Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley



What better way to heal from a tragedy than to go back to a time and a place when life was good.  Julia had lost her husband and her son in a tragic accident in France and decided to return to England to begin healing and to begin re-acquainting herself with her family.

Julia was having a difficult time with her grief, but luck came her way one day when she was given a diary that belonged to her grandfather. 

The diary had been found under the floorboards in one of the cottages on the Crawford estate, Wharton Park.  Along with the diary, Julia also had Elise, her grandmother, to help her remember the good times and to explain firsthand about the past and what actually happened at Wharton Park when Elise worked as a lady's maid for Olivia Crawford.  The memories and a few of the characters, one in particular,  helped Julia begin to bring herself back.

Wharton Park was where Julia helped her grandfather in the estate's hothouses where he grew orchids....orchids that had come from Thailand where her grandfather had been held captive during WWII.   Being with her grandfather was the best part of her childhood.  The diary brought back memories, and Julia's grandmother brought forth the truth about the family's history along with all its unspoken secrets.

Remembering the past and finding hidden secrets are a part of THE ORCHID HOUSE that is very appealing.  You will follow the lives of  the Crawford family where Julia's grandmother and grandfather were part of the staff of Wharton Park.  The secrets revealed in the diary and those secrets revealed firsthand by Elise will keep you turning the pages. Knowing that there is a secret between the aristocratic Crawfords of Wharton Park and the household staff which included Julia's grandparents made the book intriguing and one that will keep your attention.  

Don't miss this alluring story with its captivating characters who have secrets that span 70 years and a family that makes a full circle with Wharton Park being the beginning and the end.
 
I truly enjoyed the book because of its historical fiction and the style of going back and forth in time. The secrets that are revealed, the lies that kept the secrets unspoken, the twists and turns, and the surprise ending make this book one I couldn't read quickly enough.   ENJOY!!!!  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




Monday, February 25, 2013

Mailbox Monday - 2/25/2013


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do).    

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!
Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, is on a blog tour!

The host for February is:
  Audra @
http://unabridged-expression.blogspot.com/

*****************************

On Monday, February 19, I received:

1.  TRANSATLANTIC by Colum McCann, courtesy of Erika Greber, Marketing Department, of The Random House Publishing Group.  

This was a surprise. 

 
2.  SECRET STORMS by Julie Mannix von Zerneck and Kathy Hatfield, courtesy of Meryl Zegarek and Rachel Hundert of Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc.  

This was a surprise.


3.  THE ORCHARDIST by Amanda Coplin, courtesy of TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins.  

This was an expected book for a tour with TLC on March 27. 

 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Snapshot - 2/23/2013


How about this double yolk?  

I actually have NEVER seen one before. :)

Happy Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.



Monday, February 18, 2013

Mailbox Monday - 2/17/13

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do).    

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!
Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, is on a blog tour!

The host for February is:
  Audra @
http://unabridged-expression.blogspot.com/
__________________________
 
I had an interesting week.  

I received TWO unsolicited books and a LOVELY bookmark that I won in a giveaway on Jennifer's blog Literate Housewife.

On Monday, February 11, I received:

1.  CITY OF DARK MAGIC by Magnus Flyte, courtesy of Reading Group Choices.
 

On Wednesday, February 13, I received:

A bookmark in a random drawing on Jennifer's blog.  

http://literatehousewife.com.


On Thursday, February 14, I received:

1.  SNOW GERMANS by Dmitry Vachedin, courtesy of Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc.
 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday Snapshot - 2/16/2012


Happy Saturday Snapshot!!!

I will be away this weekend, but will enjoy looking at everyone's photos when I return.
__________________________

My photo is of snow AGAIN!!  

We had about an inch the other night...it was quite icy too.

If you look closely at my photo, you will see deer tracks in the snow!!

Don't the trees look so elegant with their new coat?

Have a great day!!



Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

TLC Tours presents:  

THE UNINVITED GUESTS 
by 

Sadie Jones  




What else could happen on Emerald's birthday....her step-father leaves for one day to try to save their home, a friend isn't coming for her birthday, a suitor who isn't anyone she likes gives her a gift, a train accident that causes twenty or more "uninvited guests" to stay at their home, grumpy servants, and then Smudge's decision to carry out a ridiculous undertaking.

The Torrington family definitely had a situation on their hands mostly caused by the folks who have been in the morning room all day from the accident site and had only been given tea.  Would they be staying there for more than that evening or would the railway station drop by and take them to their original destinations?  No communication from the railway station was bad enough, but if the Torringtons thought the uninvited guests were a bad situation, wait until they find out what Smudge has done...their uninvited guests may not be considered a bad situation.


This book was filled with the propriety of an English household along with things that were not.   The descriptive writing style of Ms. Jones is phenomenal....you feel as though you are right on the scene and can see all the details of the surroundings and furnishings.  The characters are devilish, fun, and of course proper....well proper for the most part.  You will feel each character's mood whether it be fear, pleasure, anger, or irritation.  Most of the characters were filled with irritation at the things going on except Smudge who was in a world of her own.  

Smudge is loveable and comical, but I felt sorry for the poor neglected girl.  I can see why she did the things she did.  Clovis was lazy, Charlotte was helpless and whiny and had a secret that became revealed to the horror of her family, Emerald was the responsible one, and the servants worked but complained.  Charlotte couldn't handle anything out of the ordinary and would hide in her room....Charlotte was the mother of Clovis, Emerald, and Smudge.  The children were more able to handle things than she could.

The book took a few pages to get going, but don't put it down....it is humorous and a bit odd.  I enjoyed the book because of its being a bit absurd and because the proper English household wasn't a usual proper household.  You will love the characters as I mentioned above.  There is one chapter that is frightening because of the behaviors of one of the uninvited guests who was allowed to associate with the family, but overall it was an amusing look into an English household.  4/5 

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and TLC Tours without compensation in return for an honest review.


Book Blogger Hop - 2/15 - 2/21


THANK YOU, Billy, for bringing the 

This Week's Question:

What upcoming book in 2013 are you most looking forward to reading?

My Answer:

Ohhhhhhhh...I have been looking forward to a few books, and luckily I have been able to read all three of them.

I was looking forward to reading:

The Truth About Love & Lightning.  

I read and reviewed it already.  You can find my review here.

 
And....was looking forward to reading:

The Lost Art of Mixing.  I read and reviewed this book too.  You can find  my review here.

 
 
I was also looking forward to reading:

The House Girl.  And....I read and reviewed this book. My review is here.


  ENJOY our first RE-NEWED Blog Hop.



Monday, February 11, 2013

The House Girl by Tara Conklin

From 1852 to 2004....from one artist to another....from a farm in Virginia to the hustle and bustle of New York City.

THE HOUSE GIRL flawlessly switches between these two time periods telling of the life of Josephine, a slave girl, Lina, a New York City attorney, and Lina's father, Oscar, an artist.  The book leads you through the life of Josephine as she struggles with her decision to "run, it leads you through the life of Lina who is researching families who may benefit from wrong doing during the period of slavery in the United States, and it leads you through the life of Oscar trying to make amends through his artwork.   


The most significant question, though, along with finding descendants is that of who really did create the paintings found in Lu Anne Bell's home?  Was it really Lu Anne or was it Josephine?  Corresponding with this painting mystery and the mystery of Josephine's descendants is that of Lina's mother...what really did happen to her when Lina was only four?  

You will get caught up in both stories because of the great detail Ms. Conklin uses and because of the research.  I love "digging" for historical information.  As you switch between the two stories, you will ask yourself to choose which life you were more interested in....Lina's or Josephine's....it may be difficult to choose since both were appealing and drew you in, but for me Josephine's story wins hands down for interest.

It took a few chapters, but you will become so involved, it becomes difficult to stop reading....you want to know what will become of the characters and the answer to the mysteries.

Each character comes alive with the vivid detail Ms. Conklin uses, and she puts their feelings out in the open...you can feel the tension, the pain, the frustration, the longing, and the fleeting happiness they experience.  I really enjoyed this book because of the history and the research and of course the detailed descriptions of the characters.

The historical aspect and the fact-finding kept me up late.  It is very interesting how the farm's kitchen records, crop records, and births and deaths of every person including the slaves was kept. I thoroughly enjoy these types of
findings.  I also wonder how these records were not destroyed and who would have thought to preserve them.  Such foresight....something to be grateful for. 

Don't miss this book especially if you are a historical fiction buff.  This book pulls you in and will cause you to pause and reflect on the human race and have you wondering about the reasons why we do what we do, have you wondering what the reasons are that lead us to make the choices we make, and have you wondering about the reason we turned out to be the person we are. 5/5

This book was given to me without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review. 

Winner of THE CONFESSION


AND THE WINNER IS:

PATTY - #19

CONGRATS!!!!

I WILL SEND YOU AN E-MAIL!!!

 

Mailbox Monday - 2/11/2013


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do).    

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists!
Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, is on a blog tour!

The host for February is:
  Audra @
http://unabridged-expression.blogspot.com/

I had a fun week this week book wise.  Not too many books, but a wonderful win of 12 books for one of my three book clubs.  

When I entered, I chose the book club that I have been in the longest and the one that has a name .  :)


On Monday, February 4, I received.

1.  LOOKING FOR ME by Beth Hoffman, courtesy of the author.  

I didn't know it would be arriving this week, so it was a nice surprise.  

I love Beth Hoffman and love her books.


On Thursday, February 7, I received:

1.  Twelve copies for my book club of THE EXPATS by Chris Pavone, courtesy of Lisa Munley of TLC Book Tours and Random House Publishing.  
The book club doesn't know about the win yet, but they are going to be quite excited.  :)  We will make THE EXPATS our read for next month.

    

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday Snapshot - 2/9/2013


SURPRISE

My mother as we celebrated her 90th birthday party last June.  She is such a sweetheart.

She was VERY surprised and teary-eyed as we all were.
 


Standing next to her cake and her favorite flowers.




Our BEAUTIFUL Mom.


  
 Opening up some cards.


We all had a great time and are grateful we still have our spunky 90-year-old mother.

Isn't she adorable?  

Could it be that eight kids
fifteen grandchildren
and three
great-grandchildren keep her young?  :)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.