Too Big To Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian

Title:  Too Big To Miss

Odelia Grey Mystery #1

Author:  Sue Ann Jaffarian

Genre:  Mystery

Published:  2006

About:  (from the book description) Too big to miss – that’s Odelia Grey. A never-married, middle-aged, plus-sized woman who makes no excuses for her weight. She’s not super woman – just a mere mortal standing on the precipice of menopause, trying to cruise in an ill-fitting bra. She struggles with her relationships, her crazy family, and her crazier boss. And then there’s her knack for being in close proximity to dead people…

My take:  I first want to thank Lynne from Lynne’s Little Corner of the World who loaned me her Kindle edition of Too Big To Miss. She really liked this book and so did I. Odelia is a lovable character – admirable for the strength of her convictions as well as her humor. She’s the kind of person you’d like to be your friend.

When Odelia’s close friend Sophie turns up dead it’s ruled a suicide. This is something Odelia and her other close friend, Zee, cannot accept. They know she’d never kill herself! What they didn’t know until now is that Sophie had a bit of a secret life – one that allowed some people to view her death. That’s all I’m going to say about that. You’ll have to read this fast-paced book to find out the what, how, and whodunit.

Too Big To Miss is the first book in the Odelia Grey mystery series. I look forward to reading the next!

Source: I borrowed it.

The Gin & Chowder Club by Nan Rossiter

Title:  The Gin & Chowder Club

Author:  Nan Rossiter

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  June 2011 – Kensington

About:  (Back of the book) The friendship between the Coleman and Shepherd families is as old and comfortable as the neighboring houses they occupy each summer on Cape Cod. Samuel and Sarah Coleman love those warm months by the water; the evenings spent on their porch, enjoying gin and tonics, good conversation and homemade clam chowder. Here they’ve watched their sons, Isaac and Asa, grow into fine young men, and watched, too, as Nate Shepherd, aching with grief at the loss of his first wife, finally found love again with the much younger Noelle.

But beyond the surface of these idyllic gatherings, the growing attraction between Noelle and handsome, college-bound Asa threatens to upend everything. In spite of her guilt and misgivings, Noelle is drawn into a reckless secret affair with far-reaching consequences.  And over the course of one bittersweet, unforgettable summer, Asa will learn more than he ever expected about love – the joys and heartache it awakens in us, the lengths we’ll go to keep it, and the countless ways it can change our lives forever…

My brief take:  I liked the idea of this novel. The setting is beautiful, the characters for the most part seem like normal, decent people, and two of them struggle with an epic moral situation. Nan Rossiter let it play out – and kudos to her for doing so. Given the Christian fiction tone I was kind of surprised by that. Because of the moral issues there would be a lot for book clubs to discuss.

I loved the book cover as well as the brief chapters. I read The Gin & Chowder Club in one day – I liked that I could set it down and pick it up without feeling the interruptions.

Source:  I won my copy from the author via a giveaway at Redlady’s Reading Room

Saturday Snapshot – August 27



Find more Saturday Snapshots at

At Home With Books

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My daughter (whose middle name is Irene!) lives in southern Maine near the shore – a little south of Portland.

I asked her to take some pictures on Friday.

So here are two of the calm before the storm:

I hope to have equally beautiful photos of the area to post next Saturday.

My husband and I (and many relatives and friends) will be in Maine for our daughter’s wedding next week.

I’m sending good thoughts to all in Irene’s path.

Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

Title:  Only Time Will Tell

Author:  Jeffrey Archer

Published:  August 2011 St. Martin’s Press

Genre:  Fiction

About:  (from the publisher)  The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920 with the words “I was told that my father was killed in the war.” A dock worker in Bristol, Harry never knew his father, but he learns about life on the docks from his uncle, who expects Harry to join him in the shipyard once he’s left school. But then an unexpected gift wins him a scholarship to an exclusive boys’ school, and his life will never be the same again.

As he enters into adulthood, Harry  finally learns how his father really died, but the awful truth only leads him to question, was he even his father?

My take:  Only Time Will Tell is the first book by Jeffrey Archer that I’ve read. He used familiar themes (no spoilers here!) to tell an entertaining tale.

From the opening pages the reader is taken on a journey that moves from the Bristol shipyards to posh private schools to the high seas. The story is told from various perspectives which serves to not only tell how each main character viewed the same major events in the novel but also leaves no question as to what transpired.

Archer filled the book with heroes and villains (interesting characters all). I especially liked the character Old Jack Tarr. He was an advisor of sorts to Harry as he grew up and Harry helped Jack return to the world he’d left years earlier. I enjoyed Only Time Will Tell and, after the cliffhanger ending, look forward to the next book in The Clifton Chronicles.

Source:  St. Martin’s Press

Mailbox Monday – August 22


Hosted in August at Life In The Thumb

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Merciless by Diana Palmer (Planned TV Arts)

I went to an Irish Festival on Friday night and met author Erin Hart. It was so hot/humid inside the tent I felt like I would melt but Ms. Hart was great and signed the three books I bought.

Haunted Ground by Erin Hart

Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart

False Mermaid by Erin Hart

What was in your mailbox?

The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler (audiobook)

Title:  The Amateur Marriage: A Novel

Author:  Anne Tyler

Narrator:  Blair Brown

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Published:  2004

About:  The Amateur Marriage is the sweeping tale of a marriage that begins during WWII and ends in the 2000s. Tyler’s story  is about a young couple, Pauline and Michael, who meet and quickly marry in the early 1940s. After the war they settle into work, children and life in the Baltimore suburbs. As the kids grow up life gets complicated. The story moves briefly to San Francisco and then back to Baltimore.

My take:  I think Blair Brown is a good narrator for this sort of novel. The vocal nuance she gave each character worked beautifully. I’ll look for more of her audiobook performances.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy The Amateur Marriage early on but I kept listening and was kind of sad to see it end. The effect of one of Pauline and Michael’s teen-age kids actions is felt for the rest of their lives. But life goes on and so do each of them. Tyler takes us through the phases of the Anton family. Although the specifics would obviously be unique, it’s really the story of many marriages and families to one degree or another. For that reason alone this would be a good selection for a book club.

I’ve read a few of Anne Tyler’s novels over the years but not for a while. The Amateur Marriage is a good reminder of why I enjoy her books. It’s full of imperfect people with hopes and dreams – just like all of us.  Recommended.

Source:  I bought it.

Saturday Snapshot – August 13


Find more Saturday Snapshots at

At Home With Books

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This is Nikki, a nine or ten year old Westie.  Several weeks ago the person Nikki lived with passed away and Nikki was sent to a shelter. You can imagine what was in store for her.  The Westie Rescue came to her rescue and she ended up in northern New England where my daughter adopted her.  She came all the way from Kansas but Nikki is quickly becoming used to living near the Maine shore.

She even has her own life jacket 🙂

How To Love An American Man: A True Story by Kristine Gasbarre

Title:  How To Love An American Man

Author:  Kristine Gasbarre

Genre:  Memoir

About: (from the LibraryThing description) After dating driven, self-absorbed men in New York, Krissy Gasbarre relocates to Italy to be near her new English beau and to research the roots of her lovably alpha-male, Italian-American grandpa. But just weeks into her European adventure, the Brit takes a job in the Middle East…and her grandpa, who’s been an indelible force in her life, passes away.

For the first time in a decade, Krissy moves back to her Pennsylvania hometown to mourn her grandpa’s death and help her close-knit, festive family care for her refined (but notoriously non-maternal) grandmother. That’s when Grandma Gloria reveals the untold story of her 60-year marriage and the love lessons that made her relationship so much more successful than the ones her granddaughter’s known.

My thoughts:  I absolutely enjoyed this entertaining memoir. Kristine Gasbarre’s story about the lessons learned from her Grandmother is also a candid look at the frustrations of unrequited love and how to find the real thing. And then recognize it when you see it.

I think many readers will be able to relate to Gasbarre’s memoir.  How To Love An American Man reads like a novel. Once I started reading I found it hard to stop. I hope there will be a sequel!


Source:  Publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Mailbox Monday – August 8



Hosted in August at Life In The Thumb

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I was the lucky winner of Malena Lott‘s Life’s A Beach giveaway! She also sent an insulated beach tote, sunglasses and beach towel. Thank you, Malena.

Promises To Keep by Jane Green

The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum

My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster

Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott

Pie Town by Lynne Hinton

The Social Climber’s Handbook by Molly Jong-Fast

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

What was in your mailbox?

Anyone know?

I signed up for the War & Peace read-along – the one that lasts the entire year. So, I’m up to date with my reading – at page 800 in the edition I’m reading.  I thought I’d check in with the group and when I clicked the link I landed on a page that said the blog had been deleted by the owner.

Does anyone know what happened? Did the blog move? I hope Jillian is ok. I understand if she got too busy to keep up – she’s a busy student. I’m just curious.  I’ll keep reading to the end – it’s a chapter each day so it’s not hard to keep going.

Are you reading W&P with this group?


UPDATE: Thanks to Kaye I tracked down the W&P read along blog!

Spotlight and Giveaway: ONLY TIME WILL TELL by Jeffrey Archer

From the internationally bestselling author of Kane and Abel and A Prisoner of Birth comes Only Time Will Tell, the first in an ambitious new series that tells the story of one family across generations, across oceans, from heartbreak to triumph.

The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the words “I was told that my father was killed in the war.” A dock worker in Bristol, Harry never knew his father, but he learns about life on the docks from his uncle, who expects Harry to join him at the shipyard once he’s left school. But then an unexpected gift wins him a scholarship to an exclusive boys’ school, and his life will never be the same again.

As he enters into adulthood, Harry finally learns how his father really died, but the awful truth only leads him to question, was he even his father? Is he the son of Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who spent his whole life on the docks, or the firstborn son of a scion of West Country society, whose family owns a shipping line?

This introductory novel in Archer’s ambitious series The Clifton Chronicles includes a cast of colorful characters and takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War, when Harry must decide whether to take up a place at Oxford or join the navy and go to war with Hitler’s Germany. From the docks of working-class England to the bustling streets of 1940 New York City, Only Time Will Tell takes readers on a journey through to future volumes, which will bring to life one hundred years of recent history to reveal a family story that neither the reader nor Harry Clifton himself could ever have imagined.


Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He has served five years in Britain’s House of Commons and fourteen years in the House of Lords. All of his novels and short story collections–includingAnd Thereby Hangs a Tale, Kane and Abel, Paths of Glory and False Impression–have been international bestselling books. Archer is married with two sons and lives in London and Cambridge.

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GIVEAWAY (US and Canada)

I Have two copies of ONLY TIME WILL TELL

Go to THIS FORM for details. Giveaway Closed

Although I love reading your comments, a comment here IS NOT an entry

Eden Lake by Jane Roper

Title:  Eden Lake

Author:  Jane Roper

Genre:  Fiction

Synopsis:  (from Goodreads) When the visionary director of a nontraditional children’s summer camp in Maine dies unexpectedly, his adult children are left to sort out the future of the camp and, in so doing, their own lives. Family dynamics and long-buried secrets, love affairs, and the day-to-day antics of Eden Lake’s campers intertwine and overlap during the course of the summer in this engaging debut novel.

My brief take:  Eden Lake is a novel about a summer camp in Maine and the family who run it.  The camp was founded in 1969 on the ideal of spreading peace and love.  As the years passed the founders Clay and Carol, parents of the main characters, found that life gets messy and people can change.

“…sometimes that the two of you, you and Dad, could be such idealists – the way you created this place and wanted to change the world – and at the same time be so …”

“So human?”

“Yeah,” Abe said. “Yeah, I guess that’s right.”

“I’m sorry,” his mother said. “I hope you can forgive us.”

“I can,” he said. “I mean, I will. Eventually.”

Set in the ’90s Eden Lake is not exactly a light-hearted read. It addresses the effects adults’ actions can have on children – specifically the adult children of the camp owners.

There are also some laugh-out-loud moments.If you’ve ever gone to a summer camp you may find that reading Eden Lake will make you feel nostalgia for those good old days. It brought back a few good memories for me.

Source:  I bought it.