Thursday, September 29, 2011

Java With Jo

Well life has certainly been busy this Fall for our household!  Things seem to be settling down to a sense of normalcy after we brought my daughter back to college earlier in the month.  Our puppy has even been doing better with her potty training...Thank You Lord!  Princess Isabella...AKA 'Izzy', is now 6 months old and she is such a little sweetie.  She is a morkie and I must admit that I really wasn't expecting her to have quite so much attitude.  I think that our older dog Scarlett is enjoying having the opportunity to put her in her place though.

Our ladies bowling season is underway and my scores have once again been all over the place.  I just started using my new ball last week so I'm hoping that will make a difference for me.  I can already tell how much less effort it takes when you use a ball that has been drilled specifically for you.

On the reading front, I am soooo looking forward to attending Club Read next month!  I get to meet some great authors and also some bloggers that I already feel that I have a friendship with.  It will be so nice to finally meet some of these ladies in person!  For some reason I felt that I have been reading more this year than last, but when I compared the 100+ Reading Challenge from last year to this year, I am at about the very same spot.  I just don't think that I am meant to read 100 books within one year at this time of my life.  That's ok...I will keep track of what I have read and that will be it!

I just realized that I am up to date on my scheduled reviews and blog tours!  Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of ARC's on my shelf at home that are awaiting reviews, but nothing scheduled!  After I am done with my current book club selection, I may have to wander to my book shelf and pick up a book just for kicks!  Doesn't that sound like fun?

Well that is what I have been up to.  It may not seem like much, but some weeks it seems that I only have one night without an obligation!  So what has been keeping you busy this Fall?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

Here is a summary of The Soldier's Wife from the Goodreads website:

A novel full of grand passion and intensity, The Soldier's Wife asks "What would you do for your family?" "What should you do for a stranger?" and "What would you do for love?" 

As World War II draws closer and closer to Guernsey, Vivienne de la Mare knows that there will be sacrifices to be made. Not just for herself, but for her two young daughters and for her mother-in-law, for whom she cares while her husband is away fighting. What she does not expect is that she will fall in love with one of the enigmatic German soldiers who take up residence in the house next door to her home. As their relationship intensifies, so do the pressures on Vivienne. Food and resources grow scant, and the restrictions placed upon the residents of the island grow with each passing week. Though Vivienne knows the perils of her love affair with Gunther, she believes that she can keep their relationship and her family safe. But when she becomes aware of the full brutality of the Occupation, she must decide if she is willing to risk her personal happiness for the life of a stranger.

My Review:
I can't tell you how thrilled I was to receive this ARC in the mail.  After reading a previous novel that took place during the German Occupation on the Island of Guernsey, I couldn't wait to return there through the pages of The Soldier's Wife.  We follow Vivienne's life during this hard time after making a life-changing decision to stay on the Island when so many others are fleeing.

Vivienne lives in a more rural area of Guernsey, but not far from a village that contains all of their basic needs.  Since her husband has joined the army and has left to fight against the Germans, she finds herself having to spend all of her energy and strength over the next couple of years to care for her aging mother-in-law and her two young daughters.  I found admiration in my heart for Vivienne as she raises these girls, one on the verge of becoming a young lady, during such turbulent times.  Raising children is a hard job and I can only imagine what it would be like without the support of a husband and father by your side.  Not only for emotional needs, but for basic survival needs as well.

The Germans take over the Island in such a brutal and swift manner that leaves many fatalities including some of her close friends.  Once the Germans have control Vivienne seems to be unsure of the intentions of this enemy, as she sees many of them shopping in the same stores that she shops, and some even dating friends of her teenage daughter.  This seems to send a mixed message to Vivienne and as she has problems understanding where her loyalty actually lies.

Since many of the Island residents have deserted their homes in a search for safety, it is easy for the Germans to find random houses to occupy during this period of time.  It just so happens that the home right next to Vivienne's becomes occupied by a squad of German soldiers.  As she catches glimpses of these soldiers from time to time she seems to let down her guard against them as she is able to see that they are actually human just like her.  Before you know it she develops a special friendship with Gunther, a German captain, and they begin to count on each other for companionship.

I must admit to you that when I first started this book I was not appreciating the story that was unfolding before me.  But then I realized that although I didn't enjoy the premise of the novel, I couldn't put it down!  I let my mind explore what this situation would be like for a young woman caring for an elderly woman and two young children.  A person does what one needs to do in order to survive, even if it is seeking solitude and comfort from the most unlikely of strangers.

This novel turned out to be so much more than I expected it to be.  Vivienne must find the strength and courage to do things that put both her reputation and her life at risk.  Some readers may find that many of her actions were wrong, but when it counted, she did what needed to be done.  I found myself enjoying this novel, although it did leave me a bit unsettled, but I feel that good books will do that to you from time to time.  With themes of love, courage, war, and perseverance I believe that this book would be great for a book club discussion or for personal leisure.

Rating: 4/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday-Sep. 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 Angel Sister by Ann Gabhart:
"You never know where that handsome prince might turn up.  But alas, all I've gotten so far are warts."

pg. 18

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mailbox Monday-Sep. 26

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 the host is Amused By Books so head on over there to see what everyone else received or to play along!

Here is what arrived in my mailbox most recently:

 Cross Currents by John Shors

 The Leftovers  by Tom Perrotta (audiobook)

Well I haven't received too much in the mail lately but since both of these authors are new to me I'm very excited to get started on them.  I've really had my eye on John Shors novels lately so this was a timely delivery!  

I'm off to the dentist this afternoon so wish me luck everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ARC 2011 Reading Challenge Completed!

Well I am very excited to share with you all that I have completed the ARC Reading Challenge for 2011!  Although I only signed up for the Bronze Level, which is the lowest level possible, I am still happy to have completed it!  I want to give a special Thank You to So Many Precious Books, So Little Time for hosting this challenge this year.  So even though I signed up for the Bronze Level, I'm hoping to finish at a higher level as I will keep adding books to this post that are acceptable for this challenge.  Here is the list of books that I have read for the challenge and you should be able to click on the title if you would like to read my review:

1. Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez--Completed 1/6/2011
2. The Missionary by William Carmichael and David Lambert--Completed 1/14/2011
3. The Brave by Nicholas Evans--Completed 2/1/2011
4. Sweetie by Kathryn Magendie--Completed 2/6/2011
5. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin--Completed 3/17/2011
6. The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry--Completed 3/22/2011
7. Night Road by Kristin Hannah--Completed 4/09/2011
8. The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair--Completed 4/24/2011
9. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin--Completed 5/23/2011
10. The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson--Completed 6/15/11
11. Too Jewish by Patty Friedmann--Completed 6/27/11
12. Sweet Jiminy by Kristin Gore--Completed 7/2/11
13. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See--Completed 7/17/11
14. Lamb Bright Saviors by Robert Vivian--Completed 7/25/11
15. The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent--Completed 8/19/11
16. The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard--Completed 8/30/11
17. Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand--Completed 9/6/11
18. The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy--Completed 9/10/11
19. Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard--Completed 9/24/11
20. To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal--Completed 10/7/11
21. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta--Completed 10/31/11
22. One Summer by David Baldacci--Completed 11/12/11
23. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley--Completed 11/15/11
24.  Iron House by John Hart--Completed 12/14/11
25.  Room by Emma Donaghue--Completed 12/20/11
26. The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck--Completed 12/24/11
27. All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson--Completed 12/27/11

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blog Tour-Giveaway and Guest Post by Kathleen Kent!

I could hardly contain myself when Kathleen Kent offered to submit a Guest Post for Jo-Jo Loves to Read!!!  I was asked to think of an interesting subject for Kathleen to share with us.  I pondered the idea for a bit and then it came to me that I was curious to find out what it would be like to learn that one of your descendents was prosecuted as a witch during the Salem Witch Trials.  This brought about my idea for a guest post entitled Embracing Your Family Heritage.  Here are Kathleen's thoughts on the subject:

  For quite a few people, discovering their heritage and history comes later in life.  School, career, and raising children will often take precedence over the time and resources necessary to pour over genealogy charts, family bibles or even old photographs.   Our extended families becomes scattered geographically and generations tend to live apart.   Older relatives, repositories of a wealth of details of life gone by, pass away, and when the storyteller is gone, often, too, is their story.

   I was incredibly fortunate then that my grandparents gave to me at an early age family stories about Martha Carrier, my grandmother back nine generations and one of the nineteen men and women hanged as a witch in Salem in 1692.   Some of those stories were taken from documented history of the trials, but some of them were a recounting of rustic life in 17th century New England, passed down through generations of Carriers for over three hundred years.  In both my novels The Heretic’s Daughter, and the newly published The Traitor’s Wife, I incorporate many of those tales in tribute to my colonial ancestors.

   The first time I remember hearing about Martha was when I was a child, visiting my grandparents’ house in Pennsylvania for the summer.   I sat at the kitchen table listening to my mother and grandmother talking about family members, some of them long dead.   I hadn’t been paying them much attention until I heard my grandmother say something about a relative who had been hanged as a witch.  Intrigued, I asked her if Martha Carrier was truly a witch, and she said, “Sweetheart, there are no such things as witches, merely ferocious women.”

   From that moment on, at every family gathering, I asked my grandparents and great aunts and uncles for stories about Martha Carrier, and of her husband, Thomas, who has his own fascinating history.   From them I learned that Martha was indeed a ferocious woman; courageous, outspoken and steadfast in denying being a witch.  She is perhaps the only person recorded during the witch trials who called her judges to task for giving credence to the accusing girls’ testimony by saying, “It is a shame that you should listen to these folks who are out of their wits.”

   Thomas Carrier, Martha’s husband, was a man who, according to my grandparents, lived to 109 years of age, stood seven feet tall and was one of the executioners of King Charles I of England.   My book research substantiated the first two claims.  As to the rumor that Thomas was involved in a king’s death, the story may never be proved, but it has, to date, not been disproved either.  Following the publishing of The Heretic’s Daughter, I was contacted by many fellow Carrier descendents, most of whom I had never met before, who told me that they also had grown up hearing the same legends about this remarkable man.

   Embracing my family history from such an early age helped define who I am.  It instilled in me pride in the bravery and steadfastness of the family that came before me, who suffered and overcame so much injury from social intolerance and superstitious dread.   Looking at the “ferocious women” in my family helped to nurture my own sense of the value of passionate hard work and perseverance.   It also gave me a profound love for history, especially early American history, and for the settlers who risked so much for the ideals of individual freedoms.    Those family stories were a gift; a gift which I hope to pass on to the generations that come after me.

Now for the giveaway!
I will be giving away one book for every 10 entries with a maximum of three books to give away.  The first name drawn will also receive a copy of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent.

Winners will be subject to the one copy per household, which means if you win the same title on another blog you will receive only one copy of the title.

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 another entry share something interesting about your personal family history.

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 October 16th to enter and I will draw for winners on or after October 17th.
Good luck everyone!

**This giveaway is closed**

Blog Tour and Review: The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent

I was very excited to be a part of this blog tour as I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent.  Even though The Traitor's Wife is the second novel by Kent, it is actually a prequel to The Heretic's Daughter. I also want to give a special Thank You to Anna from Hachette for inviting me to be a part of this special blog tour!

Here is a summary of the book from the Hachette website:

In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and his mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of the role he played in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves-in many forms-who hunt for blood. At once a love story and a tale of courage, The Traitor's Wife confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful stories from the dramatic background of America's earliest days. 

My Review:
In The Traitor's Wife, Kent takes us back even further in history than she did in The Heretic's Daughter.  We are taken back to 1649 England in an effort to help us understand why Thomas Carrier fled from that country and tried to live as secretly as possible when arriving in America.

Martha Allen is already living in America with her family, and as a young woman her father only hopes that she will marry soon.  He sends her away to help her pregnant cousin Patience maintain her household, but little does Martha know that she will be treated like a common slave upon her arrival.  It is at her cousin's home where Martha crosses paths with Thomas Carrier, and it is only a matter of time until they become one anothers friend and confidant.

A good portion of this story is about Thomas Carrier and the secret of his past that will follow him for the rest of his life.  I will not give this part of the story away, except to say that it really was sad that this conspiracy against Thomas would always follow him.  I couldn't help recalling the story of The Heretic's Daughter and realizing that Thomas' secrecy, along with Martha's no-frills attitude and her home remedies, helped persuade all of the neighbors to convict her as a witch.

Life for Martha was hard as she tried to help her cousin the best that she could.  Patience very quickly makes it known that she is the woman of the house and everyone will abide by her rules.  When Martha makes suggestions or blends a special concoction of herbs to make the pregnancy easier for Patience, she finds that Patience no longer trusts her and even thinks that Martha may be harboring ill feelings or spells towards her.  I can only imagine how hard life was back then and to add a long and cold winter on top of it, yikes!  I'm sure it wouldn't take much for tempers to flare.

I loved how this story was written in a way that showed how gentle, but yet strong Thomas was.  Although we know the hardships that Martha endured during this time, I feel that I came to know Thomas more for some reason.  This was a great story with themes of love, secrecy, and loyalty that would make for either a great book club selection or to read for personal leisure.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This e-book was provided to me by the publisher through the Netgalley program in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Winner of Southern Fried Women!

How exciting to announce the winner of Southern Fried Women by Pamela King Cable is.........


Congratulations traveler!  I will be emailing you shortly to get your mailing information to forward on to the publisher to send out your book.  Thanks to all who entered!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Audiobook Review: The Camel Club by David Baldacci

Title:  The Camel Club
Author:  David Baldacci
Narrator:  Jonathan Davis
Unabridged Length:  16 hrs, 10 mn.

Here is a summary of book from the Hachette website:

Welcome to THE CAMEL CLUB.Existing at the fringes of Washington, D.C., the Club consists of four eccentric members. Led by a mysterious man known as "Oliver Stone," they study conspiracy theories, current events, and the machinations of government to discover the "truth" behind the country's actions.Their efforts bear little fruit-until the group witnesses a shocking murder...and become embroiled in an astounding, far-reaching conspiracy. Now the Club must join forces with a Secret Service agent to confront one of the most chilling spectacles ever to take place on American soil-an event that may trigger the ultimate war between two different worlds. And all that stands in the way of this apocalypse is five unexpected heroes.

My Review:
The Camel Club is the first novel in a series by David Baldacci that introduces us to an extraordinary group of individuals that have their own way of trying to keep our country safe, even from people that would not usually be suspected.  Jonathan Davis narrated this audiobook and did a great job of building the action and suspense within the novel.

There are many characters that are introduced within the book, but Oliver Stone, who also leads the Camel Club is the character that we get to know the most.  Stone is quite a mysterious man as he doesn't seem to have a past but yet knows many of the in's and out's of secret government issues.  When the Camel Club gathers for a meeting in the beginning of the novel, they unfortunately witness a murder, which lands them knee deep in the middle of a conspiracy that will add excitement to all of their lives.

Shortly after the murder takes place, we learn about a plot to kidnap the President of the United States.  Plans have been in place by a terrorist organization that include people that have been working as nannies to medical doctors.  Once the President is kidnapped the Secret Service picks up a trail that somehow leads them right in the path of Oliver Stone and the rest of the Camel Club.

These events are somehow linked to the conspiracy and the Camel Club finds themselves working with the Secret Service to unravel the mystery.  As I indicated, this audiobook is full of action and suspense to keep your attention through most of the book.  I did find my attention wavering in a few parts, which is why I am going to give this audiobook just an average rating.  I'm sure that Baldacci fans will eat this one up though!

My Rating:  3/5

Disclosure:  I borrowed this audiobook from my local library and listened to it for my own entertainment.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday-Sept. 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!

Last week I learned a couple of new words while reading an Advanced Reader's Edition of The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy:

Kestrel: a common small falcon.

Here is how kestrel was used on page 88:
I think of his face, which has the sharpness of a kestrel, his gaze, which looks right into you, and his twisted body, the way he drags his right foot.

Eiderdown: a thick warm cover for a bed, made of two layers of material enclosing a soft filling.

Here is how eiderdown was used on page 267:
I fetch her eiderdown and make her a bed on the sofa, with her Buckingham Palace jigsaw on a tray.

Well that is it for my new words this week.  I have heard of goosedown but eiderdown was a new one to me!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Teaser Tuesday-Sept. 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 The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy:
"We aren't going to let them get away with it, Auntie," he says.  "We're going around painting swastikas on their houses."

pg. 190
***Please note that this is from an Advanced Reading Copy so the final printing may change.

Monday, September 12, 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.

Here is what I recently finished listening to:
I really enjoyed spending the month of August listening to Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand.  How I would love to spend a summer in Nantucket!  You will have to watch for my review of this audiobook.

What I'm reading now:
I decided to get a start on Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard for a TLC Blog Tour that I am a part of in October.  This one I decided to read on my Kindle.

And next is:
When I meet with my book club in October we will be discussing Angel Sister by Ann Gabhart so I'm thinking this should be the next book I read.  I really like the cover of this one!

I hope you all have a great Monday!  I'm having a Pampered Chef party tonight so I had better start getting things ready for that.

On another note, I know the BBAW is starting and I must have missed signing up for it this year!  How on earth could I let that happen!  Oh well, I will have fun stopping by all of your blogs and helping you celebrate anyway.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blog Tour and Review: The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard

I'm very thankful once again to Trish from TLC Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of this tour for the newest novel by Joyce Maynard.  Maynard has proven once again to me that she is an exceptional author.  Here is a summary of The Good Daughters from the Harper Collins website:

They were born on the same day, in the same small New Hampshire hospital, into families that could hardly have been less alike. 

Ruth Plank is an artist and a romantic with a rich, passionate, imaginative life. The last of five girls born to a gentle, caring farmer and his stolid wife, she yearns to soar beyond the confines of the land that has been her family's birthright for generations. 

Dana Dickerson is a scientist and realist whose faith is firmly planted in the natural world. Raised by a pair of capricious drifters who waste their lives on failed dreams, she longs for stability and rootedness. 

Different in nearly every way, Ruth and Dana share a need to make sense of who they are and to find their places in a world in which neither has ever truly felt she belonged. They also share a love for Dana's wild and beautiful older brother, Ray, who will leave an indelible mark on both their hearts. 

Told in the alternating voices of Ruth and Dana, The Good Daughters follows these "birthday sisters" as they make their way from the 1950s to the present. Master storyteller Joyce Maynard chronicles the unlikely ways the two women's lives parallel and intersect—from childhood and adolescence to first loves, first sex, marriage, and parenthood; from the deaths of parents to divorce, the loss of home, and the loss of a beloved partner—until past secrets and forgotten memories unexpectedly come to light, forcing them to reevaluate themselves and each other. 

Moving from rural New Hampshire to a remote island in British Columbia to the '70s Boston art-school scene, The Good Daughters is an unforgettable story about the ties of home and family, the devastating force of love, the healing power of forgiveness, and the desire to know who we are.

My Review:
When I first read the summary of The Good Daughters I figured it would end up being a 'switched at birth' plot, but really it turned out to be a story that  focuses on two girls lives as they struggle trying to find their places in the world.  The chapters alternate between Ruth and Dana, through love, secrets, and loss, as we follow them through their adult lives.

Ruth Plank was born into a family that owned a lucrative farm.  With just her and her sisters, her parents no longer had any hope of passing the farm down to a son as was the custom with previous Plank generations.  Her father accepted this outcome and loved all of his girls equally and was not shy in showing his pride for his lovely family of daughters.  Ruth just cannot understand why her relationship with her mother is such a struggle through her whole life.

Dana Dickerson is born to a family that cannot seem to put roots down in any one area.  She finds herself longing for stability and a place to call home.  The Plank family seems to show up at their doorstep for a visit at least once a year and although the Dickerson's don't look forward to these visits, Dana does enjoy spending time with Edwin, Ruth's father, as he is always generous in sharing agricultural information with her.

As much as Dana enjoys agriculture, Ruth finds an artistic side of her just waiting to burst out of her skin.  She has no desire at all to join her sisters in the farmwork, except for managing the small roadside vegetable stand.  Through the work that she does in the stand she finds a special place in her heart for the farm that helps her develop a closer relationship with her father.

As truths and secrets are revealed in the book I found myself getting angry with Ruth's parents, Edwin and Connie Plank.  Before I knew it, I was all upset with the story as I couldn't imagine the path that Edwin and Connie decided to take.  Connie especially frustrated me as she appeared to be such a God-fearing and strong-willed woman, but then I came to understand why her character reacted the way that she did.  Everything did come full circle for me in this novel that let me find the appreciation that this book deserves.

I think this book would make a great book club selection with themes of love, family, secrets, and loss.  As I was reading it I could only imagine the different comments that would be made from various members of my group.  I did enjoy this novel and I'm confident that many of you would also!

My Rating:  4/5

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

Club Read Anyone?

Oh, I am soooo excited to share with you all that I have officially registered and purchased my airline ticket for Club Read that will be held in Virginia next month!  I know that many of you have been to BEA or other book events, but this is the first major book event for me! 

Not only do I get a chance to meet some bloggers out there that I have been wanting to meet since Day One, but these are the authors that are planning to attend:

Adriana Trigiani
Joyce Maynard
Sena Jeter Naslund
Gretchen Rubin
Jessica Anya Blau
Amy Stolls
Matthew Norman
Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Heather Newton
Greg Olear
Caroline Todd (of Charles Todd)
Susan Henderson

Have I mentioned that I am excited for this event?  I can't wait for the opportunity to sit down and chat with a couple of my favorite authors!  So I am curious, are any of you planning on attending Club Read?  Please let me know if you are because I would LOVE the opportunity to meet up with you also!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Year of Sweet Connections!

I know that most of you are aware of how much I love my book club!  As we are about to start our eight year together I can't help but get a little excited about the books that we have selected for our upcoming meetings.  Over the few years we have lost a couple of ladies, but then we have also gained a couple of new members.  All of the ladies that have been a part of our group including past, recent, and even new members are such an important part of my life and I'm so glad that they are a part of it!

Our schedule actually follows the school year so our first meeting after our summer break is tonight and I can't wait to sit down and talk about The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I know that most of the ladies loved this book as much as I did.  I just wanted to share with you our list of book club selections for the next year:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Angel Sister by Ann Gabhart
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
House Rules by Jodi Piccoult
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Night Road by Kristin Hannah

We usually read a Holiday themed book during the month of December and I think this year we will be reading A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg, but I don't know if that's official yet.  I haven't read anything by Flagg yet, so I sure hope we do.  I think we have a pretty good selection ahead of us so I can't really say that there is one in particular that I am looking forward to.  Whether we like the book or not we always have a good time together anyway!

If you are interested you can see a complete list of all of our past book club selections here.  So is there anything that you are looking forward to reading with your book club soon?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Theme Thursday

I was very excited to see this meme that was started by Reading Between Pages that allows us to post about a different theme from the book that we are reading all week long.  Here is how it works:

  • theme will be posted each Thursday
  • Select a snippet with this weeks theme from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
This week the theme is about school so here is the snippet that I found while reading The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy:
"We'll be all right, sweetheart," I say.  "It doesn't matter that much.  We can manage without the china dogs, and the silver eggcups were such a nuisance to clean.  At least they haven't taken our books..." 
pg. 28

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mailbox Monday-Sep. 5

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 the host is Amused By Books so head on over there to see what everyone else received or to play along!

Only one book in my mailbox last week:
 The Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker

This one was quite a surprise last week as I had kind of given up hope on receiving it!  I'm very excited to read this one.  How about you...anything new and exciting in your mailbox?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: Lamb Bright Saviors by Robert Vivian

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

Lamb Bright Saviors begins as an apocalyptically inclined itinerant preacher staggers across the Nebraska prairie. With his young assistant, Mady, in tow hauling a wagon stacked with bibles, it’s not long before the preacher finds he’s come to the final fulfillment of his self-proclaimed life’s work: to die in front of a group of strangers. Odd as his own end-of-days might be, the lives and struggles of the strangers attending this deathbed scene are even odder. As the dying preacher unleashes a barrage of hallucinatory ramblings and rantings in the hope of imparting wisdom, each ragtag member of this unlikely congregation must reckon with his or her own dark past. And, through it all, the irrepressible Mady lends the preacher’s strange performance a surprising and unforgettable dignity and humor.

My Review:
If you are looking for a book that is full of beautiful writing that you really need to think about as you are reading every word, then this fictional story is for you.  We are introduced to several characters within this novel that committed a crime against a helpless woman years ago, and now their lives have come full circle as they are all gathered in her home for a very unlikely event.

As a travelling preacher suddenly finds himself on death's doorstep, the young girl that travels with him seeks the help of some local residents in rural Nebraska in hopes that the preacher's passing will be swift and painless.  The men that she runs into are men that haven't seen each other since many years ago, but have been harboring a deep, dark secret since then.

These men have felt guilty for the crimes they have committed and seem to be able to move on with their lives as the crime has been unpunished up til this day.  One man has been released from prison for another crime, another has just returned from Iraq, and another has just been living an unfulfilled life in Point Blank, Nebraska.

As I mentioned this is a beautifully written story that is full of symbolism and hidden meanings, like the name of the town being Point Blank, and even the deficiency of the helpless woman.  There is so much to contemplate within this small novel that it would make for a great literary analysis for a college course or any English major.  For a person like me that just enjoys a great story that is written well, this book just didn't appeal to me.  There was very limited dialogue within the book and what there was you really had to search for as it wasn't obvious.  There was also a substantial amount of harsh language in this novel that I really thought was unnecessary.  I may have enjoyed the story more without some of the profanity.

So with that said I think you can tell that this novel was not appreciated by me, but that's not to say that you will not enjoy it.  This book is laced with themes, including but not limited to war, forgiveness, and death.  If you are looking for a story that you need to continually concentrate on while reading then this one is for you!

My Rating:  2/5

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