Monthly Archives: June 2014

Teaser Tuesday: June 24th

Happy Tuesday!   Review of The Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart went up last week.

Today’s teaser is from When the World Was Young by Elizabeth Gaffney (click on book for description), set to release on August 5th, 2014.  The book begins on V-J Day and has been very interesting so far!

“Once, when the world was young,” Loretta began, and this time, it took a comic turn, as if Loretta was trying to cheer Wally-or herself-up, “there were no grown-ups anywhere, because the world hadn’t been there long enough for the first babies to grow up yet.  Now the only problem was, the babies had to raise themselves, and so naturally by the time they were young children like yourself and Georgie, there we already spoiled rotten.  They ate whatever the pleased and stayed up late every night, and there was no one to tell them it shouldn’t be that way…”
(14% into book)

Thanks for stopping by today! Share yours in the comments please!

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!

 

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Book Review: The Hatmaker’s Heart: A Novel by Carla Stewart

The Hatmaker’s Heart: A Novel (click on book or see below for description)
By Carla Stewart
Released 6/3/14
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: 4 nights.  Another trip back to the 1920’s, my favorite decade, at least to visit literally.  And I’ll admit this book sounded good, that is why I requested it, I still had put it off longer than I should have.  Which now I can admit was a mistake, well the mistake would have been not reading it at all.  A surprisingly enjoyable read about a hatmaker/milliner of all professions!

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I loved the imagery I had in my head while reading this book.  I’ll add a few pictures of 1920’s hats in this post so you can enjoy it too.  I would love for hats to come back in fashion!  Maybe my wallet wouldn’t, but it’s such a fun accessory that now-a-days seems to be saved for horse racing, most popular being the Kentucky Derby.  But that actually ties into the book, as Prunella Marchwold aka Nell aka Nellie March, hails from – wait for it – Kentucky!  She was discovered there as an amateur hatmaker by Oscar Fields who owned a millinery (hat shop) in New York City.  She follows him there and begins her career under his direction.

Nell begins the book very sheepish, she clearly has talent in pleasing people and making them look great with her hats, but she is very shy about it and doubts herself often.  All of this is evidenced by a stammer that has been present most of her life.  As with a lot of main characters, throughout the book, she comes into her own, and becomes so much more confident in her abilities and herself (and her speech).  Her boss, Oscar, is the source of much of her personal doubt throughout the book.  A common bully boss, not wanting anyone to upstage him and constantly reminding people of what he did for them and how they wouldn’t be where they were without him, is a source of frustration for Nell (and the reader!)

So many characters were introduced in this novel as I’m thinking back on it now, but each and every one had their place and I could picture them in my head.  To customers who Nell interacted with through designing the perfect hat for them, to her co-workers, to her roommates, family near and far, and even a past love, the characters keep this book flowing and filled with lots of action.  Nell begins to get noticed and her struggle to remain loyal to who discovered her (although may not fully appreciate her) and go out on her own is one she battles with throughout the book.  The side story, which I almost forgot to include, is finding the source of her stammer, which is a bit of mystery as she works with a speech therapist/psychiatrist to explore her past.

As I mentioned before – Nell grows as a designer and as a person, and the build up is amazing as you near a great ending of this book.  I’m so glad I read it.  It only came out on June 3rd – so a little late for release day, but I hope it’s going strong, check it out!

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Description from Amazon:

For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman’s best qualities. She knows she’s fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell’s fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she’s had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon.
But it seems Nell’s gift won’t be hidden by Oscar’s efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is.

 

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Teaser Tuesday: June 17th

Happy Tuesday!   Review of One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch went live yesterday!

And this week’s teaser comes from The Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart, another book set in the 1920’s, and my latest NetGalley read.  It came out 6/3/14 and review to come very soon! (Click on book for description)

 “”It’s all you’ve ever talked about, so I know you’ve weighed the cost of accomplishment.  Anything worth pursuing involves sacrifice.  You’re learning that firsthand, it seems.  The Lord won’t abandon you if you abide in Him.”” (67% into book)

Isn’t that the truth!?  Something I need to remind myself with each and every decision I make!  This book is full of great advice and one liners.

Thanks for stopping by today! Share yours in the comments please!

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!

 

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Book Review: One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch

One Lavender Ribbon (click book or see below for description)
By Heather Burch
Downloaded free through Kindle First (June selection – releases 7/1/14)

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: 4 nights.  Another good Kindle First read, love this program!

When Adrienne Carter leaves Chicago, after what sounded like a messy and awful divorce, she heads for the beach in Florida.  She finds a run-down place on the beach and begins to take on a renovation using the proceeds from said divorce.  She stumbles upon a hidden box of love letters dating back to WWII.  Her curiosity is peaked and she begins to track down the writers and recipients.

After a surprisingly short search (both online and in person), she finds William Bryant, the WWII hero, and tracks down the sister of “Gracie”, the recipient of of the letters, Sara.  I say surprisingly short as I would have thought it would be a bit harder, but in the age of Google and the internet, I guess you never know!  (I’m always surprised by the stories where people find their birth parents just by posting it on Facebook!)  But it probably helped the story along as it jumped right into getting to know all the characters and all the action!

I actually would have liked more letters (there were a few scattered throughout) and to hear more of the dialogue about the war – to increase my knowledge of the WWII time period (after all that is why I love historical fiction!)  It didn’t take away from the story, but could have added so much more (in my opinion.)  As Adrienne learns more about William, a strange relationship develops with his grandson, Will Bryant.  The relationship between Will and Adrienne was frustrating to say the least.  Will is very protective of his grandfather, which is sweet, but anytime Adrienne goes out on a limb (whether I agreed with it or not), he jumped to the worst conclusion possible, got mad at Adrienne, then came groveling back when she was right (a process repeated many times throughout the book.)

It was frustrating, yet very familiar, made me aware of something I “may” have the tendency to do every once in a while.  I saw this cartoon today that fits this personality type perfectly:

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But back to the story, it’s full of love, a bit of mystery, a few secrets, and a lot of relationship building and self discovery.  Overall sweet, good, enjoyable read, with a bit of history thrown in.  Worth your time – check it out!

Description from Amazon:

Can a stack of long-hidden love letters from a WWII war hero inspire a heartbroken woman to love again?

Reeling from a bitter divorce, Adrienne Carter abandons Chicago and retreats to the sun, sand, and beauty of Southern Florida, throwing herself into the restoration of a dilapidated old Victorian beach house. Early into the renovations, she discovers a tin box hidden away in the attic that reveals the emotional letters from a WWII paratrooper to a young woman who lived in the house more than a half-century earlier.

The old letters—incredibly poetic and romantic—transcend time, and they arouse in Adrienne a curiosity that leads her to track down the writer of the letters. William “Pops” Bryant is now an old man living in a nearby town with his handsome but overprotective grandson, Will. As Adrienne begins to unravel the secrets of the letters (and the Bryants), she finds herself not yet willing to give up entirely on love.

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Teaser Tuesday: June 10th

Happy Tuesday!  Just finished reading my teaser from last week – Empire Girls, and happy to have given it a 4 bone rating – really a great book!

Today’s teaser comes from One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch, my June Kindle First read.  Click on book for description, and as always review coming later this week!

“She knew she was becoming obsessed with this couple, but couldn’t help herself.  A nagging thought kept haunting her mind.  Where was Gracie?  These letters were hers.  She would never have left them behind.
(14% into book)

Thanks for stopping by today! Share yours in the comments please!

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!

 

13 Comments

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Book Review: Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan


Empire Girls (click on book or see below for description)
By Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan
Released 6/1/14
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: A few nights.  Again I revert back to my favorite time period – the 1920’s.  I’m so intrigued with flappers, speakeasies, and just the glamour that surrounds this time period (obviously not taking into account the depression.)  This book did not disappoint.  Full of vibrant characters, mystery, and romance, I enjoyed reading this book each night.

The book follows Rose & Ivy Adams.  Sisters so close in age, yet so far apart in personalities.  Losing their father forces them to join forces and investigate the mystery he left them to figure out how to keep their house and move on without him.  Rose & Ivy are confused and surprised to learn they have a brother (from another mother) that their father has left in control of his estate.  With a few pictures and clues, they set off on their journey to New York City, specifically a girls boarding house, Empire House.

Empire House is managed by Nell and is home to a variety of girls who stories unfold over the course of the story.  As the girls jump right into trying to locate their brother Asher, they are hit what on the surface is a lot of walls, but they both can tell those walls contain many secrets.  As both Rose & Ivy begin working in different fields and forming new friendships, the secrets begin to unfold and more hints are uncovered.  Both their ingrained personalities and comfort zones are challenged, and their already shaky relationship is pushed to the limit.  Romance and friendships blossom and this book is really choke full of sweet moments and constant entertainment.

The ending does not disappoint, except that I wasn’t ready to leave this world and family that Rose & Ivy had created around them.  Really a great story of growth, discovery, and love during the 1920’s.  What I also found interesting was the Q&A with the authors at the end.  Anytime I see two authors listed on a book, I wonder how they do that.  Not being a writer, I would think it is a very independent job until feedback is needed.  But Suzanne & Loretta seem to have a system down, each taking ownership of certain characters, that really makes for a great book that flawlessly flows together!

Description from Amazon:

The critically acclaimed authors of I’ll Be Seeing You return with a riveting tale of two sisters, set in the intoxicating world of New York City during the Roaring Twenties. 

Ivy and Rose Adams may be sisters, but they’re nothing alike. Rose, the eldest, is the responsible one, while Ivy is spirited and brazen. After the unexpected death of their father, the women are left to reconcile the estate, when they make a shocking discovery: not only has their father left them in financial ruin, but he has also bequeathed their beloved family house to a brother they never knew existed. With only a photograph to guide the way, Ivy and Rose embark to New York City, determined to find this mysterious man and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. 

Once in New York, temptations abound at every turn, and soon the sisters are drawn into the glitzy underbelly of Manhattan, where they must overcome their differences and learn to trust each other if they’re going to survive in the big city and find their brother. Filled with unforgettable characters and charm, Empire Girls is a love letter to 1920s New York, and a captivating story of the unspoken bond between sisters.

 

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Beaches, Parks, Baseball, & Dogs – 2 more fun weeks!

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Hello friends!  3 weeks now in Ohio (see week 1 here) and we’ve been keeping quite busy (so not to think about how much we miss everyone in GA).  Today is a cool 62 and we are stuck inside due to the rain (after checking out a local church!), but this is the first day this has happened, so I’ll use it for some catch up.  We are free and clear of all home-ownership right now (yay for our GA house closing this week), but ramping up our search in Ohio.  We are not finding exactly what we want, but trying to wait patiently and pray for the right house to come up.  It’s pretty cutthroat here too – actually put in an offer last week and lost out to someone willing to pay higher than list..more power to them if they want to overpay, not my style (but probably should prepare for that scenario.)

Have I mentioned how beautiful it is here?  So many people outside all the time and so many parks to explore!  Here is my attempt at a selfie on my new favorite mode of transportation (but hard to get the full bike and trailer in!)  But loving our new Baby Jogger POD as both a bike trailer and jogging stroller and how easy it is to get around via bike!

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Since I last posted we spent a nice afternoon with some family at the beautiful Edgewater Yacht Club on Lake Erie:

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Attended a Memorial Day Parade, followed by our first visit to Huntington Beach (part of the AMAZING Cleveland Metroparks – which I’m guessing you’ll hear a lot about as there are a lot and they are all so unique and cool!), and then an afternoon swim for Zevon & Baxter at another local beach dubbed the “dog beach”.

Celebrated my birthday taking in an Indians game at Progressive Field.  And let me take a minute to tell you just how impressed I was!  It didn’t hurt that Steven was able to use corporate tickets to get us VIP parking, club access with all you can eat, and great seats!  (See our panoramic view at the top of this post!)  Sundays are also kids day, so the kids were able to make crafts, play, dance with hot dogs, see a magician, see a variety of exotic animals, watch a live interview with an Indians players, and they had a blast!  A bright, sunny, 80 degree day, really made this a perfect afternoon.

The next week brought more great weather, more parks & picnics, our weekly Chick-fil-A visit, and the grand opening of our local pool.  It won’t be relaxing chasing 2 young kids around the pool, but it sure will be a fun place to spend many days.  The kids pool alone has a 1 ft toddler area, a zero-entry area, and a playground with a slide and more squirters than you could ever imagine!  Then there is a lap pool, diving boards, and 2 huge slides for the more daring!

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And then I’ll end this weeks segment with a fun event we attended yesterday at another Cleveland Metropark – their Farmpark.  About a 40 minute drive from us, the promise of a “Working Dog” festival (along with it being a working farm) was well worth the drive!  In addition to sled dogs, search & rescue dogs, sheep herding dogs, agility dogs, guide dogs, therapy dogs, and rescue dogs, the horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens were quite entertaining.  There were a lot of hands on activities (you’ll see one below of LL operating on Tigger at a mock animal clinic), I was guided by a Golden Retriever guide dog for the blind, and the kids will tell you the playgrounds in the middle of the park kept us all very entertained!

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Stay tuned for more – and hopefully some updates on our home search so you can come visit!  And since it is Sunday (and I’m way behind on any calling posts), I’ll leave you with a verse:

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“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12.

Amen – have a blessed week!

 

 

 

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Filed under Calling, Canines, Celebrations, Children

Teaser Tuesday: June 3rd

I did it again, I promise I didn’t mean to.  I should start calling it Catch-Up Tuesdays!  2 new book reviews today (along with a new release I reviewed awhile back) along with my teaser!

Composing Amelia: A Novel by Alison Strobel (3 bones)
My Kind of Crazy by Katie O’Sullivan (3 bones)

Released today: Girls of the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine 

Teaser today from a new NetGalley read – Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan (released 6/1/14) – click on book for full description – review coming soon!

“She hid her head against my chest.  My knees must have gone weak because I stumbled backward, and we both fell against the wall.  We slid down it, together, grasping at one another, staying entangled there until the sun rose too high for us to ignore our reality.”

(6% into book)

Thanks for stopping by today! Share yours in the comments please!

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!

 

8 Comments

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Book Review: My Kind of Crazy by Katie O’Sullivan

My Kind of Crazy (click book or see below for description)
By Katie O’Sullivan
Downloaded free on 5/29/14 (released 3/25/14)

Rating: 3 bones

“You might be crazy,” she whispered, “but you’re my kind of crazy.”

Finish Time: 4 nights.  Another Amazon free download.  4 in a row – going back to NetGalley next (or maybe my new Kindle First read!).  This was a cute, entertaining read.  Good summer book, nothing too heavy.  Romance, mystery, weddings, crazy neighbors and dogs, this book has lots to keep it interesting!

Kendall “Ken” recently ended a messy marriage to Chris and has spent her time, and what little money she has, fixing up a B&B in Cape Cod.  It’s getting close to peak season when the story begins and Ken is putting the final touches on her house to open it up to a few booked weddings and hopefully many more.  Surrounded by a great group of friends and other locals, when a new face shows up in town, everyone is talking.

Jon recently had some troubles of his own and retreated to Cape Cod to help with his uncle’s veterinary practice.  Upon seeing Jon with his aunt for the first time, Ken makes some false assumptions, which leads to some humorous first encounters with Jon.  Her friend Dorothy runs an animal shelter and asks Ken to take in a puppy named Midget temporarily.  Also quite humorous, as Midget is a Saint Bernard, and does not fit his name at all.

The story progresses from there with some encounters with her non-dog loving new neighbor, maxed out credit cards, canceled orders, strangers in the backyard, and much more.  Never a dull moment between the developing relationships between Ken & Jon, and Ken & Midget.  A little mystery thrown in, a bit of suspense, make for another nice story.  I toyed between 3-4 stars as I really have no complaints about this book, just really  a nice, sweet, summer book!

Description from Amazon: 

Kendall Roarke is betting everything on making her Harwichport Bed & Breakfast into the premier wedding destination on Cape Cod, despite her recent messy divorce. 

Jonathan Reynolds moved back to the Cape to take over his uncle’s business and start fresh after his own marriage ended. He’s not looking for anything complicated – until he meets Kendall, with her big plans and wild mop of curls. 

Throw an unruly foster puppy and an uptight new neighbor into the mix and things get a little crazy. Now Kendall has to decide if it’s the kind of crazy that she can live with… for the rest of her life.

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Book Review: Composing Amelia: A Novel by Alison Strobel


Composing Amelia: A Novel (click book or see below for description)
By Alison Strobel
Downloaded free on 5/26/14 (released in Sept 2011)

Rating: 3 bones

Finish Time: 4 nights.  I have a queue of books, both hard copy and e-copy just waiting to be read, but again this time (3rd in a row) I found myself looking through Amazon (Free) Best Sellers for a different book.  The last two (here and here) have not disappointed.  Having just made a big life decision and having to trust God and my husband, I couldn’t turn this book down.

I would say this follows the typical format of a Christian fiction book.  Not a bad thing, but predictable.  Come on – what kind of Christian book could end without God prevailing (really what in life could end that way either!)?  The common theme is trusting God when He throws some crazy curves your way.  And then watching your life transform into how He wants it to be.  Always amazing to read and see His amazing power.

Amelia recently married pastor-to-be, Marcus.  As they are both figuring out their new marriage, they are both trying to figure out their careers as well.  Both not going as they planned, they stay faithful and keep trucking along.  Marcus gets a call to pastor a hurting church in Nebraska (from New York) and they both spend time figuring out if that is where they are meant to be. Marcus comes to the decision quicker than Amelia, as she just got her first break in New York.

This decision threatens their marriage, and Amelia’s faith.  A few other challenges are thrown in, then the book takes a very depressing turn, then, (not really a spoiler alert), things get back on track.  A good read, nothing to rave about, but good to get me thinking if I’m being obedient and what God wants for my life (not what I want.)  Quick read, worth a few nights of reading!

Description from Amazon:
Can a brand-new marriage withstand the weight of generations-old baggage?
Newlyweds Amelia and Marcus Sheffield are recent college grads, trying to stay afloat in LA while searching for their dream jobs. Marcus hopes to become a mega-church pastor. Amelia has an esteemed music degree, and longs to play piano professionally. The Sheffields are clearly city people.
 
But when a small town church offers Marcus a job, the couple’s dedication to their dreams and each other is tested. After a risky compromise is made, Amelia falls into a dark emotional place, where she finds skeletons she’d fought hard to deny. In desperation, she calls out to God. But why can’t she find Him? While Amelia struggles, Marcus learns news that nearly crushes him. He must lean on his faith to withstand the pressure… or risk losing his wife forever.

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