Genre: Contemporary Women

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Misperceptions

March 31, 2014 Book Talk 5

MisperceptionsThe Idea of Him by Holly Peterson
Published by William Morrow on April 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Women
Pages: 384
Source: complimentary review copy
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Being a part of From Left to Write Book Club has challenged me in wonderful ways. With each book we “review” our task is to not write the typical review but to write about something from the novel that resonated. With The Idea of Him I have a plethora of topics to choose from, and each even more personal than the last.

 

Something I believe we can all relate to in one way or another is having the wrong perception of events.  For those of you with siblings ~ have you ever talked about a situation from growing up and each of you have a completely different version of the very same story?

My brothers are both younger than I am by 4 and 8 years respectively. I call them Little Brother and Baby Brother affectionately because at my height of 5’1 and there’s at 6’4 & 6’2, it’s fun to introduce them that way. And oh my when we take pictures together they always stick me in the middle ~ I’m never certain if it’s to accentuate their height or my shortness ~ either way though, it works!

Our parents divorced when I was 9, Little Brother 5, and Baby Brother 1. Most of our childhood was spent with our mom who we all know {now} loves us equally; however, while we were growing up we took turns believing each other was loved more. It’s become the family joke that Baby Brother is the Golden Child and loved the very most with Little Brother coming in a close second.

It wasn’t til I was grown with three children of my own I finally realized how our mom loved each of us, unconditionally, unequivocally, without a doubt, in equal measure.  What I came to realize is that all the times she told me she focused more on one of us for any season it was because the other two were doing ok and did not need her full attention.  Not that she ever ignored any of us, it’s just whichever one of us needed her the most got the most attention for that time period.  For example, when I had an almost fatal car accident at 18 it was my season to have my mom’s undivided attention.

I get that now and I believe my brothers understand as well as they each have multiple children of their own.  It’s funny how our perception of any given situation can change over time and with a bit more information, and yeah, probably maturity as well.

We are not always given the gift of time, information or maturity in the throes of interpreting a situation.  All the more reason to keep an open mind, compassionate heart and closed mouth until situations can be understood.  A lesson I continue to learn and hope to have mastered before I reach a hundred 😉

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This post was inspired by the novel The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Allie thought she had the perfect husband, until she finds him and another woman in a compromising position in their own apartment. Join From Left to Write on April 1st we discuss The Idea of Him. Join us for a live chat with Holly on April 3.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.  Happy reading my friends!

 

 

 

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In a Few Words. . .

January 13, 2014 Book Review, Book Talk, Giveaway, reviews 9

In a Few Words. . .The Union Street Bakery by Mary Ellen Taylor
Published by Penguin on February, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction
Pages: 352
Source: complimentary review copy
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I am seriously attempting to stay caught up on my reviews this year ~ the whole idea of having a “book review” blog is to write a few “book reviews!” right?!?  Let’s see if I can knock out two reviews + host a giveaway!

Just before Christmas I read a couple of books by Mary Ellen Taylor aka Mary Burton.  The Union Street Bakery and Sweet Expectations are the first two books in a 3-part series about, you guessed it ~ the Union Street Bakery!  A family-run business dating back to the 1800s.

In The Union Street Bakery the three daughters are running the business, just barely.  Daisy McCrae has returned home from living in the corporate world with all the amenities and trappings to live in the attic and help her two sisters keep the bakery running.  An old diary is found in the wall that leads the sister on a search into their past.  With sibling quarrels, family ties, ghosts, old buildings and a bit of Virginia history, not to mention a couple of yummy recipes this one was the kind of light read I needed during the holidays.  I found the diary storyline to be the most enjoyable but did not really follow along with the ghostly presence ~ it seemed as though more of an afterthought.  Still, Taylor can entertain in both words and food!

18085200Sweet Expectations picks up where The Union Street Bakery leaves off.  We find Daisy coming to terms with her role at the bakery.  The McRae family is still integral to the story line and another ghostly mystery is discovered for Daisy & family to resolve.  Choices that were made in The Union Street Bakery come with serious consequences as is discovered in Sweet Expectations.  We do see character growth in all three sisters along with some childhood issues being resolved.  This one did not appeal to me as much as the first one ~ I think I got a little frustrated with the sisters, especially Daisy.  Overall though it was a sweet story, one I would even term as a cozy mystery ~ more cozy, less mystery.  Again there’s a couple more of Taylor’s recipes in this book that are simply divine.

With many thanks to Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting I have a copy of both The Union Street Bakery and Sweet Expectations for giveaway.  Enter via Rafflecopter below.  US and Canada entries only please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review: Me Before You

August 21, 2013 Book Review, reviews 9

Book Review: Me Before YouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Published by Pamela Dorman Imprint on December 31, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction
Pages: 369
Source: purchased
Goodreads

You only get one life.  It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.

If you’ve spent much time around here you’ll recall I’m in a book club with both of my daughters and a few other lovely ladies.  Although we missed having a June meeting, July found our merry band of sisterhood together discussing Jojo Moyes runaway bestseller, Me Before You.  It’s difficult to visit any type of bookish site and not see the cheery red cover, although cheery and the contents do not quite mesh! Louisa Clark loses her job at a cafe precipitating her to seek employment through the local job-search office.  After a few false starts and practically being arm-wrestled into accepting the position, Louisa agrees to become caretaker to cantankerous quadriplegic, Will Traynor. As the novel unfolds, layers are peeled back on most every character from Louisa’s chosen (or more like, non-chosen) life’s path, Will’s will (and non-will) to live as a quadriplegic, Will’s wealthy parents and their motivations along with Louisa’s common-class parent’s motivations.  No one is spared including Louisa’s personal trainer boyfriend and college dropout sister.  The nucleus; however, is always Will and Louisa. Told mainly from the viewpoint of Louisa, or “Clark” as Will calls her, the novel appears more balanced ~ it’s when Moyes throws in a chapter from Will’s mother’s perspective or that of Louisa’s sister that the novel becomes a bit fragmented.  Typically, I enjoy reading a novel from differing viewpoints but as it was not done in a consistent manner throughout Me Before You I felt a bit disjointed. A story of many subtleties that comes down to the choices we make and the effect those choices have on those we love.  Although there were no real surprises in Me Before You, the novel does lend itself to much discussion in a book club.  The writing tended to be a bit predictable but the plot-line and the lessons each character learns in order to grow and move on is truly what makes the novel memorable.  Recommend, especially for book clubs and Nicholas Sparks fans. probably my favorite quote and personal motto~

I needed to tell him, silently, that things might change, grow, or fail, but that life did go on.  That we were all part of some great cycle, some pattern that it was only God’s purpose to understand. . . . .A silent promise, if you like, that there was a bigger picture, a brighter future.

 

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Book Review: After the Rain

January 3, 2013 Book Review, reviews 15

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review: After the RainAfter the Rain by Karen White
Published by NAL on December 31st 2012
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, Southern
Pages: 384
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonIndieBound
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four-half-stars

Whenever I pick up a Karen White novel, I know I am in for a great few hours of reading, living vicariously through vividly drawn characters and their crazy Southern-fried lives.  After the Rain takes us back to the small town from Falling Home, little Walton, Georgia.  Not only do we return to Walton, but we are smack dab in the middle of the lives we left in Falling Home.  I still remember the moment I finished Falling Home and how I was laughing and crying at the same time!  Such a fabulous book! Here’s a guest post from the author regarding the Southern Perspective and Falling Home.

After the Rain begins with Suzanne Paris stepping off the Atlanta Greyhound Bus in Walton, Georgia.  Almost immediately Suzanne offends the Mayor when confronted with his six children in various half-dressed states running around the small-town store, and she states “Don’t they have leash laws in this state?”

Upon discovering that Suzanne has no place to stay, is not visiting “her people” and as a matter of fact, doesn’t know any people in Walton, the widowed Mayor finds a place for Suzanne to stay, although there is not a motel anywhere near Walton.  Soon, Aunt Lucinda (sister and caretaker to the Mayor’s six children) has Suzanne working for her in her lingerie shop and the oldest of the Mayor’s six children has Suzanne teaching her the finer points to photography upon discovering Suzanne is a gifted freelance photographer.

What no one knows in this small town is that Suzanne is on the run from her abusive ex-fiance.  And she has never been in a small-town community where everyone knows everyone and people care about you.  Suzanne comes from a life of moving in and out of foster homes and from a mother who chose the bottle rather than her daughter.  To be welcomed in Walton, to make friends and discover a life she didn’t even know she craved, Suzanne lays down her armor and allows her heart to be melted.  But there’s still one person intent on destroying Suzanne’s life.

Karen White has a way of pulling the reader into the story and can have you laughing one sentence and in tears the next.  It was so nice to re-visit several of the characters from Falling Home (one of my all-time favorite Karen White novels!).  Although in After the Rain I was put off by both Suzanne and the Mayor’s characters; I came to love the growth and development each went through in the novel ~ Suzanne learns to trust and heal while the Mayor and his brood of children learn to love and heal.  Karen White is also quite adept at pulling a community into the novel to where it is almost a character of itself ~ Walton, Georgia becomes a prime example.  And although After the Rain is a follow-up novel to Falling Home, it is not necessary to first read Falling Home. (but I would recommend you read Falling Home simply because it’s one of White’s most entertaining!)

It is with many thanks to Penguin that I received a complementary copy for review.

four-half-stars

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