Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

the hero big girl panties gwynneth ever after the lemon orchard

Last week on Bookfan:

Books I read last week:

  • Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

We’ve reached the end of June – also known as Audiobook Month (JIAM). I want to give a shout out to Xe Sands who coordinated (and was executive producer of) the Going Public…in Shorts project this month. It was a pleasure to participate in this amazing project with Arielle DeLisle. You can see our post here.

Happy reading!

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So long, Google Reader

As you must know by now Google Reader will be no more as of Monday, July 1. This week I decided to give Bloglovin’ a try. If it works, great. If not, I’ll try out another means of following blogs.

Here’s a screenshot of the homepage:

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 5.24.16 PM

Once I’ve read a blog post it automatically dims in the reader. In the few days I’ve used Bloglovin’ I’m happy with the look and ease of navigating to blogs, marking blogs read, etc. If you haven’t decided how to replace Google Reader take a look at Bloglovin’. It was super easy (one click) to move the blogs I follow from Google Reader to Bloglovin’. I also downloaded the app for iPad.

You can follow my blog via email subscription or click the Bloglovin’ button – both are in the sidebar near the top.

More Than You Know by Nan Rossiter

more than you know - rossiter

  • Title:  More Than You Know
  • Author:  Nan Rossiter
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  April 2013 – Kensington
  • Source:  Review copy from the author

Synopsis:  Losing her father on the night she was born could have torn Beryl Graham’s family apart. Instead, it knitted them together. Under their mother’s steady guidance, Beryl and her older sisters, Isak and Rumer, shared a childhood filled with happiness. But now Mia Graham has passed away after battling Alzheimer’s, and her three daughters return to their New Hampshire home to say goodbye.
Swept up in memories and funeral preparations, the sisters catch up on each other’s lives. Rumer and Isak have both known recent heartache, while Beryl has given up hope of marriage. But surprising revelations abound, especially when they uncover Mia’s handwritten memoir. In it are secrets they never guessed at–clandestine romance, passionate dreams, joy and guilt. And as Beryl, Rumer, and Isak face a future without her, they realize it’s never too late to heed a mother’s lessons–about taking chances, keeping faith, and loving in spite of the risks… (back cover)

My take:  When the three Graham sisters come together to prepare for their mother’s funeral they find out things they never new about her – shocking things. She left a memoir that told them everything and gave them a new perspective of her life. She raised her three daughters alone after a car crash took the life of her husband on the night of their 5th anniversary. They thought she never remarried because she couldn’t imagine loving anyone else but their father. Her memoir tells them the real story.

Though dismayed by what they’ve learned, they take to heart the lesson to never take life for granted and to appreciate especially the mundane events of everyday life. Timely advice because all three are at crossroads in their personal lives.

More Than You Know is a novel of faith and family that will resonate with many readers. I enjoyed it.

*Note:  At the end of the novel Nan Rossiter shared a couple of recipes made by the Graham sisters. I’ve made copies and plan to try both!

The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

Manually Released

  • Title:  The Newcomer (Thunder Point series #2)
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  June 2013 – Harlequin
  • Source:   Publisher

Synopsis (publisher):  Single dad and Thunder Point’s deputy sheriff “Mac” McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he’s found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they’re feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can’t get enough of one another. 

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac’s long-lost ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. Mac and Gina know they’re meant to be together, but can their newfound love withstand the pressure?

My take:  Robyn Carr put family dynamics right at the forefront in the second book of the Thunder Point series. It was easy to relate to the difficulties of raising a family in the 21st century. There are several types of family units in this book and I thought they were depicted honestly and believably. Issues concerning hormonal teenagers, cyber bullying, the uncertainty of family stability are just a few of the themes.

Mac and Gina are the main characters but running a close second are Cooper and Sarah (from the first book The Wanderer). Changes out of their control threaten their relationship and test their ability to trust. The two couples aside, the emphasis of this book seemed to be on the children involved. I like that aspect and hope it continues with each book.

After enjoying the Virgin River series for years I’m now fully on board with the people of Thunder Point and can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

the wishing tree blackberry summer finding colin firth a hundred summers

Last week on Bookfan:

Books I read last week:

  • More Than You Know by Nan Rossiter

Happy reading!

The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow

the widow waltz

  • Title:  The Widow Waltz
  • Author:  Sally Koslow
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  June 2013 – Viking
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Ben Silver had it all—a successful law practice, a New York apartment overlooking Central Park, a beach house, fine art, club memberships. Yet when a massive coronary fells him while training for the New York City Marathon, it’s revealed that his life was a lie. He’s left his wife, Georgia Waltz, and their two daughters almost penniless.
Georgia must now rally to support her family while mourning a husband whose private enigmas keep surfacing. To her surprise, she also discovers that it may even be possible to find new love in the land of Spanx and wrinkles. Meanwhile, her daughters must face the responsibilities of adulthood that they have avoided and put their hidden talents to work.

My take:  When golden boy Ben Silver dies his wife and daughters find out he wasn’t quite the man they thought he was. Their lives have changed overnight and they’re left to solve a mystery – why did he leave them without the expected inheritance but instead needing to sell off possessions in order to live? 

As mother and daughters slowly get their bearings they begin to move forward in directions they’d never anticipated. Georgia Waltz is witty and sometimes snarky. At first she grated on me but I soon understood her defense mechanisms and enjoyed her take on her new life. I especially appreciated that Koslow addressed dating in middle age realistically and with humor. I think there are a lot of readers our there who would love more novels with strong 50-something women dealing with life-changing events.

Filled with colorful characters The Widow Waltz is an entertaining novel that could be read in a few hours. The Widow Waltz is about acceptance and forgiveness and what being a family means – and sometimes it’s not what you’d expect.

Going Public…In Shorts with Arielle DeLisle

spoken freely

June is Audiobook Month (JIAM 2013). The audiobook community is giving back by teaming with the Going Public Project by offering a serialized audio story collection. All proceeds will go to Reach Out and Read literacy advocacy organization.

Throughout June, 1-2 stories will be released each day on the Going Public blog and on author/book blogs. The story will be free (online only – no downloads) for one week. In collaboration with Blackstone Audio, all the stories will be available for download via Downpour. The full compilation will be ready June 30th.

The full schedule of the story release dates and narrators are at Going Public. Engineering and Mastering are provided by Jeffrey Kafer and SpringBrook Audio. Graphic design provided by f power design and published by Blackstone Audio. Project coordination and executive production by Xe Sands.  – Mary Freeman

My narrator partner for the Going Public…In Shorts project is Arielle DeLisle.

Thank you, Arielle, for guest posting today!

*  *  *

I’m honored to participate in “Going Public… In Shorts” with so many other amazing narrators. There’s such a great supportive community among narrators and we’ve donated these recordings in hopes of raising money for the non-profit, Reach Out and Read.

I came to audiobooks through a workshop 4 years ago from Pat Fraley, a simply amazing and generous teacher. For 13 years I worked in radio, doing commercial voiceover and production. I’d always held an interest in voice acting beyond a 30 second spot, and Pat’s workshop turned a spark into a wildfire (and listening to Jim Dale read the Harry Potter series was one heck of an introduction to the art-form at its best!) We say recording audiobooks is a marathon and in 2012 I ran 33 of those long races. I’m being more selective now that my daughter will turn 2 this fall and she’ll get a younger brother or sister (we love surprises!) in late October. She currently requests my bedtime renditions of “Big Red Barn” and “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?” My favorite commercially released titles I’ve performed are “The Righteous” series by Michael Wallace and “The Black Stiletto” series by Raymond Benson.

For this project, I chose to narrate Kate Chopin’s “A Pair of Silk Stockings.” It first appears to be about a woman getting sucked into the trap of consumerism and it echoes the over-simplified perceptions of economic issues many people face today. However, because it’s Chopin, the story cuts deeper than that. The main character wants to live with the freedom she once had in simpler times, and is desperately trying to make this one day exist in a bubble as something for herself, in lieu of the frazzled, non-stop life she now lives. I hope you enjoy it and keep listening to the “Going Public… In Shorts” series in honor of June is Audiobook month!

Great choice, Arielle. I loved your performance!

Click here to see Arielle’s Going Public post