Apr 28, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday 4.28.10

"Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted each week by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's a fun weekly meme where we share yet to be released books that we're excited about.

This week my can't wait to read pick is . . .

Author: Aimee Bender
Release Date: June 1, 2010
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 304

Here's a description from Harper Collins -

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose. The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender’s place as “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language” (San Francisco Chronicle).

I love books with magical realism and I am really looking forward to this one. It will also be my first Aimee Bender book. What is your can't-wait-to-read book?

Apr 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: 4.27.10

To play along each Tuesday follow these simple steps -
  • Grab your current read
  • Let it fall open to a random page
  • Choose 2 teaser sentences to share
  • Do not include any spoilers
  • List the title, author and page number of the book where you got your teasers
Today my teasers are from ON FOLLY BEACH by Karen White. This book will be coming out on May 4th.

Emmy awoke to the song of the wind in the bottle tree, to the black night and the winter chill, and knew Ben was gone from her the way the moon knows the ocean's tides. She'd been born with what her mother called the knowing, and until this night Emmy had never been afraid of it. ~ page 1

Teaser Tuesday is hosted each week by MizB at Should Be Reading. Be sure to stop over there for more fun teasers!

Apr 26, 2010

HUSH by Kate White

HUSH is the latest from best selling author and Editor in Chief of Cosmo magazine, Kate White. Though she has written several successful books in her Bailey Weggins Series, this is her first stand alone novel and the only one I've read. But I can assure you it won't be the last. Here's a quick synopsis of the story from Harper Collins -

When Lake Warren learns that her husband, Jack, is suing for full custody of their two children four months after their separation, she's pretty certain things can't get any worse. The upside is she's working with the Advanced Fertility Center as a marketing consultant alongside the attractive, flirtatious Dr.Keaton. But the morning after their one-night stand, Lake finds Keaton with his throat slashed and discovers that things can indeed become worse - they can become deadly.

So as to not jeopardize her case for custody, Lake is forced to lie to the police. Having just been intimate with a man who has been murdered, and wanting to protect herself from being charged with the crime, she begins her search for the truth. Meanwhile, the police start looking at her closely, people at the clinic start treating her with hostility, and strange clues begin dropping - quite literally - on her doorstep, and Lake realizes that she is dangerously close to dark secrets, both about Keaton and the clinic. But can Lake finish what she started before it's too late?

I hadn't read a murder mystery in awhile so I was looking forward to cracking this one open. One thing I liked about this book right off the bat was that it jumped right into the story from page one. I didn't have to wait long for things to get rolling. Another thing I liked was having a fertility clinic be in the center of this mystery. This worked for me because it was something different that I haven't seen too much in murder mysteries. Fertility clinics are big business right now and this story brings up issues that women today may be facing when using fertility clinics. I found the story to be suspenseful and believable even though I didn't always agree with the decisions made by Lake Warren, the main character. Speaking of the main character, I did like her immediately and felt she was a strong female character that I began pulling for right away. There was a wide range of supporting characters that gave the story many interesting angles, but not too many that it mucked it up. As the story progressed I found myself changing my mind as to who I thought the killer might be many different times. All in all, the story moved along nicely and I didn't feel like there were any slow spots that dragged for me. I was also pleased with the ending. The title of this book is a small word but in this story, Lake discovers that sometimes keeping quiet is harder than you ever thought.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good suspenseful mystery without all of the blood and guts of some hard core murder mysteries. I enjoyed the story without being afraid to turn the lights out at night. That's the kind of mystery I like.

You can read more reviews of this book here -

Author: Kate White
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: March 2010
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Review Copy provided by AuthorsOnTheWeb

Apr 25, 2010

The Sunday Salon - I'm Ba-ack!

This is my first Sunday Salon post in quite awhile and it feels good to be back. I've been a bit off track in recent months but now that my life is getting itself back under control, I'm hoping things will be returning to normal. As a few of you know, I lost my job a year ago and to make the situation more complicated, I have a degenerative retinal disease that has made me legally blind, which makes working a 'normal' job difficult. I had to come to terms with the fact that my professional life had come to an end. So after putting it off for months, I made the decision to go on Disability. It was hard for me to admit that it was time for me to take this next step but I did it and I do feel a sense of relief now. I'm still not used to being unemployed but I guess that will come in time. So nowadays I'm looking forward to reading and blogging regularly once again. I want to thank those loyal readers (y'all know who you are) who have stuck with me during this trying time when I just didn't have the right mindset to read or to blog. My blogging has been sporadic but now that I have those issues settled, I'm ready to get back to what I love and that is books!

I'm excited about this week because the book I'm starting today is by an author I've really enjoyed reading lately. ON FOLLY BEACH is Karen White's latest and it's due to be released on May 4th. I'm not part of the blog tour, but I'm sure you're going to be seeing this book everywhere in the next couple of weeks. I really enjoyed her Tradd Street books and I'm anxious to read a book that is separate from that series.

Also this week I'll be posting my review of HUSH by Kate White. This page-turning new thriller came out in early March and reminded me just how much I like a good murder mystery. So please stop back by for that review.

There are so many great books out there that I'm wanting to read this summer and I hope you'll come back and visit often to see what I'm reading next. As for today, I'm going to enjoy this lovely Spring weather we're having here in Central Florida (before it turns Africa-hot) and sit on my porch, sip my sweet tea and read ON FOLLY BEACH. I hope you're Sunday is going well and is filled with great reading too.


Recent reviews you may be interested in:

Apr 24, 2010

On My Wishlist #1

I came across this fun Saturday Meme while visiting Missy's Book Nook and it is hosted each week by Book Chick City. This is where you list the books that you want badly but haven't bought for one reason or another. They can be new releases, classics or any other type of book you'd like.

Here are a few that I have been wishing for but just haven't gotten them:
  • REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier - Am I the ONLY person left of the planet who hasn't read this classic gothic tale? I certainly feel like it! I'm sure book snobs everywhere are gasping right now. Well, I plan to stop procrastinating and finally add this book to my personal library very soon - in fact, probably this weekend. I just can't take it anymore!

My next Wishlist pick is one that simply has me intrigued. So many people have just loved this series starting with this book and besides, I love a great series!

Thanks to Missy for introducing me to this new meme! I'm sure I'll have more books to share from my Wishlist in the coming weeks. If you'd like to play along, visit Book Chick City.

Apr 23, 2010

Friday Finds: A Thriller

This week my find is what some call a 'Creepy Thriller'. It's called SKIN AND BONES and it's written by D.C. Corso, an author I know nothing about. I ran across this book on a few different blogs this week and it intrigued me. Lately, I've had the urge to read more mysteries and this one sounds great. Here's a little about the book from Amazon -

There are plenty of ways to die in a place like Carver Isle, Washington. There is blood, there is sweat and there is soil, and there are the leaves that wither and fall from the trees, crunching underfoot as they're raked into orderly piles. Fall is never anything more than a season in the small Washington town of Carver Isle - until the first child vanishes. None of them could have known what lay in wait for them, crouched at the end of that darkened hallway of a year. It began just two days after the Twin Towers fell, first with one missing child, and then another. When Parker Kelly returns to Carver Isle, she wonders if her disturbed cousin is involved. After confiding in FBI Special Agent Ash, she realizes that the truth lies buried deep in her past. Together, Parker and Ash must solve a puzzle of deceit and manipulation, exhuming secrets both would rather leave undisturbed.

This book came out last October and most of the reviews I read were favorable. Another thing I like about this book is that it's just 162 pages. That is appealing to me because if it turns out the book wasn't what I thought it would be, I didn't have to read 400+ pages to find out. Are you familiar with this book?
If you have a find you'd like to share, visit MizB at Should Be Reading. She hosts this meme each Friday and anyone is welcome to participate. But I'll warn you, your TBR list is going to grow quickly!
One last thing, I'd like to apologize for the havoc that Blogger is wreaking today with my spacing, fonts etc. The more I try to correct it, the crazier it gets! Anyway, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!

Apr 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Hush by Kate White

To play along each week follow these simple rules -
  • Grab your current read and let it fall open to a random page
  • Choose 2 sentences to use as teasers
  • Do not include any spoilers that may give away the plot
  • List the name of the book and page your teasers are taken from

My teasers are coming from HUSH by Kate White. This is a thriller about a marketing consultant whose first lover since her split from her husband has just been murdered. Lake Warren is scared of not only being named a suspect but even more terrified of losing her two young children in a custody dispute. Here's my teasers...

Finally there was someone who could help her dig for the truth. There was no guarantee of Rory coming across anything, but this was a start. It felt like that moment when a nightmare begins to disintegrate from feeling utterly terrifying and you sense for the first time that you've been dreaming. ~ page 273

Teaser Tuesday is hosted graciously each week by MizB at Should Be Reading. Be sure to stop by and catch more interesting and intriguing teasers!

Apr 12, 2010

South of Broad by Pat Conroy (TLC Book Tour)

Pat Conroy's much anticipated latest novel begins in 1969 Charleston, South Carolina where we meet the King Family. Leopold Bloom King, the narrator of the story is the son of an extremely structured high school principal mother and a lovable science teacher father. Although from the outside, the Kings look like any average Southern Catholic family, it is quickly revealed that the Kings are not so average. As a teenager, Leo is still dealing with the suicidal death of his older brother, who Leo himself discovered in a bath tub with his wrists slit. Subsequently, Leo spent much of his youth in a mental institution trying to come to grips with the loss. To complicate matters, he was also arrested for a crime he didn't commit, leaving him to endure the punishment handed down to him to prove to his family and the community that he is, indeed, a good person.

In June, 1969, the summer before Leo's senior year of high school, a series of events takes place on a single day that brings Leo together with nine other kids that change the course of all of their lives. We meet Niles and Starla Whitehead, brother and sister who have grown up in one orphanage after another; Betty, an African American orphan; lavishly outgoing, yet mysterious twins Sheba and Trevor Poe, who move across the street from the Kings; Ike Jefferson, the son of the new African American high school football coach; Chad and Fraser, children of the aristocratic Rutledge family; and Chad's equally privileged girlfriend Molly Huger.

In Conroy's poetic, fluid style, we follow along as each of these young people embark on their future, overcoming obstacles and always keeping their loyal friendships in tact. Leo, now the gossip columnist for the News & Courier, is the glue that holds these friends together. So years later, when Sheba Poe, now a famous Hollywood movie star shows up back in Charleston and asks for help in finding her gay brother Trevor in San Fransisco, there is no hesitation on the part of anyone to help. However, no sooner do they begin searching for Trevor, that they realize a menacing presence from the past is following them and watching their every move, making the task of finding Trevor even more dire.

My thoughts -

Over the last few month I've read several books with Charleston as a backdrop, but with SOUTH OF BROAD, Conroy's deep love for this city reached out from the pages and grabbed my heart like no other. His lovely writing was so lyrical I would re-read whole pages. Yes, I admit it - I am a huge Pat Conroy fan.

There were a lot of characters in this story and I worried that it might be a challenge to keep all of them straight in the beginning, but my fears soon vanished. The way they were all introduced into the story was natural and believable and each one was so unique in their personality. One of the most interesting to me was Leo's mother, Dr. Lindsey King. She is such a controlling, strong woman, yet her sarcastic quips in the most intense moments made me laugh out loud. I didn't expect that kind of humor from such a regimented person. Leo's relationship with his mother is complicated yet loving and one of the most important in the story. But of all the characters, Leo was my favorite, partly because he shared that sarcastic, at times dry, humorous side of his mother. But mostly I favored him for his loyal, thoughtful nature. The relationship Leo has with old Mr. Canon, the owner of an antique store where Leo performed his community service as a teenager, is a beautiful example of the kind of person Leo King is. Though the chapters involving Leo and Mr. Canon were few, they were among my favorites.

The story covers a lot of ground and the way Mr. Conroy tells it allows the reader to have several 'Aha!' moments where events and even people come together that make it all click into place. It's subtle yet impacting. In true Conroy form, he incorporates a lot of Southern history and nostalgia into it as well. Remember that when the story begins it's 1969 and desegregation is still new to the South. This plays an important yet not overpowering role in the story as does the AIDS epidemic of the 1980's.

In the latter part of the book, there is a chapter aptly titled 'Guernica'. It is 1989 and a Hurricane named Hugo has set it's sights on Charleston. Conroy takes one of the most frightening and devastating moments in the city's history and describes it with such poetic eloquence that as I was reading I could see it playing out in slow motion in my mind. From the nervous humor as Leo and his friends and family await the storm to the chilling aftermath, it is a beautifully written chapter and its one of my favorites.

I suppose its plain to see that I loved SOUTH OF BROAD. Though I'm not saying its a perfect novel, in my opinion, it is one that ranks pretty high with me. Be sure to check out the other tour dates for more reviews and opinions. You can find the complete list of tour hosts and dates here. I'd like to thank TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of this tour. I knew I was going to read this book, but they made it happen a lot quicker and I'm grateful for that! To visit Pat Conroy's website click here.

Author: Pay Conroy
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Published: August 2009
Pages: 544

Apr 9, 2010

Friday Finds: 4.09.10

My find for this week is THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS by Randy Susan Meyers. I discovered this book while visiting Gautami's blog, Everything Distills Into Reading. Here's a bit about the book from Publisher's Weekly:

This solid novel begins with young Lulu finding her mother dead and her sister wounded at the hands of her alcoholic father, who has failed at killing himself after attacking the family. Meyers traces the following 30 years for Lulu and her sister, Merry, as they are sent to an orphanage, where Lulu turns tough and calculating, searching for a way into an adoptive family. Eventually, Lulu becomes a doctor specializing in the almost old, though her secretiveness about her past causes new rifts to form in her new family. Meanwhile, Merry becomes a victim witness advocate, but her life is stunted; she's dependant on Lulu, drugs and alcohol, and she can't find love because she usually want[s] whoever wants me. In the background, their imprisoned father looms until a crisis that eerily mirrors the past forces Lulu and Merry to confront what happened years ago.
I don't know about you, but I'm am so looking forward to reading this one! What great books did you find this week?

Friday Finds is a great weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Apr 7, 2010

W.W.W. Wednesdays

This weekly meme is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading. To play along, simply answer the following three questions - it's that easy!
  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What are you planning to read next?
Here are my answers:
  • What are you currently reading? I am reading two books right now. One was sent to me by the publisher for review and the other one I picked up from the library. The review copy I have is HUSH by Kate White. Not to be confused with Karen White (of Tradd Street fame). Some of you may know that not only is Kate White a best-selling novelist, she is also the Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine. HUSH is a page-turning thriller about a Marketing Consultant who finds herself smack-dap in the middle of a murder investigation when she discovers her brand new lover murdered in the bed they'd just made love in. As if that weren't bad enough, her soon-to-be ex-husband has just filed for sole custody of their two young children. The other book I'm reading is an old classic that a friend suggested I read. It's Kurt Vonnegut's BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS. I've only just started it but already I'm appreciating his unique style not to mention his humor and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.
  • What did you recently finish reading? I've finished two books in the last week. One was ETRE THE COW by Sean Kenniff, a TLC Book Tour pick. You can find that review here. The other book I finished was SOUTH OF BROAD by Pat Conroy. That was also sent to me by TLC. I'll be posting my review on April 12th so please stop by.
  • What are you planning to read next? I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of ON FOLLY BEACH by Karen White. This is her latest stand alone novel set to be released May 4th. I've become quite a fan of hers and I'm really looking forward to this new book. And just for fun, I'm hoping to get back to the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series that I've gotten away from lately. Those books are simply just plain fun for me.
What's on your list?

Apr 1, 2010

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Etre the Cow by Dr. Sean Kenniff

ETRE THE COW is a small book but don't let it fool you, the message is huge. When I first received this book from TLC Book Tours I didn't really know what it was going to be about. Is it simply a story about a cow named Etre? I don't think so. Here's what I do know: Etre is a bull living in the pastures of Gorwell Farm, and the first thing I noticed was his innocence and inquisitive nature.

Etre has lived at this farm for awhile and has watched as other cows and bulls come and go through the seasons, not really giving too much thought to the why's and how's of the farm. The one thing Etre wants more than anything is to be able to communicate with others. His favorite thing is listening to the farmer's son sing and whenever the boy is near, Etre moves closer so he can hear the sweet sounds coming from him. He tries unsuccessfully to get the boy's attention and to sing back but all he can do is hear the words in his own head. No matter how hard he tries, he is simply unable to make either the boy or the other cows hear him. He begins to feel insignificant and even more alone.

Then one day while standing under a large oak tree at the back of the pasture he meets another cow, who he calls My Cow and before long she gives birth to his Bull Calf. Once Bull Calf is born, Etre experiences the joys of fatherhood and loves watching his offspring as he grows. But something else begins to happen to Etre. He wonders what lies beyond the fenced pastures of Gorwell Farm? What is life like on the other side of the barbed wire where the grass is lush and green and dandelions grow? He dreams of a better life and he wishes that life for his Bull Calf.

As they sometimes do, the farmer's men came one day and rounded up the heard and sent Etre and some of the other cows through a chute into a building that Etre has never been in before, though he has often dreamed about the new life that must be on the other side of those chutes. But Etre is not supposed to be in this group of cows and it's almost too late by the time the men realize their mistake. But the damage is done and Etre is horrified by what he has seen. Soon he is back in the pasture where he belongs but life will never be the same and he now knows what he must do.

My Thoughts -
I guess you could say that I was surprised by where this story takes the reader. I believe the message behind this story is about life's bigger picture. It's not just about a lovable, curious cow and his family. It's about the sometimes harsh realizations we all face eventually. We all start out innocent and curious, like Etre, and as we move through life, certain things become clear and we see that things aren't always what they seem and life is not always better on the other side of the fence.

I must be honest - having grown up in the mid west on a mini-farm where my family raised a few horses, cows and chickens, I wasn't blinded by the realities of farm life. But I have to say I was a bit taken aback by the path this story takes. I appreciate the point the author is making with this boldness, however, I have to admit that I had to skip over certain parts. Maybe because as a child, I loved the cows and chickens we raised and it was difficult for me to accept that one day they were...just gone. In my youth, I simply tried to not think about it too much. When I was a little older I was taken to a slaughter house and that was a very difficult experience for me to handle. Suffice it to say, it left deep impressions on me and still effects me today in the food I eat and obviously how I reacted to this book. that said, I can appreciate the message of this book and I think it is important for some to read, but this book may not be for everyone. If you do choose to read this book, be prepared, it will be one that you won't soon forget.

The Giveaway -
The publisher has generously allowing me to give away two copies of this amazing little book. The rules are simple: just leave me a comment and your email address before midnight Saturday, April 3rd. I will announce the winners on Sunday, April 4th. The giveaway is open to US and Canada residents.

The Tour -
Be sure to check out these other tour dates for ETRE THE COW, I'm sure it will be an interesting tour. Also, you can follow author Dr. Sean Kenniff on Twitter by clicking here.

Lastly, I'd like to thank TLC Book Tours for asking me to participate in this blog tour. And I'd also like to thank Dr. Sean Kenniff for the opportunity to read and review his book. I'm sure this book starring a lovable, curious cow will leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads it.

Author: Dr. Sean Kenniff
Publisher: HCI
Published: April 1, 2010
Pages: 144