Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we have read and what we are reading and see what everyone else is reading.

Read Last Two Weeks:

I was on a little hiatus, out of town and then busy! But I am back in the groove. I am behind on reviews, hopelessly so, but I am going to attempt to catch up this week!


Of Poseidon by Anna Banks: Pretty cute little mermaid story, with an interesting mythology Banks created for her characters.

The Night Is Alive by Heather Graham: From Netgalley. I love this series, and I loved that this one was set in Savannah. 

The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts: Entertaining and fun, lighthearted and perfect for summer. 

Reading This Week:



Of Triton by Anna Banks: For when I need to take a break from Main Street.

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis: I am taking steps to tackle the classics!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ladies' Night - Review

Title: Ladies' Night
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Source: Kindle

Goodreads Summary:

Take a splash of betrayal, add a few drops of outrage, give a good shake to proper behavior and take a big sip of a cocktail called…Ladies' Night!

Grace Stanton’s life as a rising media star and beloved lifestyle blogger takes a surprising turn when she catches her husband cheating and torpedoes his pricey sports car straight into the family swimming pool.  Grace suddenly finds herself locked out of her palatial home, checking account, and even the blog she has worked so hard to develop in her signature style.  Moving in with her widowed mother, who owns and lives above a rundown beach bar called The Sandbox, is less than ideal.  So is attending court-mandated weekly "divorce recovery" therapy sessions with three other women and one man for whom betrayal seems to be the only commonality.  When their “divorce coach” starts to act suspiciously, they decide to start having their own Wednesday "Ladies' Night" sessions at The Sandbox, and the unanticipated bonds that develop lead the members of the group to try and find closure in ways they never imagined.  Can Grace figure out a new way home and discover how strong she needs to be to get there? 

Heartache, humor, and a little bit of mystery come together in a story about life’s unpredictable twists and turns.  Mary Kay Andrews' Ladies' Night will have you raising a glass and cheering these characters on. (

My thoughts:

I love Andrews. I first read her after a trip to Savannah, because before and after I travel to a place, I read all I can about it, and that includes fiction books set in that area.  I fell in love with her easy going and fun writing style, as well as the dream worthy locations they took place in. I have read just about all of her books; that being said, I think Ladies' Night is my favorite.  I think it dealt with a more serious issue that most of her other books.

Grace is a famous lifestyle blogger, with a beautiful home with beautiful linens and tableware and husband, Ben. Or so she thinks, about her husband. When one night she finds him schtupping her assistant, she goes berserk. After driving his expensive car into their pool, she heads home to her mother, to her childhood homeplace, above a bar in a marina.

What happens next is horrible. Her estranged husband locks her out of her gated community, her home, her bank accounts, and her income. His paramour takes over Grace's blog, and Grace finds herself powerless to change her circumstances. The judge at their first divorce hearing orders Grace to an anger management therapy class, and does not award any of Grace's assets back to her. even though she was the maligned and hurt party.

Grace goes to the class, and finds that everyone there, except one, is female. All have gotten the shaft from the same judge. What the heck is the deal with this judge? Does he hate women? Grace and the others soon become confidantes, and learn some disturbing facts.

The only man in class is Wyatt, the owner and manager of a run down jungle theme park called Jungle Jerry's. He also has a father who seems to have a memory loss at sundown, an assortment of animals, and shared custody of his young son. His estranged wife is just as bad as Ben, if not worse.

Grace attempts to get her life together, starting a new blog and a new major project, but Ben, and his girlfriend J'Aimee, cause some pretty disturbing and deplorable problems for her.

I think this book more than Andrews' other books, dealt with more serious topics. The trouble the character's ran into was kicked up a notch, a little darker than her previous books. Grace is made of tough stuff however, and fights back.

This book also did have its cute parts too, it wasn't all serious. The relationship that develops between Wyatt and Grace, and the one that Grace develops with a dog that she rescues bring brightness and light to the story. And you know I love that Andrews' advocates for animals! All in all, I really loved this book.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The World's Strongest Librarian - Review

Title: The World's Strongest Librarian
Author: Josh Hanagarne
Source: The Penguin Group

Goodreads Summary:

Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6’7” when—while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints—his Tourette’s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.

Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman—and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison—taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission through strength-training.

Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette’s.

The World’s Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humor and candor, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability— and navigate his wavering Mormon faith—to find love and create a life worth living.

My thoughts:

This book is seriously one of the best I have read all year. From the moment I picked it up and started reading, to the very last word of the credits, I was engrossed with the story.

Anyone who has been a reader since they were a child will understand Josh's fascination and love for the library. He talks about his first visit, when he was little and with his mother, and I was taken back to my own childhood, and my first visit. My mom would plop me in the seat on the back of her bike, and away we would go. We would pick out our books and take them across the street to the park, where we would read them and have a snack. Then back on the bike and zoom we were home.

Josh's love of reading sustained him. Books and words and even Stephen King kept his Tourette's at bay- although he would still experience tics, his total absorption of the story he was reading kept the tics from overtaking him.

I felt a kinship with this man, although I am not tall, I am actually on the short side; I don't have Tourette Syndrome, I am not Mormon, and I am a wimp that can't open a jar. Our own personal histories also have experiences in common. My husband and I rode the emotional roller coaster of miscarriages and failed adoptions. My first crush was on a fictional character as well, and one that was not even human - Stuart from The Rescuers. Bizarre, I know. Charlotte's Web greatly influenced my life. And I read Stephen King before I should have. Except my mom was ok with it.

I wanted a win for this man. I was rooting for him. I think he has some amazing parents, and an amazing wife.   Hanagarne has an amazing spirit. Alternately funny, especially the stories of what happens in the library he works at, and painfully, vulnerably honest.

Inspiring and powerful, I think this book should be read by everyone. Do we get the win? Although its still a bit murky, I believe so.

Favorite Opening Lines from a Classic Novel

What is your favorite opening sentence from a classic novel and why?

This is my very first time participating in anything for the Classics Club, and I am getting it done just under the wire!  This question made me think, which is a good thing. Lol. I know my favorite closing line like that *snap* but opening? It took me just a little longer.

1.  In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. - J.R.R. Tolkein

2.  All children, except one, grow up. - J.M. Barrie

I apparently have an affinity for authors with J as their first initial, and for those who only go by their initials and last name. J.D. Salinger just missed this list.

 As to why I chose these two quotes, the answer is their simplicity leads to questions and curiosity and wonder and magic.  So simple, just a few words, but opening whole new worlds.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Books on Summer Reading List

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland 

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Tidal by Amanda Hocking

Cape Cod by William Martin- I read this every summer

Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes - another summer reread 

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Bootstrapper by Mardi Jo Link

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn

Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone

I also have a giveaway going right now! Enter here for a chance to win The World's Strongest Librarian!

The World's Strongest Librarian - Giveaway!

Yep a copy of this book could be all yours! 

A few rules:

1. Must live in the U.S. or Canada
.  You don't need a blog, just an email.

3.  Enter via Rafflecopter below.

4.  Contest is open until June 20th, 2013 at midnight. I will pick the winner in the morning on Sunday. 

5.  I will notify the winner by email, so make sure to comment and leave your email address! Winner must respond in three days, or I will pick another winner.
6. That's it! Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? ~ June 17

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we have read and what we are reading and see what everyone else is reading.

It's summer!! Schoooooooooollllll's out for summer! Yay! More reading time, more gardening time, more canning time, more walks with my dog and time with my family and friends.  

Read Last Week:


The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani: This book was crazy good. Although it left me feeling battered and broken a little inside, it is still one of the best books I have read all year. 

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill: This book was also amazing. I ran the gamut of emotions, and am blown away by Hill's prowess. 

Reading this Week:


The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne:  I have heard such great things about this book! And starting tomorrow, you have a chance to win it!!  Just visit my blog tomorrow for details.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: Because Hosseini writes heartbreaking but good books. 

Please pop back by tomorrow (Tuesday) for a chance to win a copy of The World's Strongest Librarian!

Friday, June 14, 2013

NOS4A2 - Review

NOS4A2 Title: NOS4A2
Author: Joe Hill
Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

My thoughts:

Angst. This book caused me to angst. And hard. I also freaked out, couldn't sleep, and when I did it was fitful and in spurts, due to nightmares about the Gasmask Man.  I fretted and debated over things that might possibly happen, and in some cases did happen. I even tweeted Joe Hill, for spoilers, although it was a no go, as I kind of figured. I really wanted a warning about some stuff, because I sure didn't see it coming most of the time.  This book not only scared the pants off me, it also made me cry.

Wow, right? Not what I expected either.  Sure, I expected to be scared. This scared me and disturbed me sometimes to the point I considered abandoning the book! A woman on twitter told me to persevere, so I did. And I am glad that I stuck with it because this book was amazeballs.

NOS4A2 is an amazing journey of love, imagination, and grit.  Grit, because Vic McQueen is one tough cookie.  I loved Vic and her take no prisoner’s attitude, her will, and her determination.  Covered in tattoos, a hard drinking woman at times, who hangs with bikers, Vic is the first female antihero that I have enjoyed reading about since Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Also, is the reader supposed to make a connection between Vic and Steve McQueen? Both ride Triumphs, and share the last name, so I am assuming yes?

Vic. also known as The Brat, and bikes go way back– when she was just a young girl, she desperately wanted a Raleigh Tuff Burner. The store owner laughed and said that maybe when she was older, she could get one.  A few weeks later, her father surprised her with the bike for her birthday, saying she was older now, wasn’t she? (one of my favorite parts of the story!) Vic soon learns that she and her bike together can do something spectacular – when she rides the bike, she is magic. If someone has lost something, she can find it – by riding her bike across a special bridge, one that no longer exists, except in Vic’s memory.  Vic is not the only one able to create these “inscapes” as the author calls them. A librarian in Iowa by the name of Margaret Leigh (a reference to Psycho?) can tell the future with her Scrabble tiles, and Charlie Manx, has his 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith. When Charlie is in his Wraith, he can do things too, just like Vic. But his intentions are not quite as noble.  Charlie kidnaps children and takes them to a place in his mind, called Christmasland. His partner in crime is a murderous manchild named Bing Partrige, who is the Gasmask Man. Bing’s job is to get rid of the pesky parents of the missing children, and Bing uses his imagination too, although in a disturbing, horrible way.

Vic grows up, crossing her bridge when she needs to, although every time she uses it, it takes a toll.  Her home life is dissolving with the divorce of her parents, and her father’s new young girlfriend, that he is living with. Feeling abandoned by her father and angry at her mother, Vic decides to find some trouble.  And she does, trouble that is named Charlie Manx. The showdown does not go well, and Vic barely escapes with her life. On her escape from Manx’s home, the Sleigh House, she runs straight into the arms of morbidly obese biker Lou.  From this meeting on, their lives are intertwined, and the build a dysfunctional life together.  She has not forgotten about Manx and the children, nor has he forgotten about her.

One day, this all comes to a head.  Here the story picks up speed, taking you to the end of the story with Manx and Vic.  I skipped a few pages, I have to admit.  I also cried. I cheered. And after the full range of emotions I experienced reading this book, I finally finished mostly unscathed, and without ending up on the “naughty list”.  The only thing I could have asked for was a bit more about Charlie Manx.

  I found the end to be bittersweet, and perfect. If you are squeamish or easily scared, I would skip this book. But if you like to be scared, like I do, then run to the nearest store or library or the internet, and get this book!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? ~ June 10

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Read Last Week:


Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs: I love Mercy Thompson! This book was one of the best I have read in the series, hands down. Review up Wednesday.

Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews: I really loved this one as well! I love Andrews books and this was no exception. Review up Tuesday.

Reading This Week:


NOS4A2 by Joe Hill: I am trying this again. I just didn't get to it the last time I planned to read it.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: I am looking forward to reading this!!! 

Next Monday, I will be reading and reviewing The World's Strongest Librarian - and I will be giving away a copy to a lucky reader! Make sure you pop by to find out how to enter!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

May Book Club

Hostess: Chrissy
Book: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Hayes
Food:  Lemon Pasta Salad, Veggies and dip, cucumber and feta salad, cheese and crackers, crescent rolls- and homemade ice cream, chocolate and strawberry.
Month: May
Wine of the Night:

Chrissy’s house is a burst of color in summery colors, yellow and grass green.  Cheery and bright, perfect for a spring book club meeting. She had her Fiestaware bowls lined up on the counter, all ready to be filled with her homemade ice cream, and it was so visually appealing, with the colors and the line, I had to take a picture.  I wish I would have remembered to get one of the ice cream!

I arrived first to see if Chrissy needed any help (because I am such a good sister-in-law lol) but she had everything under control. As everyone trickled in and relaxed, we started with the food.

I think I ate my weight at book club that night. That lemon pasta salad was amazing, and I could have eaten it all day.  I am a fan of anything lemon flavored, and lemon pasta in the spring can’t be beat. And the ice cream – so rich and creamy. My favorite was the chocolate, but the strawberry had chunks of real strawberries in it. Jill made the set up her own little TCBY, and added every topping to her ice cream. 

Click on pic for recipe and original post

Chrissy and I were the only ones who had finished the book this month, and we had loved it.  Mary is right in the middle of it, and is loving it as well. If you are interested, here is my review

Conversation eventually turned into the normal conversations that happen at our book clubs. Alyssa brought up a few funny anecdotes from my past as well.  We talked about other books we were reading, about what was happening in our lives, and I mentioned how I have certain book types for all my friends. Some overlap, but I have certain kinds that I recommend to them all.  With Alyssa, if a book is crazy or twisted, I tell her about it. With Chrissy, I can go that way too, and I also tell her about thrillers that she might like. Jill, if I read anything that is literary or British, that is what I tell her. Mary and Kelly, romance novels and contemporary writers. Jennifer, memoirs, books about farming, and the outdoors is what we have in reading common. I am sure I drive them crazy, but at the same time, I love when they tell me about a book that I would love. Because I normally do love it.  I feel like if you know someone well enough to recommend a book to them and have them like it, then you really know that person. I feel like we all know each other that well, and I feel like this a testimony to our friendship.

June is Kelly’s month, I am looking forward to reading what she picks!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? ~ June 3

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Read Last Week:

I totally didn't read the two books I had planned on. Instead, I read these:


The Land of Mango Sunsets by Dorothea Benton Frank: I had checked out a complete listing of Frank's books, and realized I had missed a few. I am working on fixing that, and this took care of one.

Crazy Enough by Storm Large: I won this many months ago from Jennifer at The Relentless Reader. I had put it in a pile on my desk, and finally pulled it out to read. And I freaking loved it. 

We also had book club on Thursday, I will be posting my blog about it soon!

Reading This Week:


Seasons of the Sacred Earth by Cliff Seruntine: This is taking me some time to read. 

Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews: I have this pre-ordered through Amazon and I can't wait to get it!

Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely by Alex Clermont: Anything with food stuffs in the title and you have me. 

Detroit Magpies ..I also started working on another blog, in collaboration with my friend Jill. Its about our lives, about Detroit, about whatever. I hope you will check it out!

Reviews Posted Last Week:



Return to Sullivan's Island, The Biscuit Witch, and Yankee Doodle Dixie are all here.... Short Thoughts on a Few Southern Books