Monday, March 29, 2010

Mailbox Monday March 29

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. Be warned though it can lead to large TBR piles and wish lists!

Synopsis from B&N

Jessica ran from her past...but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the place to start over—Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets—including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her.

Will Jessica’s deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all?

This heartwarming bestseller, book one in the Glenbrooke series, introduces the fascinating people of Glenbrooke in a compelling tale of romance and spiritual truth.

I won this copy from Joy at Books and Life. Thank you Joy!

Synopsis from B&N

Introducing a fresh, exciting Chinese-American voice, an inspiring debut about an immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures.

When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.

I received this book for review from Riverhead Books through Shelf Awareness.

What wonderful books made their way into your home?

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Seized: A Sea Captain's Adventures Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World's Most Troubled Waters by Max Hardberger

Synopsis from B&N

Seized throws open the hatch on the shadowy world of maritime shipping, where third-world governments place exorbitant liens against ships, pirates seize commercial vessels with impunity, crooks and con artists reign supreme on the docks and in the shipyards—and hapless owners have to rely on sea captain Max Hardberger to recapture their ships and win justice on the high seas.

A ship captain, airplane pilot, lawyer, teacher, writer, adventurer, and raconteur, Max Hardberger recovers stolen freighters for a living. In Seized, he takes us on a real-life journey into the mysterious world of freighters and shipping, where fortunes are made and lost by the whims of the waves. Desperate owners hire Max Hardberger to “extract” or steal back ships that have been illegitimately seized by putting together a mission-impossible team to sail them into international waters under cover of darkness. It’s a high stakes assignment—if Max or his crew are caught, they risk imprisonment or death.

Seized takes readers behind the scenes of the multibillion dollar maritime industry, as he recounts his efforts to retrieve freighters and other vessels from New Orleans to the Caribbean, from East Germany to Vladivostak, Russia, and from Greece to Guatemala. He resorts to everything from disco dancing to women of the night to distract the shipyard guards, from bribes to voodoo doctors to divert attention and buy the time he needs to sail a ship out of a foreign port without clearance. Seized is adventure nonfiction at its best.

My Thoughts

Seized is quite an exciting and enlightening read! I had no idea that there were ships being detained unlawfully let alone rescued from these unlawful detentions. My maritime knowledge is quite miniscule but with Max's descriptions I was able to follow along with his adventures quite well. Every chapter was another adventure from Max's life and by the end of each chapter I would find myself on the edge of my seat hoping the job would end safely. I felt as though I was on board along with Max and could feel the danger he was experiencing.

I enjoyed this book courtesy of the B&N Sneak Peek program.

Lake Magic

Lake Magic by Kimberly Fisk
Synopsis from B&N

After the loss of her fiancé Steven, Jenny Beckinsdale has more than a broken heart to deal with-their fledgling seaplane service is going under. In debt to Steven's best friend and fellow Navy pilot, she plans to convince the sexy, cynical flyboy to help save the business...and in the process these two lost souls may find they're saving each other.

My thoughts

This is a nice debut contemporary romance. It has the usual tension between the two main characters, Jenny and Jared who find themselves as business partners of a failing business. After Jenny's fiancee dies, she finds herself owning their charter plane business with an unknown partner, enter Jared on a Harley. They find themselves attracted to one another even though they despise the other. There is a nice side story going on at the same time with Jenny's sister Anna and her family. This was a nice quick read for a Saturday afternoon. If you enjoy contemporary romance you will enjoy this book.

I received this book courtesy of Librarything Early Reviewers

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Reading Thing

My post is a bit late. We have had a death in the family and life has just been crazy so I am just getting to this. I had fun with the Fall Reading Thing so I decided to participate in the Spring Reading Thing also. Both challenges are hosted by Katrina over at Callapidder Days. Go on over and check it out!

I am starting out with this list but it may change along the way.

1.The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees
2.The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw
3.A Soft Place To Land by Susan Rebecca White
4.Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff
5.Every Last One by Anna Quindlin
6.The Wives Of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran
7.Roses by Leila Meacham
8.Lake Magic by Kimberly Fisk
9.Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman
10.Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman
11.Heart Of The Matter by Emily Giffin
12.The Life O'Reilly by Brian Cohen
13.The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy
14.The Red Thread by Ann Hood

This is quite an ambitious list but many of these titles I need to read and review so I'm hoping this challenge will help me get caught up with things. If not I'll have fun trying!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mailbox Monday March 22

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. Be warned though it can lead to large TBR piles and wish lists!

Every Last One by Anna Quindlan
received from Random House

In this breathtaking and beautiful novel, the #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen creates an unforgettable portrait of a mother, a father, a family, and the explosive, violent consequences of what seem like inconsequential actions.

Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother, whose three teenaged children come first, before her career as a landscape gardener, or even her life as the wife of a doctor. Caring for her family and preserving their everyday life is paramount. And so, when one of her sons, Max, becomes depressed, Mary Beth becomes focused on him, and is blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterwards is a testament to the power of a woman’s love and determination, and to the invisible line of hope and healing that connects one human being with another. Ultimately, in the hands of Anna Quindlen’s mesmerizing prose, Every Last One is a novel about facing every last one of the the things we fear most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel, to live a life we never dreamed we’d have to live but must be brave enough to try.

A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White received from Touchstone, Simon & Schuster

For more than ten years, Naomi and Phil Harrison enjoyed a marriage of heady romance, tempered only by the needs of their children. But on a vacation alone, the couple perishes in a flight over the Grand Canyon. After the funeral, their daughters, Ruthie and Julia, are shocked by the provisions in their will.

Spanning nearly two decades, the sisters’ journeys take them from their familiar home in Atlanta to sophisticated bohemian San Francisco, a mountain town in Virginia, the campus of Berkeley, and lofts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As they heal from loss, search for love, and begin careers, their sisterhood, once an oasis, becomes complicated by resentment, anger, and jealousy. It seems as though the echoes of their parents’ deaths will never stop reverberating—until another shocking accident changes everything once again

The Swimming Pool by Holly Lecraw received from Doubleday

A heartbreaking affair, an unsolved murder, an explosive romance: welcome to summer on the Cape in this powerful debut.

Seven summers ago, Marcella Atkinson fell in love with Cecil McClatchey, a married father of two. But on the same night their romance abruptly ended, Cecil's wife was found murdered--and their lives changed forever. The case was never solved, and Cecil died soon after, an uncharged suspect.

Now divorced and estranged from her only daughter, Marcella lives alone, mired in grief and guilt. Meanwhile, Cecil's grown son, Jed, returns to the Cape with his sister for the first time in years. One day he finds a woman's bathing suit buried in a closet--a relic, unbeknownst to him, of his father's affair--and, on a hunch, confronts Marcella. When they fall into an affair of their own, their passion temporarily masks the pain of the past, but also leads to crises and revelations they never could have imagined.

The Red Thread by Ann Hood I won from Librarything Early Readers Group courtesy of W.W Norton & Company

From the best-selling author of The Knitting Circle, a mother’s powerful journey from loss to love. “In China there is a belief that people who are destined to be together are connected by an invisible red thread. Who is at the end of your red thread?”

After losing her infant daughter in a freak accident, Maya Lange opens The Red Thread, an adoption agency that specializes in placing baby girls from China with American families. Maya finds some comfort in her work, until a group of six couples share their personal stories of their desire for a child. Their painful and courageous journey toward adoption forces her to confront the lost daughter of her past. Brilliantly braiding together the stories of Chinese birth mothers who give up their daughters, Ann Hood writes a moving and beautifully told novel of fate and the red thread that binds these characters’ lives. Heartrending and wise, The Red Thread is a stirring portrait of unforgettable love and yearning for a baby.

What fun books made their way to your home?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Poacher's Son

The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron


Set in the wilds of Maine, this is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive—-his own father.

Game warden Mike Bowditch returns home one evening to find an alarming voice from the past on his answering machine: his father, Jack, a hard-drinking womanizer who makes his living poaching illegal game. An even more frightening call comes the next morning from the police: They are searching for the man who killed a beloved local cop the night before—-and his father is their prime suspect. Jack has escaped from police custody, and only Mike believes that his tormented father might not be guilty.

Now, alienated from the woman he loves, shunned by colleagues who have no sympathy for the suspected cop killer, Mike must come to terms with his haunted past. He knows firsthand Jack’s brutality, but is the man capable of murder? Desperate and alone, Mike strikes up an uneasy alliance with a retired warden pilot, and together the two men journey deep into the Maine wilderness in search of a runaway fugitive. There they meet a beautiful woman who claims to be Jack’s mistress but who seems to be guarding a more dangerous secret. The only way for Mike to save his father now is to find the real killer—-which could mean putting everyone he loves in the line of fire.

The Poacher’s Son is a sterling debut of literary suspense. Taut and engrossing, it represents the first in a series featuring Mike Bowditch.

My thoughts

I have only recently started reading mysteries again. I read them when I was younger but then got away from them for some reason. This book as made me want to read more mysteries again. I was intrigued from the very beginning.

Paul Doiron has written a suspenseful novel filled with very interesting characters. Some likable while others are not so likable. It's a great mix of people. The setting of the Maine wilderness was a perfect backdrop for the murders and mystery which followed. This is a mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. Just when I thought I might have it figured out someone else would become a suspect on my radar. I enjoyed it very much! I can't wait for the next book in the series. I read this book as part of the Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mailbox Monday March 15

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. Be warned though it can lead to large TBR piles and wish lists!

This week I received two books that I have so been wanting to read!

The first book I received was The Lost Summer Of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees.

Synopsis(from B&N)

In the bestselling tradition of Loving Frank and March comes a novel for anyone who loves Little Women.

Millions of readers have fallen in love with Little Women. But how could Louisa May Alcott-who never had a romance-write so convincingly of love and heart-break without experiencing it herself?

Deftly mixing fact and fiction, Kelly O'Connor McNees imagines a love affair that would threaten Louisa's writing career-and inspire the story of Jo and Laurie in Little Women. Stuck in small-town New Hampshire in 1855, Louisa finds herself torn between a love that takes her by surprise and her dream of independence as a writer in Boston. The choice she must make comes with a steep price that she will pay for the rest of her life.

I love Louisa May Alcott and I am very interested in her life since catching a special about her on PBS. Little Women played a huge part in my becoming a reader. This book is made beautifully. The pages have an old feel to them. I have a feeling I will enjoy this book very much! I received this book for review from the publisher. Thank you Lydia!

The second book I received was Roses by Leila Meacham

Synopsis (from B&N)
Spanning the 20th century, the story of Roses takes place in a small East Texas town against the backdrop of the powerful timber and cotton industries, industries controlled by the scions of the town's founding families. Cotton tycoon Mary Toliver and timber magnate Percy Warwick should have married but unwisely did not, and now must deal with the deceit, secrets, and tragedies of their choice and the loss of what might have been--not just for themselves but for their children, and children's children. With expert, unabashed, big-canvas storytelling, Roses covers a hundred years, three generations of Texans and the explosive combination of passion for work and longing for love.

I have read many great reviews for this book. It has also been compared to Gone With The Wind and The Thornbirds.This book is also beautiful. Look at this picture of the inside of the book. I love when books have special little touches like this. I won this copy from Marie's giveaway at The Burton Review. I love her blog and find myself checking out her reviews often. Be sure to check it out! Thank you Marie!

I am hoping to get my reading mojo back this week. Springy weather is upon us after a very long winter. It's has been so cold and dreary this winter and it has given me the blahs! I am feeling a bit chipper today and ready to tackle the world! I have a little spring cleaning and reading on the agenda today and it feels good! Maybe I can caught up a bit! Have a great reading week!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mailbox Monday March 8

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. Be warned though it can lead to large TBR piles and wish lists!

Excuse the bad picture. I get one shot with the camera lately and then it dies. This mornings shot was not a good one. This week was a fun week.

1. Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce - I won two bottles of sauce from Vicki at Reading At The Beach. Vicki had a fun giveaway for the sauce and my son is the condiment king so of course I entered. It also came with a recipe pamphlet and a bookmark advertising a cookbook using the sauces. I love cookbooks so I may have to get this one. We love this sauce! Thank you Vicki and Country Bob's!

2. Heart Of The Matter by Emily Giffin

Synopsis borrowed from B&N
Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life.

Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie—a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance—and even to some degree, friendships—believing that it is always safer not to expect too much.

Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children. But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.

In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most.

I won this book from Goodreads First Look.

The next four books I purchase myself.

3.Singing Bird by Roisin McAuley
I saw this on someone's blog and found a used copy to buy.

4.Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman
I received the second in this series to review so I purchased the first book in the series to read.

5.Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I have yet to read this series even though everyone raves about it.

6.Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr
I bought this after reading about this series on a blog. I thought this was the first book in the series but alas it is not. I thought the series sounded like a nice light read.

So that is what came to my house last week. What fun books made their way into your home?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Synopsis from the back of the book:

Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.

The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.

My thoughts:

This story starts out with the prologue narrated by Lavinia. It depicts a horrible scene of a hanging. We know something bad has happened but we don't know why or to whom. The story then begins with Lavinia and Belle narrating alternating chapters. Lavinia is the young Irish girl who is orphaned on her family's journey to America and is taken in as an indentured servant by the ship's captain. Belle is a slave on the captain's plantation who also happens to be the daughter of the captain. Lavinia is sent to the kitchen house to be taken care of until the time that she can be of service. Lavinia becomes part of the family of Mama Mae, Papa George, Beattie, Fanny and Belle. The captain's family is pretty dysfunctional and plays a huge role in the lives of Lavinia and Belle. Lavinia eventually finds herself torn between two families and places in society. I like how the chapters alternate between Lavinia and Belle. The story flows beautifully between the two narrators. There is a lot going on in this book and I don't want to give the story line away. I think it is a story you have to experience and be surprised by. Trust me! It is a great story! There are times the story gets uncomfortable which makes it much more realistic feel than other books about the antebellum period. I could actually feel the fear of the characters at times. Once you get involved in the story of Lavinia and Belle you will not want to put this book down. I enjoyed this book very much and I highly recommend it. Don't read it too fast. You don't want to miss one morsel of this book. Kathleen Grissom does a fantastic job telling the story of The Kitchen House. I can't wait to read what she comes up with next!

I received this book courtesy of Kathleen Grissom. Thank you Kathleen! I enjoyed it so much!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Before I Fall

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis (From Barnes & Noble)
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High, from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12 should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Fortunately, she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

My thoughts

What would you do if you could relive the last day of your life over? That is what happens to Sam in Before I Fall. Sam and her friends are the popular girls in their school. They are not exactly the nicest of girls. They do not care who they step on to elevate themselves up the popularity ladder in school. The book opens on February 12Th which is Cupid Day at their school. A day when flowers are passed out in classes bought by friends and admirers. The more popular you are, the more flowers you receive. Sam and her friends pull some pretty hurtful hi jinks on Cupid Day. These girls are emotional bullies. Sam is also involved with Rob who is also bad news. This day happens to be Sam's last due to a tragic accident after leaving a party that night. The next day Sam awakens again only to relive the whole day over. She soon learns that by changing her actions the outcome of the day changes. I really had a strong dislike for Sam in the beginning of the book. By the end I mostly felt sorry for her. Reading this book was like being on an emotional roller coaster. It takes Sam reliving quite a few days to figure out what it is she needs to do. This book is interesting as it does make one think about how their actions do affect others. Even the smallest thing can affect someone else in a big way. I would give this book 4 stars.

(I received this book as part of the Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mailbox Monday March 1

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. Be warned though it can lead to large TBR piles and wish lists!

First up is The Life O'Reilly by Brian Cohen

From the back of the book:
On the outside, Nick O'Reilly has it all: a high-flying legal career, as a partner of an elite Wall Street law firm, and financial security, with an apartment overlooking Central Park. Having grown up in a working-class family, as far back as Nick can remember this was his dream. But at the age of thirty-six, after several years of sacrificing his personal life for professional gain, Nick has started to ponder his future and consider the mark he wants to leave on society both professionally and personally--his legacy.

After being chastised in the press for turning a cold shoulder to the community, the firm calls upon Nick to help rehabilitate its image by handling its first pro bono case. Nick is asked to represent Dawn Nelson, a domestic violence victim who is fighting for custody of her young son, Jordan. A far cry from Nick's specialty of defending the misdeeds of Corporate America, it is up to Nick to set Dawn and Jordan on a path to a better life. But Nick gets much more than he signed on for, as Dawn forces him to reassess his life choices and, ultimately, be true to himself. Only when Nick finally realizes what is truly important in life does he face his toughest--and possibly final--challenge: a battle for his own survival.

Exploring the flaws of being human and the importance of controlling one's own destiny, The Life O'Reilly reminds us of how precious life is and how quickly and tragically it can change. Written with great empathy, The Life O'Reilly is an emotional and unforgettable tale that will challenge one's expectations of the modern love story and introduces a poignant and sensitive new voice in fiction.

I received this copy from the author for review. Thank you Brian!

Next up is Lake Magic by Kimberly Fisk

Synopsis from B&N:
After the loss of her fiancé Steven, Jenny Beckinsdale has more than a broken heart to deal with-their fledgling seaplane service is going under. In debt to Steven's best friend and fellow Navy pilot, she plans to convince the sexy, cynical flyboy to help save the business...and in the process these two lost souls may find they're saving each other.

I received this book from Librarything Early Reviewers program.

And last but not least Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman.

Synopsis from Thomas Nelson:
Carley has given up chasing her dreams. Now her dreams are chasing her.

Carley Marek experiences culture shock when she visits her friend Lillian's family on their farm deep in Amish country. She'll get an article out of the visit--and maybe some of Lillian's newfound peace will somehow rub off on her.

Just when Carley is getting used to the quiet nature of the Plain community, Lillian and Samuel's son falls ill. But the local doctor who can offer the most help has been shunned by the community and forbidden to intervene.

As David's condition deteriorates, Dr. Noah determines to do whatever it takes to save the boy's life. Carley is caught in the middle--drawn to Noah, wanting to be helpful in the crisis--and confused by all their talk about a God she neither knows nor trusts.

Carley must decide what in life is worth pursuing . . . and what to do when she's pursued by a love she never expected.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze program.

What fun books made their way into your home?