Friday, July 30, 2010

Looks Like a Read-a-thon Weekend!

Up until this point I have been very hesitant about joining any read-a-thons since it usually takes me days just to finish one book.  But I just started reading The Passage by Justin Cronin and I really want a good reason to just spend my weekend relaxing on my deck engrossed in this book!  Unputdownables is hosting this read-a-thon and if you are thinking that you might want to join in the fun, you can check out how to sign up here.

I know that I won't be able to get any reading done tonight, as we are celebrating my husband's birthday by going to the original Famous Daves-mmmm that should be good!  Then I just have some housework and gardening to do over the weekend so I'm looking forward to making some progress in this huge novel!  I'm not even looking to finish this book, but if I could make it to the half-way mark by Sunday night that would be great.

So what are you waiting for?  If you are just hanging out this weekend why don't you join us?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Winners of The Hundred-Foot Journey

I am very happy to announce the following winners of The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard Morais!


Congratulations to the winners!  I will be emailing you shortly to get your mailing information to forward to the publisher.  Don't forget to check back for more great giveaways!

Giveaway: New Tricks by David Rosenfelt

Thanks to Valerie from Hachette I am able to offer up to 3 copies of this book to give away on my blog!

Here is a summary of New Tricks from the Hachette website:

Attorney Andy Carpenter is about to represent an adorable Bernese mountain dog puppy, whose owner was brutally murdered, in a custody fight. Few can rival Andy's affection for dogs, and he's determined to keep Waggy from falling into the wrong hands. But this playful pup possesses a valuable secret that some people will resort to violence to obtain. It will take more than Andy's usual courtroom theatrics to save Waggy, including help from the lawyer's golden retriever, Tara. Andy soon discovers that everyone around him is in danger, including his longtime girlfriend, Laurie--and only some high-risk new tricks will save those he cherishes most.

Now on with the giveaway!

I will be giving away one book for every 10 entries with a maximum of three books to give away.

To enter this contest you must be at least 18 and live in the U.S. or Canada. No PO Boxes please.

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.

Do you have a special pet?  For an additional entry let me know the name of your special friend and what type of pet it is.  If you don't have a pet let me know what kind of pet you've always been interesting in having. 

You can earn a total of 4 entries but please include your email so I will have a way to contact you if you win.

You will have until August 13th to enter and I will draw for winners on August 14th.

Good luck everyone!

**This giveaway is closed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blog Tour and Review: 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan

Thanks so much to Lisa from TLC Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of this tour.  Here is a summary of 31 Bond Street from the Harper Collins website:

Who killed Dr. Harvey Burdell?

Though there are no witnesses and no clues, fingers point to Emma Cunningham, the refined, pale-skinned widow who managed Burdell’s house and his servants. Rumored to be a black-hearted gold digger with designs on the doctor’s name and fortune, Emma is immediately put under house arrest during a murder investigation. A swift conviction is sure to catapult flamboyant district attorney Abraham Oakey Hall into the mayor’s seat. But one formidable obstacle stands in his way: the defense attorney Henry Clinton. Committed to justice and the law, Clinton will aid the vulnerable widow in her desperate fight to save herself from the gallows.

Set in 1857 New York, this gripping mystery is also a richly detailed excavation of a lost age. Horan vividly re-creates a tumultuous era characterized by a sensationalist press, aggressive new wealth, a booming real-estate market, corruption, racial conflict, economic inequality between men and women, and the erosion of the old codes of behavior. A tale of murder, sex, greed, and politics, this spellbinding narrative transports readers to a time that eerily echoes our own.

My Review:
31 Bond Street is an intriguing mystery that opens after a murder has taken place.  Harvey Burdell is a New York dentist that is found by his young servant boy John, after he is brutally murdered.  We are given the events from the last year throughout this novel that give us clues as to how Harvey could have met his demise.

When the police and coroner arrive at the scene of the crime we are introduced to Emma Cunningham.  At first glance Emma appears to be the woman in charge of the Burdell household, making sure that daily operations run smoothly.  But after further investigation it appears that there may have been an intimate relationship between Burdell and Cunningham, possibly even a marriage?  Although I really did not like the character of Emma, by the end of the book I found her to be a strong woman that needed to do what was necessary to protect the interests of herself and her daughters.

I found the legal process and the investigation from this period of time to be the most interesting part of the book for me.  When the coroner arrived at the Burdell residence he basically took control of the crime scene and held Emma Cunningham prisoner in the home for weeks as he conducted his investigation.  Emma somehow was able to get a message out to a lawyer, and that is how we are introduced to Henry Clinton, who happens to be a lawyer working for a high-profile law firm in New York.  Henry finds himself putting everything on the line in order to represent Emma, in hopes that it will pay off for him in the future.

Besides being a dentist, we learn that Burdell had many other financial transactions in the works.  He purchased and sold land that wasn't necessarily on the up and up, which put him in the midst of transactions that turned out to be managed by politicians that are trying to put a hault to the progress being made by the underground railroads.  As the coroner is focusing on Emma Cunningham as a suspect, it seems that Burdell's illegal transactions may be overlooked.

This was an interesting story that was full of history about the law, politics, and the underground railroad.  It was also a good mystery as bits and pieces are revealed in a way that kept me from putting this book down.  I felt that I really didn't get a chance to know the characters well, so that was really the only downfall for me with this book, as I really enjoyed the writing.  So if you are looking for a good mystery with a glimpse of what the legal system was like during this time period I think you would really enjoy this book.  If you are intersted in finding out more about Ellen Horan or 31 Bond Street I suggest that you go to the 31 Bond Street website.  And while you are there you can check out the Cast the Movie contest that Ellen Horan is running until August 31st.

My Rating:  3/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review to participate in the TLC Blog tour.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday-July 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 Labor Day by Joyce Maynard:
Up until this moment, Barry had seemed only marginally aware of his surroundings, but as the image of Frank filled the screen, he began to wave his arms and call out, as if greeting an old friend.  He was making noises, slapping his head, slapping the television.

pg. 99

I just finished this book last night and will be posting my review for a blog tour next week.  I can tell you right now that I just LOVED it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mailbox Monday-July 26

Thanks to Marcia of The Printed Page for hosting the Mailbox Monday Meme that has us list the books that we received last week. You can go to her blog to see what everyone else got last week or to play along.

I only received one book last week but I'm really looking forward to this one:
How to be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway

So that is what came into my home last week...did you receive anything new?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Winners of the Private audiobook!

Thanks to everyone that stopped by to enter this contest!  I think with 70 entries this is my biggest contest yet, so without further delay here are the winners:


Congratulations to the winners and thanks to Anna from Hachette for offering this contest on my blog.  I will be contacting the winners shortly for your mailing information.  Thanks to all who entered for making this such a successful giveaway!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: Where Grace Abides by BJ Hoff

Here is a summary of Where Grace Abides from the Harvest House Publisher's website:

Readers loved Rachel’s Secret, the first book in BJ Hoff’s wildly popular new series, The Riverhaven Years, and are eagerly awaiting the continuing story of young Amish widow, Rachel Brenneman, and Irish–American riverboat captain, Jeremiah Gant.

In Where Grace Abides, the compelling second book in the series, Hoff offers her readers an even closer look at the Amish community of Riverhaven and the people who live and love and work there. Secrets, treachery, and persecution are only a few of the challenges that test Rachel’s faith and her love for the forbidden “outsider,” while Gant’s own hopes and dreams are dealt a life–changing blow, rendering the vow he made to Rachel seemingly impossible to honor.

Many of the other characters first introduced in Rachel’s Secret now find their gentle, unassuming lives of faith jeopardized by a malicious outside influence. At the same time, those striving to help runaway slaves escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad face deception and the danger of discovery.

All the elements readers have come to expect from author BJ Hoff (romance, drama, great characters) join together in Where Grace Abides to fill the pages with a tender, endearing love story and a bold, inspiring journey of faith.

My Review:
This was the first book that I have read by Hoff and I was really looking forward to a glimpse into the Amish faith and lifestyle.  Even though I did not read the first book in the series, I felt like the author did a good job of filling you in as to what developed in the first installment. 

As the book opens we learn that Rachel has fallen in love with Jeremiah, who is not Amish himself so he is considered an outsider.  They have such a strong love for one another that Jeremiah and Rachel are both crushed when the Amish bishop will not allow him to convert to their religion so the two of them can be married and spend the rest of their lives together.  

What seems to sting Jeremiah is the fact that his good friend David has been given permission by the bishop to convert, which then allows him to marry Rachel's mother.  He struggles with thoughts that he should have acted differently for a more positive outcome.  Because of his close friendship with David, he finds himself in the company of Rachel quite often.  He knows from the look in her eyes that she is just as hurt by the bishop's decision.

There is a violent and shocking act that takes place within the novel that seems to be an act of vengeance against those that help to support the Underground Railroad.  I have always found stories of the Underground Railroad fascinating so I would have liked it if this part of the storyline was developed more.  

I always enjoy learning about other cultures so I did enjoy learning a little bit about the customs and traditions of the Amish people, but I really feel the author could have went a little more in-depth in this area.  The pining over the forbidden love between Rachel and Jeremiah was a bit too over the top for me.  I think the characters and the storyline could have been developed in a way that gave us a more vivid picture of the time period and the Amish lifestyle.

My Rating: 2/5

Disclosure:  This book was won from Book Movement and was read as a book club selection.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Current Giveaways!!!

Here are a few contests that I found interesting and thought you may too!  If I happened to forget about posting your contest please feel free to leave the link in the comment section below.

Readaholic is giving away The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim--HURRY-because this contest ends today-7/21.

Thoughts From an Evil Overlord is giving away Hidden Wives by Claire Avery--Contest ends 7/24.

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away the audiobook of The Bourne Objective by Eric Van Lustbader--Contest ends 7/30.

At Home With Books is giving away How to be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway--Contest ends 8/2.

And don't forget to check out the contests that I am offering on my sidebar.  Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Audiobook Giveaway: Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

Thanks to Anna from Hachette I am able to give away up to three copies of this unabridged audiobook on Jo-Jo Loves to Read!!!

Here is a summary of Backseat Saints from the Hachette website:

Rose Mae Lolley is a fierce and dirty girl, long-suppressed under flowery skirts and bow-trimmed ballet flats. As "Mrs. Ro Grandee" she's trapped in a marriage that's thick with love and sick with abuse. Her true self has been bound in the chains of marital bliss in rural Texas, letting "Ro" make eggs, iron shirts, and take her punches. She seems doomed to spend the rest of her life battered outside by her husband and inside by her former self, until fate throws her in the path of an airport gypsy---one who shares her past and knows her future. The tarot cards foretell that Rose's beautiful, abusive husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.

Hot-blooded Rose Mae escapes from under Ro's perky compliance and emerges with a gun and a plan to beat the hand she's been dealt. Following messages that her long-missing mother has left hidden for her in graffiti and behind paintings, Rose and her dog Gretel set out from Amarillo, TX back to her hometown of Fruiton, AL, and then on to California, unearthing a host of family secrets as she goes. Running for her life, she realizes that she must face her past in order to overcome her fate---death by marriage---and become a girl who is strong enough to save herself from the one who loves her best.

BACKSEAT SAINTS will dazzle readers with a fresh and heartwrenching portrayal of the lengths a mother will go to right the wrongs she's created, and how far a daughter will go to escape the demands of forgiveness. With the seed of a minor character from her popular best-seller, GODS IN ALABAMA, Jackson has built a whole new story full of her trademark sly wit, endearingly off-kilter characters, and utterly riveting plot twists.

Now on with the giveaway:

I will be giving away one book for every 10 entries with a maximum of three books to give away.

To enter this contest you must be at least 18 and live in the U.S. or Canada. No PO Boxes please.

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.

You will have until August 6th to enter and I will draw for winners on August 7th.

Good luck everyone!

**This giveaway is closed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Winners of April and Oliver!

I am so happy to announce the winners of April and Oliver by Tess Calahan!  Here they are:

Martha Lawson
Carol W.

Congratulations to the winners!  I will be emailing you shortly to get your mailing information. Thanks again to Valerie from Hachette for offering this giveaway on my blog.

Mailbox Monday-July 19

Thanks to Marcia of The Printed Page for hosting the Mailbox Monday Meme that has us list the books that we received last week. You can go to her blog to see what everyone else got last week or to play along.  Here is what was in my mailbox:

Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (audiobook)

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson (audiobook)

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons (I also received some shortbread cookies and a nice recipe from the author!)

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

Finny by Justin Kramon
And I recieved an order from Amazon:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein

And then I purchased from the bookstore:

The Garden of Ruth by Eva Etzioni-Halevy

Well I'm thinking this is enough to keep me busy for quite some time!  The only one that really was a surprise was the Mr. Rosenblum book.  I'm not sure if I registered to win this one but I don't think I requested a review copy.  It does have the Reagan Arthur imprint though, so I am confident that it will be an engaging read.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Celebrating To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Have you had the opportunity to read this timeless classic yet?  I was actually fortunate enough to read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time with my book club a couple of years ago.  I actually wasn't even the only one in the group to be reading this book for the first time.  If you haven't had the chance to read this book there is no better time than the present.

This year commemorates the 50 year anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird and you can join the celebration by reading the book, promoting it to all of your friends and family, or check out the calendar of events that Harper Collins has planned.  If you think you may be interested in reading this with your book club like I did, you can find some inspiring discussion questions here.

So how about you?  Have you read this great piece of literary fiction and if so how long ago did you read it?  What is your lasting impression of the book?  We keep a book club journal and the only note I had in there about this book was "I loved this book!"  I think that sums up how many people feel about To Kill a Mockingbird.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Audiobook Review: The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

Here is a summary of The Swan Thieves from the Hachette website

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism. 

Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

My Review:
This was quite the audiobook that had various narrators including Anne Heche, Treat Williams, and many more.   I admit that I do not have a big appreciation of art but was intrigued by this story because of the historical elements.  This book actually shares several tragic love stories with us, one from the past, a couple from the current day, and the most mysterious is the love that connects these two time periods.  Various chapters are narrated by different characters giving you a glimpse into each of the different lives and feelings.  I think that this method worked very well for this book and having different speakers narrating especially helped me follow the story easily.

Robert Oliver is thrust into Dr. Andrew Marlow's life when he is admitted into the mental health facility after attacking a painting in an art gallery.  Marlow cannot understand how such a gifted artist could attack someone elses artwork.  Since Robert will not speak with Marlow about the incident he decides to go on a quest to find out all that he can about the famous artist.  Not only is he introduced to the women that have loved Robert Oliver, but Dr. Marlow also is reminded of his own love of art that has been pushed to the back burner because of his career.

First Dr. Marlow is introduced to Oliver's wife Kate, who is also the mother of their two children.  Kate proceeds to tell Marlow the entire story of their lives together, from when she first laid eyes on Robert until she could not put up with him any longer.  As Robert barely holds on to teaching jobs at colleges, Kate holds the family together in her own way that becomes both physically and mentally draining.  When she realizes that his devotion lies elsewhere besides his family she decides to throw in the towel and send Robert on his way.  So as Robert leaves the arms of his devoted wife he finds himself in the embrace of one of his students from years ago.

There were many questions as to the woman that Robert was having an affair with, but once Dr. Marlow realizes that she does exist he finds her in an attempt to gain more knowledge about his patient.  Mary had also fallen in love with Robert, but like his wife, finds that she just cannot seem to keep his affections for long.  I found it very interesting how Marlow finds himself smitten with the women in Robert's life.  Both of these women helped him discover a more emotional side to himself.

I did enjoy how the mystery of Robert's incident unfolds, by hearing the story from different characters throughout the novel.  I find it interesting how this was a quest to uncover what exactly happened to the artist, but we never heard about the events from his personal perspective.  This was my main problem with the book as I feel it would have wrapped up much better by even having the final chapter narrated by Robert.  I don't always like neat and tidy endings, but I think because this was such a long book it would have helped my appreciation of the story.  If you enjoy books that have themes of art history and unattainable love this book may be for you.

My Rating:  3/5

Disclosure:  This audiobook is from my personal collection and I read it for my own enjoyment.

You can check out more great book reviews at Cym Lowell's Book Review Party Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wondrous Words Wednesday-July 14

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!

I've learned a few new words as I have been reading 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan:

Eiderdown:  down, or soft feathers, from the breast of the female eider duck.
And another definition is:   a heavy quilt or comforter, esp. one filled with eiderdown.

Here is how eiderdown was used on page 7:  
Hannah was always harping about her-she wasted gas and decorated her room with yellow roses and an eiderdown a foot high.

Septuagenarian:  of the age of 70 years or between 70 and 80 years old.

Here is how septuagenarian was used on page 19:
He had met his wife after he had finished his law degree at Harvard and come to New York to work as a junior counsel for a pair of septuagenarians on Battery Place.

Daguerreotype:   an obsolete photographic process, invented in 1839, in which a picture made on a silver surface sensitized with iodine was developed by exposure to mercury vapor.

Here is how daguerreotype was used on page 30:
He studied the daguerreotype again.

Pestilential: pernicious; harmful. 
or another definition:  annoyingly troublesome.

Here is how pestilential was used on page 47: 
During the summer, the city became enveloped by a pestilential haze, and entire neighborhoods stewed in the heat.

Garrotes:  a method of capital punishment of spanish origin in which an iron collar is tightened around a condemned person's neck until death occurs by strangulation or by injury to the spinal column at the base of the brain.

Here is how garrote was used on page 131:
The next level was for the more infamous: burglars and arsonists, ruffians, gang members, and dirk men, who made dexterous use of ropes and garrotes to accost honest people on their way home in the dark, and deprive them of their possessions.

After I read the definition of septuagenarian I realized that I had already known this word, but of course had forgotten.  Maybe I will remember it now!  So did you learn any new words last week?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: July 13

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 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan:
For a moment she felt a twinge of panic, as if he had seen into her past.  No, she assured herself, it was more likely that he had a bachelor's dread of trespass, and she should tread lightly.

pg. 72

Friday, July 9, 2010

Current Giveaways!!!

It has been a whirlwind of activity for the last couple of weeks but here are a few contests that I wanted to share with you.  If I happened to miss posting about your contest please feel free to leave the link in the comments below.

Teresa's Reading Corner is giving away Shiva's Arms by Cheryl Snell--Contest ends 7/16.

Passages to the Past is giving away The King's Mistress by Emma Campion--Contest ends 7/21.

The Tome Traveller's Weblog is giving away The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri--Contest ends 7/26.

Library Girl Reads is having her July Giveaway--Contest ends 7/27.

Peeking Between the Pages has a Take Hachette to the Beach Giveaway--Contest ends 8/8.

Well that's all I have for this week and don't forget to see what I have to offer on my sidebar.  Today is the last day to enter my contest for April and Oliver by Tess Callahan.

My visit with my niece and nephew is almost over and I think we had a nice time together.  I'm hoping they enjoyed themselves enough that they may want to come back again in the future.  Tomorrow we are planning an outing to the zoo and then on Sunday we hit the road for a 10 hour trip to bring them back...oh, it's a long ride!  My daughter is coming with me so we should have a good time together on the way back home.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Giveaway: The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

I'm so excited to be able to offer up to 3 copies of this book to give away to my readers!  Since these will be shipped directly from the publisher this contest is open to US entrants only.  If you missed my review or would like to read a brief summary of what this tasty book is about you can view it here.

Now on for the giveaway!

I will be giving away one book for every 10 entries with a maximum of three books to give away.

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 one additional entry let me know the name of a french or indian dish that you enjoy.  If you haven't ever had french or indian food let me know something that you would like to try in the future.

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

So you can earn a total of four entries, but please remember to include your email so I will have a way to contact you if you win.

You will have until July 23rd to enter and I will draw for winners on July 24th.

**This giveaway is closed.

Blog Tour and Review: The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

Here is a summary of The Hundred-Foot Journey from Richard Morais' website:

A middle-aged chef, Hassan Haji, recounts his life’s journey, from his family’s modest restaurant in Mumbai to his elegant restaurant in Paris where he has conquered the insular world of French haute cuisine. A tragedy at home in Mumbai pushes Hassan’s boisterous family into a picaresque journey across Europe, where they ultimately settle opposite a famous chef, Madam Mallory, in the remote French village of Lumière. After a series of hilarious cultural mishaps, the grand French chef discovers, much to her horror, that the young boy cooking in the cheap Indian restaurant across the way is a chef with natural talents far superior to her own. A culinary war ensues, full of plot twists, pitting Hassan’s Mumbai-toughened father against the imperious Madam Mallory, a battle royale that finally reveals to young Hassan his true destiny in life.

Full of eccentric characters, vivid settings, and delicious meals, Hassan’s charming tale lays bare the inner workings of the elite world of French haute cuisine. In the process, however, Hassan also discovers a truism that bedevils any man who has gone out into the world to make his mark: the true costs of rising to the top are only revealed later in life.

My Review:
This was such a fun story that brought you to many destinations including, India, London, and Paris.  We followed the life of a young Indian man named Hassan and watched him develop as a chef from cooking spicy indian food to authentic french cuisine.

I was captivated by the journey that young Hassan had to take in order to find his true calling in life.  Even as a young boy living not far from the slums in India, he found himself drawn to the markets where he could sample the various foods that were available.  When Hassan's mother is tragically killed he finds himself travelling with his family in search of a place that they could call home.

First they settle in London to stay with Hassan's mother's family.  This seemed the most confusing time for Hassan and the only thing that he seemed to be sure of was the food that he loved.  He lived a carefree and wreckless life in London, which eventually spurred their sudden departure and set them looking for a home once again.

After travelling for what seems like an eternity without a specific destination in sight, the stumble upon a french village called Lumiere that appears to have good possibilities for their homestead.  Before you know it they have purchased a huge home and start operating an Indian restauraunt on the main floor.  Many of the village citizens welcome the new family and restaurant into their community, except for Madame Mallory, who runs a famous french restaurant right across the street.  She becomes furious as she sees her regular patrons dining across the street to try something different.

Although Hassan is just a young man, his father decides to teach him what is needed for him to become the head chef in their indian restaurant.  He catches on quite quickly and enjoys cooking the meals from his home country, but for some reason he finds himself drawn to the cooking that is taking place across the street.  When Madame Mallory realizes that Hassan has a natural talent in the kitchen she takes it upon herself to teach him everything that she knows about french cooking.  After years of learning and cooking under the world famous Mallory, and some other help from her along the way, Hassan develops into a notable french chef himself. 

I enjoyed this story with the descriptions of the various foods, the different countries and cultures.  With themes of food, loss, anger, forgiveness, fulfilling one's destiny, starting over and moving on, this book really had a lot to offer.  I love cultural fiction and this one did not let me down!

My Rating:  4/5

If you are interested in reading more reviews of this book or even trying to win a copy for yourself, here is the complete list of tour stops:
7/5 & 7/6:
Review, guest post, and giveaway

Review and giveaway


Review and giveaway

Review and giveaway

Review and giveaway

7/10 & 7/11:
Review, guest post, and giveaway


Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by InkWell Management in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wondrous Words Wednesday-July 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!

Last week I finished reading The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais and here are a few new words I learned from that book:

Ptarmigan: any of several grouses of the genus Lagopus,  of mountainous and cold northern regions, having feathered feet.

Here is how ptarmigan was used on page 202:
The boy forced open the wooden box with a crowbar, and together we carefully unpacked the braces of ptarmigan wrapped in tissue paper.

Chiaroscuro:  a sketch in light and shade.

Here is how chiaroscuro was used on page 204:
And then, when I couldn't stand it anymore, when I gave in to all these unsettling images, when I was empty and couldn't find energy to fight and thought I might faint, they disappeared as quickly as they had come, and what poured into that empty space was a chiaroscuro vision of old Margaridou that Auvergne cook, sitting at a farmhouse window, quietly writing her simple recipes in her journal.

Please stop by tomorrow as I will be posting my review for this tasty book as part of a blog tour, and maybe even a giveaway!  Did you learn any new words this last week?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Java With Jo

I haven't had much time for reading with my niece and nephew visiting but I have fortunately been able to finish The Hundred-Foot Journey.  I will be reviewing this one for a blog tour that I will be participating in on July 8th, so be sure to check back then for my review and maybe even a giveaway!

We've been having a good visit with the kids so far, but I am having a problem adapting to feeding two additional people in the household.  After my daughter left for school last fall I grew accustomed to cooking for myself, my husband, and my grandma, which isn't quite as demanding as cooking for six people!  Before I would be able to cook big meals on the weekends and just a couple times during the week and leftovers would get us through.  With this many people at a meal (not to mention that one of them is a twelve year old boy) there is no such thing as leftovers!  Since leftovers do not exist I'm having to cook dinner almost every single night...bummer drag.  So it looks like my exercise regimen is going to be put on the back burner for a couple of weeks.

I recently did a quick review of the challenges that I am currently signed up for and I have officially decided that there is no room in my reading future for randomness!  I have not completed one book for this challenge so I am publicly admitting failure for the Random Reading Challenge.  I know it doesn't end until the end of the month, but I know I definitely have no room for randomness in the next 24 days.  That's ok, now I know my limitations to help me plan better for challenges next year.  Since I am an accountant it really does not surprise me that I have a hard time fitting randomness into my schedule!