Monday, April 25, 2011

Mailbox Monday April 25

It's Mailbox Monday! I love checking out everyone's mailboxes and adding books to my wish list. Be sure to check out all the posts over at Passages To The Past where Amy is hosting Mailbox Monday this month. Thank you Amy!

Spring is finally here in Wisconsin. It could be warmer but we will take what we can get. I even saw a fly yesterday. It's funny to see bugs after not seeing them all winter long.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. We got my oldest son moved back in. We had to disassemble his box spring to get it upstairs..I don't recommend doing this. It took hours to take it apart and rebuild it. He'll be buying a new bed when he moves out again.

I had a great mailbox week. I received one book for review, I purchased one book, and I received my win from Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon. If you have never participated in the Read-a-thon you should consider it. I always have a good time even if I don't get much reading accomplished. The next one is scheduled for October 22, 2011 so mark those calendars!

This tote bag and a book were my win from the readathon. The tote bag is so cute and will be very handy for trips to the library. I didn't know what book was going to come with the tote bag so this was a very nice surprise. I received Don't breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon. It looks like a good book. This was a win from Harper Collins. A special thank you to all that donated and supported the Readathon.

I received The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin from St Martin's Press through Librarything Early Reviewers Group.

Next up I bought The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen. This book has intrigued me since I heard of it. After reading so many wonderful reviews and recommendations for it, I had to buy it. It just go to show that book blogs do sell books! I am constantly hearing about books I might have otherwise missed.

So what wonderful books made their way into your home?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

I want to wish every reader and follower a Very Happy Easter! I am fixing a simple Easter dinner - ham, potatoes, and broccoli. My oldest son is moving home today so we will be busy getting him settled back in. It will be nice to have all my chicks under one roof again. I hope each and everyone of you has a very Blessed Easter. For those who don't celebrate Easter, I wish you a wonderful spring day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Sister Wife

The Sister Wife by Diane Noble

Summary from Goodreads

What if the man you loved told you God wanted him to take another wife? What if that woman was your best friend?

Set in the heart of the earliest days of a new nineteenth-century sect known as the Saints, The Sister Wife is a riveting account of two women forced into a practice they don't understand, bound by their devotion to Prophet Joseph Smith. When Mary Rose marries Gabriel, neither of them could foresee how quickly the community would turn to the practice of plural marriage. Devastated when Gabe is faced with an order from the Prophet to marry her best friend, Bronwyn, Mary Rose tries to have the faith to carry through with the marriage. But can she really be married to the same man as her very best friend? Can Mary Rose and Bronwyn face betraying both their husband and their God to do what they feel is right?

My Thoughts

I have been wanting to read this book after reading the book description. I would classify this as a historical romance. The book jumps around a bit and for some reason that was a problem for me. There were characters who were minor and I would almost forget about them only to have them reappear. Maybe these characters will play more important roles in the next books in the series. There had to be a reason for them to be mentioned. I felt very disconnected frm the characters yet I wanted to know what was going to happen to them. I am not very familiar with the history of the Mormon Church and polygamy so I cannot say if it is an accurate account. I certainly hope not. I didn't hate the book but didn't love it either. However, I will more than likely read the next installment as it ended as a bit of a cliffhanger. Hopefully when I read the next book it will all make more sense. Until then, I will learn a bit more about this time period and the Mormon Church at the time. If you know of any books that would help in my search to learn more, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

I borrowed this book from the public library to read for the 2011 Just For Fun Challenge

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday April 18

It's Monday and you know what that means? Mailbox Monday! I love how we do this on Monday. It sure brightens my Monday! I love checking out everyone's mailboxes and adding books to my wish list Be sure to check out all the posts over at Passages To The Past where Amy is hosting Mailbox Monday this month. Thank you Amy! Unfortunately my mailbox looks nothing like the mailbox in the picture. My mailbox is covered in snow this morning. Snow in April..not the way I think April should be. My idea of April is daffodils, birds, green grass... not snow! Someday spring will come..I hope! Anywho, lets check out some mailboxes. It's much more fun than dealing with April.

I was a bad girl a week or so ago and placed an Amazon order. I went to order two books recommended by a friend and decided to check out the sale books. I also found two Halo books for my son in the sale section. I just can't pass up a good book bargain and all were on my wish list. I also received one book for review. I'm very excited about that!

Up first is the review book, which made a long journey from the U.K. to get to my house. I received this book from the author..thank you Rosy! I am really looking forward to reading this one. In fact I was looking at the cover this morning wishing I could transport myself to setting. I'll bet there's no snow there!

Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

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

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

The rest are the books I ordered and feel somewhat guilty about..somewhat. I linked them all back to Goodreads if you want to check to see the book summaries.

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen
The Wishing Trees by John Shors
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
At Home on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball
The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer
Pictures Of You by Caroline Leavitt

I am now off to check out other mailboxes..a big highlight of my Monday! And watch the snow melt!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Night Road

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

This book blew me away! I have read other books by Kristin Hannah so I knew I was in for a treat with this one. Little did I know that this book would take me on quite a journey!

Kristin Hannah's stories aren't typical in the way all of the characters are important. It's hard to say who the main character is in the book which I love! She does an excellent job at developing characters! I felt like I knew who each character was and why they did what they did or felt the way they did.

In Night Road we meet Jude, a helicopter mom of teenage twins, Zach and Mia. She is an excellent mother, sometimes hovering just a bit too much. Jude tries to protect the twins from all the evils life has to offer. Their father, Miles is involved but is much more laid back than his wife. Mia becomes best friends with Lexi, a girl who has had a rough upbringing but has turned out to be a great kid. Lexi is welcomed into the family as Mia's BFF. The first half of the book revolves around the family and Lexi. We learn how everyone got to where they are in life. The second half of the book takes place after a terrible tragedy occurs. And here is where I will not talk about where the story goes. The anticipation really builds in this book. You have a looming feeling something is going to happen but you have no idea what that is. If you knew, the story would not have the same emotion I'm afraid. Part of the greatness of the book is the not least it was for me. Kristin Hannah has done a fabulous job of building a story in layers and each layer is very important. This book is one you experience as you read it. If I said much more about the story it would ruin the book for you. Trust me..just read it! I highly recommend this book. This won't be the last Hannah book for me!

I received this book for my honest opinion from Librarything Early Reviewers Group. It in no way influenced my opinion.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mailbox Monday April 11

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 was started by Marcia at the Printed Page. Marcia has started a new blog for Mailbox Monday here. Mailbox Monday is now on tour and this month's host is Amy at Passages To The Past. Thank you Amy for hosting!

I fell off the wagon this past week when it comes to books. I received 3 review books, downloaded several books on my Nook, checked out books from the library and received an order from Barnes and Noble. Sadly, I am also waiting on a box of bargain books from Amazon. Just call me hopeless. My wish list grows every week visiting blogs. What's a gal to do? I linked all the books to Goodreads instead of listing the summaries here.

Review Books

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer (received from Bethany House)

Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman
(received from Bethany House)

The Civilized World by Susi Wyss (received from Henry Holt and Company)

Purchased Books

A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware
- Sourcebooks

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
- William Morrow

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen- Bantam

Library Books

The Sister Wife by Diane Noble
Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
Chosen by Chandra Hoffman

Nook Books
Cottage By The Sea by Ciji Ware
Becoming a Woman of Freedom by Cynthia Heald
Miranda's Big Mistake by Jill Mansell
Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nonna Bannister
Wings by Aprilynne Pike
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Whew...that was fun! Now to go visit your mailbox and see what wonderful books came into your home! I wonder how many will end up my wish list this week?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Salting Roses

Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello

I loved this story. Gracie Lynne Calloway was abandoned on a front porch as an infant. She is raised by her "uncles" who found her. Artie and Ben raised Gracie along with the help of Alice, Ben's wife who lives next door. Gracie thought she knew exactly who she was until the day Sam Fontana comes to town to tell her she is a missing kidnapped heiress. Gracie has to figure out who she really is and what is the truth about who her parents really are. The story is full of wonderful, well-developed characters. Artie and Ben are very loving and gentle with Gracie. Gracie is a very funny, headstrong gal who I completely adored. Her interactions with Alice cracked me up. Alice is determined to turn Gracie into a lady while Gracie would much rather run around in jeans and a t-shirt. I couldn't help but love the little town of Shady Grove. It had a great small hometown feel to it. It's the kind of place where everyone knows everybody and their business. I loved this book even though it did seem to move a bit slow in parts. Maybe I was just anxious to know how it all would turn out. Get yourself a seat on the front porch, grab a glass of sweet tea and and read this book. It's a lovely Cinderella type story that will leave you feeling good. You won't be disappointed.

I received this book for my honest opinion from the publisher through Librarything's Early Reviewers Program

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Hour 24 and End Survey

I so did not make it. About 10:40 last night I moved to my bed because I was getting uncomfortable in my bed. About 11:30 my book smacked me in the face because I had fallen asleep. I was done. While I didn't get as much reading done as I had hoped, I had fun and felt good about what I did read. How did you all do? I saw some crazy reading totals out there. Oh how I envy those readers! All in all it was fun and I will do it again. It has gotten me very motivated to get some of these books piling up read. It is gorgeous outside finally today so I will be taking my book and heading outside later.

Total pages read:469
Total Minutes Read:520

Not earth shattering totals but that's okay. I had fun. Thanks for all those who helped behind the scenes and those that cheered us readers on!

End of Event Survey

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? About 11:30 pm my book hit me in the face..quite undaunting!

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I started Night Road by Kristin Hannah and it grabbed me from the beginning

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope I think the Read-a-thon is just fine the way it is.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I think it all worked well

5. How many books did you read? I finished one and started another

6. What were the names of the books you read? Salting Roses and started Night Road

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Night Road

8. Which did you enjoy least?-

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I was not a cheerleader.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Hour 15

I am taking a short break. I finally finished a book and feel like I finally accomplished something! My eyes are feeling heavy though and my legs are stiff and achy. I am going to take the dogs out int he backyard and walk around a bit to stretch. Then it will be pj time and on to my next book-

Title of book(s) read since last update: I finished Salting Roses..

Number of books read since you started: 1

Pages read since last update: 125

Running total of pages read since you started: 353

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 100 minutes

Running total of time spent reading since you started: 370 minutes

Mini-challenges completed: 3

Food consumed since last break: turtle decaf coffee and Jelly Bellys

I feel some ice cream might be needed next. Maybe I should have weight gained while reading as one of my stats!

I want to thank each of the cheerleaders and fellow readers who have stopped by! Your encouragement is so helpful! Thanks also to those who co-host and are behind the scenes!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Hour 12 -halfway! Mid event Survey!

Grr..I have had sooo many distractions..the phone keeps ringing and I have had visitors to boot. Now on a normal day the phone wouldn't ring and no one would stop by. I finally gave in and finished dinner and cleaned up. The dogs are fed and I have a pot of coffee brewing. I will read tonight even if I have to tie people up! On a good note..I won a prize. My name was drawn in a random participant drawing. How cool is that!

Title of book(s) read since last update: Still working on Salting Roses..

Number of books read since you started: -

Pages read since last update: 40

Running total of pages read since you started: 128

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 90 minutes

Running total of time spent reading since you started: 270 minutes

Mini-challenges completed: 3

Food consumed since last break: pita chips and hummus, diet cherry Dr. Pepper, water, pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots.

I am off to drink coffee and read. We may see bad storms after midnight they say so it may not be a good night for sleeping anyway.

Mid Event Survey

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? Still reading Salting Roses
2. How many books have you read so far? less than 1 too many distractions. Next time I need a hotel room in undisclosed location!
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Night Road by Kristin Hannah
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? I thought I did but apparently it's not working.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I have had so many interruptions..phones calls, people stopping by, dogs needing attention. I have rope now and whoever gets in the way will be hog tied!(Just kidding!)
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I won something..yay!
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I think the read-a-thon is run like a fine oiled machine! For me I need to go into hiding next time at a top secret location!
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? See above
9. Are you getting tired yet? Nope I am ready to go...for now
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? I am not very successful at this point so I don't know if I should be giving advice. I am thinking unplugging the phones is a good idea and putting a quarantined sign on the front door might be a good thing!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Hour 9

I have had a shower...which means I have water! I feel so much better and am ready to buckle down and read. I even won a prize! My day is starting to look up! The kids are all out of the house and the dogs are napping. How are you all doing?

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Hour 6

I am not doing so well with my reading. The first two hours I had to keep rereading what I read. The water is still not on here. I am missing my morning shower! This morning about 2:30 I took the dogs out and I saw a car being towed away. It seems down the road the car hit a fire hydrant which is what the problem is. My oldest son just came for a visit and he says it is a huge mess! For some reason the water being off is a huge distraction for me. Meanwhile my neighbors are all heading out. If I had a shower, I would head out too. I think I'll spare the public my wonderful bedhead look! I did get my beef roast in the crock pot for dinner so I am set there. I did find out that it takes 3 1/2 small bottles of water to make a pot of coffee! My did that coffee taste good!

Title of book(s) read since last update: Still working on Salting Roses

Number of books read since you started: -

Pages read since last update: 88

Running total of pages read since you started: 88

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 180 minutes

Running total of time spent reading since you started: 180 minutes

Mini-challenges completed: 3

Food consumed: 1/2 pot of chocolate decadent coffee, banana, greek yogurt topped with rhubarb sauce I made this week,toast, a coconut creme Dove chocolate egg, water.

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Hour 1

IT"S HERE! I have been anxiously awaiting today..Dewey's 24 Read-a-thon has begun!
To start we have a getting to know you post

1)Where are you reading from today? Southeast Wisconsin

2)Three random facts about me…
I am the mother of 3 wonderful kids
I have no water this morning-try making a pot of coffee with little bottles of water..
I have to have my morning coffee..otherwise it could be ugly

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? 7 actual books and several on my Nook-I have a book for every mood

4)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)? I am just winging it today. (Actually I would just be happy with the water coming back on-it's tough to live without water)

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? Make a template for your update posts(which I haven't done yet) and most of all have fun!

I am starting off with Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello and a cup of Chocolate Decadent Coffee from World Market (which sadly closed in our area). I will be having some greek yogurt and a banana to start the day. Have fun everyone!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sing You Home

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Summary from Goodreads

One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter's marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds. Like her House Rules and several other previous Jodi Picoult novels, Sing You Home grapples with hot button issues. The novel also includes a CD of songs, each matched with a chapter in the book. Perfect for book clubs.

My Thoughts

I wasn't so sure when I started this book it would be one of my favorite Jodi Picoult books. It didn't take too long for the story to grab me. The subject is controversial as most of Jodi's books are but that is what makes her a unique author. The story is told by different point of views, Max's, Vanessa's, and Zoe's. It was interesting to see where each character was coming from and where their head was. Sing You Home deals with gay marriage, evangelical beliefs, IVF, and discrimination. Jodi has done a fabulous job creating characters and a case that will have you questioning how you feel about these controversial subjects. Does an embryo have rights? Who has rights to an embryo after a divorce? What should be considered when deciding who has custody rights of an embryo? What makes a person to be a better candidate for parenthood? There are so many questions that come up in the book. I found the court case interesting but also found Zoe's music therapy very intriguing. I had never heard of music therapy before but it does make sense. I know the music I listen to depends on the mood I am in at the time. Music is present in almost all of the important events in one's life so why not in therapy. Enclosed is a cd of songs written to correspond with each chapter. While the music was not exactly my taste, it was a very different idea that fit very nicely with the story. A very nice touch. I loved Jodi's latest release and look forward to reading more from her in the future. This book would be great for book groups as there is so much to discuss.

I received this ARC from Atria Books for my honest review. Thank you to Atria Books.

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon and Update

Tomorrow is Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon and I am participating. I have a crockpot meal planned- beef roast with veggies. I have pulled out a stack of books. I have my new reading space organized. It's not fancy but it is all mine! There is no way I will read all those books but I wanted to have an assortment of books so I will have a book for whatever mood I am in tomorrow. Some are heavier, some are fun and light. Check out my stack below. I have some books on my Nook also.

Now for my Cooper dog, Cooper ended up having 4 teeth pulled yesterday but came through the surgery pretty well. He is having a little problems with his neck which we expected but he isn't doing too bad considering. He's my little trooper! We even had some tail waging action today which I took as a very good sign. I have the best vet. She and her gals took very good care of him. Our other dog, Jake and my Mom's dog, Lucy have been keeping a careful watch over him now that he is home.

So tomorrow I plan on reading, eating, and snuggling with the dogs. I will post some updates occasionally and maybe have fun with a few mini-challenges. I won't be reading all 24 hours..I need my beauty sleep. I'll do my best. Are you participating in the Read-a-thon? There is still time to sign up. Just follow the link above. At the time of this post there are over 400 readers signed up! I think that is terrific!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mailbox Monday April 4

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 was started by Marcia at the Printed Page. Mailbox Monday is now on tour and this month's host is Amy at Passages To The Past. Thank you Amy for hosting!

Last week the mail lady brought me two new books that I am very excited about. Good thing Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon is coming up. I will have plenty of books to choose from. I am getting back into the swing of things. Mom may go home soon and try to go back to living alone..she'll probably enjoy having a quiet house again. It will be a trial period and we will see how she does. We'll have to help her out but she is anxious to get back to driving and being on the go. That's a good sign.

On the other hand our older dog, Cooper is having a rough time. Thursday he is going into the vet to have a procedure and we just hope and pray he comes out okay. He has a bad tooth but he has a calcified disk in his neck which makes surgery complicated for him along with his age. We have had periods where he has been almost paralyzed but with some steroids he has bounced back. We love him to bits and have been through so much with him. Prayers and good thoughts would be appreciated so much. I am planning on everything going well and spending a quiet weekend pampering him while he recovers. I plan on snuggling up with him and doing some serious reading.

First book up I was so excited to receive after reading Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. It was one of those books that just blew my mind away. I was thrilled to be offered Chevy's next book that is due out July 5, 2011. Thank you to St. Martin's Press.

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

From the acclaimed author of STILL MISSING comes a psychological thriller about one woman’s search into her past and the deadly truth she uncovers.

All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara’s home life was not ideal. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and find closure.

But some questions are better left unanswered.

After months of research, Sara locates her birth mother—only to be met with horror and rejection. Then she discovers the devastating truth: her mother was the only victim ever to escape a killer who has been hunting women every summer for decades. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding her father is him finding out about her.

What if murder is in your blood?

Never Knowing is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand herself, her origins, and her family. That is, if she can survive…

Next book up is the much anticipated sequel to Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I enjoyed Shanghai Girls very much so I am glad to see the story of Pearl and May continuing on. This book will be released on May 31, 2011. Thank you to Random House.

Dreams if Joy by Lisa See

In her beloved New York Times bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. Now, in her most powerful novel yet, she returns to these timeless themes, continuing the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy.

Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime.

Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

Acclaimed for her richly drawn characters and vivid storytelling, Lisa See once again renders a family challenged by tragedy and time, yet ultimately united by the resilience of love.

Summaries are borrowed from Goodreads.

Now I am off to check out the goodies that came into your home.