Everyday Tidbits...

It's hot. I'm melting. Is summer over yet?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Even Sherlock Goes to the Library...


Even Sherlock goes to the library!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry...Review

About the book:
A.J. Fikry, the irascible owner of Island Books, has recently endured some tough years: his wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and his prized possession--a rare edition of Poe poems--has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly. Until a most unexpected occurrence gives him the chance to make his life over and see things anew. Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books--an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

My reviewing is a bit behind as this was the She Reads April selection.  Better late than never and A.J. Fikry was worth the wait.

I'm still puzzling over what to write and how to review this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I literally read it in a day.  Even with the present tense narrative which I absolutely abhor, I enjoyed the story.  But why?  A.J. isn't really all that likeable although he grows on you.  He sells books and has definite ideas in mind of what books are good and what books aren't.  He's prickly and a bit cantankerous.

A.J. is a bookseller; a man whose life revolves around the written word.  His thoughts on different short stories begin each chapter and his monologues on what genres he likes and doesn't like is brilliant.

When a little surprise comes into his life that causes him to reflect on love and hope and family, he predictably begins to change, and he finds a joy to his life that had been missing.  There were some twists that I didn't see coming, and there were thoughts spoken that caused me to reflect.   This is a reader's novel and one that will stay with you even after you've turned the last page.

Mild, unnecessary use of the F word.

Thanks to She Reads for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Gabrielle Zevin here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 7/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

World’s Best Story: Rewarding readers and book bloggers for telling the world they found a great story!

I am really excited to tell you about an innovative new contest platform for both readers and writers. Laura Fabiani of iRead Book Tours is now a proud sponsor for World’s Best Story!

More and more authors and writers are discovering the power of readers. Books are written for the reader audience, so why not have a say in telling others we think a writer’s story has blockbuster potential? That’s what World’s Best Story allows you to do.
In view of this, I hope you will join me in helping to spread the word and to sign up as a member of World’s Best Story to find talented storytellers and get great prizes. 

But first let me tell you more about World’s Best Story.


World’s Best Story was launched at BookExpo America on May 28. It’s the first social contest to reward readers and writers with exclusive partner prizes. So what does this mean for you?

If you are a writer:

1. Submit your story. Entering is free and the entry period ends Aug 12.
2. Prizes include publishing contracts, celebrity master classes, trademark and IP protection, book tours, big box retail distribution, PR and marketing support and more!
3. Top ten finalists and grand prize winner will be announced at the Toronto International Book Fair on November 15, 2014.

If you are a reader:

1. You get the chance to be the judge, discover new stories and win great prizes.
2. When you sign up to become a member, you automatically get $10 to spend at Beyond the Rack. Signing up is easy, requiring only your name and email.
3. When you rate and vote you’ll get a chance to win cool prizes, and the grand prize package includes a $2000 shopping spree at Beyond the Rack!

So how can you help spread the word? There are several ways:
  • Write a post about it and you can enter in a giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card and one of 6 $25 Beyond the Rack Gift Cards
  • Add the World’s Best Story logo on your blog with a link back to their site.
  • If you are an iRead tour host, your post will count toward your incentive program if you do the above.
  • If you are not yet an iRead tour host, join and you will qualify for the incentive program
  • Tell all your readers about WBS through social media networking.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

THANK YOU!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Mailbox Monday 7/28

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at To Be Continued.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

This week was another slow mailbox week.  But, that's not necessarily a bad thing as I'm working my way through a TBR pile that has been languishing in a corner.


A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson (for review, from Baker Publishing)

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What new books did you receive?  Check out more Mailbox Monday posts here.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Girl in the Gatehouse...Review

About the book:
Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative's estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how--by writing novels in secret.

Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made. When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans.

The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?

I picked this up at the library when I realized it was a Julie Klassen book I hadn't read. Banished after bringing shame to herself, Mariah is sent to live her life in an abandoned gatehouse on the property of a distant aunt.  Needing to support herself, she writes novels under a masculine name.  When the new resident of the estate moves in, he discovers Mariah and curious about her, he sets out to discover her secrets.

This was a delightful novel with lots of secrets and suspense and a few laughs.  Mariah wants to discover the secrets of the estate and how the house behind the estate with its quirky old man and his spyglass fits into the picture. Matthew wants to discover the secrets about Mariah.  It's a terrific read and fans of Julie Klassen will definitely enjoy it.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow.  You can learn more about Julie Klassen here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 5/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Thursday, July 24, 2014

We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook: A Mom and Daughter Dish about the Food That Delights Them and the Love That Binds Them...Review

About the book:
Becky Johnson and her daughter Rachel Randolph come from a long line of laughter. The female side of her family tree is dotted with funny storytellers, prolific authors, hospitable home cooks, and champion chatters. 

In We Love, We Laugh, We Cook, Becky--a butter and bacon loving mama--and Rachel---a vegan bean eating daughter--share stories of their crazy, wonderful, and sometimes challenging lives as Rachel becomes a mother herself. Becky is messy; Rachel craves order. Becky forgets what month it is; Rachel is an organizational genius. (At least before baby arrives.) Sprinkled throughout are the lip-smacking, nourishing recipes they love to make and share. 

From food for a family reunion of thirty, to lunch for a party of one in a high chair, to a hot meal for a sick friend, the authors demonstrate grace, acceptance, and love to others through the bonding gifts of humor, attentive listening, and cooking ... whether diners prefer beef or tofu in their stew.

This is another one that I finally dug out of my languishing TBR stack.  I was not familiar with these authors or their site.  But I love memoirs and I usually love food-related memoirs.   The format for this book alternates perspectives from mother and daughter as they talk about life and food and cooking. It is quite funny and there are moments that will resonate with you. Most of the recipes are vegan/vegetarian and if not, there are suggestions for making them vegan/vegetarian or gluten-free.  I marked several to try.

What grated on me throughout the book was that these two women have a very high opinion of themselves. It takes nothing to get back into skinny clothes 4 months after having a baby, they can whip up a recipe in no time flat, they're beautiful and stunning and successful and on it goes.

For many, cooking is a love language and my husband says that it is definitely one of mine.  Preparing meals is very often an experience, not simply a task.  Family kitchens are traditionally places of love and laughter and sometimes tears.  Lessons are learned, recipes shared, discussions take place and stories are passed on. In  that sense, this is a funny, heartwarming memoir.

Thanks to BookLook for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 7/14

* * *
3/5 Stars

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why We Read




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe...Review

About the book:
A high-powered Manhattan attorney finds love, purpose, and the promise of a simpler life in her grandmother's hometown.

Ellen Branford is going to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish--to find the hometown boy she once loved, and give him her last letter. Ellen leaves Manhattan and her Kennedy-esque fiance for Beacon, Maine. What should be a one-day trip is quickly complicated when she almost drowns in the chilly bay and is saved by a local carpenter. The rescue turns Ellen into something of a local celebrity, which may or may not help her unravel the past her grandmother labored to keep hidden. As she learns about her grandmother and herself, it becomes clear that a 24-hour visit to Beacon may never be enough. The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe is a warm and delicious debut about the power of a simpler life.

This book has languished in my TBR stack for a year.  Literally.  For some reason, I kept passing it over. Weird, since I adored the title and had looked forward to reading it.  This last week, at last, I picked it up. Perhaps it finally spoke to me.  I don't know.  I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I liked Ellen, although I found some of her antics and choices questionable.  I never liked her mom or Hayden, but I don't think I was supposed to.  Loved  Roy and the quirky townspeople in Beacon. I wish the actual Bakeshop figured more prominently in the story and I really wished for more of Ruth's perspective in addition to what we saw of Chet's.  And, for a first person perspective, which I normally don't like, the narrative was quite fleshed out and developed. So many first person narratives are shallow and this wasn't.

The story should have been predictable and, in some ways, it was.  But, it was more than that.  Ellen's journey to deliver the letter and the people she meets was humorous and heartwarming.  I loved Ellen's progression and how the search for her grandmother's story helped her to discover what she wanted from life.

I do wish a recipe for the blueberry muffins had been included.

Thanks to Little Brown for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Mary Simses here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 7/14

****
4/5 Stars

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mailbox Monday 7/21

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at To Be Continued.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

This week was a slow mailbox week.  But, that's not necessarily a bad thing!



A Fickle Wind by Elizabeth Bourne (for review, from Cadence Group)

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What new books did you receive?  Check out more Mailbox Monday posts here

Friday, July 18, 2014

Word Crimes



I don't know if you've seen this yet, but it's awesome.  Loved, loved, loved it!!