Sunday Summary – Jan. 31

Books reviewed:
Saving Ceecee Honeycutt: A Novel Angel's Peak (Virgin River, #10)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Angel’s Peak by Robyn Carr
Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life Eggs Benedict Arnold (A Cackleberry Club Mystery, #2)
It was another good week with books. I really enjoyed Saving CeeCee Honeycutt – what a wonderful novel! I also liked the latest book in Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series: Angel’s Peak. I can’t believe this is the last day of January. Here’s my list of books read this month:
Forbidden Fallsby Robyn Carr
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander Challenge)
Spinning Forward by Terri DuLong
East Hope by Katharine Davis (2010 RFMSP)
Sinful Surrender by Beverley Kendall
Sundays at Tiffany’s by J. Patterson & G. Charbonnet (2010 RFMSP)
Angel’s Peak by Robyn Carr (2010 RFMSP)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Show Me 5 Saturday – Angel’s Peak

Pick a book you’ve read or reviewed during the current week. Each Saturday post the answers to the numbered questions found below. The number indicates the number of answers to provide.

* * * * * * *

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week:
* Angel’s Peak by Robyn Carr

2 Words that describe the book:
* Romance; series

3 Settings where it took place or characters you met:
* Virgin River, CA
* Phoenix, AZ
* The Riordan family

4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:
* Liked the three main story lines
* Liked that characters from past books had more than cameo appearances
* Like the way Robyn Carr tells a story filled with compassion, humor and love
* Like that everything wasn’t wrapped up at the end of the book

5 Stars or less for your rating:
4 stars

Angel's Peak (Virgin River, #10)

(Goodreads synopsis)
Four years ago, Air Force sweethearts Franci Duncan and Sean Riordan reached an impasse. She wanted marriage and a family, he didn’t. But a chance meeting proves that the bitter breakup hasn’t cooled their sizzling chemistry.

Sean has settled down in spite of himself—he’s not the cocky young fighter pilot he was when Franci left, and he wants them to try again. After all, they have a history…but that’s not all they share.

Franci’s secret reason for walking away when Sean refused to commit is now three and a half: a redheaded cherub named Rosie who shares her daddy’s emerald green eyes. Sean is stunned—and furious with Franci for the deception.

News travels fast in Virgin River, and soon the whole town is taking sides. Rebuilding their trust could take a small miracle—and the kind of love that can move mountains.

You can find links to more Show Me Five reviews at Find Your Next Book Here

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel

Goodreads synopsis:
Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.

In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah’s perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie’s all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

* * * * * * *

CeeCee Honeycutt has been taking care of her mentally ill mother for most of her twelve years. Her father is absent much of the time so it’s been up to CeeCee to tend to her mother. After Camille’s death, CeeCee’s great aunt Tootie arrives to take her home to Savannah. That’s the start of a new chapter in CeeCee’s Life Book.

All I knew for sure was this: I had been plunked into a strange, perfumed world that, as far as I could tell, seemed to be run entirely by women. 


CeeCee’s new life is filled with caring and eccentric women. Each one seems to have a special lesson to impart. Little by little, like the fragile orchid, CeeCee begins to bloom in their warm and gentle care.

If there’s one thing I’d like most for you, it’s that you’ll find your calling in life. That’s where true happiness and purpose lies. Whether it’s taking care of abandoned animals, saving old houses from the wreckin’ ball, or reading to the blind, you’ve got to find your fire, sugar. You’ll never be fulfilled if you don’t.


Beth Hoffman’s charming debut novel is filled with wit, wisdom, and love. The characters will stay with me for a long time. I recommend Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, it’s a wonderful book.




Waiting on Wednesday – Jan. 27

Pub. date: March 2, 2010
Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur

Cover Image

Publishers Weekly

In this stellar first in a new series, Martin (Murder Melts in Your Mouth and six other Blackbird Sisters mysteries) introduces Roxy Abruzzo, ultra-sexy Pittsburgh sleuth and owner of Bada Bling Architectural Salvage, as well as Roxy’s lovable assistant, Nooch Santonucci, and pit bull, Rooney. A tough girl like Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, if with an edgier vibe, Roxy has an uncle who’s a local Mafia don, but she answers to no one but herself and maybe Sage, her 16-year-old daughter from a teen liaison with chef Patrick Flynn. Roxy gets into trouble after the fatal shooting of wealthy philanderer Julius Hyde and the torching of the country estate of Hyde’s 92-year-old mother, who worries about her missing ancient Greek garden statue. Did her irascible daughter-in-law take it, or another family member? Nope, Roxy did. Roxy’s efforts to salvage the statue lead to a wild cat-and-mouse game with a killer that will leave Martin’s fans clamoring for more.

Show Me 5 Saturday – East Hope


Pick a book you’ve read or reviewed during the current week. Each Saturday post the answers to the numbered questions found below. The number indicates the number of answers to provide.

Since That’s A Novel Idea blog (originator of this meme) seems to be on vacation, you can find links to more Show Me Five reviews at Find Your Next Book Here.

* * * * * * *

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week:
East Hope by Katharine Davis

2 Words that describe the book:
Contemporary Fiction

3 Settings where it took place or characters you met:
Pennsylvania; Chevy Chase, Maryland; East Hope, Maine

4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:
Liked the author’s spare writing;
Liked the Maine setting;
Wished some characters had more depth;
Liked it enough that I wish for a sequel.

5 Stars or less for your rating:
3.5 stars This is a book I’ll hang on to and read again down the road.

Memories of her life floated back – that comfortable existence, a time of ease when her life had been so calm, so worry-free, like a story that read, “Once upon a time there lived a woman whose life was quite perfect.” (p.268, East Hope)

East Hope
Several months after her husband’s sudden death, and troubled by one night’s indiscretion, Caroline Waverly seeks refuge in the house she’s inherited in East Hope, Maine. There she finds the courage to face the consequences of her choices—her precarious finances, her alienated college-age son, and the man she left behind.

Will Harmon also puts his old life behind him, arriving in East Hope to run the local used bookshop. As he questions his desires and struggles with his failing marriage, Will yearns for the wisdom to do what is right.

Then Caroline walks into Will’s bookstore, and they establish a tentative friendship—with the promise of something more. As they seek to rescue what is most important in their lives, they cling to a distant hope—for understanding, for family, and for love.

Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson

Sundays at Tiffany's

Goodreads synopsis

As a little girl, Jane has no one. Her mother, the powerful head of a Broadway theater company, has no time for her. She does have one friend-a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael-but only she can see him.

Years later, Jane is in her thirties and just as alone as ever. Then she meets Michael again-as handsome, smart and perfect as she remembers him to be. But not even Michael knows the reason they’ve really been reunited.

SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY’S is a love story with an irresistible twist, a novel about the child inside all of us-and the boundary-crossing power of love.

* * * * * * *

My thoughts: It’s an interesting premise that left me wishing for a little more and a lot less: a little more character depth and story and a lot less over-the-top characters (Jane’s mother and boyfriend). I really wanted to like this book but it just didn’t grab me.

Waiting on Wednesday – Jan. 20

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici:

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 25, 2010)
  • From the author’s website:
  • The most infamous queen of the Renaissance reveals her secrets in an epic tale of persecution, intrigue, and betrayal.

    At the age of fourteen, Catherine de Medici, last legitimate descendant of the Medici blood, finds herself betrothed to the King Francois I’s son, Henri. Sent from her native Florence to France, humiliated and overshadowed by her husband’s life-long devotion to his mistress, when tragedy strikes her family Catherine rises from obscurity to become one of 16th century Europe’s most powerful women.

    Patroness of Nostradamus and a seer in her own right, accused of witchcraft and murder by her foes, Catherine fights to save France and her children from savage religious conflict, unaware that her own fate looms before her — a fate that will demand the sacrifice of her ideals, her reputation, and passion of her own embattled heart.

    From the splendors of the Loire palaces to the blood-soaked battles of the Wars of Religion and haunted halls of the Louvre, this is the story of Catherine’s dramatic life, told by the queen herself.

Sunday Summary – Jan. 17

In the woods near my childhood home

Books reviewed:

Countess of Scandal (ends Saturday)
The Secret of Everything (ends tomorrow)
* * * * * * *

The people of Haiti have been on my mind all week. My heart goes out to all who’ve been touched by this disaster. My thoughts are with all the survivors, volunteers and relief workers. If you can, donate to a legitimate relief organization.

I found two simple ways to donate to the Red Cross:

Text the word “Haiti” to 90999. A $10 donation will be made and then charged to the next cell phone bill.

While checking out at Costco yesterday we were asked if we wanted to add a donation (to the Red Cross) to our total. Costco sends 100% of donation to the RC.

A Quick Giveaway – The Secret of Everything

The Secret of Everything: A Novel

I’m giving away my copy of
The Secret of Everything
by Barbara O’Neal

It’s an uncorrected proof so the cover doesn’t look like the one shown above.
I don’t recall seeing errors but there could be some. Nothing glaring.
You can read my review here.

So, if you’re interested in winning my copy,
and live in the US,
leave your email in a comment
and I’ll have choose a winner.

Giveaway ends Monday, Jan. 18 at 8pm (eastern)
Contest is closed

Spinning Forward by Terri DuLong


A New Englander born and bred, the last place Sydney Webster expects to find herself starting over is on an island off the coast of Florida. Yet here she is in Cedar Key, trying to pull herself together after her husband’s untimely death—and the even more untimely revelation of his gambling addiction. Bereft of her comfortable suburban life, Syd takes shelter at a college pal’s bed and breakfast, where amidst the bougainvillea blossoms and the island’s gentle rhythms, a plan begins to form…

Syd never considered the possibility of turning her passion for spinning and knitting into something more than a hobby, but when the unique composition of her wool draws attention, a door is opened—the first among many. Yet even as she ventures out of her comfort zone, Syd finds herself stepping into the embrace of a community rich with love, laughter, friendship…and secrets. And as long-hidden truths are revealed, Syd faces a choice: spin a safety net—or spin decidedly forward and never look back…

* * * * * * *

Sydney was living a comfortable life until her husband died in a car accident. Soon after, a knock on the door signals the end of that life and sets her on a new path. She visits her college friend (who just happens to own a B&B) in Florida. Ali ends up being not only a great friend but also a guide of sorts – to Sydney finding her true self. Not an easy task.
There are also surprises in store for Sydney. She discovers information that brings new layers to her life. One piece of information is an unbelievable coincidence. She meets wonderful people who offer her acceptance and help. I really liked these characters although I wanted to know more about each of them. Since this is the first in the Cedar Key series I’m sure I’ll learn much more in the books to follow.
I enjoyed Spinning Forward – maybe because I’m about the same age as Sydney and could identify with a few of the things she was forced to face (not so much the major issues but other things women of the same age group might deal with). Because of that, I think this would be a good selection for book groups. Lots to discuss. A Reading Group Guide can be found at the end of the book.

Review copy from Kensington (via LibraryThing Early Reviewers)

Giveaway – Countess of Scandal


As children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England, while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess.

Years later, Will finally makes his way home-as an English soldier sent to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza’s passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict.
When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will’s regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between his duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.

Listen to an excerpt.

Author website.

* * * * * * *
Giveaway Closed

5 copies of

Countess of Scandal

~ thanks to Hachette ~

* Open to residents of US and Canada
* No P.O. boxes
* Your email must be in your comment (required)

Giveaway ends January 23 at 8pm (eastern)
Winners will be announced Jan. 24

Giveaway Closed

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

From the Trade Paperback edition:
Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another…

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

* * * * * * *

I’ve heard about Outlander for a few years and finally got around to reading it. The Outlander Challenge was the nudge I needed.

Time travel novels are not what I tend to read but I enjoyed the adventures of Claire and Jamie. They are perfectly matched. The chemistry between the two is wonderful.

I don’t want to ruin any enjoyment for first-time readers so I’m not going to write about specifics. Well, I will say that if you’re going to unexpectedly travel through time some medical knowledge really comes in handy!

Diana Gabaldon wrote a humorous, romantic, sensual, violent, heart-breaking, breath-taking novel and I’m looking forward to reading Dragonfly in Amber – the next book in the series.

Mailbox Monday – Jan. 11

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. Mailbox Monday is hosted at The Printed Page. Click the covers for book info.

From Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting:
Cover Image
From Kensington Books/ LibraryThing Early Reviewers:
Cover Image

Sunday Summary – Jan. 10

The road to my hometown
Our kids always knew we were a half-hour from Grandma and Grandpa’s house when they saw this tree.

I managed to read and review one book this week: Robyn Carr’s Forbidden Falls (review). Outlander is taking most of my reading time – and I’m enjoying the adventure!

Last week I asked readers:

When you leave a comment that may prompt a response, do you check the “email follow up comments” box ?

The answer was almost a unanimous NO. I’ll continue to reply in the comments box so if you leave a question, don’t forget to come back.
Robby at Once Upon a Book Blog gave me the Honest Scrap award. Thanks Robby! Here’s a link to the list I made a few weeks ago for the same award.

I was inspired the past few days by all the Bloggiesta activities. Even though I didn’t join in the fun I’ve made another goal for 2010: go back to my 2008 and 2009 book lists (sidebar) and link to the reviews. Not sure why I didn’t do it from the start but better late than never, right?

Show Me 5 Saturday – Forbidden Falls


That’s A Novel Idea hosts a MEME called Show Me Five Saturday. This meme will give each blogger an opportunity to give a brief description of a book they have read or reviewed during the week. It will work like this: Each Saturday you will post the answer to these questions. The number indicates the number of answers you will provide.

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week: Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr

2 Words that describe the book: Romance, series

3 Settings or characters you met: Takes place in Virgin River, CA. Main characters are Ellie Baldwin and Noah Kincaid.

4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it: I liked the three main storylines. I enjoyed the heck out of the Ellie character. The main plot seemed a bit over the top but Robyn Carr did what she always does: she wrote an entertaining novel with endearing characters – and I couldn’t put it down until I finished. I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

5 Stars or less for your rating: 4 stars

Forbidden Falls (Virgin River, #9)
Click on the cover for more info