Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff

Fireworks over Toccoa, by Jeffrey Stepakoff, is a charming love story.  The story takes place at the end of World War II.  The soldiers are returning home and the world is full of possibility for the anxious families waiting at home.  Lily, a twenty-year old bride, is preparing her home for her husband's homecoming.  They'd been married only two weeks before he left and she has never really had the opportunity to be a wife.

Lily is torn between the expectations on her as the daughter of a state senator, a society wife, and her own hopes and dreams.  She is trapped into what everyone wants her to be.  When she meets a man, in town for the celebration fireworks, her life is changed.  He offers her adventure, romance, and an opportunity to escape her overbearing mother.  She struggles between what she knows she should do and what her heart wants.

I enjoyed this book, even if I wasn't completely satisfied by the end.  It reminds me of a Nicholas Sparks novel with rich characters and a setting that I could picture so easily in my mind.  Lily changes with each chapter.  My first thought was that she was a spoiled princess who always got her way.  In the end, she's a woman who fights for what she needs and wants in life.  It's worth a read.  I recommend it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - Jan 19th

Today's teaser comes from Fireworks over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff.  The book revolves around a young woman waiting for her husband to come home at the end of World War II.  She meets a man who is hired to do the fireworks display for the town and he changes everything. 

From page 62

Lily had this kind of conversation so often that she felt she could produce these words about her mother with the same involuntary regularity that many of her friends took air in and out.  Ever since she could remember, people asked, first and foremost, about her parents, her mother in particular.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Musing Mondays - January 18

Musing Mondays2Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about tidy reading around people.

When is it inappropriate to read in front of others? Is it ever appropriate?

Good question this week!  I will read in front of certain people and in certain situations.  If I am with one of my friends or a family member who isn't one of my parents, I will probably not pull out my book.  If there is opportunity for conversation, I find it rude to try to close myself off like that.   I have had a few family gatherings when I tried to get a little reading in but it always fails so I've given up trying. 

The exception?  My parents.  They know me well enough to know that when I pick up a book in front of them, it has nothing to do with being bored with conversation.  My mother is the one to blame for my love of reading so she understands.  I bring a book with me to their house every time I go over.  Sometimes just hanging out in the same room is enough.  We just enjoy each others company.  Even when there is nothing to say. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen, by Lauren Kate is a book that seems to leave more questions hanging than it answers.  This is frustrating for me, the reader, as I have to wait months for the sequel to maybe get those questions answered.  It's good for the writer because she's hooked me and I will read the sequel.  I enjoy reading books that are part of a series because I get to revisit old friends and I can usually jump right in without the whole "getting to know you" period.  I don't like waiting for the next book however.  It is the curse of the reader. 

With all that being said, Fallen is a good book.  There are enough hints and clues to keep you reading to find out who -or what - these characters really are.  The main character is Luce, a smart teenager who happens to see dark figures, or shadows as she calls them, at times when she is very vulnerable.  After a tragic accident, she is sent to a reform school where many of the students and staff aren't quite what they seem. 

Her focus is on two boys, Daniel and Cam.  She finds herself attracted to both but feels drawn to Daniel.  It's as if she knows him from somewhere else.  With the help of her friend, she tries to solve the mystery of who Daniel really is and why she feels so safe when she's with him. 

This book is written for young adults, but even us "old" adults can enjoy a story of good and evil.  I do recommend it even if it will leave you frustrated and wanting more!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Musing Mondays - Jan 11

Musing Mondays (BIG)   Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about tidy bookshelves.

  Are your bookshelves strictly books only? Or have knick-knacks          invaded? Do your shelves also shelve DVDs? Photos? Why not snap a photo – I’m sure we all like to spy on other’s shelves!

I've got three bookcases and for the most part they house books.  My big bookcase is in my living room.  I've got my favorite books on the top shelf.  There are a few little treasures lining the shelf but they don't overpower the books.  The second, third, and fourth shelf are all books to be read.  It's a scary, scary place.  The fourth shelf is actually sagging with all the TBR books on it.

The bottom of that bookshelf is children's books and my niece's toy-box.  This made sense when she was tiny and crawling around.  Now that she's almost six, I could probably move things around so I could use that shelf for my books.

The other two bookcases are in my bedroom and they are fairly organized.  One is full of books I've read and am keeping and the other is full of more TBR books.  Sigh.

I want to put one more case in my living room but I have a fish that seems to be quite hearty.  I keep thinking that when he dies, I'll take a break from fish and I'll get a new bookcase but he's a determined little fellow and has survived all his tank mates.***

***Disclaimer:  I love animals and would never intentionally harm or neglect them.  My fish is still living a very happy, healthy -albeit a little lonely life, despite the fact that I'm waiting for him to die.  

Friday, January 8, 2010

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

What is one amazing thing about your life?  If you were asked to share one amazing thing, what would it be?  That is the big question in the lovely book One Amazing Thing, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.  I immediately liked the premise of this book but didn't realize how much I really loved the characters until the book was over.  I miss them.  I wonder what happened.

The concept of the story is simple, nine people, most strangers, are trapped in a visa and passport agency after a major earthquake.  Seven are there to get their Indian visas.  Two work in the office.  With the ceiling threatening to fall in and the water rising, they face the fact that they may die.  To pass the time, and keep themselves sane, they each share one amazing thing about their life.  Their backgrounds are all very diverse.  Their stories for going - or leaving - India are varied.

Each story is captivating.  After Jiang, the old Chinese grandmother, tells her story, I wanted to know more.  I could have read a whole book just about her!  This continued with each character.  It's a wonderful book to read at the beginning of the new year.  All things seem possible and maybe we can find one amazing thing to share with someone this year.  I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Booking Through Thursday- Jan 7

What books did you get for Christmas (or whichever holiday you may have celebrated last month)?

Do you usually ask for books on gift-giving occasions or do you prefer to buy them yourself?

I didn't get too many books for Christmas but I think it's because nobody knows what I have or don't have.  I did get a book on the history of Disney - the man, movies, parks etc.  It's a lovely book with wonderful pictures too. 

I also got the Griffin and Sabine set which was a surprise because I hadn't thought about those books in years.  I remember pouring over them in college, opening the envelopes and reading the letters.  My friend had a copy that I would borrow regularly.  Now I have my own set with all three books!  It was a great gift. 

I don't usually ask for books.  It's too hard to try to explain what I want.  On occasion, if I'm out with my dad near the holidays, I'll let him know what books I want and he'll get them for me, saving them for Christmas.  That's pretty much it.  One year I asked for all of the Stephanie Plum books which was easy as they were numbered so well!  I'd prefer to just get a gift card.  It makes it easier on everyone. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - on Wednesday

Today's teaser is just a little late but at least it's arrived!  I'm quickly falling in love with this book too.  The teaser comes from One Amazing Thing, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.  It's the story of nine people- most strangers - trapped in a building after an earthquake.  To pass the time, and keep their sanity, they each share one amazing thing about their life.

From page 75:

While a delighted Meena takes a wobbly walk around the store in her grown-up footwear, her brother hands Jiang his card.  Jiang has never known a man who carries a card.  She looks down at the white rectangle in her hand--how heavy, how smooth-- to find that his name is Mohit Das, and that he is a manger--at such a young age!--at National and Grindlays Bank.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

Bed of Roses, by Nora Roberts is a lovely little book.  It's sweet, simple, and very romantic.  As the second book in the Bride Quartet, it continues the story of the four best friends who own and operate Vows, a wedding business.  Bed of Roses centers on Emma, the florist.  She's a romantic at heart and dreams of dancing in the moonlight with the man she loves.

When her longtime friend, Jack, starts looking like more than a friend, she fights what happens when friends become lovers.  She doesn't want to fall in love with a commitment-phobic man.  She wants marriage, babies, the whole deal and Jack isn't ready to let anyone into his life that way. 

It's always a nice change when I pick up a book that is just romantic.  Nobody is murdered, nobody is trying to solve any kind of crime, it's just pure romance.  It's nice for a change.  I'm a fan of Nora Roberts so I'm usually first in line to pick up her new books.  This one took me a while to get to but I'm so glad I finally did.  Now I have to wait until May to read the next in the series.  I hope I can make it.

Romance fans will not be disappointed.  A few of the love scenes are a little graphic so be cautious with teens.

Books Read in 2010!!!!!


1.  Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
2.  One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
3. Fallen by Lauren Kate
4. Fireworks over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff
5.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


6.  The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
7.  Hot Six by Janet Evanovich

8. Under the Dome by Stephen King
9.  Going Overboard by Christina Skye
10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
11. Wings by Aprilynne Pike


12.  She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott
13.  The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
14.  Keeper by Kathi Appelt
15.  Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani


16.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett
17.  My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares
18.  Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts 
19.  Out of Eden by Beth Ciotta
20.  Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
21.  Evermore by Alyson Noel
22.  My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster
23.  The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson


24.  Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
25.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
26.  Insatiable by Meg Cabot
27.  Blessings by Anna Quindlen
28.  4th of July by James Patterson


29.  Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
30.  The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway 
31.  On Shadow Beach by Barbara Freethy
32.  The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale


33.  Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin 
34.  One Day by David Nicholls 
35.  A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham
36. Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
37. A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
38. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
39. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


40.  Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
41.  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
42.  Cheap Cabernet by Cathie Beck
43.  The Angels of Morgan Hill by Donna Van Liere
44.  Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix


45.  Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
46.  The Carousel by Richard Paul Evans
47.  Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
48.  Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
49.  The Three Kings by Alisa Valdes-Rodrigues
50.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (re-read)
51.  Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich
52.  The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
53.  The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
54.  Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella


55.  Grand Finale by Janet Evanovich
56.  What My Best Friend Did by Lucy Dawson
57.  The Passage by Justin Cronin


58.  Seven Up by Janet Evanovich
59.  Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
60.  Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber
61.  Little Ellie Claus by James Manos Jr.  
62.  Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
63.  Family Affair by Debbie Macomber
64.  The Short Secret Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Author Challenge Wrap Up

I'm doing my best to clean up my blog for the new year so I wanted to get some wrap up posts done before starting fresh.  Last year I participated in the New Author Challenge.  I had an easy time of it because I had (and still have) shelves full of authors I've not read before.  I set my goal for 25 and came in at 31!  Not bad. 

I'm shooting for 25 again this year.  I'm looking forward to new discoveries!  If you are interested in this challenge you can find the info here.

Musing Mondays - Jan 4

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about New Year reading.

With the New Year here already, do you have any reading resolutions or goals (challenges aside) for 2010? Perhaps a new author? Genre? Want to read more non-fiction? Write more reviews?

I'm trying to figure out what challenges I want to participate in this year.  I finished the A-Z Challenge (title version) and I more than met my goal of 25 new authors, so I'm doing those two again.  I'm also doing a couple other challenges that look like fun.  I'll be writing about those later this week.

As for resolutions - I'd like to stop buying books.  I know!  It's impossible isn't it?  It's just that I have so many and my shelves are bursting.  For every book I read, I seem to acquire five more.  To be fair, not all were purchased.  Many were left up for grabs on the kitchen table at work.  Who am I to pass up a book?  It's silly.  That being said, I'm going to be pickier about what I buy and when.  If I can wait, I'll wait to buy it.  I'll keep notes of all those I'm interested in and I'll plan it out a little better.  I might even skip the library book sales - maybe.  We'll see how it goes.