Monday, January 30, 2012

Mailbox Monday January 30

Happy Monday! We made it through another week here! I am taking the days one by one. I have a job interview on Thursday. Not sure if I will get the job but either way, it will be a good experience. The gal who called is very easy to talk to and I am looking forward to the interview.

No books in the mailbox this week which is fine. I have so many books to read here already. I am reading One For the Money by Janet Evanovich after reading how much everyone enjoys that series. I had the book here in my pile and dove in last night after reading how much Sheila from Book Journey enjoyed the book and the movie. Click on her name to check out her review.

I did download two free kindle books this week. You can click on the titles for the links to those. I believe they are both still free.

Be sure to check out Mailbox Monday which is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.

Gooseberry Patch Quick & Easy Family Dinners Cookbook

Daily Readings For Difficult Days by Jennifer Carter

I hope to get back to posting. Some days are harder than others. Thank you to all who have sent good wishes, thoughts, prayers and hugs! You have no idea how much it all means to me! We'll get through this and will be stronger for it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The winners chosen for my giveaway for One Moment, One Morning were chosen by The lucky winners are:

Miss Kimberly Stardust
Laura Fabiani

E-mails have been sent to the winners! Congrats to the winners!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Home Front

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (January 31, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312577206
ISBN-13: 978-0312577209

In her bestselling novels Kristin Hannah has plumbed the depths of friendship, the loyalty of sisters, and the secrets mothers keep. Now, in her most emotionally powerful story yet, she explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war.

All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .

Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life---children, careers, bills, chores---even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a solider she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own---for everything that matters to his family.

At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope.

My Thoughts

Kristin Hannah does it again! You will need your tissues when you read this!

This story addresses some important issues. Jolene is a mom and wife but she also serves in the National Guard. When she is deployed to Iraq, she leaves behind her daughters and unhappy husband. I could feel the pain that our service members must feel when they have to leave their loved ones behind. They hurt but have to keep their heads on straight to do their job. Not an easy thing to do. I found myself admiring Jolene for her strength!

Michael is Jolene's husband. He struggles with his life being up ended. Michael is assigned a case where an ex-soldier has killed his wife. His client is not talking which makes his job difficult. To top it off he has to take care of his daughters while his wife is deployed.

I won't give away any more of the story. It would spoil it for the reader. This book is emotional and at times heart wrenching. It gives a look into the families who are left behind when a service member is deployed. My husband is retired military so I remember those difficult times. This book gives us a different look as mom is the one who is being deployed. The reader also gets to see what it is like for the service member when they are deployed.

Kristin Hannah always makes me see two or three sides to every story and this book is no different. She can take a character you are pretty sure you will hate and make you see things through their eyes. She does her research when she tackles a new book and subject. As a reader, I appreciate the work and research she puts into each story. I felt so many different emotions reading this book, which I pretty much read in one day. You can't put this one down! This is a book I won't soon forget. I look forward to Kristin Hannah's next novel!

I received this book for my honest review

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mailbox Monday January 23

I have been neglecting the blog this past week. Sorry for that! My husband lost his job of 18 years very unexpectedly when the business he worked for was bought up due to bankruptcy that we knew nothing about! They were bought and shut down. We are devastated here. I am now working on my resume after being a stay at home mom for 25 years. I am looking for a job! It is a frightening time for us right now. I did manage to get a book read this weekend only because I needed to escape life for a bit. A book will do that for you!

Just a reminder that I have a giveaway that ends tomorrow. Please sign up if you haven't already! You can click on the side bar to find it. Winners will be announced on Wednesday!

Mailbox Monday is being hosted this month by Alyce at At Home With Books. Be sure to check out her blog!

I received one book for review from Librarything Early Reviewers. I have been bad about visiting blogs also and I hope to be able to catch up. I also hope to have a book review up this week. I read Home Front by Kristin Hannah which I enjoyed!

Knit One Pearl One by Gil McNeil

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Voice; Original edition (December 27, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401341675
ISBN-13: 978-1401341671


It's been a busy few years since Jo Mackenzie lost her husband. Life has brought adventure, surprises, unexpected pleasures and, of course, lots of knitting.

Jo's seaside yarn shop, with a brand-new cafe, has taken off, keeping her busier than ever. And being a single mum to two boys and a headstrong toddler, Pearl, is just as exhausting and enchanting as she thought it would be. On top of all that, celebrity diva Grace has a secret, Jo's firecracker best friend, Ellen, is launching a new television series, and lovable but hapless Martin continues his oft-misguided attempts to woo Jo. Just when Jo thinks she has about all she can handle, Daniel, Pearl's globe-trotting dad, turns up out of the blue...

With a little help from her friends and her beloved Gran, Jo is building a new life for herself by the sea, stitch by stitch.

Warm and witty, Knit One Pearl One will delight new readers to the Beach Street series and give the legions of existing fans a chance to visit the British seaside again, without having to worry about the weather.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Catching Fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 391 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0439023491
ISBN-13: 978-0439023498

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

My Thoughts

I loved The Hunger Games even though it is not my usual type of read. You can check out my review here. I think I may have waited too long to pick up Catching Fire. It took me awhile to get into it. I found the first two parts of the book not as riveting as The Hunger Games. It still is a very good read. I just found myself putting the book down and walking away from it. The Hunger Games was glued to my hands until I finished it.

The third part of Catching Fire really redeemed the whole book for me! Finally, I found all the action I had enjoyed in the first book. It was exciting and once again left me hanging at the end. I am hoping to read Mockingjay to wrap up the whole series. I am also looking forward to The Hunger Games movie though I will probably wait for the dvd to come out.

I borrowed this book on my Kindle Fire through the Kindle Lending Library with my free Amazon Prime trial.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mailbox Monday January 16

It is Monday again. Time for Mailbox Monday. This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.

I had a slow week which is kind of good since I have so many books to catch up on. Both of these book I purchased. I had to have the new Sarah Jio book and the cookbook I got an awesome deal on. It is an older cookbook and there is a newer version out so this one was on sale.

Be sure to check out out my giveaway at the end of the post or click on the link in my sidebar!

The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner

I am giving three copies away. Click above and be sure to enter!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Salon

This week brought our first real snowfall this winter. We saw about 7 inches of the stuff. After being in the 50's the day before, it was a bit disheartening. But it is the Midwest and we have been very fortunate to get this far without the white stuff. I did enjoy playing with the dog in it for about 15 minutes. Once I was wet and cold, I was ready for spring! I am such a wimp!

I finished two books this week. I finally finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I loved The Hunger Games but this book dragged for me in the beginning. It finished big though so I will have to read Mockingjay. I will review it this week, hopefully.

The other book I read and adored was The Thorn and The Blossom: A Two Sided Love Story by Theodora Goss. Be sure to check out my review here.

I also posted a giveaway for One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner. Be sure to enter here! The giveaway ends January 24 and is open to readers in Canada and the US(sorry to my international followers, this is from the publisher).

Other than that my week was quiet until I started to hear all types of buzzing about a certain PBS series called Downton Abbey. Perhaps you have heard of it? I decided to check it out after seeing it posted on so many blogs and spoken of quite highly. I am now addicted and am all caught up on season 1 and 2 and ready for a fresh episode tonight. Thank you all for posting your love for this series! I would have hated to miss it!

Today is my mom's birthday. She is 87 today. We will be celebrating with her today! I bought her some new books by her favorite authors, Debbie Macomber and Robin Carr and also a DVD of The Help, since she enjoyed the book. I think it is awesome that my mom is still going strong at her age. She has had a few blips this past year but she is doing great!

I need to check out the new commenting system available on blogger. I see many have switched over. If you have, do you like it? I sure would love to be able to reply on the comments left on my blog. Some days I try to email a response but on some comments you can't do that since the poster doesn't have that enabled. Let me know what you think of the new system. I may give it a try later this week.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Thorn And The Blossom by Theodora Goss

The Thorn and The Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story by Theodora Goss

Hardcover: 82 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (January 17, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159474551X
ISBN-13: 978-1594745515


One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.

When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself . . .

The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning.

My Thoughts

This is a beautiful novella. The book is accordion-bound and tells two sides of a wonderful love story. The book is housed in a gorgeous slip cover. The artwork is stunning. This is one book I highly recommend buying the print version versus the e-book edition. The quality of the paper and cover are extraordinary! I tried to get a picture so you could see how beautiful the book is but these photos do not do the book justice!

One side tells the story from Evelyn's viewpoint. Evelyn travels to Cornwall for a week, where she meets Brendan in a bookstore. They both discover their common love for medieval literature. The love story between Evelyn and Brendan is full of magical twists and turns and reads much like a fairy tale, but it is an adult read. I don't want to give much of the story away. You really want to be surprised and experience this book as you read it. If I tell you too much, it will spoil the book for you which would be a shame! It is a short story at about 39 pages for Evelyn's side of the story. As soon as I finished Evelyn's story, I had to flip the book over to see how Brendan saw their story. I would recommend reading Evelyn's story first and following it up with Brendan's story, which is 38 pages in length. I was left wanting a bit more when I finished Evelyn's story and was thankful to have Brendan's side to read next. This is a quick read for an afternoon.

The writing and storytelling are stunning and charming. I could imagine Cornwall and forests in my mind as I read along. I was surprised that I got to know the characters so well in such a short story. The book does not feel rushed at all despite its length. The reader will have to use their imagination as they read this book. It is a modern fairy tale with a magical and romantic side.

This would make a wonderful gift for someone who appreciates unique books or one who appreciates romantic fairy tales. It is a book I will be proud to display on my bookshelves and one I know I will enjoy time and time again! It is a truly enchanting gem of a book!

I received this book through Amazon Vine for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Moment, One Morning Giveaway

I have a giveaway for three copies of One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner. I have heard good things about this book. I don't have a review for you as my copy must have been lost in the holiday mail. I keep hoping it will show up. I have seen some very good reviews for this book though.

One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner

The Brighton to London line. The 7:44 am train. Cars packed with commuters. One woman occupies her time observing the people around her. Opposite, a girl puts on her make-up. Across the aisle, a husband strokes his wife’s hand. Further along, another woman flicks through a glossy magazine. Then, abruptly, everything changes: a man collapses, the train is stopped, and an ambulance is called.
For at least three passengers on the 7:44 on that particular morning, life will never be the same again. There’s Lou, in an adjacent seat, who witnesses events first hand. Anna, who’s sitting further up the train, impatient to get to work. And Karen, the man’s wife.
Telling the story of the week following that fateful train journey, One Moment, One Morning is a stunning novel about love and loss, about family and – above all– friendship. A stark reminder that, sometimes, one moment is all it takes to shatter everything. Yet it also reminds us that somehow, despite it all, life can and does go on.

About The Author
Sarah Rayner was born in London. She spent her childhood in Richmond, Surrey, then became a punk, spiked her hair and went to Leeds University to study English and get chilblains. She returned to London in the late ’80s, flattened her hair and worked in fashion PR for a bit, before her boss told her she was better at writing than schmoozing clients, and suggested she become an advertising copywriter.

Sarah's website

Giveaway Rules

1.Giveaway runs from January 10, 2012- January 24, 2012. Contest ends at midnight CST, January 24.

2.The books are being sent from the wonderful folks at St. Martin's Press, so the giveaway is only open to residents of United States and Canada. Sorry, No P.O. boxes either.

3.Simply leave a comment along with your e-mail address. No email address, no entry, sorry! It's not always easy to track people down.

4.Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond.


Thank you to Sarah for offering such a fantastic giveaway!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mailbox Monday January 9

It's Monday and time for Mailbox Monday! I'll bet you are wondering why the spring mailbox. It feels like spring here in the Midwest. The fact that it is January and I have not had to touch a snow shovel or winter gloves is amazing! It really should look like the mailbox below. I am not complaining though! This fantastic weather is making me a very happy camper! The other day I was able to run errands with only a poncho on, not a parka that makes me look like the kid from Christmas Story. If it stayed like this all winter, I would not be sad. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that Mother Nature will come to her senses and bless us with some snow and cold. And the mailbox will look like this:

Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Thank you for hosting Alyce! Be sure to check out her blog.

I won a signed book from Goodreads, which I am very excited about. I saw the book trailer for this book and it really spoke to me. It is not my usual type of read but this is one of those subjects that haunts me. When I hear the words human trafficking, my stomach cringes. It amazes me that this is allowed to go on. While I think there will be parts of this novel that will be difficult to stomach, I am anxious to read it. The book has the most amazing feeling pages too. I love the weight of the paper. It is one of those books that is a pleasure to hold in your hands.

A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: SilverOak (January 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402792808
ISBN-13: 978-1402792809


Corban Addison leads readers on a chilling, eye-opening journey into Mumbai's seedy underworld--and the nightmare of two orphaned girls swept into the international sex trade.

When a tsunami rages through their coastal town in India, 17-year-old Ahalya Ghai and her 15-year-old sister Sita are left orphaned and homeless. With almost everyone they know suddenly erased from the face of the earth, the girls set out for the convent where they attend school. They are abducted almost immediately and sold to a Mumbai brothel owner, beginning a hellish descent into the bowels of the sex trade.

Halfway across the world, Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Clarke faces his own personal and professional crisis-and makes the fateful decision to pursue a pro bono sabbatical working in India for an NGO that prosecutes the subcontinent's human traffickers. There, his conscience awakens as he sees firsthand the horrors of the trade in human flesh, and the corrupt judicial system that fosters it. Learning of the fate of Ahalya and Sita, Clarke makes it his personal mission to rescue them, setting the stage for a riveting showdown with an international network of ruthless criminals.

These next books are ones I bought from Barnes and Noble online with my Christmas gift card. They were all $2.99 and for some reason I got one free. Maybe there was a buy 3, get 1 free sale? Not sure. These were all books on my wish list from the past.

Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray
The Divorce Party by Laura Dave
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Summer House by Nancy Thayer

That is my mailbox. What wonderful books made their way into your home?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Plume
0452297036 (ISBN13: 9780452297036)


A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.

My Thoughts

I am so glad this was my first read of the New Year! I loved this book! I saw it on so many best reads of the year lists. I pulled my copy out and dug right in. I sat down with the book and read straight through the first half. If I had been home alone, I would have read the whole book in one sitting. Yes, it is that good!

I loved the setting of Bainbridge Island. I have never been there but have always longed to go. The descriptions of the island put me on the island, as if I were physically there. I could feel the sand between my toes! Sarah's descriptions are simply wonderful!

Emily has been dumped by her husband for another woman. She goes to visit her great-aunt Bee on Bainbridge Island. In the room she is staying in, Emily finds a diary from the 1940's. Emily, being an author, is interested and starts to read the diary and before long is mesmerized by what she reads. The big mystery is, who are the characters in the diary and what happened to them. I love a good story that revolves around a diary or letters from the past. I was instantly taken with the diary, much like Sarah. I was dying to know what happened back in the 40's and how did it relate to Sarah and her family. Esther, the diary's author, is as broken as Emily. We have the Esther's diary storyline and the story line of Emily and her future. I love how the two story lines compliment each other nicely. The flow of the two stories was easy to follow along with. It was really well done! I found myself anxious to learn how each story would end. However, I was sad to see the story end as I was really enjoying reading it.

I am amazed that this is a debut book! I would have never guessed that! It is a wonderful read and I am looking forward to reading The Bungalow by Sarah Jio. This book will make my favorite reads list as well. I highly recommend it!

I personally bought this book last year. I read this book for the Just For Fun 2012 Challenge.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mailbox Monday January 2

It's a fresh new year and the first Monday of the year. I am getting ready to take down the Christmas decorations and then will probable spend some time reading. I started The Violets of March by Sarah Jio yesterday after seeing it on so many favorite reads lists. I curled up with the book and read the first half straight through. I would have finished it but the family wanted to eat. I'm hoping to be able to finish the book today. I can see why it made so many favorite reads lists! I am pretty sure it will make my favorite reads list for 2012! Not a bad way to start the New Year!

On to this weeks mailbox! This month Mailbox Monday is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Thank you for hosting Alyce!

This week I have two books I purchased from Barnes and Noble. I stopped in the day after Christmas to see what goodies they had on sale. Not as big as a sale at our store compared to past years. Our store is looking more and more like a toy store these days. They expanded the toys and games section and now there are less books. It is the last bookstore in our area besides some used bookstores.

I also received two books for review from Amazon Vine and one book for a book tour for TLC Book Tours. I am excited about every one of these books. The Thorn and the Blossom is packaged beautifully and looks like a very unique book!

For Review

The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story by Theodora Goss courtesy of Amazon Vine

The Golden Hour by Margaret Wurtele
courtesy of Amazon Vine

Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh courtesy of TLC Book Tours


Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah

America's Family Favorites Best of Home Cooking over 150 Timeless Recipes

Those are the books that made their way into my home. What wonderful reads made their way into your home?