Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, highlighting books whose publication we are awaiting.


This week's pick:  The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovitch
Due out: March 15, 2016

Information taken from Goodreads:

The New York Times bestselling author of Big Girl Panties and The Sweet Spot is back with a funny, sweet, and sizzling novel about the game of love, in which a hot quarterback must figure out how to score big with a beautiful and talented media analyst after a heartbreaking fumble.

Star quarterback, first-round draft-pick, and heartthrob Tyson Palmer has made a name for himself with his spectacular moves. When the head coach of the Austin Mavericks refuses to let him waste his million-dollar arm, Tyson makes a Hail Mary pass at redemption and succeeds with everyone . . . except Dani, whose negative comments about his performance draw high ratings and spectacular notices of her own.

Dani can’t forgive Tyson’s transgressions or forget the sizzling history the two of them shared in college, a passionate love Tyson casually threw away. And even more infuriating, he doesn’t realize that the bombshell with huge ratings is the cute girl whose heart he once broke.

But can a woman trying to claw her way to the top and a quarterback who knows all about rock bottom make it to the Super Bowl without destroying each other? And what will happen when Tyson—riding high now that he’s revived his career—realizes he needs to make an even more important comeback with Dani? Can he make some spectacular moves to get past her defenses—or will she sideline him for good?


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I'm Glad About You

I'm Glad About You is the Navajo's translation for I love you, because as a tribe there is no direct translation, and their belief is that no one can possess another.

In Theresa Rebeck's novel, I'm Glad About You high school sweethearts Alison and Kyle share the stories of their lives after their breakup.  



Alison has moved to New York to pursue her dreams of making it big as an actor. Kyle has chosen a more traditional life, becoming a pediatrician and marrying and having children.

As they enter their mid-late twenties, they both return home at various points running into each other.  

It is obvious that these two still have feelings for each other. Sometimes they long for the past, thinking fondly of each other.  Some conversations produce bitterness.  

The lives they lead seem lacking something, as though they would be better if they were together. And yet, time has passed and they are both in different places.

I found myself not liking Alison or Kyle very much at all. But I could also understand the way they still had feelings for each other, remembering how important they were to each other at one point.  Rebeck's novel shares a story that in some way or another most people can relate to.

There are rough spots in this novel.  I didn't especially care about the details of Alison's auditions or the scripts.  I had a hard time getting into this one as well, and it took a bit before I really was invested in the story.  

However, the way in which Kyle and Alison were still affected by each other even years after the break-up, kept me hopeful that they would either truly move on, or return to each other.  

Although this won't be on my Best of 2016 list, it is solid and entertaining.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Things We Keep

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth is a book that is sure to get a lot of attention. (Although this review is posting after the book's release, I read it prior to the January 19 release date and am anxious to see if the thoughts I have about it mirror other readers').



This is a story that pulls at the hearstrings a lot.  Luke and Anna are two young people (Anna is thirty-eight) who have dementia and are in the same residential facility.  When they first meet each other their diseases had not progressed as far as they have over the fifteen months the book spans.  At that point they find themselves in a relationship with each other, determined to stay together until the end, even though they may not be aware of each other at that point.

The love story is sweet.

Eve, the cook at the residential facility, has found a job after her husband's suicide (and after they lost their fortune in a Ponzi-like scheme). She and her daughter are trying their best to make it on their own. She meets Anna and decides to help her and Luke's relationship continue despite their families' efforts to keep them apart.

I really liked this story.

But....

there are a few things that are improbable, at least in my opinion.

I am probably super-sensitive on the topic of Alzheimer's disease, having a father currently in the end stages (which, by the way, could go on for years considering he is in good shape physically).

Hepworth makes this disease seem romantic, and I can assure you that the experience my family has had has been anything but romantic.

Little comments like the one about Anna having less than a year left seem unlikely to me. Since she is young and in good health, her disease will most likely string on for years.  

Eve's interactions as a cook with the residents also seem unrealistic.  She becomes more involved in Anna's life than I have ever seen a residential home worker allowed to be.

However....

This is a work of fiction. And I did enjoy it. I don't want to discourage anyone from reading it, because I liked it myself.  It's easy to read and if you are in need of a good love story or a good cry, this will fit the bill.

Anyone else want to weigh in on this one?  Thoughts?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Salon: Super Bowl Edition


This is a late Sunday Salon post since we are just now getting back from a Super Bowl party. 

Once again, the two day weekend is just not long enough to feel refreshed and ready for a full week.



Yesterday Middle Sister had an all day volleyball tournament. We left the house before 6:30 AM and didn't get home until 6:30 PM.  The good news is that they won their tournament. There were some exciting games to watch!



Middle Sister is #8, her first time playing Libero.

Tomorrow is a professional development day at school. I'm looking forward to it, but we are now in a blizzard watch, which could make getting to school tomorrow difficult.  Have I mentioned that I'm ready for spring?

We had two snow days last week, that should have given me plenty of time to catch up with everything.  


The snow was beautiful and perfect for building a snowman and a fort.  It was truly a winter wonderland.  And I enjoyed my time off, but I didn't catch up on anything.

I've eaten too much food tonight, had some good conversations with friends, and watched (sort of) the Super Bowl.  Although I'm not prepared for tomorrow, Monday is on the way!



Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Five: In-Between Seasons




Maybe it's the two snow days we had this week, but I am really feeling ready for spring. Especially when I see all the great spring clothes coming out.  

My school district's dress code doesn't allow us to wear open toed shoes, so as a result I own very few sandals any more- and those I do own are flip flops. I feel like I still need one nice pair of sandals for the summer.  Either of these two pairs would work for me:

1.  Berit Wedge Sandal






Old Navy is back with their cute printed pixie ankle length pants.  I really liked this yellow pattern in person, but I don't think the picture does it justice.




While I was busy looking at spring clothes, I came across Garnet Hill's sale items.  This vest was $148 last year, but is marked down to $34 now.  I pinned it last year, and it is a ridiculously good deal right now, which means I am having a hard time talking myself out of needing it.






This sweater is also on major discount right now, as are the other animal ones similar to it.

Just like the weather -which is winter-like now, but was spring-like last weekend- I'm caught between seasons. I can find a little bit from winter and spring that I'd love to wear.

What's caught your eye this week?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Forgetting Time

Earlier this week Sharon Guskin's debut novel was published, and I've been waiting for a month to share it with you.




Janie is a single mom who has devoted herself to her son, Noah, a beautiful blond four year old who says things that come out of nowhere. Some remarks seem precocious and others are disturbing.  When Noah is asked not to return to preschool, Janie's attempts to find help for her son grow more urgent.  

Dr. Anderson's career is nearing it's end.  After being diagnosed with a form of dementia, he can't see a way to continue.  Until he finds Noah, and realizes the work he dedicated his life to might finally be recognized.

Guskin explores the idea of reincarnation in this amazing novel.  How is it that Noah continues to look for his "real" mom, that he fears water and drowning, that he knows how to score baseball games without ever having been taught?  

I have heard of this before, and although I have always remained a skeptic, Guskin does a great job of making the idea of reincarnation entirely believable, even including some cases that have been documented.  

Noah and Janie and Dr. Anderson look for the people Noah once knew in an effort to find peace and closure for him, and to find out what really happened to him before he became Noah.  This creates some suspense and kept me turning the pages quickly; I read this entire novel in one sitting.

The Forgetting Time is absolutely unforgettable. Upon finishing this book, I immediately texted a co-worker who I know will love this story as much as I did.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, featuring books that will come out soon that we are anxious to read.



This week's pick: Redemption Road by John Hart
Due out: May 3, 2016

Product Information taken from Goodreads:

Over two million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a New York Timesbestseller.
Now after five years, John Hart is back with a stunning literary thriller featuring his first ever female protagonist.
Imagine:
A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.
A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.
After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free. But for how long?
And deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, the unthinkable has just happened…
This is a town on the brink. This is a road with no mercy.
Since his debut bestseller, THE KING OF LIES, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. With each novel Hart has climbed higher on the New York Times Bestseller list, with his last two books - THE LAST CHILD and IRON HOUSE --- landing squarely in the top 10. His masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history's only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Beetle Boy

Beetle Boy would not necessarily be the type of tween book I would normally pick to read.  It's more action/adventure than I normally read, and there are elements of fantasy to it as well.



And yet, despite that, it was a fantastic book.  

Darkus Cuttle's dad mysteriously disappears one day from his job at a museum. Darkus is sent to live with his Uncle Max, who is eccentric, and a bit of a loner.  Next door are two bizarre cousins whose home has been infiltrated by beetles.  As Darkus searches for his father he uncovers a variety of clues that all point back to the beetles next door and the evil Lucretia Cutter who was once a fellow researcher with his father.  Genetic engineering is part of Lucretia's plan for the beetles as she wants them to have human qualities and reasoning skills which would allow them to greatly impact the earth. As Darkus realizes what he's up against, he must enlist the help of the beetle's next door, as they try to rescue his father from Lucretia's clutches.

Sometimes reading out of my comfort zone is a good thing. This was one of those times.  I'm already looking forward to the second installment in this trilogy and think middle grade readers will enjoy this story and it's fast pace a lot.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend


Katarina Bivald's novel The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a feel good novel that every book lover should read.  It ranks right up with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, two other books for bibliophiles.






Set in Iowa, it also holds a special place in my heart as it refers to towns and places that I know personally.

Sara has traveled from Sweden to meet Amy, the woman she has met only through their letters they have exchanged ever since one of them purchased a book from the other.  When she arrives in Broken Wheel she discovers Amy has died.

However, the residents of the town welcome Sara like an old friend, and Sara feels as though she knows many of them from the things Amy told her in their letters.

Broken Wheel, however, is barely a town.  The storefronts on Main Street are empty and it appears that the town has seen better days.  

Sara decides to stay for a bit, having nothing to return to in Sweden.  She has always enjoyed books more than people, and decides to take Amy's books and open a bookstore on Main Street.  The people in Broken Wheel aren't big readers, but Sara works to change that, recommending books to all who come to her store.

Somewhere along the way, Sara falls in love with Broken Wheel and its residents.

Bivald's book references are sprinkled throughout the novel, and I have a few new titles to add to my TBR list simply from reading this book.  

The plot is predictable, but charming and worth taking time to read.  I read the last page of this novel with a smile on my face.  

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a perfect feel good book and will make a great gift for book lovers as well.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Five: Feeling Blue

Here in Iowa weather is always a hot topic of conversation.  Maybe people who live in a warm climate find themselves talking about it, too, but here with the way the weather changes, it seems to be an endless source of discussion.  There's a huge blizzard forecast to hit us next week.  but, it's almost February which means I'm starting to think spring.

Blue always seems to be a big color for the spring, which I appreciate. And there is plenty of blue out there this year.  Here are just five items that caught me eye this week. 
I'm feeling pretty proud of myself that I haven't purchased anything yet, but Gap has 35% off right now and Loft has 40% off. That's a hard thing to pass up!

Enjoy!  What have you been eyeing this week?






1.  Women's Ravenna Crochet Tank Top



2.  Embroidered Stripe Long Sleeve T




3.  Gap Stripe Crew Sweatshirt



4.  Loft Knit Utility Tunic