Sunday, December 27, 2015

Weekly Book Haul.......December 27, 2015

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

Well, it's been a crazy few weeks, getting ready for Christmas.  All that shopping, preparation, cooking, and then it's over in one day.

As my kids have grown up, I have found Christmas to be a little melancholy at times.  When your children are little, there's so much excitement.  The emotional build up for weeks, combined with the craziness of Christmas day, complete with exhausted crying fits and hysterical laughter (I always felt like it was good training for working in a mental ward) has always felt like Christmas to me.

So these new quiet Christmases, waiting for everyone to come over for dinner, are a little sad to me.  I guess I need to hope and pray for grandchildren to bring the magic back to Christmas in the next few years.

So I didn't get any e-books over the last few weeks, but I came home to some great physical copies (my personal Christmas all year long).

Lots of different books on this weeks list, from a book about addiction, to a memoir that claims "orgasmic childbirth" (looks like it ends up being mental illness, natch, because there is nothing orgasmic about childbirth), and a sequel to a great book, The Witch's Daughter.  And since i already have an ebook copy of the Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, I see a giveaway coming! 

From Booksparks

How to Grow An Addict by J.A. Wright.....Randall Grange has been tricked
into admitting herself into a treatment center and she doesn’t know why. She’s not a party hound like the others in her therapy group—but then again, she knows she can’t live without pills or booze. Raised by an abusive father, a detached mother, and a loving aunt and uncle, Randall both loves and hates her life. She’s awkward and a misfit. Her parents introduced her to alcohol and tranquilizers at a young age, ensuring that her teenage years would be full of bad choices, and by the time she’s twenty-three years old, she’s a full-blown drug addict, well acquainted with the miraculous power chemicals have to cure just about any problem she could possibly have—and she’s in more trouble than she’s ever known was possible.

Postcards from the Sky by Erin Seidemann.....The aviation world is a man’s
world—it always has been, and it continues to be so today. In fact, women make up a mere 5 to 6 percent of the total pilot population worldwide. But from the first time Erin Seidemann experienced what it was like to see the world from a small plane’s perspective, she was hooked—and she’s spent much of her time since then fighting her way into becoming one of that 5 to 6 percent. 

Postcards from the Sky: Adventures of an Aviatrix tells of the struggles and adventures one encounters as a woman in the male-dominated space of aviation. With humor and equanimity, Seidemann recounts her varied experiences as a female pilot—from the chauvinistic flight instructor she makes the mistake of falling in love with to the many, many customs agents who insist she can’t possibly be her plane’s owner (“Where’s your boyfriend?”)—while at the same time giving insight about just what makes flying so incredible . . . and so very addictive. Frank, funny, and full of adventure, Postcards from the Sky is an entertaining foray into a world few women have dared enter.

All in Her Head by Sunny Mera....As a young girl growing up in the Midwest,
Sunny experiences the shame and stigma of scandal when her father is banned from their church for having an affair with the pastor’s best friend’s wife. As Sunny grows older, she begins to build the life she’s always wanted: she marries, buys a house, enrolls in graduate school, and soon has a baby on the way. But when she experiences the psychological phenomena of orgasmic labor, it triggers a chain of bizarre events, and she gradually descends into a world of delusion and paranoia. As Sunny struggles to separate the real from the unreal, she relies upon friends and family to ground her in truth and love—and keep her from going over the edge into madness.

From the Publisher

The Return of the Witch by Paula Brackston......Paula Brackston's debut
novel, The Witch's Daughter, was the little book that could―with a captivating story, remarkable heroine, and eye-catching package, it has now netted over 200,000 copies in all formats. Now Paula returns with its sequel The Return of the Witch, another bewitching tale of love and magic, featuring her signature blend of gorgeous writing, a fabulous and intriguing historical backdrop, and a headstrong and relatable heroine readers will cheer for.

After five years in the Summerlands, Gideon has gained his freedom. Elizabeth knows he will go straight for Tegan, and that she must protect the girl she had come to regard as her own daughter. In the time since she the dramatic night in Batchcombe woods, Tegan has travelled the world learning from all manner of witches, and she is no longer the awkward teenager and novice spellcaster she once was. However, her skills are no match for Gideon's dark, vengeful power, and he succeeds in capturing her. Will Elizabeth be able to find her? Will they be able to defeat their nemisis once and for all?
In a breathless journey that takes them through history, witch pursues warlock. Three people steeped in magic weave a new story, but not all will survive until the end.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald......Once
you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Seafront Tearoom by

What They Say.....The Seafront Tearoom is an insider secret in small-town Scarborough – a beach-front haven with the best tea and cakes in town – and  journalist Charlie Harrison would love to put it on the map with a feature in her magazine. But single mom Kat Murray doesn’t want to see her favorite sanctuary overrun by tourists, and begs Charlie to seek out other options. She offers her help, as a “tea obsessive,” and so does French au pair Séraphine Moreau, whose upbringing makes her a connoisseur of everything sweet and indulgent.

Together the three women will scour the countryside for quaint hideaways and hidden gems, sharing along the way their secrets, disappointments, and dreams – and discovering that friendship, like tea, takes time to steep. But learning too that once you open your heart, the possibilities are endless. 

What I Say....I had high expectations of this book.  I love chick lit, tea and the books set in England.  So maybe I set myself up for disappointment, but this one was not for me.

I wish I could put my finger on what exactly makes me start to really care about the characters in a book but I'm not sure what makes it click in my (or anyone else's) mind.  

Whatever that "it"factor it is, it wasn't in this book.  I was very aware the entire time that I was reading a book and following a story versus feeling pulled into the story and being lost in a book.

The storyline was predictable, all the way to the end.  The plot twists were non-existent, and while I love a happy ending, no one had to work very hard to get there.

But it looks like a lot of readers don't agree with me......Current Goodreads Rating 3.77

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weekly Book Haul.....December 13, 2015

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

I'm back from a great vacation with a few of my best friends.  We went to St. Maarten for a week and the weather was wonderful.  Nice and hot and the water was warm enough to swim.  I basked in the sun and read my Kindle, taking periodic breaks to cool off in the ocean.  Rough life, right?

Then I ate the world's best creampuff, although the French call them profiteroles.  It was served with  a tiny pot of hot chocolate to pour over them.  Heaven.

But otherwise, I will say that St. Maarten was not my favorite vacation spot in the world.  We rented a house, and kept experiencing rolling brown outs.  So the power would go out at any time for up to two hours, several times a day.  It wasn't so bad during the day, because we were gone a lot, but at night when you are sitting on the deck in a strange country, in an isolated beach house, it's pretty scary to have the power, internet, etc. all just disappear for an unspecified length of time.  

But I got to relax, have a lot of laughs, and read a ton.  Reviews forthcoming. Back to work tomorrow - refreshed and reinvigorated.  

In the meantime, I've received some great new reads to add to my ever growing TBR pile.  Jojo Moyes's, "After You", and Heather Gudenkauf's, "Missing Pieces" are ones that I am really excited about.   And I got a great workplace book, on how to lead Millenials - which is proving to be very different from the Gen X employees.  So I'm interested to gain some insight.


No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn....Faye Martin never expected her
husband to abandon her and her three children . . . or that she'd have to struggle every day to make ends meet. So when her four-year-old daughter is discovered through a YouTube video and offered a starring role on a television series, it seems like her prayers have been answered. But when the reality of their new life settles in, Faye realizes that fame and fortune don't come without a price. And in a world where everyone is an actor and every move is scrutinized by millions, it's impossible to know who to trust, and Faye finds herself utterly alone in her struggle to save her family. 

Emotionally riveting and insightful, NO ORDINARY LIFE is an unforgettable novel about the preciousness of childhood and the difficult choices a mother needs to make in order to protect this fragile time in her children's lives.

Find Her by Lisa Gardner....Flora Dane is a victim. 

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Flora Dane is a survivor.
Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who's never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she's become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who've never made it home.

Flora Dane is reckless. 

. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who's determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.

The Dirt on the Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones....In a small village in New
York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.
But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her-even from her new and trusted friends-the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.

What Millenials Want by Jennifer Deal....Millennials have been burdened
with a reputation as spoiled, lazy, and entitled, but the reality behind the stereotype is far richer and more complex. Who are Millennials and what do they really want? 
Based on fieldwork and survey data from global research on more than 25,000 Millennials and 29,000 older workers in 22 countries, this book paints a comprehensive, scientifically accurate picture of what really motivates Millennials around the world. Learn how to get the most from Millennials by:
• Improving workplace flexibility—because Millennials don’t separate life and work
• Providing adequate support and feedback—because Millennials like to learn and grow
• Coaching, not micromanaging—because Millennials value autonomy
• Designing competitive salary structures—because Millennials know what’s up
• Providing opportunities to contribute to society—because Millennials care about doing good
Millennials want a satisfying job that pays well, coworkers they like and trust, advancement opportunities, and the occasional pat on the back. Who doesn’t want those things? 
This essential book explains who Millennials really are, and offers practical advice to help those who manage, lead, and work with Millennials to improve teamwork, increase productivity, strengthen organizational culture, and build a robust talent pipeline.


Dear Reader,

I wasn't going to write a sequel to Me Before You. But for years, readers kept asking and I kept wondering what Lou did with her life. In the end the idea came, as they sometimes do, at 5:30 in the morning, leaving me sitting bolt upright in my bed and scrambling for my pen.

It has been such a pleasure revisiting Lou and her family, and the Traynors, and confronting them with a whole new set of issues. As ever, they have made me laugh, and cry. I hope readers feel the same way at meeting them—especially Lou—again. And I'm hoping that those who love Will will find plenty to enjoy.

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf....Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has
 been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded. 

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

What They Say.......Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper's kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel's past, something that ruined their friendship forever.

Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock's next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.

What I Say.....I love Jennifer McMahon but her last book, Winter People, wasn't my favorite.  It seemed like her first foray into paranormal that wasn't more people based, but more folklore based.  The Night Sister followed on this same path.  Which is to say, this also wasn't my favorite.

It started out strong, and I enjoyed the flashbacks of the Sylvie/Rose story, once the book moved into the paranormal portion, I just became less interested.  I've always found McMahon's storytelling to be the strongest when she is writing about flawed humans, rather than real monsters.

I'll keep watching out for her books, but I have to admit, I'm losing interest in what used to be one of my favorite authors.  Sadness.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.68

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