Monday, June 27, 2011

Mailbox Monday June 27

It's Monday again! Time for another Mailbox Monday post. Mailbox Monday is the creation of Marcia from A Girl and Her Books. The meme is on tour and this month's host is Brooke of The Bluestocking Guide. Thank you for hosting Brooke! Next month is being hosted by Gwendolyn B. of A Sea of Books. Just be warned Mailbox Monday can lead to toppling stacks of books and large wish lists.

I didn't receive any review books last week which was okay by me. I have plenty here to read and catch up on. I did receive one book that I won from Lori at Dollycas's Thoughts. As you will see in the picture there were many goodies with the book. It was a fun package to open! Lori has awesome business cards! I would love to be on the beach pictured on her cards, reading a book! Thank you Lori! It really brightened my week! I can't wait to read this. I was hooked after reading Lori's great review. You can read it here.

Missing Persons by Clare O'Donohue

The debut of an exciting new mystery series featuring a sarcastic television producer turned amateur sleuth.

The cause of death is "undetermined," but the cops peg Chicago television producer Kate Conway as the main suspect when her soon-to-be ex-husband, Frank, is found dead. To make matters worse-and weirder- Frank's new girlfriend suddenly wants to be friends.

Happy for the distraction, Kate throws herself into a new work assignment for the television program Missing Persons: the story of Theresa Moretti, a seemingly angelic young woman who disappeared a year earlier. All Kate wants is a cliché story and twenty-two minutes of footage, but when the two cases appear to overlap, Kate needs to work fast before another body turns up-her own.

The next two books are books I picked up while running errands this past week. The Maisie Dobbs book I picked up at a dollar store for $1! Ana's Story I picked up at Walmart for $4.97.

Pardonable Lies: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear

"A deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but also to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world." Maisie accepts the assignment - determined to prove Ralph Lawton either dead or alive - and in doing so is plunged into a case that tests her spiritual strength, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission also brings her together once again with her college friend Priscilla Evernden, who served in France and who lost three brothers to the war - one of whom, it turns out, had an intriguing connection to the missing Ralph Lawton.

Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope by Jenna Bush

Ana’s story begins the day she is born with HIV, transmitted from her mother, who dies just a few years later. From then on, Ana's childhood becomes a blur of secrets—about her illness, her family, and the abuse she endures. Shuffled from home to home, Ana rarely finds safety or acceptance. But after she falls in love and becomes pregnant at seventeen, she embarks on a journey that leads her to new beginnings, new sorrows, and new hope.

Based on her work with UNICEF and inspired by the framework of one girl's life, Jenna Bush tells the story of many children around the world who are excluded from basic care, support, and education. Resources at the back of this book share how you can help children like Ana and protect yourself and others.

That is what came to my home. What wonderful treasures made their way into your home?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer

Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer

My Thoughts

Last year I read Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was thrilled to see Nancy had a new book, Heat Wave coming out this summer. Beachcombers is a perfect summer beach read so I had a feeling that Heat Wave would also be a good summer read. Heat Wave did not disappoint!

Heat Wave takes place on Nantucket. Carley Winsted has recently become a widow at a young age. Her husband, Gus has left her with not only two girls to raise but broke! He has left her with the family home so she sets out to find a way to stay in the home that her girls have always known. She decides a Bed and Breakfast will help keep her and the girls in the home they love but also give her the chance to be at home with the girls. I admired Carley for her strength in making this decision at a time in her life when she would just like to crawl in bed and pull the covers over her head.

Carley has two extremely close friends, Vanessa and Maud who call themselves Las Tres Enchiladas. The women know everything about each other. They are the kind of friends who pop in and make themselves at home in each others homes. Carley is approached by Maud with a very disturbing secret that could change their lives drastically. At this point Maud becomes my least favorite character.

To top it all off Gus' good friend, Wyatt causes Carley to feel things she is not sure she should be having while grieving for Gus.

This book is about friendship, loyalty, grief and the challenges brought on by having to move on. I was very surprised at one point in the book and found myself having to stop and grab kleenex! I really was not expecting that in a summer beach read. Even though that particular event saddened me, I still enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it.

I received this book courtesy of Amazon Vine for my honest opinion.

I look forward to reading more of Nancy Thayer's books. She is the author of The Hot Flash Club series, Moon Shell Beach, Summerhouse, and Beachcombers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WWW Wednesdays June 22

It's Wednesday again and that means it is time for WWW Wednesday. I can't believe that it is June 22nd already! This year is just flying by!

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three 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?
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

I have only read a few pages but this seems like it will be a very good read. I have not read Still Alice but I do hear that both of Lisa Genova's books are wonderful!

What did you recently finish reading?
Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer

I finished this book and loved it. I read Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer last year and loved it too. If you are looking for a summer beach read, pick up one or both of these books. I hope to post the review for this tomorrow.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

I am looking forward to reading this book. I have read one other book by Mary Kay Andrews which I loved!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mailbox Monday June 20

It's Monday again! Time for another Mailbox Monday post. Mailbox Monday is the creation of Marcia from A Girl and Her Books. The meme is on tour and this month's host is Brooke of The Bluestocking Guide. Thank you for hosting Brooke! Just be warned Mailbox Monday can lead to toppling stacks of books and large wish lists.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and Father's Day! I worked hard this weekend on some much needed yard work. It never seems to be done. Summer is here and we have been blessed with beautiful weather. Not too hot, not too cold. Perfect for doing yard work. Now I ma ready to sit outside and admire my work and read. I love to read outside! I have hummingbirds this year along with our usual goldfinches. I have found if I am sitting still reading outside, the birds will come to visit. They have been fun to watch.

This week I received three books. One is for review and two I purchased.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

I received this book courtesy of Random House

The next two books are ones I purchased. Both are books I have been wanting to read. Both look like great summer, beachy reads which I am all about this summer!

Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook

As a professional home stager, Sandy Sullivan is an expert at transforming cluttered rooms into attractive houses ready for sale. If only reinventing her life were as easy as choosing the perfect paint color. She's eager to put her family's suburban Boston home on the market, to downsize, and to simplify her own life. But she must first deal with her foot-dragging husband and her grown son, who has moved back home after college to inhabit the basement "bat cave."

After reading them the riot act, Sandy takes a job staging a boutique hotel in Atlanta recently acquired by her best friend's boyfriend. The good news is that she can spend time with her recently married daughter, Shannon, in Atlanta. The bad news is that Shannon finds herself heading to Boston for job training, leaving Sandy and her southern son-in-law, Chance, as reluctant roommates. If that's not complicated enough, Sandy begins to suspect that her best friend's boyfriend may be seeing another woman on the side.

Filled with characters who are fresh and original, yet recognizable enough to live in your neighborhood--plus plenty of great tips and tricks for fixing up houses, and lives--this is a wise and witty story of letting go and moving on. Best Staged Plans is Claire Cook at her most humorous and heartfelt.

Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax

Madeline, Avery, and Nikki are strangers to each other, but they have one thing in common. They each wake up one morning to discover their life savings have vanished, along with their trusted financial manager- leaving them with nothing but co-ownership of a ramshackle beachfront house.

Throwing their lots in together, they take on the challenge of restoring the historic property. But just as they begin to reinvent themselves and discover the power of friendship, secrets threaten to tear down their trust-and destroy their lives a second time.

That is what came to my mailbox last week. What books made their way into your home?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! Today is a sad day for me. My dad has been gone for many years and I miss him something terrible! I'll spend the day remembering the good times and all the times he would make us laugh. My DH is off on vacation to spend time with his dad so no celebration here this weekend. It will wait until he is home. Hug your favorite dad, husband or father figure and let them know how much they are loved!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton


A warm and uplifting story of how a woman falls in love with a place and its people: a landscape, a community and a fragile way of life.

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

My Thoughts

This is a nice, quiet and thoughtful read. Catherine is trying to find herself in a new environment, the beautiful Cévennes mountains after raising her children. I enjoyed the time I spent with Catherine in France as I have never been there. It was not hard for me to imagine what the surroundings were like though as Rosy Thornton does a fantastic job describing the area in detail. I felt like I was right there in France. I can't stress enough how wonderful Rosy's descriptions are! The story is not fast moving but life in the community was not fast paced either. The story moves along at a nice, relaxing pace. The characters are well developed and it was nice to take the time to get to know each of them. Catherine's neighbors are quite unique. At one point a neighbor brings Catherine bees for her empty bee hives. I loved Catherine's spunk at dealing with the bees. Not so sure I would have been thrilled to be given bees. It showed me how determined Catherine was to make her new life in France work. There is a romance in the story but it is light and respectful. The descriptions of the tapestries were very interesting to me as I am not familiar with all that goes into that type of needlework. There is a bit of everything in the, love, business and community. This is a charming, heartwarming read. I enjoyed my little escape to France and would highly recommend this book. It would make a nice summer read!

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review. Thank you Rosy Thornton! I thoroughly enjoyed the book!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

WWW Wednesdays June 15 on Thursday

I missed WWW Wednesday yesterday. Our summer vacation started Tuesday. We got up Tuesday morning to sit with one of our cats as he took his last breaths. Mr. Sophie was 12 and had never been the healthiest of cats. On Tuesday, his body had had enough. We are missing him something fierce as he was our snuggler. He was my night time reading buddy. Our hearts are heavy right now. We are trying to get back into the swing of things so here is my WWW Wednesday even though it is a day late.

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three 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?

Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer

I started this book on Monday and was enjoying it very much. I am looking forward to getting back to it. I read Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer last summer and loved it! So far I am loving this new book also.

What did you recently finish reading?

Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

I finished Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton over the weekend. I loved this book. It was a nice, quiet story. I won't say much more about it since I plan on reviewing this week.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Not sure what I will read next. I have many choices. I am thinking maybe something light and funny might be in order.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mailbox Monday June 13

It's Monday again! Time for another Mailbox Monday post. Mailbox Monday is the creation of Marcia from A Girl and Her Books. The meme is on tour and this month's host is Brooke of The Bluestocking Guide. Thank you for hosting Brooke! Just be warned Mailbox Monday can lead to toppling stacks of books and large wish lists.

I had a great book week! Most were purchases but I did get two review books. Today is the last day of school here and I am looking forward to a relaxing summer full of reading. I think summer reading goes back to my childhood days where I always participated in the library's summer reading program. We didn't get fabulous prizes like they do now but we did get to have our charts proudly displayed in the library when we reached the goals. That was a million years ago, back before the wheel was invented! The summer programs now are very exciting and fun. I love when I go to the library and I see the kids all excited about their books. It brings back memories! It was a huge part of my summer. Enough rambling! On with Mailbox Monday!

First up are the review books. The Jennifer Donnelly book is one in a series that I have been wanting to read. The other book is by Jeffrey Stepakoff. I read his book Fireworks over Toccoa last year and loved it! It is a wonderful little summer read so if you missed it last year I highly recommend it! Here is my review for it. Another interesting tidbit about Mr. Stepakoff is he wrote for The Wonder Years and Dawson's Creek where he was Co-Executive Producer, which might explain why I love his writing. I loved both shows!
The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Release date August 2, 2011

The vast multi-generational epic that began with The Tea Rose and continued with The Winter Rose now reaches its dramatic conclusion in The Wild Rose.

London, 1914. World War I is looming on the horizon, women are fighting for the right to vote, and global explorers are pushing the limits of endurance at the Poles and in the deserts. Into this volatile time, Jennifer Donnelly places her vivid and memorable characters:
- Willa Alden, a passionate mountain climber who lost her leg while climbing Kilimanjaro with Seamus Finnegan, and who will never forgive him for saving her life.
- Seamus Finnegan, a polar explorer who tries to forget Willa as he marries a beautiful young woman back home in England.
- Max von Brandt, a handsome sophisticate who courts high society women, but who has a secret agenda as a German spy;
- and many others.
I received this book courtesy of Librarythings Early Reviewers Program

The Orchard by Jeffrey Stepakoff

Release date July 5, 2011

The passionate new novel by the author of FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA.

Grace Lyndon is a rising ingenue in the world of perfumes and flavors; a stiletto-wearing, work-a-holic in Atlanta, she develops aromas and tastes to enthrall the senses. Dylan Jackson is a widowed single father whose heart and hands have been calloused in the fields of his North Georgia apple farm. When Grace happens to taste an apple picked from Dylan’s trees, it changes both their lives forever.

Determined to track down the apple’s origin, Grace sets off in the middle of the night where she finds not only a beautiful mountain orchard in the clouds, but the mysterious man who owns it. In Stepakoff’s heartbreaking eloquence, their sudden yet undeniable attraction is threatened—leaving readers with a momentous finale that proves Jeffrey Stepakoff is a master craftsman of the heart.

I received this little treasure through the publicist and Thomas Dunne Books.

These next books are my purchases. I bought the cookbook after reading so many great reviews for it. It just goes to show that book blog reviews do sell books! I love my Slow Cooker and can't wait to try these recipes out. Not sure how those other books got into my shopping cart on Amazon. That's my story and I am sticking to it!

Love Letters from Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball

The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Slow Cooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen

That is what came to my mailbox. What wonderful books made their way into your home?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WWW Wednesdays June 8

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three 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?

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

This is a nice, quiet story Not a lot of hoopla, just a beautifully written story about a woman who moves to France to make a fresh start after a divorce and raising two children. I am loving it!

What did you recently finish reading?

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

I LOVED this book! You can check out my review here

What do you think you’ll read next?

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

I have to get this read and get it back to the library. I have had so many people recommend this and I really want to get to it.

Have you read any of these and if so what did you think of them?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mailbox Monday June 6

It's Monday again! Time for another Mailbox Monday post. Mailbox Monday is the creation of Marcia from A Girl and Her Books. The meme is on tour and this month's host is Brooke of The Bluestocking Guide. Thank you for hosting Brooke! Just be warned Mailbox Monday can lead to toppling stacks of books and large wish lists.

Summer is here. We just skipped right over spring and went straight to the hot days of summer. At least it finally warmed up and the furnace has been turned off until the fall. I love to read outside so I am excited to be back outdoors without several layers of clothes on.

On to the mailbox post! I received four books this week, two for review and two were wins. All four look to be very good reads for the summer! I love a good beach read so I am pretty anxious to get to all of these! These covers are all beautiful! I love a great book cover. It just tickles me pink!

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

Summary(available June 7)
Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction….

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she's made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds--has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can't hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life. And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina's Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he's hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he's ever cared about.

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity. Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs?

Five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness. Five people who each need a sea change, and one month in a summer rental that might just give it to them.

I received this courtesy of Amazon Vine

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Summary(available June 21)
Meredith Martin Delinn just lost everything: her friends, her homes, her social standing - because her husband Freddy cheated rich investors out of billions of dollars.

Desperate and facing homelessness, Meredith receives a call from her old best friend, Constance Flute. Connie's had recent worries of her own, and the two depart for a summer on Nantucket in an attempt to heal. But the island can't offer complete escape, and they're plagued by new and old troubles alike. When Connie's brother Toby - Meredith's high school boyfriend - arrives, Meredith must reconcile the differences between the life she is leading and the life she could have had.

Set against the backdrop of a Nantucket summer, Elin Hilderbrand delivers a suspenseful story of the power of friendship, the pull of love, and the beauty of forgiveness.

I received this courtesy of Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown and Company

These are my wins both from Kay at Pudgy Penguin Perusals. Thank you Kay!

The Beach Trees by Karen White

Summary(available now)
From the time she was twelve, Julie Holt knew what a random tragedy can do to a family. At that tender age, her little sister disappeared-never to be found. It was a loss that slowly eroded the family bonds she once relied on. As an adult with a prestigious job in the arts, Julie meets a struggling artist who reminds her so much of her sister, she can't help feeling protective. It is a friendship that begins a long and painful process of healing for Julie, leading her to a house on the Gulf Coast, ravaged by hurricane Katrina, and to stories of family that take her deep into the past.

The Dressmakers of Khana Khair by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Summary(available now)
The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC News reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation. Afghanistan's future remains uncertain as debates over withdrawal timelines dominate the news.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana moves beyond the headlines to transport you to an Afghanistan you have never seen before. This is a story of war, but it is also a story of sisterhood and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.

What great books made their way into your home?

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Bird Sisters

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

The first time I learned of this book, I was excited. After reading the little blurb about it, I was even more excited to learn it took place in Spring Green, Wisconsin, which I am somewhat familiar with. I have visited there many times and it is an excellent place for a novel to take place.

Milly and Twiss are elderly sisters who live together in the home in which they grew up. They are known as the Bird Sisters. People bring injured birds to them where Twiss does what she can to heal them while Milly listens to the people that bring the birds to them. When a goldfinch is brought to them, Twiss remembers the summer of 1947, the summer that changed their lives drastically with a visit from their cousin, Bette. The chapters alternate between the present day and the summer of 1947. Milly had her future all planned out right down to the names of the children she planned on having. Twiss, who was a spunky tomboy was happy to be on the golf course with her father and she really didn't think much about the future except that she couldn't imagine life without her sister. We know the two ladies end up living together in their golden years but we don't know how or why they got to that point until we learn of the events of that dreaded summer. The town is full of an array of wonderful, quirky characters. I fell in love with many of them, while some irritated me much in the same way they bothered the girls. I was very tickled with the mention of The Cave of the Mounds, a tourist attraction I have been too many times both as a child and as an adult.

Rebecca Rasmussen has a beautiful way with words. The novel is character driven and the prose is simply beautiful. I could close my eyes and see the farm where the sisters lived clearly in my mind. In the end, it is a story of loyalty, love and sacrifice and it is written just beautifully. As soon as that goldfinch was delivered to the sisters I was hooked! This is one book you don't want to miss! This is a book I will reread just so I can visit the sisters again! I can't wait to see what Rebecca will write next!

I purchased this book myself and read it for the 2011 Just For Fun Challenge