Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vacation Week for Me!!


I will more than likely be away from my computer and this blog for the next week or so. We are going on a family vacation to the Black Hills!! And when I say family, I am talking about not just my immediate family; spouse, kids and grand-kids. They will all be there (11 of us) but this vacation will also include all of my sibs and their families. So 11 + 6 = 17 + 1 (good friend for part of the week) = 18. Craziness!!

My brother so graciously sprung for the rent on a lodge out in the Hills for all of us for a week. I can't remember when all of us have been together when it hasn't been for a wedding or a funeral. And those aren't normal times, are they? So this will be a very interesting week and hopefully a lot of fun. 

I wonder if we will fall back into our sibling roles? I know there will be a lot of reminiscing, story telling and loving ribbing going on. Oh, the stories the younger generation is going to learn about their elders! 

Happy reading everyone!! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WWW Wednesdays July 27

 

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by 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?

I am just about done with The Septavalent Stone by J.O. Jones and I am just starting Count Down to Love by Julie N. Ford.  



I just recently finished reading When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (so  funny!!) and The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagán (LOVED IT!!) You can read my thoughts about The Art of Forgetting here

As an aside, my book group went out to dinner to discuss Sedaris' book. Well, a local gentleman who has his own vineyard (and who happens to be loaded, money-wise) came into the restaurant while we were enjoying our drinks, before ordering dinner and discussing the book. He started talking with us, maybe a little flirting was going on, and he ended up buying each of us a glass of his very own wine. What a nice guy!!  So you can imagine how hilarious we thought Sedaris' book was after 2 drinks. Most of us are light-weights when it comes to alcohol anyway. We had a great time laughing about the book.


Next I will be reading whatever books I have been excited to get to from my TBR pile. We are going on a weeks vacation and I always have high hopes that I am going to do a lot of reading on vacation. I usually don't, but I pack the books anyway, just in case. 

And now I have a ton of e-books I can read too, just in case I get thru all of my hard copy books. These are a few that I am going to take along cause I really, really want to read them.

  • Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
  • The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown 
  • Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler
  • The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
  • Mothers & Daughters by Rae Meadows

I am not really sure which one to start with. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I got them all read?

So many books! So little time!!

Happy reading everyone! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagán


Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar.

And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken.

With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program. There, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future.

The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and myths that hold us back, and the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.
~~synopsis from Goodreads.com

This book first caught my eye because of... yes, you guessed it.... the cover. I think this cover is so beautiful and elegant. 

I love to read stories about women that have friendships with other women or form a strong bond with other women because of a crisis in their lives. These kids of stories usually evolve into how those women support each other and how their relationships change them, usually for the good.

Well, that is exactly what this book is about. The relationship between Marissa and Julia has always been sort of one-sided, with Marissa following Julia and whatever she suggest. After Julia's accident, their relationship has to change and grow into something else. I loved watching Marissa come into her own and grow as a woman and individual that knows what she wants, no matter what Julia or anyone else thinks.

This was a fast read for me, I lost myself in the story and did not want to stop reading it. I even stayed up way too late reading it just so I could finish. Work was tough the next day, but I just had to keep going!

This is a debut book by Camille Noe Pagán and she did an excellent job. I will be watching to see what she writes next. 

Author's website  http://www.camillenoepagan.com
 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WWW Wednesdays July 20

 

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by 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?

I am currently reading The Septavalent Stone by J.O. Jones and When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. So far they are both pretty good.


I just recently finished reading I'll Have Who She's Having by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke and Blank Slate by Healther Justesen. You can read my thoughts on both of these books by clicking on the linked titles. Both of them were great reads!


Next I think I will be reading......... hmmmm......... I don't know......... there are so many good books to choose from. 

What do you recommend for my next read?  


Happy reading everyone! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Tour: Blank Slate by Heather Justesen

Adrianna Mueller may be a world-renowned concert pianist, but when she wakes from her coma after a serious car accident, her ability to perform has disappeared as completely as her lost memory. 

As she recovers from her injuries, she struggles with the expectations of everyone—her family, friends, and fiancé, Brock—who all want everything to go back to the way it was.

Everyone except Gavin, Adrianna’s brother’s business partner, who finds himself drawn to the woman she is now. But he has his own problems. As he tries to get a handle on a former employee’s embezzlement, he fights his growing feelings for Adrianna.

And then a trip to the emergency room shakes everything up, leaving her to stumble as she tries to regain her footing all over again. ~~ synopsis from Goodreads 

Okay, so this books starts off pretty predictable. I could see right from the get-go where this author was taking me, the reader. And I was thinking, 'Oh no, why can't this author be a little more original? This is going to be a long, boring read - I've got it figured out already, in chapter one, for gosh sakes!' 

Hang on, though, Ms. Justesen takes you on a ride you don't want to miss. Yes, you can figure out where the story is headed and you can pretty much predict the outcome but you just want to keep reading. The journey is in getting the characters where they need to be in their lives. 

There were parts of the story that were comical as Adrianna tries to fit back into her life and things just don't seem to fit. And there were parts, and characters, that made me so mad when they were faced with disappointment and wanted innocent people to suffer. And there were sweet parts as some of the people tried to rediscover those that they thought they knew.  

And yes, there were even parts that brought me to tears! That is a true sign of a good book for me - when I get so involved in the lives of the characters in a story, that I cry when they cry, I hurt when they hurt, and I am happy when they are happy. Job well done, Heather! 

Ms. Justesen has 3 published books already and has another one in the works. I will be checking out her other 2 published books and will be keeping my eyes out for any new books she writes in the future. 

And ........ I love the cover!! 

Author's website http://www.heatherjustesen.com 

Author's blog http://heatherjustesen.blogspot.com/ 

Purchase links for Blank Slate -- Paperback on Amazon, Kindle and Smashwords -- from now until the end of July, if you go to Smashwords and enter code WV49Z, you can download the book for only $1.49! What a deal!!



I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Tristi Pinkston Book Tours.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Winter!


It is anything BUT winter here 
but I thought maybe this post would cool us down. 

Right now it is 7 o'clock in the evening and it's 93 degrees, 
the humidity is horrible and the heat index is 100!  

And there will be no reprieve until maybe Thursday. Bummer!

Think cool thoughts everyone!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'll Have Who She's Having by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Kate's been depressed ever since yet another long-term boyfriend unceremoniously dumped her. When her younger and married sister Kelly convinces her the way to meet a quality man is for the two of them to sign up for a volleyball class, she s just desperate enough to agree. But Kate becomes so fixated on their coach that she fails to see an unlikely but perfect match right in front of her. 

Kelly s been less than happy for longer than she wants to admit. She s the one who appears to have it all: the perfect husband, the big house and the beautiful daughter. Despite it all, she feels an emptiness she can t explain and is conflicted when it s her volleyball coach who offers an answer. 

I'll Have Who She's Having follows Kate and Kelly as they battle themselves and each other in their search for a happy ending. Through a series of hardships and self-doubt, they both realize they were looking for happiness in the wrong places. It s a novel for anyone who ever secretly let their insecurity get the best of them. ~~ synopsis from Goodreads 

I just finished reading The D Word by Liz and Lisa and loved it! I loved it so much that I got their first book, I'll Have Who She's Having and read it too.

It is amazing to me that 2 people can work so closely together to be able to write a book. It seems to me that writing a book by yourself would be challenging enough, but then to throw in another person, yikes! Obviously these 2 women know each other very well to be able to produce not 1, but 2 novels and a fabulous blog, that is a absolute treat to read.

But I digress -- so about the book. I ll Have Who She's Having is a great chick-lit read, perfect for the summer. The story centers around 2 sisters and basically their love lives, or maybe you could say, their lack of love lives. All they want is to be happy, isn't that what everyone wants? These 2 sisters bumble through their lives thinking something other than what is right in front of them will make them happy.

This book is serious and sad in places but also heartwarming in other spots. And hilarious is thrown in, in a lot of places, just like I imagine the authors to be. Kate and Kelley are very likable characters and as I was reading, I really hoped they would find love and happiness and a happy ending. 

Thanks Liz and Lisa for another great story. Can't wait to see what you gals do next!

WWW Wednesdays July 13

 

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by 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?

I am currently reading I'll Have Who She's Having by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke and Blank Slate by Healther Justesen.


I recently finished The D Word by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. My thoughts are here 
Next, I will be reading The Septavalent Stone by J.O. Jones. This has been on my TBR list for a while and I told the author I would review it so it has to be the next one I read, I promise!

And I know I have said it before, by isn't this cover amazing? Click on it for a larger view of the detail. 

Happy reading everyone! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The D Word by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke


Jordan Daniels and Elle Ryan thought their lives would become less complicated when they walked away from their respective relationships one year ago. But instead, they find themselves vying for a relationship with the same divorced man.

As a spiritual counselor, newly single mother Jordan Daniels makes her living predicting other people’s futures. If only she could foresee her own. A year after filing for divorce from her husband, Kevin, he seems to be the one moving on effortlessly, while Jordan still can’t bring herself to fill his old underwear drawer. But it’s not until Jordan’s polar opposite, Elle steals Kevin’s heart, that Jordan becomes convinced she’ll be replaced both as a wife and a mother to her five-year-old son, Max.

When Elle met Kevin, the last thing she wanted was another relationship. Especially not with a man with baggage-she already had enough of her own. She left her fiancé, Chase right before their wedding to avoid the imminent D word, something she’s convinced runs in her family like a disease. But a year later, she’s no closer to becoming less skeptical about marriage. And despite her attachment to Kevin and his son, when Elle sees just how far Jordan’s willing to go to win Kevin back, Elle starts to question if she should have left Chase in the first place.


In The D Word you’ll walk in the shoes of Jordan and Elle as they discover that sometimes you’re not that different from the person who makes you feel the most insecure. ~~synopsis from Goodreads 

This is a great book. The subject could be rather depressing; a divorce, a break-up right before a wedding, and all of the characters trying to put the pieces of their lives back together. But it is very well written with humor and wisdom scattered throughout the book.

The story is told using the point-of-view of both Jordan and Elle, the ex-wife and the new girlfriend. You get an understanding of what it is like to be on both sides of what can be a messy situation. You also get a little of the guy's points-of-view, which gives the reader the perspective of divorce and break-ups from all sides.

One strong point that I think the authors try to make is that communication is the key to making relationships work, even if it means that the relationship has to end. When Jordan and Elle started communicating with those in their lives, issues were resolved and life could go on, they could get past the messy stuff.

This is the first book that I have read by Liz and Lisa. I have followed their blog for a while now and it is a great one. These 2 gals seem to have such a great relationship and they sound like they would be tons of fun to be around. I will definitely read any other books that they write!  

Authors website  http://www.chicklitisnotdead.com

Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart

Sarah Price is thirty-five years old. She doesn't feel as though she's getting older, but there are some noticeable changes: a hangover after two beers, the stray gray hair, and, most of all, she's called “Mom” by two small children. Always responsible, Sarah traded her MFA for a steady job, which allows her husband, Nathan, to write fiction. But Sarah is happy and she believes Nathan is too, until a truth is revealed: Nathan's upcoming novel, Infidelity, is based in fact.
Suddenly Sarah's world is turned upside down. Adding to her confusion, Nathan abdicates responsibility for the fate of their relationship and of his novel's publication—a financial lifesaver they have been depending upon—leaving both in Sarah's hands. Reeling from his betrayal, she is plagued by dark questions. How well does she really know Nathan? And, more important, how well does she know herself? 

For answers, Sarah looks back to her artistic twenty-something self to try to understand what happened to her dreams. When did it all seem to change? Pushed from her complacent plateau, Sarah begins to act—for the first time not so responsibly—on all the things she has let go of for so long: her blank computer screen; her best friend, Helen; the volumes of Proust on her bookshelf. And then there is that e-mail in her inbox: a note from Rajiv, a beautiful man from her past who once tempted her to stray. The struggle to find which version of herself is the essential one—artist, wife, or mother—takes Sarah hundreds of miles away from her marriage on a surprising journey.

Wise, funny, and sharply drawn, Leah Stewart's Husband and Wife probes our deepest relationships, the promises we make and break, and the consequences they hold for our lives, revealing that it's never too late to step back and start over. ~~synopsis from Goodreads 

I loved this book! It sure didn't take me very long to devour it, if that is any indication. 

Right from the beginning, when Nathan confesses to his infidelity and Sarah just wants to get to their friend's wedding, I was wondering how their relationship was going to get through this crisis. The whole story revolves around their searching for what is right for them as individuals and what is right, or wrong, about their relationship. Can it ever get back to what is was and ..... is that what they want? 

There were parts of the book that had me frustrated at some of the decisions that were made but then there were parts that made me laugh. I especially got a chuckle over the scene in McDonald's when the baby has a blow-out. Been there, done that! 

The book is about a very serious topic, infidelity in a marriage and how to go on from there, but it was written in such a way that I really cared about both Nathan and Sarah. I found myself wanting them to be happy with whatever decisions they made.

Author website

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon

All of the world's dreams are about to die. The Shadow People have come. Always near, they linger in the darkness, ready to devour dreams, hopes, aspirations and desires. . .

Aisling, having lost her dream of becoming a fashion designer, learns that she's a Faerie changeling. Disquieted by the fact that her faerie parents are kidnappers, she has decided to rescue the human child she was exchanged for, but her "sister" is no longer among the faeries, having been taken by the Shadow People. Ith, the Lord of Shadows, is trying to control the dreams of mankind, which are under the protection of the faeries, so they're at war.

Aisling, who doesn't believe in dreams any longer, is falling in love with a handsome, mysterious stranger - one of the Shadow People.
~~ synopsis from Goodreads

The author contacted me about reviewing his book The Dream Crystal. I fell in love with the cover and said yes. See how easy I am? I do have to admit that this is a genre that I have stayed away from so I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into. But I forged ahead. And I was pleasantly surprised, I love the book, and the genre! I think The Dream Crystal may have opened up a whole world of reading possibilities that I can explore.  

I loved Aisling and rooted for her to find her 'sister', the human that she was switched with at birth. Aisling and her best friend Genevieve are transported to the fairy world and we learn about Aisling's powers right along with her as she learns what she can do. Since I had not read the fairy genre before, I was learning about the possibilities right along with her.   

I also enjoyed the conflict/bickering between Genevieve, a human, and some of the fairies. It provided some comic relief to the story and it was fun to read how they tried to sabotage each other. 

There was one aspect of the book that I found distracting and that was the fashion commentary that was inserted into the story any time a character entered a scene. I understand the reason why, a little bit, maybe, because Aisling wants to be a fashion designer but the flow of the story hiccuped for me when the characters complete ensembles were described. 

But overall this was a very good story which I enjoyed very much. And I learned a lot about the fairy world, enough for me to want to explore it further. It will be interesting to read more of this author's work and I look forward to the next book in The Dream War Series.

Disclosure: I was given a free e-book by the author in exchange for an honest review.   

Author's website 

Buy the book on Amazon

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WWW Wednesdays July 6


WWW Wednesdays is hosted by 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?


I am currently reading Blank Slate by Heather Justesen for a blog tour later this month.
I recently finished The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon and Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart. My reviews will be coming soon. Both books were great reads. 
Next I will be reading The Septavalent Stone by J. O. Jones. 


So many books, so little time!
Happy reading everyone! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Great line from........

...... Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart 

"There's what you want and there's what's good for you, and when we're children we don't realize what a luxury it is to have our parents to tell us the difference."

Ash2Nash Book Tour

Check this out - a great chance to win big! 


'SEVEN SIGNED BOOKS + a signed poster + more swag + some fun things that we're going to pick up on the way. THIS PRIZE PACK IS HUGE!!!' ~~ quote from http://bethrevis.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 3, 2011

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