Monday, July 31, 2017

Found In My Back Yard

Look what I found on a tree stump in my back yard.  Pretty neat, huh?

Looks like a flower, but it is a mushroom.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase


Applecote Manor in 1959 was home for Perry, Sylvia, and Audrey as well as the summer vacation place for the Wildling sisters Margot, Flora, Pam, and Dot until the summer Audrey disappeared.

When Audrey disappeared, the girls never went back until one summer when their mother decided she needed to get away from it all.  She sent her daughters back to Applecote Manor to stay with their aunt and uncle.

This summer wasn't the best for anyone, though.  The close knit sisters drew apart, and Margot was obsessed with finding out what really happened to Audrey.   Along with everything else, Aunt Sylvia did a few odd things and kept things from the girls.

Meanwhile back to present day at Applecote Manor.  Applecote Manor has just been bought by Jessie and Will against the wishes of their rebellious teenage daughter, Bella, who is mourning the loss of her mother.  Bella gives her stepmother, Jessie, a rough time by continually making hurtful comments to Jessie about how she isn't her mother.  Once Bella finds boxes of her mother's things, the comments get worse.

Bella also feels that Applecote Manor still houses the ghost of Audrey and her family.  A few things happen that might make that true especially since Bella is living in the attic rooms where Audrey lived.

As we go back and forth, we find out the personalities of the characters are mostly carefree in 1959 until the disappearance of Audrey and quite tense in present day.

THE WILDLING SISTERS grabs you from the first sentence.  Ms. Chase's writing is marvelous, enticing, and detailed.

I enjoyed both the present and past stories and loved the descriptions of Applecote Manor and its grounds when they were in pristine shape and in present day when both the house and grounds needed a lot of work.

If you like mysteries and family drama, the WILDLING SISTERS is for you.  It has a hint of Gothic and an undertone of foreboding.

ENJOY!!  5/5

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



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris


For three years, Cass Anderson had been taking care of her mother who had dementia.  It has taken its toll on her, and has also made her worry that she too may have dementia some day.

The worry actually seemed to be coming true since Cass has been forgetting everything including appointments, where she left money given to her to buy a gift, and lunch dates.

On her way home from a work party, Cass passed by a car on a deserted road and didn't stop because the driver gave no indication that any help was needed. The next morning the news announced that a woman had been murdered on that same road.

The guilt Cass felt from not stopping to help caused her memory to get worse and her fears that the murderer saw her that night and was after her escalated.  She did get phone calls that had no one on the other end of the line as well as many other instances that made her think she was heading the path of her mother. Was it dementia or stress?  Or could it be someone making her think her memory was declining.

THE BREAKDOWN was very tense, and did have me thinking someone was purposely doing all of these things to stress her to the point of losing her memory and deciding to not go back to work.

THE BREAKDOWN had me turning the pages as well as being nervous for Cass, but it was nothing like the tension and terror of her first book.

As the ending neared, the suspense was very high as the truth came out.

I sort of figured out toward the end what was going on, but the plot and revelation were carefully and cleverly carried out by Ms. Paris.

ENJOY!!  4/5

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



Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Child by Fiona Barton


 
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Author bio and book background information is at the end of the review.
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An unsolved mystery resurfaced when a baby's skeleton was found at a building site.

Along with the skeleton, three main characters emerge too.  Kate is a reporter investigating the story.  Emma is a nervous adult who became intrigued as well as possessed when she sees the story of the baby.  Angela is the mother whose baby disappeared more than 40 years ago never to be found.

THE CHILD took a while to get interesting simply because it was a bit slow, and there were too many characters thrown in. I was lost with so many different characters and couldn't seem to figure out the connection until around half way through the book so don’t give up because it is worth the wait.

As the pages turned and I reached the halfway point, the book started making a connection for me and kept my attention.  The mystery became intriguing.

The characters seemed genuine for their roles, but something was odd and different about each of them.

This was my first book by Ms. Barton so I imagine I needed to get used to her writing style and her attention to detail.

There are some good twists to the story as well as some disturbing subjects that are addressed.

All in all, THE CHILD is a good read that will keep you guessing. 4/5

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

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THE INFORMATION BELOW HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
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THE CHILD
by Fiona Barton



You can bury the story . . . but you can’t hide the truth


 
*One of Publishers Weekly and Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of 2017*
*A TIME “Top 10” Summer Thriller*
*Pre-publication exclusives featured by Entertainment Weekly and theSkimm*
*Praise from Lee Child, Shari Lapena, and Clare Mackintosh *
*Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal*
*A June 2017 Library Reads Selection*

This summer FIONA BARTON is back with a second novel that proves lightning can strike twice.

Barton’s 2016 debut, The Widow, was an instant global bestseller, captivating readers around the world and setting the publishing industry abuzz.

The highly-anticipated release of THE CHILD (Berkley Hardcover; June 27, 2017) reaffirms Barton’s growing reputation as a writer of rich, character-driven suspense novels. Like Tana French, Louise Penny, and Megan Abbott, Barton’s stories do more than thrill: they explore the complexities of a changing world.

The Widow delved into the secrets that exist within a marriage and the reporter’s role as voyeur.  Here Barton continues to mine those themes. THE CHILD tackles the 24/7 news cycle, and lays bare the intricacies of a different but equally fascinating relationship—mother and child.

Says Barton: “The emotions, responsibilities—and the pain—of motherhood are unique to each of us with children. Ask any woman and she will have her own story to tell.”

In a working class neighborhood of London, construction workers make a grisly discovery: the long-buried remains of a baby.  When a newspaper mention reveals the find, most readers barely give it a glance. But for two women, its threat to unearth hidden stories is impossible to ignore. For veteran reporter, Kate Waters (introduced in The Widow), it sparks the question “Who would bury a baby?” and starts a hunt for the truth about the nameless child. The story unfolds via the women’s alternating perspectives to eventually reveal: Who is Building Site Baby?

In fact, it was the allure of a hidden story that propelled Barton to her long-time career in news. A journalist and British Press Awards “Reporter of the Year,” she has worked at the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, and brings that experience to bear in her novels.

In THE CHILD she details how Kate’s lengthy investigation into Building Site Baby’s death represents a perilous breach of the newsroom’s new culture of 24/7 online news. Says Barton: “The danger for Kate is that she risks becoming one of the dinosaurs—sidelined because she is unable and unwilling to be part of the revolution. And I feel for her.”

Though THE CHILD delivers an evocative look at the changing face of journalism, and a delicious plot twist, it is the characters’ haunting and rich emotional lives that set Barton apart and confirm her stature as a crime novelist of the first order.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry


A summer home that has been left abandoned for years, but a summer home that Bonny now desperately needs to return to regardless of the pain and memories it holds.

The town of Watersend, South Carolina, was quaint, a treasure from childhood, and had the best bookstore with a marvelous bookstore owner that could pick out a book you "need" not a book that you want. 

We meet many likable and believable characters except one in THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER’S END. You are able to empathize with the characters as well as want everything to turn out for them.

The main character, Bonny, was a successful doctor, but a tragic mistake in the emergency room one night caused Bonny to be put on sabbatical and has her deciding to return to the childhood summer home that contains secrets and some happy and not so happy memories.

A happy memory was the friendship between Bonny and Lainey. They were labeled the "summer sisters." 

They had made a pact to always be there for each other. Bonny needed Lainey now, and Lainey came back to the house with her two children even though she also had some bad summer memories and really didn’t want to.

The bookstore and its owner were definitely a happy memory.  Mimi, the bookstore owner was marvelous.   Any book that has a bookstore and a book club in it definitely makes the story line even more appealing.

Two not-so-happy memories and ones that were difficult to forget gnawed at both women. The disappearance of Lainey's mother and Bonny's love for Lainey's brother, Owen, who was the love of her life, but a love she could never get to stay were memories difficult to get over.

The book’s setting was perfect, and the descriptions of the house, the town, the beach, and the ocean put you there with the characters sharing their days and their feelings both good and bad.

THE BOOK SHOP AT WATER'S END was a warm, inviting read bringing women together for what we do best - support each other.

This was my first book by Ms. Henry, and it was a delightful, summer treat.

ENJOY!!  5/5

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

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GIVEAWAY OF THE BOOK:


The giveaway copy is “Courtesy of Penguin Random House.”
CONTEST HAS ENDED
THE WINNER IS:
HEIKE FROM NEW JERSEY
CONGRATS!!

USA Entries Only
Enter here

July 12 - July 20


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What She Ate Giveaway and Spotlight



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All information in this post is courtesy of the publisher.
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A beloved culinary historian’s short takes on six famous women through the lens of food
WHAT SHE ATE
Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories
by
LAURA SHAPIRO
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PRAISE FOR WHAT SHE ATE:
Recommended Summer Reading by ELLE, Bon App├ętit, and Eater.
“A unique and delectable work that sheds new light on the lives of women, food, and men. .”—Kirkus Reviews
“…six crisply written, ardently researched, and entertainingly revelatory portraits of very different women with complicated relationships with eating and cooking…. A bounteous and elegant feast for hungry minds.”BookList, Starred Review
“Establishes Laura Shapiro as the founder of a delectable new literary genre: the culinary biography.”—Megan Marshall, Pulitzer-prize winning biographer
“The idea that eating habits reveal aspects of character is ever-intriguing, and it’s presented here with charm and insight.”—Mimi Sheraton, former restaurant critic for the New York Times and author of 1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die
 
“Laura Shapiro has done it again! She’s given us a fascinating and wonderfully entertaining history of six women of the last two centuries you might never have thought of as foodies, yet here they are, distinguished by how differently they dealt with the overwhelming importance of food in their lives.”—Marion Nestle, author of Soda Politics
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ABOUT WHAT SHE ATE:
Food stories can be as intimate and revealing as stories of love, work, or coming-of-age. Yet most biographers pay little attention to food, as if these great and notable figures never daydreamed about what they wanted to have for dinner or worried about what to serve their guests. Once we consider how somebody relates to food, we find a host of different and provocative ways to understand them. Everyone eats, and food touches on every aspect of our lives—social and cultural, personal and political.
This summer, Viking will publish WHAT SHE ATE: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories (Viking; On-sale: July 25, 2017; $27.00; ISBN: 9780525427643) by James Beard Award-winning writer Laura Shapiro, a unique account of the lives of six women from a perspective often ignored by biographers. Each woman in this entertaining group portrait was famous in her time, but until now, no one has explored their lives from the view of the kitchen and the table.
Laura Shapiro examines a lively and surprising array of women and how the theme that unites them is a powerful relationship with food:
  • Dorothy Wordsworth, whose food story transforms our understanding of the life she led with her poet brother
  • Rosa Lewis, an Edwardian-era Cockney caterer who cooked her way up the social ladder and would fit right in on Downton Abbey
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady notorious for serving the worst food in White House history
  • Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress who challenges our warm associations with food, family, and table, and whose last meal was famously a cyanide capsule
  • Barbara Pym, whose witty novels upend a host of stereotypes about postwar British cuisine
  • Helen Gurley Brown, the longstanding editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, whose commitment to ‘having it all’ meant having almost nothing to eat except a supersized portion of diet Jell-O
Accompanied by black and white photos, WHAT SHE ATE is a unique biography of women who continue to make their mark on present society. 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Laura Shapiro has written on every food topic from champagne to Jell-O for The New York TimesThe New YorkerThe AtlanticSlateGourmet, and many other publications. She is the author of three classic books of culinary history. Her awards include a James Beard Journalism Award and one from the National Women’s Political Caucus. She has been a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, where she also co-curated the widely acclaimed exhibition Lunch Hour NYC.
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GIVEAWAY:
The giveaway copy is “Courtesy of Penguin Random House.”
 *********** 
CONTEST HAS ENDED
THE WINNER IS:
HEIKE FROM NEW JERSEY
CONGRATS!!
USA ONLY
July 18 - 25
ENTER HERE

***********

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Giveaway and Spotlight of The BookShop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry


COMING THIS SUMMER
A great summer read about finding yourself and returning home.”—Popsugar

All information in this post is courtesy of the publisher.
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This August Patti Callahan Henry delivers her best story yet with THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER’S END (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; July 11, 2017; $16)—a powerful exploration of the lives of two women who return to their shared childhood summer home where one desperately seeks closure after a great tragedy, while the other hopes to flee one.


Inspired by her own memories of childhood family vacations, Henry captivates readers with what Kirkus calls “a quiet, atmospheric look at friendship, forgiveness, and second chances.” 
A perfect read for fans of Mary Alice Monroe, Dorthea Benton Frank, and all lovers of Southern women’s fiction, THE BOOKSHOP AT WATERS END is full of genuine interactions between characters and unexpected turns of events that will leave readers meditating on the unpredictable paths life takes us.
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About the Book

Unsatisfied with her life, Dr. Bonny Blankenship has been preparing a fresh start for some time. But after a tragic mistake in the emergency room, her meticulously laid plans abruptly fall apart. Seeking escape and solace, Bonny flees to Water’s End, the seaside town where she and her childhood best friend Lainey McKay spent three blissful summers camped out in the local bookshop. Now with her troubled teenage daughter in tow, Bonny is desperate to save them both from the looming uncertainty of their futures.


Lainey has found great happiness through marriage, motherhood and a passionate career as a successful artist. However, a darkness from her past haunts her—something that has followed her ever since one fateful summer night in Water’s End. But when her best friend Bonny enlists her support in a moment of great need, Lainey feels compelled to return to the small town for the first time in decades. What she does not predict is that their favorite old bookstore could hold an important link to her past—as well as some long-needed closure.
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About the Author


Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels include The Idea of Love, The Stories We Tell, And Then I Found You, Coming Up for Air, The Perfect Love Song, Driftwood Summer, The Art of Keeping Secrets, Between the Tides, When Light Breaks, Where the River Runs and Losing the Moon

Short-listed for the Townsend Prize for Fiction, and nominated multiple times for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book Award for Fiction, Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs and women’s groups.
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Giveaway

The giveaway copy is “Courtesy of Penguin Random House.”

USA Entries Only

Enter here

July 12 - July 20


Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave

 

"Hello Sunshine” normally meant someone was leaving a compliment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The day of Sunshine Stephens’ 35th birthday didn't bode well for the “hello sunshine” greeting.

Everything she had made up about herself was being made public by a hacker, and no one knew who the hacker was.

Sunshine's life was turned upside down personally and professionally.  Not telling the truth from the start backfired on her.

When Sunshine started her career as a TV chef, she should have been truthful and said she was from the Hamptons and not from a Georgia farm town. 

Telling the truth was something she hadn't done for years, and telling the truth now had no credence.  No one believed anything she said.

Where could the real Sunny Stephens go except back home? When she got home she had a big surprise too.

The characters in HELLO SUNSHINE were for the most part likable, but they also were on the side of deceitful.

HELLO SUNSHINE was an easy, breezy read for me. I loved the cooking theme, and I loved the glimpse into the life in the Hamptons even though it was on the wrong side of town.

If you enjoy people watching, family situations, and food, HELLO SUNSHINE fits the bill.

I enjoyed HELLO SUNSHINE  and the wisdom of life decisions which was a major theme.  5/5

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


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Litsy


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Has anyone taken a look at this new Book App?

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I joined a few weeks ago.

It is similar to Instagram!!

The link to the introductory website is:   

http://litsy.com/
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Info quoted from their introductory website is below:

"Litsy is a place to share and discover your favorite books with your favorite people.

The Litsy community is a groundswell of passionate readers, authors, celebrities, and more. Share bookish moments with Quotes, Reviews, and Blurbs. Measure Litfluence to discover your “bookprint” in the world. Explore recommendations from readers, not algorithms.

Oh yeah, want to organize your reading list? Our app has stacks for that, too.

It’s fun.  It’s simple.  It’s all about the book. Sign up and get a little Litsy." 



The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

 
A successful career, an ailing grandmother, a one-night stand, and a Southern family with untold secrets.

Leia had always been close to her grandmother, but did she really know her grandmother?  After finding out her grandmother has been suffering with dementia for over 10 years, Leia puts the job she loves on hold and goes to Alabama to see what actually is going on.

What Leia finds at her grandmother's home isn't what she had expected, and coupled with her unexpected pregnancy was a bit ​overwhelmed.

Grandmother  Birchie and her life-long friend, Wittie, are delightful characters and characters that can no longer live alone, but are putting up a fight.​  When the secret in their attic is found, they get a reprieve from having to leave their home becaus​e the Sheriff ordered them to stay in the state.

THE ALMOST SISTERS had a lot of drama​ and a lot of love​.  I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, the Southern charm, and especially the characters. They all were lovable, authentic, and sweet in their own way. 

THE ALMOST SISTERS was a very enjoyable first book I have read by ​Ms. Jackson​.  She has a marvelous writing style and  a women’s-fiction-theme-based story with some characters having unusual problems and others with normal, everyday problems that the reader can relate to.

THE ALMOST SISTERS is a touching, endearing book about family.

I would ​recommend THE ALMOST SISTERS to readers who enjoy Southern living and adorable characters you wish you could spend some time with and will miss once you turn the last page.

THE ALMOST SISTERS is a book that will bring you closer to your own loved ones.  5/5

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


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica


Nick?  My Nick?  It can't be.

Nick wouldn't hurt a fly or tell a lie... EVER.

Did Clara really know her Nick?

Nick's life kept spinning and spiraling out of control as debts mounted and his savings was depleted, and then the unthinkable happened.

Clara couldn't believe her husband was talking on the phone while driving, driving too fast around a curve when he had their daughter in the car, and having an affair.

When the police came to Clara's door and said there had been an accident, Clara didn't want to believe it was Nick until she saw him lifeless on the table in the emergency room . The only saving grace was that Maisie miraculously hadn't been harmed.

As the days after Nick's death turned into weeks and Clara still hadn't told her daughter her father had died, Maisie began to scream about a bad man and continually asked when her daddy would be home. This made a sleep-deprived and grieving Clara believe someone had killed Nick and that it wasn’t his speeding that had killed him.

EVERY LAST LIE begins with a car crash that turned Clara's life upside down for more than one reason and turns worse every day as things about her husband are revealed.  Nick lied about their finances and who knows what else.  Clara just couldn't believe it.

Clara was an annoying character for me because she had no clue about what was going on in her household, and her parenting skills were awful.  She left children in a running car and didn't know how to handle crying children.  She didn't even know how to take care of herself.

Nick seemed to be a good father and husband on the surface but a sleaze bag in every other way.

There actually were not too many trustworthy characters in this book, but oh did they all make EVERY LAST LIE an excellent read.

Ms. Kubica cleverly moves from past to present with chapters headed CLARA and chapters headed NICK - BEFORE And AFTER as she takes us on a secret-revealing ride with the secrets having been better left unknown.

This was my first book by Mary Kubica, and it grabbed me the minute I read the suspenseful, attention-grabbing opening lines.

EVERY LAST LIE is a book every reader of psychological thrillers won't want to miss. 


EVERY LAST LIE is marvelous from the first word to the last even though the ending was a bit flat.  5/5

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