Monday, February 27, 2012

Mailbox Monday February 27

Just a quick mailbox post before I get ready for my first day of work. This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Metroreader: Reading One Mile At A Time. I will try to catch some mailbox posts today and tomorrow. Thank you to all who have wished me luck on my first day on the job. All the good wishes and thoughts are overwhelming! Thank you all so much! The following books are ones I picked up with a gift certificate. All were books that were loved by other bloggers! The audiobook was a surprise sent for review.


The Dog Who Danced by Susan Wilson


Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris
Wildflowers of Terezin by Robert Elmer
The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy

What wonderful books made their way into your home?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Salon February 26

It has been a crazy week for me. I had a physical for my new job and found out my cholesterol was a bit high. I am trying to make some life changes and make some healthier choices. So far, so good.

I did get one book read this week and I have started another. I finished The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley. Click on the title to see my review. I started Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. So far it is very good!

Today is my last day of being a stay at home mom before I start work. I am doing stuff around the house and catching up on blogs. I've kind of gotten behind on blogs this week.

How is your Sunday going?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Orchid House

The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Atria Books; Original edition (February 14, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451655789
ISBN-13: 978-1451655780


Spanning from the 1930s to the present day, from the Wharton Park estate in England to Thailand, this sweeping novel tells the tale of a concert pianist and the aristocratic Crawford family, whose shocking secrets are revealed, leading to devastating consequences.

As a child, concert pianist Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the grand estate where her grandfather tended exotic orchids. Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to this tranquil place. There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation.

When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed the estate. Their search takes them back to the 1940s when Harry, a former heir to Wharton Park, married his young society bride, Olivia, on the eve of World War II. When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt for generations to come.

This atmospheric story alternates between the magical world of Wharton Park and Thailand during World War II. Filled with twists and turns, passions and lies, and ultimately redemption, The Orchid House is a beautiful, romantic, and poignant novel.

My Thoughts

This story surprised me! I really didn't expect this story to grab me the way it did. The story starts out with a grieving widow and mother who just can't seem to find the will to move on with her life. Julia is a pianist who has lost her husband and son in a horrible accident.

When Julia attends an estate sale at the home her grandparents lived and worked at, she is given a diary that the new owner believes belongs to her grandfather. Kit, the new owner of Wharton Park, and Julia are not exactly strangers. Julia spent much time at the estate where her grandfather grew orchids. Julia returns the diary to her grandmother, Elsie who was a house maid at Wharton Park. Elsie and Julia take a trip back in time through Elsie's memories. Elsie's story takes Julia back in time to World War II where family secrets begin. The story goes back and forth from WWII to the present.

There are many layers to this story and many important characters in this book. I did not have any trouble following along with the story or the characters. I attribute this to the author's wonderful writing! The characters are well defined and I felt as though I knew them well. Sometimes when books have too many characters and go back and forth in time, it can be a bit confusing. Not this book! It was very well written.

There are many twists, turns and secrets in this book to keep the reader fully engaged. Just when I thought I knew where the story was going to go, something unexpected would happen. It kept me on my toes! It's definitely a page turner!

This book reminds me a bit of Downton Abbey as the estate, Wharton Park is much like a character in the story. The estate plays a huge role in the future of all of the characters, both past and present.

I look forward to reading more from Lucinda Riley. This book was originally published in Europe under the title Hothouse Flower.

I received this book from Netgalley for my honest review.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mailbox Monday February 20

It's Monday again! Happy President's Day! There is school here today so we are up and having a regular day.

I was thrilled with Downton Abbey last night. Some story lines seem to be heading in the direction I was hoping they would go. I don't want to say too much in case you are a fan and haven't seen the episode yet. I hope we don't have to wait too long for season three.

On to the mailbox! This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Metroreader: Reading One Mile At A Time.

I received two books in my actual mailbox this week. I received one for a TLC Book Tour and Harper Collins was kind enough to stick the newest addition to the series in the with my tour book. That was a wonderful surprise since this is a series I hear so many great things about!

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Elegy For Eddie: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear

I made a run to the hardware store this weekend and since the library was having a book sale and was across the street, I had to stop by. I was hugely disappointed with this sale. It was mostly old library books for sale. I mean old books that everyone read a million years ago! I heard many comments that led me to believe I wasn't the only disappointed person there. I did find a few books that looked interesting and a couple of donated romances for my mom. I really didn't need any more book anyway but I always enjoy bumping elbows with other readers looking for that one book you have to have! I only spent $3.50.

Dream Mender by Sherryl Woods

Tea and Destiny by Sherryl Woods
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
Marshmallows For Breakfast by Dorothy Koomson
My Pride and Joy by George Adamson

So that is what books came into my home. What wonderful reads made their way into your home?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Salon

Happy Sunday everyone! Thank you all for your well wishes and congratulations on my new job! I sure appreciate it! This is my last week as a stay at home mom. If all goes well with my paperwork and physical, I will start working on the 27th. I will be working second shift and every other weekend plus some holidays. I am excited and at the same time a bit of my heart is breaking. I have loved being a stay at home mom. Being a mom has been my most important job. I will learn to juggle it all just like working moms do. It will be an adjustment but we will manage. Now I will get to see what the flip side of that coin is like!

On the reading front, I am still working on The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley. The book was originally published under the title Hothouse Flower in the U.K. It reminds me a bit of my favorite show Downton Abbey. It is good and I hope to get it done today.

Speaking of Downton Abbey, the season finale is tonight! I hear we are in for some twists and turns! I am sad to see the season come to an end but at least I won't be missing any episodes on the weekends that I will have to work. Shirley MacLaine is joining the cast next season! I can't wait to see what she will bring to Downton Abbey!

I am planning on a quiet day today. Our younger dog had a seizure this morning. He has them periodically. He has been on new medicines which seemed to have them under control, until this morning. He is resting now so I am keeping the house quiet. It will be a good day to sit with him and read. Hopefully, the rest of the day will be uneventful.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WWW Wednesday February 15

WWW Wednesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley

I am enjoying this read. I have an e-book ARC which is formatted a bit poorly. Or maybe it is not Nook friendly? It was so distracting at first but now that I am into the story, I seem to be overlooking the bad formatting.

What did you recently finish reading?

Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh

I really liked this book and am looking forward to reading more from this author. Click on the title to read my review!

What do you think you’ll read next?

My next read is a toss up between these two books.

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! I got a special gift yesterday. I got a phone call saying I have a job! I just have to pass a pre-employment physical and I will be good to go. I am very nervous and my mind is reeling with all the things I need to do around the house before I start to work. I will still be reading and blogging as much as I can. I have review books that I plan on getting to.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day! I am making heart cookies for the kids! They'll say they are too old for them but they will eat them! You're never too old for cookies!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mailbox Monday February 13

It's Monday again! It was a crazy week here last week. I had my second interview which ran over an hour long. Not sure how it went. I thought it went okay but it's hard to say what they are looking for. There were many applicants so it will be awhile before I know anything. Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes! They mean so much!

I did receive one book in my mailbox last week. I have not been requesting many books. I am trying to get caught up with the books I have here already, so I am being a bit more selective in what I request. This book I saw on another blog so when I had the chance to get my hands on a copy of it, I jumped.

This month's Mailbox Monday host is Kim at Metroreader. Thank you for hosting Kim!

The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden

Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764208950
ISBN-13: 978-0764208959

The last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families.

When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past.

As a decision about the house looms in the courts, Libby must weigh the risks of choosing to remain loyal to her family or give her heart to a man whose intentions and affections are less than certain.

I received this book for my honest review courtesy of Bethany House

What wonderful books made their way into your home?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh

Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh


Bakerton is a community of company houses and church festivals, of union squabbles and firemen’s parades. Its neighborhoods include Little Italy, Swedetown, and Polish Hill. For its tight-knit citizens — and the five children of the Novak family — the 1940s will be a decade of excitement, tragedy, and stunning change. Baker Towers is a family saga and a love story, a hymn to a time and place long gone, to America’s industrial past, and to the men and women we now call the Greatest Generation. It is a feat of imagination from an extraordinary voice in American fiction, a writer of enormous power and skill.


This book captured my eye when it was first published. I love covers that have a nostalgic vibe to them. The colors on the cover are muted and somewhat drab which gives a clue to the atmosphere of the story. I don't mean that in bad way.

The story of the Novak family is not bright and cheery by any means. It is the story of a family who doesn't have an easy life. The Novaks live in a home owned by the company mine where Stanley Novak is a coal miner. The book begins with the death of Stanley. The story then focuses on the family and their survival. Life is not always pretty for them.

There are five Novak children. They all struggle in the way most blue collar families struggle. Some will do whatever it takes to leave the coal mining community and not end up like their father. The story meanders through all five children's lives as they become adults. Their saga is still on my mind long after I have finished the book.

The story is a quiet one. It doesn't move at break neck speeds, but at a slow pace, which reflects the time the story is set in. The story kept me captivated, even though it moves quietly and carefully.

Jennifer Haigh writes beautifully and her storytelling is wonderful. Her descriptions paint vivid pictures that I won't soon forget. Her glimpse into life in Baker Towers is both haunting and intriguing. I would love to see a second book so I could spend more time with the Novak family. This was my first Jennifer Haigh novel and certainly won't be my last.

I highly recommend this book and Jennifer Haigh's other novels.


Jennifer Haigh is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Condition; Baker Towers, winner of the 2006 PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author; and Mrs. Kimble, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. Her short stories have appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, the Saturday Evening Post, and many other publications. She lives in the Boston area.

Many thanks to TLC Book Tours for sending me this wonderful novel and allowing me to be part of the tour. Jennifer Haigh and her books are on tour this month. Be sure to check out the other tour posts here.

I received this book as part of the tour for my honest review.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mailbox Monday February 6

I can't believe it is Monday again! Time is flying by. We had a busy weekend here. My daughter had Bandorama all weekend. It makes for a very busy weekend. She had a rehearsal and two concerts. We came home in time to catch the half of the Superbowl. I had to click over to watch Downton Abbey at 8! I am so addicted to that show! All that sure makes a Monday morning rough!

My job interview went well. I have a second interview this week, which I hope is a good sign. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

This month's Mailbox Monday host is Kim at Metroreader. Thank you for hosting Kim!

No books in my actual mailbox but I did find a couple freebies for the Fire last week. The cozy is still free for the Kindle as of this morning.

Ghost a la Mode by Sue Ann Jaffarian

The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

I have a TLC Book Tour coming up on Wednesday, my very first one, so be sure to stop by on Wednesday!

Friday, February 3, 2012

One For the Money

One For the Money by Janet Evanovich

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Movie Tie-In edition (November 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312600739
ISBN-13: 978-0312600730

Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash--fast--but times are tough, and soon she's forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family.

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company. She's got no experience. But that doesn't matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water--wanted for murder.

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn't. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she'll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight--and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man.

My Thoughts

I just may be the last person on the planet to read this book. I have had this series recommended to me by so many different readers. I bought a used and abused copy of it a long time ago and pulled it out. I heard it was a laugh out loud read and I was ready for a good laugh. This book delivered in the laugh department. Stephanie Plum is hilarious. She gets herself into some of the funniest situations. I like her spunk!

Like any crime story, there is violence and some explicit scenes. Stephanie is a bounty hunter after all and criminals on the lamb don't exactly want to be taken in.

The ending was nicely wrapped up but not too tightly as we know the series does go on. I hope to be able to read some more of the series and look forward to seeing the movie at some point.

If you are looking for a fun crime novel, this might be the book for you! Thank you to all those bloggers and friends who recommended this series to me.

I read this book for the month of February for the Just For Fun Challenge.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WWW Wednesday February 1

WWW Wednesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

One For the Money by Janet Evanovich

I am loving this book. It has made me laugh out loud.

What did you recently finish reading?

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Another winner from Kristin Hannah! Click on the title to see my review!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh

I will have a review and tour post up for this up on February 8. I have heard great things about Jennifer Haigh! I am looking forward to this book.