Monday, May 31, 2010

Mailbox Monday May 31

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!

No review books for me lately. I bought these books with the Amazon gift card I received from Missy's Book Nook earlier in the month along with a little birthday money I received. Thanks again Missy! These were some of the titles on my wish list that I was having a hard time waiting to get my hands on.

On Folly Beach by Karen White

This Fine Life: A Novel by Eva Everson

The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook

Summer Blowout by Claire Cook

I think I'm set for some summer beach reading, don't you? What books made their way into your home?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Seven Year Switch

Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook

This is a great book to read to kick off the summer beach reading season! Jill Murray is a single mom raising her 10 year old daughter, Anastasia. Jill is "man-free" after her husband abandoned both her and her daughter 7 years ago. Jill is a strong woman who has worked hard at being a good parent. She works two jobs answering phones for Great Girls Getaways and also teaches a cultural cooking class. She meets Billy who hires her as a consultant around the same time Seth, the ex-husband decides he needs to get to know his daughter. Jill finds herself smitten with Billy but finds herself spending time with Seth and their daughter. All of a sudden Jill's man-free life is anything but man-free! There are quite a few interesting characters in the book. I loved Cynthia, Jill's well-to-do and crazy neighbor. I love how light hearted and fun this book is! I found myself laughing many time throughout the book! I think anyone in Jill's situation needs to have a good sense of humor and she definitely has that! Some of the situations she finds herself in are quite humorous! Take this book to the beach but bring plenty of sunscreen with you because you won't want to put it down until you've finished it! I will be reading more of Claire's books this summer. If the rest are as good as this one, they will make great beach reading for the season. I give this book 5 stars!

I received this book from Hyperion Books and Voice. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this enjoyable book!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shanghai Girls

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Shanghai Girls tells the story of Pearl and May, two sisters who live a quite comfortable life in Shanghai in 1937. Both are beautiful girls and pose for paintings to be used in ads. Their father gambles away their fortune and arranges for Pearl and May to be married to repay his debt. Before the girls can leave to join their husbands in America, China is invaded by Japan and the girls must flee their beloved Shanghai. The two go through many difficult times together. This is a wonderful story of the love and loyalty between the two sisters. I found myself many times thinking of my own sisters and how we would go to the ends of the earth for each other as these two sisters do. I learned a bit about how the Chinese immigrants were treated in this country. That is something I knew very little about. Lisa See does an excellent job researching information to include in her stories. I learn something new every time I read one of her books. I give this book 4 stars.

This was a book I purchased myself.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mailbox Monday May 17

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!

I had a nice week with three books arriving in my mailbox. All three books were on my wish list so that is a huge plus!

The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

Synopsis from B&N

THE YELLOW HOUSE delves into the passion and politics of Northern Ireland at the beginning of the 20th Century. Eileen O'Neill's family is torn apart by religious intolerance and secrets from the past. Determined to reclaim her ancestral home and reunite her family, Eileen begins working at the local mill, saving her money and holding fast to her dream. As war is declared on a local and global scale, Eileen cannot separate the politics from the very personal impact the conflict has had on her own life. She is soon torn between two men, each drawing her to one extreme. One is a charismatic and passionate political activist determined to win Irish independence from Great Britain at any cost, who appeals to her warrior's soul. The other is the wealthy and handsome black sheep of the pacifist family who owns the mill where she works, and whose persistent attention becomes impossible for her to ignore.

I won this book from Celticlady at CelticLady's Reviews. Be sure to check out her blog. Thank you Celtic Lady!

Get Lucky by Katherine Center

Synopsis from B&N

How do you change your luck? Katherine Center’s marvelously entertaining and poignant new novel is about choosing to look for happiness—and maybe getting lucky enough to find it.

Sarah Harper isn’t sure if the stupid decisions she sometimes makes are good choices in disguise—or if they’re really just stupid. But either way, after forwarding an inappropriate email to her entire company, she suddenly finds herself out of a job.

So she goes home to Houston—and her sister, Mackie—for Thanksgiving. But before Sarah can share her troubles with her sister, she learns that Mackie has some woes of her own: After years of trying, Mackie’s given up on having a baby—and plans to sell on eBay the entire nursery she’s set up. Which gives Sarah a brilliant idea—an idea that could fix everyone’s problems. An idea that gives Sarah the chance to take care of her big sister for once—instead of the other way around.

But nothing worthwhile is ever easy. After a decade away, Sarah is forced to confront one ghost from her past after another: the father she’s lost touch with, the memories of her mother, the sweet guy she dumped horribly in high school. Soon everything that matters is on the line—and Sarah can only hope that by changing her life she has changed her luck, too.

I won this from Mary at Bookfan. Be sure to check out her blog. Thank you Mary!

Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer

Synopsis from B&N

Beautifully written, powerfully felt, full of both abundant joy and heart-wrenching sorrow, Beachcombers is an extraordinary novel that centers on the bittersweet reunion of three captivating, very different sisters on Nantucket over one gorgeous, exhilarating summer.

Abbie Fox hasn’t seen her father or two younger sisters in almost two years, during which she’s jetted around the world and experienced life, if not love. But now Lily, the baby of the family, is sending Abbie urgent emails begging her to return home to Nantucket. Their middle sister, Emma, has taken to her bed, emotionally devastated after the loss of her high-powered stockbroker’s job and a shockingly unexpected break-up with her fiancé. Also, Lily is deeply worried that Marina, the beautiful, enigmatic woman renting their guesthouse, has set her sights on the sisters’ widowed father, Jim. The Fox girls closed ranks years ago after the haunting, untimely death of their mother, but seeing their dad move on with his life forces each of them to take stock.

Over the course of the summer, the sisters’ lives grow as turbulent as the unpredictable currents encircling Nantucket. When Abbie encounters an incredibly appealing married man, she breaks her own rules in the name of love, fearing all the while that she’ll regret it. Meanwhile, type-A Emma learns a new definition of success, and strong-minded Lily must reconcile her dreams with reality. Even Marina, who has come to Nantucket to forget heartbreak and betrayal, faces an astonishing turn of events that will find her torn between fate and freedom. At summer’s end, these unforgettable women will face profound choices—and undergo personal transformations that will surprise even themselves.

I won this ARC from Librarything Early Reviewers.

I was thrilled with all my new books! What books made their way into your home last week?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Heart of the Matter

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

Heart of the Matter is told from two very different viewpoints. Tessa, the stay at home mom and wife of pediatric surgeon Nick Russo, and Valerie, a single mom and attorney. On the anniversary of Tessa and Nick a terrible accident occurs involving Valerie's son, Charlie. Nick is called in the treat Charlie not knowing that all of their lives are about to change forever. Valerie finds herself drawn to Nick's kind and gentle way with her son while Tessa finds Nick growing distant from her. All three are caught up in a terrible triangle in which there can be no winners. I appreciated how Emily Griffin didn't make any one character out to be the good guy or the bad guy. I actually found myself liking both women even thought they were both so different. I could see both sides of the issue and wondered what would I do in each character's shoes. I found this book hard to put down as I couldn't for the life of me predict how it would end. It was an excellent read and I highly recommend it. I give it 5 stars.

I won this book from Goodreads First Read Program.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Read, Remember, Recommend, Fiction Challenge

I must be crazy because I am adding another challenge to my list of challenges. I love Read, Remember, Recommend by Rachelle Rogers Knight. Looking through the journal I have found that I own 35 books from the lists that I need to read. We won't talk even about the books that made it to my ever growing wish list. I have decided to jump in and join the challenge even though I am late to the party. I love a good challenge almost as much as I love this journal! If you don't own a copy of Read, Remember, Recommend yet, I highly recommend you pick one up!

Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Reading Challenge
In celebration of the April 1st, 2010 release date of the Read, Remember, Recommend reading journal, Bibliobabe is hosting a new reading challenge.
April 1st, 2010 to April 1st, 2011

» Check out all the amazing books (thousands!) mentioned in Read, Remember, Recommend and plan your attack. Books do not need to be decided upon in advance. All books must be mentioned in the journal lists.

» Write a challenge sign-up post on your blog. In that post provide a link to the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Reading Challenge post.

» Each time you read and review a book as part of this challenge, share this with other challenge participants by adding a direct link to your book review to the list in a comment at this post. If you do not have a blog, leave your review as a comment.

» Read as many books from the Read, Remember, Recommend reading journal as you can in one year. Books read before April 1st, 2010 do not count. Overlaps with other challenges (including the Read, Remember, Recommend Teen Reading Challenge) are acceptable – and encouraged!
» Rereading doesn’t count – have fun exploring new authors, awards and books!
» Audio, print, and e-books are all acceptable.
» Post your review or link to your review in a comment here.
» You can change your commitment level at anytime.

» Notable Newbie – 5 books
» Armchair Librarian – 10 books
» The Library of Congress Calls Me Daddy – 20 books
» A Book Intervention is Needed – 30 books

» The Grand Prize is an Ereader of your choice (Kindle 2, Nook, Sony Ereader, COOL-ER – $260 value)! There will be one grand prize drawing between both Read, Remember, Recommend Reading Challenges. Each review post comment will count as an entry into the drawing.

The first place prize is a “Reading is Sexy” messenger bag filled with 5 books from the Read, Remember Recommend reading journal.

» The second place prize for each challenge is a $20 gift card to the bookstore of your choice

If you feel inspired to sign up check out Bibliobabe's sign up post.

For now I am going for the Armchair Librarian level but I may move up as the year goes on.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

This is a nice coming-of-age story. It's also a debut novel but sure does not read like this is the author's first novel. Kimberly Chang and her mother immigrate from Hong Kong to New York to what they hope will be a better life. However, they are sponsored by Kimberly's aunt and uncle who put them to work in their sweatshop as repayment for their trip to America. They are put up in an abandoned apartment building owned by the aunt and uncle. They live in squalor among roaches and rats with the oven providing the only heat in the apartment. It doesn't take Kimberly long to realize the only way out of their situation is through her education. Kimberly studies hard and is given a scholarship to a top school where she excels. Kimberly, who is quite mature for her age, is caught up between the world of poverty in which she lives and the world of her classmates, who mostly come from well to do families. She struggles to keep her life at home a secret from her classmates.

I really appreciated the relationship between Kimberly and her mother. They both counted on each other to survive. When life took a bad turn they were really there for each other.

I liked this book a lot. It wasn't a rosy coming-of-age story like one might think it would be. I could feel the struggles, pride, and heartbreak that Kimberly and her mother both must have felt. I highly recommend this book! I give it 5 stars!

I received this ARC for review from Riverhead Books through Shelf Awareness. Thank you for allowing me to read this wonderful book.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mailbox Monday May 10

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 off, Happy Belated Mother's Day! I have not been around much this past week. Both my daughter and one of my dogs have been having health issues and I had to help out with a Mother's Day brunch fundraiser for my son's school. I received a couple of wins this past week. So last week was just insane around here. I am hoping for a much quieter week this week. I did receive a couple of wins this past week which brightened my week immensely!

Small Change by Sheila Roberts

"At their weekly craft group meeting, Rachel, Jessica and Tiffany admit they share a difficult secret: they're all struggling with major financial problems. A sudden divorce has turned Rachel from a stay-at-home mom to a strapped-for-cash divorcee about to enter the workforce for the first time. Tiffany admits that her spending has been out of control for years, and as her credit card bills have gone through the roof, her marriage has become increasingly rocky. And Jessica just had the rug pulled out from under her. After struggling her entire life to make ends meet, she's just gotten engaged to a man with a big bank account...and now he's asked her to sign a pre-nup.

As the women struggle to bring balance back to their checkbooks--and their lives--they learn some important lessons: that making a series small changes in one's spending habits can make a big difference—and that some things in life, like good friends, are truly priceless.

This book was a win from OutnumberedMama over at Busy Moms Who Love to Read. It was autographed and sent by Sheila Roberts which tickled me to no end! Thank you so much to both OutnumberedMama and Sheila!

I also won an Amazon gift card courtesy of Missy of Missy's Book Nook in celebration of her having 200 followers! Thank you Missy. I am not sure which books are coming off the wish list and making their way into my home. I am still trying to decide.

What fun books made their way into your home this past week?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mailbox Monday May 3

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!

The Cradle by Patrick Somerville


Early one summer morning, Matthew Bishop kisses his still-sleeping wife Marissa, gets dressed and eases his truck through Milwaukee, bound for the highway. His wife, pregnant with their first child, has asked him to find the antique cradle taken years before by her mother Caroline when she abandoned Marissa, never to contact her daughter again. Soon to be a mother herself, Marissa now dreams of nothing else but bringing her baby home to the cradle she herself slept in. His wife does not know-does not want to know-where her mother lives, but Matt has an address for Caroline's sister near by and with any luck, he will be home in time for dinner.

Only as Matt tries to track down his wife's mother, he discovers that Caroline, upon leaving Marissa, has led a life increasingly plagued by impulse and irrationality, a mysterious life that grows more inexplicable with each new lead Matt gains, and door he enters. As hours turn into days and Caroline's trail takes Matt from Wisconsin to Minnesota, Illinois, and beyond in search of the cradle, Matt makes a discovery that will forever change Marissa's life, and faces a decision that will challenge everything he has ever known.

Elegant and astonishing, Patrick Somerville tells the story of one man's journey into the heart of marriage, parenthood, and what it means to be a family. Confirming the arrival of an exuberantly talented new writer, THE CRADLE is an uniquely imaginative debut novel that radiates with wisdom and wonder.

This was a win from Andi at Radiant Light. Be sure to check out her blog! Thank you Andi!

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares


From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and The Last Summer (of You and Me) comes an imaginative, inspired, magical book-a love story that lasts more than a lifetime.

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has "the memory", the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he's previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel's unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

A magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking story of true love, My Name is Memory proves the power and endurance of a union that was meant to be.

I received this book for review from Riverhead Books. Thank you to them!

The Lovers by Vendela Vida


Twenty-eight years ago, Peter and Yvonne honeymooned in the beautiful coastal village of DatÇa, Turkey. Now Yvonne is a widow, her twin children grown. Hoping to immerse herself in memories of a happier time—as well as sand and sea—Yvonne returns to DatÇa. But her plans for a restorative week in Turkey are quickly complicated. Instead of comforting her, her memories begin to trouble her. Her vacation rental's landlord and his bold, intriguing wife—who share a curious marital arrangement—become constant uninvited visitors, in and out of the house.

Overwhelmed by the past and unexpectedly dislocated by the environment, Yvonne clings to a newfound friendship with Ahmet, a local boy who makes his living as a shell collector. With Ahmet as her guide, Yvonne gains new insight into the lives of her own adult children, and she finally begins to enjoy the shimmering sea and relaxed pace of the Turkish coast. But a devastating accident upends her delicate peace and throws her life into chaos—and her sense of self into turmoil.

With the crystalline voice and psychological nuance for which her work has been so celebrated, Vendela Vida has crafted another unforgettable heroine in a stunningly beautiful and mysterious landscape.

I received this book for review from Ecco through Shelf Awareness. Thank you to them both!

What great books made their way into your home last week?