Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A few of my favorite links...

It's been awhile since I've shared some of my favorite blog posts and a few of them I really enjoyed recently, so I'd thought I'd share, because sharing is caring! ;)

Planning a trip to Colonial Williamsburg? Check out Kath's first installment of what looks like a really fun weekend! It is now on a list of places I want to see!

I must be in a traveling mood because I also loved the photo recaps from Emily's trip to Lake Michigan.  Lake Michigan is one of MY FAVORITE things about my state.  Northern Michigan on the Lake Michigan side is just GORGEOUS.  Sunsets with a bottle of wine on Lake Michigan shoreline need to happen soon.

Then during a mid-afternoon perusal of the interwebs I came across another informative post by Kath about healthy snacking.  All stuff I know but helpful to read again when it's the middle the afternoon and I want to eat ALL THE FOOD because apparently being home during the summer turns me into a massive snacker.  And I wonder why my kid wants to eat all day.

I've also been hankering (who says hankering? probably people who also use tinkering.  Okay yes that would be me) for good Italian food and wine.  I broke down and made lasagna last week and the very next day Iowa Girl Eats posted this lovely one skillet lasagna recipe.  I'm excited to try this out in the fall when I don't have much time to make dinner but I want some lasagna! YUMMM..

I'm always on the look out for cheap, easy and healthy. The instant oat idea from meals and miles seems like something that I can take with me to school in the fall.  I'm going to be getting there a bit earlier than my normal start time and will need to fuel up there since eating at 6 am does not seem appealing.  I'm more of a roll out of the bed roll out the door, food be damned.  Gah, I must start organizing meal plans soon!

Apple Time had me giggling with the writing and inspired me to share it to see if anyone else had any apple suggestions.

Happy Reading! Anything, you think I need to check out?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Silent Partner

I have a problem with starting series.  I know I know.  Last summer I started the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman and read the first three before I fell of the bandwagon until this summer.  My library's used book sale had a TON in the series available and it was fill a bag for $6.00.  Of course I loaded up.   Of course upon further inspection at home I had grabbed a bunch of the newer books and so now I'm all set for when I reach the end of the series but I have a lot of gaps in the beginning.  So off I went back to the library to try to grab the earlier stuff.

Silent Partner by Jonathan Kellerman is the 4th in the series and it gets a little risqué.  I liked it.  Hard to keep in mind that this is set in the 80s so of course there are beepers, phone services, and stopping on the side of the road to use phone booths.  Ahh the good ole days when you could disappear for awhile. ;)

Description: The bestselling author of When The  Bough Breaks, Blood Test,  and Over The Edge delivers the  most stunning novel yet and featuring  psychologist-detective Dr. Alex Delaware. At a party for a  controversial Los Angeles sex therapist, Alex  encounters a face from his own past--Sharon Ransom, an  exquisite, alluring lover who left him abruptly more  than a decade earlier. Sharon now hints that he  desperately needs help, but Alex evades her. The  next day she is dead, an apparent suicide. Driven by  guilt and sadness, Alex plunges into the maze of  Sharon's life--a journey that will take him through  the pleasure palaces of California's ultra-rich,  into the dark closets of a family's disturbing  past, and finally into the alleyways of the mind,  where childhood terrors still hold sway.

Let's just say that these psychologists sure have a heck of a lot of problems themselves! The plot line got a little crazy with characters and the history behind the key players was quite interesting and a little crazy to follow along.  There was a twist I didn't see coming and a few I did.  I like reading these books but they aren't like OMG I NEED TO READ THE WHOLE SERIES NOW books.  I like that I can take some time off and return.  I was a bit lost on Delaware's relationship with Robin but it was easy to pick back up on again.  I'm actually excited to catch up to present day Dr. Delaware and see what's up. ;)

My only issues with the book was the almost creep factor of how lovey dovey Sharon could be on Alex even after being apart for so long and that he actually let her hang all over him and ick, if you read the book you kind of want to say PUSH HER OFF YOU, icky.  It does kind of border the trashy line but I mean in a book that has grandparents who are porn collectors and people who starred in porns you can only expect so much from a book. 

It's not all that skeevy, porn loving grandparents and all.  I actually appreciate the topics covered in Kellerman's books.

Have you read any books by Kellerman? Did my porn talk scare you off from this one? ;) (trust me no porn written in the book!! ha)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Full of Grace

Full of Grace by Dorothea Benton Frank is the second novel by Frank that I've read this summer.  The first Folly Beach, got me even more excited about a possible South Carolina vacation that I decided I needed to check out her other books.

Description: The move from New Jersey to Hilton Head, South Carolina, wasn't easy for the Russo family—difficult enough for Big Al and Connie, but even harder for their daughter Maria Graziella, who insists on being called Grace. At thirty-one and still, shockingly, unmarried, Grace has scandalized her staunchly traditional Italian family by moving in with her boyfriend Michael—who, though a truly great guy, is agnostic, commitment-phobic, a scientist, and (horror of horrors) Irish!

Grace adores her parents even though they drive her crazy—and she knows they'd love Michael if they got to know him, but Big Al won't let him into their house. And so the stage is set for a major showdown—which, along with a devastating, unexpected crisis and, perhaps, a miracle or two, just might change Grace's outlook on love, family, and her new life in the new South.

Okay to be honest I picked this up without read the whole description.  I decided to read this one because it also covered someone moving from Jersey to Carolina (like Folly Beach) so I thought I'd get kinda the same stuff.  While Frank's humor is present in the book it was just kinda eh for me.  I never got behind Grace (the narrator's voice) it seemed kinda whiney and bratty and just no.  I am definitely not done with her books but I was disappointed.  I did still read the book in 24 hours!
I also feel like I've read the premise of the book before and everything was super predictable.  Basically, Grace's love is super ill and she has all these questions about the Catholic church because her family is staunchly Catholic and won't accept her boyfriend and calls him the Irish Baby Killer and then they visit Mexico City and just I felt like I read a book like this before but can't remember all the details. 

That being said her family did crack me up! It kind of reminded me of how Janet Evanovich writes her awesome characters in the Stephanie Plum series.  Hysterical but lovable!

 It brought up a lot of interesting questions that could be used in book discussions.  A lot of moral questions and how you have to look at yourself and see how you want God to be a part of your life and how the Church's position helps you frame your own outlook and guides you to making decisions.

Would you date someone your family didn't approve of? How important is religion in a relationship to you? Do you find yourself in turmoil with your religions 'beliefs'' and your own beliefs?

Friday, July 26, 2013

July Group Read Discussion: Where'd You go Bernadette

I had heard a lot of hype about this book and figured I'd need to check it out eventually, but the description didn't realllly move me so I put it on the back burner until it was chosen for July's Group Read.  I must say, I liked it, but I didn't find it as amazing as some reviews I've read.  It started out a little slow going, albeit funny, and then I got into it but then the end, ehhh.. It was just okay.  The middle was the best part. 

1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is told from the point of view of a daughter trying to find her missing mother. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from Bee’s perspective? What light does it shed on the bond between Bernadette and Bee?

2. What are your thoughts on Bernadette’s character? Has she become unhinged or has she always been a little crazy? What, if anything, do you think sent her over the edge? Have you ever had a moment in your own life that utterly changed you, or made you call into question your own sanity?

I think Bernadette was a little to self-involved and too sure of herself when she was starting out as an architect because she was a little eccentric she got more credit than she may have deserved and people encourage her oddities until she became her oddities and she didn't know how to stop.

3. When Bernadette relocates from Los Angeles to Seattle, she must cope with being a transplant in a new city. Have you ever moved, or even stayed put but switched jobs, and had to adjust to an entirely different culture? What was it like?

4.  The idea of going to Antarctica becomes too much for an already frazzled Bernadette to bear, but the trip itself, surprisingly, turns out to be exactly what she needs to get back on track. How do other characters in the novel experience their own breakthroughs? Which character is most transformed?

5. Bernadette often behaves as if she is an outsider. Do you think she is? If so, do you think her feelings of being an outsider are self-imposed, or is she truly different from the other members of her community? Do you ever feel like an outsider?

I think she used being an outsider as a way to protect herself.  If she insulted them first, than it wasn't on her.  She wasn't a very sociable person and I don't think she had the skill to fake polite conversations or just being around people who she may not like.  She just went on the offensive immediately in hopes that no one would talk to her again.

6. The book has a very playful structure. Do you think it works? Why do you think the author chose it rather than a more straightforward, traditional structure? Think about other books with unusual structures and how their formats influenced your reading experience.

Honestly, if it wasn't written in the way it was, I might not have been able to get through it.  I found it easy to follow and very informative about multiple characters without having too much dialogue in the way.

7. What do you think of Bernadette and Elgie’s marriage? Is it dysfunctional?  Is there real love there? How has their marriage changed over time? Think about romantic relationships you’ve been in that have evolved, positively or negatively, and why.

8. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is, at its core, a story about a woman who disappears, both literally and figuratively. Were you able to relate to the book? How and why? Do you feel Bernadette’s disappearance was unique, or do all women, in a sense, disappear into motherhood and marriage?

Thanks for participating! Hope you will join us in August!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Someone Like You

"Someone like you makes it hard to live without Somebody else Someone like you makes it easy to give ..." anyone else? or is it just me??

COULD NOT get this song out of my head while I read this.

Description: Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she's carrying his baby, she's devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it'll never break--because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever.

Sarah Dessen gets the high school viewpoint.  Halley gets attention from a 'bad' boy and falls in love with him and struggles about whether or not to have sex with him.  I think a very poignant part of the book is when Scarlett is asking her if he loves her and Halley says, yes and Scarlett asks her if he has said it and Halley replies with no, but I know he does.  Also, Halley tells Scarlett that it's not a big deal to Macon so maybe it shouldn't be a big deal to her and I love that Scarlett says, "It is a big deal to girls like us."  There may have been some comparison with another high school girl, but you get it.  It's a good frank conversation about losing your virginity and a good look at how different highschoolers boy or girl look at it. 

“There are some things in this world you rely on, like a sure bet. And when they let you down, shifting from where you've carefully placed them, it shakes your faith, right where you stand.”  

Also, Halley and her mother have always had a rock solid relationship until this summer and then they start drifting apart.  Clearly, they see life a bit differently which is made obvious by their 'fights.'  However, I really did NOT like Halley's mother.  She is supposed to be a therapist and tells other teens and their parents what to do but she SUCKS with her daughter.  She just yells and throws out demands and ultimatum's that most people who deal with teens know THAT WILL NOT WORK.  She does not let Halley talk until finally Halley gets a word in at the end of the book, but then again Halley should not have been lying.  However, she rarely got to finish a sentence so some of her lies were lies of omission or her side was never heard.   

“I watched my mother do what she did best, and realized there would never be a way to cut myself from her entirely. No matter how strong or weak I was, she was a part of me, as crucial as my own heart. I would never be strong enough, in all my life, to do without her.”  

“And that was it; it was so easy for her. My own memories did not even belong to me. But I knew she was wrong. I had seen that comet. I knew it as well as I knew my own face, my own hands. My own heart.”  

“He wasn't what I'd thought he was; maybe he never had been. I wasn't what I'd thought I was, either.”  

I really recommend it! I love a good YA book now and again. 

Have you read any books by Sarah Dessen? What other YA authors do you enjoy?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

August Group Read is....

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler!

BALTIMORE WOMAN DISAPPEARS DURING FAMILY VACATION, declares the headline. Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead is last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To her husband and three almost-grown children, she has vanished without trace or reason. But for Delia, who feels like a tiny gnat buzzing around her family's edges, "walking away from it all" is not a premeditated act but an impulse that will lead her into a new, exciting, and unimagined life. .

Kinda funny that our last book was also about a woman disappearing! I'm excited to read and discuss! 

Who is planning on joining? Have you read any other books by Anne Tyler? Our discussion will be on August 30th! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

12th of Never

I think I need to quit the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson.  It had been probably two years since I've read the last one perhaps that is when the last one came out but I read it last week and ugh, so awful.  I mean yeah, there was a time when I read like all James Patterson one summer but his style of writing just annoys me now.  I think it's because I've moved on to better series and perhaps it's because James Patterson is writing towards a different crowd than I am, but ugh.  I kept noticing things that didn't make sense, the short chapters were really annoying me, the typical male chauvinist pigs were annoying me and per always, there really wasn't much of a surprise.

Description: It's finally time! Detective Lindsay Boxer is in labor--while two killers are on the loose.

Lindsay Boxer's beautiful baby is born! But after only a week at home with her new daughter, Lindsay is forced to return to work to face two of the biggest cases of her career.

A rising star football player for the San Francisco 49ers is the prime suspect in a grisly murder. At the same time, Lindsay is confronted with the strangest story she's ever heard: An eccentric English professor has been having vivid nightmares about a violent murder and he's convinced is real. Lindsay doesn't believe him, but then a shooting is called in-and it fits the professor's description to the last detail.

Lindsay doesn't have much time to stop a terrifying future from unfolding. But all the crimes in the world seem like nothing when Lindsay is suddenly faced with the possibility of the most devastating loss of her life

Okay, I'm even more annoyed after reading the description.  One, Lindsay is NOT forced into returning to work.  Her boss calls and asks and she and her husband decide she should.  There was no forcing and realistically, she should not have gone back to work because she barely worked and spent more time worrying about her child than solving the murders, which was very fine because she was a new mom and umm that is her new job and she is supposed to be on maternity leave.

And two, Lindsay was NOT confronted by an eccentric English professor, Conklin was.  The English professor storyline is basically ALL Conklin and his summer intern Mackie Morales.  Lindsay may kind of help out but it is so not her case.

The description definitely makes it sound more dramatic than it was.  I say I may give it up, but lets be honest, I have a hard time stopping series.  I was just really disappointed in this one.

Has a familiar/favorite author let you down?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Confessions

Totally stealing this idea from Amber.

...I have been super lazy about showering and shaving.  Which is bad because umm it's hot out.  But omg, I get hotter when I bathe.

...I went three days last week without brushing my hair.  Ponytails? Yes, please!

...I may be drinking more pink lemonade than water.  I mean, it's MADE with water, right?

...I've had ice cream at least once or twice every week since May.

...I've been reading way past my bedtime and when I should be doing things around the house.

...I stopped walking when the humidity made it over 90 outside.  I just can't.

...I also pretty much stopped cooking besides the crock pot when it hit over 90.

...I am not waking my kid up from her epic naps even when they hit like 4 1/2 hours and it means she stays up late.  It also means SHE SLEEPS IN.  And I am so not a morning person.

...I have no desire to do anything besides drink fruity drinks (which is rare for my beer loving self), read books and float in the pool.

Any good confessions? Can you recommend a good fruity wine? What about a good mystery?

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Killing Hour

Funny, as I was going to bed reading this my husband was like, that's GREAT pre-bed reading, you are so going to have nightmares.  I was worried he was right, but thankfully I only had one night of weird dreams that weren't too scary.  It's funny that I spend much of my summer reading these types of books, but I get hooked! Probably why I watch Law & Order all the time or any other cop/court show!

Description: Each time he struck, he took two victims. Day after day, he waited for the first body to be discovered--a body containing all the clues the investigators needed to find the second victim, who waited...prey to a slow but certain death. The clock ticked--salvation was possible.

The police were never in time.

Years have passed; but for this killer, time has stood still. As a heat wave of epic proportions descends, the game begins again. Two girls have disappeared...and the clock is ticking.

Rookie FBI agent Kimberly Quincy knows the killer’s deadline can be met. But she’ll have to break some rules to beat an exactingly vicious criminal at a game he’s had time to perfect.

For the Killing Hour has arrived....

I guessed who did it as soon as they introduced the character because of the description.  Small clue but I figured it out and then it was made pretty obvious.  But that's okay, I like to see how soon I can guess who did it and if I'm right.  I only don't like it when I'm wrong because of some ridiculous jump in plot an author does!  I can totally see myself liking Lisa Gardner more and more each time I read a book she's read.  Her first few were kinda rough, but I've noticed that a lot with new authors when I read a lot by them that some of their stuff in the beginning was not so great and then they got a winner and it went up from there. ;)

What author do you find yourself going back to read more and more of?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

August Group Read Suggestions

That time of the month! What would you like to read in August?

Here's what we've already read...

Where'd You Go Bernadette?
Beach Music
The Dinner
The End of Your Life Book Club
Still Alice 
The Song Remains the Same
Those Who Save Us
We Are All Welcome Here
Gone Girl
Prisoner of Tehran
The Wednesday Sisters
Looking for Alaska
Cutting for Stone
One Summer
The Year of Fog
Winter Garden
The Violets of March
State of Wonder
The Invisible Bridge
The Postmistress
The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Still Missing
The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
In the Woods
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

Thanks for participating! I will take suggestions through the 23rd and then use to pick a selection!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Survivors Club

HaThis was my favorite Lisa Gardner book yet! I flew throughout and was really wanting to find out WHO DID IT!

Description: They survived what no woman should ever have to endure. Now these three women have the means, the opportunity, and the perfect motive. Are they trying to get away with murder--or is someone trying to make sure that this time they don’t get away at all? The Survivors Club. . .that’s what Jillian Hayes, Carol Rosen, and Meg Pesaturo call it. They won’t consider themselves victims. They are survivors. They faced the blazing headlines and helped lead the investigation that caught the man who changed their lives forever.

And now that Eddie Como, the College Hill rapist, has been murdered, shot down outside a packed courthouse moments before his trial was about to begin, all three women are openly ecstatic that he’s dead. They are also the prime suspects in his murder. Detective Sergeant Roan Griffin knows all too well what can drive even the best people to cross the line. But he has never seen a case quite like this one. No one doubts that the murder of Eddie Como was a professional job, especially when the gunman is killed only blocks away from the shooting.

But questions taunt Griffin: Who ordered the deaths of Eddie Como and his killer? Could three ordinary women have been driven to do the unthinkable? Had someone in the Survivors Club become a killer? Griffin seeks the truth--and finds himself confronted with the leader of the Survivors Club. Jillian Hayes is beautiful, successful, cool as ice, and she harbors a pain that mirrors Griffin’s own. Did the horror of what happened to her push her over the thin and desperate line that separates survival and revenge? And if it did, could he blame her--or anyone in the Survivors Club? Then another woman is brutally attacked.

Suddenly, with the city on the ragged edge of panic, gripped in a media and political firestorm of controversy, cover-up, and conspiracy, the hunt is on for a ruthless and cunning killer. For Griffin, this may well be the case that shatters his career. For Jillian, the harrowing nightmare is beginning all over again. Someone is out there. Someone who wants to finish what was started. Someone who wants to make sure that no one survives the Survivors Club.

My only complaint was of course Sargent Griffin falls in love with a suspect/victim.  I hate that storyline in books.  It is so overdone and just no.  Not every woman needs to be saved by a big strong policeman!

Have you read any books by Lisa Gardner? What mystery book would you recommend?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


We had a fabulous summer weekend.  We headed up north Friday night and spent the night at my husband's aunt and uncle's 'cabin.'  I will loosely call it a cabin because it was quite large but very cabinesque in the sense that it has had many owners that have seemingly added on random rooms during the time as owner.  Quirky, but very comfortable and an awesome spot on the lake! We were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset Friday night and then stayed up late drinking and talking with friends. 

Saturday, my child slept in until 10:00 am.  While she slept in, I enjoyed the morning view of the lake with a cup of coffee and caught up on the internet world on my phone.  After she got up we ate some pancakes and took just over a mile walk around the neighborhood to check out the other houses/cabins.  We went swimming and the water felt awesome.  Then we grilled hotdogs and then my child took a THREE HOUR NAP while I read a book on the porch and then we decided to take a boat ride to dinner.  Had some excellent perch and then we stuck around to enjoy one more sunset.

Sunday, we had some scrambled eggs and some awesome bacon from the farm across the road.  We went blueberry picking and my blueberry loving daughter loooooved it.  She ate probably as many as I put in our bucket.  Whoops.  We ate a quick lunch and headed out for some fun in the pool.  I read some more while my child took another THREE HOUR NAP and worked some one my online class and then we grilled chicken and broccoli for dinner.  Delicious.

We had fabulous weather and lots of fun together.  It was a perfect summer weekend. <3 p="">
What did you do this weekend?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Last to Die

I am a bit obsessed with series which should be no shock here.  I finally got a chance to read Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen (cuz I so like puppies and rainbows and happy endings, right? ha ha) and was not disappointed.

In the latest Rizzoli & Isles book Rizzoli and Dr. Isles encounter three children with three freakishly similar horrific backgrounds.  All three had their entire families murdered and then several years later their foster families were killed as well.  Coincidentally or was it, all three end up at Evensong the peculiar school run by Anthony Sansone who was introduced in an earlier book.

That's one thing that has to be said about the Rizzoli & Isles series, you can't really read them out of order.  I suppose you could, but you'd miss a lot of background.  And can I also say that watching the series on TNT has me completely confused now that I have to wait months and months to read a new one? I also was thinking today that I think the character of Rizzoli's mom has changed in the book since the show started.  She reads differently to me.  It's so hard because some of the story lines are similar but soo soo different.  I wish the show was more like the books!

Anywhooo, off that tangent.  It was a fast paced read that I finished in a day.  Loved it.  Definitely pick up the series if you are looking for something a little dark and a little thrilling.

Have you read any books by Tess Gerritsen? Have you watched the show Rizzoli & Isles?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Third Victim

I flew through The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner.  It's the third book in the FBI Profiler Series (I think, I forget, but it's not the first! ha) and I had read a few others not in order but this one I picked up at the used book sale at my library last year and just around to reading.  It's a perfect summer time thriller.  It may just be me but summer time is my time to really read thrillers.  Probably because I want to fly through them and I actually have the time to fly through a book and not have to read a book over several days.

Description: An unspeakable act has ripped apart the idyllic town of Bakersville, Oregon, and its once-peaceful residents are demanding quick justice. But though a boy has confessed to the horrific crime, evidence shows he may not be guilty.

Officer Rainie Conner, leading her first homicide investigation, stands at the center of the controversy. It's hitting too close to home, bringing back her worst nightmares, threatening to expose her secret sins. But with the boy's life at stake, she won't let anything stop her from finding the real killer.

With the help of FBI profiler Pierce Quincy, Rainie comes closer to a deadly truth than she can imagine. Because out there in the shadows a man watches her and plots his next move. He knows her secrets. He kills for sport. He's already brought death to Bakersville and forever shattered the community. But what he has really come for is Rainie -- and he won't leave until he has destroyed her..

I've read a few books dealing with school shootings but this takes an interesting approach that got me hooked.  Danny O'Grady is accused of, and confessed to killing two little girls at his school.  However, evidence doesn't really lead the investigators to think that he killed his favorite teacher Melissa Avalon.  With the many twists and turns the investigation takes, I was always engaged and wanted to know who could have done it.  Did Danny really kill all three or was there an outside influence?

The whole concept of an outside influence engaging young boys into acts of violence on their schoolmates  is fascinating to me.  It really makes you think could this happen? How does it happen? Would you know if your own child was capable of shooting up a school? Are you responsible even if you are thirteen and influenced by a trusted adult?

As the prosecutor in the case said, " There should be barriers in all of us.... lines we should know better than to cross.  And one of those barriers should be the resistance to taking human life.."  I tend to agree.  Unless your immediate life is in danger there should be that barrier. 

Do you think people can change? Should juveniles be charged as adults regardless of age or circumstance when it comes to murder?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Friendship Test

The Friendship Test  by Elizabeth Noble is my. third by her and I was slightly disappointed after having read the other two, The Reading Group and Things I Want my Daughters to Know.  While it wasn't BAD at all, I just think her other two were much better.  I did find a couple errors and a paragraph was weirdly placed out of timeline and it was just a bit screwy.  Also, I get she is writing using England English but at times when she is using American characters it would make sense to me that she used the American way to spell/say things and using England's slang for the English characters, but maybe she just wanted the whole book to be in the same writing style.

Description: One late wine- and gossip-fueled night, four friends on a lark create a fateful test of friendship -- one that challenges the very principles and boundaries of their alliance. To pass it means to never, at any cost, betray one another. Twenty years later, they must face that ultimate test.

We meet them at the dawn of their camaraderie in the 1980s and already each woman is distinguished from the other: Tamsin, the compassionate mother hen; Reagan, the brazen and clever overachiever; Sarah, the seemingly perfect beauty; and Freddie, who despite being far from her U.S. home, finds strength in her friends. We forward to today, and as promised they are still firm friends . . . that is until a crisis occurs and the principles that define their friendship test are challenged. Exquisitely rendered by Elizabeth Noble, The Friendship Test is a powerful testament to the depth and capacity of female relationships.

Minus my earlier whining about the book, I really did enjoy it.  I read it fast and even read it when I had like no sunlight left to read and was squinting to get the last few pages in for the day. ;)  I was rooting for Freddie and wanted her to figure things out to make her happy.  I liked that the viewpoint switched so we got into other characters heads. I wish there was more info on way Reagan was just so mysteriously unhappy or if the author was trying to hint that it was because of her mother she was like that but I don't know.  She was just so unhappy with no real reason it was sad.

Another book that I'd recommend if you need something quick and good to read on vacation!

Have you read any books by Elizabeth Noble? What did you think? Do you like reading books about a group of friends? What about books with varying viewpoints?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

She's Gone Country

A couple years ago I won She's Gone Country by Jane Porter.  I remember hearing about it at the time and thinking it sounded good and then it took up residence on my bookshelf for awhile.  We went on vacation and I knew I wasn't going to have lots of quality beach reading time so I grabbed this and a few others that I thought I could easily walk away from if the 2 year old needed my attention.  Shockingly, I was able to finish two books in a week! I was very impressed.

Description: Shey Darcy, a 39-year-old former top model for Vogue and Sports Illustrated led a charmed life in New York City with a handsome photographer husband until the day he announced he'd fallen in love with someone else. Left to pick up the pieces of her once happy world, Shey decides to move back home to Texas with her three teenage sons. Life on the family ranch, however, brings with it a whole new host of dramas starting with differences of opinion with her staunch Southern Baptist mother, her rugged but overprotective brothers, and daily battles with her three sons who are also struggling to find themselves. Add to the mix Shey's ex-crush, Dane Kelly, a national bullriding champ and she's got her hands full. It doesn't take long before Shey realizes that in order to reinvent herself, she must let go of an uncertain future and a broken past, to find happiness--and maybe love--in the present.

While this book had a lot of sub plots going on that all didn't get explained/wrapped up it was a quick read and my cousin read it one day at the beach after I finished it.  It was a good example of having your life turned upside down and starting it up again and finding success in new ways. 

If you are looking for a quick vacation read, I'd pick it up. ;)

Have you read any books by Jane Porter?