I’m happy to say that my reading in January was about what I had expected. I stayed on track and reviewed all the books I was hoping to during that month. I started two books that I had been wanting to read for my own enjoyment and even finished one of them. Deadlines required me to put them on hold for a bit, but I am hoping to get back to the other one next week. It is so easy to be distracted by my phone, the kids, and the TV that I have to really block my reading time in. But, doing that is helping me stay on track.
Several great books found their way to me this month. As always, if I am choosing to read a book, then be sure that I truly think it is worthy of my time. Of course, some books just find their way to my mailbox without my previous knowledge. I am only going to spend time reading and reviewing books that I enjoy. If I’m not feeling it, I’m going to put it aside. I can’t get to all these great books that come my way, but at least I can tell you about them here and I hope to review them just as soon as I can!
If you would like to purchase any of these books,
clicking on the photo of the book will take you directly to Amazon.
If you choose to purchase, I will receive a small commission
without you having to pay any more for your purchase.
I’m linking up with other bloggers to share our stack of books for the month. Be sure to click HERE
to see other books that made their way into bloggers book stacks!
Books for Review
NEW USES FOR OLD BOYFRIENDS
By: Beth Kendrick
Published: February 3, 2015
Publisher: NAL Trade
My review will be published next week. This is Kindrick’s second book set in the town of Black Dog Bay where women flee after terrible break-ups. CURE FOR THE COMMON BREAK UP was the first to be written about the ladies in Black Dog Bay and was a favorite of mine from 2014. You can see my review, HERE
After growing up in privilege and marrying into money, Lila Alders has gotten used to the good life. But when her happily-ever-after implodes, Lila must return to Black Dog Bay, the tiny seaside town where she grew up. She’s desperate for a safe haven, but everything has changed over the past ten years. Her family’s fortune is gone—and her mother is in total denial. It’s up to Lila to take care of everything…but she can barely take care of herself.
The former golden girl of Black Dog Bay struggles to reinvent herself by opening a vintage clothing boutique. But even as Lila finds new purpose for outdated dresses and tries to reunite with her ex, she realizes that sometimes it’s too late for old dreams. She’s lost everything she thought she needed but found something—someone—she desperately wants. A boy she hardly noticed has grown up into a man she can’t forget…and a second chance has never felt so much like first love.
EVERYONE HAS THEIR LITTLE SECRETS
By: Michael Louthan
Published: December 13, 2014
Publisher: Outskirts Press
This one came to me from the author. I thought the synopsis was intriguing and wanted to give it a shot.
It all started with a little secret… Zoe Von Lynskey is a typical 13-year-old girl with an idyllic life and a bright future ahead of her-that is, until her 16-year-old brother is accidently shot by his friend Kirk Anderson. But is Josh’s death truly an accident? Zoe suspects not. Kirk’s parents and Zoe’s parents are friends, and the two dads work for the same company, but Kirk has always been a bully to Zoe. With her big brother no longer there to protect her, she is now alone and vulnerable. When Zoe makes a fatal decision to protect herself against Kirk, her world begins to crumble under the weight of her secret. Her computer diary is her only confidant as she documents the wrenching depression, anxiety, partying, pregnancy, and suicide attempt that result. Everyone Has Their Little Secrets is a sharply observant and moving portrait of a teenager grappling with very adult problems-a stunning coming-of-age novel that pulls no punches.
THE ISLAND OF A THOUSAND SPRINGS
By: Sarah Lark
Published: October 3, 2014
Publisher: Bastei Entertainment
I received this eBook from the author’s publicist. When I read the synopsis, I knew it was a book I would enjoy. Sounds like a great read for historical fiction fans1
London, 1732: Nora Reed, the daughter of a merchant, falls hopelessly in love with her father’s clerk, Simon. Despite their differing social class, the star-crossed lovers dream of a future on a tropical island – until tragedy strikes, and Nora must face a life without her soul mate. Hopeless, Nora enters a marriage of convenience with Elias Fortnam, a widower and sugar planter in Jamaica. Even without Simon, she is determined to somehow fulfill their tropical fantasy. But life in the Caribbean doesn’t turn out as Nora had dreamt.
Nora is deeply shocked by the way plantation owners treat the slaves and decides to shake things up on her own sugar cane plantation – for the better. Surprisingly, her adult stepson Doug supports her in this endeavor when he arrives from Europe. However, his return also puts things into a state of turmoil – especially Nora’s feelings.
Just as Nora seems to be settling into her role as lady of the house, one harrowing event rips everything from her but her life…
A gripping tale of love and hate, trust and betrayal, and a thrilling destiny set against the pristine beaches and swaying palm trees of the tropics.
— For fans of Kathleen Grissom,THE KITCHEN HOUSE, Alex Haley, ROOTS: THE SAGA OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY, and Sue Monk Kidd, THE INVENTION OF WINGS.
THE CATEGORICAL UNIVERSE OF CANDICE PHEE
By: Barry Jonsberg
Published: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books
I had never heard of this book until it arrived in my mailbox with another Chronicle book. It is a YA/Middle Grade novel and will make for a quick read.
Candice Phee isn’t a typical twelve-year-old girl. She has more than her fair share of quirks, but she also has the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to make sure everyone around her is happy—which is no easy feat when dealing with a pet fish with an identity crisis, a friend who believes he came from another dimension, an age-old family feud, and a sick mom. But she is on a mission. Her methods might be unique, but Candice will do whatever it takes to restore order to her world and make sure everyone is absolutely, categorically happy again.
By: K.A. Holt
Published: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Another book/author that I have never heard of. This YA/Middle Grade novel could be read in an hour or two. Look for this review to come soon. A good share of the book is written in poems which should make for an interesting read.
Kevin has a bad attitude. He’s the one who laughs when you trip and fall. In fact, he may have been the one who tripped you in the first place. He has a real knack for rubbing people the wrong way–and he’s even figured out a secret way to do it with poems. But what happens when the tables are turned and he is the one getting picked on? Rhyme Schemer is a touching and hilarious middle-grade novel in verse about one seventh grader’s journey from bully-er to bully-ee, as he learns about friendship, family, and the influence that words can have on people’s lives.
TRIUMPH OVER DESTINY
By: Peladija Woodson-Diers
Published: December 2, 2014
Publisher: Peladija Woodson-Diers
I was contacted by my editor at the Cedar Rapids Gazette to contact this author and give her book a look. Since the author is from a town near where I grew up and it covers a true story based on life in Austria in WWI and WWII, I couldn’t pass it up. I hope to feature this in the paper in February and on my blog soon after.
TRIUMPH OVER DESTINY is a compelling true story of survival, great courage, love and one’s destiny. Karoline Rink was living a happy life in the small, alpine village of Bleiberg, Austria in 1938. At fifteen and a half years old, she was already working alongside her father in the lead mines to help her family survive the harsh economic times that resulted from World War I. Karoline, had dreams and faith that her future would be full of adventure from travels out into the wider world. She was certain that love and a family waited as well. Karoline, as did all of Austria, knew of Hitler’s rise and how his Nazi force had invaded, then annexed their beloved country. Little did they know in 1938 that Hitler’s rise to power was the beginning of the all-out terror, destruction, horror, and death that became World War II. What Karoline could not know was how these events would spiral in and around so very close as to alter her life’s journey irrevocably. In July of 1938, fate came for Karoline Rink.
IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN…HUNGARY
By: Carole P. Roman
Published: November 17, 2014
I am a huge fan of Roman’s work and have enjoyed everyone of the books in this series.
Welcome to Hungary! Join Carole P. Roman and learn about this beautiful country in Central Europe. Packed with colorful illustrations, children will learn about the sights, currency, food, and even a few Hungarian words. This critically acclaimed series has been embraced by children, parents, and educators. Deceptively simple, it is jam packed with a vast array of information to ignite any child’s interest in the world around them.
IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN…SCOTLAND
By: Carole P Roman
Published: January 2, 2015
Carole P. Roman is taking students to Northern Europe again and this time it’s to visit Scotland. You’ll learn about the fascinating architecture that was inspired by ancient Greece and Rome. Whether your name is Ian, Connor, or Malcolm, you’ll follow along and visit Loch Ness and hope to get a sighting of its famous occupant, Nessie. Perhaps you’ll try haggis or tatie scones and finish your meal with a clootie. Children are loving this award winning series! It has created a whole generation of armchair travelers that are thrilled to learn about cultures and customs from around the globe. Join Carole P. Roman and discover the world!
DRESS SHOP OF DREAMS
By: Menna Von Pragg
Published: December 30, 2014
Publisher: Ballantine Books
I reviewed Pragg’s book, THE HOUSE AT THE END OF HOPE STREET and just loved the way she connected real life writers and a bit of magic. You can see my review for that book, HERE
. I can’t wait to read her latest. Who couldn’t love a book about magical dresses???
Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.
Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.
501 TIME-SAVING TIPS FOR WOMEN
By: Georgia Varozza
Published: February 1, 2015
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
I have finished this one. Look for my review this week.
Well-known cookbook author and avid blogger Georgia Varozza has collected tidbits of wisdom and hundreds of how-to skills during her life. She’s a master food preserver with a passion for all things natural, time-saving, and simple. Reading this book is like having her as a personal coach to teach you how to be a savvy keeper of your home. After years of use, the baking sheets have built up brown grease deposits. What’s the simpler solution to removing those troublesome spots? Want to grow vegetables from seeds? Make an easy, inexpensive cold frame using hay bales to get them started. Plan that road trip with confidence by taking along this list of car games the kids will love.
Whether you’re young or mature, married or single, a novice or veteran do-it-yourselfer, you’ll find valuable new skills to take from this book and put to good use. With cheery snippets of inspiration and a Scripture verse tucked here and there, all these tips, tricks, and treasures will cultivate a definite “can do” attitude.
THE SETTLING EARTH
By: Rebecca Burns
Published: December 16, 2014
Publisher: Odyssey Books
I was contacted by the author. I have read some wonderful books written in short story form and wanted to give this one a shot.
Marriage transplants Sarah thousands of miles from home; a failed love affair forces Phoebe to make drastic choices in a new environment; a sudden, shocking discovery brings Mrs Ellis to reconsider her life as an emigrant — The Settling Earth is a collection of ten, interlinked stories, focusing on the British settler experience in colonial New Zealand, and the settlers’ attempts to make sense of life in a strange new land.
Sacrifices, conflict, a growing love for the landscape, a recognition of the succour offered by New Zealand to Maori and settler communities — these are themes explored in the book. The final story in the collection, written by Shelly Davies of the Ngātiwai tribe, adds a Maori perspective to the experience of British settlement in their land.
By: Julie Cross and Mark Perini
To Be Published: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Not the type of book I normally read, but I may give it a look and see if it holds my interest. If it sounds interesting to you, you can pre-order by clicking the photo above. I think it is interesting that author Julie Cross has teamed up with model Mark Perini to write this book. I have a feeling readers will be intrigued by this story that shares real ins and outs of the fashion industry.
Eve’s time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her-now she’s determined to build a career behind the camera lens. But landing a coveted photography internship brings her face to face with her dark past-and her ex.
While Eve is snapping pictures, up-and-coming male model Alex is launching his career-which, for him, involves maintaining a fake relationship with his (secretly) underage co-star, Elana.
But Alex is falling for Eve, and Eve won’t let herself get hurt again. If Alex can pull off a fake love with Elana, can he convince Eve to risk a secret affair with him?
AT THE WATER’S EDGE
By Sara Gruen
To Be Published: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
I love Gruen’s books, so I jumped at the chance to review her newest book. I think this one sounds so fascinating!
After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year’s Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son’s inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the Colonel’s favor is to succeed where the Colonel very publicly failed—by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster—Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind.
The trio find themselves in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. Yet she finds herself falling in love with the stark beauty and subtle magic of the Scottish countryside. Gradually she comes to know the villagers, and the friendships she forms with two young women open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.
As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but of life’s beauty and surprising possibilities.
Books I Purchased
CAN YOU GROWL LIKE A BEAR
By: John Butler
Published: September 1, 2007
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
I can not rave about John Butler’s books enough. If you have a baby or toddler in your life, they must have his books of their shelf. His stories are sweet and his illustrations are beyond adorable. I buy these books all the time as gifts. Our kids loved all of his book and were read so many times that we all know them by heart!
From trumpeting like an elephant to howling like a wolf, acclaimed author-illustrator John Butler delights the very young with this simple, interactive look at different animals and the noises they make.
Butler s lavish double-page portraits feature wide-eyed animals in their natural surroundings. The simple text invites young children to mimic the animals sounds in the story. Finally, when all the animals are quiet, readers are invited to imitate their animal friends one last time: It s time to gently close your eyes and fall fast asleep.
CARE AND KEEPING OF YOU 2
The Body Book for Older Girls
By: Cara Natterson
Published: February 26, 2013
Publisher: American Girl Publishing
I bought this book for our daughter and look forward to reading it with her.
This thoughtful advice book will guide you through the next steps of growing up. With illustrations and expert contributors, this book covers new questions about periods, your growing body, peer pressure, personal care, and more! Written by Dr. Cara Natterson for girls 10 and up, The Care & Keeping of You 2 follows up the original bestseller with even more in-depth details about the physical and emotional changes you’re going through.
By: Wendy Mass
Published: March 1, 2010
Reagan picked both of these Wendy Mass books out for her birthday. She had a gift card to spend at Barnes and Noble and since she had read 11 BIRTHDAYS at school, she was excited to read the next two in the series.
After her twelfth birthday, Rory checks off a list of things she is finally allowed to do, but unexpected consequences interfere with her involvement in the movie being shot at her school, while a weird prediction starts to make sense.
By: Wendy Mass
Published: September 1, 2011
When Tara, a self-proclaimed shrinking violet, steals the school mascot, a goat, in order to make some friends with the popular crowd and gets caught, she gets herself in a heap of trouble. In addition, her parents decide that instead of taking her on their summer trip to Madagascar to study the courtship rituals of the Bamboo Lemur, she must go stay with her aunt, uncle, and bratty cousin Emily St. Claire in Willow Falls. Tara thinks it’s a good time to start over; she’ll be turning 13 after all, so she might as well make the best of it and perhaps even attempt to break out of her shell (in a non-criminal manner). What Tara doesn’t know is that this charmed town has something big in store for her on her 13th birthday. It’s not a typical birthday. But then again, nothing is Willow Falls is exactly typical!
By: Nancy Jensen
Published: November 8, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
I am always a sucker for sister stories since I am one of three. I found this one at Barnes and Noble for $2.50 and it was already on my list to read.
Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat, Bertie Fischer and her older sister Mabel have no one but each other—with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong. A choice made in desperate haste sets off a chain of misunderstandings that will divide the sisters and reverberate through three generations of women.
What happens when nothing turns out as you planned? From the Depression through World War II and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful, Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities that are shaped by unspeakable secrets. As the sisters have daughters and granddaughters of their own, they discover that both love and betrayal are even more complicated than they seem.