Monthly Archives: April 2014

Teaser Tuesday – April 29th

Happy Tuesday!  Hope everyone wherever they are – are safe.  Storms blowing through the southeast these last few days have been a bit scary.  All safe here so far.  And yes, I missed last week again, but for good reason – we sold our house!  Well just under contract, but praying everything goes smoothly and we can start our adventure in Cleveland soon enough!  So I may be a bit MIA for a few weeks, but I’ll still be reading!  (Oh and I have to mention – check out my review for The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street – first 5-bone review of 2014!)

I’ve been slowly reading, an interesting one, Murder on the Home Front by Molly Lefebure.  Click on the book to read the description.  And this is a very early quote, but really sets the scene for the book.
 “There are people who say corpses don’t talk, but indeed they do.  They talk of easy lives in pleasant homes, of hard, dirty lives in rooms where lice crawl up and down the walls and the ceiling drips, like a decaying skin, in clammy stinking drops to the floor.  They talk of hopes that were not fulfilled, joys that ended in sorrow, of tragedy, broken hearts, stupidity, cruelty, depravity, perversion, crime of every kind, and of goodness, devotion, motherhood, sacrifice, every kind of love, everything you have ever thought or heard of, and a great many things you would never have imagined in your wildest moments.” (2% into book)

Here are the rules:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Thanks for stopping by today – please leave your link below too!

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Book Review: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street
By Susan Jane Gilman
Releases 6/10/14
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 bones

Finish Time:  7 nights.  So good to be back to historical fiction.  My favorite genre by far.  I feel smarter!  And what a great story to get back into it!  I was a tad disappointed that the story was in fact not real.  It was loosely based on the Carvel Ice Cream story, according to the Q & A with the author at the end.  A very much appreciated segment, as it answered many questions I had leaving a historical novel such as this.

And also so good to give a book a 5-bone rating.  I loved it.  It had everything.  A good old rags to riches, striving for the American dream, immigration story.   Romance, suspense, thrill, crazy characters, and let me tell you about the main character.  Born Malka Treynovsky, with a few names in between, our leading lady is Lillian Dunkle, aka the Ice Cream Queen, not only of Orchard Street, but America, is quite the character.

Victim of awful parents, and really an awful society, Malka fights her way through life.  Doing whatever she has to to survive.  Not all is right but she is clever and the reader can understand the choices she makes.  The defining point of her life is when she gets run over by a horse and is crippled.  During a time of rampant illnesses, many times it is mistaken for polio, which later on in the book is used to her advantage, both for good and bad.  Never knowing who she can trust and being let down time and time again, her actions make sense, as she is the true definition of a fighter.

The book jumps between past and present (the present of the book being the early 1980’s), to tell Malka’s transformation into Lillian Dunkle, the Ice Cream Queen.  And then her on trial for tax evasion and for another crime, not that it’s a huge spoiler, but it’s a bit humorous so read the book to find out!  Along the way she meets the love of her life, Albert Dunkle.  Both her husband and business partner, their story is so sweet.  What I’m assuming are facts about the ice cream industry are also found throughout, different flavors, processes (the invention of the soft serve machine), presentations (invention of the cone), competitors, among others.  While probably not credited to the correct person, they were very interesting and really helped the story along.

Faces from her past pop up throughout the book and I loved reading how Lillian handled all of them.  Surprises were at every page-turn, and it was just that, a page-turner, until the very end.  I really loved it.   Really.  Check it out when it comes out in June, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Description:

In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street.

Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, “The Ice Cream Queen” — doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality. 

Lillian’s rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.

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Good Friday and Happy Easter!

Happy Good Friday 2014! I said it all last year and this song really is the best for today. Jesus did pay it all and we owe it all to Him. Hallelujah, Amen. Enjoy again.

My Dog-eared Purpose

“Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin has left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” 

I woke up with those words in my head this AM.  From the song “Jesus Paid it All (O Praise the One)” this version sung by Kristian Stanfill (based on the original hymn written in 1865 by Elvina Hall) .  Beautiful song – take a listen below and I’ll even put the lyrics because they are so good!  Given the day, Good Friday, I think God put that song on my heart to keep the true meaning of today and this season in perspective.  How awesome and amazing is it to think that TODAY many years ago our Lord and Savoir died on a cross for US.  So we can live FREE and our sins (yes ALL our sins) are washed away because of JESUS!  Wow.  And in…

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Teaser Tuesday – April 15th

Missed y’all last week.  So sorry.  But I’m back.  Been busy reading, just not writing until this week.  Just reviewed Home to Stay on Sunday – my April Kindle First choice.  And also since my last teaser I finished 2 other books, Scarlett Says, and Progeny both from NetGalley.   Click the books for their reviews!

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And now onto a great book that I’m about halfway through and is not disappointing.  Review to come later this week and click on the book for the description.

“It was, of course, a grand, marvelous lie.  Yet no sooner had I said it than I half believed it was true.  Perhaps it was.  Perhaps I did feel a great longing to be like them, to belong.  Certainly at that moment I believed in what I was saying the way a drowning man believes in a life raft.”
(27% in on Kindle)

Here are the rules:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Thanks for stopping by today – please leave your link below too!

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This is Amazing Grace; Happy Palm Sunday!

1-image (2)

Happy Palm Sunday!  Great church service this AM.  Following a tough week.  Nothing crazy, just frustrating.  Tired of waiting.  Waiting for our house to sell, so then we can pack, move, and work on getting settled in and most importantly get our family back together.  I have never felt so out of control, a slave to real estate.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

BUT this morning I was reminded of something I know, something I pray about daily, but something I need to be told every second of every day.  I am NOT in control, but God is, and He is capable of miracles.  This morning Pastor David at Evergreen Church, preached about another life-changing event (part 6 or 7 in a series of life-changing events throughout the Bible).  Today was the blind man who Jesus made see (John 9.)

Jesus is capable of performing miracles, life-changing ones.  But in time.  And I’m not good at waiting.  Are you?  Probably not, but let’s chat if you are.  Some days I can be optimistic.  Other days I want to throw a tantrum and yell at anyone who will listen.  I know it could be worse but I find myself pleading with God.  And I keep being told to wait, a little longer.  I continue to go back to my guiding verse.  Jeremiah 29.  He knows the plans for ME, and they aren’t meant to harm me, He wants me to prosper, and have a future.  But when?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

I’m posting this more for me than anyone (but I hope you can use it too.)  He has proven time and time again, He will prevail, and IT WILL BE GOOD!  And this week as we enter into Holy week.  A week that defines everything we believe in.  I need to take a step back and put things in perspective.  Our LORD, sent His son JESUS to wear our crown, take our sins, and set us free.  And we can soon declare “HE IS RISEN!”  Wow.

This is Amazing Grace.  And love, and so much more.  This song came to mind today as the verses from the original Amazing Grace sang through my mind hearing the story of the blind man “I once was blind but now I see.”  I love this new take on it.  He can do amazing things that no one else can or can even imagine.  Meditate on this song today and this week.  I know I will be as I wait.

*And the picture at top was made by my LL of Jesus surrounded by Palms  – after what she learned at church today!  This makes my heart melt!

This is Amazing Grace
by Phil Wickham

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory

Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy, worthy, worthy
Oh

 

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Book Review: Home to Stay by Terri Osburn

Home to Stay (click book for product description)
by Terri Osburn
Releases 5/1/14
Provided free through Kindle First – April Book

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: 3-4 nights.  I actually finished this a few days ago, but just now sitting down to write my review.  It was a good story, like a lot of the books I’ve been reading lately.  Nothing spectacular, but an entertaining story, so another 4 bones.  And because it has been awhile and I’m halfway through a new book, I’ll keep this short.

Meet Willow Parsons, simply known to everyone as “Will.”  A bit of a mystery to those around her on Anchor Island.  Her residence for just about a year now, Will is hesitant to call it home because she may have to pick up and leave at anytime.  But she is becoming quite attached through some great friends and Randy.  Once a pain in her behind, throughout the book, he chips away at her hard shell and starts to break through and it’s a sweet love story.

Will’s secret is referred to often throughout the book.  We find out little bits and pieces throughout the book as she lets some of her new friends in on her past life, but it really hangs on to the very end to make for an intense, yet happy ending.  It’s predictable, you can see it coming, so really not a spoiler, and still had me hanging on to every word til the very end.

Her secret is threatened when an anxious reporter shows up on Anchor Island to feature it in a travel magazine.  She hones in on Will and knows she has seen her before and there is something she is hiding.

A fun tale of a group of friends just getting by on this small island in the Outer Banks.  Each very unique and easy to picture.  Throw in a wedding, a mystery, a few romances, this book really had it all.  Also I’d love to visit Anchor Island, sadly it is only a destination in the author’s imagination. (But I did see it was based on Ocracoke Island, NC.)  She does have some other books that take place there, that if given the opportunity, I’d probably check out.

Thanks Kindle First for the opportunity to preview this book!

March Kindle First
February Kindle First
January Kindle First

From Amazon:
Willow Parsons’s two new best friends are getting married, putting her squarely on the sidelines of romance—which suits her just fine. After the nightmarish situation she escaped from, featuring the ultimate Mr. Wrong, she is more than happy to spend her days slinging drinks in Dempsey’s Bar & Grill, and her nights alone. But her Anchor Island refuge has just one catch: muscle-bound charmer Randy Navarro.

Everyone in town knows that Randy, owner of the local fitness club, is a giant teddy bear. Everyone, it seems, except for Willow. He’s convinced that her avoidance is more than just playing hard to get, and is determined to uncover the secrets that shadow her lovely eyes. But when old fears are dragged into the light, can Randy get Willow to stay and fight for their love…or will she take flight, leaving him and Anchor Island behind?

Home to Stay is a charming, romantic tale about following your heart to find where you belong.

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Book Review: Progeny by Anita Bihovsky

Progeny (click book for description or see below)
by Anita Bihovsky
Released March 18, 2014
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: 3 nights.  Talk about a page-turner.  I was up late 3 nights to finish this book!  It tackles a very current topic – In-vitro Fertilization (IVF), and even takes it a step further.  It makes you think – what if you found out you weren’t who you’ve always thought (been told) you were?  Would it matter?  Does it change anything?  Would you seek out your genetic connection?

Selene Mannon has to answer all of those questions.  I go back and forth on whether I agree with her choices, but either way it is all explained and she is a great main character.  The book begins with her mother on her death-bed admitting that Selene was conceived through IVF with a donor egg.  Now with both her mother and father gone, she moves to New York City with her aunt and uncle and begins the search to find her genetic mother.

With the help of her aunt Lila, a pediatrician Deandra, and a private investigator, Max, Selene begins to not only investigate her background, but a string of children with missing records, common ailments, and one doctor in common.  The book explores many different relationships, many people who were forced to conceal the truth, or chose to for various reasons.  And a really unbelievable scheme in the end.  I’ll say it again, un-be-lieve-able as I struggle with wrapping my head around it, or even doing a Google search about it.  It’s a bit disturbing too but the build up is so good, thus my good rating.

It’s a fictional book, obviously based on something that could happen (at least the beginning part of it), so we’ll leave it at that.  As I mentioned before, a page-turner of the true definition.  A fast read with vibrant characters, glad I had the chance to preview!  Let me know if you want to discuss if you read it!

Description from NetGalley:

Sitting beside her mother’s deathbed, twenty-year-old Selene Mannon learns that the woman she’s about to lose isn’t her biological parent. Grieving and confused, Selene sets out to discover the identity of her real mother. Little does she know, the question isn’t as simple as it seems.

Curiously missing medical files kick off a mystery layered in deceit. Selene soon crosses paths with pediatrician Deandra Robbins, who is seeking the same files — which may hold the key to diagnosing three of her young patients’ puzzling symptoms.

Aided by private investigator Max Field, they work together to unearth a past that others are determined to keep buried at all costs. But just when Selene believes she’s finally gotten to the bottom of things, the biggest shock still awaits.

Can Selene forgive the mother who raised and deceived her? Will she ever find her real mother? How far will people go to find — or hide — the truth? Join Selene and her friends as they struggle against the odds in search of answers that may be harder to cope with than a lifetime of lies.

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Book Review: Scarlett Says by Julie L. Cannon

Scarlett Says
By Julie L. Cannon
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Released 4/1/14

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: 6 nights.  I tried to have this review ready for debut day (2 days ago), just didn’t happen.  Also another book where my opinion changed over time.  Actually more as I neared the end of this book.  The beginning was sad and depressing and my original review was going to start out “I think I got diabetes just reading this book.”  But it was all part of the lead up to a super sweet, almost had me in tears, ending.

gwtw

The book follows Joan Marie Meeler.  Resident of Atlanta, Daughter of an Atlanta socialite, social outcast, food lover, and huge Gone With the Wind(GWTW) fan, the book follows her through a very low point in her life, to, well I don’t want to spoil, but as I mentioned above, it has a happy ending.

scarlett

Joan keeps a blog titled “Scarlett Says” which addresses topics throughout GWTW (the book and movie) and puts a current spin on them.  A few are typed out in the book, with many other mentioned that I would have loved to read.  She gets bolder as her followers increase and takes on more and more controversy.  Joan really looks up to Scarlett O’Hara as a role model, but as she dives into topics realizes she is far from perfect and must make the distinction between fiction and reality. She has her “regulars” and her interactions with them and feelings towards them are quite amusing and escalate over time.   As a blogger, I can’t help but feel proud of her for increasing her readership by almost 10 fold over the course of the book!

Through Siggy, her friend from work, her fluffy white cat, Dandelion, and a few other colorful characters, Joan really comes into her own over the course of this book.  It took a turn I wasn’t expecting when Joan, unlike her, on a whim, attended church with Siggy.  It was quite humorous and uncomfortable at the same time, but also started Joan exploring God, and well I don’t want to spoil…but after I read I guess this book does fall into Christian fiction!

I enjoyed the references to Atlanta as it is where I currently reside and when I first moved here I spent many years right around where Joan lived and worked.  We even looked into renting out Margaret Mitchell’s house for our wedding reception!

travelinfo_margaret_mitchell_house

The mention of diabetes above is that Joan describes herself as a “generous” woman, and I guess the author wanted to really drive in her appetite by outlining just how much (and terribly) she ate.  From pans of Pillsbury sweet buns, to her large orders at Krispy Kreme, Krystal and McDonalds, it had my stomach turning at times.  But throughout the book, food became less of a crutch, which was good for both her and the reader!

Overall a really sweet book.  Joan grows in all definitions of the word.  She tackles past demons, and becomes a very admirable, confident woman.  Read the description below, I could go on as I really did enjoy this book and there were so many great moments, but check it out for yourself.  It’s a good one!

From Amazon:

For 30-year-old literature lover Joan Meeler, there is no heroine so admirable as Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara. Joan, with her quiet nature and love of good food, falls shockingly short of Scarlett’s outspoken passion, strength, and 17-inch waist. Yet as the secret hostess of an advice blog called Scarlett Says, she discovers she’s quite adept at dispensing advice in Scarlett’s devil-may-care tone.

Joan is happy to live vicariously . . . until she meets Charles, a Christian and faithful Scarlett Says reader, who suddenly has Joan dreaming of something more. Since Scarlett has never let her down, Joan digs deeper and deeper into her heroine’s mind, searching for something to calm her rising insecurities. But her search falls short, and Joan realizes that she must look within herself—and to God—to uncover the inner confidence she never knew she possessed.

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Teaser Tuesday – April 1st

Happy Tuesday!  And Happy April Fools Day!  Wish I were more creative and could come up with  a joke…but can’t quite think that hard today!

I’m working my way through the book I started last Tuesday – so I have another teaser from the same book.  Mixed feelings on this book so far, still waiting for something to rope me in as it’s been pretty level so far.  Review hopefully coming later this week!

It is from Scarlett Says by Julie Cannon (click on book for description), coming out TODAY!!

“I look at him and thought I’m not surprised, I am astonished.  I’ve spent innumerable hours regretting just one particular thing I said I wish I could un-say.” (65% through)

And a bonus one for today because it has my blog title in it:

“Also I see the corners of the leather are worn, the pages dog-eared.  Much more so that my precious copy of Gone with the Wind.” (47% through)

Here are the rules:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Thanks for stopping by today – please leave your link below too!

9 Comments

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