Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yesterday's Embers by Deborah Raney

Yesterday's Embers, by Deborah Raney, is a lovely story. It was quite the emotional ride. The author took me through heartbreak, to happiness, to joy, to disappointment, heartbreak again, anger, and hope. It was quite a ride. It made for a very good book.

Yesterday's Embers begins with a terrible tragedy. Doug DeVore has a lovely wife and six happy children. In one horrible day, he loses his wife and young daughter. He is thrown into the world of being a single dad and single again. He begins spending time with Mickey, the children's daycare teacher. He feels happiness for the first time in months and rushes into a relationship with her. Mickey is thrown into a life that most people ease into. When that life doesn't turn out quite as she expected, she is angry and disappointed in her new husband.

I related to Mickey so much as a single woman wondering if I'm every going to be blessed with a family. I was so angry at Doug for her when he didn't respond to her as I wanted him to. I'm sure many people can relate to the struggle of jumping into a ready - made family.

I recommend this book highly to those who enjoy family dramas and romances. While this book is classified as Christian fiction, it's not overly preachy at all. I think it could reach a wide audience, regardless of religious beliefs.

Booking Through Thursday - May 28

I'm still playing catch - up! Sorry this is late.

In the perfect follow-up to last week’s question, as suggested by C in DC:

Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?

Yes. That's the short answer. There are books I wish I could "unread". Looking back over the last few years, I can come up with a few that I consider a waste of my time. I probably shouldn't have bothered to finish them.

Relating to the same question, there are scenes in books that I wish I could unread. While the book might have been good or even great, sometimes a scene is so disturbing that I wish I could forget that part.

Musing Mondays - May 25

Yes, this is late. Sorry about that

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about gift certificates…

Do you give gift certificates to book stores as presents? If so, do you give for actual stores or online stores? Do you like to receive them yourself?

I do give gift certificates to book stores. I usually stick with Borders as they are all over the place and easy for people to find. I don't give them to everyone, only those who I know will appreciate them. A relative of mine once said that gift certificates were impersonal gifts and didn't show a lot of thought. I don't think that's true at all if you know the person will appreciate and use it. I wouldn't give my dad a gift certificate to a book store because he doesn't enjoy bookstores (horrible!). On the other hand, I could give my friend a Borders certificate and know that she'll enjoy browsing and buying a good book.

I LOVE getting gift certificates to book stores. LOVE IT! I received quite a few to Borders for Christmas and I am still using them. I don't use them all at once. I like to use one at a time for some reason. I still can't quite come up with a good explanation for that one!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster

As a regular follower of Jen's website and a huge fan of her books, I was really excited to run out and buy Pretty in Plaid. I didn't even mind that it was a hardcover. Even though all of her other books are paperback, which is going to seriously mess up the aesthetics of my book shelf. Jen makes me smile and laugh, and frankly who couldn't use a smile and a laugh these days.

You don't need to be familiar with Jen or her story to be able to really enjoy Pretty in Plaid. Pretty much you just need to have been alive and over the age of ten at some point in the 80's. I really enjoyed learning more about Jen's background. The book starts with Jen as a young girl, upset about her Brownies uniform, longing for a pony, and cheating her way through Girl Scout badges. It covers life in Indiana, the trials of high school and her quest to find a sorority in college. Eventually the book hits the 90's where Jen graduates from college and starts her career.

I really loved this book. In my opinion it might just be her best. I still think we could be friends.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Musing Mondays - May 18

Musing Mondays (BIG)Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about early reading…

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? Was it from a particular person, or person(s)? Do you remember any books that you read, or were read to you, as a young child? (question courtesy of Diane)

My mother is the single biggest influence when it comes to my love of books. She has been a teacher for 40 years and as a teacher, she had a huge children's book collection. We spent a lot of time reading together. As I got older, she often read my chapter books before or after I did so that we could discuss them. Now that I'm an adult, my mom and I still share books all the time. I love that we have something so special in common.

My mama taught me to take care of my books, to treasure them, and to share them. She always gives a book at every baby shower to start the new baby's library with a good quality children's book. I've followed in her footsteps with my niece and Goddaughter. I try to send them a book for every birthday and a couple of holidays every year. I hope that they will someday find that they love to read too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

I'm never sure what to expect when I read non-fiction. Sometimes it can be extremely dry, sometimes it can be warm and sometimes it can be a lot of fun. In the book, I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley shares moments in her life through a series of essays.

I enjoyed the book for the most part. I read it fairly quickly and read some of it out loud to various friends and family. The author does not portray herself as a warm and fuzzy person which caused the stories to lack emotion. I'm sure that she is a perfectly nice person but I found myself wondering how she really felt in the situations she described. That was lacking for me.

I also was looking for more of a timeline but since these were essays on her life, and not a straight memoir, I understood the reason for it. I'm just a very linear person. All in all, it's a good read. I recommend it to those who enjoy reading David Sedaris or Jen Lancaster. I find Ms. Crosley to fit between the two. Not as jaded as Sedaris and not as funny as Lancaster.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - May 12

Today's teaser is from "I Was Told There'd Be Cake" by Sloane Crosley. The book is a series of essays which read like a memoir. I'm enjoying the quick read.

This teaser comes after Sloane is asked to be a bridesmaid for a friend she hadn't heard from in years.

Page 143

High School? Was I, unbeknownst to myself, one of those girls that peaked in high school and stayed friends 4ev4 as the backs of our yearbooks decreed we would?

Musing Mondays - May 11

Musing Mondays (BIG)Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post:

Have you ever finished a book, then turned around and immediately re-read it? Why? What book(s)? (question courtesy of MizB.)

Good question. . . This sounds like something I would have done as a child. I know I read some books over and over and over and over again, Superfudge, by Judy Blume comes to mind. I might have re-read immediately a bit in high school too. I can't remember exactly.

As an *ahem* adult, I can't remember a book striking me as so wonderful (or so wonderfully confusing) to re-read it right away. I've re-read books but in general there are months if not years between reads. It's much more likely that I will re-read a section, or a chapter.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Vision in White by Nora Roberts

If any of you have been following my blog, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Ms. Roberts. She's one of the few writers that hasn't let me down. She's consistently good. At least in my opinion.

Vision in White is a good old fashioned love story. I say that in a good way. It's charming, romantic and very sweet. And it's the first in a series of four! Even better. Mackensie, Emma, Laurel, and Parker are four best friends who own and run a wedding business. Mac is the photographer, Emma the florist, Laurel the baker, and Parker is the planner/coordinator/everything else.

When clumsy, nerdy schoolteacher, Carter falls back into Mac's life, she is immediately charmed. I was too. I just love those nerdy boys. Carter admits to a high school crush on Mac and they begin a relationship. Mac struggles with allowing herself to have a real relationship as she compares herself to her three-times divorced, flighty, user of a mother.

It was really nice to jump right into a story that made me smile. I am a romantic at heart and I loved every minute of this book. I hate that I have to wait until December to read the next in the series. I look forward to re-visiting Mac, Carter, and the other characters again.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays - May 5

Today's teaser comes from Vision in White, by Nora Roberts. This is a good old fashioned romance novel. It's sweet and sappy. I loved it. Review to come tomorrow. . .

From page 116

She'd forgotten what it was like to have a meal with a man she could have long, twisty conversation with. One who listened, who paid attention- whether or not he was thinking about the possible bonus round at the end of the evening.

Musing Mondays - May 4

Musing Mondays (BIG) Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about your tbr pile…

How many books (roughly) are in your tbr pile? Is this in increasing number or does it stay stable? Do you ever experience tbr anxiety in the face of this pile? (question courtesy of Wendy)

I counted the books on my spreadsheet and I think the number is up to roughly 165 books. These are books that I either own or have in my possession. Yes, it's pitiful. I don't necessarily have anxiety about not getting everything read. I probably never will. The anxiety I feel is if the TBR pile gets low!

I love having the variety and the amount of choice. It's great to be able to look at my stacks and shelves and know how many possibilities there are. As for the numbers staying about the same. . . No way! I go to library book sales and usually come home with a dozen books. I am not reading them that fast so my pile just keeps increasing. I love it when I can take a book off of the spreadsheet though!