Everyday Tidbits...

"I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." - Anne Shirley

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mailbox Monday 10/20

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

I was out of town last weekend for a family funeral and missed posting Mailbox Monday.  Here's what has arrived over the past two weeks.


At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot (for review, from Baker Publishing)
The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer, from Netgalley


Ryder: American Treasure by Nick Pengelley (for review, from TLC Book Tours)
A Thing of Beauty by Lisa Samson, from Netgalley


The Beekeeper's Son by Kelly Irvin, from Netgalley

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Mason Jar...Review

About the book:
What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she’s ever read? “But,” she said, “it’s about you.” The author is your college ex.

In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather’s desk; letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark, debutante, named Savannah. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.

Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar.

A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her and a reunion they never imagined.

Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational epic, romance, tragedy which brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common to Dances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall.

It's always disappointing when a book doesn't live up to your expectations.

The premise of the letters between Clayton and his grandfather was what drew me to the book and that was a minor subplot to Clayton's obsession and inability to move on from Eden. Clayton spends much of the book wallowing and it drew no sympathy from me.

There were also glaring inconsistencies that distracted me. The main one being that in the back cover blurb, the name of the woman Clayton is in love with is Savannah. In the book, her name is Eden. He also is supposed to have changed her last name in his novel, but it's the same in the novel as well as the book. I'm still puzzling over how those were missed in the editing process. I also found the dialogue difficult to follow at times.

There wasn't enough explanation for me of why Eden left and when the friends all gather together again years later for college homecoming, the interactions are juvenile and childish. I kept thinking, "Enough already".

The ending is very reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks and a comparison to him isn't a great recommendation for me.

Overall the parts just didn't add up to a whole and it was a promising potential that went unfulfilled.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about James Russell Lingerfelt here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 10/14

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2/5 Stars

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ryder...Review and Giveaway

About the book
As Israeli and Palestinian leaders prepare to make a joint announcement at the Tower of London, an influential scholar is tortured and murdered in his well-appointed home in St. John’s Wood. Academic researcher Ayesha Ryder believes the killing is no coincidence. Sir Evelyn Montagu had unearthed shocking revelations about T. E. Lawrence—the famed Lawrence of Arabia. Could Montagu have been targeted because of his discoveries?

Ryder’s search for answers takes her back to her old life in the Middle East and into a lion’s den of killers and traitors. As she draws the attention of agents from both sides of the conflict, including detectives from Scotland Yard and MI5, Ryder stumbles deeper into Lawrence’s secrets, an astounding case of royal blackmail, even the search for the Bible’s lost Ark of the Covenant. 

Every step of the way, the endgame grows more terrifying. But when an attack rocks London, the real players show their hand—and Ayesha Ryder is left holding the final piece of the puzzle.

Wow and wow.  I'm 2 for 2 this week on my thrillers and I'm loving it. Ryder invokes feelings of Indiana Jones and National Treasure. The race to discover clues and secrets was edge-of-your seat thrilling.

I really liked Ayesha. Seriously an awesome heroine and tough ass woman. She's been through hell and back, literally, and she can hold her own against terrorists and killers. I loved that it was the women who were strong and who ultimately figured out the answers to the Lawrence puzzle. I hope we see more of Dame Imogen and Lady Madrigal in later books.

Historically rich and detailed. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, my understanding and knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is minimal at best. My knowledge of T.E. Lawrence is even scantier. I've never seen Lawrence of Arabia. So, I have no idea how much of the history is real or how much, if any, is fictional. And I don't care. The book was fast-paced and thrilling and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough.

I can't wait for the next book in the series.

Mild profanity and descriptions of torture.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Nick Pengelley here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 10/14

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4/5 Stars

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Because I loved the book and I know many of you will too, please enter the giveaway for a gift card and copy of the book!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Penny for the Hangman...Review and Giveaway

About the book:
Fifty years ago, on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, two teenagers born to privilege were convicted of slaughtering their parents in cold blood. Today the men are free and a Hollywood movie has been made about the murders. For Karen Tyler, an eager New York journalist, the case is irresistible. She has been invited to the Virgin Islands for an interview that’s too good to pass up . . . and sounds too good to be true.

Karen packs her bikini and her digital recorder and follows an ingeniously designed trail that leads her to a wealthy, mysterious figure. The man claims to be one of the notorious boys, but Karen soon learns that all is not as it seems. On this isolated utopia of sun and surf, a young reporter far from home fights for the truth—and for her life. Because the shocking secret behind the infamous atrocities has remained hidden all these years. And the killing isn’t over yet.

Karen Tyler, a journalist, is contacted by one of the men who is one of two boys convicted 50 years earlier of killing their parents.  Free now, the man wants to share his version of the story and requests that Karen come to the Virgin Islands to meet him. The story Karen anticipates isn't the one she discovers. And that story includes danger, intrigue and surprises.

I read this in a couple of hours. The narrative jumps back and forth between past and present and multiple characters. It was confusing at times, but clearer as the story unfolded. Karen was a bit of a conundrum for me. For someone who is obviously bright and educated, she did some pretty asinine things. Going off to an unknown destination to meet a man she didn't know, a man who was a confessed murderer was stupid. I found that a little implausible, but the story compelled me to finish and as it went on, I could forgive her some of her decisions.

I thought I had everything figured out, but I didn't. Not completely. I appreciated that the author used true crimes as a complement to the fictional one.  It really lent an air of authenticity to the story.

Thrillers aren't normally my thing, which is kind of funny because the only two television shows I watch are Bones and Castle. This, this not only captured my attention, it held it. That's pretty good for a genre I don't normally read.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Tom Savage here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 10/14

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4/5 Stars

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Because there are many of you who will enjoy this book, please enter the giveaway for a gift card and copy of the book!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Mailbox Monday 10/13

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

I miss last Monday, so this is what has arrived over the past two weeks.  Minus some Netgalleys...


The Three Mrs. Monroes series: AmeliaPenelope, and Vivian by Bernadette Marie (for review from Author Marketing Experts)


Christmas in Snow Valley by Cindy Roland Anderson, Jeanette Lewis, Cami Checketts, Taylor Hart, Kimberley Montpetit, and Lucy McConnell (for review, via the authors and Amazon)


God Bless Us, Every One!: The Story Behind a Christmas Carol by John Rhys-Davies and Brandon Dorman (for review, via Shadow Mountain)
Loving Lucianna by Joyce DiPastena (for review, via Italy Book Tours)

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