2008 Books

2008 Favorite Books: Click here

2008 Books

World Without End – Follett
The Manning Sisters – Macomber
One For the Money – Evanovich
16 Lighthouse Road – Macomber
204 Rosewood Lane – Macomber
311 Pelican Court – Macomber
44 Cranberry Point – Macomber
50 Harbor Street – Macomber
The Whole World Over – Glass
6 Rainier Drive – Macomber
Go With Me – Freeman, Jr.
Two For the Dough – Evanovich
Laced – Clark
Wife For Hire – Evanovich
The Pornographer – McGahern
74 Seaside Avenue – Macomber
The Barracks – McGahern
The Hill Road – O’Keeffe
Riding Lessons – Gruen
Three to Get Deadly – Evanovich
Jim the Boy – Earley
Mothers and Sons – Toibin
Savage Garden – Hamilton
One Mississippi – Childress
Olive Kitteridge – Strout
Bubbles Unbound – Strohmeyer
A Dollar Short – Gillespie
All Saints – Callanan
The Blue Star – Earley
Prisoner of Memory – Hamilton
Garden Spells – Allen
Flying Changes – Gruen
Twilight – Meyer
New Moon – Meyer
Comfort Food – Jacobs
Eclipse – Meyer
Bryson City Tales – Larimore
Four to Score – Evanovich
The Downhill Lie – Hiaasen
gods in Alabama – Jackson
Keeper and Kid – Hardy
Summer People – Hilderbrand
Summer Blowout – Cook
Summer at Willow Lake – Wiggs
Breaking Dawn – Meyer
Stone Creek – Lustbader
Horseplay – Singer
Lakeside Cottage – Wiggs
The Winter Lodge – Wiggs
Bridge of Sighs – Russo
The Book of Joe – Tropper
8 Sandpiper Way – Macomber
The Sugar Queen – Allen
Run – Patchett
High Five – Evanovich
Hot Six – Evanovich
At Home in Covington – Medlicott
Two Days After the Wedding – Medlicott
Bubbles in Trouble – Strohmeyer
Broken – Clay
But Come Ye Back – Lordan
Good Things – King
Dollar Daze – Gillespie
Testimony – Shreve
Bubbles Ablaze – Strohmeyer
Seven Up – Evanovich
Austenland – Hale
Rocket Man – Hazelgrove
Sweet Life – King
Mystery Ride – Boswell
Dockside – Wiggs
On a Snowy Night – Macomber
Heart of Texas 1 – Macomber
Heart of Texas 2 – Macomber
Heart of Texas 3 – Macomber
Tis the Season – Landvik
Virgin River – Carr
I Choose to be Happy – Jenkins/Croyle
Very Valentine – Trigiani

2008 books read total: 103

Mailbox Monday



Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at Printed Page.
This week she invites us to share any book-related items as well as books received as gifts.
The mailman delivered an ARC of The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee.
He also brought a shipment from BookCloseOuts.com : Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah; On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts; Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger; Tavern on Maple Street by Sharon Owens. I’ll be shelving the Christmas book until next December and look forward to reading the others during the next months.
Book Club Girl and Harper Collins sent me a gorgeous copy of Marley and Me.
I’ll be reading that very soon.
My family gave me a couple of great books: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basicsand Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. I’m thrilled with both!
And the biggest surprise is the Kindle that will arrive in several weeks. My husband waited a bit too long to order so we are wait-listed. I don’t mind waiting, though. It can be my Valentine gift : )

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani: Book Cover

Blurb from the ARC: In this contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of custom wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of being wiped out by the spiraling Manhattan real estate market and the overwhelming availability of factory-made goods. On the brink of disaster, the business falls on the shoulders of thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented but unsuspecting apprentice, to bring her family’s old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century to save the company from financial ruin.
While juggling a romantic relationship with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design competition for a prestigious department store, Valentine accompanies her grandmother and master artisan Teodora to Italy in the hopes of finding the inspiration and elements that she needs to win. There, in Tuscany and on the Isle of Capri, she discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life around in ways she never expected.
With a vibrant cast of memorable characters, the rich terrain of intergenerational family dynamics, the lush backgrounds of magical Manhattan and enchanting Italy as seen through the eyes of an artist, Very Valentine, the first novel in a new trilogy, is sure to be a favorite of fans and an irresistible invitation to new readers.
Adriana Trigiani is back in a big way. She has created a wonderful character in Valentine Roncalli. And the good news is that Very Valentine is the first of three books – yay! I found my visit to Valentine’s Manhattan and Capri quite enjoyable. In fact, I’m ready to book a trip to Capri. Trigiani’s attention to detail and her ability to describe in a way that doesn’t make my eyes glaze over is quite wonderful. And, at this point, she has me ready to shell out for some good Italian leather flats.

What has me impatient for the second book is the story of Valentine. She is a real and relatable character. I can’t wait to see which direction her life takes in the next installment.

Watch for the release of Very Valentine this February 2009. You can read more about the author and her previous books here.
My thanks to Adriana Trigiani and HarperCollins for sending the ARC.

I Choose to be Happy by Missy Jenkins with William Croyle

I Choose to Be Happy by Missy Jenkins: Book Cover

Back of the book: It was a dark day in America’s history – December 1, 1997. Freshman Michael Carneal walked into the Heath High School lobby in West Paducah, Kentucky, and started shooting, killing three students and injuring five.
One of those injured students was 15-year-old Missy Jenkins, who was left paralyzed from the chest down.
But Missy never saw her disability as an end. Just hours after the tragedy, she forgave Carneal and took back her life. In the next decade she would graduate from college, become a counselor for troubled youth, get married, have a baby, and confront Carneal face to face about his actions that tragic day. She would earn countless local and national honors over the years from “Kentuckian of the Year” to one of Ladies’ Home Journal’s “Most Fascinating Women”.
This is a story of love, forgiveness, courage, and determination – one that will leave people of all ages inspired to make the most of each day and never take life for granted.
I received this book from the publisher last week. I decided to start reading it this morning and found I couldn’t put it down. I can’t remember the last time I read such an inspirational book. It addresses (but doesn’t dwell on) the shooting – rather what came after.

Missy Jenkins could have seen life as pretty much over on Dec. 1, 1997. She was 15 and paralyzed. Within hours of the life-changing injury she forgave the shooter. Forgiveness is the theme of the book and really it seems to be the theme of Missy’s life. I was in awe of so much maturity in such a young person. I found myself wondering if I could have forgiven such a terrible act. Maybe in time, but hours after the crime? I’m not so sure. The book is not preachy but she does explain how her faith laid the foundation for how she lives her life.

She wrote: “…I forgave him, and my future was enlarged. It helped me discover a Missy Jenkins I never knew existed. Had I not forgiven him, I’d still be bitter today and probably never would have done any of the things I’ve done to help myself and other people. I would have had no desire to. I wouldn’t have the mental strength to do it.” That is what I’ll take away from reading I Choose to be Happy.
Thank you Missy Jenkins and William Croyle for a wonderful book. Thank you Langmarc Publishing for sending the book.

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen



The folks over atJane Austen Today are celebrating Jane’s birthday with a wonderful gift: an audio-book of one of her novels (unabridged, of course). All you have to do is leave a comment on their post stating why you enjoy reading or viewing Jane Austen by December 31st, and you will be eligible for a drawing for one of the audios. An irresistible opportunity. Good luck!

The Strength of a Sparrow by Tim Anders

The Strength of a Sparrow--Softcover

Back of the book: The Strength of a Sparrow is based on a true story – the story of the author’s parents. The character of a tenacious young woman, Bouvette Sherwood, who is a successful Broadway producer and actress, drives the plot. In the mid 1940s Bouvette meets and falls in love with a charming alcoholic, Hughie Hewitt. He has a secret though, which he keeps from her during their intense courtship – he is a Catholic priest. Their love story unfolds into a kaleidoscope of intrigue, betrayal, and romance.
Later in life she thought of writing a book exposing to the world what she had gone through but was afraid of the repercussions and embarrassment that doing so would cause her and the innocent around her. As an adolescent the author had many long conversations in regard to his mother’s life as a Broadway actress and her relationship with his father.
It must have taken a lot of courage for Tim Anders to write his parents’ story. Perhaps it was cathartic. It’s truly a heart-breaking tale that touched the lives of many people. I’d like to know more of what happened after Boo took the kids to California. There’s probably another book in that story! She was a remarkable woman who showed a strength of spirit not many people would be able to find, given the same circumstances. The Strength of a Sparrow is a tribute to Bouvette.
Thanks to the author and Alpine Publishing for sending me a copy of the book.

Winner of Father Christmas books by Robin Jones Gunn

Cover Image Cover Image
Congratulations Barbara! You are the lucky winner of two books by Robin Jones Gunn:

Finding Father Christmas and the sequel Engaging Father Christmas.

Barbara, please e-mail your mailing address (see my profile for my e-mail).

Thank you to all who participated in my first give-away. It was a lot of fun and I’ll be doing it again soon.
Merry Christmas!
Many thanks to Miriam at Hachette Books for providing these books.

Snowfall at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Snowfall At Willow Lake (Lakeshore Chronicles Series) by Susan Wiggs: Book Cover

Back of the book: International lawyer Sophie Bellamy has dedicated her life to helping people in war-torn countries. But when she survives a hostage situation, she remembers what matters most – the children she loves back home. Haunted by regrets, she returns to the idyllic Catskills village of Avalon on the shores of Willow Lake, determined to repair the bonds with her family.
Snowfall at Willow Lake speaks from the heart about all the loves that fill a woman’s life, and all the ways that love is tested and made to grow. It’s the story of what comes after a woman survives an unspeakable horror and finds her way home, to healing and redemption and a new chance at happiness.
This is the fourth book of The Lakeshore Chronicles and probably my favorite. I didn’t expect that because what I knew about Sophie Bellamy from the previous books didn’t leave me with a positive impression. Susan Wiggs fleshed her out in such a way that I’d say she’s now one of the best characters in the series. Great story. Brava, Ms. Wiggs!

Finding Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn and a Giveaway

Finding Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn: Book Cover

From the book flap: Miranda Carson’s search for her father takes a turn she never expected when she finds herself in England with only a few feeble clues to who he might be. Unexpectedly welcomed into a family that doesn’t recognize her and whom she’s quickly coming to love, she faces a terrible decision.
Should she reveal her true identity and destroy their idyllic image of her father? Or should she carry the truth home with her to San Francisco and remain alone in this world? Whatever choice she makes during this Christmas will forever change the future for both her and the family she can’t bear to leave.
I read Engaging Father Christmas in October (review found here) and loved the story. I didn’t find out until later that it was actually a sequel to Finding Father Christmas. I was so happy to read the full story of Miranda and how she came to England to search for her father. Robin Jones Gunn tells a lovely story that very much figures into the Christmas season. I recommend both books (read in order) – they will uplift your Christmas spirit.

Thanks to Miriam at Hachette Book Group, I’m hosting a giveaway of both books. This giveaway is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. To win Finding Father Christmas AND Engaging Father Christmas :

1. For one entry leave a post and comment about this review.

2. For a second entry post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a link for me.

I’m going to make this a fast giveaway and close it at 11pm (EDT) Friday, Dec. 12, 2008. Please leave contact info (e-mail, blog link). I’ll use random.org and post the winner on Saturday. Good luck!

Small Town Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Small Town Christmas by Debbie Macomber: Book Cover

Small Town Christmas is the reissue of two backlist Macomber titles. The first is Return to Promise which is a follow-up to her Heart of Texas series (I sped through that last week because I don’t like to read series books out of order). The second was written more than twenty years ago – Mail-Order Bride. That one really doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas other than it takes place in Alaska and there’s snow on the ground. They were both easy, enjoyable stories.

A Cedar Cove Christmas by Debbie Macomber

A Cedar Cove Christmas (Cedar Cove Series) by Debbie Macomber: Book Cover

Book flap: Mother-to-be Mary Jo Wyse arrives in Cedar Cove on Christmas Eve, searching for her baby’s father. David Rhodes had said he’d be in town. But he isn’t. Which leaves Mary Jo stranded, pregnant and alone. And there’s no room at the local inn…
Debbie Macomber gives us a modern-day take on the Christmas Story. A Cedar Cove Christmas is a short, sweet book that introduces a new family that I’m sure will figure into a future Cedar Cove series book. Readers of the series will recognize several favorite characters including Olivia, Jack, Grace and Cliff. It was a nice get-in-the-Christmas-spirit book.

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs: Book Cover

Back of the book: Once a week, an eclectic group of women comes together at a New York City yarn shop to work on their latest projects – and share the stories of their lives. . .
At the center of Walker and Daughter is the shop’s owner, Georgia, who is overwhelmed with juggling the store and single-handedly raising her teenage daughter. Happy to escape the demands of her life, she looks forward to her Friday Night Knitting Club, where she and her friends – Anita, Peri, Darwin, Lucie and K.C. – exchange knitting tips, jokes, and their deepest secrets. But when the man who once broke Georgia’s heart suddenly shows up, demanding a role in their daughter’s life, her world is shattered.
Luckily, Georgia’s friends are there for encouragement, sharing their own tales of intimacy, heartbreak, and miracle making. And when the unthinkable happens, these women will discover that what they’ve created isn’t just a knitting club: it’s a sisterhood.
I’m just going to quote part of Kristin Hannah’s blurb from the cover of the paperback: “. . . moving portrait of female friendship. You’ll laugh and cry along with these characters, and if you’re like me, you’ll wish you knew how to knit.”

‘Tis the Season by Lorna Landvik

'Tis The Season by Lorna Landvik: Book Cover

Book flap: Heiress Caroline Dixon has managed to alienate nearly everyone with her alcohol-fueled antics, which have also provided near-constant fodder for the poison-pen tabloids and their gossip-hungry readers. But like so many girls-behaving-badly, the twenty-six-year-old socialite gets her comeuppance, followed by a newfound desire to live a saner existence – or at least one more firmly rooted in the real world.
As Caro tentatively begins atoning for past misdeeds, she reaches out to two wonderful people who years ago brought meaning to her life: her former nanny, Astrid Brevald, now living in Norway, and Arizona dude ranch owner Cyril Dale. While Astrid fondly remembers Caro as a sweet little girl, Cyril recalls how he and his late wife were quite taken with the quick-witted teenager Caro had become when she spent time at the Dales’ ranch as her father was dying.
In a series of e-mail exchanges, Caro reveals the depth of her pain and the lengths she went to hide it. In turn, Astrid and Cyril share their own stories of challenging times and offer the unconditional support Caro has never known . . .
‘Tis the Season is written almost entirely in e-mail exchanges. I read it in a couple of hours (including several interruptions). While it could be considered a very light book, it addresses some serious topics – two being alcoholism and celebrity obsession. There’s a lot left out of this book where character development is concerned. I blame that on the epistolary style – a style I usually enjoy. It’s an interesting holiday book that’s wrapped up with a pretty bow.