Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Must Be The Place

This Must Be The Place by Kate Raccula

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble

A sudden death, a never-mailed postcard, and a longburied secret set the stage for a luminous and heartbreakingly real novel about lost souls finding one another

The Darby-Jones boardinghouse in Ruby Falls, New York, is home to Mona Jones and her daughter, Oneida, two loners and self-declared outcasts who have formed a perfectly insular family unit: the two of them and the three eclectic boarders living in their house. But their small, quiet life is upended when Arthur Rook shows up in the middle of a nervous breakdown, devastated by the death of his wife, carrying a pink shoe box containing all his wife's mementos and keepsakes, and holding a postcard from sixteen years ago, addressed to Mona but never sent. Slowly the contents of the box begin to fit together to tell a story—one of a powerful friendship, a lost love, and a secret that, if revealed, could change everything that Mona, Oneida, and Arthur know to be true. Or maybe the stories the box tells and the truths it brings to life will teach everyone about love—how deeply it runs, how strong it makes us, and how even when all seems lost, how tightly it brings us together. With emotional accuracy and great energy, This Must Be the Place introduces memorable, charming characters that refuse to be forgotten.

My Thoughts:

In the beginning of the book, I thought Arthur was going to be the main character. He takes his deceased wife's mementos in a pink shoe box to seek out Mona to find out more about his wife's past. However, after getting more into the book it seems as though Oneida is the main character and it becomes more of a coming of age story. All the characters in this book are not exactly likable but that is okay. Some of the tenants in the Darby-Jones Boarding House are quite peculiar but they do make for an interesting mix of characters. They all seem to be searching for something even though they may not realize it. Mona and Oneida have the classic troubled mother/teenage daughter relationship. Arthur wants to know why his wife left her hometown and never mailed the mysterious postcard. Mona has a secret she is desperate to keep to herself. Oneida is experiencing her first love. The story kept me on my toes. There were some pretty crazy antics going on in the story, but it is not overdone. When I first saw the book, the cover intrigued me! A cat on a suitcase carried by a parachute is interesting to say in the least. By the end of the book I fully understood the cover. And it all started out with Arthur finding a postcard his wife never sent! Brilliant! I will keep an eye out for more from Kate Racculia.

I received this book for my honest review from Jason at Henry Holt and Company. Thank you to both Jason and Henry Holt.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mailbox Monday July 26

Mailbox Monday is a meme where you can post what books came into your home during the week. It is hosted by Marcia over at The Printed Page. Go on over and check it out. Mailbox Monday will be going on a blog tour. Every month a different blog will be hosting Mailbox Monday. Sounds like fun, right? You can check out the schedule on The Printed Page. The hostess for August is Chick Loves Lit

This week was a crazy week here. I bought a few books (two flew into my cart at Target...really they did!), I received a win and I received some review books.

For Review

One Day by David Nicholls from Vintage Contemporaries

Angel Song by Sheils Walsh and Kathryn Cushman from Booksneeze

How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway from Librarything Early Reviewers


Backseat Strangers by Joshliyn Jackson, audiobooks won from Zia at My Life In Not So Many Words Thank You Zia!

I Bought

the jumping books are:

One Season of Sunshine by Julia London

Summer At Tiffany by Marjorie Hart

I bought used online:

Drawing In The Dust by Zoe Klein

Now I am off to see what wonderful reads were in your mailbox! Have a great Monday!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Between Georgia

Between Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson

Summary from Goodreads

Nonny Frett understands the meanings of "rock" and "hard place" better than any other woman ever born. She's got two mothers, "one deaf-blind and the other four baby steps from flat crazy." She's got two men: her husband, who's easing out the back door; and her best friend, who's laying siege to her heart in her front yard. She has a job that holds her in the city, and she's addicted to a little girl who's stuck deep in the country. To top it off, she has two families; the Fretts, who stole her and raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who lost her and can't forget that they've been done wrong." In Between, Georgia, population 90, a feud that began the night Nonny was born is escalating, and a random act of violence will set the torch to a thirty-year-old stash of highly flammable secrets. This might be just what the town needs, if only Nonny wasn't sitting in the middle of it.

My Thoughts

This is the first time I have read a book by Joshilyn Jackson. I love Southern Fiction and with all the great reviews on Backseat Saints, Joshilyn Jackson's newest book, I decided I needed to give her books a try. I am so glad I did! Right off the bat the first chapter had me cracking up. I could feel the chaos in the room as Hazel Crabtree, Nonny's birth mother, was giving birth on the Frett's floor. All of the characters in this book were quirky and flawed! The feud between the Fretts and the Crabtrees puts the Hatfields and McCoys to shame and Nonny is caught right in the middle of it. Nonny has been raised by Stacia Frett who laid claim to here as soon as she was born. Ona Crabtree finds out three years later that Nonny is actually her granddaughter and won't give up on being part of Nonny's life. Nonny does her best to keep the peace between the two families but like everything else in her life it all falls to pieces. At times I felt very frustrated for Nonny being pulled both ways by both families. I had this picture in my mind of her arms stretched out and each family pulling her arms to their side. If you like quirky, flawed characters this is a great book to read! I am now the newest Joshilyn Jackson fan and will be reading all her books! She did a fabulous job tackling difficult subjects with a bit of humor and Southern hospitality thrown in! I loved it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mailbox Monday July 19

Mailbox Monday is a meme where you can post what books came into your home during the week. It is hosted by Marcia over at The Printed Page. Go on over and check it out. Mailbox Monday will be going on a blog tour. Every month a different blog will be hosting Mailbox Monday. Sounds like fun, right? You can check out the schedule on The Printed Page.

I received two books this week, one for review and one I found on sale and ordered it. I couldn't help myself after a friend read and enjoyed it. I love to read about cooking and it was a bargain! I'm hopeless!

Holly's Inbox: Scandal In The City by Holly Denham

(summary from the back of the book)

Dear Holly, isn’t it shocking…?

Things are finally going Holly Denham’s way: she’s in love, she’s getting the recognition she deserves at work, and her friends and family have graciously opted to avoid disaster for the moment.

Just when Holly is starting to settle into her new life, scandal erupts and Holly finds herself—and her in box—at the center of a gossip whirlwind that threatens everything she’s worked so hard for.

Written entirely in emails, this follow-up to the UK smash hit Holly’s Inbox will keep you glued to its pages as the scandal running rampant in the city threatens to ruin Holly’s hard-earned and long-awaited happiness.

Book sent for review courtesy of April at Sourcebooks, Thank you April!

The School Of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

summary from the inside jacket cover

"Once a month on Monday night, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss: Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect." The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. One by one they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love, and a garlic and red sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Over time, the paths of the students mingle and intertwine, and the essence of Lillian's cooking expands beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of their lives, with results that are often unexpected, and always delicious.

What wonderful books made their way into your home?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sarah's Garden

Sarah's Garden by Kelly Long

I enjoy read Christian fiction books about the Amish once in awhile. These books are like home to me. Some would say they are predictable but sometimes predictable can be comforting. I found this book to be light and comforting which is the type of book I was needing at the moment.

Sarah is a young Amish girl who would rather hide in her garden. After the marriage of her older sister, Sarah is put to work in the family's roadside stand. While working there she finds herself drawn to Grant, the Englischer neighbor who is also the new veterinarian for the area. They develop feelings for each other which Sarah knows can go nowhere as it is forbidden by the Amish. At the same time Sarah's family seems to be the target of someone who has it in for them. Sarah turns to the Lord for guidance and learns she must put her trust in Him. I enjoyed the simple life of Sarah and her family. I was very interested in the quilt Sarah makes to represent her struggle with her feelings. This was a very nice book and it was a quick read. If you enjoy Christian fiction and stories about the Amish you will enjoy this book.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers for my honest, not necessarily positive review.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mailbox Monday July 12

Mailbox Monday is a meme where you can post what books came into your home during the week. It is hosted by Marcia over at The Printed Page. Go on over and check it out. Mailbox Monday will be going on a blog tour. Every month a different blog will be hosting Mailbox Monday. Sounds like fun, right? You can check out the schedule on The Printed Page. name is Beth and I am a bookaholic! No review books this week for me but I did buy some books online that were on sale and they came last week! I also bought two books used. I may need an intervention!

These are the used books I bought (both were in pretty bad shape and they needed a home):

1.Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
2.Three Plums in One by Janet Evanovich

The rest I bought on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. They had some pretty great markdowns on these books and almost all of them were on my wish list from visiting other book blogs! It's a vicious cycle!

3.Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham
4.Between Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson
5.Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven
6.Happiness Key by Emilie Richards
7.Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
8.Life's A Beach by Claire Cook
9.Thanks For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern
10.Very Valetine by Adriana Trigiani
11.The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
12.American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

So what wonderful books came to your home? I am now off to visit more mailboxes where I will find more to put on my wish list, no doubt!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Language of Secrets

The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon

Summary from Goodreads

Justin Fisher has a successful career as the manager of a luxury hotel, a lovely wife, and a charming young son. While all signs point to a bright future, Justin can no longer ignore the hole in his life left by his estranged family. When he finally gathers the courage to reconnect with his troubled past, Justin is devastated to learn that his parents have passed away. And a visit to the cemetery brings the greatest shock of all—next to the graves of his father and mother sits a smaller tombstone for a three-year-old boy: a boy named Thomas Justin Fisher.

What follows is an extraordinary journey as Justin struggles with issues of his own identity and pieces together the complex and heartbreaking truth about his family. With great skill and care, Dianne Dixon explores the toll that misunderstandings, blame, and resentment can take on a family. But it is the intimate details of family life—a mother's lullaby for her son, a father's tragic error in judgment—that make this novel so exceptional and an absolute must for reading groups everywhere.

The Language of Secrets is the story of an unspeakable loss born of human frailty and an ultimate redemption born of human courage.

My Thoughts

Wow, this is a book that packs a punch! Imagine going to see your family, you find your parents deceased and you see your own headstone that says you died as a young child. The story goes back and forth from the present back to the past to tell how such a thing could happen. The family secrets that are revealed as Justin tries to learn who he is and where he came from are quite shocking! As Justin unveiled secrets to his past I felt very sorry for him. His story was heartbreaking. I found myself questioning how far a mother would go to protect her family. I thought I knew exactly where the story was going until the very last page where the ending caught me totally off guard! Loved it! Dianne Dixon weaves a web of lies, deception and betrayals that is so suspenseful you will be up reading into the wee hours of the morning.

There is a reader's guide in the back of the book with questions for discussion. I think this would make an excellent book for a book club discussion. Much to discuss with this book! If you pick this one up make sure you have plenty of time to read it because you won't want to put it down!

I received this book for review as part of Librarything Early Reviewers.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mailbox Monday July 5

Mailbox Monday is a meme where you can post what books came into your home during the week. It is hosted by Marcia over at The Printed Page. Go on over and check it out. Mailbox Monday will be going on a blog tour. Every month a different blog will be hosting Mailbox Monday. Sounds like fun, right? You can check out the schedule on The Printed Page.

All book summaries are borrowed from Goodreads.

As the wounds of the Civil War are just beginning to heal, one fateful summer would forever alter the course of a young girl’s life.

In 1868, on the barren shores of post-war Outer Banks North Carolina, the once wealthy Sinclair family moves for the summer to one of the first cottages on the ocean side of the resort village of Nags Head. Seventeen-year-old Abigail is beautiful, book-smart, but sheltered by her plantation life and hemmed-in by her emotionally distant family. To make good use of time, she is encouraged by her family to teach her father’s fishing guide, the good-natured but penniless Benjamin Whimble, how to read and write. And in a twist of fate unforeseen by anyone around them, there on the porch of the cottage, the two come to love each other deeply, and to understand each other in a way that no one else does.

But when, against everything he claims to represent, Ben becomes entangled in Abby's father's Ku Klux Klan work, the terrible tragedy and surprising revelations that one hot Outer Banks night brings forth threaten to tear them apart forever.

With vivid historical detail and stunning emotional resonance, Diann Ducharme recounts a dramatic story of love, loss, and coming of age at a singular and rapidly changing time in one of America’s most beautiful and storied communities.

I received this book for review from Read It Forward.

When had I choice to be other than I was? From childhood Alice Salisbury has learnt obedience in all things and at fourteen, dutifully marries the man her father has chosen for her - at the cost of losing the love of her mother forever and the family she holds dear. But merchant Janyn Perrers is a good and loving husband and Alice soon learns to enjoy her marriage. Until a messenger brings news of his disappearance and she discovers that her husband had many secrets, secrets he didn't want her to know - but which have now put a price on her own head and that of her beloved daughter.Brought under the protection of King Edward III and Queen Philippa, she must dutifully embrace her fate once more - as a virtual prisoner at Court. And when the king singles her out for more than just royal patronage, she knows she has little choice but to accept his advances. But obeying the king brings with it many burdens as well as pleasures, as she forfeits her good name to keep her daughter free from hurt. Still a young woman and guided by her intellect and good business sense, she learns to use her gifts as wisely as she can. But as one of the king's favourites, she brings jealousy and hatred in her wake and some will stop at nothing to see her fall from grace.

I received this book for review from Crown Publishers through Shelf Awareness.

Karen Essex turns on the heat in this transporting and darkly haunting new tale of love and possession that puts forth the question: What if everything you knew about Dracula . . . was wrong?

From the shadowy banks of the River Thames to the wild and windswept coast of Yorkshire, the quintessential Victorian virgin Mina Murray vividly recounts in the pages of her private diary the intimate details of what transpired between her and Count Dracula—the joys and terrors of a pas?sionate affair and her rebellion against a force of evil that has pursued her through time.

Mina’s version of this timeless gothic vampire tale is a visceral journey into the dimly lit bedrooms, mist-filled cemeteries, and locked asylum chambers where she led a secret life, far from the chaste and polite lifestyle the defenders of her purity, and even her fiancĂ©, Jonathan Harker, expected of her.

Bram Stoker’s classic novel was only one side of the story. Now, for the first time, Dracula’s eternal muse reveals all. What she has to say is more sensual, more devious, and more enthralling than ever imagined. The result is a scintillating gothic novel that reinvents the tragic heroine Mina as a modern woman tor?tured by desire.

I received this book for review from Doubleday Books.

What wonderful books made their way into your home?

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer

Beachcombers is the story of three sisters who come back home to Nantucket for the summer. Lily - the youngest sister - emails Abbie - the oldest sister - to come home because she is concerned about Emma who is going through a nasty breakup as well as their father, Jim's financial issues. Jim rents out the girl's childhood playhouse to Marina who is recovering from a divorce. Their mother had formed the Beachcombers Club with them when they were children, teaching them to look for something more in the sand and in life. After she had died when the girls were young, Abbie tries to take over the role as mother as best she can. As adults, each of the women are in need of hope and healing, and the beautiful setting of Nantucket seems to be just the ticket. On their arrival back to Nantucket, the girls seem to fall back into their appointed roles as sisters. Nancy Thayer does an excellent job describing beautiful Nantucket - I could almost feel the sand between my toes. Lily drove me nuts! She enjoyed her role as a society reporter just a tad too much which made her come across as shallow to me. One of my favorite characters was Millicent Bracebridge, an elderly woman Emma was hired to read to every day. She was very wise and full of grand advice. I wouldn't mind spending an afternoon reading Agatha Christie to her, one of her favorites. I loved every minute I spent reading this novel. Each chapter is told from one of the women's perspectives but the story flows very nicely. I enjoyed the dynamics between the four women and the people they encounter over the summer. There were enough twists and turns to keep me reading. This book is a great summer read - not too demanding but quite enjoyable.

I received this book as part of Librarything's Early Reviewers Program

Happy Fourth of July!

I wish everyone a Safe and Happy 4th of July!