Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 26, 2015

In First Frost Sarah Addison Allen takes us back to the magical world of Bascom, North Carolina.  The Waverley's are eagerly awaiting the First Frost and the blossom of that magical apple tree in the backyard.  Claire is working her magic through her baking, Sydney is working her magic through her salon and trying to keep her teenage daughter, Bay, from falling for the wrong boy.  Together they are all leading the life that they were meant to lead.  Life is grand until an elderly man makes an appearance in Bascom that threatens the security of the Waverley family.  Will they be able to get past his threats or will their family crumble?

In Bascom, North Calorina, Sarah Addison Allen has created one of those magical places that just sucks you away from the world you live in.  The Waverely family has those magical, mystical qualities that just make life seem.... enchanting.   It was great to catch up with the characters we first met way back in Garden Spells.  It was also great to see that the Waverley magic has carried on into the next generation.  Bay and Mariah both have skills that carry on the family tradition.    In the end, everything works out just like you would expect for the Waverely family, but it leaves you sad to say good-bye.

Bottom line, Sarah Addison Allen knows how to create an enchanting world that has you longing to visit.  First Frost is another installment in that magical world.  Perfect for an afternoon escape.


(6)First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

For as long as she can remember Patience Smith has had a fondness for romance.  She got sucked into Harlequin romance novels from a young age and thought that her life would play out just like one of her romance novels.  When will the billionaire boss notice how beautiful she is while at work and sweep her off her feet?  Patience even gets a temp job after college because that is what all the heroines do in the romance novels.   She pursues her quest for romance in Ohio, France, and New Mexico before finally finding her way to New York City where Patience seeks out a job in publishing.  After a brief stint with Simon & Schuster Patience lands the "Holy Grail" of jobs. An assistant editor at Harlequin.  As an assistant editor she has unlimited access to all the romance novels she can possibly devour, yet she has still to meet "The One."   Not that she hasn't tried, signing up for every dating site she can find online.  Bur it is a Facebook request from an old high school friend that sparks Patience to believe that she may have found true love.  Will Patience find her "Happy Ever After?"

When I was a kid I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.  Then I thought that maybe I don't have the skill to be a writer, not a good writer anyway.  So then I decided I wanted to be an editor, that way I could read all the books I wanted.  Instead of becoming an editor, I became a blogger and have more books than I can possibly read in a lifetime.   I felt a real kinship with Patience for many reasons.  My grandmother (may she rest in peace) kept me stocked with an endless supply of Harlequin romance novels.  Which led me to find all of the trashy romance novels that I could find.  Patience also had a love for all the movies I loved.   She mentions them throughout her novel, Pride & Prejudice, Pretty Woman,  and Sex and the City to name a few.  All of the references to the movies and books made Romance is My Day Job a fun read.  Even her experience with online dating was something I could relate to, really what woman in their thirties hasn't dated online?

Bottom line, Romance is My Day Job is a book that will likely resonate with a lot of women.  What woman doesn't love a good romantic novel where the heroine is seeking out true love?  Be sure to check out Patience's story.

  • Romance is My Day Job by Patience Bloom
  • On Facebook
  • Pages: 320
  • Publication Date: February 6, 2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Group USA
  • Buy it Here!

(5) Romance is My Day Job by Patience Bloom

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Twenty-seven year old Daisy Richmond is a student, a wife, a daughter, and a breast cancer survivor.  She is gearing up for her "Cancerversary" when a routine follow-up reveals that the cancer is back.  She has four months. The news stuns her in a way that takes your breath away.  Her husband, Jack, is just months away from graduating from vet school and Daisy has chosen that to be her point of focus.  Jack's graduation.  As he buries himself in work Daisy tries to make his life as easy as possible so that he can make it to that graduation date.  She enlists the help of her best-friend, Kayleigh for such tasks as going to the funeral home.  Oh and finding Jack his next wife. .She thinks she may have the perfect woman for him chosen, Pamela and finds that Pamela shows up in their lives in the most unexpected places.  As the days slip away Daisy becomes more symptomatic and she finds herself becoming more confused, hurt, and afraid.   She wants Jack to find happiness once she is gone, but she wants him to remain by her side until she is gone.  Will having Pamela come into their lives ruin the rest of her life?

There are very few people in this world who has not had a loved one stricken by this horrible, horrible disease.  Cancer is one of those indiscriminate diseases that can strike people of any age, any walk of life.  Colleen Oakley tackles the topic in Before I Go.   Daisy and Jack are a busy young couple, they may be overachievers, but they have goals and dreams. When Daisy gets the news that the cancer is back it is easy to get caught up in the myriad of emotions that nearly swallow Daisy whole. The shock, the disbelief that Daisy feels is so gripping that it made my stomach hurt with fear and anxiety. Most of the book is Daisy walking around in almost a daze as she tries to process the fact that she will not be here.  Sometimes those feelings manifest themselves in less than constructive ways, like fighting with her best friend,  Kayleigh or going for days without speaking to her husband. It is just one way the author address the complexities that come when you find out that you are dying.   It is tough to read.  And more tough to live, I imagine.

Bottom line, a few weeks before Christmas a colleague of mine shared with our team that his thirty-one year old wife has a recurrence of breast cancer. It has spread and it can not be cured.  I read Before I Go with them and their four year old son on my mind. It made the story even more real to me as I tried to imagine those emotions and feelings that my friend and his wife are going through.  Before I Go may be tough for some people to read, but most definitely worth the read for anyone who has a loved one in the fight for their life.


(4)Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Don Tillman and his bride, Rosie are back.  They are ten months into their marriage and living in New York City.  Don is a visiting genetics professor at Columbia and Rosie is going to school for both her Phd. and Md. They are also both working a part-
time gig at a local bar. They are busy, but they  have settled into marriage.   They still encounter bumps in the road given Don's quirky demeanor, but Don is trying hard to make things easy for Rosie.   But then  Rosie drops a bombshell, she is pregnant. They have never discussed children, but there is no turning back now.  Don embraces this piece of information as he does with all new experiences, he sets out to research it to death.  From reading What to Expect When You Are Expecting to doing research at a nearby park(it did not end well), Don is committed to doing what he needs to do for Rosie and their BUD (baby under development).   He just forgets to tell Rosie that he is all in and his lack of communication may cause him to lose her and the baby forever.

I find myself very fond of Don Tillman and I can empathize with Rosie in so many ways.  Many of Don's mannerisms remind me of my husband in that geeky, anti-social sort of way.  This line reminding me of my husband: "My love for Rosie was so powerful that it had caused my brain to make a grammatical error." I laughed out loud, because I understand that for Don, making errors never happen. If nothing else about Don is made clear, let this be known, he is a man who loves his wife and shows that love in a million different ways, even if he doesn't say it.  There were several times throughout The Rosie Project that I found myself chuckling out loud. His arrest at the park, his interaction with the Air Marshall, his participation with the Lesbian Mothers project.  All were funny, awkward, and definitely Don Tillman. Thanks to my husband I am very much a fan of all things geek and in the last few years it has become obvious that the geeks shall inherit the earth.

Bottom line, The Rosie Effect  was about as perfect as it gets for sequels.  Don, Rosie, and their collection of friends return in the fun, yet quirky sequel to the tale that captured our hearts last year.  Be sure to pick up The Rosie Effect and catch up with your friends.

  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  • Pages:352
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date: December 30. 2014

(3)The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Rizzoli, Isles, and the rest of the gang are back teal with the murder of a big game taxidermist.  Leon Gott wasn't just murdered, but completely gutted and hung just like many of the animals he stuffs.  As Rizzoli and the team start the process of locating his murderer they are lead back to the local zoo where a zookeeper is mauled by a tiger.  Then they are led to Maine where a petty thief was murdered the same way that Gott was murdered.  And finally they are led to Botswana where a group on safari were led into the Delta, but only one made it out alive.  Will Rizzoli and Isles be able to find the murderer before the lone survivor of that expedition finishes her off?

I was a fan of Rizzoli and Isles long before I read any of the books. I was pleased to find out that when I did read a Tess Gerritsen novel the show sticks pretty closely to the books.  The same key characters, the same basic storyline.  I will say that it did make me sad to find that Frost is still in the books.  It broke my heart when Lee Thompson Young died and the show handled it in such a classy way.  I always have loved the Frost character so it was bittersweet to see him in Die Again.  It was easy to get sucked into the story of Leon Gott's murdered.  The book starts out in Botswana and the group on safari and it takes a while to figure out how it ties together to the murder in Boston, but when the pieces start coming together it will blow your mind!    In the end it was surprising to find out "whodunnit" but that is just the way I like my mystery novels.

Bottom line - Tess Gerritsen is a master when it comes to writing mystery novels.  Her two characters Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles have become synonymous with mysteries and murders on the streets of Boston.  Die Again is another prime example of her exemplary skills!


(2)Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

Saturday, January 3, 2015

In 1986 Annabelle and Jade were just eleven years old on the hot summer day that Chloe died and they were convicted of the crime.  After serving time in juvie they were both released with new names and a condition of their probation is to never, ever see each other again.    They have adhered to those regulations for over twenty years.  Annabelle is now Amber Gordon, a supervisor at the Funland amusement park and Jade is now Kristy Lindsay, a married reporter with two children. Their worlds intersect when a woman is found murdered at Funland. For Kristy and Annabelle seeing each other brings up a myriad of emotions, including fear about having their past revealed.  When another body turns up the two women try to stay far apart from each other, but they keep getting thrown together while Britain's Southern Coast is terrorized by a murderer.   Will they be able to keep their past a secret?  And will the murderer be caught before anyone else dies?

The Wicked Girls was the best kind of book to listen to on audiobook.  Because it is set on the Southern Coast of England, the narrator has that delicious British accent.  I loved how the book flashes back to that summer in 1986.  As Annabelle and Jade's story unfolds it gives you an understanding for who Kristy and Amber are today.  Even though Amber and Kristy were so different I found myself liking both women.  I found myself empathizing with them even more once the truth of what happened that summer is revealed.   It is easy for society as a whole to jump to conclusions and assume the worst of anybody, but there is always a more to the story. Always.   I wouldn't say that The Wicked Girls had a happy ending, but it was an ending that I could live with, even if it did make me a bit sad.

Bottom line, The Wicked Girls is one of those mysteries that is layered with mystery, suspense, and intrigue.   You will find yourself lost as much in the story of Jade and Annabelle as you will in the story of Amber and Kristy.  So worth the read and you can find it in the Bargain Section for just $2.99!


(1)The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Every year the one thing you can count on is that everybody and their brother puts out a "Best of 2014" list. I love reading the "Best of 2014" lists because I love to compare lists and get other people's thoughts on books I either read or didn't read.  But the thing that gets me about "Best of " lists,  is often times the lists are printed weeks before the year is actually over.  I hesitate to do that because what if I read the best book ever on New Year's Eve? What then?  Do you revise your list?  Do you move it to a "Best of 2015" list? So I thought I would hold off doing my year-end list until it was really the end of the year.

My "Best of 2014" is a mixture of chick lit, memoirs, mysteries, and dystopian. A little bit of everything. As You Wish by Cary Elwes was a fun memoir about a a movie that brings back lots of memories with every line and every "As you wish!"  

Station Eleven made the "Best of 2014" list for just about everybody, myself included.The dystopian tale focused on a traveling Shakespeare troupe captivated everyone who dared to pick up this book.   I think it was the only book of the year that I read to universally make the "Best of 2014" list.

I think my favorite book of the year has to go to What Nora Knew.  Not many people would even dare to put a Chick Lit novel on the "Best of 2014" list, but it is one that I completely adored.  Linda Yellin's homage to the late, great Nora Ephron was perfect in every way. The light-hearted feel to the book was exactly like what you would expect to find in the middle of a Nora Ephron movie.

What books made it to the top of your "Best of 2014" list?  Were they books found on other lists or only on yours?  What made them shoot right to the top of your list?  And for reference, I have included links to several of  the "Best of 2014" lists.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It has been twelve years since Kate Waithman's husband, Patrick was killed in a tragic car accident.  It took her nearly ten years to start dating again and now Dan has proposed to her.  She loves Dan and enjoys being with him, but he is not Patrick. And a small part of her can't help but wishing that he was Patrick.   Then Kate gets devastating news that she is not able to have children and it wasn't until that moment that how much she wants children and how much she regrets not having children with Patrick.  That night she dreams of Patrick and the life she would have had if Patrick had not died. It was the first dream in a series of extremely vivid dreams that leaves Kate longing for Patrick and the life she intended to have.  A life that includes a deaf daughter, Hannah. A life that includes a lifetime of memories.  A life that is not marred by tragedy.    It is the dreams that prompt Kate to take an American Sign Language class so that she can communicate with her the daughter of her dreams.  The ASL class is the first step down a path that  Kate  never thought she would ever take.  Will that path lead her away from her late husband and towards Dan?  Or the complete opposite?

The Life Intended is a tender novel about one woman and her seemingly insurmountable grief.  At first she never thought that she would never be able to date again, let alone fall in love, but then she meets Dan.   They seem to fit well with each other and are both at an age that marriage only makes sense, but it is quite obvious to everyone, including the reader, that Dan isn't really the perfect guy for Kate. It is easy to fall under the spell of Kate and her dreams and it is hard to see her hurting every-time she wakes up from a dream. With every dream she has, it is quite obvious that she still has not come to grips with Patrick's death. Until she starts taking the ALS classes.  When Kate meets Andrew and becomes involved with the children in the foster system you start to piece together exactly what life has in store for Kate.  Her relationship with the kids makes it clear that Kate was meant to be a mother and Kate's circle of family and friends know it as well.

Bottom line, The Life Intended  starts out like dozens of other novels, but with every passing page it becomes more and more unique.   Kate is a great character and her story is one that could rip your heart out, but with the twists and turns Kate's story ends up just the way life intended.


Pages: 368
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication Date: December 30, 2014
  • Buy it Here!

(106)The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Grace Chapman and her husband, Ted Chapman are well known in the literary world.   Grace was a cookbook editor before marrying bestselling author Ted.  They have led a charmed life as Ted churns out one bestseller after another.  They live on a charming little farm outside a charming little village outside of the city.  Over the years of their marriage Grace has perfected the art of managing Ted.  His ego, his career, his happiness.  But it is exhausting and deciding to hire an assistant saved their marriage once and Grace is hoping it will save their marriage again.  Enter Beth McCarthy.   She appears to be the answer to their prayers, diving right into their household and managing things that have been in desperate need of being managed.  But with every passing that Beth is present, Grace seems to slowly be falling apart.  Moody, emotional, volatile and then she is diagnosed as bipolar.  Her whole world spirals out of control and Beth seems to step into her life in a way that becomes more frightening with each passing day.   Will Grace be able to save her marriage and the life she has built for herself or will this interloper destroy everything?

I adore Jane Green in a way that I reserve for beloved Aunties.  I have been reading her books so long that it feels as if I know her.  I don't know if Saving Grace is a mirror of her own life as a successful, best selling author, but if so - yee gads. It was rather clear that Grace is the epitome of her name.  She exudes class and respect in so many ways that many women aspire to be just like her.  She is elegant and poised and utterly devoted to her husband's career.  As the book goes on and Grace starts spiraling out of control in ways that is almost frightening.  Early on it was so clear that Beth was behind it all and I found it a bit frustrating that it took Grace so long to put it all together.   I was a bit disappointed in how predictable it turned out to be.    What kept me turning the page was I wanted to see if Ted would eventually come to the same conclusion and would it be in time to save their marriage.   I was pleased with the way that Saving Grace ended.

Bottom line, even though Saving Grace is a bit predictable, Grace is a character that will quickly enamor you with her graceful elegance.  It is Grace herself that keeps you turning the pages even though you can predict what will likely happen.   Predictable, but definitely worth the read.

  • Saving Grace by Jane Green
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication Date: December 30, 2014
  • Buy it Here!

(105)Saving Grace by Jane Green

Happy Tuesday!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

As a young boy in Kentucky, Charles Edward Hall firmly believed in Santa, no matter what people tried to tell him, he believed.  He remembers clearly one Christmas during a family Christmas party he glanced out the window and saw the Big Guy himself standing there, how could he not believe?   But life happened and Charles got out of Kentucky and went to New York City determined to become a famous actor.    But life happened and audition after audition passed him buy with no role offered.  Until one day he was offered the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge, which happened to be pretty appropriate after a few rough years.  But it was a dual role, he also had to be Santa Claus in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.    Santa Claus is for Real is the story of his first year as Santa Claus.  He had some magical help, but that role transformed his life.  And nearly thirty years later Charles Edward Hall is still the Radio City Spectacular Santa.

Santa Claus Is for Real is a real quick read at 208 pages, but it packs quite a message.   The magic of Santa lives in all of us.  We all have that opportunity to make Christmas magical for someone else.  Whether it be helping an elderly lady across the street or become a "Layaway Angel" - there is something you can do to make Christmas magical. That is the message that I took away from this book anyway.

Bottom line, even though today is Christmas Eve it is still not too late to make Christmas a little magical for someone.  We all have a little Santa Claus in us just begging to be released.  What do you think you could do today to make Christmas magical for someone?

  • Santa Claus Is for Real by Charles Edward Hall 
  • Pages: 208
  • Publisher: Galley Books
  • Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Buy it Here!

(104)Santa Claus Is for Real: True Christmas Fable about the Magic of Believing by Charles Edward Hall

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Brooke Abbott is glad that she moved back to her small Missouri hometown.  She is slowly putting her life together after getting out of a bad relationship.  Brooke has even opened up a boutique shop on Main Street in her quaint little hometown of Preston. Sales are a little slow right now, but Brooke is just sure that the Christmas holiday will give her store the boost it so desperately needs. It is Thanksgiving night when Brooke comes home from the family dinner to find Alex Coleman in the apartment over the shop, the same apartment she has been sort of - kind of- illegally staying.  Alex has always been best friends with Brooke's brother, Ryan, but he has changed from the dorky friend she remembered.  He is extremely handsome and has just inherited the building they are standing in, but Brooke doesn't know that.   It doesn't take long for Brooke and Alex to shift their relationship from friendship to more, but will it all fall apart when Brooke learns that Alex plans on selling the building?

Blame It on the Mistletoe is set in a small town outside of Kansas City, which was fun for this former KC girl.  Based on some clues and descriptions given I think the town is based on Weston, Missouri.  (Preston - Weston - see the similarity?) Brooke was a character that felt familiar to me for some reason.  She was hardworking and wanted to be successful at something.  Especially since she failed so spectacularly at her last relationship.  She was glad to be out of her bad relationship, but still felt like she needed to prove or justify her decision to move back home.   Alex was a fun character because he just seemed like a "bad boy" even though he had done some really honorable things since leaving Preston.   Alex and Brooke were good together and had a real chemistry that just set this story on fire. Definitely made it worth the read.

Bottom line, Blame It on the Mistletoe was a fun Christmas read.  A bit predictable, but still sweet, romantic, and definitely worth the read.


(103)Blame It on the Mistletoe by Nicole Michaels

Monday, December 15, 2014

Caitlin Doughty is a twenty-something with a degree in Midievil History who has always had a morbid curiosity for death. She decides to channel that curiosity into a career and went to work at the Westwind Mortuary and Crematory. From her first day on the job Caitlin knows that she will be encounter the strange and odd.  She also suspects that she will be challenged to do things completely out of her comfort zone.   On her first day she is handed a razor and shaving cream and asked to shave a deceased man before the family viewing.   She is asked to do "pick-ups"and sees families at the very worst moments in their lives.   She is asked to facilitate "witnesses" - when the family actually wants to see their loved one through the entire process of cremation.  Caitlin gives us the day to day routines of those in her business in a way that captures the readers attention. In careful detail the author describes processes, events, and even smells in a way that almost takes your breath away.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is not the first book I have ever read about the death industry, but it was just as good as any other I have read.  Caitlin Doughty is careful to be respectful in her storytelling, but there were several times where I thought "OMG" - and she handled each weird situation with much more aplomb than I ever thought possible. I also liked how the author gave a lot of historical detail about death and the death industry.  For example, back in the day only indigent people died at a hospital. As late as the early twentieth century, more than 85% of Americans died at home.   Think about it - if you live in an older home, the odds of someone having died there are pretty high.  It was during the 1930's that the mentality shifted and more people went to the hospital to die.  I have often thought about my final wishes and going the cremation route and now I feel it is a little easier to make that decision.

Bottom line, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes was a morbidly fascinating book.  I will say that my recommendation comes with a warning label.  It is not for those with weak stomachs or those sensitive to death, particularly childhood death.  While that is not a huge part of the book, it is there and may be particularly rough to read.


(102)Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Thursday, December 11, 2014

While thirty-nine year old Molly Halberg is still hoping for all of her dreams to come true, she is willing to settle for "close-enough" in some cases.  As a divorced woman  she thinks that the relationship she has with her boyfriend, Russell, is adequate. They have settled into a comfortable relationship that involves dinner in front of the television and sleep masks at each others places.  He doesn't cheat on her like her ex-husband, so there is that.  Molly loves being a writer for an online magazine, but she would love to have her own column.  She keeps hoping that with every story about dildos and speed-dating she gets closer to getting that column.  When her boss assigns her to do a "Nora Ephron" type of story on romance in New York City, Molly is sure that she is about to get her break. If Molly knows anything it is Nora Ephron movies.  As she works on her piece she is forced to examine her relationship with Russell, especially when she comes across an ornery mystery author.   Is "adequate" better than nothing when it comes to career and romance?  Or is Molly going to give up everything to go after what she really wants - happiness?

Any woman over the age of thirty is intimately aware with Nora Ephron and her movies.  We all know that Sleepless in Seattle is an homage to An Affair to Remember and You've Got Mail is an homage to The Shop Around the Corner.  Well, What Nora Knew is a beautiful homage to Nora Ephron. Her movies shaped the way an entire generation of women look at love and relationships and Molly Halberg is the perfect heroine to illustrate that "adequate" is not good enough.  Many times Molly referred to the characters played by Bill Pullman and Greg Kinnear to Russell.  And once she started making those comparisons it snowballed into a realization that their relationship had lost it's spark long ago. While What Nora Knew was a bit predictable, I was more than willing to put up with it for all of the  familiar scenes revisited and the warm memories that came from remembering three of my favorite movies.

Bottom line, What Nora Knew is a feel-good kind of book.  I couldn't stop smiling the whole time I was reading this book. Not because it was hysterical, but because it made my heart happy.   If you know Kathleen Kelly's online handle or know where Annie hid to listen to the radio show, then you have got to read this book.   Consider this recommendation my gift to you.

  • What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin
  • On Facebook
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date: January 21, 2014
  • Buy it Here!

(101)What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Addie Folsom isn't exactly thrilled to be moving back home after things fell apart in Montana, but here she is.  She wants to get her life back on track and follow her late father's footsteps and become a chiropractor, but she discovers that she needs one more credit to get her high school diploma.  Even with her class to keep her busy, Addie finds herself left to care for her neighbor and childhood crush, Erich, after he is injured in a car accident. Even though Addie is reluctant to do so, she helps Erich and is soon feeling those same old feelings.  Will she be able to help this "Scrooge" without getting her heartbroken again?

If you are familiar with Debbie Macomber and her other "Miracle" Christmas novels, you know that there are a couple of Angels working behind the scenes to help Addie. In Mr. Miracle it is Harry, a new angel, and Celeste that are working to make things work out for Addie and others at the school. Mr.Miracle  was a quick, cute Christmas read.  I am sure that many of you know that Mr. Miracle was made into a Hallmark Channel movie that aired over the weekend. I have the movie DVR'd  but I will be excited to watch it and see how it translates to the screen. Addie was one of those reluctant characters that isn't thrilled with the way her life is going, but gets better as the book progresses.  Same goes for Erich.  He is the quintessential "Scrooge" - and the reasons are revealed as the story progresses.  Predictable, but cute.

Bottom line, I love a good Christmas love story.  The cheesier the better. Mr. Miracle is about as cheesy as they come - and I am okay with that.


(100)Mr.Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Brooke, Katherine, and Samantha are three women who have absolutely nothing in common.  Brooke is a married mother that has life in the suburbs under complete control.  Samantha is young and on her honeymoon in Hawaii with an older man when she discovers that he has been cheating on her the whole time.  Katherine is a Wall Street barracuda who is still trying to get over a broken heart that happened years ago.  The three women have all recently made decisions that were both  out of character and going to change their lives.  What they didn't realize that there was another change that was going to happen to the three of them that would send them to an online forum.  Katherine, Brooke, and Samantha meet on an online support forum for women with breast cancer and quickly become fast friends.  They learn that friendship can be found in the most unexpected places and that beauty can be gained from the most ugly of experiences.  But will they win over the cancer that has taken over their bodies?

All You Could Ask For was a fabulous read about three strong women. The first half of the book there was absolutely no connection between the three women and I was trying to figure out how or when they were going to connect and then they join the support group. All three women and strong, influential women in their own worlds, but it was interesting to me that they all felt like they needed to turn to strangers (the forum) instead of the own people in their lives.  I get why, I have been very active in online forums for over ten years and have met some of my best friends that way, so I do get it.  It was just interesting.  I was also pleased with the way the book ended, without giving away too much, just know that you won't need a full box of kleenex to make it through the end.

Bottom line, friendships between women can be rewarding and complicated at the same time.  Mike Greenberg did an amazing job of capturing all of those dynamics in his book, All You Could Ask For.  If you are looking for a good book to read with your girlfriends, All You Could Ask For would be a great read to share and discuss over a bottle of wine.  Enjoy!

The Details:

(99)All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

When Kate Pulaski receives the news that her father had killed himself, her first thought was that husband, Peter, wouldn't leave her after such a tragedy.  She is numb to the news that her father is dead, but she is broken by what she did to her husband and with twisted logic hopes that his death might save her marriage.    Kate has made a complete mess of her life in more than one way.  Excessively in debt, distant from her family, and she had an affair that is likely going to cause the end of her marriage.  Peter meets her plane in Chicago and puts her right on another plane to go to Atlanta, where she will meet her brother Elliott and her sister, Nell.   Kate, Elliot, and Nell's relationship with their father has deteriorated into almost nothing after the death of their mother and their father's next five marriages.  None of them had a relationship with him, believing that he had an "out of sight out of mind" mentality about his children. Frankly, Kate would rather use her "baby sister" status  and coast through this weekend, but she is faced with hard truths about their father and herself.  Kate is left facing the hard consequences of her actions and is forced to face the uncertainty of her future. Will Kate be able to salvage her marriage to Peter or is she doomed to the same fate as her father?

Even though Reunion has some really dark themes it was refreshing in it's completely honest look at life.  Real life.  So many authors don't discuss the dark secrets that are under the surface of most marriages, like being on the same page about children, money troubles, excessive drinking, and then there is the affair.  Of course not every marriage has all of these troubles, but the odds are that at least one can be found in most marriages across the country.  Kate is so deeply flawed in so many ways that I wanted to not like her, but she was so broken it was hard to not like her.  As they get deeper into weekend in Atlanta you can see the dynamics between the siblings and you get just a glimpse at what Kate has dealt with since her mother died as a child.  Her older siblings set the bar high and she had a hard time living up to their standards.  And then there was the revolving door their father had for wives.  Throughout the whole book Kate was trying to justify her actions that has gotten her into this mess and by the end of the weekend she was a little more honest with herself and her family. I was glad to see her taking a little more responsibility for what she had done.

Bottom line, Reunion is an honest look at the mess one woman  has made of her life.   As damaged as Kate is, many of us will see glimpses of ourselves in her and that is enough to make it worth the read.


(98)Reunion by Hannah Pittard

Friday, November 28, 2014

Flower shop owner, Jane Williams leads a pretty uneventful life.  She goes to work and goes home, occasionally meeting up with her brother, Flynn.  On her twenty-ninth birthday she gets a mysterious birthday card from someone she has never met.  At a quick meeting it is revealed that Jane has a special gift.  She can see true love. Jane is told that she has to complete a required task.  She must identify the six types of love and write about the people before her thirtieth birthday, Christmas Day.  If Jane doesn't complete this task she will never know true love herself.   In the weeks and months after her gift was revealed, Jane sees love in the most unexpected places and with the most unexpected people.  And then she meets a Science Writer is not sure he can ever love again.   Will Jane complete her mission before her thirtieth birthday or will she be doomed to a lifetime of loneliness?

The Look of Love is a whimsical story about a woman seeking love, not only those around her, but for herself.    Even though she is surrounded by friends, Jane is a little bit of loner. Especially after she starts seeing "love" in all of the wrong places.  She just wants her friends to be happy, but would be much happier if it weren't with already married people.  I was happy for Jane when she met Cam, but I admittedly was a bit skeptical at whether he was the guy for her.  There is a "big reveal" that proves I may have been right, but I still held out hope that Jane would find her love.

Bottom line, The Look of Love is one of those holiday tales where the heroine is seeking love, but this time it is not necessarily for herself.   The magical element of The Look of Love is perfect for a Christmas story, but the love story at the heart of the book is great for all seasons.


(97)The Look of Love by Sarah Jio

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Winter Street on Nantucket Island is the home of the Winter Street Inn. Kelley Quinn purchased the Inn years ago after leaving his very famous wife and the rat race of Wall Street.  With his new wife they raised his four children along with their new son, Bart.   Flash forward nearly twenty years , it is nearly Christmas and Kelley discovers that his wife has been having an affair with Santa Claus for nearly a dozen years.  His youngest son, Bart, is in Afghanistan.  Ava, his only daughter is a teacher struggling to find true love.  Kevin is a bartender who may have found true love with the French maid, and Patrick may have destroyed his marriage and career by doing some insider trading.    Kelley's world is crumbling and would like nothing more than to hole up in his bedroom and drink his troubles away.

Told in alternating voices we get to see the Quinn family prepare for Christmas and deal with what life has currently dished out.  I think most of us have experienced a holiday season or two that was hard to get get into the spirit of things and that is what it was like for the Quinn family.  Even though Kelley wants to cancel their big Christmas Eve party, the rest of the family know that they need to plow through to live up to the community's expectations.  And once they do, they realize that being with family makes all things easier.  Winter Street was a quick read, but I enjoyed reading through the eyes of all the characters.  The Quinn children are all so different, but the one thing they have in common is their commitment to their family.   The book ended with most everything tied up nicely, but there was one thing that had no resolution and kind of left me going - "what??"  I think the conclusion the reader is supposed to arrive at is the "happy ever after" ending, at least that is what I am going to go with.

Bottom line - Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorite authors and I am thrilled that she wrote a Christmas novel.   Winter Street is a holiday tale about a family that is struggling to maintain their holiday cheer while being faced with some challenging situations.   Full of diverse characters you will find yourself loving a Christmas season Nantucket through the eyes of Elin Hilderbrand and the Quinn family.

The Details:

(96)Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Tuesday

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Amy Poehler is one of those women that I would love to hang out with on a Friday night while drinking adult beverages and talking about the world we live in today.  And I know that if I were ever to be so lucky, I would laugh so hard my sides would hurt.    Like most of America I fell in love with her on Saturday nights and cheered for her when she got her own sitcom, Parks and Recreation.   In her new autobiography, Yes Please, Amy shares her life with us.  Starting with her childhood all the way up to the last season of Parks & Rec.

With the help of some famous friends Amy talks about her time on SNL, from her very first episode on the sketch show, which so happened to be the first episode of SNL following 9/11 to her first episode of Parks and Recreation.  Seth Meyers even takes over for a chapter telling about the night Amy's oldest son was born.  She talks about the funny bits she did for several years at award shows.  Remember when her and fellow nominees acted like they were beauty pageant contestants? Funny stuff there.  She talks about her colleagues, her friends, her marriage and divorce.  She doesn't a hold a whole lot back, but it was a funny, quick book to listen to and make the commute go by a bit faster.

Bottom line, in true Amy Poehler fashion listening to her read her autobiography is fun, entertaining, informative.  I have mentioned before how much I love to listen to celebrities read their own biographies and Amy Poehler is right up there with the best of them.  Definitely worth the "listen."

  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Publication Date: October 28, 2014
  • Buy it Here!

(95) Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Tuesday!