Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Intros~ Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman

Every Tuesday Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter, First Paragraph where we share the first paragraph or two of a book we are reading or thinking about reading soon.  Feel free to grab the image and participate.

My Tuesday Intro pick is Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman. I read Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman a few years ago and enjoyed it so I was excited to read her new book Lighthouse Bay.  I reviewed Wildflower Hill here on my blog ( Read review here).  I'm enjoying this book and plan to have a review posted soon. I think that you'll find the intro very intriguing:

"The woman's white skin dazzles in the harsh sun. Her pale blue dress clings wetly to her ankles. The sky makes her eyes ache; it is as though she can see behind the blue to the great arch of the cosmos. The sand squeaks beneath her bare feet. Her shoes were swallowed by the sea. All of her belongings, her husband. All lost, spinning down in the cold, dark salt water. All except the chest she drags behind her in the sand."

What do you think? Would you keep on reading 
or move on to something else?


Monday, April 29, 2013

Mailbox Monday

Is a place for readers to share what books came into their house last week and explore great blogs!

(April host is Mari Reads)

These are from Netgalley:

Measure of Love by Melissa Ford

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

Letters from Sky by Jessica Brockmole

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (from the publisher)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

I'm pretty excited to share with you that Lauren Graham, from one of my  two favorite shows Gilmore Girls and Parenthood has published a book SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY, MAYBE....the best part?! I have TWO copies to giveaway here, compliments of Random House!! 

About SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY MAYBE (In stores April 30, 2013):

From Lauren Graham, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, comes a witty, charming, and hilariously relatable debut novel about a struggling young actress trying to get ahead―and keep it together―in New York City.

It’s January 1995, and Franny Banks has just six months left of the three-year deadline she set for herself when she came to New York, dreaming of Broadway and doing “important” work. But all she has to show for her efforts so far is a part in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters, and a gig waiting tables at a comedy club. Her roommates―her best friend Jane, and Dan, an aspiring sci-fi writer―are supportive, yet Franny knows a two-person fan club doesn’t exactly count as success. Everyone tells her she needs a backup plan, and though she can almost picture moving back home and settling down with her perfectly nice ex-boyfriend, she’s not ready to give up on her goal of having a career like her idols Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep. Not just yet. But while she dreams of filling their shoes, in the meantime, she’d happily settle for a speaking part in almost anything—and finding a hair product combination that works.

Everything is riding on the upcoming showcase for her acting class, where she’ll finally have a chance to perform for people who could actually hire her. And she can’t let herself be distracted by James Franklin, a notorious flirt and the most successful actor in her class, even though he’s suddenly started paying attention. Meanwhile, her bank account is rapidly dwindling, her father wants her to come home, and her agent doesn’t return her calls. But for some reason, she keeps believing that she just might get what she came for.
Someday, Someday, Maybe is a story about hopes and dreams, being young in a city, and wanting something deeply, madly, desperately. It’s about finding love, finding yourself, and perhaps most difficult of all in New York City, finding an acting job.

About the Author, Lauren Graham:

Lauren Graham is an actress best known for her roles on the critically acclaimed series Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. She has performed on Broadway and appeared in such films as Bad Santa, Evan Almighty, and Because I Said So. She holds a BA in English from Barnard College and an MFA in acting from Southern Methodist University. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.

Giveaway for TWO copies, TWO lucky winners will each receive a copy of SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY MAYBE by Lauren Graham 
compliments of Random House
(US Addresses ONLY, per publisher request)

To Enter: Leave a comment, share if you are a fan of Lauren Graham her two drama television shows Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, or why you want to win a copy of the book. Make sure to leave your email address so that I can contact the winners.

**If you don't leave your email, I will be unable to contact you and will have to pick another winner.   (I am posting this as there are comments with no email listed and no blogger profile with an email listed)



Contest has

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Snapshot

Here is a picture of my husband's collection of vintage board games that he has found at thrift stores or flea markets. They are all from the 1960's and are in pretty good shape. His most recent find was Outwit which he found at a local thrift store for $1. This is a pretty cool collection and they are all playable games. 

Click on the name of each game for more information about them from Boardgame Geek:

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

© Copyright 2013- All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review & Giveaway: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

As a fan of Downton Abbey and Wendy Wax, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey was a must read for me! It was fun, dramatic, and addictive reading...I couldn't put it down! The premise of the book will draw many women who are fans of Downton Abbey or make new fans of the show. Three very different women, Samantha, Brooke and Claire all live in an upscale high rise condo in downtown Atlanta. The concierge, Edward is from England and a fan of the show. He forms a viewing group every Sunday night to watch the first and second seasons of Downton Abbey in preparation for Season three which they will eventually watch live together. The ladies form deepening friendships and learn much from each other as they each grow during the weeks they are watching Downton Abbey. This would make a great series as I wanted to know what happens next as the ladies watch the upcoming season four and what changes in their lives...there are so many parallels to drama and fiction

Source: Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting, Berkley Books and Netgalley



I am thrilled to be able to giveaway a copy of 
While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax 
to one lucky reader! Complements of the Publisher.

Open to US/Canada

To ENTER: Please leave a comment sharing why you would like to read the book with your email address so that I can contact the winner.

Enter by May 5, 2013 (Eastern Time)  GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

 © Copyright 2013- All Rights Reserved

Tuesday Intros~ While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

Every Tuesday Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter, First Paragraph where we share the first paragraph or two of a book we are reading or thinking about reading soon.  Feel free to grab the image and participate.

My Tuesday Intro pick is While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax. I am a big fan of Downton Abbey and Wendy Wax so this is a great combination! 

As a child Samantha Jackson Davis loved fairy tales as much as the next girl. She just hadn’t expected to end up in one. 
Every morning when her eyes fluttered open and every night before she closed them to go to sleep, Samantha marveled at her good fortune. In a Disney version of the airline passenger held up in security just long enough to miss the plane that goes down, or the driver who runs back for a forgotten cell phone and barely avoids a deadly ten-car pileup, Samantha averted disaster in the once-upon-a-time way: she married the prince.  
Over the past twenty-five years Samantha had sometimes wished she’d spent a little more time and energy considering alternatives. But when your world comes crashing down around you at the age of twenty-one, deep thinking and soul-searching are rarely your first response.

What do you think? Would you keep on reading 
or move on to something else?

You have a chance to win a copy of While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax!! 

CLICK ON THIS LINK, or the link to the right in the sidebar, to read my review and enter the giveaway. Ends May 5, 2013

Free Kindle Book offer~Paraben Free: Paraben Free Skin Care Solutions


Are The Chemicals In Your Skincare Products Hurting or Helping You?

This is information the cosmetic industry does NOT want you to know!

Discover How The chemicals in the majority of skin care products can actually harm your skin and your health.

The worst part is that it is ironically often the most expensive skin care products that are the most ineffective.

Many skin care products use parabens as a preservative. However, paraben has been linked to a variety of health issues.

In: Paraben Free: Paraben Free Skin Care Solutions

You'll discover:
  • Why Parabens are Used In So Many Skin Care Products, Despite health concerns
  • How To Avoid Parabens
  • Natural Ingredients that work to create younger-looking skin
  • Effective Skin Care Recipes you can make at home right now!
  • And Much More!

Amy Wells, the author,  contacted me to let me know that her book, Paraben Free: Paraben Free Skin Care Solutions   will be free these dates:

Free on Amazon for Kindle today, April 23, April 30 and May 1

I haven't read the book yet but plan to. I am always on the look out for healthier skin care options and avoiding Parabens is a good way to take care of our skin. 

Amy Wells has a website Skin Looks Younger for more information.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mailbox Monday

Is a place for readers to share what books came into their house last week and explore great blogs!

(April host is Mari Reads)

Bristol House by Beverly Swerling (from Netgalley and Viking/Penguin)

No Angel by Penny Vincenzi  (Paperbackswap)

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen  (Paperbackswap)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: The Good House by Ann Leary (Audio Book)

Description  of The Good House:
Hildy Good is a townie. A lifelong resident of an historic community on the rocky coast of Boston’s North Shore, she knows pretty much everything about everyone. Hildy is a descendant of one of the witches hung in nearby Salem, and is believed, by some, to have inherited psychic gifts. Not true, of course; she’s just good at reading people. Hildy is good at lots of things.  A successful real-estate broker, mother and grandmother, her days are full. But her nights have become lonely ever since her daughters, convinced their mother was drinking too much, staged an intervention and sent her off to rehab.  Now she’s in recovery—more or less.

The Good House is one of the best audio books that I've listened to in a long time! It kept me company on my drive to and from work and I looked forward to listening to it everyday. I loved Hildy, her quirkiness, her humor and spunk kept things interesting! She was a one of a kind, compassionate woman, but yet spoke her mind and got herself into heaps of trouble. This is a fabulous story of a New England town, the characters and differences between the townies and the newbies. You will be pulled into the twists and turns of the story as the plot thickens. Mary Beth Hurt was the perfect narrator for Hildy Good, she made the character become real with perfect tone, pitch and sarcastic bite at every turn. Make sure to listen to an excerpt below of Mary Beth Hurt narrating the audio book. The Good House will most definitely be on my list of favorites for 2013. 

Narrator: Mary Beth Hurt

Length: 10 hours 12 minutes

Source: Library

 © Copyright 2013-All Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Snapshot

I love orchids and have posted pictures of my orchid here on the blog. I only have one and my cousin sent me this picture of her beautiful orchids. She sent me this picture about a year ago, she lives in Germany and you can see also the lovely view outside her window. I love orchids and have posted pictures of my orchid here on the blog. I only have one and I plan to get a few more this year...what can I say, they make me happy!

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

 © Copyright 2013-All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Thoughts: Facebook Blog Page

I decide to take the plunge and set up a page for my blog on Facebook. I have a personal account and want to keep it separate from my blog. I had set up a friends page for the blog and wasn't sure how to set up a page for the blog where someone can just follow it by liking it and not have to be "friends". Well, I figured it out today and have set up a page there so please "like"  my page and let me know if you have any favorite pages, have a page for yourself a blog or website. 

 © Copyright 2013-All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Giveaway: Bristol House by Beverly Swerling



Architectural historian Annie Kendall arrives in London on an assignment from the Shalom Foundation concerning ancient artifacts from the Holy Land.  Annie is determined to leave her heavy emotional baggage behind and find professional redemption by discovering the truth about the mysterious Jew of Holborn, who in 1535 apparently had access to a trove of ancient Judaica.  Annie sublets an old fashioned flat in a building called Bristol House, containing a tiny back bedroom which becomes the source of extraordinary phenomena involving a long dead Carthusian monk.  Tormented by the notion that because she's a recovering alcoholic she may be hallucinating, Annie resolves to ignore these strange visitations from the past.  Until she meets Geoffrey Harris who is not only a well known TV personality, but the spitting image of the Bristol House ghost.  Annie begins searching for the connection to the Jew of Holborn, the ghost monk, and the mysterious motivations of her obsessed employer. Leaping back to the 1530s, the dark cloud of religious persecution hangs over a very different London. The Jew of Holborn, a goldsmith, and Dom Justin, a Carthusian monk with questionable allegiances, tell their story from “the Waiting Place,” as they try to untangle a sixteenth century knot with enormous twenty-first century implications.


Beverly Swerling is a consultant to other authors, and a devoted if amateur historian. She is the author of five previous novels, including the widely praised City of Dreams series, a four-volume historical saga set in old New York. She lives in Philadelphia, visit  Beverly Swerlings website HERE.


GIVEAWAY is for a copy of the book, BRISTOL HOUSE, compliments of the publisher (Penguin Books).

Open to: US ONLY, NO PO BOXES, per publisher request.

To ENTER: Please leave a comment with your email so that I can contact the winner. 

Enter by APRIL 30, 2013  


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Intros~ Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford

Every Tuesday Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter, First Paragraph where we share the first paragraph or two of a book we are reading or thinking about reading soon.  Feel free to grab the image and participate.

My Tuesday intro pick is Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford. I've had this book for awhile and am reading it on Kindle with an online book group and as part of my Spring Kindle Cleaning 2013 Project

From Amazon, inside the book feature:

In my dream, Martha Stewart, June Cleaver, Bree Van De Kamp, and Marion Cunningham (who they were all affectionately calling “Mrs. C”) were baking a pie together in my kitchen and arguing about the best way to pit cherries. They hadn't really noticed me lounging around by the sink until I pointed out what a waste of time it would be to pit your own cherries when there were perfectly decent ones that you could get in a can when June Cleaver turned with a maniacal gleam in her eye and started beating me on the face and shoulders with her flour-dusted rolling pin.
Just imagine what she would have done to me if I had suggested frozen pie crust.
Which brings us to my latest self-improvement project. I fear that you will all cease to believe me, that I’ve become like the girl who cries post-divorce-finding-myself project, but this one is for real lest I become a spinsterish, batty cat-woman without the cats that I’ve been fearing that I’m morphing into all year.

It's not clear from the first few paragraphs, the author's "post-divorce-finding-myself project" includes writing a blog. 

 What do you think? Would you keep on reading 
or move on to something else?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mailbox Monday

~Mailbox Monday~

Is a place for readers to share what books came into their house last week and explore great blogs!

(April host is Mari Reads)

All of my books were for Kindle this week:

The first two are from Netgalley:

I bought this one as it was a Kindle deal for $1.99 and I couldn't pass it up:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Catching Up On A Sunday~Sunday Salon

It's actually starting to feel a little bit like spring today with some sunshine! This week I was busy with work and am so excited that the school year is almost over and summer will soon be here....7 weeks left! For those who don't know, I work part time as an Occupational Therapist in the schools. This past year was my first year working with preschoolers and I found that I love this age! Working in early intervention with kiddos and their families who need therapy and special education services makes such a difference in their lives. Several of the kiddos don't need therapy as they enter kindergarten as they have had the services in preschool and have caught up developmentally. I am also fortunate to work part time which makes a big difference as I can be there for my own son who is soon to start high school this fall! I can't believe how fast the time goes....I heard that when he was a baby but it rings true at this stage as my son is now taller than his dad and close to 6 feet tall!! I'm going to sneak in a picture, he's not too fond of me posting his picture on my blog. This picture was taken in January when we took him to see a specialist in another city for a health condition he has. They've closed most of the Big Boy restaurants by us so we had to stop and have lunch. It wasn't as good as we remembered but it was nostalgic and lightened the day! 

Last Week: 

I finished listening to The Good House by Ann Leary on audio book and loved it! It was a wonderful story, perfectly narrated by Mary Beth Hurt. It will be on my favorites list of 2013. 

I watched the premiere of the 6th season of Mad Men, one of my favorite shows. I've got mixed feelings about the premiere but this show has a way of going places you don't expect and I can't wait for more! The fashion, hairstyles of the late 60's are quite interesting! If you are watching, what do you think of the start of season 6? 

Highlights from last week on the blog:

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Today is the LAST day to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Me Before You!

Enter HERE, or click on the entry on the right sidebar:

Have a great week!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review : Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I finished this book last night and it is still on my mind. It's one of those books that I did not want to end. I did not want to turn that last page. This is not a fluffy romance book, it's a book with great depth to the characters and a very thought provoking novel that is about love, life, change, choices and so much more. I loved that it was set in the UK with the backdrop of the culture of England. It's the story of two amazing characters, Louisa a simple girl in her later 20's with a flare for vintage fashions and colorful ensembles. She lives at home and is stumbling along not finding her purpose in life, held back by issues from her past. She loses her job and ends up accepting a new job as a caregiver for a man in his mid 30's for a 6 month period. The man is Will, a debonair, man of the world who lived in the fast lane with the money and charisma to pull it off. His life changed in an instant and he is now a quadriplegic living his life in a wheelchair. The heart of the story is the 6 month time period where Louisa and Will who come from different backgrounds grow to learn so much from one another as they find their way in the world. Their families both learn how to live day to day with challenges that they face in many different ways. They learn that life is about choices we make and the freedom to grow and make those choices on our own. There are so many messages in this novel that touched me as a reader. Lessons about letting go, and how opening your heart can cause great pain but great joy. Every day is a gift, as we go through our own lives with stresses and challenges an important lesson is to not let fear hold us back. 

This is a book that will stay with me and that I will continue to ponder and think about. The author portrayed the life of Will as a quadriplegic in an amazingly realistic way, as a reader you can get an understanding of what his life must have been like. I loved how Ms. Moyes was able to help us as readers look beyond his disability to the man he was. We cannot know what life is like living in a wheelchair everyday, she did an excellent job of helping us understand that. In addition, there are also controversies this book presents that would add to making this a fantastic book to discuss with a book club. 

I must warn you that you will be touched deeply by this book. I finished it last night, alone in bed with tears streaming down my face. I felt so connected to Louisa and Will and invested as a reader in their story. This will definitely be on my list of favorite books for 2013!

This is the first book I've read by Jojo Moyes, she is an extremely talented writer. I have a copy of another book written by her, The Last Letter from your Lover which I look forward to reading soon. 

JOJO MOYES is the author of The Last Letter from Your Love. Her follow-up, ME BEFORE YOU, was a Top 3 bestseller in the UK (12 weeks on the bestsellers list), a Richard and Judy Pick, a World Book Night Pick, and National Book Award nominee. She is a writer for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.  She currently lives with her husband and their three children on a farm in Essex,England.

Check out :

 ME BEFORE YOU Book Club Kit: Everything you need to make your next meeting a smashing success!

 ME BEFORE YOU Inspirational E-Cards: Live BoldlyWear Those Stripy Legs with PrideDon’t SettlePush Yourself, and Just Live Well

Thank you to Penguin Books for providing me a copy of this book to review. 

Giveaway for a copy of ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes ends tomorrow, Sunday April 14th, 2013. US only.  Please go here to enter, or link on the sidebar to the right.