Next:
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (review)
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (book club book)
  • Scones and Bones by Laura Child (review)
Reviews completed this past week:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • The Diva Paints the Town by Krista Davis (e-book, mine)
  • Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (library book)
  • The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (library audio book)
Contest information:
  • More coming soon

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (42) 2.13.11

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 (2)
Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
Elizabeth I by Margaret George 

Library (2)
Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner (audio book)
The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir (audio book)

Purchased (4)
The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean
Marrying Daisy Bellamy by Susan Wiggs
Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman (e-book)
Alone by Lisa Gardner (e-book)

Free Downloads (1)
Stuck in the Middle by Virgina Smith

Borrowed from family member (0)

From Paperback Swap - (0)

Won (2) - both from Mary at Bookfan  
Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas
Somewhere Along the Way by Jodi Thomas
 

What's in your mailbox?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Spotlight: Dead Man's Eye by Shaun Jeffrey


About the book: Blighted by an eye disease, Joanna Raines undergoes a corneal transplant operation to stop her going blind. The procedure is successful, but in the weeks that follow she begins to see dark coronas surrounding certain people. By turns fearful that something has gone wrong and worried that she's going crazy, Joanna searches for an answer to the phenomena.

What she finds will change her life forever. The transplant has opened a door in her mind, and the strange coronas are not legacies of the operation but proof that a legion of demons plans to invade the earth!

Now the only thing that stands between the demonic horde and their plot to take over the world is Joanna, a young woman with the power to see them for what they really are.

Seeing is believing.

The demons are real.

Joanna just has to convince everyone else before it's too late.

 
Buy the e-book now at: Amazon.comAmazon UK | Smashwords

Visit the author: website


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Review: The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

First line: Never in her life had Catherine Parkstone imagined so many sheep.

From the back cover: A rural idyll: that's what Catherine is seeking when she sells her house in England and moves to a tiny hamlet in the Cevennes mountains. With her divorce in the past and her children grown, she is free to make a new start, and to set up in business as a seamstress. But this is a harsh and lonely place when you're no longer here on holiday. There is French bureaucracy to contend with, not to mention the mountain weather, and the reserve of her neighbours, including the intriguing Patrick Castagnol. And that's before the arrival of Catherine's sister, Bryony...

My thoughts: This is a beautiful novel about family, friendship, love and new beginnings. Quite simply, it is a story about following your heart and your dreams, and taking risks that can lead to amazing experiences. Catherine is ready for a change and decides to sell her house in England and move to a small town in France. Once settled, she decides to take up needlepoint, creating beautiful tapestries and home-furnishings. I enjoyed learning a little bit about the art of creating tapestries. I also loved getting to know the other characters, particularly those who live near Catherine in the Cevennes, like Madame and Monsieur Bouschet, Madame Volpiliere, and Patrick Castagnol. Filled with beautiful writing and descriptions, The Tapestry of Love is a book that is meant to be savored, not devoured. It is like visiting old friends...you don't want to rush to find out what is going on, you want to enjoy the visit, savoring each moment as you reconnect.


Thank you to the author for sending me this book to review - I really enjoyed it!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (2.8.11)



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:


"This is quite embarrassing. I thought Francesca would have discussed all this with you. You're expecting more than fifty dollars, aren't you?"

From Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, pg. 11.

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

Monday, February 07, 2011

It's Monday - What Are You Reading? (2.7.11)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

Books Completed last week:

  • The Tudor Secret by CW Gortner (review book)
  • The Diva Paints the Town by Krista Davis (e-book, mine)
  • The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton (review book)
    Reading Now:
    • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (book club book, mine)
    • The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (library audio book)
    • Love Letters by Geraldine Solon (review)
    Next:
    • Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee (review)
    • Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (library book)
    Reviews completed this past week:
    Books for which I need to finish reviews:
    • The Diva Paints the Town by Krista Davis (e-book, mine)
    • The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton (review book)
    Contest information:
    • More coming soon

    What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

    Sunday, February 06, 2011

    In My Mailbox (41) 2.6.11

    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 (3)
    The Hundred Secret Dresses by Amy Tan
    Love You More by Lisa Gardner 
    The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 

    Library (0)

    Purchased (3)
    The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent
    The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig
    The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig

    Free Downloads (1)
    Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick (e-book)

    Borrowed from family member (0)

    From Paperback Swap - (1)
    Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

    Won (0) 
     

    What's in your mailbox?

    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    Review: Tick Tock by James Patterson

    First line: Like the luxury co-ops and five-star French eateries located in Manhattan's Silk Stockings District, Benchley East Side Parking was outrageously exclusive.

    From the inside cover: NYC's #1 detective, Michael Bennett, has a huge problem - the Son of Sam, the Werewolf of Wisteria, and the Mad Bomber are all back. The city has never been more terrified!

    TICK - A KILLER'S COUNTDOWN BEGINS
    A rash of horrifying crimes rips through the city, throwing it into complete chaos and terrorizing everyone living there. Immediately it becomes clear that they are the work not of an amateur but of a calculating, efficient, and deadly mastermind.

    TICK - MICHAEL BENNETT IS ON THE CHASE
    The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside retreat with his ten adopted children, their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine, and his grandfather. Not only does it tear apart their vacation, it leaves the entire family open to attack.

    TOCK - YOUR TIME IS UP
    Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Emily Parker. As his affection for Emily grows into something stronger, his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. All too soon, author appalling crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan. From the creator of the #1 New York detective series comes the most volatile and most explosive Michael Bennett novel ever.

    My thoughts: This is the 4th book in James Patterson's Michael Bennett series and I rushed out to get the book as soon as I knew it was out in stores. I devoured the book in an afternoon - I just couldn't put it down! The plot had so many wonderfully surprising twists, that it kept me wanting to read more and more - what Patterson reader's tend to call the just-one-more-chapter syndrome! Tick Tock is a race against the clock...someone has a mission to reenact crimes of history and they are targeting Micheal Bennett. Trying to enjoy what is left of his family vacation at the beach, deal with the bullying his children are suddenly being faced with, and solve these heinous murder cases, Bennett is pulled in many directions. Add to this mix is the romantic triangle he seems to find himself in: his growing feelings for his children's nanny, Mary Catherine versus his affection for Emily Parker, the FBI agent he worked with on a previous case and called to NYC to help with the current case. Tick Tock is an explosive story that had me hooked from the first page and I can't wait to see what's in store next for Michael Bennett professionally as well as romantically!

    (I purchased this book.)

    Friday, February 04, 2011

    Virtual Tour and Review: The Tudor Secret by CW Gortner




    First line: Everyone has a secret.

    From the back cover: The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and, above all, spies.

    Summer 1553: a time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the king's brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth's protector, William Cecil, who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.

    A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth's quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a bold stable boy and an audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret is the first book in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.

    My thoughts: This is the first novel by CW Gortner that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Tudor era is one of my favorites, and already being familiar with what transpired during that time period, I found The Tudor Secret to be a fast read, full of intrigue, excitement, and secrets. It also has a different twist to it than most books set during this time period - a mystery. Why is Brendan, an orphaned boy, suddenly ordered to London and what is the secret of his past? The book is set in the tumultuous time around the death of King Edward VI and the question of succession between his older sister, Mary - to become Queen Mary I - and his younger sister, Elizabeth - to become Queen Elizabeth I. The plot is intricate, full of many twists and turns with characters that are vivid and well-developed - the heroes as well as the villains. We are given glimpses of how servants lived during this time period as well the spy service that came to be extremely powerful during Elizabeth's reign. As a first in a new series, The Tudor Secret has definitely whetted my appetite for more of Brendan's adventures and I look forward to reading the next installment. In the meantime, I will be looking into CW Gortner's previous two books, The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici.


    About the author: C.W. Gortner is the author of the acclaimed historical novels The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. He holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a Spanish castle. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues. Half-Spanish by birth, he divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.

    The Tudor Secret is the first book in Gortner’s The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles series.

    You can visit the author online at www.cwgortner.com or his blog at http://historicalboys.blogspot.com/


    I received a complimentary copy of The Tudor Secret by CW Gortner from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour.

     

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