Friday, October 31, 2014

If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey

What They Say.......Cookie Chanel has a passion for fashion—and a murder mystery to

Cookie Chanel has opened her own vintage clothing boutique, It’s Vintage, Y’All, in the charming town of Sugar Creek, Georgia. Always on the lookout for stylish second-hand steals, she attends the estate sale of deceased socialite Charlotte Meadows. But she gets a lot more than she bargained for when Charlotte’s ghost appears before her—offering fashion advice and begging Cookie to find out who murdered her.

As the persistent poltergeist tags along and a possibly psychic pussycat moves into the shop, Cookie sorts through racks of suspects to see who may be hiding some skeletons in the closet. Do a clothing store owner and a disembodied socialite have a ghost of a chance of collaring a killer—or will Cookie’s life be the next one hanging by a thread? 

What I Say.....This was a cute, quick read.  Cookie is a clothes shop owner who suddenly finds herself saddled with a pesky ghost, the kind that aren't going to go away until you do what they want.  But this ghost isn't scary, just pushy, and she wants to know who killed her.

The story moved along at a quick pace, but it seemed like a first novel for the author, although when I checked Goodreads, she has written quite a few books.  I think the parts that weren't as attention grabbing were Heather's Tips (for getting rid of a ghost), the tips didn't seem to really flow with the story, and the vintage dressing tips were pretty basic.  

The motive for Charlotte's murder seemed strangely anti-climatic, I felt like the book was just ending, rather than a mystery being solved.

I'd definitely read another book in this series, just so I can find out about the cat! To have a beautiful, long haired cat walk into your shop is strange enough, but when it starts talking to you via a Ouija board, there's got to be a story there!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Forks Over Knives by Matthew Lederman, Alona Pulde

What They Say.....From the creators of the groundbreaking documentary (and bestselling books) comes a four-week plan, showing anyone how to transition to a delicious whole-food, plant-based diet.

The trailblazing film Forks Over Knives exposed an entirely new generation to the whole-food, plant-based nutrition revolution and inspired thousands to want to transform their diets, and their lives. With so many people looking for change, the outstanding question became, “How can we put these dietary ideas into practice?” That’s what authors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman reveal in The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet—a clear, easy-to-follow plan that outlines the steps to take each week to transform your diet by cutting out animal-based and processed foods.

Forks Over Knives.

What I Say....This book was an easy read, but it was a hard diet.  It was supposed to be an easy to follow plan, but it felt unreachable. 

Normally, I say that the book is always better than the movie, but in this case, the documentary was better than the book.  I know it wasn't because of the book, it was all in my head.

However, my sister has followed their plan and is in the best health of her life.  Skin is glowing, weight is great, she is more active than she has ever been, so I'm going to keep re-reading and trying to move down this path.

Hello, From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

What They Say....For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth....

The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.

Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways….

What I Say....This was a cute little read for any mom who has ever wished they could close their eyes and transport themselves in the life they wished they had.
Angela is living on her family's land, wondering if her husband is having an internet affair, her grown children aren't making wise choices and the one child still living at home is a bit odd.  Although she seems to making the effort to get through the days, she has a pretty vivid imaginary life where she and her perfect husband live with their one perfect child. 
An accident causes amnesia for Angela, where she thinks she is a visitor at the ranch, waiting for her "perfect" family to arrive, which forces her family to step up and care for each other. 
While I don't have such an active imagination, I've definitely had moments where I wished for the perfect life.  This was a nice reminder that my perfect family is already in front of me.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves October 19, 2014.

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts…this is a weekly blog roundup hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Last week's STS was skipped on account of fun!  Friends in town from Illinois meant a marathon weekend of watching the entire first season of American Horror Story - love the haunted house storyline at Halloween, sitting by the pool, and just generally talking and eating.  My favorite things.

Then this week was crazy busy so I'm still plodding through "Hello, From the Gillespies".  Review hopefully coming this week.

So here's what came to me in the last two weeks.......

For Review:

If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey.....Cookie Chanel has opened her own vintage clothing
boutique, It’s Vintage, Y’All, in the charming town of Sugar Creek, Georgia. Always on the lookout for stylish second-hand steals, she attends the estate sale of deceased socialite Charlotte Meadows. But she gets a lot more than she bargained for when Charlotte’s ghost appears before her—offering fashion advice and begging Cookie to find out who murdered her.

As the persistent poltergeist tags along and a possibly psychic pussycat moves into the shop, Cookie sorts through racks of suspects to see who may be hiding some skeletons in the closet. Do a clothing store owner and a disembodied socialite have a ghost of a chance of collaring a killer—or will Cookie’s life be the next one hanging by a thread? 

A Second Bite of the Apple by Dana Bate...Sydney Strauss is obsessed with food. Not with eating it—though she does that too—but with writing about the wonders of the gastronomic world, from obscure fruit hybrids to organic farming techniques. Since food journalism jobs are more coveted than Cronuts®, Sydney pays her bills working for one of TV’s biggest egomaniacs—until she’s left scrambling for shifts at a local farmers’ market.

Stacking muffins for the Wild Yeast Bakery isn’t going to win her any James Beard awards. But soon Sydney is writing the market’s weekly newsletter, and her quirky stories gain attention from a prominent food columnist. After years of putting her love life into deep freeze, she’s even dating again. And then Sydney gets a shot at the story, one that could either make her career or burn it to a crisp—along with her relationship and her reputation…

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel....In this richly told story where Sliding Doors meets P.S. I
Love You, Kristin Harmel weaves a heart-wrenching tale that asks: what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting the past?

After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined. 

The Whispers by Lisa Unger....Eloise Montgomery discovers her amazing gift in the wake of tragedy in this first of three captivating e-novellas from award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

It’s a day like any other for Eloise Montgomery—until tragedy strikes. While she is recovering from a horrible accident that takes the lives of her husband and oldest daughter, and as she works to help her younger daughter move forward, Eloise experiences her first psychic vision. Though she struggles to understand her newfound gifts, Eloise finds a way use them to save lost women and girls—for whom her help may be the only way out…

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll....In a riveting debut novel that reads like Prep meets Gone Girl, a young woman is determined to create the perfect life—husband, home, and career—until a violent incident from her past threatens to unravel everything and expose her most shocking secret of all.
Twenty-eight-year-old New Yorker Ani FaNelli seems to have it all: she’s a rising star at The Women’s Magazine, impossibly fit, perfectly groomed, and about to marry Luke Harrison, a handsome blueblood. But behind that veneer of perfection lies a vulnerability that Ani holds close and buries deep—a very violent and public trauma from her past that has left her constantly trying to reinvent herself. And only she knows how far she would go to keep her secrets safe.
When a documentary producer invites Ani to tell her side of the chilling incident that took place when she was a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, she hopes it will be an opportunity for public vindication. Armed with the trappings of success—expensive clothes, high-powered byline, a massive engagement ring—she is determined to silence the whispers of suspicion and blame from her past, and prove once and for all how far she’s come since Bradley. She’ll even let them film her lavish wedding on Nantucket, the final step in her transformation.

But perfection doesn’t come without cost. As the wedding and filming converge, Ani’s meticulously crafted facade begins to buckle and crack—until an explosive revelation offers her a final chance at redemption, even as it rocks her picture-perfect world.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit

I love to participate in The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday. It's a blog round up with a new subject every week.

This week's post is Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (whether fictional or real).  Here we go, this makes me want to travel.

1.  Cornwall, England.  All of  Rosamund Pilcher's books make me want to go live in cozy Cornwall.  I want to live in a cottage, surrounded by primroses and eccentric neighbors.
Here's my new home.

2.  Maine.  I want to live in Stephen King's Maine.  Taciturn neighbors, people interested in privacy, and a strong dislike for nosy people.

3.  English countryside. I love Kate Morton's England.  Old, previously majestic English houses, now falling apart, but still made for cozy reading.  The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, The House at Riverton.  I'll happily visit any of them.

4. Australian outbackHello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney is making me want to visit the Australian outback.  But it's not making me want to write a Christmas newsletter. Yikes!

5.  New England.  Alice Hoffman's Probable Future made living through a New England winter seem mysterious and romantic, instead of cold and painful.

6.  London.  Jane Green's books always make London seem exciting and relaxing at the same time.  I can't even pick one book, I love them all. 

7.  GreeceThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series always made me want to go to Greece, find a perfect man, and swim in the bluest waters.

8.  Ireland.  Maeve Binchy's Minding Frankie made me want to pack up for Ireland and live in the neighborhood that rallied together to raise one little girl.

9.  South Carolina.  I loved Mary Alice Monroe's Swimming Lessons and The Beach House.  I HATE humidity, but these books made me feel like I could totally tolerate sweatiness, frizzy hair and the bad mood that humidity inspires in me.

10.  Scotland.  Susanna Kearsley's The Winter Sea made me want to see Scotland, walk the sea walls that tower over their rough sea and snuggle in a castle in front of a fire.

When I look over this list, I can see that I should probably make an effort to visit England, but I just know that it wouldn't be the same as I see it in my mind.  But I'm pretty happy right here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

What They Say.....When a medical mistake goes horribly wrong and Ralph Meier, a famous actor, winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser is forced to conceal the error from his patients and family. After all, reputation is everything in this business. But the weight of carrying such a secret lies heavily on his mind, and he can't keep hiding from the truth…or the Board of Medical Examiners.

The problem is that the real truth is a bit worse than a simple slipup. Marc played a role in Ralph's death, and he's not exactly upset that the man is gone. Still haunted by his eldest daughter's rape during their stay at Ralph's extravagant Mediterranean summerhouse-one they shared with Ralph and his enticing wife, Judith, film director Stanley Forbes and his far younger girlfriend, Emmanuelle, and Judith's mother-Marc has had it on his mind that the perpetrator of the rape could be either Ralph or Stanley. Stanley's guilt seems obvious, bearing in mind his uncomfortable fixation on the prospect of Marc's daughter's fashion career, but Marc's reasons for wanting Ralph dead become increasingly compelling as events unravel. There is damning evidence against Marc, but he isn't alone in his loathing of the star-studded director.

 What They Say.....Blech, blech, blech.  I had previously read Koch's "The Dinner" and was pretty disgusted with those characters, but this book took repulsive to a whole other level. 
As a nurse, I hope that people realize that most doctors don't think like this, or practice like this.  The amount of disdain that Dr. Schlosser has for his patients is truly off putting.

He doesn't even seem to have any interest in his high profile patients, he's irritated when he is invited to any of their events.  He's an equal opportunity hater.  But after his daughter's rape, Schlosser finds how far he will go to revenge.  But how much did he contribute to his daughter's attack?  

This was a disgusting book full of horrific people, but I couldn't stop reading it or thinking about it. So I guess that is the mark of great writing, that you aren't comfortable with all of it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

I love to participate in The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday. It's a blog round up with a new question asked every week.

This week was Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels.  That's more than a mouthful, and I think my list will be as schizophrenic appearing as usual.....

  1.  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  Because, duh. 

2.  Mystic River by Dennis Lehane.  Lehane's books are always character driven, but Mystic River is especially focused on the main characters, Sean, Jimmy and Dave.

3.  The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella.  These books are all about Becky Bloomwood - everyone else just orbits around her.

4.  The Good House by Ann Leary.  Hildy was a character you were rooting for, even as you saw the mess she was making of her life.

5.  Green Angel by Alice Hoffman.  Girl alone at the end of the world. 

6.  The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton.  A most unusual book about a strange and wonderful girl.

7.  The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.  The characters in here are memorable and impressive.  But the series have been feeling recycled lately.  I have the latest one on my kindle and haven't gotten around to reading it yet.  Hope it's great!

8.  Night Road by Kristin Hannah.  I cried so much reading Jude's and Lexi's story.  Such as awesome read.

9.  Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher.  Penelope Keeling is one of my all time favorite characters.  From childhood to death of old age, loved every minute with her.

10.  Gone, Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Mostly driven by the character of Amazing Amy.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Stacking the Shelves...October 5, 2014

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts…this is a weekly blog roundup hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

This was a light acquisition week.  When my "to read" shelf gets too full, I start to get anxious.  So I didn't accept any ARC books this week.  But the Amazon Fairy was very good to me this week!

One of my favorite authors, Sarah Pekkanen has books on Amazon for your Kindle (kindle app) for $1.99!!!  That felt like Christmas in October!

Then one morning, an offer came in my email to get Those Who Save Us for $1.99.  I've been wanting to read this for ages, so I snapped it up.


The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen...Twenty-nine-year-old Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, lived in the shadow of her devastatingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of being named creative vice president of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of eighty-plus hour weeks, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating night, Lindsey’s carefully constructed life implodes. Humiliated and desperate, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents’ Maryland home. As her sister plans her lavish wedding to her prince charming, Lindsey struggles to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible twin, while she furtively tries to put her career back together. But things get more complicated when a long held family secret is unleashed that forces both sisters to reconsider who they are and who they are meant to be.

These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen....Pekkanen’s sunny, original third novel focuses on the intersecting lives of three young women living together in New York City. Cate and Renee work at a glossy women’s magazine, while Abby moved in with the pair after a series of events forced her to leave her idyllic job as a nanny. Abby’s older brother, Trey, has been on a few dates with Renee but seems to have turned his attention to Cate in recent weeks. Without being overly fluffy or cattily condescending, These Girls is a fun and engaging romp through the inner monologues of three very different women sharing the same space. Facing romantic problems, workplace struggles, family revelations, and food issues, the three girls serve as equally sympathetic heroines. Pekkanen’s authorial voice is sweetly snappy, and she does a commendable job of giving each character equal narrator’s time. The plot is character-driven, and the book ends satisfactorily without tying up every loose end.

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum....For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.

Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother's life.

Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What You Left Behind by Samantha Hayes

What They Say....Two years after a terrifying spate of teenage suicides, the remote village of Radcote has just begun to heal. Then a young man is killed in a freak motorcycle accident and a suicide note is found among his belongings. When a second boy is found dead shortly thereafter, the nightmare of repeat suicides once again threatens the community.

      Desperate for a vacation, Detective Inspector Lorraine Fisher has just come to Radcote for a stay with her sister, Jo, but the atmosphere of the country house is unusually tense. Freddie, Jo's son, seems troubled and uncommunicative, and Jo is struggling to reach out to him. Meanwhile, Lorraine becomes determined to discover the truth behind these deaths. Are they suicides, or is there something more sinister at work? Finding answers might help Freddie, but they'll also lead to a shocking truth: whatever it is--or whoever it is--that's killing these young people is far more disturbing than she ever could have imagined, and unraveling the secret is just as dangerous as the secret itself. 
What I Say....This book started out with a true bang, in the form of a motorcycle vs. tree that leaves an unknown woman fleeing, and a young man dead.  After the police categorize the accident as a suicide, the community becomes unrested, believing that they will be facing another spat of young male suicides.

Detective Fisher has come to visit her sister and becomes increasingly involved in the lives of the people of this community and in the investigation.

I don't know if it was because I read this right after reading a easy breezy fun book, but I felt like the writing was pretty dry, and hard to stay interested in.

The ending did deliver, but it was a little hard to get there, but I will look for her other book, "Until You're Mine", which got rave reviews on Goodreads.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

I was so excited when NetGalley gave me an ARC of The Rosie Effect! This was one of my favorite books last year.

What They Say....Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete,
and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant.

Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.

As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most. 

 What I Say....I loved it!  The Rosie Project was such a different take on a love story, with such unique characters.  It was one of those books where you don't want the story to end.
So Don and Rosie are back, and they are now living in New York and expecting a baby.  The news of his impending fatherhood starts Don in a series of misadventures as he tries to cope with this life changing news. 
But what I found truly interesting is that while Don may have some interpersonal issues, in this chapter of their story, it was Rosie who struggled to assimilate all of her emotions and how a baby would impact her life, both at school and with Don.
Don's communication challenges don't stop him from becoming the de facto leader of a men's support group, helping Gene's kids accept their parent's split, or supporting Rosie in all the ways he knows how.  So the person with the worst social skills becomes the glue that binds the "normal" people  together.

I hope this isn't the last I see of Don and Rosie - I was sorry to say goodbye to them again.

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