Four Friends by Robin Carr

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Great neighborhoods are hard to find, but Gerri, Andi, and Sonja have one.  These three ladies meet up every morning at 6 am to take their morning walk, catching up and starting their mornings right!  It is good to have friends, and the morning that Andi kicks her cheating no good husband to the curb, Gerri and Sonja are there for support.  Gerri with her steadfast ways, and Sonja with her perfect remedies like fen-shui and oil scents that can take away the negative feelings a bad marriage can leave behind.

But no one in this group of friends is safe from hard times.

Gerri has a wonderful marriage and partnership with her husband and father of their three children Phil.  So when she learns of cracks in what she thought was an uncrackable union, she battles anger as she tries to repair the damage – unsure if she can.

Sonja’s constant pursuit of the balanced life between health, eating right, and keeping to a non bending schedule, is enough to drive her husband right out the door.  This leaves Sonja feeling like she just blew a fuse because in her world, she should have known this was coming.

And Andi, now looking at the remains of failed marriage #2, wonders what about her attracts cheating losers.  With an adult son who is battling his own issues, Andi is just not sure is she can let anyone in again.

And then there is BJ.  The neighborhood runner.  She keeps to herself; but when tragedy strikes in the neighborhood, she steps in to help – and the girls find that having a new voice in the group is refreshing, even though they can tell that BJ comes with her own mix of troubles as well.

 

 

 

First up, the title caught me right away (if I was British I would say straight away, but I am not and I don’t know why I mentioned that here…).  I love books with strong female character friendships.  I think it is because I value those strong friendships in my own life and I know how much they have helped me through hard times.

Four Friends is a great read for people like me who like friendship stories.  This is not a wishy-washy lite chick lit book – the women in this book deal with very hard and very real issues.  I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of Gerri’s strong independent nature, Andi’s worries about trying to find real love, Sonja trying to overcome her perfectionism, and BJ’s dark past.

Robyn Carr writes a great friendship book.  One I was engaged in right from the beginning.  I would not mind at all if these women popped up in another of her books.  If there was a home available on their street I would love to move in and hang out with them!

 

 

 

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (March 25, 2014)

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings… Winners! (And it smells like poo)

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Good morning!  Holy smokes I slept!  I was semi awake at 5 am and thought I would sleep one more hour after Al went to work.. next think I know it is 7:45 am!  That’s crazy for me!  SO briefly, I need to catch up on some winners, and remind you of one giveaway still going.

Ready?

 

For the Dewey Read A Thon that took place this past Saturday, I was offering a giveaway to a commenter…

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The books to choose from!

 

And the winner is:  Leslie from Under My Apple Tree! She receives choice of these books!  Woo Hoo Leslie!  For a closer look at the titles, see the original giveaway post.

 

Also – The winners for the Best Of Me Movie Tie-In Book are….

Elaina!

Martha from Martha’s Book Shelf!

 

I also still have the Book Mark Giveaway from In My Book.  Please check out the post about the book marks and see them – they are pretty sweet!  Two winners will be drawn for those tomorrow!

 

And finally…

the poo.

When I got up this morning and opened the sliding glass door to the back deck as I do every morning to let the dogs out and to get a nice breeze in the house, I got a whiff of something not so pleasant.  So unpleasant in fact, I looked under the table.  When it did not go away I walked around the house… and eventually outside.  I think the neighbors have fertilized their field.  Egads… they must have upgraded to some premium stuff.  ;)

Anyhoo… that’s whats in my head this morning :)

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Magisterium, Iron Trial, Book JOurney

The hot combination of Holly Black (Spiderwick Chronicles and Coldest Girl In Cold Town) and Cassandra Clare *Mortal Instrument Series) …  Magic is about to happen!  ~Sheila

 

Most kids would do anything to be a part of the Iron Trials.

But not Callum Hunt.  His father has warned him that magic is dangerous and the Professors at the Magisterium are not to be trusted.  When Callum does his best to fail the tests to be chosen for the Trials he is chosen anyway from the many who tried to get in.  Now Callum, with two other students to be taught the ways of the Iron Trial.

But what tests await these first year students… what triumphs and what tragedy’s will they face?  While Callum tries to figure everything out, he starts to uncover deep truths about the Magisterium as well as himself.

 

As I started listening to The Iron Trials I sensed, as you may imagine by the synopsis above, that it carries essence of Harry Potter.  As any book that tackles the magical platform of Potter, I am thrilled to think that some day that book may be created… one that as of yet, has not.

You will see the similarities in the two friends that Collum has in school, but the similarity ends there.  This is no Ron and Hermione.  Yes they are in a magical school.  Yes while Harry has a scar, Collum has a bad leg.

I like the concept of the Iron Trials as (like the Potter books) each book will be a grade.  The current year for beginning student is Iron Trial, followed by:

Copper Gauntlet

Cosmos Blade

The Golden Boy

The Enemy Of Death

While I enjoyed this Middle Grade story line, I am not sure that it grabbed enough to continue with the series. (Note that I said this same thing when Clare’s Mortal Instrument series came out and I read the first one thought I called it quits… and a year later devoured the whole series one after another).

Fans of such books as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and other series aimed towards kids with magical powers should find this series worth taking a closer look at.  With two rock star authors leading the way of this series, I would not be surprised if a movie does follow.

 

 

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: The Magisterium
  • Audio CD
  • LIstening Length:  10 hours and 37 minutes
  • Publisher: Listening Library (Audio); Unabridged edition (September 23, 2014)

 

 

Morning Meanderings… Dead Poets Society

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Good morning :)  Coffee on? Me too!

Last night I watched one of my favorite all time movies, Dead Poets Society.  I have wanted to rewatch this one since the sad passing of Robin Williams, however it was not on Netflix and I did not own it.  Finally I broke down and bought it off Amazon and then last night I finally felt I was in the right frame of mind to watch it.

I debated if this was a separate post or a morning meandering, and due to the fact it is an older movie I went with meandering.

I hope you know the movie.  If you do not know it, I hope after this post you will find it and watch it.

This is a 1989 movie starring Robin Williams as the new college English teacher, Mr. Keating, in an all boys school.  Mr. Keating has a unique way of teaching that gets in the students heads and makes them thnk, yet hs unusual teaching is frowned on by the powers that be at the school.

One of Mr. Kreatings students, Neil, is particularly passionate but has an overly strict father who wants Neil to stick to the studies and nothing to do with fun or the things that interest Neil.  When Neil and his friends find out that Mr. Keating was once in a group called the Dead’s Poet Society.  When the boys question Keating, he tells them about the group he once was in and that they met in the caves beyond the school yard reading poetry from the greats.  Of course the boys at first thought this was ridiculous but slowly they get behind the idea of this secret society.

The movie embraces individual thinking, the power of words (LOVE that!), and how both can open up people to be better and stronger individuals.

I can not tell you how much I love this movie.  I even get emotional as I type.  It is an excellent example of how constant conforming can kill the spirit.  It was also a look back at a younger full of life Robin Williams, in his prime, and I enjoyed watching him so much.  I wish Robin could have always seen himself as the person we seen him as.  He will always be missed.

 

Today is a work day, tonight is the Library Board meeting.  Tomorrow morning I will announce the winner of my Dewey read a thon giveaway…. I need to choose a winner!

 

Delancey by Molly Wizenberg

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I just LOVE foodie stories! I don’t know what it is about them but I love to read about the food, the people, the recipes, the tastes, and how it all combines into something wonderful!  ~Sheila

 

Molly Wizenberg loved that her husband Brandon Pettit was passionate about so much.  A composer, Brandon also was fascinated by espresso machines, boats, building violins and learning to make ice cream.  Molly loved how Brandon wold go after a project and soon, as the pattern seemed to be, Brandon would move on to something else.

When Brandon purchased a large mixer for mixing dough for a potential pizza restaurant Molly was not too worried thinking this too would pass.  But pass…

it did not.

Brandon went on to search out buildings and signed a lease.  Like it or not, Molly was about to have her world enter the pizza business.  And their lives as they knew it were about to change.

Before Molly knew it they were renting cleaners, building an oven, cleaning floors, painting, watching thrift stores for tables and chairs, planning menus, and passing inspections.

Like it or not, Delancey was going to happen.

 

 

 

I absolutely loved this book!  Author Molly Wizenberg shares with us the story of how the now popular Delanceys Restaurant in California rose out of the dust of an old building to the place it is today.  From their early marriage days as Molly wrote her first book and Brandon spent night and day working on the restaurant that was to be.  When they first opened, money was so tight they bought the ingredients they would need daily and hoped to make enough money that day to buy the next days!

Delancey’s if filled with delicious recipes of the food that Molly and Brandon ate during the lean years of little time and little money.  The recipes look delicious and fairly quick and easy which is always a plus for me.

Molly is the creator of the blog Orangette, but fair warning.. its easy to spend a lot of time there!  Also check out the website for Delancey.  Molly is also the author of A homemade Life:  Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table.  Another book I need to read!

 

 

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 6, 2014)

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings… In My Book Bookmarks and Other Fun Things

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Good morning!  Tuesday!  The weather is chilly this morning, a little frost on the window and makes me want to just stay inside with a blanket, coffee, and a good book.  There are a TON of great reads out there and every time I pass by my library it seems like my hand grazes another one and I whisper “your next”… but alas, the same thing will happen later int he day and I will tell another one the same thing.  #notcommitted

I do have something fun to share, and even better, to give away!  Robin, from In My Book sent me these three super cool book marks that are also greeting cards!

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These book marks are actually cards, they open up and are blank inside for your message.  They come with the red envelope you see in the picture.

IN MY BOOK® is a unique combination of greeting card and bookmark in one.  These literary-oriented cards feature greetings beginning with “In my book…” and conclude with such book-related sentiments as. “you’re a mystery”, “you’re an adventure”, “you’re rare”; the cards are available in eighteen styles each with pen & ink illustrations by illustrator Meredith Hamilton.  The die-cut cards are made of sturdy ivory cardstock and are sold with a red envelope; they start out as a greeting card, then perforate to become bookmarks (they’re recyclable!).

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and… as you can see they look pretty awesome in a book!  (Which may or may not be my next book… but you know.. we discussed that already.  ;)  )

Robin has sent me three of these amazing cards and I am going to give away two to the readers here that comment on this post between now and Friday morning (when I announce the winners).  I will choose two winners and mail you the cards (no, no, no… I will not use the sweet red envelope – that is for you as well!

To enter – leave a comment here telling me:

What is your ideal reading setting like?  (ie.  in a comfy chair, feet up, hot cup of tea and chocolate mint Milano cookies…  laying in bed with fluffy pillos propped at your back and soft music in back ground)

 

* To earn an extra chance, please come back and comment on my review that will be going up today on Delancey.  I loved this book and I am hoping many of you will give this interesting foodie book a try! 

Cheese Deluxe by Greg Palmer

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In the mid 60’s in a small town in Washington a group of teenagers have too much time on their hands. Between the friendships and the cars, and the hang out at the Samoa Drive In; home of one of the worlds best burgers; this memoir covers short tales of a group of friends from their high school years to just beyond graduation.

With stories from a mission to teach an uncoordinated friend how to drive, parents stalking their teenager while he is on a date, flipping burgers with the fish guy, meeting famous people, saying good-bye to a beloved pet, a group hunting trip with Janelle trying to be one of the guys, broken down cars and more… you are bound to get a thrill of cruising back to the 60’s!

 

 

I was not really sure what I had signed up for when I decided I would listen to this book.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that while this was not my era, it was my father’s.  The stories of a simpler time when people hung out with each other instead of their phones, and took time to frequent a favorite restaurant and take a lot of pride in their cars.  I certainly could imagine the cool burger hang out and even almost smell the food cooking… amazing burgers and delicious fries.

I imagine this book would be enjoyed by those who grew up in the era of cars and burger joint hang outs, but also to those of us who connect through our relatives.  The book almost made me wish I had been a teenager in these simpler times.

Jeff Steitzer made an excellent narrator of this book as he retells author Greg Palmer’s recollections of being a teenager flipping burgers and dealing with the trials of the 60’s.

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 39 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Bennett and Hastings Publishing
  • Audible.com Release Date: May 19, 2014

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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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! ;)

I was just looking at last weeks post and remembered I was typing up the last few sentences of that as I was on my way out of the hotel in St Paul Minnesota  on my way to Opus and Olives – the BIG author event of Minnesota.  I recall that I had super cute shoes with me, but had neglected to remember that the last time I wore that pair I had been standing and rocking back on the heel (bad habit but I do this) and one fo the heels became lose.  As I put the shoes on last Sunday I recalled that I never had the shoe fixed.  Thank goodness I am an over packer and had a back up pair (yes… that may be odd but it is how I roll), not as cute, definitely more comfy, and they did the trick.

Anyhoo… it was a great event, I still need to post pictures; but it started off a good week that then led into seeing Gone Girl at the theater and book club.  Here is what I posted this past week:

 

Burn by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Gone Girl book VS. Movie

Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cummings

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (I LOVED this one!)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – Bookies Book Club Review

Choose Your Own Adventure by Neil Patrick Harris

 

I think it was a good reading and listening week. I had quite a bit of audio time this past week and then after yesterdays readathon, I currently have 2 books and 5 audio book reviews to catch up on.  NICE. As for this week, here is what I am thinking…

For My Ears

the vanishing, wendy webb

Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired…and who the world believes is dead.

When she arrives at the Sinclairs’ enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her “too-good-to-be-true” position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls.

 

 

Nightmares, Jason Segel, segal

Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!

Charlie Laird has several problems.

1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.
3.He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap.

What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed.

And when your worst nightmares start to come true . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.

 

 

 

Jodi Piccoult, Leaving Time

For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.

Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons—only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.

As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish.

 

 

For My Eyes

Khristine

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie are looking forward to two days of boys, booze, and fun-filled luxury. But what starts out as fun turns twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. And things only get worse from there.

With a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the outside world . . . so when a mysterious killer begins picking them off one by one, there’s no escape. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on one another, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

 

 

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In the lakeside resort town of Port Manitou, Michigan, dedicated teacher and running coach Neil Kazenzakis shoulders responsibilities that would break a lesser man: a tragic accident has left his wife seriously debilitated, he cares for his mother-in-law who suffers from dementia, and he’s raising his teenage son, Chris, on his own. On top of all that, he’s also secretly been seeing Lauren, his mother-in-law’s caregiver.

When Neil breaks up a fight one day after school, he doesn’t give the altercation much thought. He’s got bigger issues on his mind, like the fact that Lauren is ready for a commitment and he has to figure out a way to tell Chris that he’s in a serious relationship with someone other than the boy’s mother. But when an anonymous person uploads a video of the fight to YouTube, the stunning footage suggests Neil assaulted a student. With his job, his family, and his reputation suddenly in jeopardy, Neil must prove his innocence and win back the trust of the entire community—including his son’s.

 

 

I think that is where I am.  How about you?  How is your reading going this fall?  Please add your link to What Are You Reading below where it says click here:

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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:

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Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

ellen archer 3 - Copy

Remember those books growing up when you got to the end of a chapter you had a choice to make and then you turned to the page it told you to depending on your choice?  Basically you chose the characters destination… and come what may, you decided for them.  Well, Neil Patrick Harris’ biography is just like that.  Neil narrates (oh yes… it is that awesome!) his own story, yet as he takes us through the life and times of second person Neil Patrick Harris, he gives you choices to choose what Neil decided next, or what kind of family he had growing up… it is funny, and interesting!

 

I have been a Neil Patrick Harris fan since his days as Doogie Howser (which you hear all about how Neil was chosen for that role and what it was like working on a set with adult actors and because of the child acting laws; his parents always within eye shot.

It also discusses ( or he discusses… about himself… in second person…lol) his coming out as being gay, hanging out with Elton John, hosting the Emmys, Tonys, and writing the opening – or in one case middle (there is a reason for that one) – numbers for the award shows.

While the book is good, there are a few areas that are not appropriate for all ages (shoot, I am not even sure if it is appropriate for me).  Neil does get a little crude in a couple of parts of the book.  That said, I have to admit I love his quick wit, his descriptions of changing up award songs to reflect what actually happened during the awards (winners and bloopers…), and his talk about being a part of a great tv series, How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM).  Hearing about his tv career and his award hosting was a favorite part of the book for me.

As I mentioned, I listened to this on audio so I have to say the choose your own adventure theme works a bit differently on audio.  Instead of choosing to go to a certain page, Neil simply gives you the choices and says something like, “to hear more about award ceremonies, stay tuned; to hear more about being the youngest doctor to ever help deliver a baby, that is next!”

All in all, by listening to this audio book I found our more about Neil Patrick Harris. I enjoyed listening to him.  I find him to be a confident, funny, witty, guy.  He knows how to work an audience and he has a brilliant mind.  Fans of HIMYM and/or fans of his hosting award shows will enjoy this listen, or this book.
and….

 

 

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Com/Cdr Un edition (October 14, 2014)Listening Length: 7 hours and 15 minutes
  • Hardcover: 304 pages

 

Morning Meanderings… The Results Are In

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Good morning!  Any readathon hangovers out there?  I actually feel pretty good.I pooped out at hour 17 and a half.  I had started yesterday at 6 am, strong and about to conquer the world and then.. well… here was a few highlights or obstacles:

By late morning my internet started dropping out (no idea what that was) that put any challenges I was working on taking FOREVER.

 

I went to the store in early afternoon to pick up a few things, made a few phone calls, responded to some texts

 

Other than that – I was pretty committed and my final numbers are:

 

371 pages (1 1/2 books)

4 hours of audio.

With what I raised by reading and those who sponsored me – (Thank you so much!) The total donation to $122.20

 

Now, for books that came in this week:

ellen archer 3 - Copy

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick (audio)

Leaving Time by Jodi Piccoult (audio)

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson (audio)

Ruth’s Journey by Donald McCaig (audio)

The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney (audio)

Dead Poets Society - movie (I bought this…. love this movie!)

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

MOO by Jane Smiley – I purchased at Opus and Olives

Memoir Of The Sunday Brunch by Julie Pandl - I purchased at Opus and Olives

Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel – I purchased at Opus and Olives

 

Some exciting books there!  I am excited to dig in!

Today is a pretty low key day (YAY!).  I will go to church this morning but then am home the rest of the day.  I am going to finish up TEN by Gretchen McNeil which is one I found thanks to checking out blogs yesterday during the readathon.  Creepy good… like 80’s scary :)

So that’s my Sunday… I think more reading :)

What are you doing this lovely Sunday?

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