Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 ARC Reading Challenge!

After much contemplation I decided to sign up for this challenge again for 2012.  I wasn't sure how far I would get in 2011, but I ended up finishing better than I had intended.  So Many Precious Books, So Little Time will be hosting this challenge again and I love the fact that this is a flexible challenge that allows you to use ebooks or audiobooks as well.


I am going to keep it simple this year and sign up for the Bronze Level as I am trying not to accept as many review copies.  You can see all the rules and levels and even sign up yourself if you would like here.

I will list the books below as I read them for this challenge.

1. The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings--Completed 1/26/12
2. Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons--Completed 2/11/12
3. Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos--Completed 2/26/12
4. Clair de Lune by Jaretta Carleton--Completed 3/21/12
5. Come a Little Closer by Dorothy Garlock--Completed 4/2/12
6. Cross Currents by John Shors--Completed 4/16/12
7. The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay--Completed 4/17/12
8. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett--Completed 5/15/12
9. Come Home by Lisa Scottoline--Completed 5/24/12
10.The Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker--Completed 6/6/12
11. An American Family by Peter Lefcourt--Completed 6/30/12
12. The World Without You by Joshua Henkin--Completed 7/22/12
13. The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar--Completed 8/4/12
14. More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi--Completed 8/18/12
15. The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory--Completed 9/11/12
16. Surviving Hitler by Andrea Warren--Completed 9/13/12
17. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh--Completed 9/23/12
18. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire--Completed 9/26/12
19. Deliver Us From Evil by David Baldacci--Completed 10/13/12
20. Love Anthony by Lisa Genova--Completed 10/19/12
21. A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama--Completed 10/26/12
22. The Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey--Completed 12/16/12

Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 Audiobook Challenge

Since this is one of the challenges that I enjoyed so much last year, I've decided to sign up for this one again!  Theresa's Reading Corner is hosting this challenge once again and it sounds like she has a lot of fun stuff planned for 2012!  If you are tempted, you can sign up for this challenge yourself here.
Here are the levels for the challenge:

  • Flirting-Listen to 6 Audio Books
  • Going Steady- Listen to 12 Audio Books
  • Lover- Listen to 25 Audio Books
  • Married-Listen to +++  Audio Books
 I have decided to sign up for the Going Steady level.  That is probably wimpy of me, but since I listened to 17 audiobooks in 2011 I don't anticipate a problem.  Life doesn't seem to be getting any less busy for me so I really want to keep it simple.

I will list the books below as I listen to them.

1.  The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings--Completed 1/26/12
2.  Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons--Completed 2/11/12
3.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins--Completed 3/8/12
4.  Come a Little Closer by Dorothy Garlock--Completed 4/2/12
5.  The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay--Completed 4/17/12
6.  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins--Completed 5/11/12
7.  Come Home by Lisa Scottoline--Completed 5/24/12
8.  Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel--Completed 7/6/12
9.  More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi--Completed 8/18/12
10.The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory--Completed 9/11/12
11.Surviving Hitler by Andrea Warren--Completed 9/13/12
12.Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire--Completed 9/26/12
13.Deliver Us From Evil by David Baldacci--Completed 10/13/12
14.Love Anthony by Lisa Genova--Completed 10/19/12
15.Summer Island by Kristin Hannah--Completed 10/26/12
16.Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins--Completed 11/12/12
17.Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe--Completed 11/27/12

Thursday, December 29, 2011

100+ Reading Challenge 2011...Failed Again!

My Overstuffed Bookshelf hosted this challenge for 2011 and I have to admit that when I signed up for it I really didn't have the intention to read more than a hundred books during the year, but mostly just to keep a running list of the books that I did read.  There is so much going on in my life that I actually read less books this year than in 2010!  Last year I ended the year with 51 books read while this year the list is only at 43.  Here is the list of books that I read and you could click on the title to read my review:

1. Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez--Completed 1/6/2011
2. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens--Completed 1/12/2011
3. The Missionary by William Carmichael and David Lambert--Completed 1/14/2011
4. Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas--Completed 1/31/2011
5. The Brave by Nicholas Evans--Completed 2/1/2011
6. Sweetie by Kathryn Magendie--Completed 2/6/2011
7. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran--Completed 3/4/2011
8. The Bourne Objective by Eric Van Lustbader--Completed 3/4/2011
9. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin--Completed 3/17/2011
10. The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry--Completed 3/23/2011
11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows--Completed 3/31/2011
12. A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay--Completed 3/31/2011
13. Night Road by Kristin Hannah--Completed 4/09/2011
14. Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson--Completed 4/15/2011
15. The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair--Completed 4/24/2011
16. They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti--Completed 5/2/2011
17. When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson--Completed 5/9/2011
18. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin--Completed 5/23/2011
19. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley--Completed 5/29/2011
20. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein--Completed 5/31/2011
21. The Good Guy by Dean Koontz--Completed 6/10/11
22. The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson--Completed 6/15/11
23. Too Jewish by Patty Friedmann--Completed 6/27/11
24. Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith--Completed 7/1/11
25. Sweet Jiminy by Kristin Gore--Completed 7/2/11
26. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See--Completed 7/17/11
27. Lamb Bright Saviors by Robert Vivian--Completed 7/25/11
28. The Camel Club by David Baldacci--Completed 8/2/11
29. The Help by Kathryn Stockett--Completed 8/7/11
30. The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent--Completed 8/19/11
31. The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard--Completed 8/30/11
32. Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand--Completed 9/6/11
33. The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy--Completed 9/10/11
34. Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard--Completed 9/24/11
35. Angel Sister by Ann Gabhart--Compleed 10/4/11
36. To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal--Completed 10/7/11
37. Testimony by Anita Shreve--Completed 10/16/11
38. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta--Completed 10/31/11
39. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls--Completed 10/31/11
40. One Summer by David Baldacci--Completed 11/12/11
41. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley--Completed 11/15/11
42. House Rules by Jodi Picoult--Completed 12/6/11
43. Iron House by John Hart--Completed 12/14/11
44. Room by Emma Donaghue--Completed 12/20/11
45. The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck--Completed 12/24/11
46. All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson--Completed 12/27/11
47. A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg--Completed 12/30/11

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Audiobook Review: Iron House by John Hart




Title:  Iron House

Author:  John Hart

Narrator:  Scott Sowers

Unabridged Length:  14 hours







Here is a summary of Iron House from the Macmillan website:


An old man is dying.
When the old man is dead they will come for him.
And they will come for her, to make him hurt.


HE WOULD GO TO HELL
At the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, there was nothing but time. Time to burn and time to kill, time for two young orphans to learn that life isn’t won without a fight. Julian survives only because his older brother, Michael, is fearless and fiercely protective. When tensions boil over and a boy is brutally killed, there is only one sacrifice left for Michael to make: He flees the orphanage and takes the blame with him.

TO KEEP HER SAFE
For two decades, Michael has been an enforcer in New York’s world of organized crime, a prince of the streets so widely feared he rarely has to kill anymore. But the life he’s fought to build unravels when he meets Elena, a beautiful innocent who teaches him the meaning and power of love. He wants a fresh start with her, the chance to start a family like the one he and Julian never had. But someone else is holding the strings. And escape is not that easy. . . .

GO TO HELL, AND COME BACK BURNING
The mob boss who gave Michael his blessing to begin anew is dying, and his son is intent on making Michael pay for his betrayal. Determined to protect the ones he loves, Michael spirits Elena—who knows nothing of his past crimes, or the peril he’s laid at her door— back to North Carolina, to the place he was born and the brother he lost so long ago. There, he will encounter a whole new level of danger, a thicket of deceit and violence that leads inexorably to the one place he’s been running from his whole life: Iron House.

My Review:
I have found that I usually do not like to read books from the mystery/suspense genre, but listening to them is a different story!  I love the action that these stories provide for my listening pleasure.  I have read several great reviews from other bloggers who read this book, so I was looking forward to it.  I have to tell you that the audioversion fell a bit short for me though.

Michael and his younger brother Julian were raised at an orphanage in a remote community in North Carolina.  When Michael flees the orphanage to make a life of his own, Julian stays on and is eventually adopted by a family that holds substantial political influence.  Although Julian grows up with a privileged lifestyle, the ghosts of the Iron House orphanage will haunt him forever.

Michael starts his life over in New York City and finds himself in a lucrative career within the circle of organized crime.  A life containing all of the crime and deceit can only last so long, and when it is over, it ends quickly.  Michael eventually flees the city and returns to the only home he has ever known in a quest for answers.  Little does he know that he will unravel secrets that were never meant to revealed from years ago.

So this audiobook had a great plot, but like I said, it just didn't measure up for me.  I found my attention wandering quite often and although I was able to get caught up with the family drama between the two brothers, there were still parts of the book that I missed and just didn't understand certain parts of the storyline because of that.  With themes family, love, and crime, this story may be of interest to fans of the thriller genre.

My Rating:  3/5

Disclosure:  This audiobook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday-Dec. 27

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

This week my teaser is from All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson:
"No, but if you never let other people see that you're not, and you never admit to anything bad about yourself, then because they won't risk showing you that they are not perfect, they won't challenge you and they'll leave you alone and give you face.  Anything less than perfect, though, means you will be treated accordingly."

pg. 26-27
***Please note that this is from an Advanced Reading Copy so the final printing may change.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 What's in a Name Challenge...Failure!

So I finished this challenge in the nick of time last year, but I couldn't do a repeat performance for 2011.  I am still thankful to  Beth Fish Reads for hosting this challenge once again, and even though I didn't complete it this year I will probably sign up again for 2012.  Here are the categories that were needed for the challenge this year and you should be able to click on the title of the book if you would like to read my review:

1. A book with a number in the title: First to Die, Seven Up, Thirteen Reasons Why
One Summer by David Baldacci--Completed 11/12/11

2. A book with jewelry or a gem in the title: Diamond Ruby, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Opal Deception
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls--Completed 10/31/11

3. A book with a size in the title: Wide Sargasso Sea, Small Wars, Little Bee
No book read!!!

4. A book with travel or movement in the title: Dead Witch Walking, Crawling with Zombies, Time Traveler's Wife
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein--Completed 5/31/11

5. A book with evil in the title: Bad Marie, Fallen, Wicked Lovely
The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent--Completed 8/19/11

6. A book with a life stage in the title: No Country for Old Men, Brideshead Revisited, Bog Child
The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair--Completed 4/24/11

I'm not too bummed that I failed this challenge as I made a decision this year to read books for me, not to let review requests and challenges rule my reading decisions.  I signed up for the challenge thinking that if I happen to read something that falls into a category then great...otherwise so what!  I guess we will see if I do better next year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 E-book Challenge Completed!

I am pleased to announce that I have officially completed the e-book challenge that was hosted by The Ladybug Reads this year!  I signed up to read 6 books on my Kindle this year and so far I have read 9.  Here is what I have read so far:

1. Sweetie by Kathryn Magendie--Completed 2/6/2011
2. The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair--Completed 4/24/2011
3. They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti--Completed 5/2/2011
4. Too Jewish by Patty Friedmann--Completed 6/27/11
5. Sweet Jiminy by Kristin Gore--Completed 7/2/11
6. The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent--Completed 8/19/11
7. Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard--Completed 9/24/11
8. Angel Sister by Ann Gabhart--Completed 10/4/11
9. House Rules by Jodi Picoult--Completed 12/6/11
10. A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg--Completed 12/31/11

I always told people that even if I have a Kindle I will still read regular books, and I guess this proves it!  If you are interested you can click on the title of the book for my review.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday-Dec. 20

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

This week my teaser is from Room by Emma Donoghue:
I stare up at Skylight so hard my eyes get itchy but I don't see any more airplanes.  I really did see that one though when I was up Beanstalk, it wasn't a dream.

pg. 91
***Please note that this is from an Advanced Reading Copy so the final printing may change.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mailbox Monday-Dec. 19





Mailbox Monday is a great meme that has us list the books that we receive.  Different bloggers now have the opportunity to host this meme for a month at a time.  This month you can see what everyone received over at the Let Them Read Books.



Here is what was in my mailbox recently:
Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire

The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck (audiobook)

I started listening to The Snow Angel right away as I had to go pick my daughter up from college last Friday.  I am not quite done yet, but I can tell you that I love this audio!  Glenn Beck must be a big softie to write such an emotional story!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Giveaway: Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran


There are many gifted and gracious authors out there and Michelle Moran is definitely one of them.  In celebration of the release of the paperback edition of Madame Tussaud she is offering to give away one copy of this book and a pair of earrings!  You can see a picture of the earrings below. 

Here is a summary of Madame Tussaud from the author's website:
The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire…but who was this woman and how did she become one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous story comes to life as only Michelle Moran could tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin… 

Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American Ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie’s museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, and when word arrives that the royals themselves are coming to see their likenesses, Marie never dreams that the king’s sister will request her presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. Yet when a letter with a gold seal is delivered to her home, Marie knows she cannot refuse—even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles. 

As Marie becomes acquainted with her pupil, Princess √Člisabeth, she is taken to meet both Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she’s ever seen, to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into to a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.

Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and caf√©s across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there’s whispered talk of revolution…Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more importantly, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?

Spanning five years from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.


 And here are the earrings that the winner will also receive!


Now for the giveaway!

I will be giving away one  paperback copy of this book.

To enter this contest you must be at least 18 and live in the U.S.

For one entry leave me a comment including your email address below.

For two additional entries, blog about this contest or add the link to your sidebar.

Please include your email so I will have a way to contact you if you win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as myemail.address AT gmail DOT com or myemail.address [at] gmail [dot] com.

You will have until January 1st to enter and I will draw for a winner on or after January 2nd.

Good luck Everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley

Here is a summary of the book from Walter Mosley's website:


At ninety-one years old, Ptolemy Grey is one of the world’s forgotten: by his family, by his friends, by even himself. Marooned in a cluttered Los Angeles apartment overflowing with mementos from his past, Ptolemy sinks deeper into lonely dementia and into a past that’s best left buried. He’s determined to pass the rest of his days with only his memories for company. Until, at his grandnephew’s funeral, he meets Robyn and experiences a seismic shift, in his head, his heart, and his life.

Seventeen and without a family of her own, Robyn is unlike anyone Ptolemy has ever known. She and Ptolemy form an unexpected bond that reinvigorates his world. Robyn will not tolerate the way he has allowed himself to live, skulking in and out of awareness barely long enough to cash his small pension checks, living in fear of his neighbors and the memories that threaten to swallow him. With Robyn’s help, Ptolemy moves from isolation back into the brightness of friendship and desire. But Robyn’s challenges also push Ptolemy to make a life-changing decision that will affect both of them: to recapture the clarity and vigor of his fading mind and unlock the secrets he has carried for decades.

Already an acclaimed and beloved literary voice, Walter Mosley charts new territory in the exploration of the complex tensions at the heart of race in America. A novel that explores the generosity of love, the influence of memory, and our human desire for connection, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is a contemporary classic.

My Review:
Mosley takes us on the end of life journey of Ptolemy Grey, as he is an elderly gentleman whose dementia is getting worse every day.  With the book being narrated by Ptolemy we are given a front row seat to his confusion as his thoughts become more scattered.  He finds more and more that his distant memories are beginning to be combined with his more current memories  so he gets to the point where he is not sure if his memories are actually real.

Ptolemy had a nephew who came to help him with general needs every so often.  They would go buy groceries, have lunch, cash his retirement checks, and whatever else might need to be done on any particular visit.  Ptolemy can't help but become alarmed when this loving nephew is suddenly murdered.  He loved this young man that took such good care of him, and what would become of him now?

At his nephew's funeral, Ptolemy is introduced to a young gal named Robyn, a young woman who appears to be fending for herself in this world, that one of Ptolemy's relatives has taken into their home.  Ptolemy and Robin find something special in each other and make a connection that Ptolemy hasn't experienced in years.  As he lets Robyn into his life a little more each day, she becomes more than a casual acquaintance, but also a dear friend who truly cares for him.

Things are about to change quickly for Ptolemy as a consultation with a social worker puts him on a path to meet a doctor that will help him with his memory problems.  Will the ultimate sacrifice make everything worthwhile for Ptolemy to have vivid memories of his entire life?  Ptolemy feels this is the direction that is necessary for him to leave a legacy for all of his loved ones.

This was a beautifully written novel that made me realize how frustrated my 89 year old Grandma must be in her body as she searches for words that came to her easily in the past.  I admit that I get frustrated at times listening to the same stories over and over, but I guess this is her way of keeping her memories alive so who I am to put a kabash to that?  With themes of race issues, elderly mistreatment, familial obligations, and friendship, this book has much to offer for a various array of readers.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me from the publisher through the Shelf Awareness Newsletter in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Java With Jo

Life has been kind of crazy the last couple of months, so if you haven't heard or seen much of me on the blogworld it's because of the numerous activities that I am trying to keep up with!  You know that everything I participate in is optional, but it is just so much fun!  I spent last weekend shopping with some friends in the Twin Cities and we had a marvelous time.  Between all of the food, shopping, and fun, I was tuckered out by Sunday night.  Did I mention that I also discovered a new Cinnabon location?  Ya, I'm a happy camper!

And how about those Green Bay Packers this year!    GO PACK GO!!!  I also want to take this moment to extend my sympathies to all of the Vikings fans that are reading this.  It really is too bad that you are cheering for the wrong team, again.  he he

Last week I met with my book club to discuss House Rules by Jodi Picoult.  What a great book that was and it definitely sparked an interesting discussion as Picoult tackles another controversial subject.

I am all done with my memoir writing workshop which was a great experience.  I picked up some great tips from this class and now I just need to implement these skills into my daily life.  Writing is tough and I know that I need to somehow practice my skills on a daily basis.  I think I may have too many activities once again, that may prevent me from pursuing a writing project, so how do I decide what to cut back on when everything is so much fun?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Audiobook Review: One Summer by David Baldacci

Title:  One Summer

Author:  David Baldacci

Narrators:  Ron McClarty and Orlagh Cassidy

Unabridged Length: 8 hrs, 15 mn


Here is a summary of One Summer from the Hachette website:

It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.

My Review:
This novel is so unlike Baldacci's thrillers that we are accustomed to, but it is a welcome change for me.  As an audiobook McClarty and Cassidy embraced the listeners by making me want to hear more every day I was in my car.  Quite often when I am listening to a book I find that my attention does have a tendency to wander, but I don't think that happened once, and if I happened to miss something I had to rewind it to make sure I didn't miss a thing!

Jack is terminally ill with three children that need parental guidance at home.  Knowing his time on earth is limited, he agrees with his mother-in-law as he watches his children being separated to live with various family members, while he lies alone in a hospice center  just waiting to take his last breath.  He ends up spending a lot of time in the hospice center when he not only lives longer than expected, but suddenly seems to recover.  When he is finally given a clean bill of health months after his admittance, the doctors are amazed at the miracle that Jack seems to have spun.

At the hesitance of his family members, Jack is able to get his kids back together again and living with him.  Not long after their reunion, when life seems to be getting back to some form of normalcy, the kids maternal great-grandmother passes away and leave a South Carolina beach home to Jack and his family.  Jack is surprised that he was chosen to inherit this piece of property, but as a carpenter she figured that Jack is the one who would give the home the care that it needed.

So Jack, his kids, and his best friend Sammy, pack up all of their belongings to go investigate the beach property, that the family has always called 'The Castle'.  When they arrive at the castle they are astonished to find The Castle is basically a dilapidated beach house, but the kids have hope that this will not be their permanent residence.  Although things look rough on the surface, Jack sees the beautiful home that this could be once again.

A lot happens to Jack and his family during that summer at The Castle.  For a bit Jack seems to lose himself in the construction projects, while his kids drift further away from him.  When he finally realizes that his priorities are out of whack they all make some changes that bring them back to a family level.  The only problem is that it may be too late for these changes.

This was a great audiobook, one that I think I enjoyed more than if I had actually read it.  With themes of love, miracles, and family obligations, you will want to hear every word that is spoken.  I do not hesitate in recommending this selection in the audioversion.

My Rating: 4/5

Disclosure:  This audiobook was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday-Dec. 7

Bermudaonion asks you to share new words that you have learned during your reading adventures in the last week. Feel free to join in the fun!

Here are a couple of words I learned while reading the Kindle edition of House Rules by Jodi Picoult:
Bifurcation:  A division into two branches; a forking.

Here is how bifurcation was used at location 1855 of 9574:
A bifurcation, then two ridges, then another bifurcation downward.

Dirge: a funeral song or tune, or one expressing mourning in commemoration of the dead.

Here is how dirge was used at location 2615 of 9574:
Maybe this is why funeral dirges are always in a minor key; being on the other side of dead isn't that different from having Asperger's.

Periorbital:  of, relating to, occurring in, or being the tissues surrounding or lining the orbit of the eye.

Here is how periorbital was used at location 3018 of 9574:
"In addition to the scapes on her back and contusions on the throat and upper arms, there are some more in the periorbital region-"

This was a great book and I can't wait to discuss it with my book club tonight!  Did you learn any new words lately?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Author Challenge Completed!

I'm pleased to announce that I have this challenge officially under my belt now also!   Literary Escapism hosted this challenge again this year and I think I will definitely be looking forward to this one again next year!  I signed up to read 25 new authors this year and as you can see from the list below I have surpassed that goal!  You should be able to click on the title of the book if you are interested in reading my review:

1. Dolen Perkins-Valdez--Wench--Completed 1/6/2011
2. Chevy Stevens--Still Missing--Completed 1/12/2011
3. William Carmichael and David Lambert--The Missionary--Completed 1/14/2011
4. Nicholas Evans--The Brave--Completed 2/1/2011
5. Kathryn Magendie--Sweetie--Completed 2/6/2011
6. Eric Van Lustbader--The Bourne Objective--Completed 3/4/2011
7. Steve Martin--An Object of Beauty--Completed 3/17/2011
8. Brunonia Barry--The Map of True Places--Completed 3/23/2011
9. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows--The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--Completed 3/31/2011
10. Kamala Nair--The Girl in the Garden--Completed 4/24/2011
11. Cynthia Ruchti--They Almost Always Come Home--Completed 5/2/2011
12. Kate Atkinson--When Will There Be Good News--Completed 5/9/2011
13. Tom Franklin--Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter--Completed 5/23/2011
14. Alan Bradley--The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie--Completed 5/29/2011
15. Garth Stein--The Art of Racing in the Rain--Completed 5/31/2011
16. Ellen Bryson--The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno--Completed 6/15/11
17. Patty Friedmann--Too Jewish--Completed 6/27/11
18. Kristin Gore--Sweet Jiminy--Completed 7/2/11
19. Robert Vivian--Lamb Bright Saviors--Completed 7/25/11
20. Kathryn Stockett--The Help--Completed 8/7/11
21. Margaret Leroy--The Soldier's Wife--Completed 9/10/11
22. Sara Shepard--Everything We Ever Wanted--Completed 9/24/11
23. Ann Gabhart--Angel Sister--Completed 10/4/11
24. Tom McNeal--To Be Sung Underwater--Completed 10/7/11
25. Tom Perrotta--The Leftovers--Completed 10/31/11
26. Jeannette Walls--The Glass Castle--Completed 10/31/11
27. Walter Mosley--The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey--Completed 11/15/11
28. Emma Donaghue--Room--Completed 12/20/11
29. Glenn Beck--The Snow Angel--Completed 12/24/11
30. Duncan Jepson--All the Flowers in Shanghai--Completed 12/27/11
31. Fannie Flagg--A Redbird Christmas--Completed 12/31/11

I will keep adding to this list as I read more new authors for the remainder of the year.