Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila atBook Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.

Read Last Week:

Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews - I received this from NetGalley and I loved it!!

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk - I am still working on this but it reminds me of The Gargoyle.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - I loved this book! I wish I had a tree whose apples told the future! I am going to start cooking with edible flowers; maybe I will make some things happen. ;)

Reading This Week:

Ingenue by Jillian Larkin - My book club read the first in this series last summer, and discussed it on the hottest night of that summer.  I love this era of flappers, and if I could go back in time, I would choose to be a  flapper in the 20s. 

Diva by Jillian Larkin - The third in the series.  I received this from NetGalley.

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen- I love this author so much that I picked this book for our book club in June.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Safe Within - Review

Title: Safe Within   Author:  Jean Reynolds Page
Source: Publisher through Librarything Contest

Barnes and Noble Summary:

A novel of how family happens—whether you like it or not
Elaine and Carson Forsyth have returned to the tree house—Elaine's childhood home, a cabin nestled high in the branches of two oaks beside a North Carolina lake—where forty-nine-year-old Carson has chosen to spend the waning days of his life. As Elaine prepares for a future without her beloved husband, their solace is interrupted. Carson's mother, Greta, has set loose a neighbor's herd of alpacas and landed herself in police custody. While Carson, remarkably, sees humor in the situation, Elaine can only question what her obligations are—and will be—to a woman who hasn't spoken to her in more than twenty years.
In the wake of Carson's death, Elaine and their grown son, Mick, are thrust into the maelstrom of Greta, the mother-in-law and grandmother who never accepted either of them. Just as they are trying to figure out their new roles in the family, Mick uncovers unexpected questions of his own. A long-ago teenage relationship with a local girl may have left him with more than just memories, and he must get to the bottom of Greta's surprising accusations that he's not Carson's son at all.

My thoughts:

Wow, this book might be for anyone who might not get along with their inlaws, because I am pretty sure Greta at the beginning of this book can trump them all.The tension between Elaine, Mick and Greta are so thick I was actually uncomfortable reading about this at first, especially when you mix in the grief caused by the death of a parent, husband and son. 

Carson Forsythe was beloved by his family - his mother Greta, his wife Elaine, and his son Mick.  Unfortunately, Greta had always hated Elaine and her boho parents, and consequently hated Mick, not believing him to be Carson's son.  There was so much bad blood between the families, you wondered if things could ever be reconciled. 

I had my fingers crossed the whole book for this to happen, for who better to grieve with and share stories with and heal with then the people who loved the deceased the most?  This book kept you wondering what could be next, and was emotionally intense at times to read.  However, I couldn't put it down, rooting for this family to heal together the whole time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring Fever- A Review

Title:  Spring Fever  Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
Source:  NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

The New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental delivers her delicious new escapist novel about small towns, old flames, and deep secrets
Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless.  They’ve been divorced for four years, she’s engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she’s ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history.  She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia.  But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she’s been given a second chance.  Maybe everything happens for a reason.  And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back.  But there are secrets afoot in this small southern town.  On the peaceful surface of Hideaway Lake, Annajane discovers that the past is never really gone.  Even if there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness might be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy lake town might be in her future. 

My thoughts:

I was so excited to receive this galley from NetGalley.  I love Mary Kay Andrews, her books are always so entertaining with great characters, and of course the setting in the south - a weakness.

Annajane had been madly in love with Mason for it seems her whole life.  She stays clear of him for five years, after a short attempt at a marriage.  But when she attends his wedding to Celia, a business wonder, she realizes she is definitely not over Mason, although she herself is engaged.  Thankfully, Mason's young daughter Sophie starts throwing up at the altar and the wedding has to be postponed, leaving time for Annajane and Mason to reconnect and explore their feelings.  Their divorce had been messy and without closure, and after five years apart, start to talk about what really happened. This book actually made me anxious - I wanted Annjane and Mason to get together so badly, and Celia was a perfect villain.  

There is much history in their lives and so much hidden behind the scenes, and it all starts to slowly come undone, one twist at a time.  I enjoyed every discovery, and simply loved this book!

How We Started - A Review

Title:  How We Started by Luanne Rice
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads Summary:  Two original stories featuring characters from The Silver Boat and Little Night.

In these stories, bestselling author Luanne Rice gives her readers two tales of early love and longing. "Paul and Clare" introduces the heroine of her upcoming novel, Little Night, and offers a glimpse into how she met the love of her life—and the beginning of her life-long passion for birds and nature, even in New York City. "Miss Martha's Vineyard" is a snapshot of the quirky, unconditional friendship with larger-than-life blueblood Harrison Thaxter that has kept Rory McCarthy from The Silver Boat afloat even in rough romantic seas.

My Thoughts:

I loved loved loved the short story Paul and Clare, which is being published at a later date as a full length novel, and I have to say, I can't wait.  They meet as young adults, each of them with a troubled family at home.  Their courtship includes bird watching, a passion that began when they saved the life of a baby bird.  This story was lovely and ended on quite the cliffhanger!!

The second story Miss Martha's Vineyard was good, but not as good as the first in my opinion.  The main character, Harrison, was mentioned in Paul and Clare, as a lovesick teenager who ruins his life for the love of Clare's sister.  It made me long for a life on the east coast though, a life of boats and summers on the water.

I enjoyed this book, and I definitely looking forward to the full length story of Paul and Clare, titled Little Night.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.
Read Last Week:

The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Basking - Awonderful surprise! Very well written, believable, and more than just a kids book.  Review Soon.
Safe Within by Jean Reynolds Page- I wasn't immediately hooked on this book, but once I got going I really enjoyed it.  Review this week.
Reading This Week:

Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews: I got this book from Netgalley and I am so excited to read it!  I love Andrews' books, especially this time of year!

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk:  This is our book club book for May.


Monday, May 14, 2012

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week

Read Last Week:

The River Witch by Kimberly Brock:  I really loved this book, I thought the characters were well thought out.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate:  I couldn't read this, but what I read was well written.

How We Started by Luanne Rice:  I can't wait for the whole story to come out! This book has two short stories in them, and one of them is going to be written as a whole novel.  I can't wait!  My review is coming soon.

Reading this Week:

The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin:  This is a new addition to our library, so I am hoping to do a read through of it this week, in order to promote it better to our students.

Safe Within by Jean Reynolds Page:  I received this book from Librarything. The beginning is a little rough, but it seems to be picking up. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The One and Only Ivan - Review(kind of)

Title:  The One and Only Ivan 
Author: Katherine Applegate 
Source: Library thing Contest

Goodreads Summary:

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

My thoughts:

I could not read this book!!!  Let me preface by saying I am a vegetarian, and have been since I was a teenager and read Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle.  I volunteer weekly at our local shelter and was recently on the board of an animal rescue group.  I am extremely sensitive to animal stories, and I had a feeling this book was a bad idea. 

I made it about 8 pages and had to stop.  Not because there was graphic animal abuse, but just knowing how they were living really bothered me.  And then one animal died.  So, I am taking this book to work, and donating it to my library.  I think it will help teach children about animals and how they should be treated.  I also saw on other reviews that lots of people liked this book - so it must be cute.  What I read was certainly well written.

I gave it a shot, but I just couldn't do it.  I know the kids at my school will enjoy it though, and I hope the message sticks in their brain. 

The River Witch - A Review

Title:  The River Witch            
Author:  Kimberly Brock               
Source:  Netgalley

Goodreads Summary:   A good measure of gentle craziness and well-meaning magic are called for when Roslyn Byrne’s career as a professional ballet dancer is ended by a car wreck and a miscarriage, leaving her lost and grieving. She needs a new path, but she doesn’t have the least idea how or where to start. With some shoving from her very Southern mama, she immures herself for the summer on Manny’s Island, Georgia, one of the Sea Isles, to recover.

There Roslyn finds a ten-year-old girl, Damascus, who brings alligators, pumpkins and hoodoo into her sorry life.

Roslyn rents a house from Damascus’s family, the Trezevants, a strange bunch. One of the cousins,
Nonnie, who works in the family’s market, sees things Roslyn is pretty sure she shouldn’t, and knows things regular people don’t. Between the Trezevant secrets and Damascus’s blatant snooping and meddling, Roslyn finds herself caught in a mysterious stew of the past and present, the music of the river, and the dead and the dying who haunt the riverbank as she reckons with her fraught history to discover what she wants in life.

My thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book quite a bit.  It was a gently moving book, full of lost souls, a river, and an alligator. Roslyn washes up on the shores of Manny's Island (not literally) to find it inhabited by a family with its own problems.  Roslyn has chosen this place to hide from the world, and heal from the loss of her child and her career.  She meets Damascus (named for the river by her mother), a little girl who is just as lost as Roslyn is.  The other characters of importance are Urey, who is Damascus's father and Ivy, Damascus's aunt.  Everyone in this book is searching for something more - and by the end of the book you hope they find it. 

The most beautiful part of the book is the legend surrounding Roslyn when she moves in.  Damascus believes Roslyn can call the alligators to her, and that the alligators feed on broken hearts.  I loved this passage, with its legends and mystery, and the idea of the melancholy eating alligators.

I think this is a great summer read, when it is really hot outside and you have a breeze blowing through your windows at night.   It is magical, lyrical, and lovely.

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.
Read Last Week:
Nothing.  I was right, I didn't have time!  But I will this week.
Reading this Week:

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate: I didn't get a chance to read this last week, so I am reading it this week.
The River Witch by Kimberly Brock: A southern book that is somewhat magical? I am there!