Monday, April 25, 2011

What Are You Reading?

Sheila over at Book Journey hosts this meme that gives you the opportunity to share the books that you have been losing yourself in lately and also the ones that you are looking forward to picking up next.  This is my first time participating in this meme so I will try to keep it short.

Finished on audio last week:
I just loved Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson!  I enjoy the humorous content that she weaves into the storylines that are usually quite serious.  Watch for my review within the next couple of weeks!

Right now this is what I'm reading on my Kindle:
The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair is about a young girl who uncovers deep family secrets while visiting her family home in India one summer.  I love these coming-of-age stories about young girls, especially when they take you to another country!

What I have to read next before book club next Wednesday is:
I really don't know too much about They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti, but I have heard mixed reviews from a couple gals in the book club that have already read this one.  I guess I will find out soon enough!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Here is a summary of Night Road from Kristin Hannah's website:

For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.

Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.

On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.

Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, Night Road raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.

My Review:
This is only the second Kristin Hannah book that I have read but a few of the ladies in my book club just rave about all of her books.  I really wasn't confident that I was going to enjoy this book as much as I did, as it seemed almost a bit too much like a Young Adult book to me in the beginning.  As we are brought into the lives of high school students and all of the drama that goes along with it, the story took a path for me that was more emotional than I would have expected.

Lexi is a young gal just entering her freshman year of high school, who hasn't been fortunate to live in a household with love overflowing.  Her mother was a victim to her addictions and eventually that would turn fatal.  Now an orphan, Lexi is nervous as she is introduced to an aunt in Washington that is going to take her in.  Lexi is overcome with joy as this woman reaches out to her and offers her a home and a family bond that she has never had the opportunity to experience.

Zach and Mia Farraday have had every opportunity available to them as they have advanced through their school years.  A loving family with a mother who always put their needs ahead of her own and offered them every comfort available.  Growing up as twins Zach and Mia always had a special bond, so even though Mia was never very popular around the kids in school, Zach always let her participate in activities with his friends.  Mia wasn't sure about how this would work out in high school though.

The first day of high school Mia and Lexi find an amazing friendship in each other that will help them through their high school years.  With the strength that they offer to one another they find themselves trying more things and becoming more independent with social activities.  Lexi is also accepted into the Farraday household like a member of the family.  She is grateful for the love that Jude Farraday offers to not only her children, but to herself as well.

One evening during their senior year of high school an accident takes place that will change all of their lives.  As a mother this was a very emotional story for me and I couldn't help but hurt for Jude Farraday as I watched her act out in ways that I knew would only cause harm to herself and everyone that she loved.  As Jude's world as she knows it is shattered, she finds herself on a journey that will take her on a painful path of hurt that will take years for her to find her way back home.

I did enjoy this novel even though it was an emotional rollercoaster ride for me as the tissue box was necessary for a couple of parts of the book.  With themes of relationships, maternal love, first loves, death, and forgiveness, this book will definitely tug at your heartstrings.  I think I will be reading this one with my book club in the next year and I believe it will make a great selection.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  I received this book from the publisher through the Library Thing early reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Winner of Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing!

I am very excited to announce that the winner of Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing by Kathy Cano-Murillo is.......

Congratulations Julie!  I will be contacting you shortly for your mailing information. Thanks to all who stopped by to enter the contest and also to Brianne from Hachette for offering this giveaway on my blog!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Audiobook Review: The Bourne Objective by Eric Van Lustbader

Here is a summary of The Bourne Objective from the Hachette website:

After Bourne is ambushed and nearly killed while in Indonesia, he fakes his death to take on a new identity and mission- to find out who is trying to assassinate him. In the process, Bourne begins to question who he really is and what he would become if he no longer carried the Bourne identity. Across the globe, an American passenger airliner is shot down over Egypt-apparently by an Iranian missile-leaving the world wondering if it was an accident or an act of aggression. A massive global team lead by Soraya Moore is assembled to investigate the attack before the situation escalates.

When Bourne's search for his would-be assassin intersects with Soraya's search for the group behind the airplane bombing, Bourne is thrust into a race to prevent a new world war. But it may already be too late.

My Review:
I was very excited to listen to this audiobook read by Scott Sowers since I have seen the Bourne movies and enjoyed all of them.  I usually enjoy action-packed audiobooks but I must admit that this is one that I didn't enjoy at all.  Maybe it is actually because all of the excitement going on in my life right now, but I just found that I could not focus on the story at all.

So you all know that Jason Bourne is a secret agent, for what agency I don't know.  But it does seem that someone is always chasing him and trying to kill him.  This story is not any different in that aspect.  I really do not even know what Bourne was trying to accomplish in this novel, except for trying to locate a laptop that obviously had some very important information on it.  Besides the quest for the laptop, there is also some lesbian activity and even a shark attack at some point, but who was attacked I can't recall.

The one part of the story line that I was able to follow had to do with Bourne reflecting on a past romantic relationship with a gal named Tracy, who happened to die in his arms.  Bourne recalls his relationship when he is introduced to Tracy's sister and her little girl.  Since Bourne has made contact with this mother/daughter duo, their lives are also now in danger.

I actually did listen to the whole audiobook thinking that I would enjoy it as time went on, but it didn't happen for me.  The story did not grab me at any point and I still don't really know what Bourne was trying to accomplish, except for what the summary indicates above.  I'm not really sure who would like this one as an audiobook, but I can assure you that it wasn't for me.

My Rating:  1/5

Disclosure:  This book is from my personal library and I listened to it for my own entertainment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday-April 12

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 Night Road by Kristin Hannah:
Maybe God had designed senior year so that mothers like her could let their children leave home.  If this kept up, it would be easier than she'd thought.

pg. 108

I finished reading this book over the weekend but couldn't help to share this teaser.  This was a very emotional story for me so stay tuned for my review in the next week or so!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mailbox Monday-April 11

Thanks to Marcia of The Printed Page for starting the Mailbox Monday Meme that has us list the books that we received last week. Although Marcia isn't going to be hosting Mailbox Monday any longer, she set it up so different bloggers have the opportunity to host this meme for a month at a time. This month the host is Amy from Passages to the Past so head on over there to see what everyone else received or to play along!

Ok, here is what was in my mailbox lately:
Friendship Bread by Darien Gee

And after begging and pleading to a couple of my contacts at Random House I also received:
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Yes, I will admit to all of you that begging is not beneath me!  Some books I don't have a problem with sitting back and just waiting for them to arrive, if they even do...but with Lisa See that is just not an option!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Java With Jo

Well it has been just way too long since I have posted a Java With Jo for you all.  And first things first!  As most of you know I really do not like to use any profanity on my blog, so my apologies in advance for using the A** word today.  But I cannot help but share with anyone the excitement about my friend Miranda, who has finally been able to kick Cancer's ASS!  So Congratulations Miranda!  I know it has been such a long and painful journey for you and I know your whole family has been grateful for all of the love and support that has been offered to you.  You are one tough cookie and you are now even stronger from this journey that you have had to endure.  I'm thankful that you are in my life and are here to stay!  Here's to many more movie nights and audiobooks in our future!  So I couldn't help but share this picture from this past winter of Miranda and her lovely family.

Well that really makes all other news on the homefront irrelevant doesn't it?  I think so!  I have been adapting well to the hours at my new job, and will finally be able to start enjoying my Mondays off very soon!    That is good because with spring right around the corner it's time to start getting the garden ready and getting the outside cleaned up also.  There is still snow in my yard but I'm confident that it will be gone within a couple of weeks!  I'm looking forward to a snow-free Easter!

For the weekend I am heading to a state bowling tournament for the ladies league for the first time.  So that should be a new experience and I'm definitely looking forward to it.  My bowling has definitely gone downhill throughout the season as the last couple of weeks I haven't even bowled my average!  I'm hoping that will change for the tournament.

My little girl is going to be 20 years old this weekend!  Oh my goodness!  She has grown into such a beautiful young lady that I am very proud of.  Being a mom can be a tough job, but I am reaping the benefits now as Vicki is making good choices and decisions in her life that will have a positive impact on her future.  I love you Vicki and have a great birthday weekend!  Here is a picture of what Vicki looks like when she is baking.

Well I guess that is it for today!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Here is a summary of Nefertiti from Michelle Moran's website:

The sweeping story of a powerful Egyptian family, Nefertiti: A Novel tells the tale of two sisters, the first of whom is destined to rule as one of history’s most fascinating queens.

Beautiful Nefertiti and her sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised far from the court of their aunt, the Queen of Egypt. But when the Pharaoh of Egypt dies, their father’s power play makes Nefertiti wife to the new and impetuous king. It is hoped she will temper King Amunhotep’s desire to overturn Egypt’s religion, but the ambitious Nefertiti encourages Amunhotep’s outrageous plans instead, winning the adoration of the people while making powerful enemies at court. Younger yet more prudent, Mutnodjmet is her sister’s sole confidant, and only she knows to what lengths Nefertiti will go for a child to replace the son of Amunhotep’s first wife.

As King Amunhotep’s commands become more extravagant, he and Nefertiti ostracize the army, clergy, and Egypt’s most powerful allies. Then, when Mutnodjmet begins a dangerous affair with a general, she sees how tenuous her situation is at her own sister’s court. An epic story that resurrects ancient Egypt in vivid detail, Nefertiti: A Novel.

My Review:
I absolutely loved this novel as I was swept away to ancient Egypt in this beautifully crafted story by Michelle Moran.  I really do not have much knowledge of Egyptian history so it was fascinating to learn some of the practices and religious customs that were held with such a sacred esteem.

Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet are as different as two sisters could ever be.  They do have different mothers and since Nefertiti does come from a line of royalty she is groomed at an early age to hopefully become queen of Egypt some day.  Mutnodjmet definitely does not have quite as glorious of a future ahead of her, but she does know she wants more out of life besides catering to her older sister's every whim.

Everything seems to be working according to the plan that has been devised by Nefertiti and her father.  The Prince of Egypt has chosen Nefertiti as his wife, and although he is already married to a woman named Kiya, it will be impossible for Kiya to ever become queen.  Nefertiti just needs to strengthen her relationship with her new husband and make him realize that she will support all of his decisions.  Before too long, the young prince is crowned the Pharoah of Egypt and Nefertiti is ruling by his side.  Together they will make changes that will devastate the stronghold of Egypt.

As Nefertiti becomes more powerful by her husband's side, the people seem to respect her more than her husband the Pharoah.  She uses her power to try to force her sister to stay near her for comfort and companionship.  But when Mutnodjmet finally falls in love she must decide whether it is more important to obey her sister or follow her heart to be with the man that she loves.

I loved this story that was full of ancient power, intrigue, love and destiny.  I read this novel with my book club and all of the ladies enjoyed it so I don't hesitate in highly recommending this book for personal entertainment or as a book club selection.

My Rating:  5/5

Disclosure:  This book was from my personal collection and I read it for my own entertainment.

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