Waiting On Wednesday – March 31

Lois Lane Tells All

Published March 30, 2010

(Product description found on Amazon)
New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins returns to Glory, North Carolina, for another delightful story of love and laughter.She thinks she’s Lois Lane . . .Susan Collins always wanted to be a hard-hitting reporter, but there’s not much call for her talents in sleepy Glory, North Carolina. Then the Murder Mystery Club—a trio of enterprising octogenarians—decides to open their own CSI lab at the assisted-living center. And when strange “accidents” begin to happen around town, Susan senses she could be on to the news story of her dreams.He doesn’t want to be her Superman . . .Mark Tremayne has returned to Glory to take over as CFO of The Glory Examiner.His job is to keep the newspaper profitable, which means covering the annual Baptist Church Bake-Off and selling ads for the county fair—not allowing his too-sexy-for-her-own-good reporter to hare off after a wild story that could alienate some of the townspeople.Together . . . they’re Kryptonite.Mark’s and Susan’s viewpoints could be from different planets, but their mutual attraction is in total alignment. Despite their arguments, the indomitable redhead and the hot accountant are a sexual explosion waiting to happen. And when it does, Glory had better watch out!

The Season of Second Chances by Diane Meier

The Season of Second Chances: A Novel
Joy Harkness receives an offer of a dream job. She’s ready to leave the snobby academia of her current job to be part of a new program at Amherst. After the decision to accept the new job is made she makes the surprising decision to buy a fixer-upper. And even more surprising is Teddy Hennessy, the remodeling contractor who becomes much more.

Teddy and Joy seem as opposite as two people can be but it turns out they have a few things in common. They both experienced the loss of a loved one when they were quite young and were left unable or unwilling to have long-lasting relationships. After a brief marriage, Joy left St. Louis for New York and never looked back. She built her career and thought she was happy. As a young man Teddy started fixing things around his mother’s house and then those of her friends. He built quite a reputation for quality work and an eye for color and detail. When Joy bought her dilapidated house everyone pointed her toward Teddy.

After a few disaster dates with some of the University’s resident coyotes and a spectacular error in judgement (on Joy’s part), she and Teddy fall into a comfortable relationship. Together they become part of a larger group of friends who help each other when tragedy strikes. Joy learns the truth of “there’s the family your born with and then there is the family you choose”.

This is truly Joy’s story. One of the many lessons she learns is that it’s a good thing to really care about people – that they may actually care about her, with no ulterior motives. She learns this at the tender age of 48. Diane Meier’s debut novel is filled with interesting, sensitive, and humorous characters. I think a book group would find a lot to discuss about The Season of Second Chances.

Author website: www.dianemeier.com

Review copy from Henry Holt & Co.

Sunday Summary – March 28

Not a lot of reading last week but what I managed was enjoyable. I read my first Jodi Thomas book – Rewriting Monday – and really liked it. I also listened to the new Joshua Ferris novel and loved it. I think the reason for the book love is because I listened to him read it. I would start each morning with a walk and listening to The Unnamed on my ipod. That’s only interesting because its a book about a guy who walks. Anyway, I think the author did a great job reading his own book – I would continue listening for at least another hour after I finished my walk, and finally gave in and sat on the couch with eyes closed, listening to the last couple of hours.
* * * * * * *
I received this virtual basket from Kristi. I’m passing it on to anyone who’d like to participate. You can click on her name to get all the specifics about Hershey’s donations to Children’s Miracle Network.
How was your week with books?
Books I read/reviewed last week:
Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart
Rewriting Monday The Unnamed Husband and Wife

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

The Unnamed

From the back of the audiobook: Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol.

His wife, Jane, still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And even as his daughter, Becka, retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks, and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father’s honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world.

He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home.

And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.

* * * * * * *

My thoughts: The Unnamed is a book that I couldn’t stop reading, or rather, listening to. I was lucky enough to get an audiobook. According to the interview at the end this is the first time Joshua Ferris has narrated one of his books – I think he should always narrate his books. His voice is perfect and I felt I was experiencing The Unnamed the way he intended.

The Unnamed is a story about a man with an illness. The illness hasn’t been diagnosed specifically because it can’t be confirmed as either a disease of the mind or the body. You get an idea, early on, what the disease could be. This is also the story of a marriage and what happens when those easily repeated wedding vows come into play. The whole “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” is put to the test. Tim and Jane give it their all and we get to see how it plays out.

Another aspect of The Unnamed is the subject of mental illness. At what point does one lose his tether to a stable life? At what point does one begin to drift? A lot to think about and maybe rethink.

This is not an easy novel. I’m so glad I listened to it. One thing I want to mention about the audiobook is the music composed by Brendan Feeney. It is hypnotic and beautiful and perfect for the book.

Audiobook from Hachette Audio

Waiting On Wednesday – March 24

Husband and Wife By Leah Stewart

Publish date: May 5, 2010 by Harper

In this new novel by the celebrated author of The Myth of You and Me, a young mother discovers that her husband’s novel about infidelity might be drawn from real life.

Sarah Price is thirty-five years old. She doesn’t feel as though she’s getting older, but there are some noticeable changes: a hangover after two beers, the stray gray hair, and, most of all, she’s called “Mom” by two small children. Always responsible, Sarah traded her MFA for a steady job, which allows her husband, Nathan, to write fiction. But Sarah is happy and she believes Nathan is too, until a truth is revealed: Nathan’s upcoming novel, Infidelity, is based in fact.

Suddenly Sarah’s world is turned upside down. Adding to her confusion, Nathan abdicates responsibility for the fate of their relationship and of his novel’s publication—a financial lifesaver they have been depending upon—leaving both in Sarah’s hands. Reeling from his betrayal, she is plagued by dark questions. How well does she really know Nathan? And, more important, how well does she know herself?

For answers, Sarah looks back to her artistic twenty-something self to try to understand what happened to her dreams. When did it all seem to change? Pushed from her complacent plateau, Sarah begins to act—for the first time not so responsibly—on all the things she has let go of for so long: her blank computer screen; her best friend, Helen; the volumes of Proust on her bookshelf. And then there is that e-mail in her inbox: a note from Rajiv, a beautiful man from her past who once tempted her to stray. The struggle to find which version of herself is the essential one—artist, wife, or mother—takes Sarah hundreds of miles away from her marriage on a surprising journey.

Wise, funny, and sharply drawn, Leah Stewart’s Husband and Wife probes our deepest relationships, the promises we make and break, and the consequences they hold for our lives, revealing that it’s never too late to step back and start over.

Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas

Rewriting Monday

My review: Patricia Anne (Pepper) Malone arrives in Bailee, Texas after getting the boot from the Chicago newspaper where she’d been a reporter. She doesn’t have much money and is glad to stay at her great-aunt Wilma’s place while Wilma is at the local nursing home recovering from surgery. Pepper is still recovering from the Chicago incident that got her fired and needs to find a job. She’ll stick around until she has enough money to find a new job in a new city.

Mike McCulloch runs the local newspaper and just happens to need a reporter. He also needs to find out who is trying to harm him and the newspaper. There have been mild threats but they quickly escalate to menacing and violent. So there’s a mystery to solve.

Pepper and Mike, along with several enjoyable secondary characters, make Rewriting Monday a delightful and light mystery/romance. Jodi Thomas’s story made me smile and laugh through most of the book. I really liked her writing style. The banter between Mike and Pepper was great.

I think Rewriting Monday would be a great beach read and I know it’s a great middle-of-a-snowstorm read.

Personal copy

Sunday Summary – March 21

Murphy and Bailey on neighborhood watch
Spring arrived with a little snow and most of it is already gone, thank goodness. Murphy, our daughter’s dog, visited last week so I had to get a photo of him and our dog Bailey. Murphy is 13 and Bailey is 11 – they get along surprisingly well.
It was a good week of books. In addition to the titles listed below, I listened to the Blog Talk Radio interview of Rachael Herron, author of How To Knit A Love Song. I really enjoy the BTR shows.
Happy Spring!
Books read/reviewed:

It’s All Greek To Me by Charlotte Higgins
The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Can’t Stand The Heat by Louisa Edwards
It's All Greek to Me By Charlotte HigginsThe Girl Who Chased the Moon Can't Stand The Heat

Waiting On Wednesday pick: Leaving Harmony by Jodi Thomas

Welcome to Harmony

Show Me 5 Saturday – Can’t Stand The Heat by Louisa Edwards

now hosted by Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here

1. Book title:
Can’t Stand The Heat by Louisa Edwards

2. Words that describe the book:
Contemporary; Romance

3. Settings or characters:
Miranda Wake – a food critic known for her ‘take no prisoners’ reviews
Adam Temple – talented chef and owner of a new restaurant
Market (Adam’s restaurant)

4. Things I liked/disliked about the book:
I liked the descriptions of the restaurant kitchen. Louisa Edwards’ detailed narrative makes me think she has worked in a restaurant.
I liked all of the supporting characters
I liked Adam – a good character
I couldn’t warm up to Miranda – she was annoying most of the time

5. Stars or less: 3.5 – 4 stars

Can't Stand The Heat

Goodreads: For sharp-tongued food critic Miranda Wake, the chance to spend a month in Adam Temple’s kitchen to write an exposé is a journalistic dream come true. Surely Miranda can find a way to cut the hotshot chef down to size once she learns what really goes on at his trendy Manhattan restaurant. But she never expected Adam to find out her most embarrassing secret: she has no idea how to cook.

Adam’s not about to have his reputation burned by a critic who doesn’t even know the difference between poaching and paring. He’ll just have to give the tempting redhead a few private lessons of his own—teaching her what it means to cook with passion…

The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

About The Girl Who Chased the Moon

In her latest enchanting novel, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen invites you to a quirky little Southern town with more magic than a full Carolina moon. Here two very different women discover how to find their place in the world…no matter how out of place they feel.

Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. For instance, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life.

Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes.

Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth and in the hope of bringing back the love she fears she’s lost forever. In Julia, Emily may have found a link to her mother’s past. But why is everyone trying to discourage Emily’s growing relationship with the handsome and mysterious son of Mullaby’s most prominent family? Emily came to Mullaby to get answers, but all she’s found so far are more questions.

Is there really a ghost dancing in her backyard? Can a cake really bring back a lost love?

In this town of lovable misfits, maybe the right answer is the one that just feels…different.

* * * * * * *

My review: Sarah Addison Allen has worked her magic again. There’s an enchanting vibe to each of her novels yet I find them quite believable (ok, the apple tree in Garden Spells and the wallpaper in The Girl Who Chased The Moon are exceptions). You could call them modern fairy tales.

The Girl Who Chased The Moon has interesting characters. There’s Emily who, after her mother’s death, goes to live with Vance – her very tall grandfather – in Mullaby, North Carolina. He’s a bit odd but very nice. Emily finds that many of the people in Mullaby are a little on the quirky side and dealing with their own issues. One of those people is Win, a member of the most prominent family in town. Win’s uncle died because of Emily’s mother – at least that is the story he’s heard all his life. What is Win’s quirk? You’ll have to read the book.

Although it may seem like this is Emily’s story I think it is equally Julia’s. She is a neighbor to Emily and bakes cakes in hopes of attracting a certain person. She leaves the window in her kitchen open so the aroma will bring that person to her. There’s so much more to her story but I’ll just say I really enjoyed it.

Many other characters add to this sweet tale of hope and second chances. My only complaint is that it was too short. I wanted to keep reading about Emily, Vance, Win, Julia and all the people of Mullaby. This is one of those novels I just know I’ll read again.

About Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen is the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells andThe Sugar Queen. She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is currently at work on her next novel. You can visit Sarah Addison Allen’s website at: www.sarahaddisonallen.com.

Review copy from Random House and Pump Up Your Book

My morning walk

The natural light was too dim for a photo* but I want to mention that I saw the first Robin of 2010 on my morning walk. That’s very exciting, not to mention hopeful!

While I walked I listened to the current Books On The Nightstand podcast. If you need something to make your (two mile) walk seem to take a few minutes, this is just the thing. Check it out! I’m adding the newest Ian McEwan to my wish list – release date is March 30.

* this photo is from Google images

Waiting On Wednesday – March 17

Welcome To Harmony
by Jodi Thomas

Publisher: Berkley – June 1, 2010

Welcome to Harmony

Sixteen-year-old runaway Reagan has always wanted a place to belong. She’s never had a real home of her own, but perhaps she could borrow someone else’s. Under an assumed name and identity, she moves to Harmony, Texas, but keeps her distance from the welcoming townsfolk. Until prairie fires threaten Harmony-and Reagan learns the true meaning of family, friends, and home.

It’s All Greek To Me by Charlotte Higgins

It's All Greek to Me By Charlotte Higgins

From the back of the book: The legendary civilization of ancient Greece shaped nearly every aspect of our lives, from how we organize our societies to how we define the very essence of life. Consider the way we think: about morality, about the nature of beauty and truth, about our place in the universe, about our mortality. All this we have learned from the ancient Greeks. They molded the basic disciplines and genres in which we still organize thought: from poetry to drama, from politics to philosophy, from history to medicine to even ethnography.

* * * * * * *

My take: I really liked this “layman’s guide” to many (if not most) things Greek. Charlotte Higgins walks the reader through the Iliad and the Odyssey; the ins and outs of Sparta; Greek architecture (which brought back memories of Mr. Tippery’s History class sophomore year – I had those column styles down pat!); mythology; and the philosophers. And that’s just some of the information that is packed into this gem of a book. There’s also a timeline, a map, and a Who’s Who of Greeks – actual and mythological.

It’s All Greek To Me will remain on my keeper shelf because it is such a handy source of information. Really, if you’d like a Greek reference book that’s easy to read and understand – and also quite interesting, this may be the book for you.

Review book from HarperCollins

Sunday Summary – March 14

The ice is finally melting

Waiting On Wednesday pick: Leaving Unknown by Kerry Reichs

This week’s Show Me 5: Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

Books read/reviewed:
How To Knit A Love Song by Rachael Herron
Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

Leaving Unknown: A Novel Moonlight Road (Virgin River, #11)

How to Knit a Love Song: A Cypress Hollow Yarn

I really enjoyed How To Knit A Love Song. Moonlight Road was good but not my favorite in the series. I’m looking forward to reading Leaving Unknown at some point. I think the synopsis sounds great. I started reading The Yellow House but just couldn’t get into it so I’m putting it aside to read another time.

You can see in the photo at the top of the post that the ice is melting in our warmer temps (yes, 40s is considered warm in my area at this time of year). I took the picture on Friday while on a walk in the neighborhood. Most of our snow is gone and I can actually see some daffodils starting to poke through the soil near the house. Gives me hope!

How To Knit A Love Song by Rachael Herron

How to Knit a Love Song by Rachael Herron: Book Cover

Back of the review copy:
When Abigail inherits a cottage from her beloved mentor, knitting guru Eliza Carpenter, it’s the perfect chance for a new start, a safe haven. She’s ready to leave the city for the country, ready to trade in her worn-out designer heels for brand-new cowboy boots. But Abigail doesn’t bargain on the wrath of a gorgeous rancher: Eliza’s nephew.
Cade inherited the rest of the ranch Abigail’s new cottage is on. He isn’t happy with the loss of what he thought would be his, and is even less pleased that she’s going to turn it into a knitting shop. While Cade struggles to accept this change in plan, and as Abigail fights a terror she thought she left behind, they both find themselves battling an undeniable attraction for the other. But as the knitter and the rancher fall in love, they’ll need more than infatuation: From seeds of doubt and suspicion, can trust ever bloom?

* * * * * * *

I’m fairly new to knitting so I don’t possess the expertise needed to knit much more than a scarf but I love to read about knitting. How To Knit A Love Song is a romance about Abigail Durant, an accomplished knitter, and Cade MacArthur who owns a sheep ranch. She inherits a cottage (from her mentor Eliza) that happens to be in the middle of the sheep ranch run by the handsome Cade (nephew of Eliza). It’s the set-up of all set-ups and you can almost hear Eliza laughing as Cade and Abigail begin to realize what she did.

The two are very confident and headstrong characters which makes for a lot of tension throughout the novel. Will Cade ever come to terms with a knitting store on his ranch? Will Abigail be able to leave her past behind and feel safe in her new surroundings? There is a lot more to the novel but you’ll want to read it to find out.

Rachael Herron’s novel has drama, romance, humor and a great setting. It’s about new starts, learning to trust, and taking a chance on love. I enjoyed it and look forward to the next book in the Cypress Hollow series.

Rachael Herron will be the featured author on Book Club Girl’s show (on Blog Talk Radio) – Wednesday, March 17 – 7pm Eastern. You can click here to listen.

Review copy from Avon A

Waiting On Wednesday – March 10

Pub. Date: March 30, 2010 ~ Avon A

Leaving Unknown: A Novel

Sweet Lips, Tennessee . . . Toad Suck, Arkansas . . . Okay, Oklahoma . . . Truth or Consequences, New Mexico . . . Maeve Connelly’s epic road trip is taking her through every colorfully named tiny town in America on her way to the far less imaginatively named Los Angeles, California. With her foulmouthed cockatiel, Oliver, her only companion, Maeve’s heading way off the beaten track with little money and a load of painful baggage she wants to leave behind. But when her beloved rattletrap, “Elsie,” breaks down outside Unknown, Arizona, she finds herself taking a much longer rest stop than she anticipated.

The only mechanic in the vicinity is on an indefinite walkabout, so Maeve’s in for the long haul—and she’ll need to find two jobs to pay for Elsie’s eventual repair. But she’s starting to feel strangely at home among the quirky denizens of Unknown—especially around her new bookstore owner boss—so Maeve is seriously considering saying good-bye to Hollywood for good . . . if she can keep her past troubles from coming to light.

From Kerry Reichs, author of The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life, comes a poignant and very funny new novel about finding yourself after finding yourself in the middle of nowhere.