Friday, August 30, 2013

Ladder of Years - Discussion

Happy Friday! I stayed up way late last night to finish the book.  I really enjoyed it and flew through it.  Until the last page.  I thought, "I stayed up until 2 am for this???" I was a tad disappointed with how it ended.  Overall it kept me interested and had me wondering how this very odd story was going to end.

1. Why doesn't any member of Delia's family ask her to come home? Do you think it would have made a difference?

2. Delia and Ellie are both judged harshly for their decision to leave their families. Do you think society judges mothers more harshly than fathers if they leave?

3. At the beginning of the novel, Delia sees herself as "a tiny gnat, whirring around her family's edges"? How does her perspective change over the course of the novel?

4. At the end of the novel, Delia concludes that "the people she had left behind had actually traveled further, in some ways." What does she mean?

5. Do you think Eliza has been pining for Sam for all those years?

6. Delia finds support in unexpected places and from unexpected people. Did Eleanor's support surprise you?

7. What did you think of the ending? Would you have made the same discussion if you were Delia?
8. What did you think of the Bay Burough resident's reaction to Delia?

9. Do you think Delia would be better with Joel or Sam?

10. How do you think you would react if your mother up and left for a year?

11. What were you thoughts on the book?

I'm glad you joined us again and hope you will next month too when we read Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Faint Cold Fear

Karin Slaughter makes me love her more and more.  I'm glad I found another author that has many books that I can digest.  Sad that I couldn't get started back into her before I am ready to go back to work because I am going to lose out on my 'fun' time of reading very very soon.  It will take all I have to read our group read and my IRL book club book this fall.  Between working full-time eh, excuse me, 39 hours (Wtf) and a grad class my extra time is quickly disappearing. 

A Faint Cold Fear kept me up late reading two nights in a row and to be honest, if I didn't have a toddler who I knew would demand my attention I would have stayed up all night to finish it in one. ;)  Lena Adams is now off the force and working security detail at the local college when 'suicides' keep popping up.  And bad news for Lena, signs of her knowing or being where the victims died are in abundance.  Jeffrey is riding her hard and in comes a stranger in life, Ethan Green or is it White.  Dangerous, young, and demanding.  Lena is drinking and refusing therapy and all of this combines into a deadly combination.

It definitely kept me wondering who did what and how everything was going to fit together.  I've noticed that if you read closely there are always clues in her books and this time I didn't catch on until the end.  I will say there was a bit at the end that had me wondering, when the glass is breaking in the kitchen and the person who comes into the house was expected and had a key, it seemed like the scene might have been written differently and edited and that was just weird.

I really liked the ending because it points out to more issues for Lena in the future.  And even though sometimes she's the typical stubborn character that won't accept help from anyone or does stupid things when the truth is better off she does create good drama. ;)

Description: An apparent student suicide has brought medical examiner Sara Linton to the local college campus, along with her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver. But a horribly mutilated corpse yields up few answers. And a suspicious rash of subsequent "suicides" suggests that a different kind of terror is stalking the youth of Heartsdale, Georgia -- a nightmare that is coming to prey on Sara Linton's loved ones.

A small town is being transformed into a killing ground. And the key to a sadistic murderer's motive and identity may be held in the unsteady hands of a campus security guard -- a former police detective driven from the force by the hellish memories that will never leave her. Lena Adams survived the unthinkable and has paid a devastating price. Now the survival of future victims may depend upon her ... when she can barely protect herself.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Toddler Reads...

We love books.  As an adult reader I can barely stand to re-read books but as a child I re-read my favorites all the time.. BSC books, Boxcar Children, Lurlene McDaniel books etc..  I could do it over and over even though I knew how they ended.  But now? I just can't.  I can occasionally if I put a few years between them but there are just so many books and so little time.

My child is like me as a child and like all children, really.  She gets her faves and then we must read them over and over and over.  And while as an educator I know this is good and a great learning and pre-reading skill it drives ME BONKERS.  So my child has way more books than toys.  And I keep buying more.  Or getting more from friends. ;) 

Here are some new reads we got from a friend recently..

Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka - This is hands down both of our favorites.  Farmer Joe has no idea that his barnyard animals have their own band that performs late at night when he is sleeping.  Half the excitement in this book is the way I read it.  I have a rock and roll voice for singing Old Macdonald had a Farm which is way different than my normal singing voice that cracks the kiddo up every single time.  It is so important to change your voice and use inflection when reading to your child.  They and you will have more fun! ;) Best for ages 2-6!

Description: After a long day of work, Farmer Joe goes home to bed.

But meanwhile, back at the barn . . .
Cow sets up her drums.
Pig plugs in his amp.
Goat tunes his bass.
Chicken sets up her keyboards.
And Sheep checks the microphone.

They are Punk Farm and tonight they're ready to ROCK!

With adorable farm animals - and a surprise tribute to Old MacDonald - this rollicking tale is sure to have kids cheering--and singing--along

I know a Rhino by Charles Fuge - This is a silly rhyming book with lots of animals.  My kiddo likes pointing out the different animals and I like the wonderful rhyme (GREAT PRE-READING SKILL).  It's short, the pictures are great and it's a nice new book to snuggle and share.  Best for ages 1-3

Description: These are my friends
I know them, you see.

I know them quite well...
because they live with me!

Charles Fuge's delightful rhyming text and absolutely adorable images bring to life a little girl and her charming animals as they play all day. She spins round with her hippo, blows bubbles in the bath with giraffe, and picnics on brown bread and honey with her bear when it's sunny. And, did you ever meet a leopard in top hat and tail? He's simply the best, as anyone can see. It's the most delightful menagerie imaginable, and the sweetest story--with a little twist at the end.

The Pigeon has Feelings, Too by Mo Willems - LOVE WILLEMS! I am slowly building up our personal library full of his books.  So simple but with voice inflections and expressions they easily become kiddos favorites.  This is a short board book that discusses feelings.  The bus driver wants the pigeon to smile but the pigeon doesn't want too, he is sick an tired of everyone TELLING HIM WHAT TO DO and when to smile so he will do what he wants....  This book is great.  I love it for myself because I hate when people tell me to smile because I have a bitch face for a resting face. ;P  And it's great for kiddos.  Best for ages 1-3

Description: How does it feel to be a Pigeon? Well, the bus driver is trying to get him to act happy, but as we all know, this is one bird that is not going to be told what to do! Throughout this hilarious board book, Pigeon runs through his signature gamut of emotions while attempting to thwart his old nemesis.

Do you have any silly books that you like to read? Are you a re-reader or are you a one and doner?

Monday, August 26, 2013


I read dark things.  I watch dark TV shows.  I don't know what that says about me but I'm strangely attracted to it.  Gore? Not my thing.  Sadistic weird killers? Apparently are.  One thing I have a freaking hard time reading about is anyone that hurts children.  Which I'm sure affects everyone except for the people who HURT children and I just don't have words for you.

Description: Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember, but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton -- the town's pediatrician and medical examiner-- finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.

What seemed at first to be a horrific but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self-mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.

The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister's death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it's going to happen again.

To be blunt this is about abusing children.  There isn't in depth description but the effects and the acts are mentioned.  I was disgusted by it but was able to read this.  Sometimes I cannot.  But it was okay, but it made me freaking outraged by people WHO DO THIS.

And there is incest.  Gross.  That to me was almost worse than the child abusing because it was described a little more and ugh.  It takes a vile person to have sex with your own child. I just can't.

However, I love Slaughter's book.  And by the time this posts I will have probably finished the next book in the series A Faint Cold Fear.  If you like Laura Lippman or Tess Gerritsen this is is an author for you to check out!

Can you read books that disgust you? What's the hardest subject matter for you to read about?

If you missed it on Friday, the September Group Read will be Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman!

Friday, August 23, 2013

September's Group Read...

We will be reading Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman!

Description: Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel, Looking for Me.

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last.  But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

Looking for Me brilliantly melds together themes of family, hope, loss, and a mature once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. The result is a tremendously moving story that is destined to make bestselling author Beth Hoffman a novelist to whom readers will return again and again as they have with Adriana Trigiani, Fannie Flagg, and Joshilyn Jackson.

A southern book? Sign me up! Seems to be all I've been reading this summer! ;) Hope you will join us.  Our discussion will be posted on September 27th.  If you want to guest post the discussion this month, let me know! Have you read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt? Have you read this book? Looking forward to reading it!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Currently --- August

I love when Kyria and other's do these so I'm playing along. ;)

Current Book - I just finished Isle of Palms by Dorothea Benton Frank and am FINALLY picking up Kisscut by Karin Slaughter (yet another series I like) I didn't realize I needed to read this one before the others I got from the library so I've been on hold for that series.  I'm hoping to read three of them before I go back to work. That is probably overly ambitious.

Current Drink - Cabernet Sauvignon.  I'm on a kick.  Brand doesn't really matter because I have cheap taste.  Any recommendations? I've also wanted a good Malbec lately.  Any recommendations there?

Current Excitement - The back to school excitement has hit me.  I'm going to be full time this year and have my OWN CLASSROOM THAT I DO NOT HAVE TO SHAREEEE... Yes that required caps.  I can do what I wantttttttttttt. ;)  Okay, so I kinda could before but now I can plan when/what I want and organize how I want.  Very important.  And I can't wait to meet my new kids.  Let's bottle this emotion for February. ;)

Current Favorite Blog/Website - Iowa Girl Eats recipes have been popping up a lot in our house lately and yummm.  Except for the blueberry granola recipe.  That was disgusting.

Current Love - Eric Church.  Saw him in concert last weekend and I'm hopelessly in love.

Current Food - I've been all over the Mexican.  Taco Pie, Steak fajitas, refried beans, Spanish rice.  I want it allll.  Oh and the blueberry salsa I made was yummy too.

Currently Pondering - How I'm going to survive the crazy that is the fall but will probably just take it hour by hour or I will go insane.

Current Peeve - Charging 30-40-50 dollars to park for concerts/baseball games.  THAT IS RIDICULOUS.  Oh the worst is charging 50 dollars and then saying no tailgating.  Um no.  If I pay 50 dollars to park.  I can do what I want.  OUTRAGEOUS.  Boo to you Detroit.

Current Song - This isn't anything new but just like last summer I'm blasting "Springsteen" by Eric Church.  :::swoon:::

Current TV Show - Downton Abbey.  Officially caught up.  I think we watched all three seasons in three weeks.  Maybe two.  Two plus episodes nightly I think.  Now I have to catch up on my others!

Current Wish-List - Housekeeper, nanny, landscaper, new house, new car, new wardrobe..  go big or go home.. ;)

Currently Delaying - Cleaning eeek.

What's your current new song? Recipe? Tv show? Anything currently bugging you?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Isle of Palms

You know me and once I get on a kick.  This summer I've been on a Carolina kick.  And once I read one of Dorothea Benton Frank's books I kinda got sucked into them.  This one took me a bit longer to read after I got sucked into Downton.  What can I say? Once I get sucked in good I'm a bit addicted.

Description: Anna Lutz Abbot considers herself independent and happy, until one steamy summer when she must find a way to deal with the secrets of her unpredictable family-and her past.

So Anna had a really shitty childhood.  And basically if something bad could happen it did.  She was drugged and raped at 18 and married her gay best friend and that was just the beginning.  Where the story really starts is present day and Anna is just FINALLY looking into leaving her father's house that she's lived in for years.  She's a hair stylist and she's also thinking about moving out on her own.

Her new neighbors are a little crazy and a lot of fun.  Frank mentions in the beginning that she used real people for characters in her story and there were a lot of characters.  Almost too many.  Some kind of blended together and by the end I couldn't always keep everyone straight which was kind of a pain when they went from no starring role to kind of important and I was like who the heck are they?

Frank is a hilarious author and I would recommend it her if you are interested in the Lowcounty area.  My favorite is still the first I read Folly Beach.

This would be a good beach read but I definitely would read Folly Beach over this one if you are just checking out Frank for the first time!

Have you read any books set in South Carolina? North Carolina? Would you recommend any?

Don't forget to suggest a book for September!

Monday, August 19, 2013

September Group Read Suggestions

That time of the month! What shall we read in September? Any fall books? Back to school? What has your interest?

What we've enjoyed so far..

Ladder of Years
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

I will keep suggestions open until the 23rd and then I will use to pick a book for next month! If you would be willing to do a guest post for next month's book pick (should be posted on the 27th) I would much appreciate it! I will be teaching full time this year and taking a grad class this fall so life is about to go from 0 to INSANE.  ;)

Thanks for participating!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Insta Month

Here's a peek at our last month insta style. ;)

 swimming diva style
enough pictures woman
relaxing with a book on the hammock

watering the flowers at the children's garden

July Saturday night...

ready for a dinner date

waiting on daddy's smoked bbq chicken

again with the pictures

<3 p="">

how did I get this big girl??

zoo trip with grandma

ahh the wind is messing up my hair...
This summer has flown by! What's been your high point of the summer?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New books for babe

I've gone a little crazy reading some of the same stories over and over again so I ordered some new books for the two year old last week from Amazon and I love them all!

Let's go for a Drive by Mo Willems - Ahhh I love this book.  Elephant and Piggie want to go for a drive.  What do they need on the drive? On and on it goes until ummm... they have all this stuff but they don't have a car! Ahhh.. What will they do? I love it and my favorite part is how I can read this book and make it come alive.  I love the lines when elephant sings (ok maybe he doesn't but in my reading voice he does!) "Drive! Drive! Drivey-drive-drive! "and then Piggy answers with whatever they added to their pile to take on the trip.  Cute illustrations.  Highly recommend this and any other Mo Willems book.  Best for ages 2-5.

Diapers Are Not Forever by Elizabeth Verdick - I was looking on Amazon and I saw that there was a series of books about behaviors.  This book, Pacifiers Are Not Forever, Hands are for Helping not Hitting, etc and thought I would give this one a try because we looooove potty books at our house.  Me because they are usually hysterical and the child because well it's something we've introduced to her life that is still a mystery.  I would say this is one of the better ones.  It's not comical, it is very matter of fact about what happens and why we do it and great illustrations of people doing what is expected of a potty training kid.  I would definitely use this to introduce the idea of potty training to a kid.  Best for kids ages 1-3.

Five Little Monkeys jump in the bath - by Eileen Christelow - My child LOOOVES monkeys and loves 5 little Monkeys jumping in the bed so I gave this a whirl.  Great illustrations and it has a great rhythm. "slippy, sloppy, goopy, gloopy!" and other fun rhymes.  Perfect pre-reading skills.  ::cough cough:::  Also, the words are highlighted by different colors that you can point out to your child.  Great connection to counting  How many monkeys? Count them out one by one.  Point to each as you say a number.  Great skills for getting ready for preschool/kindergarten.  Best for kids ages 1-4.

I'm so glad that these were all winners! We love new books! What are some of your favorite children books?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Look Again

When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops—the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her every instinct tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. And she can’t shake the question: if Will rightfully belongs to someone else, should she keep him or give him up? She investigates, uncovering clues no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life—and that of the son she loves.
Lisa Scottoline breaks new ground in Look Again, a thriller that’s both heart-stopping and heart-breaking, and sure to have new fans and book clubs buzzing.
I have been meaning to check out Lisa Scottoline for a couple of years but ya know, other books got in the way first.  I checked this one out from the library and it was a very quick read.  Quite predictable with a few extra curves but very fast paced.
However, I did not really care for the main character Ellen until after the major climax of the story.  Until then she was written as a character I'm not fond of.  The character that must do it all on their own, ask no help, tell no one what they are doing etc.  It was annoying.  Things could have been different and she wouldn't have had as many issues if she would have done that.  But whatever, I didn't write the book, I just got annoyed by the main character.
After that though, THEN she was a character I could like and the story felt better.  If you are looking for a quick read this is it!
Have you read any books by Scottoline? What ones would you recommend?

Monday, August 12, 2013

10 Reasons I Wouldn't Survive on Downton Abbey

1. Carson's proclamation that young men will be young men and it's the girl's fault for not saying no and ending up pregnant.

2.  Lord Grantham would get an ear full if he told me multiple times he didn't want to worry my delicate self.

3.  Corsets.

4.  I'd freaking kill Thomas.

5. The whole socially acceptableness of marrying your cousin.  Eww.

6. Ethel and I would get into a nasty cat fight.

7. I wouldn't be able to stay silent on how stupid it is a woman can't inherit Downton Abbey and the money.

8. All the dresses all the time. 

9. I'm pretty sure I'd kill Bate's wife myself.  Stupid stupid woman.

10. The inability who to just marry who you want for love and not being able to kiss, touch or whatever before hand without it being totally unacceptable and ruining oneself.  Whateves.

Basically, I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut and I'd be told too many times that people would start thinking I believed the stuff I said ala Lady Mary.

Do you watch Downton? Why wouldn't you survive?

Friday, August 9, 2013

What The Two Year Old Checked Out From The Library

I just recently started letting my daughter bring books home when we were at the library because I feel like she can sort of take care of them better now and because if I read Corduroy or The Little Engine that Could ONE MORE TIME, I may explode.  Now, I LOVE that she can sit through these books but come on, once a day every single day is pushing it, but multiple times? No way. 

Here is what she got this week.  Oh and I must say her method of picking books is awesome.  Grab and keep on walking.  And I may have picked a couple up that looked good to me as we were fast walking through. ;)

Red Truck by Kersten Hamilton - She LOOVES this one.  I almost thought about buying it for her until I had to read it 10 times in a row.  Never mind, staying at a library book. ;)  It has few words, nice illustrations and great vocabulary.  This would be an infant - 2 book.

Description: Can Red Truck make it
up the hill?
Red Truck can!
Red Truck will!

Truck fans of all ages but especially the littlest ones will love cheering on the hardworking red tow truck that stars in this high energy picture book. Mighty Red Truck splashes and zooms through mud and rain to rescue a stalled school bus on the side of the road, and becomes the hero of a rainy day. Eye-popping quirky illustrations and the fast-paced rhyming text will make this truck story a fast favorite.

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons by Judy Sierra - We actually haven't read this one yet, even though it is the very first one she picked up.  By paging through it looks like it has colorful illustrations and lots of words so probably not the best for a two year old.  But hilarious name.  Probably a preschool and older book.

Description: According to legend, Japanese villagers once lived in fear of great hulking ogres called Onis who considered babies' belly buttons the tastiest of all treats. When they raided a village it was the babies they stole. In a delightful retelling of the folktale, Judy Sierra has added a feminist twist in the person of a fearless young heroine, determined to stop them. Little Urikohme, or Melon Princess, was born inside a watermelon and has no bellybutton. She travels to the Onis' fortress island, and with the help of some animal friends, rescues the babies, leaving the Onis crying for mercy. A wonderful short tale to read aloud, children will gleefully join in the Onis' chant and cheer at the triumph of small over large. In cleverly inspired watercolors, Meilo So outfits the Melon Princess in a watermelon-designed kimono and her humorous depiction of the oversized bullies is sure to elicit giggles. An author's note discusses the origin of the tale and its place in Japanese folklore.

Wolf's Coming by Joe Kulka -  Those poor wolves have quite the reputation.  I LOVE this book.  It has beautiful illustrations and tons of animals that kids can point out.  The wolf is coming, hurry hurry.. with a surprise at the end. ;)  This is a book I'd say good for 2-4 year olds.

Baby Talk by Judy Hindley - Super short read and talks about a baby and uses a lot of the first words that baby's say.  Up, there, out hi and bye etc.. Great pictures and good vocabulary.  I'd say babies through two years old would enjoy it.

Description: Dressing, hiding, sliding,
playing through the day.
Dinner, bath time, bedtime . . .
What does Baby say?

It's such a busy day for Baby! There's hair to be brushed, peekaboo to play, sandboxes and swings, spoons and sleep. And readers are invited to join in the fun - from getting dressed to go OUT! to the park, to eating dinner and having a SPLASH! in the bath.

Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee - ADORABLE illustrations.  A cute story about toddlers and a very busy puppy!  A good book about manners.  I'd recommend it baby-preschool.

Blankie - Leslie Patricelli - Totally a baby book but it's quick, easy and my daughter loves to point out the baby hiding under the blankie. ;) Great infant board book.

Fancy Nancy Explorer Extraordinaire - We haven't read this one yet but the pictures look beautiful.  It does appear to be a book for older kids and a great find and seek book.  I'd say this is a good one for 3-5 year olds.

Description: For the fanciest girl around, the outdoors are out of this world! Fancy Nancy and her best friend, Bree, set out to explore the fascinating world of wildflowers, trees, leaves, birds, and, of course, butterflies in their exclusively glamorous Explorers' Club. With recipes for pinecone bird feeders and extra-fancy lemonade, an official club bird, and an exclusive map of the territory, Fancy Nancy is one Explorer Extraordinaire!

Take a look at Nancy's very own enlightening discoveries and find out just how fancy the outdoors can be!

It is so fun sharing my love of books and the library with my daughter! What is something you liked to with your mom as a child? What books did your child pick from the library? What have you recently checked out from the library? Do you use the library? Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Wednesday Daughters

I think it is well documented how much I LOOVED The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton.  It's one of the books I always recommend and if I could remember who I gave my copy to I'd totally re-read it.  To say I was looking forward to The Wednesday Daughters is putting it mildly. I put it on hold at the library and got it as soon as it became available, dove in that night and quickly was disappointed.

Description: It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves “The Wednesday Sisters”—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows nearly nothing about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Julie and Anna Page, two other daughters of “The Wednesday Sisters,” who offer to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects. Yet what Hope finds will reveal a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore.

Tucked away in a hidden drawer, Hope finds a stack of Ally’s old notebooks, all written in a mysterious code. As she, Julie, and Anna Page try to decipher Ally’s writings—the reason for their encryption, their possible connection to the Potter manuscript—they are forced to confront their own personal struggles: Hope’s doubts about her marriage, Julie’s grief over losing her twin sister, Anna Page’s fear of commitment in relationships. And as the real reason for Ally’s stay in England comes to light, Hope, Julie, and Anna Page reach a new understanding about the enduring bonds of family, the unwavering strength of love, and the inescapable pull of the past.

I just could NOT get into this book.  There were bursts of OMG this is beautiful writing and I shed tears twice over parts where I don't even think they were THAT emotional but they were just so well-written.  However, I never got hooked.  I never felt engaged and sometimes it was down right hard to finish this book.  But I sooooo wanted to finish this book.  I  adored The Wednesday Sisters and wanted to know about their children. 

The things that made it not happen for me.  1) Beatrix Potter.  I'm not a fan and it was just boring boring and boring to me and sadly she is intermingled into the entire dang thing.  2) Poetry.  Try as I might, I'm just not into poetry.  It does nothing to me.  More skipping around happened when Robbie and Julie were quoting.  However, the stuff Robbie himself wrote? Was beautiful and the conversations he and Julie had about his OWN work is about the time I cried first I think.  3) A bunch a talk about stars.  Yeah, another topic I find boring.

"You pour a cup of your grief  out into a line of poetry, or twelve lines, or two hundred, and this thing, you can't swallow yourself becomes a thing others want to drink."

So, sadly, I didn't like it.  I will say that Clayton is a BEAUTIFUL writer who kept me finishing it and made me cry.  So, please read it if you loved The Wednesday Sisters and I hope like hell you love it more than I did.  Please let me know if you do. ;)

"In the gesture, I remembered my mother's soft voice saying that some things in life, you just have to know.  Someone tells you and remember it, and you tell it to someone else.  Sometimes you tell it directly, and sometimes you tell it through stories.  It's one of the ways we show our love. "

Have you ever be so sadly disappointed by an author of one of your favorite books?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A few of my favorite links..

It's that time again, where I share what I've read and enjoyed this past week...

Let's Call a Dog and dog would probably offend those who have pets and no kids, but it's the dang truth.  Dogs are not children.  I hate the comparison and agree with Law Momma, even though I admittedly do not like pets and have none of my own .;P

A Bookworm's World shared this review of The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood and I really want to read it now!

And then it was World Breastfeeding Week...

I read what could possibly be the most moving and important book of all 2013.  Seriously, you all need to read The Almond Tree.

What was the best thing you've read this week?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Widows of Braxton County

When I got the email about this book I was intrigued by the description.  The book did not disappoint.

Description: Family secrets can bind and destroy

Kate is ready to put her nomadic, city-dwelling past behind her when she marries Joe Krause and moves with him to the Iowa farm that has been in his family for more than 140 years. But life on the farm isn't quite as idyllic as she'd hoped. It's filled with chores, judgmental neighbors, and her mother-in-law, who—unbeknownst to Kate until after the wedding—will be living with them.

As Kate struggles to find her place in the small farming community, she begins to realize that her husband and his family are not who she thought they were. According to town gossip, the Krause family harbors a long-kept secret about a mysterious death that haunts Kate as a dangerous, unexplainable chain of events begins.

From the beginning I wanted to smack Kate's husband Joe.  Here's this woman who has married him barely knowing him and she HANDS OVER her savings account to him and he treats her like crap.  His mentality towards his wife in 2012 was NOT that far off from his great-great-grandfather's in 1890 where the book keeps flashing back too. 

Basically, Kate moves in realizes she will be living WITH her mother-in-law who is so not nice and resents her because she's married her baaaaaby.  Any time Kate offers up advice or constructive criticism she is chastised,, made to feel dumb and then finally physically hit.  Thankfully, she did not stay the victim for long and realized her husband was a tool and shacked up with her mother-in-law's enemy to try to work things out.

Then, after a break through I had high hopes for Joe that he was actually turning it around and making an effort to treat his wife like an equal partner and then he didn't get the chance to redeem himself.

Braxton County is a lovely little small town full of small town gossips and I giggled over the little old ladies trading stories and the scenes when conversations would stop when Kate would walk in.  Small town USA.  Gotta love it.

Back to Joe's great-great-grandfather, Joseph.  He was murdered in his bed and ever since the family has been cursed with bad luck.  Is it him or is it Hannah is wife, who not unlike Kate speaks her mind and doesn't stay silent.  Unfortunately for Hannah the 1890s were a lot different in Braxton County than it was in 2012 for Kate.

This book is a great look at how a woman's role in the community and home have changed so much so fast.  And how Kate comes into her own to stand on her own two feet and make her own choices for herself

I read this book in one day, so you know its gotta be good. ;)

Do you know any stories about your great-great-grandparents? Does your family have a family farm or homestead that's been in your family for years? Do you have any special family heirlooms?

I received this book from HarperCollins but all thoughts and feelings are my own.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Time Bomb

I'm so glad I decided to stick with the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman.  The books have been picking up and getting better. ;)

DescriptionBy the time psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware reached the school the damage was done: A sniper had opened fire on a crowded playground, but was gunned down before any children were hurt.   While the TV news crews feasted on the scene an Alex began his therapy sessions with the traumatized children, he couldn't escape the image of a slight teenager clutching an oversized rifle. What was the identity behind the name and face: a would-be assassin, or just another victim beneath an indifferent California sky?  Intrigued by a request from the sniper's father to conduct a "psychological autopsy" of his child, Alex begins to uncover a strange pattern of innocence, neglect, and loss. Then suddenly it is more than a pattern � it is a trail of blood. In the dead sniper's past was a dark and vicious plot. And in Alex Delaware's future is the stuff of grown-up nightmares: the face of real human evil.

This book is full of very interesting characters that all get the Alex Delaware psych once over.  Not only are there interesting characters there is a very iinteresting plot.  Why would a very dull nineteen year old girl who kept to herself shoot up a school? Her super weird father doesn't think she did it and wants Alex to prove it.  The book is full of connections to the Holocaust, radicals from the 60s, local politicians, a grocery store owner, a loner black kid very interested in the Holocaust, and of course the verrrry interesting to Alex, Dr. Overstreet.

There are just so many very interesting characters and through it all you see the best in humanity and the worst.  And nobody is who they first appear.  Just my type of book.  I flew through it!

Have you ever been interested in psychology?

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Almond Tree

“You cannot go back and make a new start, but you can start now and make a new ending”  

Our July pick for book club was The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti.  Two of us had won it in a goodreads giveaway so we all thought, what the heck.  Wow.  It was loved by all and two of us admitted to reacting so emotionally and thinking, "how could I have not known? how does the world not know?"  It's that moving.  I highly highly highly recommend this.  It's going to the top of the list when people ask me what they should read.

" Good things make choosing difficult .Bad things leave no choice”

Description: Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his Palestinian friends and family. Ruled by the Israeli military government, the entire village operates in fear of losing homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ichmad's twelfth birthday, that fear becomes a reality. With his father imprisoned, his family's home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to the dangers of war, Ichmad begins the endless struggle to use his intellect to save his poor and dying family and reclaim a love for others that was lost when the bombs first hit."The Almond Tree" capitalizes on the reader's desire to be picked up and dropped off in another part of the world. It tackles issues that many Americans only hear about on World News or read about at The Huffington Post, such as the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the scholasticide that is being imposed upon the Palestinians in Gaza and the current Gaza blockade. But even more, it offers hope.

“Hatred is self-punishment.Do you think they're feeling bad because you hate them?”

This book.  It's almost too hard for me to talk about it because YOU JUST NEED TO READ IT.  Even in the awfulness of the world there is goodness. 
“Before you judge a person, try to imagine how you would feel if the same things had happened to you.”  

I would definitely recommend reading the About the Author from her website.  It really helped put the book in perspective as well.

“Courage, I realised, was not the absence of fear: it was the absence of selfishness; putting someone else's interest before one's own.”

This family suffered so much and all of it stemming from the fact that they were Palestinians in Israel.  I just cannot wrap my head around how it seems okay with everyone that they can be forced from their land, especially by a people who were also persecuted and EXTERMINATED.  And the Palestinians had nothing to do with it.  It is a life I cannot imagine and really really really encourage you to read this book.

“He looked me directly in the eye. 'So you live in America?'
'We do.' I smiled.
He stopped, opened his backpack, pulled out an empty tear gas grenade and handed it to me.
'I believe it was a present from your country.' Majid smiled. 'Tell your friends thanks. We got their grenade.”

And, no, this is not a memoir but it could be.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”   - Desmond Tutu

Have you read The Almond Tree? What do you know about the struggle in Israel of the Palestinians and Jews?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wicked Business

Every once in awhile I like to read fluff.  Hence, my Stephanie Plum obsession.  While I was at the library awhile ago I saw that Janet Evanovich had a new series, Lizzie & Diesel.  So, being the series obsessed that I am, I had to give it a whirl.

Description: When Harvard University English professor and dyed-in-the-wool romantic Gilbert Reedy is mysteriously murdered and thrown off his fourth-floor balcony, Lizzy and Diesel take up his twenty-year quest for the Luxuria Stone, an ancient relic believed by some to be infused with the power of lust. Following clues contained in a cryptic nineteenth-century book of sonnets, Lizzy and Diesel tear through Boston catacombs, government buildings, and multimillion-dollar residences, leaving a trail of robbed graves, public disturbances, and spontaneous seduction.

First off, this is the SECOND book in the series and I didn't realize that until I had already started it and decided, ehhh..

That being said, if you are looking for a laugh out loud ridiculous reading experience this is your book.  I can totally see similarities between these characters and her Stephanie Plum characters and they all crack me up. 

There is innocent Glo who is determined she is a wizard and that her broom has magical powers.  Hatchett who wanders around dressed like a Renaissance man speaking like that and being ridiculous.  Diesel who is hot and flirts.  Lizzie who bakes cupcakes and cooks and does ridiculous things.  It's just perfect for fluff.

It's not something I NEED to read but if I need a quicky mindless book, I will totally read another.

I'd recommend this for those who are fans of Janet's and maybe like a little magic in there stories.

What's your favorite fluff reading?