Feb 28, 2013

End of Month Wrap-Up: February 2013

February was a fantastic month for me. After suffering from some burn-out during the latter part of last year, I got out of my funk and back on track again. I've come to accept that burn-out is a normal occurrence for me that I go through about once a year. I don't let it get to me anymore, I just give my self some time and my craving for books comes back after a few weeks or so.

I also got back to visiting the blogs during February. I'd really missed that part of blogging and I missed the connection with other bloggers. In my travels I even discovered a few new blogs that I added to my Google Reader. (Let me just say, I LOVE MY GOOGLE READER!)

I started off the month with a review of a debut novel by Julie Kibler called CALLING ME HOME. This was the February She Reads Book Club selection and it was a good one. In fact, that review was my most popular post for the entire month with over a hundred views. Following close behind was my review for THE RIVER WITCH by Kimberly Brock. My other two reviews posted in February, ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE by Jess Riley and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky, were also  very well received with over 50 views a piece. Not bad for an Indie and a book that has been out since 1999.

There was another post in February that got alot of attention and it was a Sunday Salon post that opened up a great dialogue. It was a discussion on the 1 to 5 star rating method and my decision to omit them from reviews  on my blog from now on. It was very interesting to listen to different reviewers' opinions and why they either do or don't use this method. Overall, most people agreed with my decision yet some gave good reasons for why they continue using this method. I am very thankful for the participation on this topic. That's what I call a great Sunday Salon post!

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog in February. You are the reason I had such a great month! I am looking forward to March and what it will bring. I've got some interesting books lined up and I hope you'll come back and join the conversation again. Happy Reading!

Feb 22, 2013

Friday Finds: Denial and Crime Fiction

Friday Finds is a great way to share books you've discovered this week whether it be by cruising the blogs, magazines or a book shop. I discovered my Finds while visiting blogs this week. The books couldn't be any more different from each other but they both stood out to me. Here's what I found:


I saw this book first on Book Fan's blog where she reviewed the audio version on Tuesday.You can read her review here. One of the other reviews that stood out for me was over at Book Mama's blog. You can read her review here. The reason this book has captured my attention is the main character, Hildy Good, a successful real estate broker battling alcoholism. She really stood out to me because of her realness and the believability of her story. I was so taken by this book's description and by Mary's review of the audio that I used one of my monthly credits at Audible.com and purchased it for myself.

BLOOD MONEY by Doug Richardson

I discovered this author/book while visiting Fiction Books' blog yesterday. I also visited Doug Richardson's website and was surprised to see how many books he's published. I am always looking for new crime fiction reads but many times when I read the synopsis I am turned off by over-complicated and confusing storylines and excessive characters. But in her blog post, Yvonne laid the story out beautifully and also included a bit about the Mr. Richardson's impressive career as a screenwriter. Honestly, I don't know how I've missed this author! I'm very anxious to get my hands on BLOOD MONEY, his new release set to come out in the Spring. This story is centers around a small town sheriffs detective's quest to track down the ex-Marine who shot down and killed his brother. This suspect has left a trail of death from Nevada to Los Angeles and the detective looks for help in the form of an LAPD detective who is not thrilled to have to 'babysit' the small town cop. It sounds thrilling and I am very much looking forward to diving in. One last thing I like about this book is the cover. I think it's a great cover that gives just enough hints to what's inside.

There are more Friday Finds over at Should Be Reading, so stop over there and see what other book lovers have discovered this week.

Feb 20, 2013

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Note: This review contains no spoilers

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is the unique, touching, and incredibly honest story of a sixteen year named Charlie who is making his way through his freshman year of high school in the late 1990's. It is told through a year long letter-writing correspondence with an unnamed recipient. Though the person Charlie is writing to is not revealed, he undoubtedly has a level of trust in this person.

Charlie is a shy, awkward, but highly intelligent boy, embarking on a chapter of his life that is many things: exciting, scary, confusing, and for people like Charlie, can be very lonely.  This is Charlie's remarkable story, told through those letters that gives insight and and hope to the power of friendship and what unconditional love can bring to a person's life.

My Thoughts:

This coming-of-age debut novel by Stephen Chbosky is one of those books that fills your heart. Charlie is not your typical protagonist. He's not a popular kid with lots of friends and he doesn't play on any high school sports team.  He's just Charlie. An incredibly honest, shy kid just trying to make his way though a time in his life that can be daunting for even the most popular kid. It doesn't take long to find out that Charlie isn't your average kid.

I tend to really enjoy epistolary novels so I was all in. These letters seem more like entries in a journal, revealing Charlie's innermost thoughts and feelings.  Chbosky did a fantastic job of channeling a teenage boy at one of the most difficult times in life. . There were so many extraordinary experiences for Charlie in this book and they were all beautifully revealed. I especially liked his relationship with his teacher who recognized the level of Charlie's intellect and worked with him to explore it.  That was a special relationship that I appreciated. The relationship with his beloved, late Aunt Helen was a brilliant yet shocking layer to the story that I didn't see coming. It knocked me out.

The characters were so genuine and for the most part, likable, but I loved the characters of Sam and Patrick, senior siblings, who befriended Charlie and gave him a sense of belonging and unconditional love that allowed him the security to be himself. Charlie, though, is the one and only star of this story. I will never forget Charlie and I'm sure I will think of him every time I'm around a group of teenagers.

Obviously, this book was a big hit and was made into a major motion picture in 2012.  I purposely have not watched the movie because I wanted to read the book first. Now I'm anxious to watch it. I just know I'm going to love it. Check out this trailer to see what I'm talking about.

If you're in a book club, this book would make a fantastic selection. There are so many things to discuss and the conversation would certainly not be dull. If you've read this book, please let me know how you felt about it. For me, it was a creeper. It crept up on me and before I knew what happened, I was hooked.  The bottom line is that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it highly.

Author: Stephen Chbosky
Original Publisher: MTV
Originally Published: February 1999
Length: 256 pp

Feb 18, 2013

Its Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday everyone! This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books.  We discuss what books we've read and what we're planning to read during the week ahead.

Books I read and talked about last week:

Last Tuesday I celebrated the release of Julie Kibler's debut novel, CALLING ME HOME. Its a moving story and I recommend it highly.

I finished reading Sarah Jio's latest novel, BLACKBERRY WINTER

I posted my review of THE RIVER WITCH by Kimberly Brock. If you enjoy a little goth in your southern fiction, I'm positive you'd love this novel. You can read my review here.

Books I'll be focusing on this week:

I'll be reading, and hopefully finishing, THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW by Rita Leganski. I'd planned to make a big dent in it last week, but I couldn't keep my nose out of BLACKBERRY WINTER. Anyway, I've heard some really great things about this book and though I'm not far into the story, I am already in love with the locale and the premise. I'm excited to give it my undivided attention. 

In yesterday's mail I was thrilled to find Beth Hoffman's latest, LOOKING FOR ME. As a late-comer to SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT, I've vowed I won't make that mistake again. 

Reviews I'll be posting include THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky, which I am a week late in posting. I'll also have my review for BLACKBERRY WINTER

I'm really looking forward to a great week in books and I hope your week is filled with great books as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Feb 17, 2013

The Sunday Salon: Review Ratings

In the book blogging world, it seems to me there has always been a divisive opinion about whether or not to rate books by using the 1-5 star method.  If you're familiar with my blog, you'll know that I've been using this method for most of the 6 years I've been blogging. In the beginning, I felt it was a straight-forward way for me to let readers of my blog know just where I stood with a book. But over time, I've had conflicted feelings about it. I've also read many bloggers' thoughts on the subject - enough to know that its a subject that reviewers feel pretty strongly about.

That said, I've decided to do away with using the 1-5 star rating method and I'll tell you why. When I begin reading a book, in my mind, I start with 5 stars. As I continue reading, if there are things about the book that I didn't necessarily like, whether it be the writing, the characters or whatever, I would make a mental note and deduct from my original 5 stars. Sometimes this works but more often than not, it doesn't. It's much more complicated than that.

For example: if I read a book and I dislike the main character, does that mean it's not a good book? Not at all. I've read many books where some of the characters were unlikable, but that didn't mean I didn't enjoy the book overall. That's just one over vague example of what I'm trying to explain here.

The bottom line is that I feel that given the amount of time, energy and love the authors put into their books, the 1-5 star rating method just doesn't do them justice. Most people, when they see a rating of 1 or 2 stars, tend to shy away from that particular book and choose another one with a higher rating and in my opinion, that is unfair to the author.

That is why from now on, there will be no stars awarded to the books I review. I will continue to give honest, thoughtful reviews without labeling them with stars that, in my opinion, are too simplistic. Books can be complicated and after reading a book that leaves me without an obvious like or dislike, I feel I owe the author and readers of my blog, a complete explanation without labeling it with stars. After reading my reviews, there should be no doubt about where I stand and placing stars beside the title only over-simplifies my thoughts.

I'd just like to add one other comment. I understand why book websites use the star rating systems and I love using Goodreads, but I have always felt uncomfortable with their 1-5 star method because they don't allow for 1/2 stars. I feel like it's too broad of a choice. You either like the book or you don't and it's just not that simple. Though I don't really use LibraryThing that much anymore, I do appreciate that they allow the 1/2 star rating. It may seem like a small thing, but I don't think it is.

I know many of you have strong opinions about this issue and I would love to hear what you think Do you use the 1-5 star rating method? Or some other method? Or do you think this is a subject not worthy of such discussion?

Feb 13, 2013

Review: The River Witch by Kimberly Brock

One of the first things that caught my attention about this book was the title. THE RIVER WITCH. That is a great title. When I first noticed this book going around the blogs, my curiosity was piqued right away. As a lover of Southern Gothic Fiction, I simply couldn't pass it up.

What the Book is About: (No Spoilers)

Twenty-four year old Roslyn Byrne has hit rock bottom physically, mentally and professionally. Living through a car crash that left her body mangled, a miscarriage of a child she hadn't planned on but now can't seem to let go of, and her professional ballet career in ruins, time is the only medicine left to heal her body, heart, and spirit. So much of the recent past is still a nightmarish blur to Roslyn so she decides to turn to her roots and beliefs of her late grandmother for help in getting her mind and body strong again.

Roslyn  rents a house on Manny's Island, Georgia from the Trezevant family for the summer. Along with the house, comes stories of the family, their ancestors, and tales of hoodoo spells and conjure women, but that doesn't deter Roslyn, it draws her nearer to it, and to the mystical, healing music she remembered from her grandmother when she was just a girl.

As Roslyn begins to settle in to her summer hideaway, she meets Demascus, the daughter of the man who used to live in the house. The two become reluctant friends and soon Roslyn develops a protectiveness over the girl who grows pumpkins in the river bank so close to where the alligators live. Alligators that Demascus believes Roslyn has summoned. Rumors about Roslyn are rampant in the small island community but she faces them head on along with her own demons.

My Thoughts

This book is full of mystique and peculiar customs that is the perfect backdrop for this story that I found very original. Through Kimberly Brock's lyrical prose, I painted a vivid picture in my mind of Manny's Island and the house on the canal.  I could even hear the howling mating sounds of the alligators that kept Roslyn up at night.

The characters of this novel have a mystery about them as well. These are people who don't live in the hustle -bustle of the modern world. I had the feeling of being transported back to a time when people had a connection to the land they lived and worked on. Demascus' father was the most mysterious of all. He was a complex man, hard to figure out, yet something about him makes you want to keep trying.  Demascus was a wonderful character, reminding me so much of another little girl named Scout, that we all know and love.

I really enjoyed this book and the idea of the hoodoo charms and spells of the conjure women. I was impressed with how Ms. Brock wrote a story set in modern day but made it feel like a trip back in time to another place. I was captivated by that. This is a true Southern Gothic story that will stay with me for some time. In my opinion, there aren't enough of these types of books and I will be anxiously waiting for Kimberly Brock's next release. THE RIVER WITCH is a perfect example of why I am so fond of Southern Fiction.

Author: Kimberly Brock (@Kimberlydbrock)
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Published: April 2012
Length: 246 pp

Feb 12, 2013

Its Publication Day for Julie Kibler's CALLING ME HOME!

CALLING ME HOME is a heart-piercing story set in present day that tells the stories of two women; one of which takes readers 
back to the early 1940's to a small town in Kentucky where
segregation is the ruler.
It's the story of forbidden love, family and desperate choices.

Congratulations to Julie Kibler on her fantastic 
debut novel that hits shelves today!  

Feb 11, 2013

Its Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday Everyone! This weekly meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books. Wediscuss the books we've read and what we're planning to read for the week.

Books I Read and Talked About Last Week -

I finished reading THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky last week. The book is made up of a series of letters written by 16-year old Charlie over the course of a year. One reason I wanted to read the book is that I wanted to watch the movie version starring Paul Rudd (who I have a crush on) but I wanted to have already read the book. 

I posted a review of ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE by Jess Riley last week. It's a humorous look at one family's dysfunction that also deals with some serious topics. I encourage you to check it out. 

If you follow me on Twitter, (@SouthrnGrlReads) you'll know that last week I talked alot about Julie Kibler's debut, CALLING ME HOME, last week. It is our February selection for She Reads Book Club and it was a fantastic choice. 

I started reading Sarah Jio's BLACKBERRY WINTER and I know I'm going to really like it. 

Books I'll Be Focusing On This Week -

My main focus is going to be on THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW by Rita Leganski. I started it last evening and right away the lovely lyrical prose is blowing me away! Not to mention the mystical locale of New Orleans and all that that entails. This will definitely be a real treat for my literary senses. 

I will also continue reading BLACKBERRY WINTER this week. I'm hooked on it! Now I know what all the fuss was about when it was making a loud splash on the blogs.

Reviews I'll be posting this week are THE RIVER WITCH by Kimberly Brock and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky. 

I'm really looking forward to this week in books and I hope your week is full of great books as well! Thanks for stopping by today!

Feb 10, 2013

The Sunday Salon: Bookish Priorities

Happy Sunday everyone! I haven't posted a Sunday Salon post in so long and I thought it was time. Speaking of time, I just don't know it all goes! February is already bearing down on us, even though down here in Florida its been feeling more like Spring time. The weather has been crazy - highs in the 70's and 80's, then it will drop down into the 40's at night again. I'm so glad I got my flu shot a few months ago or I'd be in trouble. One day I'm in a t-shirt and flip-flops and then it goes back to jeans and sweater weather! My azalea bushes already bloomed at the end of January, which is just nuts! So when Spring actually gets here, I won't have any blooms at all because they're already gone!

On thereading front, I've read some really great books lately. In January I became a member of the She Reads Book Club and so far the book selections have been fantastic. I'm actually reading BLACKBERRY WINTER by Sarah Jio right now that was one of they're selections last year. I'm late to the party, but I'm really enjoying it. Our February selection is CALLING ME HOME by Julie Kibler. It was an emotional and heartbreaking story that really grabbed my attention right away. If you'd like to read my review, you can find it here. Our March selection is THE SILENCE OF BONAVENTURE ARROW by Rita Leganski. I plan to start it today and I'm very excited about it.

I've decided that this year I'm focusing more on books that I've had in my library that I've never gotten around to reading, more than accepting review copies. I'm not saying I won't do any ARC's but I have some really great books that need to be read. For example, I've had THE BOOK THIEF starring up at me from my coffee table for so long and I feel guilty every time I pass it up. I've also wanted to read SHADOW OF THE WIND for two years, when I got the book! The other day I finally started reading ANNA KARENINA. I'll be reading that in between other books, so that will be a slow mover.  I'm planning to read a chapter or two each night before bed, the way I did with JANE EYRE. There are others too, like THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN and THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE. These are all books that I OWN! No more excuses, I have to read these books!

All that being said, Beth Hoffman just emailed me and asked if I'd be interested in reading her new book coming out in May, LOOKING FOR ME!. And of course, I said YES!!! Thanks Beth, you just made my day! Now you see why some of the books on my shelves get pushed to the side! Let's face it, its a good problem to have!

Aside from reading, there are also my television shows I like that take up my time. All I can say is: Thank God For My DVR and OnDemand! Every year I say I'm not going to get involved in anymore series, but every year I do! A few of the new shows I like are NASHVILLE and CHICAGO FIRE. Then there are my older favorites: TOP CHEF, SUITS, DOWNTON ABBEY, THE GOOD WIFE and of course SURVIVOR, which starts up again this week! One new show that just started a few weeks ago is THE FOLLOWING with Kevin Bacon. That is one crazy, twisted show! And I LOVE it!! Wow, I never realized how much of a TV watcher I was until I started naming all of my shows! So you see, it's a miracle I get any reading done at all!

I've had to cut back on my audio books for now because my iPod is so old, many of the newer releases aren't compatible with it anymore. (Thanks to the iBook format). Or so I'm told.  I'm not the most tech savvy person when it comes to my iPod so I could be wrong about that, but I simply don't want to waste anymore time messing around with it. Hopefully a new iPod will cure the problem.

Well, that is what is going on with me. What books are you looking forward to in the months to come? And, does television get in your way too or are you able to walk away from it? I hope everyone has a great Sunday and to my friends up in the New England area: I'm thinking of you and praying that you all stay safe and warm! The weather up there looks absolutely frightening! I haven't lived up north for 30 years, but looking at the news reports brings it all back in a rush!

So, I'm haaving dinner at my friend, Brenda's house, so I need to get moving and get some things done first. Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you'll come back soon! Happy Reading!

Feb 6, 2013

Review: All The Lonely People by Jess Riley

 A few years ago I read a book by a new author that I discovered while reading blogs. The book was DRIVING SIDEWAYS by Jess Riley. Reading that book was a fun experience and I became a fan immediately.  When I realized she had released another book, I knew I wanted to read it as well. If you are familiar with Jess Riley's blog, you are also familiar with her smart wit and great sense of humor, which spills over into her books. ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE is a story that is easy to relate to. We all have family's and I don't care who you are, within those families, there more than likely, is some sort of tension. This is the story of how one woman dealt with her dysfunctional family during one of the hardest times of the year: The Holidays.

About the Book: (No Spoilers Included)

Its been six months since Jaime Collins' mother passed away from cancer. She and her husband, Erik, lived with her mother and cared for her up until the very end.   Now Jaime has the task of sorting and packing up the house, putting it on the market and selling it. All while still mourning her loving mother. Jaime has two older siblings, Clint, who is married with a daughter still living in their hometown in Wisconsin, and Gwen, the over-achiever lawyer living in Atlanta.  They are not exactly close with each other and the stress of selling their mother's home only makes things more awkward. Clint, the outspoken, bullish one of the family, doesn't hide his feeling that Jaime isn't doing everything she can to get the house sold and Gwen is too busy perfecting her life that she gives the impression she just doesn't want to be bothered by any of this.  Gwen's complete lack of a sense of humor only adds to the strain in her relationship with Jaime, whose sense of humor is fully intact, albeit, maybe a little warped at times.

Things come to a head at the Thanksgiving dinner table when a terrible argument erupts and in a fit of anger, Jaime flings a hearty spoonful of mashed potatoes at Clint, but instead nails her niece, Hannah as she comes out of the kitchen.  Visibly upset by all of the fighting, Hannah runs crying from the room leaving Jaime feeling like a complete jerk and everyone glaring at her.

It's nearing Christmas and Jaime hasn't heard from her family and begins contemplating a lonely Christmas. Half kidding and a little buzzed from a bottle of wine, her friend, Frankie, suggests she put an ad on Craigslist for a new family to spend Christmas with. Not thinking it would amount to anything, Jaime  posts the ad. What follows is what happens when you invite complete strangers into your life to take the place of people you feel you have no connection to within your own family. Sounds crazy, right? But honestly, I, myself, have felt this way with my own family and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Jaime, on the other hand, had the guts to go through with it.

My Thoughts:

Having really enjoyed Jess Riley's previous book, I had an inkling of what to expect from ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE.  I'm thrilled to say that my expectations were met and surpassed.  I had an easy time relating to Jaime Collins, the protagonist on many levels. I'm the youngest sibling in our family, I tend to not stick up for myself, and I was in a childless thirteen year marriage when most of my friends were having babies and growing their families. So, right away, I connected with her. And I liked her. Alot.

I loved the idea of this story: Getting so fed up with your real family that you want a new one. Who hasn't secretly wished for that at some point in your life?! But the idea of putting an ad on Craigslist and actually following through with it, gave a glimpse of what it might really be like. Honestly, I don't know many people who would do it, so I was able to experience it without inviting strangers into MY life! I thought this storyline was so original and funny. Jess Riley moves the reader through the story at a perfect pace, allowing us to get to know each of these 'new' people, and the baggage they brought with them, while keeping the momentum intact.

A big reason why the story worked so well for me was the characters. Her 'real' family characters were so authentic, I could actually relate them to people in my own life! I loved meeting the people who answered Jaime's ad. They were an odd mix of very real people and each one quickly became endearing to me. Even Paul. (No really, I did like Paul.) I thought Ms. Riley did an amazing job of incorporating this diverse group of unusual people into the complex family drama that is ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE. One of my favorite characters, though, was her loyal husband, Erik, He was the king of the Good Sport. Another character I really liked was Chris, the transgender man who desperately wanted to be accepted as a woman. I loved his sense of humor and the quick bond that he and Jaime developed.

I was especially impressed with the way in which many serious subjects were brought up and dealt with in this book. Don't get me wrong, it's a humorous look at the family dynamic, but there were also serious things happening: Domestic violence, bullying, attempted suicide and theft. I thought it culminated into such a well-rounded story. This could be anyone's family. The realness of it is what made it a great read for me.

There is so much more I could say about this book, but I will leave that to you to discover on your own. This was a truly enjoyable read for me and I think alot of people can relate to it. The moral of this story: All families have a certain level of dysfunction. But the bottom line is, no matter how insane they make you, they're still your family and you wouldn't trade them for anything.

Author: Jess Riley
Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform
Published: December 5, 2012
Printed Length: 276 pages
Source: Purchesed

Feb 4, 2013

Review: Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler (She Reads February Book Club Pick)

When 89 year old Isabelle McAllister asked Dorrie,  her African-American 'beauty operator', to accompany her from their hometown in Texas to Cincinnati for a funeral, neither one of them knew how it would go. Especially Dorrie, who was given little information from the very private elderly woman. But in the ten years Dorrie has been doing Isabelle's hair, they've developed a bond that you could call a close friendship. As a single mother, Dorrie has difficulties in her own life that did cause her some reluctance in accepting Isabelle's offer, but in the end, she couldn't let her go alone, and she decided, it may be just what she needs for herself as well.

Julie Kibler's touching debut, CALLING ME HOME is the story of two women, both coming to terms with their lives. One from the past and one in the present. Through the miles, Isabelle tells her story of growing up in the late 1930's and the difficult choices that were made both by her and, most traumatically, for her. As Isabelle's story unfolds and Dorrie's problems come to a head, these women lean on each other to come through the other side. This story is a journey neither one of them will ever forget. 

My Thoughts: (No Spoilers)

I always enjoy a story that transports me back in time. CALLING ME HOME shows how differently whites and blacks were treated in one small Kentucky town in the late 1930's and the effect it had on one particular young girl who dared to try to cross those invisible but dangerous lines. When Isabelle was telling her story, her memories were so vivid, I could clearly see her family home, her parents and brothers and I could feel the tensions that drove a wedge between them. I was instantly drawn into her story.

All of the characters were genuine, including the supporting roles of her family members. They were very believable and I felt real emotion toward them. I especially felt the disappointment Isabelle had in her father, who wasn't able to stand up to his wife, but ultimately supported his daughter the only way he knew how. I was so angry that so many secrets were kept and how much Isabelle lost out on. It stung my heart.  Though Isabelle's story was the highlight for me, I appreciated how Dorrie learned from Isabelle's experiences and was eventually able to let her guard down and allow herself the possibility for something wonderful in her own life.

The story was very well paced and the transitions between present day to the past were well thought out and enabled Dorrie's story to be told simultaneously as their road trip continued.  I felt like I was riding in the car with them.  The ending, although, not at all a surprise to me, was lovely and perfect for this story. I'll admit, I shed a few tears. This was such a quick read for me. I hated when I had to stop reading for whatever reason. I was always anxious to get back to it. Because of the many discussion points this book has, it would make a terrific pick for any book club.


Now is your chance to win a copy of this wonderful debut novel for yourself. St. Martin's Press is graciously giving away 10 copies! Simply stop by the She Reads Blog and leave a comment and include your email address. It's that easy! (Comments must be left on She Reads Blog. (Any comments left on this post DO NOT count as entries in the drawing).  A winner will be drawn this Friday, February 8th. Since the book hasn't even been released yet, you could be one of the first to read it!

I would like to thank She Reads for choosing such a wonderful book for our February selection. Please stop by the She Reads blog for many other reviews of this most deserving debut novel that will be released on February 13th.

Author: Julie Kibler (website)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: February 13, 2013
Pages: 336 pp