Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review and Giveaway: The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee (CLOSED)

The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society by Darien Gee
Ballantine Books
January 2013
Format: e-book ARC, 448 pages

First line: The goat was Connie's idea.

Summary from Goodreads: Welcome to Avalon, Illinois, Pop. 4,243

At Madeline’s Tea Salon, the cozy hub of the Avalon community, local residents scrapbook their memories and make new ones. But across town, other Avalonians are struggling to free themselves of the past: Isabel Kidd is fixing up her ramshackle house while sorting through the complications of her late husband’s affair. Ava Catalina is mourning the love of her life and helping her young son grow up without his father. Local plumber Yvonne Tate is smart, beautiful, and new to Avalon, but finds that despite a decade of living life on her own terms, the past has a way of catching up—no matter where she goes. And Frances Latham, mother to a boisterous brood of boys, eagerly anticipates the arrival of a little girl from China—unprepared for the emotional roller coaster of foreign adoption.

Enter Bettie Shelton, the irascible founder of the Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society. Under Bettie’s guidance, even the most reluctant of Avalon’s residents come to terms with their past and make bold decisions about their future. But when the group receives unexpected news about their steadfast leader, they must pull together to create something truly memorable.

By turns humorous, wise, and deeply moving, The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society is a luminous reminder that the things we hold most dear will last a lifetime.

My thoughts: I read Darien Gee's debut novel Friendship Bread when it first came out and have been waiting patiently for her next Avalon book.  I fell in love with the characters we met in that first book and loved Madeline's Tea Shop - oh how I wished I could stop in for a nice cup of tea and a snack!

Luckily, Madeline and Connie are a big part of the story in this installment. Many scenes take place at the tea shop and I felt like I was getting my visit after all. I also loved the idea that this time around, instead of people getting a starter kit for the friendship bread, they were given starter kits for scrapbooking. As someone who scrapbooks (although not quite enough in my opinion), I could relate to the many uses of a scrapbook and have made all different types of scrapbooks. 

We also get to know a whole new cast of characters that play a major role in this book. Each character is dealing with their own set of issues - everything from international adoption, to divorce, to death of a spouse, to old-age medical issues, to dealing with family problems. It's very easy to get caught up with everyone's problems and hope they find their happy ending.

Like a good cuppa tea, this is a book to be savored and not rushed through. While it is filled with some quite humorous moments, it also has some touching scenes - some that even had me more than a little teary-eye and I can't remember the last time I actually cried while reading a book. I hope that Darien Gee is planning on writing more about the folks of Avalon. In the meantime, I definitely plan on doing some scrapbooking soon - the whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking - I really need to get my stuff out and get scrapping!

(I received this book from Netgalley.)

Giveaway Information (GIVEAWAY CLOSED):
Thanks to Lindsey at The Random House Publishing Group, I have three copies of The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society to give away to my readers.


  • Open to US only
  • Must include email address to enter 

* Mandatory entry - leave a comment telling me if you scrapbook or do you have another hobby you enjoy doing (besides reading).

* Extra entry #1 - become a follower of Always With a Book. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under).  
* Extra entry #2 - please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting, pinning onto Pinterest or posting this giveaway on Facebook (each way you share gets you 1 more entry).  
All entries can be in one email. 


Good Luck!!!



  1. Thank you for the chance to win.

    I am a scrapbooker and cardmaker. I am also a follower of yours.

    I shared this giveaway on my blog -

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

    1. If I had more time, I would love to make my own cards. I see such great ideas on Pinterest for cards - and I know I could make's just that time thing!

  2. I don't do any scrapbooking. But I love to knit and crochet. Thanks for the giveaway.

    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT coj

    1. I crochet as well as scrapbook, though it seems I've been doing way more crocheting than scrapping!

  3. Main hobby is reading.I did put together a scrapbook for my husband articles about his

    1. I love making theme-related scrapbooks. I made one for my brother after he won a poster contest for Veteran's Day - as a winner, he was invited to Washington DC and got to meet the president. I think that might have been one of the best scrapbooks I ever made!

  4. I don't scrapbook but the book sounds really funny and touching at the same time. I'm sure my wife would really enjoy it. As a hobby we play cards, dominoes and board games with friends.

    I follow this blog by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

    I tweeted about the giveaway:

    I also pinned the post on Pinterest:

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. My husband and I have a huge collection of board games that we tend to play during the winter months. Our favorite is Scrabble!

  5. No, I don't scrapbook. I do enjoy dancing, however.
    I follow this blog via email:

    1. I've always wanted to take dancing lessons - I'm a huge Dancing With the Stars fans!

  6. This sounds like a great book to curl up with in these last stretches of winter! I do scrapbook. This year I'm trying to make going to the gym more of a hobby (but it hasn't totally caught on yet - hah)!

    - I'm a follower (GFC and RSS)
    - I tweeted about the giveaway!

    1. I'm finally at the point where I feel that going to the gym is a hobby - I really enjoy going and always feel so good after a good workout or yoga class!

  7. I haven't done scrapbooking yet! I love to knit and this year want to make chemo caps for women who have cancer as a year long project.

    I follow your blog with GFC as Carol N Wong.

    I tweeted:


    1. Scrapbooking is fun, but time-consuming! I enjoy crocheting and plan on making some baby blankets for Project Linus.

  8. I don't scrapbook, but I do enjoy working on cross stitch.

  9. I follow as Renee G on GFC

  10. I scrapbook and I can't wait to read this one, it sounds absolutely delightful! Lovely review :)

  11. I'm a scrapbooker and a reader. They are my two favorite hobbies.

  12. I'm looking forward to reading this one - Loved 'Friendship Bread'! I scrapbook, and crochet.
    jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com


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