Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Postmistress

Synopsis(courtesy of Barnes And Noble)

Those who carry the truth sometimes bear a terrible burden...

Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.

On the eve of the United States entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter.

In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape.

The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen.

The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during war-time, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.

My review:

The above synopsis is not what is written on my arc book jacket flap. The book jacket description led me to believe that book would be about what happens when a letter is not delivered. That may have happened in the story but I'm not sure if that was the main idea in the story. There was a lot going on in this book. I did find the first chapters tough to get through. The story and transitions did not flow well for me at all. Then about chapter 6 it all came together for me. I did enjoy the story then. The 3 main female characters all seem to have their own story going on. Iris is the quirky postmaster in Franklin Massachusetts, who I found to be very odd. Emma is the new wife of the town's doctor and seems like a duck out of water. She has a tough time fitting in. Frankie is reporting on the war over in London. She is probably my favorite character in the book. She changes and grows as a result of what she witnesses in Europe. In the end, the 3 characters and their stories intertwine and then the story makes sense. Sarah Blake did a fine job describing what was going on over in Europe as well as what the feeling was over here in the United States at the time. If you like historical fiction and you can get through the first 6 chapters the story is worth reading. I can't help but wonder if the description of the book had been different if I would have liked the book more.

I received this book courtesy of Barnes And Noble First Look Book Club.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mailbox Monday/What Are You Reading Monday

Thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Mondays. After 2 weeks without any mail I received 4 books last week.

The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy (received from the author)

Fallen by Lauren Kate (received from Random House)

The Gift Of An Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison (won from Vicki over at Reading at the Beach, Thank you!)

Taste Of Home Casseroles, Slow Cooker & Soups (purchased myself)

What Are You Reading Monday is hosted by J Kaye at J Kaye's Book Blog

This week I read:

1.Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo
2. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

Reading this week:

A Beautiful Mess by Diamond Rio
Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

What did you get in your mailbox last week and what did you read?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Lucky One

From the authors website:

When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in the dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck—winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph—his lucky charm.

Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the photo—and the woman in it—out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina—Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son—to be the girl he’s been waiting his whole life to meet. Caught off guard by the attraction he feels, Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart—destroying not only their love, but also their lives.

Filled with tender romance and terrific suspense, The Lucky One is Nicholas Sparks at his best—an unforgettable story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us to true and everlasting love.

My review:

Another great love story from Nicholas Sparks. I really fell in love with all the main characters except for the ex-husband. Thibault's story unfolds bit by bit. His past brings him to find the girl he believes to be his lucky charm. A great story of fate and destiny. The book had many twists and kept me guessing until the very end. You can't go wrong with Nicholas Sparks if you are a hopeless romantic!

Sworn To Silence

I read this book yesterday during Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon. It was a good choice as it was hard to put down.

From Macmillan Publishers website:

A killer is preying on sacred ground..

In the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and “English” residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. In the aftermath of the violence, the town was left with a sense of fragility, a loss of innocence. Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish.

Now, a wealth of experience later, Kate has been asked to return to Painters Mill as Chief of Police. Her Amish roots and big city law enforcement background make her the perfect candidate. She’s certain she’s come to terms with her past—until the first body is discovered in a snowy field. Kate vows to stop the killer before he strikes again. But to do so, she must betray both her family and her Amish past—and expose a dark secret that could destroy her.

My review:

Kate Burkholder is the chief of police in a small Amish town in Ohio. Kate grew up Amish but left the order after a crime changed her life. Now as an adult, a brutal serial killer is on the loose and Kate needs to stop him. I really liked this book. It was riveting. Kate is one of those characters you can't help but like. The crimes in this book were very brutal and graphic. I'm not sure I needed that much gore but it did get the point across. You wanted the killer caught and quick! Very suspenseful! I won this book from Goodreads First Reads program.

Read-a-thon End of Event meme

I woke up just in time for the end! I was hoping to just sleep a short while and get back up. I think as tired as I am today I will be laying around, catching up on laundry and reading some more.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? hour 18 when I fell asleep
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Sworn To Silence, it was riveting
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? none
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I think the hour by hour posts on the read-a-thon site are great!
5. How many books did you read? 2
6. What were the names of the books you read? Sworn To Silence and The Lucky One
7. Which book did you enjoy most? The Lucky One
8. Which did you enjoy least? I really liked them both
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I was not a cheerleader as it was my first read-a-thon and wasn't too sure how it all works
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I would definitely do it again and I may even cheerlead next time!


Title of book(s) read since last update: The Lucky One
Number of books read since you started: 2
Pages read since last update: 267
Running total of pages read since you started: 617
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 259 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 576 minutes
Mini-challenges completed:4 I think (I have jello brain right now)
Other participants you’ve visited: 6
Food consumed: coconut M&M's, pistachios, banana, goat cheese and spinach pizza,
Beverages consumed: chai tea, diet pomegranate 7up, water,

I think I am going to pack it in for awhile. I will try to get up and read more towards morning. I had alot of distractions this evening-party at the neighbors house(drove the dogs nuts), ambulance at the neighbors house(non-life-threatening), son brought girlfriend who is home from college for the weekend. I was hoping to get more read but feel satisfied with what I've gotten done so far considering the distractions. I am off to catch a few winks!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Read-a-thon Midway Survey

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? The Lucky One

2. How many books have you read so far? 1 and 1/2

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Welcome To The World Baby Girl!

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Just bought snacks and let the kids know I would be busy.

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Oh boy have I had interruptions! Dog knocked my tea off the table, neighbor girl came over twice to get her ball and had to let me know, a lot of little stuff. Just dealt with it quickly and went back to my book.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? That I made it this far and feel pretty good

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Quicker and easier mini-challenges

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? As a reader I would have a schedule and stick to it. As a first timer I am kind of all over the place. Tried to have a plan but I got sidetracked. I am having a hard time coming up with time to blog, visit other blogs, do mini-challenges

9. Are you getting tired yet? Just a bit

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Getting up and moving helps alot and changing the location you are reading in helps too.

Feed Me Seymour! Read-a-thon mini-challenge

My passage is from The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks page 25

"When he got there, they wouldn't let Zeus inside, which wasn't surprising. Zeus lay down outside the front door and went to sleep. Thibault had a cheeseburger and fries and washed it down with a chocolate milkshake, then ordered a cheeseburger to go for Zeus. Back outside, he watched as Zeus gobbled it down in less than twenty seconds and then looked up at Thibault again."

And now I am really craving a cheesburger, fries and a shake!

Read-a-thon Update #2

Title of book(s) read since last update: I finished Sworn To Silence and have started The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
Number of books read since you started: One finished
Pages read since last update: 179
Running total of pages read since you started: 350
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 190
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 317
Mini-challenges completed: 2
Food: cinnamon popcorn, leftover sesame chicken
Beverages: apple cider, tea, water, diet coke with lime

I read in the recliner and then moved to the treadmill for awhile. Took a bath and even read in there. I had to take a break and play outside with the dogs as we finally have some nice weather. They have been eager to get out and play for 2 days now. I think they are ready for an afternoon nap. I am off to find a new place to read. Need a change of scenery.

Read-a-thon: Update #1

Title of book(s) read since last update: I am reading Sworn To Silence (not finished yet)

Pages read since last update:171
Running total of pages read since you started:171
Amount of time spent reading since last update:127 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)127 minutes
Mini-challenges completed:2
Other participants you’ve visited:5
Food consumed: yogurt with kashi cereal
Beverages consumed:way too much coffee

The first hour was full of distractions and a computer malfunction but I'm on a roll now! Switching from coffee to tea and water!

Read-a-thon:Hour 1 Mini-challenge

Where are you reading from today? I am reading from home in Wisconsin.

3 facts about me … I am a stay at home mom of 2 teens and an adult child, I like to sew and quilt although I'm not that great at it, my dream job would be to work in a bookstore

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? 13 but I'll be happy finishing just a few

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? No goals, kind of winging it here

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time? I am a first timer so no advice from me yet!

I am off to visit a few blogs and get back to reading.

Read-a-thon: Beginning

Morning all read-a-thoners! I am ready to go ! I am going to start with Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo. I am still cozy in my jammies and the coffee is made. The house is quiet except for the dog. I'm still learning the ropes to the read-a-thon so I'm playing it by ear today! I'm off to read!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall Into Reading Challenge

I am participating in the Fall Into Reading Challenge hosted by Katrina over at Callapidder Days. This is my one month update. I have added 2 library books to my list and have read 4 of the 12 books on my list. I'm hoping to get some reading done tomorrow during the Read-a-thon. I need to get cracking on this.

1. The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim
2. Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
3. Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo
4. Sarah's Promise by Leisha Kelly
5. Confections Of A Closet Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado
6. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
7. Beautiful Mess by Diamond Rio
8. Blue Like Playdough by Tricia Goyer
9. The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett
10. The Moon Looked Down by Dorothy Garlock
11. The Day The Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
12. No Time To Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Read-a-thon Books

I am participating in Dewey's Read-a-thon tomorrow. It is my first time and I'm excited to be participating. If the weather is anything like it is today it will be a great day to tuck in and read! It's cold, rainy and windy! Perfect reading weather!

Okay my stack is ridiculous! I won't be reading all these books but I wanted a nice assortment so if I need to take a break from a book, I can. I also threw in an audio book I had just in case the eyes need a break. I even got a cute pumpkin bookmark from the library.

1.Welcome To The World Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg(audiobook read by Fannie Flagg)
2.A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber
3.Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
4.The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett
5.Cherries In Winter by Suzan Colon
6.Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle
7.The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
8.Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
9.Sarah's Promise by Leisha Kelly
10.The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
11.The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison
12.Beautiful Mess by Diamond Rio
13.Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo

I have books from a couple favorite authors but many of them are new to me authors that I have read great reviews about on other blogs. Now to get some snacks together.

Are you participating? If so what is on your list?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No Time For Goodbye

From the book jacket;
New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard captured the heart of a nation with The Deep End of the Ocean, her celebrated debut novel about mother Beth Cappadora, a child kidnapped, a family in crisis. Now, in No Time to Wave Goodbye, the unforgettable Cappadoras are in peril once again, forced to confront an unimaginable evil.

It has been twenty-two years since Beth Cappadora’s three-year-old son Ben was abducted. By some miracle, he returned nine years later, and the family began to pick up the pieces of their lives. But their peace has always been fragile: Ben returned from the deep end as another child and has never felt entirely at ease with the family he was born into. Now the Cappadora children are grown: Ben is married with a baby girl, Kerry is studying to be an opera singer, and Vincent has emerged from his troubled adolescence as a fledgling filmmaker.

The subject of Vincent’s new documentary, “No Time to Wave Goodbye,” shakes Vincent’s unsuspecting family to the core; it focuses on five families caught in the tortuous web of never knowing the fate of their abducted children. Though Beth tries to stave off the torrent of buried emotions, she is left wondering if she and her family are fated to relive the past forever.

The film earns tremendous acclaim, but just as the Cappadoras are about to celebrate the culmination of Vincent’s artistic success, what Beth fears the most occurs, and the Cappadoras are cast back into the past, revisiting the worst moment of their lives–with only hours to find the truth that can save a life. High in a rugged California mountain range, their rescue becomes a desperate struggle for survival.

No Time to Wave Goodbye is Jacquelyn Mitchard at her best, a spellbinding novel about family loyalty, and love pushed to the limits of endurance.

My review;

If you read The Deep End Of The Ocean and loved it as much as I did I think you will love this book. Jacquelyn Mitchard does not disappoint. I am sometimes leery of sequels. This one was excellent!

I once again fell in love with the Cappadora family. They have all aged a little but still are pretty much the same people they were in the first novel. I felt like I never lost touch with them. They have all been affected by Ben/Sam's kidnapping and eventual return. It has played a huge role in the people they have become. I think it's interesting that this book addresses not only kidnapping but what happens after. How do families go on living? This book pulls you in right from the get go. It seems the family is adjusting well to life. The kids are grown. Ben/Sam is married and a father, Kerry is on her way to becoming an opera singer, and Vincent has made a documentary which will change all their lives. Unfortunately the Cappadora's have to relive the horrible past with a new kidnapping in the family. It's hard to review it and not give the story away so I won't say too much. I read the bulk of the book in one day. I could not put it down. I just had to know what happened. There are many twists in the novel. Just when I thought I had it figured out, there was another suspect in my mind. I felt Beth's pain as she relived her own nightmare but then has to also watch her son live the same nightmare. I absolutely loved this book! This is one of the best books I have read this year. It is a compelling drama. I would give it 5 out of 5 stars!

I checked out this book from our library.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Mondays. It's been awhile since I have had a book come to my mailbox. Today I struck gold and had 2! What a nice surprise!

Cherries in Winter:
My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Times
by Suzan Colon

From the author's website

What is the secret to finding hope in hard times?

When Suzan Col√≥n was laid off from her dream job at a magazine during the economic downturn of 2008, she needed to cut her budget way, way back, and that meant home cooking. Her mother suggested, “Why don’t you look in Nana’s recipe folder?” In the basement, Suzan found the tattered treasure, full of handwritten and meticulously typed recipes, peppered with her grandmother Matilda’s commentary in the margins. Reading it, Suzan realized she had found something more than a collection of recipes—she had found the key to her family’s survival through hard times.

Suzan began re-creating Matilda’s “sturdy food” recipes for baked pork chops and beef stew, and Aunt Nettie’s clam chowder made with clams dug up by Suzan’s grandfather Charlie in Long Island Sound. And she began uncovering the stories of her resilient family’s past. Taking inspiration from stylish, indomitable Matilda, who was the sole support of her family as a teenager during the Great Depression (and who always answered “How are you?” with “Fabulous, never better!”), and from dashing, twice-widowed Charlie, Suzan starts to approach her own crisis with a sense of wonder and gratitude. It turns out that the gift to survive and thrive through hard times had been bred in her bones all along.

I received this compliments of Doubleday Books.

by Lauren Kate

Synopsis courtesy of Random House

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

I received this books compliments of Random House Books

What came to your mailbox?

Dewey's Read-a-thon

I feel like I am so far behind in my reading lately. I always seem to get distracted and have other things to do so I have decided to take 24 hours, participate in Dewey's Read-a-thon and catch up a little. Once I found out that I really don't have to do the full 24 hours, I was sold. I am not a night owl so I know I won't make it all night but I'll give it a fair shot. I have warned the the kids already. I plan on cooking some extra food on Friday so we can just reheat on Saturday. The only bad thing is I will have to miss our library book sale on Saturday. Not like I need any more books or anything! Any tips from seasoned Read-a-thoners are greatly appreciated! Now I need to make a list of possible reads! Head on over and check it out and join in!

Monday, October 12, 2009

What I'm Reading Monday

Nothing in the mailbox this week so I am going to participate in What Are Reading? Monday over at J. Kaye's Book Blog. It's a great way to see what everyone is reading and find some more books to add to those tbr lists.

I've got a nasty cold so not much reading was accomplished this week. I am seriously thinking of joining the 24 hour read-a-thon which would really help me catch up on some reading. Sounds like fun too. The only thing holding me back is knowing that our library book sale is on Saturday. It's a tough choice.

This week I am still reading The Postmistress for the Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club. I'm trying to stick with the schedule. It's a really good read so far. A little choppy but I think I am getting the rhythm of the writing now.

The other book I'll be reading this week I scored from the library. I have been wanting No Time To Wave Goodbye for awhile. I felt lucky to have gotten it from the library and can't wait to get started on it.

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wondrous Word Wednesday

Wondrous Word Wednesday is a fun meme hosted by Kathy also known as Bermudaonion where you share new words you have run across in your reading. It's a lot of fun so come play along!

This week my words came from The Day The Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan which by the way was an excellent book.

rouleau- a roll of ribbons (I figured it had something to do with yard goods but never would have thought ribbon)

She holds up a delicate tulle, a coil of rouleau, and another of soutache, all of the same luminous gray.

purslane- a trailing Asian weed having small yellow flowers, reddish stems and fleshy leaves that are sometimes cooked or used in salad

Beneath the garden's canopy of foliage, purslane spreads it's weedy tendrils.

crokinole= an action board game similar to carrom or marbles with elements of shuffleboard or curling reduced to table top size (I knew it had to be a game but had no idea it was a board game)

It can happen during a meal, a game of crokinole, or even mid sentence as he speaks.

quoins- a wedge used to anchor other items

The builder had not skimped, and Mother likes to recite the evidence-the raised Quoins of each corner, the hood moldings over each window and door, the keystones cut from single pieces of rock.

What new words did you run across this week? Funny but spellcheck did not like my words.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Day The Falls Stood Still

Synopsis(courtesy of Barnes and Noble)
Steeped in the intriguing history of Niagara Falls, this epic love story is as rich, spellbinding, and majestic as the falls themselves.

1915. The dawn of the hydroelectric power era in Niagara Falls. Seventeen-year-old Bess Heath has led a sheltered existence as the youngest daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company. After graduation day at her boarding school, she is impatient to return to her picturesque family home near Niagara Falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she had left it. Her father has lost his job at the power company, her mother is reduced to taking in sewing from the society ladies she once entertained, and Isabel, her vivacious older sister, is a shadow of her former self. She has shut herself in her bedroom, barely eating-and harboring a secret.

The night of her return, Bess meets Tom Cole by chance on a trolley platform. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to him-against her family's strong objections. He is not from their world. Rough-hewn and fearless, he lives off what the river provides and has an uncanny ability to predict the whims of the falls. His daring river rescues render him a local hero and cast him as a threat to the power companies that seek to harness the power of the falls for themselves. As their lives become more fully entwined, Bess is forced to make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family and her future.

Set against the tumultuous backdrop of Niagara Falls, at a time when daredevils shot the river rapids in barrels and great industrial fortunes were made and lost as quickly as lives disappeared, The Day the Falls Stood Still is an intoxicating debut novel.

My Review

This was an interesting book for me. I have never been to Niagara Falls although I have always longed to go. The book has old pictures and articles throughout the book which make it even more intriguing. The Falls are not only the setting for the novel but actually seem like a character. Bess Heath's life Takes a drastic change at age 17 when she she arrives home from school. Her father has lost his prestigious job, her older sister is no longer engaged and hides in her room, and her mother has taken in sewing jobs. Quite different from the high society life they were all used to before. Bess meets Tom Cole on the trolley platform and is instantly smitten with him. Tom Cole is a river man knows the Falls like the back of his hand. He also knows if the power companies have their way the Falls will be changed forever. There are many rough bumps for these two as they fall in love and grow. Her family is dead set against Tom as he is not from their place in society. The story flows quite well and there are many twists and turns to keep the story interesting. There is much history intertwined in the story. I loved both Bess and Tom. I saw them as true soul mates. This book was hard to put down once I started reading it. It is a great love story but yet it tells some of the story of Niagara Falls. I never knew it was such a dangerous, tragic location. The Falls are beautiful but many have paid the ultimate price there. I would say it is one of my favorite reads of the year so far. I scored this book at the library. I would give it 5 stars.