Sunday Summary – Aug. 30

 

The past week was a nice one.
 
I read How to Tame a Modern Rogue – such a fun book!
 
My Waiting on Wednesday pick was No Time to Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard. This is the sequel to her Deep End of the Ocean.
 
My Friday Find was Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. It is due out the end of September. Yay!
 
This weekend my husband and I were at my hometown along the upper Mississippi River. We had a very relaxing time visiting family. Here are a few photos from Saturday:

An “S curve” on the Mississippi River. The photo was shot from the deck of a family friend’s home.
The view from the next property over.
In another 4-6 weeks the trees on the bluffs will be orange, yellow and red.
 
 
This sculpture is on the same lot as the photo above – no one was home so I don’t know the story. It was surprising to see yet it looked perfect for the setting.
 
 
We ended the day watching this beautiful sunset from my brother’s deck.
 

Waiting On Wednesday – Aug. 26

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  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Pub. Date: September 15, 2009
  • ISBN-13: 9781400067749
  • Sales Rank: 8,065
  • 240pp

Publishers Weekly

Mitchard returns to the Cappadoras from The Deep End of the Ocean (Oprah’s first book club pick), proving that, sometimes, sequels work. In this harrowing outing, set 13 years after the events of Ocean, the oldest Cappadora son, Vincent, 29, has become a filmmaker, and with the help of his brother, Ben (who was kidnapped in the first book), and sister, Kerry, makes a documentary about child abduction. When the film is nominated for an Academy Award, the family is pushed into the scrutinizing eye of the public, and then tragedy strikes with the disappearance of Ben’s daughter, plunging the family into a riveting ordeal that takes them from Hollywood to a grim, middle-of-nowhere confrontation. Along the way, family bonds are stretched to the breaking point, and Mitchard charts a tormented family dynamic with shocking ease. This action-packed and emotionally rich drama is every bit as satisfying as its predecessor.


Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill

How to Tame a Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist

How to Tame a Modern Rogue


Ally Giordano’s beloved grandmother actually believes that she’s living in her favorite romance novel in Regency England and Ally doesn’t have the heart to set her straight. But now Granny Donny’s last wish is for a retreat to the country and Ally can’t refuse her…until she demands that Sam Carson accompany them. And though his smiles turn her knees into jelly, Ally knows better than to trust a playboy…and she definitely knows better than to try to change one. Or does she?

* * * * * * *

Granny Donny wants to spend time at her home in the country outside of London – well, Long Island will have to do. AND she thinks Sam is the perfect suitor for her granddaughter Ally so he must accompany them to the country.

Ally has big trust issues so she refuses to consider a serious relationship with “rogue-ish” Sam. He has a wall around his true feelings – there’s no way he will consider a committed relationship ever again. Ally and Sam agree to pretend for Granny Donny’s sake. Let the fun begin!

I enjoyed reading this book. I found myself laughing out loud many times and caring about all of the characters. I loved the pace of the story and wasn’t ready for it to end when I turned the last page. I’ll be looking for more books by Diana Holquist.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group for the review copy – gave to a giveaway winner
Read on my Kindle

Winner of Table Manners by Mia King

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Mia King sent me a copy of her new book
Table Manners to give away to one of you.
40 people entered the contest and Random.org picked

Sue

I now have Sue’s address and the book will go in the mail today.
Thanks to all who entered the contest.
Thanks to Mia King and Penguin Group (USA).

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Thirty years ago, on their Cape Cod honeymoon, Jack and Joy Griffin made a plan for their future that has largely been fulfilled. He left Los Angeles behind for the sort of New England college his parents had aspired to, and now the two of them are back on the Cape—where he’d also spent his childhood vacations—to celebrate the marriage of their daughter Laura’s best friend. Sure, Jack’s been driving around with his father’s ashes in the trunk, though his mother’s very much alive and often on his cell phone. Laura’s boyfriend seems promising, but be careful what you pray for, especially if it happens to come true. A year later, at her wedding, Jack has another urn in the car, and both he and Joy have brought new dates. Full of every family feeling imaginable, wonderfully comic and profoundly involving, That Old Cape Magic is surprising, uplifting and unlike anything this Pulitzer Prize winner has ever written.

* * * * * * *

My thoughts: Jack Griffin was raised by two incredibly cynical and judgmental people. He spends his life trying to forget, or get past the fact, that they are his parents. That Old Cape Magic is about a year in Jack’s life – a year of upheaval. He’s in his 50s and things have come undone. After carrying his parents’ ashes around in the trunk of his car for months, he is faced with having to get rid of them – both from his trunk and his life – or, at the very least, come to terms with them. Easier said than done.

Richard Russo takes us along for the ride and what a ride it is. Readers of a certain age will probably identify with Jack at some point. As we follow him over the course of a year, we learn a lot about his upbringing. I don’t know how he made it out of childhood intact. Well, I guess he made it – but not intact. Good grief! Eventually he met and married Joy and set out to live life far away from his parents (but near her family). More than thirty years later Jack is forced into making decisions about his future while pondering his past. You’ll have to find out yourself how it all plays out. In the end, it was the novel I’ve come to expect from Russo.


Table Manners by Mia King – Giveaway

Table Manners by Mia King: Book Cover


I recently reviewed Table Manners by Mia King here. Ms. King sent an extra copy for me to give to one lucky reader. Here are the rules:

*for one entry: leave your email in the comment
*for another entry: follow me
*for another entry: blog about it and leave the link in the comment (sidebar counts)

As usual, this giveaway is limited to US and Canada – no PO Boxes. I’ll use Random.org to select the winner. Giveaway closes at 11pm (EDT), Monday, Aug. 24. Winner will be announced here on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Contest has closed

Waiting On Wednesday – Aug. 19

A Stopover in Venice by Kathryn Walker: Book Cover


  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Pub. Date: October 06, 2009
  • ISBN-13: 9780307386502
  • Sales Rank: 256,296
  • 320pp

Synopsis

Nel Everett, a young American woman, is touring Italy with her famous musician husband when, in a moment of fury, she pulls down her luggage and gets off the train. As her life speeds away down the tracks, Nel is marooned and on her own for the first time in eight years.
Bewildered, Nel returns to Venice where she encounters a tiny dog who leads her to a enigmatic stranger, a contessa, and a decaying Gothic palazzo. She is soon drawn into a world of charismatic characters, centuries of Venetian history, and the mystery of a lost masterpiece. What begins as a tale of loneliness and heartbreak opens into a dazzling, enchanting story of secrets and self-discovery in a magical city.

For more WOW, visit Jill at Breaking the Spine



So Into You by Sandra Hill

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Angel Sabato has been in love with best friend Grace O’Brien for 10 years–but he’s only just realized it. Too bad she doesn’t take him seriously when he tells her about his feelings. Now Grace is left to wonder if her problems from the past are keeping her from opening herself to love. But she brushes these “useless” musings aside, concentrating instead on the work she’s doing as an apprentice to folk healer Tante Lulu and keeping up with the old woman’s good deeds. Unbeknownst to Grace, Tante Lulu has decided to try her hand at matchmaking again. And Tante Lulu has never failed before!
“SO INTO YOU delivers a punch packed with southern charm, romance, and fun-filled hilarity.” —BookPleasures.com
Also available in e-book.

Download the short story prequel, SAVING SAVANNAH.

Watch the video.
Visit Sandra Hill’s website.


* * * * * * *

My thoughts: This is the first book I’ve read by Sandra Hill and I can tell you it won’t be the last. So Into You is a fast-paced and funny novel. I enjoyed the story of Grace and Angel but the true star is Tante Lulu. What a hoot! I laughed out loud at the things that came out of her mouth.

Grace and Angel share a true passion for each other. They just choose not to act on it for a few (frustrating) reasons. Tante Lulu will have none of that and she invokes St. Jude (her go-to saint) to set the wheels of love in motion. And don’t even try to stay out of the way. It won’t help! Because of a bet, the two are brought together. I can’t remember reading a steamier scene – hot doesn’t begin to describe it. Thanks to Ms. Hill I will never again be able to look at a platter of sliced fruit without thinking about Grace and Angel. Oh, my! You’ve been warned. . .

There’s a lot more to the story – orphaned siblings who need help; a blackmail attempt; the incarceration of beloved Tante Lulu. All in all, a very entertaining book.

Note: Check the author’s website. So Into You is part of the Cajun series. If you’re like me, you’ll want to go back and read the first seven books!

Review copy from Hachette Book Group

Sunday Summary – Aug. 16, 2009

 

Last week was relatively quiet. I read one book – The Way Life Should Be. You can read my thoughts here.
 
My Waiting on Wednesday find was The National Parks – America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns.
Saturday was an especially fun day. My city hosts an Irish festival each August – it took place this weekend. We love meeting up with friends and family each year – listen to good music, eat some good food and just relax along Lake Michigan. This year we participated in the festival’s 5K run/walk (to benefit the Arthritis Foundation).
The runners were way out front of the walkers. That’s our beautiful art museum (designed by Calatrava). My sis and I walked and took advantage of the chance to catch up on what’s going on in our lives.
With my daughter – also an avid reader
We all met back at the festival later in the day. A few of us visited the cultural area. I spotted a book tent and we went in to browse. As we went in I was telling my daughter about the book Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly. My daughter said “Do you mean that book?” She pointed toward the back of the tent. I turned and there, sitting at a table, was Mary Pat Kelly signing copies of her book. We went over and had a lovely conversation with her, she signed our books and wished us well. What a nice surprise!
A lovely author and one very happy reader
 

The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline

The Way Life Should Be: A Novel

From the back cover: Angela Russo finds herself in Maine thanks to a sailing instructor, an impulse, and an idea that in Maine, people live “the way life should be.” But reality on Mount Desert Island is not what she expected. Far from everything familiar, Angela begins to rebuild her life from the ground up. Relying on the flair for Italian cooking she inherited from her grandmother, she begins to discover the pleasures and secrets of her new small community – and to connect her heritage to a future she is only beginning to envision.

* * * * * * *

This book is one of those unexpected finds – a book I happened upon while looking for something else. The title grabbed me right away. For years my family vacationed in Maine. Each summer we’d fly to Boston, rent a car, and drive north to Maine for an all-too-short time.

I was a bit envious of Angela with a chance to set her life in a different direction. I admired how brave she was after her reason for going to Maine turned out to be a disappointment. And I liked that she started to look inward for answers to what she really wanted in life. Angela had help from several supporting characters. The most enjoyable for me was Flynn, the owner of a coffee shop. He gave Angela a job, his friendship, and encouragement. Christina Baker Kline made me laugh as I read the banter between Flynn and Angela.

I enjoyed Kline’s writing. When Angela was at the beach letting her dog run she thought about her surroundings:

“Though the air is frigid, the sun makes a valiant effort to warm these rocks, this place, my face. The coast is not cold in the way that people think, or even in the way I imagined before I came. The coldness is threaded with warmth, tempered by moments of grace.”

That describes the way I felt about Angela’s story. Her life did seem cold at times but she shared moments with family members and new friends that were, well, graceful. At least, that’s how I saw it. The Way Life Should Be turned out to be one of those books that was just too short. It was a fast read and it left me wanting to know “what happened next”. I look forward to reading more books by Christina Baker Kline.



Waiting on Wednesday – Aug. 12

This book really interests me. I’m a big fan of nation parks. Our family has visited several over the years.

The National Parks by Dayton Duncan: Book Cover


  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Pub. Date: September 08, 2009
  • ISBN-13: 9780307268969
  • Sales Rank: 19,201
  • 432pp
America’s national parks spring from an idea as radical as the Declaration of Independence: that the nation’s most magnificent and sacred places should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. In this evocative and lavishly illustrated narrative, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan delve into the history of the park idea, from the first sighting by white men in 1851 of the valley that would become Yosemite and the creation of the world’s first national park at Yellowstone in 1872, through the most recent additions to a system that now encompasses nearly four hundred sites and 84 million acres.


The authors recount the adventures, mythmaking, and intense political battles behind the evolution of the park system, and the enduring ideals that fostered its growth. They capture the importance and splendors of the individual parks: from Haleakala in Hawaii to Acadia in Maine, from Denali in Alaska to the Everglades in Florida, from Glacier in Montana to Big Bend in Texas. And they introduce us to a diverse cast of compelling characters—both unsung heroes and famous figures such as John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ansel Adams—who have been transformed by these special places and committed themselves to saving them from destruction so that the rest of us could be transformed as well.


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Sunday Summary – Aug. 9, 2009

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I began the week expecting to read The Widow’s Season, which I did. You can read my thoughts here.
 
I posted my giveaway contest for How to Tame a Modern Rogue. Get the details here.
 
Each week I participate in Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This week I highlighted an upcoming release by Gail Godwin. You can read about it here.
 
Terry Kate (Romance in the Backseat) wrote a guest post on Thursday. She poses some great questions regarding our book genre choices. You’ll also find a “backseat interview” video with a new-to-me author, Virgina Kantra. This is the first time I’ve hosted a guest blogger and I hope to do it again.
 
My Friday Find was Sea Witch by Virgina Kantra. In fact, it’s now on my Kindle and I hope to read it this month.
 
I ended the week reading Mia King’s new book: Table Manners. My review is here.

Table Manners by Mia King

Table Manners by Mia King: Book Cover


Her simple life is more complicated than ever.

Deidre McIntosh finally has all the ingredients for a perfect life. She has her own line of cakes and cookies, and the perfect boyfriend, Kevin Johnson, one of Seattle’s top bachelors. Creative, energetic, and loving, Deidre is the person friends go to when they need a helping hand.

But when Kevin’s ex-fiancée, the sultry and successful magazine publisher Sabine Durant, suddenly appears in Seattle, it’s Deidre who needs help. Already intimidated by Kevin’s glamorous, moneyed world–and his sister, who wants Deidre out of Kevin’s life–she knows she’s no match for Sabine.

Deidre turns to her friends for advice, but finds they’re having crises of their own. When her business begins to slip from her fingers, Deidre knows she must to do something to keep her career and her love life from imploding. Can everyone’s favorite go-to person save herself?

* * * * * * *

From the moment I finished reading Good Things by Mia King I’ve been keeping an eye out for the sequel. I finally got my hands on a copy of Table Manners and am pleased to tell you that Ms. King gives readers a sequel that is sweet, fun and satisfying.

Deidre’s life, although good, has become hectic. She’s helping her friends William and Alain plan their commitment ceremony; launching a new pastry line; and then travels to help another friend in dire need of her assistance in Jacob’s Point (a small lakeside community and location of Kevin’s vacation home). Toss into the mix Kevin’s ex-fiancee and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Will Deidre and Kevin’s relationship survive the challenges and obstacles in their path? Well, you’ll just have to find out for yourself. Table Manners could be a stand alone novel but I recommend reading Good Things first. You’ll want to read about Deidre and Kevin from the very beginning.

One more thing: stock your pantry because you’re probably going to want to bake or cook after reading these books. There are recipes!

Review copy from Penguin Group

Welcome – Terry Kate from Romance In The Backseat

I’m delighted to have Terry Kate write a guest post today. She writes about an interesting subject that I hope generates some good comments. Please join in!

Hello fellow readers,

Mary has been kind enough to invite me here to discuss questions I have been going over about what books and what genres I read, and what inspires me to break out of that box. The more I thought about my own personal answers the more I wondered how other readers felt.

So here the questions are…

Do we as readers often cross over from genre to genre? If I read Contemporary Women’s Fiction does that mean that is all I read? What would encourage me to move into another genre?

As the creator of a multi-genre website I talk to authors from all of the Romance related genres. (They need to have a romantic element to be on Romance in the Backseat, I mean, it has Romance in the title.) When it comes to areas like Suspense, which I do not read, many of the authors mentioned are new to me. This is not to say that I have never read Suspense or Romantic Suspense, I just tend to walk right by them on the bookstore shelf.

A vast majority of the Suspense I have read was written by authors I followed into the genre Linda Howard, for example. I read her Suspense novels up until her last few books, which are now so far removed from her romances that I am no longer interested. Then there are other authors that moved into the genre that I did not follow like Julie Garwood. The minute she stopped writing Historicals she lost me as a reader.

Sometimes just hearing about an interesting book will make me step out of the norm. Sometimes something about the author will catch my attention, or just a book excerpt posted online. Meeting authors through my interviews has turned me on to a number of books I never would have looked at otherwise. Like paranormal author Virginia Kantra. If I had never met her and listened to her talk about her books they would not have been a blip on my radar.

What makes you pick up a book? Is it genre, author, story, reviews, excerpts? The internet and fabulous bloggers like Mary often open our eyes to books we might not have looked at otherwise. I personally only read two or three genres and how often do I pick up a book outside my preferences? Hmmm… I am not too sure, but from now on I will be paying attention and keeping a more open mind.

Thanks Mary,

Terry Kate

http://www.romanceinthebackseat.com