Monday, October 1, 2012

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday....What are you reading?

~Mailbox Monday~
Is a place for readers to share what books came into their
 house last week and explore great book blogs!
(October host is Marcia from Mailbox Monday)

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
(Courtesy of Atria Galley Grab)

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
(E-Galley courtesy of Edelweiss and Delacorte Press)

(E-galley courtesy of Edelweiss and Ballantine Books)


We discuss the books we've read and the books 
that we are planning to read this week.

Read Last Week: I didn't post reviews last week. I am a bit of a slow reader lately. I'm reading:

Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski (audio book)
The Book Lover by Mary Ann McFadden (Kindle book)

Book Posts/Reviews on the Agenda:

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (audio book)
A Turn In The Road by Debbie Macomber (audio book)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Catching Up On A Sunday

Fall is here, one of my favorite seasons. Time has passed quickly, I can't believe that October is almost here. September was a busy month for my family with school projects and homework for my son, a piano recital, work,  work training,family responsibilities and more.  Add to that my son and I both have terrible ragweed allergies and we both had bronchitis and he is still battling a sinus infection. My husband had some major yard work challenges when he reseeded our backyard, tore down our son's old swing set and planted shrubs for privacy. He's a hard worker! 

I have been listening to more audio books now that I have a farther drive to work. It definitely makes the drive more enjoyable! Although, a narrator can make or break a book for me. I ditched one audio book as the narrators voice grated on me. I am currently listening to and enjoying:

Objects of my affection by Jill Smolinski

I am reading on my Kindle:

The Book Lover by Mary Ann McFadden

Happy Sunday, Enjoy your day!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Snapshot~Sunset at the Lake

(click on picture for a larger view)

Double Sunset at the Lake

I've posted a few pictures before from our favorite park nearby that has a beautiful lake and walking trails. My husband took this picture as we were trying to capture the different cloud formations. He captured this beautiful picture as the sun was setting. We loved how this shows a double sunset with the sun reflecting off the lake. We need to go back there soon to capture some of the fall foliage as the leaves change. 

(Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books)

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry ~ Book Talk

Harold Fry is a quiet, unhappy retired Englishman who receives a letter in the mail from an old colleague, Queenie.  Harold has not forgotten about Queenie but he has not thought about her in a long while. Suddenly she consumes his thoughts and mind. He has an awakening of sorts. Queenie tells him in her letter that she is dying and wanted to say goodbye.  Harold decides to send her a letter and in walking to the post to mail his letter finds himself on a mission to walk to Queenie and deliver the letter himself. This is the start of Harold's 600 mile pilgrimage to deliver his letter to Queenie himself. As he walks, he begins to remember things from his past, much of which he has repressed. With the choice Harold has made, to walk across the country in the clothes on his back, he has set into motion a series of events that will affect many. As the story unfolds, we uncover the reasons of Harold's actions and events that have caused the estrangement from his wife Maureen and his son.

I understand that Harold's walk...his pilgrimage, is a way to sort out his past, regrets, pain, sorrow and misunderstandings. We all make mistakes and can lose our way and some find themselves deeply entrenched and have trouble pulling themselves out. We need others to help us along the way to force us to see reality and face the truth. This happens to Harold and subsequently effects many others along his pilgrimage to see Queenie. 

In honesty, this book just didn't work for me. I found it depressing and unrealistic. I did not adore Harold, I found him annoying and a bit boring. I did like the ending which was a surprise and redeemed the book for me in many ways.  The book seemed to me a bit of a take off of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand which I my opinion, this did not have the same humor or strength of the story and characters that the Major had. 

Source: Public Library

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gone Girl ~ Book Talk

About Gone Girl: 

Most likely, you have already heard about Gone Girl or read some buzz about this hit book of the summer. I don't want to spoil the reading experience for you as it really is an experience! Gone Girl can be described as a psychological thriller and it's not my usual genre that I pick up. With the buzz and the bits and pieces that I had heard and read about the story, I knew that I had to read it. What's not to draw you into a novel about a seemingly happily married couple celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary and the lovely wife disappears and suddenly it is obvious that something is very wrong in their marriage...but what is it? The twists and turns that the reader takes through the minds of Amy, the wife, with what she reveals in her diary messages and Nick, her husband, with his twin sister who believes in him but oh he really innocent? This novel is pure manipulation of our minds as readers but it is so engrossing and riveting that you will not want to put the book down!

Recommend: Absolutely! This is the kind of book that makes you love reading. A book that is so engrossing, you don't want to stop reading and for me, I did not figure out the ending which was a bit of a surprise. The ending  leaves some things undone which some readers may not like but it does leave open the possibility for a sequel. Gillian Flynn was on The View this month and I watched a clip online with her interview and she did slightly allude that this was a possibility: 

Source: Public Library, Kindle E-Book Loan

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Snapshot ~ August 18

Gaggle of Geese at the Lake

There is a favorite park near where we live that has a beautiful lake and a two mile walking trail to walk around the lake. On a recent summer evening, my husband and I came across the path of this gaggle of geese. We saw a Blue Heron that night as well on the other side of the lake but we couldn't capture a photo of it hidden in the brush around the lake. It's a very relaxing place to walk, enjoy the beauty of nature and the lake. 

(Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home with Books)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Broken Harbor ~ Book Talk

What Broken Harbor is about:

Broken Harbor is the fourth novel in Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad novels. Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy is the Murder Squad's top detective and plays by the book and gets put in charge of the biggest murder case of his career. He ends up choosing rookie partner, Richie, which ends up to be a challenge in itself. Their case, the violent assault and murder of a family in a half built and abandoned luxury home development in Broken Harbor which also holds past memories for Mick. 

Why did I choose to read this book?

I read Tana French's first book, In the Woods, earlier this year. I liked the writing style, detail and character development. Although, I did find the novel drawn out and felt like the story could have been told with less detail. I didn't read the authors next two books  but this one caught my interest and I decided to give it a try. 

Recommend? I have mixed feelings about this. I did find Broken Harbor more engaging than the first book, and my interest was held throughout most of the book. I found the character development engaging and the characters were complex but not hard to follow. I found a few things near the ending that didn't seem realistic  and I did find myself skimming pages and did not miss the points of the story. The author did a great job in the creepiness factor with the psychological bents as I did find the story invading my dreams at night. I had to put it aside and read it during the day. I've had this happen before so it just may be my own subconscious sensitivity to psychological thrillers. I believe that if you are a fan of  police & psychological thrillers that you will enjoy this book and if you are a fan of Tana French and her writing you will most definitely enjoy Broken Harbor. 

Book Talk: In my back to blogging goals, I am trying to write my reviews in a simpler, quicker manner as if I was sharing my thoughts with a friend. I am patterning my reviews after my blogger friend Staci from Life In The Thumb and her Bookish Thoughts posts. I admire her heartfelt honesty and ability to get to the point and enjoy reading her Bookish Thoughts reviews. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this review style. I may tweak it as I go along but for now it is a great way for me to get reviews written quickly and with less pressure. 

Source: Public Library

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is on tour the month of August with 
host Jennifer D from 5 Minutes for Books

It's been quite awhile since I've participated in Mailbox Monday where we share the books that came into our house the last week. I did receive one new book in the mail:

Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook from Paperbackswap

I can't wait to read this one as Claire Cook is one of my favorite authors, it just may be the perfect book for me to read next! 

Catching up on a Sunday....

Summer is passing quickly and soon it will be back to school time. My son will be in his last year of middle school and I am starting a new job and will be working with preschoolers this school year. It's all good and I am looking forward to a positive change. My goal is to keep up with my blog and make things simpler here and less pressure for myself. As my wise blogger friend Bookfan Mary recently commented... "Take time with the blog. It's your hobby- not your job, right? ;-)" Thanks Mary, your words rang true for me! 

I have been reading and my goal is to blog about the books I've been reading in a mini-review style. I have not been accepting books for review except some Kindle e-galley copies and I plan to write some reviews about these books as well. I have decided not to participate in book tours for now as they are too much pressure for me to stick to deadlines. I also plan to stop and visit my blogger friends blogs. I want to enjoy blogging, for it to be fun and to connect to other readers, bloggers and authors. Truly, the main goal for me is to write about and share my love of reading in a simple and authentic way that is not stressful or full of conflict, pressure and deadlines. I hope that you guys stick around, I am thankful for those who have kept in touch with me.

Some of the books that I've recently read:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Kindle Ebook from library)

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (Audio book from library)

Books I am Currently Reading:

Broken Harbor by Tana French (Hardback from Library)

A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber (Audio Book from Library)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Snapshot ~ August 11

(click on picture to see an enlarged view)

~Beading Class~

I took a beading class with a friend of mine last month. It has been something that I have always wanted to try and this was a beginner's class and I made the necklace in the top picture and the bracelet below. I now know some basics to beading and learned some techniques and tips. The instructor was helpful and the ladies that sat at the table with us were more experienced and they willingly shared some tips on websites to find tutorials and how to's as well as places to purchase beads and tools at reasonable prices. I already have some requests to make some things and these would also make great gifts. Someone suggested making beaded bookmarks which would be a fun thing to make. Does anyone bead or have any suggestions for a newbie beader? I'd love to hear any advice or tips!

My blog has been quiet again this summer. I am trying to find a balance and a way back to blogging. I will continue to focus on finding my "voice" or my "style" here on my blog. I've had a bit of writer's block and other issues which have kept things quiet here. My goal is to find my way back to regular blogging about books and life. Bear with me as I find the balance and I hope to stop and visit your blogs as well.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

It's been quiet here for awhile and I hope to get back to blogging more regularly. I had a memorable birthday last month, my wonderful husband planned a special weekend getaway to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and an overnight stay at a historic inn and tour of Fallingwater. Fallingwater was a home designed by Frank Llloyd Wright in the 1930's. My son took this picture from the viewing spot across from the's beautiful there and picturesque which this picture shows perfectly. 

On a bookish note, I kept thinking about the book Loving Frank while I was there and the personality of Frank Lloyd Wright that was described by the tour guide seemed connected to the book. 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home at Books

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is on tour the month of April with host Cindy's Love of Books

I bought one book this week, again I couldn't resist the clearance bargain section at Half Price Books and this book was on my wishlist. I was happy!

Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Blogging

I had a quiet week of Spring Break with my son. It was really nice to just have a break. We attempted to see The Hunger Games movie but the theater sound system was so loud that we had to leave. Personally, I don't understand why they have to blast the sound so loud but this was outrageous. It was so loud, just during the previews, that I had to ask three times to turn down the sound. We even had earplugs and it was ear piercing. We finally decided to leave. Sadly the management did not seem to care very much. They said that they tried turning the volume down but it went up instead, really?! If there were technical difficulties they should have given everyone the option to see the movie at another time. We got a refund and won't be going back to this theater, it was our first time there. We will stick to our local theater. 

I had some issues with leaving comments on blogs but finally figured out that I had to sync my google accounts and that allowed me to comment. It was frustrating  as I couldn't leave comments on any blogger blogs. I also had to figure out some changes at WP blogs so that I could leave comments and got that worked out as well. I thank those who left comments and emailed suggestions to help me out. I've begrudgingly switched over to the new blogger format and don't care for it but will have to adjust and hopefully find new benefits to the change. I plan on visiting blogs and commenting more this week.

I have had a slow reading week but hope that changes soon. I am reading and thoroughly enjoying A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Frustrated with Blog Comments....Suggestions please???

I am having some serious battles and frustrations leaving comments on Blogger and Wordpress blogs. I feel bad as I want to leave comments but they often don't go through with signing up my Google account or Wordpress account unless you can figure out how to sign in and it goes through correctly. I've emailed bloggers and asked what to do and it sounds like everyone is frustrated with these changes. I'm okay here on my blog as I haven't changed commenting with Blogger and left it the old way. I want to update my blog but am concerned that the changes are going to make it less user friendly.I have been trying to comment and visit blogs but it's not easy to leave comments on all blogs.  Are there any easy solutions or is it just hit or miss? How is everyone managing this? 

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is on tour the month of March at Diary of an Eccentric

This is what I received in my mailbox and bought last week:

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson win from Bermudaonion. I was so excited that I won an Autographed copy of this book!  Thanks Kathy!! I moved my current book aside and have already started reading this, my first book by Joshilyn Jackson.

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas from Half Price Books Clearance section ~ I couldn't resist as I've read some interesting thoughts on this book and it sounds thought provoking. HPB has a great $1 clearance section and with a 50% coupon day it was only 50 cents!

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey from Half Price Books ~ 50% of coupon for this like new hardback book that was already marked down 50%! This was on my wishlist, I am a Jane Eyre fan so I was thrilled to find it on the New Books shelf!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Blogging...The Hunger Games & I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Allan Bradley

We've been enjoying some wonderful weather this week, it's spring and we've had summer temps in the 80's. This is highly unusual for Ohio and it feels like summer in March. We really did not have much of a winter so we are not sure what summer will be like. I'm enjoying the sunshine and it's definitely lifted the spirits with my health challenges. Thanks to all who commented last week and were so supportive and I have had some great chats by email with several great women who shared some insights and ideas with me. 

My son is on spring break this week and we are looking forward to some fun, sun and rest. I had hoped that he would want to see The Hunger Games movie with me but he saw the trailer and didn't care for the kids fighting scenes. I  understand as that is one of my concerns with the books. I bought him a copy of the first book, The Hunger Games and he has not read it yet. He read The Giver by Louis Lowry this year in English class (7th grade) and I read it along with him. It is a fabulous novel, thought provoking and not obviously violent. My son did like this book and expanded his reading into dystopian novels. So, for those with teenagers are your kids reading The Hunger Games...going to see the movie...what are your thoughts?

On the reading front, I have been reading but am still struggling with focusing on writing book reviews. I just finished the audio book of I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley the 4th book in the Flavia De Luce series. This last one was not a favorite, it could be that I listened to the last three books on audio back to back. I found that this last book did not hold my interest as the other books had and I am finding that the stories are starting to become a rehash of the same plot strife, sibling rivalry with the sisters, detective investigations are similar and this one was a bit boring. Flavia is an 11 year old detective sleuth and I feel that she should start getting older in this the 4th book. I think that most 11 year old girls do not have the maturity and insights that Flavia is depicted as having. It is a bit unrealistic to me, even though this is the 1950's in England. I do love the setting and English touches and the narrator Jayne Entwistle is a fabulous narrator capturing the tone of the language and characters. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is on tour during the month of March at Diary of an Eccentric

This is what I received in my mailbox last week:

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher from Paperbackswap

The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain UK edition from Bookmooch

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Catching up on a Sunday ~It's almost Spring!

It's almost spring! It's so nice to have warm weather in March, it definitely lifts the spirits. My son and I spent the day enjoying the weather today. I even found one lone daffodil poking out by the waterfalls. 

I did not get any reading in today as we had to get out and enjoy the day even though I was limping around and may need to ice my ankle later. I did  get my walking boot off this week, which made me happy! I am still having some medical issues and have had some joint flares due to my new diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is a journey that I am learning how to manage each day...medication or not, medical leave of absence and so much more. If you are dealing with this and have any advice, please post and/or email me privately. 

On the reading front, I had book club this week and we discussed The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I liked the book a lot and will post a review this week. We had some mixed views on this book but I found it a thought provoking book on the foster care system, bonds and how one can communicate emotions with flowers. 

I just started reading Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I have had it on my bookshelf for awhile and after reading Staci's review at Life in the Thumb I had to pick it up to read next.