Thursday, September 30, 2010

Still The One

Still The One by Robin Wells

Summary borrowed from Goodreads

After Katie Charmaine's husband is killed in Iraq, all she has left is a closet full of his clothes, a few pictures, and fond memories. She not only lost her love, but her last chance to have the children she's always wanted. Until Zack Ferguson shows up in town . . . with the daughter Katie gave up for adoption nearly seventeen years ago.

Zack Ferguson has never forgotten Katie, or the one magical night they spent together. Seeing her again brings up a tidal wave of emotions: regret over the way he left her, anger at the secret she kept, and desire he hasn't felt in years. But he's in town for Gracie. Their daughter is sixteen, angry at the world, and-worst of all-pregnant. She needs the love of her two parents now more than ever. Can these three forgive the hurts of the past and open their hearts to each other?

My Thoughts

This was a nice light, romantic read. The story was very current and I fell in love with the characters who all seemed to be hurting and needing to find a way to move on with their lives. I loved the setting of Chartreuse, Louisiana. It was small community which is my kind of place. If you like a nice contemporary romance novel, this one fits the bill. It's a nice story of forgiveness and second chances. It is a romance novel so there are the usual sexual scenes.

I read this book for my online book group read and I purchased my copy of the book.

Readathon Mania!

I have a love for readathons! Any excuse to spend some quality time reading is a great idea in my book! There is nothing better than to snuggle up in your favorite sweats with a good book and a cup of tea.

I participated in this readathon last week. It was graciously hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict. Thank you Michelle for hosting this. I finished three books last week which is great for me!

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart
Still The One by Robin Wells

The next readathon I am planning on participating is Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon. I never make the full 24 hours. My all nighter days are long gone but I will devote the day and until I fall asleep to reading. Check it out and sign up. It is a blast!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mailbox Monday September 27

Mailbox Monday is meme created by Marcia from The Printed Page. Marcia says,"Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists." Mailbox Monday is on tour and this months hostess is none other than the fabulous Kathy of Bermudaonion's Weblog. Thank you Kathy for hosting!

I can't believe that it is the end of the month already! This month has just flown by. This week I received three books for review. Three books that I am absolutely thrilled about!

City Of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

(from the back of the book)

Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P'ing Ch'eng— City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love—and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them? City Of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation.

I received this book for review courtesy of Jason at Henry Holt and Company.

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

borrowed from Goodreads

The sequel to the New York Times Best selling phenomenon, Hush, Hush!

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

I received this book as part of the Barnes and Noble Sneak Peek Program.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

Morton once again enthralls readers with an atmospheric story featuring unforgettable characters beset by love and circumstance and haunted by memory, that reminds us of the rich power of storytelling.

I received this book for review courtesy of Judith at Atria Books.

I am so excited to get to read all three books. I have to say I gave out quite a squeal when I opened The Distant Hours! I'm excited to read all three books but that one made me especially giddy! What can I say? I'm a book nerd!

What great books came to your mailbox?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Wake of Forgiveness

The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble

On a moonless Texas night in 1895, an ambitious young landowner suffers the loss of “the only woman he’s ever been fond of” when his wife dies during childbirth with the couple’s fourth boy, Karel. From an early age Karel proves so talented on horseback that his father enlists him to ride in acreage-staked horseraces against his neighbors. But Karel is forever haunted by thoughts of the mother he never knew, by the bloodshot blame in his father’s eyes, and permanently marked by the yoke he and his brothers are forced to wear to plow the family fields. Confident only in the saddle, Karel is certain that the horse “wants the whip the same way he wants his pop’s strap . . . the closest he ever gets to his father’s touch.” In the winter of 1910, Karel rides in the ultimate high-stakes race against a powerful Spanish patriarch and his alluring daughters. Hanging in the balance are his father’s fortune, his brother’s futures, and his own fate. Fourteen years later, with the stake of the race still driven hard between him and his brothers, Karel is finally forced to dress the wounds of his past and to salvage the tattered fabric of his family.

My Thoughts

I really wanted to like this book much more than I did. The writing is beautifully descriptive. However, I found the storyline to be dark and depressing. The time line goes back and forth and I found myself having to go back and figure out what time period I was now in. The flow was confusing to me. There were some rather descriptive moments of child abuse and animal abuse that were just too much for me. All in all I would say the writing is beautiful in spots. The author has a wonderful way with words but this just wasn't the book for me. I really wanted to like it more.

I received this book for my honest opinion from the publisher through Barnes and Noble's First Look Book Club.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Into Reading

The calendar says it is Fall here but Mother Nature seems a tad bit confused. It is much more like a summer day here today but that will be changing in less than 24 hours. So to kick Fall off I am going to participate in The Fall Into Reading 2010 challenge hosted by Katrina over at Callapidder Days. Katrina is kind enough to host a reading challenge not only in the Fall but also the Spring. Here is the brief recap as to how the challenge works by Katrina:

Here’s a brief recap of how to be a part of Fall Into Reading 2010:

Make a list of books you want to read (or finish reading) this fall. Your list can be as long or as short as you’d like. (Also, feel free to modify your list during the challenge if it’s not working for you.)

Write a blog post containing your list and submit it to this post using the Mr. Linky below.(over at Callapidder Days)

Get reading! The challenge goes from today, September 22nd, through December 20th.

Check out other participants’ lists and add to your own to-read-someday pile!

Write a post about your challenge experience in December, telling us all about whether you reached your goals and how Fall Into Reading went for you. But remember: this is a low-pressure challenge that should be fun. As long as you do some reading this fall (and enjoy it!), that’s good enough for me.

Go on over and sign up. It is quite easy and it's fun too!

My list is below and will more than likely change. I pulled these off the top of my head but I know I have some commitments that will have to be added also. And then there will be the books I see on other people's list that will have to be added! I'm hopeless when it comes to books!

1.Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home by Laura Ling and Lisa Ling
2.The World is Bigger Now by Euna Lee with Lisa Dickey
3.Room by Emma Donoghue
4.Dewey's Nine Lives by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter
5.Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
6.Saturday Morning by Lauraine Snelling
7.Still The One by Robin Wells
8.Angel Song by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman
9.The Cailiffs of Baghdada, Georgia by Mary Helen Stefaniak
10.How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

I have some more books that I really want to dive into too so we shall see if the list gets longer. Go on over to Katrina's lovely blog and sign up. It's a nice, relaxed challenge and it is so much fun! It's a great way to make a dent in that TBR stack!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

I finished this book last night as part of my Fall Catch-up Readathon. I have decided this is not the book to read before bedtime if you are easily frightened. I am a wimp. No scary movies for me but this book I loved!

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

My Thoughts

Holy Cannoli! What a book! I don't usually gravitate towards this type of book. At first I thought I would pass this one up when I saw it on other blogs. And then the reviews started. I checked the library and it was on it's way so I reserved it and waited patiently. This book was worth the wait! The subject matter can be tough at times. There are some difficult scenes and there are some words that may not please some. It's not a book for the faint of heart.

Annie O'Sullivan is a realtor who seems to be on the right track. She is doing okay in her career, she has a nice boyfriend and a house with an adorable dog. After she hosts a slow open house, she receives one more visitor who abducts her and whisks her away to the unknown. She is kept in a remote place where she is not only physically and sexually abused but very much emotionally abused. "The Freak" as he comes to be known, controls everything about her. The torture was very hard to read but I had to know what happened next. When Annie is "found" she begins to see a psychiatrist which is how we learn of Annie's story. We learn of her abduction through her sessions with the psychiatrist. Even though Annie is no longer being held against her will, she is very much imprisoned. Does she have reason to be on edge or is it just post traumatic stress syndrome? The story is told brilliantly and will keep you guessing until the very end! It's hard to believe this is a debut novel! The suspense made this book very hard for me to put down and kept me on the edge of my seat! It is a quick read. This is probably the best psychological thriller I have ever read! I will be looking for more books from Chevy Stevens in the future. This is a book I won't soon forget!

I borrowed this book from our local public library.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Catch-up Readathon

I just caught wind of this yesterday. Today looking at my piles of books that are needing to be read, I decided to go ahead and participate as much as I can. It seems like a pretty relaxed sort of readathon. It is being hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict.

I am hoping to finish the following books:

I'm not sure what I will read after I finish those. I tend to be a mood reader most of the time. It depends where the mood takes me next! Join in on the fun! I'll try to post some updates during the week.

Mailbox Monday September 20

Mailbox Monday is meme created by Marcia from The Printed Page. Marcia says,"Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists." Mailbox Monday is on tour and this months hostess is none other than the fabulous Kathy of Bermudaonion's Weblog. Thank you Kathy for hosting!

I received one book this week and that is okay by me. I have enough to catch up on here. I look at slow weeks as a good time to catch up! Anyone else feel that way? It does make my heart a bit sad though when there isn't a new book waiting for me. I miss that excitement of holding a new book! I am looking forward to reading this book. I have enjoyed books by Lauraine Snelling in the past. They are usually nice, quick reads. This one sounds particularly interesting. Read the summary and see what you think.

Saturday Morning by Lauraine Snelling


Broken by life’s disappointments, four women forge a friendship that leads in unexpected directions.

Hope Benson is determined to do all she can for the broken souls who come to Casa de Jesus, a women’s shelter in the heart of San Francisco. When a difficult pregnancy forces her to relinquish control, she draws support and strength from an unlikely group of women, each struggling with her own heartbreak.

Andy Taylor, a reluctant transplant to California, was compelled to leave behind her lavender-growing business and her home of twenty-some years to support her workaholic husband’s pursuit of career success. Attorney Julia Collins is searching for her teenage granddaughter, believed to be living on the streets. And Clarice Van Dam’s life has been shattered by the disappearance of her husband, who appears to have relieved her of all earthly possessions except a fur coat and her overnight bag.

Drawn together at the weekend market held in the shelter's parking lot, the women pool their resources to fend off an unscrupulous conglomerate that threatens to replace the facility with a commercial development. As they fight to retain this haven for women in need, they find their own longings for home answered by the solace of faith and friendship.

I received this book for my honest opinion from Waterbrook Press for the Librarything Early Reviewers Group.

What great books made their way into your home?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Secret Keepers by Mindy Friddle

Secret Keepers by Mindy Friddle

First off I have to say how much I love this cover! I love anything vintage and having to do with gardening, not that I am a great gardener. This book begs to be read on a front porch or in a garden gazebo while drinking a glass of sweet tea. It is a quiet southern fiction book about a family coming to terms with changes in their lives. We meet Emma Hanley who at age 72, is getting ready to take of on a trip of a lifetime with her husband, Harold and mentally ill son, Bobby. Her husband has an accident that takes his life and changes Emma's life. Her daughter, Dora and her husband, Donny have very different plans for Harold's funeral but Emma has her mind set and does things the way she sees fit. Of course this starts a family battle. Donny and Dora belong to a very zealous church set up in a mall built on property once belonging to Emma's grandfather. I can't say how many times I found myself laughing at the shenanigans that go on in this mall where all the stores are involved around the church. When Jake, Dora's high school sweetheart decides to open up his own landscaping business in town things get very interesting. Soon he realizes he needs help and hires an unlikely bunch of characters; Gordon, a homeless veteran, Kyle, Emma's rebellious grandson who hates his parents and Bobby. Soon secret, magical plants and lifetime secrets are revealed. If you enjoy southern fiction and dysfunctional quirky families then I think you will enjoy this book. There is a nice balance between the story and a hint of magic that is not overdone.

I received this ARC courtesy of Librarything Early Reviewers Group for my honest opinion.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mailbox Monday September 13

Mailbox Monday is meme created by Marcia from The Printed Page. Marcia says,"Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists." Mailbox Monday is on tour and this months hostess is none other than the fabulous Kathy of Bermudaonion's Weblog. Thank you Kathy for hosting!

I didn't receive any books via the mail or ups but I did run to pick up medicine for the dog and I may or may not have gone a bit out of my way to drive past Borders where of course I had to stop and browse. They had a wonderful sale section where of course I couldn't help myself and purchased a few bargains plus I purchased a book for my Goodreads book group read for the month. Now I know why I have been keeping myself out of bookstores. As you can see, I have no control. Just call me hopeless!

Still The One by Robin Wells

The following books were $3.99 each!

One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

Dune Road by Jane Green

The Lost Hours by Karen White

Rooftops Of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

The next book was $5.99. I have been glancing through it and find it quite humorous!

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris

So what great books made their way into your home?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cleo by Helen Brown

Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family
Author: Helen Brown
Pub Date: August 31, 2010
Imprint : Citadel
Format : Trade Paperback

Cleo by Helen Brown

"We're just going to look." Helen Brown had no intention of adopting a pet when she brought her sons, Sam and Rob, to visit a friend's new kittens. But the runt of the litter was irresistible, with her overlarge ears and dainty chin.

When Cleo was delivered weeks later, she had no way of knowing that her new family had just been hit by a tragedy. Helen was sure she couldn't keep her—until she saw something she thought had vanished from the earth forever: her son's smile. The reckless, rambunctious kitten stayed.

Through happiness and heartbreak, changes and new beginnings, Cleo turned out to be the unlikely glue that affectionately held Helen's family together. Rich in wisdom, wit, heart, and healing, here is the story of a cat with an extraordinary gift for knowing just where she was needed most.

My thoughts

It does not surprise me one bit to know that Cleo by Helen Brown has made the New York Times Bestsellers List. This book is a wonderful, moving memoir about a cat who helps heal a family after a horrific tragedy strikes them. We get a glimpse into Helen's life after she loses her son, Sam. The family had arranged to adopt Cleo as a birthday present for Sam. When Cleo is delivered to the family, the last thing they were thinking about was giving a kitten a home. They were grieving after losing Sam. As soon as Helen's son, Rob holds Cleo, he smiles for the first time in a very long time. Cleo was indeed home and on her way to becoming a part of the family. I enjoyed reading about Cleo's crazy cat antics. Cleo certainly made her presence known right from the start. Anyone who is owned by a cat knows how insane life can become with a small kitten running the show. You also know how loving a cat can be especially in our times of need. Cleo was no exception. It was as though she knew she had an important job to do and that was to help her family through a terribly trying time. I loved reading about Cleo's adventures with her family. The story is both touching and amusing. The book is not just about Cleo but about a family moving forward after a tragic time in their lives. By the end of the book I felt as though I knew Helen, Cleo and the whole family and had taken the journey along side them. I have always thought that animals possess a healing quality and Cleo has shown me that to be true. I loved this book and highly recommend it, even if you are not a cat lover! Be sure to have Kleenex close by. This book will have you in tears at times, some happy tears, some sad tears and some from laughing so hard at Cleo's shenanigans. I enjoyed Helen's sense of humor. Pets and laughter can be the best medicine of all! This book will stay with me for a long time to come.

Thank you to Rose Marie Morse from Inkwell Management for sending this ARC for my honest review! I feel very blessed to have read Helen and Cleo's story.

Thank you to Helen Brown for sharing the lives of her family and Cleo with us.

Be sure to check out Helen Brown's website.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mailbox Monday September 6

Mailbox Monday is meme created by Marcia from The Printed Page. Marcia says,"Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists." Mailbox Monday is on tour and this months hostess is none other than the fabulous Kathy of Bermudaonion's Weblog. Kathy has a great book blog and her mailboxes are always to die for! Be sure to check out both blogs as they are both pretty terrific! Thank you to both Kathy and Marcia!

This week I have two books to share that I won from Dar over at Peeking Between The Pages. Dar has a reading pal named Buddy who is as cute as a button. Be sure to check out her fabulous blog. Thank you for sending these Dar. Both books have had many great reviews and I am looking forward to reading them both.

Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble

In a debut novel that blends the rich, earthy atmosphere of the deep South and a voice imbued with spiritual grace, Bernice L. McFadden tells the story of two women: a modest, churchgoing wife and mother, and the young prostitute she befriends.. "When Sugar arrives in 1950s Bigelow - waltzing down the main square of the sweltering tiny Arkansas town as if she has every right to be there - no one tosses out the welcome mat or invites her in for a Coke. The Bigelow women hate her from the minute they lay eyes on her - on the bouncing blond wig and red-painted lips that tell them she has never known a hard day's work. All they know is they want her gone, out of their town, and away from their men.. "But Sugar has traveled too far and survived too much to back down now. She parks herself in the house at #10 Grove Street, even though she feels there is something about Bigelow that is calling up the past she prayed she'd left behind.. "Deep in her soul, Pearl Taylor knows what it is that Sugar feels, because it happened to her. It was the day her world shut down, the day the devil himself murdered her young daughter, Jude. It wasn't that Pearl stopped believing in God, exactly; she just couldn't trust him the way she used to. Then Sugar moves in next door, and Pearl's life irrevocably changes. Over sweet potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming the lives of two women - and an entire community.

Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble

An exciting debut: a vivid, richly imagined saga of ancient Rome from a masterful new voice in historical fiction Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, passionate, musical, and guarded. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea will become her mistress's rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome's newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life-that is quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart. As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome's aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian's games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and paranoid Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: the Emperor's mistress.

What great books made their way into your home?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

To Your Dog's Health

To Your Dog's Health by Mark Poveromo

I was given the opportunity to read this book after seeing it in Caribou's Mom's mailbox. Lisa, the online publicist got a hold of me and thought I might like to read the book also. I have one dog with food issues/allergies and another who is getting older and has to watch his weight. I found the book to be very helpful in knowing what to look for in dog food and to make an educated decision on what to feed my dogs. Mark takes a more holistic approach to feeding and we have found that is what works for our guys here too. There is information on what to look for in a dog food, feeding a raw diet, feeding a dog with cancer or kidney disease and some information on vaccines and supplements. Each chapter in the book also has a cute paw print with a tip inside it. It is a very interesting book to read especially after all the pet food recalls in recent years. The book was easy to read and understand.

Mark Poveromo
is not only the author of the book but owns a pet food business and has raised several Labs, up to 11 at a time! I'd say he knows his dog food with that many mouths to feed! I recommend this book to people who are wanting to know more about the food they are feeding their dogs or for those who are considering the raw diet.

Thank you to Lisa, the online publicist for sending me this book for my honest opinion.