Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Survived!!

Thanks for all of your kind words of support!!! I survived the first day back at work. It was definitely an adjustment and I was surprised at how quickly the time went by. My skills are a bit rusty but I know that they will improve over time. I just have to work on adjusting my schedule and balancing everything that I need to do. I came home to a nice surprise, a package from UPS...a book from Hatchette to review! I'll surprise you guys and share the title in next weeks Mailbox Monday!

Yes I can!

I have been a stay at home mom for the past 10 years and decided that it was time to return to my original career in healthcare on a very part time/on call basis. I will only be working a few days a week during the school day while my son is at school. I am a bit nervous but fortunately they will provide some orientation to ease me into things! I have mixed feelings about returning to work and am hoping that I will adjust with time. My first day is today so wish me luck!

Has anyone been through a similar experience and care to share how they adjusted? Any words of wisdom will be appreciated, Thanks Friends!

*I have some posts scheduled to post later today so check back!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mailbox Monday

Happy Monday!! Here’s what I found in my mailbox last week:

  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (From Bookmooch)

What books came into your house last week?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blogging....over 2,000 visitors so far!!

I wanted to share my excitement with you that I have had over 2,000 visits to my blog in less than 3 months! I didn't even add the counter right away when I set up my blog. I just started blogging this past July and it has been the perfect way for me to channel my love and passion for books and reading! I have also learned that I love to write as well. I have met such wonderful friends already in the book blogging world and am thrilled that I can connect with others that are like me and who love books! I have already had several authors contact me directly to read and review their books and I continue to get requests on a regular basis. I was honored to have my first giveaway of a debut novel and have several more giveaways planned. I wanted to thank everyone who has visited and commented. I have many blogs listed in my blogroll of favorite blogs and websites. If I have yours listed, I would appreciate it if you add my blog to your blogroll as well. I will be glad to do the same and add your blog to my blogroll, just send me an email or comment here. I also have a goal to increase my google reader subscribers so would appreciate it if you could add my blog to your google reader. I have close to 100 blogs in my google reader already!

I want to thank Avis at She reads and reads who highlighted my blog during BBAW week when she posted on the question about "the book blogs we love to read that didn’t make the list of nominations". You can read her post here.

Thanks to everyone!!!!!!!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Book Review: Johnny Big Ears, The Feel Good Friend

Book Review:
Johnny Big Ears, The Feel Good Friend by John Paul Padilla

Description: Johnny Big Ears is just like every other five-year-old child, but when he starts his first day of kindergarten, children begin to tease him because of his enormously large ears. Follow Johnny as he faces the challenges that being different presents. How will Johnny react to being teased? Find out why Johnny turns out to be the winner in this book that addresses typical childhood bullying and offers children advice on how to deal with teasing.

This is a great book for children to be reminded about the importance of being unique and special even when they may feel different or left out at school. It can help a child who is being teased or bullied in school. The story is about a Kindergarten boy who is teased because of the size of his ears. He learns that it is important to love yourself and it's what's inside that is most important.
I enjoyed the twist on the names of the teacher and his new friend that also points out that everyone is truly different. I read this book along with my 9 year old son. We both liked how Johnny ignored the bullies and found other friends to play with. We both felt that the story was geared more towards Kindergarteners. The book is considered an easy reader for 3rd grade. We thought that it would be a nice story to read to a child in Kindergarten and/or a Kindergarten class. This could also be used by the guidance counselors to share with classes or individual students about teasing and bullying. This book has a great message that is so important for children to learn.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mailbox Monday

Happy Monday!!! This is the first time I am doing a Meme here and thought that it would be fun to do. The Printed Page is host to this weekly meme.

Here’s what I found in my mailbox last week:
What books came into your house last week?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Book Review: The Long Walk Home by Will North

The Long Walk Home

Description: The miracle of love after loss and longing The Long Walk Home is a story about grief and hope, about love and loss, and about two people struggling with the agonizing complexities of fidelity–to a spouse, to a moral code, to each other, and to a passion neither thought would ever appear again. By turns lyrical and gripping, set amid a landscape of breathtaking beauty and unpredictable danger, this is a story you will not soon forget.

It was the beautiful cover art that drew me to this book. The charm of the bold red door with the green boots resting on the doorstep were very inviting. I have a thing for beautiful, bold doors that are charmingly decorated with flowers and statues and other personal decor. When I was in Europe I noticed this trend or custom and on my walks and tours was drawn to these homes. I assume that this door represents the Bed and Breakfast cottage that the main character Fiona runs and operates in Wales. There is also a lovely black and white photo inside that shows a cottage that looks homey and lovely and makes one want to find a place like this to visit. For me, this novel was charming and homey and a novel about love that can blossom at any time in your life, even when it is unexpected. Alec comes to Wales to scatter the ashes of his ex-wife and best friend. He meets Fiona, who is unhappily married, when he stops along his walk across England, to find a room at her Bed and Breakfast. The story reflects life in Wales and the charm of the village where Fiona lives and the sheep farm that is also part of their property. The story goes full circle where Fiona and Alex must figure out where their love can go and if it is meant to be. For me, this was an enjoyable and relaxing read. I loved reading about life in Wales, the village and small country feel of shopping at stores that are not chains and being part of a community that cares about each other. For most people the saying is true that you can't judge a book by it's cover but in this case with The Long Walk Home, you can judge a book by it's cover and will be happy that you did! My only suggestion would be to avoid reading the Prologue until the end, it is only 2 pages but it does give away much of the ending of the story. I would wait until you finish the book to read it.

You can check out the author Will North's website here and take a walking tour across England.

The Professors' Wives' Club Giveaway ends tomorrow Sunday 9/21...Make sure to sign up!!

Just a reminder that my First Giveaway Contest for the Autographed copy of The Professors' Wives' Club by Joanne Rendell ends tomorrow, September 21st. Make sure that you sign up now, check out all the details in the post here. Good Luck! I'll post the winner on Monday, September 22nd.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Let's Talk about Blogging!

Let's Talk Blogging! This is a question of the day for BBAW that My Friend Amy is hosting.

She asked: We've been doing a great job talking about books, but what about blogging? It's half of what we do. What better way to show our appreciation than to share our very best tips. So, today, I ask you to answer two questions in any way you please...

  • What is one thing you wish you knew about blogging when you started or what advice would you give a newbie blogger?

Since I just started Blogging a few months ago I would suggest finding a mentor or friend with a blog that you can ask questions and advice on setting up your blog. I've had several friends whom I've been able to ask questions and that has been a big help. Also, just follow your own creativity and instincts and make your blog your own. Don't feel pressured by what others are doing, you can learn what you like and always change and redecorate your blog with new templates and logos as you go along and learn more.

  • What is your best blogging tip?

Blog often, comment on other blogs to get to know others and in turn they will spread the word about your blog. Since I just started my blog, I've found book bloggers to be the nicest people and they are supportive of other newbie bloggers, so don't hesitate to reach out and keep on blogging!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Book Review: All The Numbers by Judy Larsen

Book Review:

All The Numbers by Judy Larsen
Judy Merrill Larson, a Midwest mother of five and a high school English teacher makes her publishing debut with All the Numbers (A Readers Circle Trade Paperback; $13.95; July 25, 2006), an emotional novel that explores how one mother recovers after the sudden loss of her son.

“How much do you love me?” Daniel asked his mother. “I love you all the numbers.”What begins as a sunny August afternoon on a bucolic lake turns into a tragedy when a Jet Ski swerves fatally close to shore. It’s a day Ellen Banks could never have prepared for, a day no mother should ever have to live through.

I have to be honest in sharing that I have had this book on my TBR shelf for awhile. I have had mixed feelings about reading it and often picked it up to put it back on the shelf as I wasn't ready to read it. I "thought" that it would be a challenging emotional read as I could relate to the story in that I am a mother of a young son close in age to the boys in the book. This preconceived notion allowed me to postpone reading this book but I do wish that I had read it sooner. Yes...this is a book that pulls on your heartstrings as a mother as Ms. Larsen evokes such connection to the mother and children in this story. It was written in a way that was not violent or gratuitous rather in a respectful and heartfelt way. I knew what was coming and it helped prepare me for the story. I felt a deep connection to Ellen, the mother and could relate to her motherly feelings and focusing on the little things that are so precious as your children grow. For me, it was a testament to the love of mother and child and how important it is to stop and appreciate the small things along the way and not wish that your kids grow up too quickly. It captured me from the beginning to the end. It is truly a bittersweet novel of a mother's journey of the ultimate loss that one can experience in life. Yes, you will need a box of tissues handy but also you will be a stronger, more patient person after reading this book! I highly recommend it to all...don't delay as I did, pick up this book and you will also appreciate the wonderful writing and depth in this story.

Check out Judy Larsen's website here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Book Review: A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas

Book Review:

A Three Dog Life: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

Book Description: When Abigail Thomas’s husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his brain shattered. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lives in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions.

This touching memoir is uniquely written in a free flowing style that can be a bit hard to follow at times as the chapters do bounce back and forth in time. It may be meaningful in the sense that it plays with your mind to recall where the author is going and what time period she is referring to. The author opens up her most honest and deepest thoughts and relates those to her daily events after her husband was injured in a car accident. It does make you stop and think how quickly life can change and in an instant your life can be going down an unknown path and new journey. I have a medical background and have worked directly with patients with Traumatic Brain Injury and found that the authors descriptions of experiences as a patient and family member are both raw and real. As a reader, I could empathize with Rich's short term memory loss and how that effected him and Abigail. The author gained great comfort from her dogs and her knitting and she talks about the effect of these things in her life. This is truly a very moving and touching memoir, keep the tissues handy as it will touch your heart.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Book Review: The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

Book Review:

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

Book Description: At the age of fourteen, a young woman in 17th-century Persia believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, collapsing in the field where he works with the other men from their village, there is no hope for a dowry. Alone and penniless, she and her grieving mother are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven,meant, of course, for her married life, to pay for their journey to Isfahan. There they will work as servants for her uncle Gostaham, a rich rug designer in the court of the Shah, and be lorded over by Gostaham's wife. Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant weaver of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her artistic gift flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage with a man who will never take her as his first wife, the young woman is faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to maintain it. Amirrezvani infuses her story with lush detail, brilliantly bringing to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan: The dazzling architecture; the exotic Persian foods; the breathtakingly beautiful rugs. A sweeping love story, a powerful coming-of-age story, and a luminous portrait of a city, this is a universal tale of one woman's struggle to live a life of her choosing.

This is a beautifully written debut novel, an engaging coming of age story about a young persian girl in the 17th century. I enjoyed the rich pictures that the author paints of the beauty of Isfahan with details of architecture, persian foods, culture, views of the rivers and mosques. She describes colors in detail and richness especially with the descriptions of rugs and rug making.
The story covers the details of many life lessons such as love, loss, sacrifice, pride, honesty. It seemed to cover the details of life for women and girls during this time accurately. Sadly, women had very few rights and education and training was near impossible unless you were a man. There were many fables interspersed throughout the book which I grew tired of reading near the end. To me, there were too many which distracted my attention away from the main story.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008




Joanne Rendell was kind enough to send me an autographed copy of her wonderful debut novel to giveaway here to one of you for my first blog giveaway!! I am SO excited about this and hope that you are as well! Please check out my review below or click on here. You can also check out Joanne Rendell's website here.

Here are the rules:

  • Comment on this post for one entry.

  • Spread the word and blog about this giveaway and post a link back here for two more entries.

  • Just for the fun of it, share an example of something that you have stood up for with a group of female friends and what you learned from the experience, this will add another two entries.

Please make sure to leave an email or webpage when you enter so that I can contact you. U.S. and Canada only please, due to shipping costs. Please enter by Sunday, September 21st. Good luck!

Book Review: The Professors' Wives' Club by Joanne Rendell

The Professors' Wives' Club by Joanne Rendell

Book Description: Nestled among Manhattan U’s faculty housing, there is a garden where four women will meet—each with a scandalous secret that could upset their lives, destroy their families, and rock the prestigious university to its very core.With its shady maple trees, elegant iron gate, and high fence laced with honeysuckle, Manhattan U's garden offers faculty wives Mary, Sofia, Ashleigh, and Hannah a much-needed refuge. For Mary, the garden is an escape from abuse. For Sofia, it offers solace as she considers trading in her diaper bag for a briefcase. Then there’s Ashleigh, who wonders if she should tell her conservative father something that might well give him another heart attack. And last is Hannah, who rues jeopardizing her lukewarm marriage for one passionate night. As Mary’s husband, the power-hungry dean, makes plans to demolish this beloved garden, these four women will discover a surprising secret about a lost Edgar Allan Poe manuscript—and realize they must find the courage to stand up for their passions, dreams, and desires.

I was thrilled when Joanne Rendell contacted me to read and review her new book which was just published this month. I jumped at the chance as I had an instinct that I would like the book. I am a fan of women's contemporary literary fiction and to me, this book fits the bill spot on. My instincts were correct and I have to say that I loved this book!

As the wife of a NYU Professor Joanne is a Professors wife in real life. She lives with her family and is a faculty fellow in residence in a dorm at NYU. She has real life experiences that immerse her in the life of academia. She also has a PhD in English Literature which is evident in her strong writing and the literary thread the book takes.

This is a wonderful debut novel that is a richly woven story about a group of four very different women who live in faculty housing and become friends through their love of the university garden. The garden is to be demolished in favor of a parking garage. Two of the women stand out more in the story for different reasons. Mary, a professor herself, hides a secret and is also married to the evil dean who is behind the focus to tear down the garden for his own hidden agenda. Sofia the mother of young children and the strength and catalyst that leads the group. Then, there are Ashleigh and Hanna strong characters but not the leaders that Mary and Sofia are in the book. Hanna is a wife, former model and now artist and MFA student who deals with her own secrets and battles. Ashleigh is a lawyer and girlfriend to Sam who is also a professor.
She has her own secrets and family issues to resolve. They band together to protest the destruction of the garden and their lives are never the same. There is a strong literary thread that is woven into the book related to Edgar Allen Poe which is worked through the storyline to the end where all is revealed.

To me, this was a story about the power of female friendships and standing up for what you believe. I highly recommend it and look forward to Joanne Rendell's next book which is to be published in 2009!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Book Review: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Book Review:

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

by Gregory Maguire

From the Publisher:

We all have heard the story of Cinderella, the beautiful child cast out to slave among the ashes. But what of her stepsisters, the homely pair exiled into ignominy by the fame of their lovely sibling? What fate befell those untouched by beauty . . . and what curses accompanied Cinderella's exquisite looks?

Set against the rich backdrop of seventeenth-century Holland, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice, and ambition. Iris's path quickly becomes intertwined with that of Clara, the mysterious and unnaturally beautiful girl destined to become her sister.

I must admit at the start of this review that I had a preconceived notion about this book. I did not want to read it and didn't think it would be a book that I would enjoy. It was a book chosen and voted on by my book club and I did not vote for it! This was the first book that I have read by this author so I did not have anything to compare it too...No, I have not read Wicked! I was actually pleasantly surprised that I was pulled quickly into the story and it held my interest through to the end.

This is the story behind the story about Cinderella. It is the adult version of childhood fairy tales. I liked that the story was told from the viewpoint of the ugly stepsisters as you were able to understand them more clearly and their past and present situations. The author has much to say about concepts of being beautiful and ugly. The story was rich with strong characters that were well developed. There were many unexpected twists and turns throughout the story that held my interest to the end. I would recommend the book, especially considering that I wasn't keen on reading it and ended up enjoying after all. I just may give Wicked a try in the future!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Catching Up!!!!

We've suffered through the past 3 weeks with sicknesses in our family. Pneumonia/Bronchitis have been the main culprits and it hasn't been much fun! It struck me last week and I've been absent from my blog and have a lot to catch up on. I wanted to let everyone know that I am on the mend and will be back to regular posting soon. The only positive thing about being sick was that I was able to get several books read and will post reviews of them here soon as well. Also, Stay tuned and check back for my first giveaway that I will be hosting this week!! I am really excited about this and can't wait to share more details with you all!! Thanks for your patience!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

About the book:

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is.

I was drawn to this book from the start from it's quirky title, rave reviews and the knowledge that it was an epistolary novel. I adore books like this that are told in letters. This book is reminiscent of 84 Charring Cross Road to me. It was a charming book that described events in a fictional way during a most horrific time in our history during the Nazi occupations of WWII. Despite the atrocities that occurred during the occupation of this island there is redemption by love and life that continues to go on and survives and thrives. The characters were enchanting and I fell in love with them as did Juliet. While reading this book, I found there were times of sadness , grief and tears as well as times of laugh out loud humor in the journey that the characters take you on. You'll have to read the book to find out why this literary society has their quirky name as I won't spoil it for you here! I highly recommend this wonderful novel, please grab a copy soon and enjoy the journey.

The backstory about the authors is another interesting but sad story so be sure to read about it here on the authors website.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Blog Spotlight at J. Kayes Book Blog!!!!

....Is Spotlighted on J. Kayes Book Blog!!!!

I am truly honored to be one of the blogs that J. Kaye is spotlighting on her blog J. Kayes Book Blog..check it out here! I just started my blog last month and it has been a fabulous experience already!!! I've met some great new friends and have gotten such awesome support from fellow bloggers. I am so impressed with the quality of the book blogs out there and am looking forward to getting to know as many of you as I can! Please add your comments as I would love to visit your blog as well. I will be having my first book giveaway this month of a new author's first book..I can't tell you more yet....so.....please stop back!!