Everyday Tidbits...

The first day of school is always so bittersweet. Love being back on a schedule. Miss my boys.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Nightingale Nurses...Review

About the book:
It's the final year of training for three young nurses at The Nightingale Hospital.

Helen is at a crossroads in her life as she battles with her domineering mother over both her love life and her future career.

Dora can't stop loving Nick, who is married to her best friend, Ruby. But Ruby is hiding a dark secret with the potential to destroy Ruby's marriage.

Millie is anxious about her fiance, sent to Spain to cover the Civil War, and things only get worse when she encounters a fortune teller who gives her a sinister warning.

With war looming in Europe, and the East End of London squaring up to the threat of Oswald Mosley's blackshirts, the women of the Nightingale have to face their own challenges, at work and in love.

In true British soap opera tradition, The Nightingale Nurses picks up where The Nightingale Sisters leaves off.  With drama filled lives, the girls are in their final year of nursing school and are ready to sit for their exams.  I loved seeing their progress and development not only as nurses but in their personal lives as well.

Historically, the story is rich with the drama of Edward VII and Wallis Simpson, impending war and the Blackshirt persecution of Jews, something Dora discovers her brother is involved with.

The details are fantastic and the lessons learned are strong.  Dora discovers Ruby's secret, Helen finds her backbone and Millie discovers strength she didn't previously have.

Third in the Nightingale series, the books really need to be read in order.  They're entertaining and addicting and the perfect escape reading.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Donna Douglas here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Booking Through Thursday...Enmity

Any books or authors you hate? Why? Is it the writing? The stories? The author’s personality? And—would you read their work anyway?

I don't know that I "hate" any authors.  I do know that there are authors and books that I don't read and don't like.

I didn't love and adore the Twilight series and I don't care for Stephenie Meyer's writing.  She needs a really good editor.

I don't like books by Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult.  They're predictable and overrated and I don't even give them a glance now.

Go here for more BTT posts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Girl Reading

Emma Leonard

Gorgeous.  Simply gorgeous.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Bishop's Wife...Review

About the book:
In the predominantly Mormon city of Draper, Utah, some seemingly perfect families have deadly secrets.

Inspired by an actual crime and written by a practicing Mormon, The Bishop’s Wife is both a fascinating look at the lives of modern Mormons as well as a grim and cunningly twisted mystery.

Linda Wallheim is the mother of five grown boys and the wife of a Mormon bishop. As bishop, Kurt Wallheim is the ward’s designated spiritual father, and that makes Linda the ward’s unofficial mother, and her days are filled with comfort visits, community service, and informal counseling.

But Linda is increasingly troubled by the church’s patriarchal structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in the ward. One cold winter morning, a neighbor, Jared Helm, appears on the Wallheims’ doorstep with his 5-year-old daughter, claiming that his wife, Carrie, disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving behind everything she owns. The circumstances surrounding Carrie’s disappearance become more suspicious the more Linda learns about them, and she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as an abandoned husband.

Kurt asks Linda not to get involved in the unfolding family saga, but she has become obsessed with Carrie’s fate, and with the well-being of her vulnerable young daughter. She cannot let the matter rest until she finds out the truth. Is she wrong to go against her husband, the bishop, when her inner convictions are so strong?

In a Mormon ward or congregation, the Bishop is similar to a pastor or a minister.  His role is to oversee the spiritual and temporal needs of the people within the ward.  His position is voluntary and unpaid and usually lasts for a period of about 5 years. As the Bishop's wife, Linda is in a position to know who might need some extra attention or a listening ear. She's not afraid to ask questions.  And as more and more information comes to light about Jared and Carrie, Linda finds herself more involved that she ever imagined.

This is light suspense and light Christian.  The main character is a nice, normal woman who cares about her neighbors and those in her LDS ward.  She reaches out and she tries to serve others.  Like the rest of us, she's not perfect.  She sometimes has doubts and asks questions, she is concerned about her children, she has her own grief and she worries about the little girl who lives across the street and whose mother is missing.

I liked Linda. I loved her relationship with her husband.  I appreciated that she had a strong testimony of her faith, but she didn't have every answer to every question.  Her efforts to find out what happened to Carrie were curious. I hated the men in Carrie's life, but as answers came out, it was easy to see why things happened the way they did. The mystery aspect wasn't as completely predictable as I had anticipated, although it wasn't as tight as I think it could have been.

I guess the best way to describe this book is that it's not a Mormon book, it's a suspense novel set among Mormons.  The book is directed at a mainstream audience and so in the first person narrative, Linda gives some explanations about different aspects of the LDS faith, which is good.  I did think that her explanations were a bit inconsistent; some things were explained, some things weren't.  But, having said that, I think it gives the reader a good glimpse inside a normal, Mormon life although I'm sure that isn't the intent of the novel.

Thanks to Netgalley and Soho Press for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Mette Ivie Harrison here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/14

* * *
3/5 Stars

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Bouquet of Love...Review

About the book:
Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her huge Greek family–especially her father–has other ideas. They’ve all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant location on the Strand– directly across the street from the Rossis’ popular pizza place–and they want Cassia’s full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston’s premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family’s faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into Bella’s good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . . Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers one more romp with Bella, Galveston, and the bustling wedding biz in the final installment of her popular series. Anyone who loves quirky families, loads of laughter, and tender romance will find themselves hooked.

When her father forced the family to relocate from Santa Cruz and the blue waters of the Pacific to Galveston Island, Texas and the brown waters of the Gulf, Cassia is not happy.  Forced to work in her family's gyro sandwich shop, she wants nothing more than to arrange flowers.  When she finds a job in a florist's shop, she takes it, even knowing that it will anger her father.  Cassia's father, Babbas, has opened his sandwich shop across the street from Parma John's, the pizza place owned by the Italian Rossi family. Seized immediately by the desire to put the Rossi's out of business, and make the Greek gyro number one, Babbas forbids the family from having any contact with the Rossi family.  Unfortunately, Cassia's new employer is a Rossi and she has just befriended Bella Neeley.

When I see a book by Janice Thompson, I jump.  I have never been disappointed.  I adored A Bouquet of Love.  It has all the makings of a fantastic Janice Thompson book, fantastic, spunky heroines, loud and interfering extended family, witty repartee and lots of love and laughter.  Here, the Rossi's are back in force and the Pappas family is a match for their intensity.

The final installment of the Weddings by Design series, the story can stand alone, but is all the better if you've read the others in the series.  What is so fantastic is that Janice ties in the Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series as well.  This is the perfect ending to all of them.

Thanks to Lanette at Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Janice Thompson here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 7/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mailbox Monday 8/18

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 is what showed up this week in the mailbox and on the Kindle...

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron (for review, BookLookBloggers)
The Chocolate Garden by Ava Miles via Netgalley
Doctor Who: Engines of War by George Mann via Netgalley

A Penny for the Hangman by Tom Savage via Netgalley (for review, TLC Book Tours)
Life is Sweet by Elizabeth Bass via Netgalley

A May Bride by Meg Moseley via Netgalley
A June Bride by Marybeth Whalen via Netgalley
Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher (for review, Litfuse Publicity)

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant (for review, Litfuse Publicity)
Ryder by Nick Pengelly via Netgalley (for review, TLC Book Tours)

The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith via Netgalley
A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E Ladd via Netgalley
Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason (for review, Baker Publishing)


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

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Widow of Larkspur Inn...Review

About the book:
When Life Seemed Its Worst, Gresham Awaited.

Julia Hollis' opulent life in Victorian London crashes to pieces when her husband passes away. Worse, she is told by his bankers that he gambled away their fortune. Now, the family's hope rests on The Larkspur, an old abandoned coaching inn in the quaint village of Gresham.

Driven by dread and her desire to provide for her children, Julia decides to turn the dilapidated inn into a lodging house. But can she--who was accustomed to servants attending to every need--do what needs to be done and cope when boarders begin arriving? And then an eligible new vicar moves into town...

If it wasn't bad enough that her husband died, it's even worse when Julia discovers his gambling debts mean she has lost her home and his fortune.  All that is left is an abandoned inn in a faraway village.  Setting out to make a life for herself and her children, Julia travels to Gresham with the intent of turning the inn into a lodging house.

This was a Kindle freebie from back in March and I as am slowly working my way through my TBR stacks, I finally got around to it.  This was a lovely novel.  It's sweet and slow.  The story moves at its own quiet pace.  Julia's story is front and center, but we also see her son's perspective and several other perspectives of the lodgers and villagers.  It's not too much though and the stories all weave together.

The Christian elements are fairly heavy-handed but the conflicts and tension were minimal and everything works out.  At times I felt like bits and pieces were missing and it was surprising that a woman of Julia's status and inability would be so successful as an boarding house matron so quickly, but I do love strong and resilient women and Julia definitely fits that category.

This is the first of a series and I believe my library has them, so I would like to continue reading about Julia and Andrew and the village of Gresham.

I "purchased" this from Amazon when it was free.  (I love Kindle freebies!) You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Booking Through Thursday...Bookcases 2

I’ve always considered that my bookcases give a pretty fair representation of me as a person—they show my interests, what kind of things I like, that I have a curious mind, the kinds of things I study … all that. But with the increase of e-books, that litmus test of personality is going by the wayside. Unless someone takes my Kindle and browses through it, there isn’t an immediate, visible display of my interests … am I the only one who finds that kind of sad? Going forward, about the most we’ll be able to tell about someone is that they OWN an e-book reader … but no real idea of what they actually read. I’m going to miss that.

This is a follow up to last week's question about perusing other people's bookcases.  I love looking at bookcases and I agree that a bookcase can be a very good representation of a person or family.  The bookcase in our living room is full of books, some dvds, some cds, family photos and and an assortment of Lego or clay creations.  The other bookcases scattered throughout our home are similar.

I have only recently begun using my e-reader and while e-readers are convenient, it's not as easy to see what someone is reading or their taste in books. I love being out and about and noticing someone read a book that I have enjoyed or talking with them about the book they are reading.

My e-reader won't ever replace real books in my life, but I have become more selective about the books I do keep or purchase.  I have to truly love a book before it goes on my shelves.

Go here for more BTT posts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Surrounded by Books

The Library by Sarah Stewart; Illustrated by David Small. © 1995 ... .
I dream of a wonderfully comfortable old age surrounded by many good books to read.