The Girls Of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

1b

 

Maddy, Barbara, and Rachel are three of the four girls of August who used to gather one week a summer at a glorious beach house.  The week would consist of much wine drinking, much giggling, and lots of catching up with one another and what was happening in each of their lives.  This tradition had been going on since the girls were in their twenties, almost twenty years!  Melinda was the fourth girls of August, and upon her tragic and untimely death, the other three had not felt up to carrying on the tradition.

That is…

until now.

Baby, the new (and third) wife to Teddy who had been married to Melinda, invites the girls to once again come together and bring back the girls of August.  Baby desperately wants to fit in with the three friends, and after some thinking, Maddy, Barbara, and Rachel decide that maybe after the four years that have passed, it is time to gather once more for a time of coming together.

Yet things between the friends have changed as well.  Each carries a secret they do not easily let go, and with this new addition to the group, the young twenty something blond perfect bodied Baby… opening up and sharing the way they once did is going to take time… when their week-long gathering turns into two weeks… that may just be enough time to deal with what is true in each of their lives.

 

 

There is soooooo much to love about this book.  First and obvious for me… I love the concept of a yearly gathering at a beautiful beach house with your closest girl friends.  Laying on the beach, napping in the sun, cocktails, laughing until you cry,  and dancing to a camp fire all appeal to me.  And as far as that goes, the book holds up to what I had hoped to find within it.

Unfortunately there are some odd scenarios that felt like a skip in a record.  A few things in the book did not seem to flow with the story and while I listened to this one on audio I literally said out loud “huh?” more than once.

Basically – So much potential and then not quite reaching it.  I really did enjoy most of this story that I listened to on audio.  It still contains elements I enjoy including women’s friendships, and anything to do with the beach and sun. :)  Kate Reading’s narration was perfection and really added to my enjoyment of a book that unfortunately falls short.

People who enjoy light summer reads and stories of women’s friendships should find this one a good way to spend a day in the sun.

 

Purchase this book from:  Retailers websites

 

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Unabridged edition (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English

 

Saturday Snapshot – Authors and Books and Wine – Oh My!!!!

2aa

Happy Saturday!  My hubby and I are heading for our cabin this morning which will be the last “hurrah” of Summer for us and then I will officially consider accepting Fall.  :)  Maybe…

Last Friday was our second annual Wine and Words event hosted by Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library.  Earlier this week I posted a few pictures about it but thought for today I would give you more of a feel for this event and connect it to Saturday Snapshot.

Before we get started a little background of the event:  I invite normally 4 authors to speak about their latest book, writing and their connections to libraries.  This year we had 5 authors plus our emcee, Lorna Landvik.  A local liquor store provides free wine tasting during our social hour, which really seems to be a social hour and a half as people start to trickle in around 5:00 and social hour starts at 5:30.  We have a silent auction, this year of 114 baskets.  AT 6:30 we start dinner and at 7:15 we start our presentation of authors with a goal time of ending by 8:15 – 8:30 pm.

This year we had 210 people in attendance.

 

1c

Just a portion of what our silent auction looked like as we sat up the 114 baskets.

 

1o

These cute little ducks are available during the social hour. They are $5 each and as you can see they each are reading a book. We call out numbers for these ducks (they have #’s on the bottom) and give away a Kindle Fire and a few fun gift certificates.

 

We had an amazing group of women greet our guests at the front lobby with name tags and a wine glass to use and to keep.

We had an amazing group of women greet our guests at the front lobby with name tags and a wine glass to use and to keep.

 

Our Wine Glasses with our logo on them.

Our Wine Glasses with our logo on them.

 

A few of our authors having fun in our photo area - L:  Catherine McKenzie, Barbara Claypole White, Lorna Landvik, and Randy Susan Meyers

A few of our authors having fun in our photo area – L: Catherine McKenzie, Barbara Claypole White, Lorna Landvik, and Randy Susan Meyers

 

More people getting into the act with the photo props

More people getting into the act with the photo props

 

My son and I

My son and I

 

A shot of the guests

A shot of the guests

 

7g

A shot of our book sales table after the event.

A shot of our book sales table after the event.

 

After the event - a few of us met in the bar to relax and the authors joined us.  Mixed in this group are Catherine McKenzie, Benjamin Percy, Barbara Claypole White, and Lorna Landvik.

After the event – a few of us met in the bar to relax and the authors joined us. Mixed in this group are Catherine McKenzie, Benjamin Percy, Barbara Claypole White, and Lorna Landvik.

 

Sitting to the right are authors Nicole Lea Helget and Lorna Landvik.

Sitting to the right are authors Nicole Lea Helget and Lorna Landvik.

 

Authors after the event!

Authors after the event!

This years event should have cleared us a little over $7,000.  I still have a little figuring to do with the credit card payout, on-line sales, and we receive a 20% kick back from our local book store for the books we sold.

Stop by Saturday Snapshot at West Metro Mommy and see what people are taking pictures of!

Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee

1a1

Cherico, Mississippi library director Maura Beth Mayhew faces the challenges of libraries just like everyone else.  As she is in such a small town, the ever-present dangers of having the library closed so budgeted money can go elsewhere is all too real.  With Councilman Durden Sparks breathing down her neck with an agenda for the upcoming budget to re purpose the funds the library normally receives, Maura knows she has to up her game.

With a few friends she starts a group that reviews classics and calls it the Cherry Cola Book Club ( cute story behind the name).  The group ties in food with the discussion and looks to go deeper than your average book club.  Surprisingly, Durden Sparks accepts Maura’s invitation to join the group, even though Maura is quite aware that Durden is their to undermine her and keep a close eye on what the library is up too.

Will Maura’s efforts to let her community know the value of a library be enough?  Or is it too little too late?

 

 

 

You had me at book club.  ~  Sheila

I discovered this little gem while browsing audible.com for an audio to go on my phone while I was working outside.  Initially as the story started, I had a strong feeling my review was going to include the words “predictable” but sweet.

I have to admit though, I was surprised at the depth behind this story.  Maybe it was because of my involvement in our local library and City Library Board, but Maura’s fears of budget cuts and the community not being aware of the value of the library were all to real fears for our own town and perhaps that made me appreciate this one even more.  I actually found some of her ideas to present the value of the library to the community to be good ideas and my own mind started turning these ideas to how they could fit in our own community.

All in all, I really appreciated this audio.  I enjoyed the fun diverse characters and I have to say the discussion on To Kill A Mockingbird made me want to insist that my own book club review this classic so we can have such a discussion.

Those who appreciate Libraries I feel will like this book.  I also feel book clubs could have a lot of fun with this one as there is a lot of food mentioned with recipes in the back of the book (they were read out loud on the audio).  I really want to make that Cherry Cola drink with lime they mention… and the tomatoes and okra sound interesting too….

Fun note…

as I was looking up the audio book picture for this post, I seen the cover for the book version.  It is funny but as I would probably not consider listening to a “cozy read”, I would not have given this book a second glance due to the cover.  I LOVE the audio book cover.

Book Cover

Book Cover

 

I am going to link this post to Weekend Cooking as the back of the book (and in the audio!) listed all of the recipes for the southern YUMMY foods they mentioned throughout.  I will listen to the last chapter again to pick up on some of these recipes.  I LOVE when books talk about food and then give us the recipes to make what they discussed!

2ab

 

Shadows In The Vineyard by Maximillian Potter

20130910_163823

 

In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison-a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder-unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, but that proved a fatal miscalculation and the crime shocked this fabled region of France. The sinister story that Vanity Fair journalist Maximillian Potter uncovered would lead to a sting operation by some of France’s top detectives, the primary suspect’s suicide, and a dramatic investigation. This botanical crime threatened to destroy the fiercely traditional culture surrounding the world’s greatest wine.

 

 

Why did I want to read (listen) to this book?  Wine fascinates me.  It has been talked about since biblical times and has taken on the prestige drink of celebrations, congratulations, acceptable item to bring to a dinner party, an accompaniment to dinner, with friends, or yes… while reading a book.  While I myself am not a big wine drinker (I like sweeter wines, I refer to them as “baby wines”), I am still fascinated by the process and the beauty of wine in a glass.

Shadows in the vineyard is an engaging true story.  It was interesting to learn about this event in our not too distant history and the impact it had on this community.  The story line is well paced and kept me fascinated in what was happening.  If you have interest in true events this book may be just the one for you.

Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green – (Second time around just as AWESOME!)

1a1

Prelude:  When I drive to our cabin that is 3 1/2 hours away I love to listen to audio.  This past weekend with my now graduated from College son, we listened to Will Grayson Will Grayson.  When I tell my son we will listen to audio he eye rolls but appeases me.  I… do not want to be appeased.  I… want him to love audio too.  And this is how it happened…  ~Sheila

 

Will Grayson is 16 years old and has a best friend named Tiny Cooper.  Tiny… is anything but. Tiny is humongous and his heart is just as big as he is.  Tiny is gay – Will is not.  Will takes a lot of crap for having a larger than life best friend who is gay but Will just puts his head down and plods on as each class brings him closer to the end of the school day where he can go home and get away from the drama that is high school.

When Will meets Jane, a girl he may or may not like… things become interesting.  Jane is part of the Gay/Straight Alliance in their school and Will is not sure which one of those heading she falls under  but she seems to like him.  Perhaps… life just became a little more interesting.

Will Grayson is 16 and has fallen for a guy he met on-line named Isaac.  Isaac.  What a great name…  but this is not the Will Grayson who is best friends with Tiny Cooper.  No… this is another Will Grayson, or soon to become known as OWG (other Will Grayson)…

and things are about to get interesting.

 

 

Alright alright – it is honestly really hard to describe this book and why I love it so much.  It has the untethered bound of John Green’s wit.  It has the incredible narration of David Levithan that makes me laugh out loud as the guy is simply brilliant as he makes his way through this book with fantastic voices and occasionally breaking out into song.  Yes song.  Tiny is writing a musical… but that – is another part of the story.

I adored this audio when I listened to it in 2012 immediately following listening to Fault In Our Stars for the first time.  Same author – John Green, in case you did not catch that.  I was basking in Green.  Literally and I wanted to share his incredible writing and audio with the world.  Listening to it again two years later I fell in love with this story again.

So the verdict with my son?  I gave him full veto rights to tell me to stop the audio and I would with no arguing or sideways glares as we drove.  Instead – he enjoyed it too and so much in fact when we arrived back home on Monday he downloaded Audible to his phone so he could finish listening to it on his way home to the cities.

I promised him I would not gloat… but…

mission achieved :)

If you have not treated yourself to the amazing narration of David Levithan I highly encourage you to give him a try.  If you have not listened to a John Green audiobook woo!  You are missing a great level to his writing.  I highly recommend Will Grayson Will Grayson on book or audio.  Some day I want to read this one…  I bet it is FABULOUS!

Morning Meanderings…. Event Hangover

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning!  Yes I am still around.  Last Friday was Wine and Words 2014 and it was a GREAT time.  Our authors were:  Lorna Landvik (emcee), Benjamin Percy Nicole Lea Helget, Randy Susan Meyers, and Barbara Claypole White.  The last few weeks have been a lot of communication between our local book store who orders us the books to sell at our event, the local wine guy who provides all the wine for free at the event, the check in teams, set up teams, silent auction team prep….. you get the point :)

About 1/4 of the auction.  We had 114 baskets of items up for bid.

About 1/4 of the auction. We had 114 baskets of items up for bid.

 

42

Opportunities to photo prop :)

Opportunities to photo prop :)

 

210 people at the event

210 people at the event

 

The check in team

The check in team

 

72

me bidding!

 

Love the after gathering with the authors!

Love the after gathering with the authors!

Final numbers are still out but looks like we are around $7,000 profit.  It was a great night!  I will post some more pics on Saturday for Saturday Snapshot.

 

I then left the next morning for our cabin on the North Shore with my son and we stayed until Monday afternoon.  It was AWESOME.  Books and movies and pub style pizza.  What is not to love?  :)

Today I will finish up on the deposit for Wine and Words, figure out are totals, communicate with Book World our local book store and start my thank you’s.

I have reviews to write and should be back on line now as that is the last big jump for awhile ;)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

2a

Hey there!  Welcome to It’s Monday, What Are You Reading!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. Fair warning… this meme tends to add to your reading list! ;)

Hey all!  I have pretty much been off the radar for the last 4 days and left the blog and you Monday Meme joiners hanging.  My apologies :)  Wine and Words was on Friday and I started working on it at 6 am on Friday and went all the way to about 2:00 am Saturday morning then left for the North Shore with my son by 1:00 pm.  I came home about two hours ago.  It was a great event… a great relaxing weekend.. and now I hope to settle into a slower paced norm for a while… (at least until the book sale at the end of September).

You can find pictures of the Wine and Words event on the Wine and Words Facebook page.

 

I am reading, and I am flying through a few audio.  None of which I am going to post about as I want to get this posted so you can still link up as I am SUPER LATE.  And… I want to do laundry.  And start supper.  And maybe get back into that book I was reading this weekend.

 

So here is the link:

 

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

For those of you who read mainly children and middle grade books, please also feel free to add your link here:

2aaa

Morning Meanderings… EEP! It’s Thursday!

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning!  It has been a crazy week with a personal appointment that put me off the radar for a couple of days.  And all Wine and Words week!

Seriously?  Who plans out my life schedule?  ;)

I sit here sipping a delicious cup of coffee this morning feeling pretty good about tomorrow’s event.  I have a couple of things to take care of today, a few signs to make, other than that… we are ready.  I have friends meeting me here tomorrow morning at 8:00 am to start loading up auction baskets to take to the event.  I have about 70 baskets here and another 45 at the Library.

The next few days will be pretty crazy but I will pop in when I can :)

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand

1caa

48-year-old Dabney Beech is Nantucket.

Ask anyone.

Everyone knows her friendly smile and her involvement in anything Nantucket.  Dabney also has had a lifelong gift for matchmaking.  She can see when people are right for each other and with 42 happy couples all saying Dabney knows a good match when she sees it… its hard to argue the facts.

The only relationship that Dabney can not seem to get right is her own.  Meeting Clendenin “Clen” Hughes back when she was in school was the highlight of her life and when she let him so… she thought she was doing what was right for both of them. Yet 27 years later when Clen walks back into her life, Dabney feels all those feelings come surging back as though they had never left.  Trouble is Dabney is married to a wonderful man, who while he does not make her heart beat fast like Clen does, would do just about anything to save his marriage to the woman he truly loves.

Torn between what is right.. and what is true… Dabney struggles to make the right decisions, all the while her world is falling apart around her.  When her health seems to be battling against her, and she is missing an alarming amount of time from work for a variety of reasons – Dabney has to decide is making this one last match is worth all the trouble it will cause… even if it is her most desired wish.

 

 

There is just something summery sweet about an Elin Hilderbrand book.  Almost like biting into a perfectly ripe peach.  ~Sheila

 

The Matchmaker is a book I have been excited about.  Gorgeous cover, and the promise of a good Hildebrand storyline made me anxious to get started on this one.  While there was a lot to like about The Matchmaker (sunny days, Nantucket, romance, I want to be Dabney’s friend…) I actually found a bit in this one that I did not enjoy.

Dabney is OVERLY described in the beginning of the book as being adored by everyone…. in several ways in long drawn out descriptions it is very clearly made that Dabney is beloved. There is also a long drawn out decision to open an email or not… reading the title over and over again. It felt a bit forced and I started to think of the beginning of the book as “word fill”… just putting in as many words as you can to stretch it out.    Between that and the description of Clen’s eyes as being “weak tea colored” – that exact description being mentioned three times that I counted… it honestly was almost a deal breaker for me.  The whole perfect matchmaking story was a bit over the top and the only character that was described well and felt real was Dabney herself.

I am not sure what happened here with this book as normally Elin Hilderbrand has delightful engaging stories.  It took quite a while for me to get into this read and for a while I even considered calling it a DNF and moving on.

If, like me, you do hang in there and finish the book the story does redeem itself a bit but I am not sure enough to have me recommend it.

I would be interested in hearing other thoughts from those of you who finished this book as I am surprised by how disjointed I found it to be.

 

 

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (June 10, 2014)

 

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

2a

Hey there!  Welcome to It’s Monday, What Are You Reading!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. Fair warning… this meme tends to add to your reading list! ;)

Mid August?  Can you believe it?  I am 4 days out from Wine and Words 2014.  CRAZY as I have been working on this since late January when I worked on lining up the authors, building the website info and ticket sales going live in March.  We have been doing a lot of final detail work this past couple of weeks but I did manage to post a few things:

Orphan Train Bookies Review, Anniversary and Event with the author

Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber (audio)

Learning how to extract honey!

Buried Memories by Irene Pence  (true crime)

Scary Stuff…. my little dog gave us quite a scare on Saturday.

 

I will probably be mostly audio this week as my schedule is pretty crazy this week.  Tomorrow we will put the final touches on the baskets for wine and words.  Tuesday and Wednesday I am out for an appointment and not sure if that will allow any reading.  Friday Wine and Words and Saturday I head for the cabin with my son.  Here is what I hope to get started on:

For My Ears

1dd

If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.

Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.

Your mother…she’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things – terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.

Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad… I need the police… Meet me at Heathrow.

Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.

 

 

20130910_163823

In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison – a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder – unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, but that proved a fatal miscalculation and the crime shocked this fabled region of France. The sinister story that Vanity Fair journalist Maximillian Potter uncovered would lead to a sting operation by some of France’s top detectives, the primary suspect’s suicide, and a dramatic investigation. This botanical crime threatened to destroy the fiercely traditional culture surrounding the world’s greatest wine.

Shadows in the Vineyard takes us deep into a captivating world full of fascinating characters, small-town French politics, an unforgettable narrative, and a local culture defined by the twinned veins of excess and vitality and the deep reverent attention to the land that runs through it.

 

I thin that is all I am going to plan on this big week.  Anything more is bonus.  :D

 

What are you reading this week?  What did you read last week?  Please add your link to your own It’s Monday What Are You Reading below where it says click here.

 

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

For those of you who read mainly children and middle grade books, please also feel free to add your link here:

2aaa

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,848 other followers