Mailbox Monday – Jan. 31


Mailbox Monday was started by Marcia at The Printed Page and is now on a blog tour.  Click here to see the tour schedule.

This month’s host is Rose City Reader.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
(for review from HarperCollins)
Goodreads synopsis:

The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five …more

What was in your mailbox last week?

Friday, February 4th is a birthday of sorts – it marks three years since I started Bookfan.  Usually I just mention the date but this year I’d like to pass along a few of the books I’ve bought, read, or have been sent for review in the past year or so.  If you’re interested please click here (giveaway now closed)  for more information. No need to spread the word – I’d like to keep this as a way to thank my regular readers.

Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke

Title: Scandal of the Year

Author: Laura Lee Guhrke

Genre: Historical Romance

About: (Pub. synopsis) Being jilted. It’s awful for a guy. Especially if you’re a duke, and your fiancée left you for that other duke, the one who came back from Egypt just before your wedding. Humiliating, right?  But what if you managed to recover, got engaged to another girl, and then got jilted again, this time because of a notorious woman, a lot of champagne, and a mome…more

My thoughts: When the first book (Wedding of the Season) of this series ended I wondered about a couple of the characters:  Why did Aidan give up so easily; Would Julia find happiness?  I hoped my questions would be answered in the second book and was happy to find that Scandal of the Year is the story of Aidan and Julia.

As you would expect, Laura Lee Guhrke’s main characters are more fully developed than they were in the first book.  I came to appreciate the reasons for their actions as the author let us in on their lives. There is a lot of push and pull between Aidan and Julia.  Aidan is a true gentleman – honorable and quite devoted once his trust is gained.  Julia has hidden behind a bold and happy facade for many years.  She doesn’t want anyone to know how frightened she has been and how horrible and abusive her marriage was.

Ms.Guhrke brings Aidan and Julia together slowly.  I was glad about that.  In book one they seemed to abhor each other but in this book we find they have a history and there were reasons for their previous behavior.  If you’re an impatient reader you may get frustrated and wonder if things will work out for these two.  You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Recommend? If you enjoy historical romance I think you’ll like this series!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Source: HarperCollins/Avon via NetGalley

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins

Title: The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship

Author: Lisa Verge Higgins

Genre: Fiction

About: (Goodreads partial synopsis) Rachel Braun was the inspiration to her group of friends, the one who lived each day to the fullest – and the one whose life was cut tragically short. Upon her untimely death, Rachel left letters for her three best friends challenging them to face their biggest fears. (for more click here)

My thoughts: I think most women could relate to Lisa Verge Higgins’ enjoyable and heartfelt story of friendship.  The three thirty-something women are accomplished in their own lives but Rachel saw that they could be living even better lives if their perspective was tweaked.  The intent of her letters was to give them each a specific assignment to get out of their comfort zone. That’s how she lived her life and she wanted to nudge them one more time. As they tackle Rachel’s last wishes each woman realizes she’s been going through the paces of everyday life but perhaps not appreciating the joy of what’s right in front of her.  In the end, as they accomplish their friend’s requests, the fresh perspective gained has the effect Rachel intended.

Recommendation: Yes. It’s an entertaining novel and I’m glad I had the chance to read it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Source: Hachette Book Group

Mailbox Monday – Jan. 24



Mailbox Monday was started by Marcia at The Printed Page and is now on a blog tour.  Click here to see the tour schedule.

This month’s host is Rose City Reader.
Here’s what arrived at my house last week:

Caribou Island by David Vann (HarperCollins via Goodreads First Reads)
(Goodreads synopsis) On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, a marriage is unraveling. Gary, driven by thirty years of diverted plans, and Irene, haunted by a tragedy in her past, are trying to rebuild their life together. Following the outline of Gary’s old dream, they’re hauling logs to Caribou Island in good weather and in terrible storms, in sickness and in health, to build the kind of cabin that drew them to Alaska in the first place…
What was in your mailbox?

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

Back of the book: A rural idyll: that’s what Catherine is seeking when she sells her house in England and moves to a tiny hamlet in the Cévennes mountains. With her divorce in the past and her children grown, she is free to make a new start, and her dream is to set up in business as a seamstress. But this is a harsh and lonely place when you’re no longer just here on holiday. There is French bureaucracy to contend with, not to mention the mountain weather, and the reserve of her neighbors, including the intriguing Patrick Castagnol. And that’s before the arrival of Catherine’s sister, Bryony.

My thoughts: The Tapestry of Love is a novel about a woman whose life is changing.  Forty-nine and divorced for several years, Catherine leaves England and buys a small home in the mountains of France.  She hopes to to start a sewing business.  Her fluency in the French language makes settling near a small town much easier. Catherine may know the language but she has a lot to learn about the ins and outs of business in France. Not to worry. Her younger sister Bryony is a lawyer and offers to help when she visits.  That visit throws off Catherine’s new-found friendship with her neighbor Patrick.  She’s used to stepping back and letting Bryony be the center of attention and this time is no different.

I think one of the reasons I liked this book so much is because I identified with Catherine on a few levels.  She deals with the pull of family in England and at one point is called back home.  She gathers with relatives and starts to question if she should go back to France.

I liked Thornton’s characters and the setting.  It was easy to grow fond of the older couple down the road from Catherine’s house.  The Tapestry of Love is a deceptively quiet novel about independence and the realization that it’s never too late to go for one’s dreams.  I wasn’t sure I’d have time to read this novel when Ms. Thornton offered to send a review copy so I almost declined.  I’m glad I didn’t because I really enjoyed it.

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider

Title: Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living

Author: Tsh Oxenreider

Genre: Home Organization

About: (Back of book) Simplicity isn’t about what you give up.  It’s about what you gain.  When you remove the things that don’t matter to you, you are free to focus on only the things that are meaningful to you.  Imagine your home, your time, your finances, and your belongings all filling you with positive energy and helping you achieve your dreams.  It can happen, and Organized Simplicity can show you how.

Inside you’ll find:

  • A simple, ten-day plan that shows you step by step how to organize every room in your home
  • Ideas for creating a family purpose statement to help you identify what to keep and what to remove from your life
  • Templates for a home management notebook to help you effectively and efficiently take care of daily, weekly and monthly tasks
  • Recipes for non-toxic household cleaners and natural toiletry items including toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo

Start living a more organized, intentional life today.

My thoughts: Tsh Oxenreider’s handy book is in an easy to read/understand format.  I love the spiral binding, the colors used to highlight important passages, and the lists (suggestions and specifics) that will make simplifying your life that much easier.  That is not to say this will be an easy process. In order to achieve the goal, it will take dedication, determination, and even elbow grease from every member of the family.  The author shares how she and her family have accomplished their goals which makes it seem like something anyone can do.

I wish I’d had this book when my family was young.  There are some very important concepts that, if stressed early on, would make living clutter-free a normal way of life.  My husband and I will have no problem following the suggestions.  I appreciate that the author points out you don’t have to go off the Grid to live simply.  You just need to rethink what are the necessities in your life.

Ms. Oxenreider states in her introduction:

My deepest wish is that this book changes your perspective on life at home.  It’s written as a jump start to get you started on a newfound road toward a simpler life, one many home managers have traveled in previous generations.

I think her book will do just that if you are willing to follow her advice.

Recommend? Yes, if you’re motivated I’m certain you’ll get the desired results.

Source: FSB Associates

Mailbox Monday – Jan. 3



Mailbox Monday was started by Marcia at The Printed Page and is now on a blog tour.  Click here to see the tour schedule!

This month’s host is Rose City Reader.   Visit every week this month to see links to the latest and greatest books arriving in mailboxes!

I bought Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand for my husband for Christmas.  He finished reading it a few days ago and said it was excellent.

My daughter’s gift to me:  Collected Stories by William Trevor.

Happy New Year!