Monday, December 31, 2012

Audiobook Review: Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber

Hannah's List
Author: Debbie Macomber
Narrator: Fred Stella
Published: April 27, 2010
Genre: chick lit
Audiobook: approximately 10 hours
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): On the anniversary of his beloved wife's death, Dr. Michael Everett receives a letter Hannah had written him. In it she reminds him of her love and makes one final request. An impossible request ? I want you to marry again. She tells him he shouldn't spend the years he has left grieving her. And to that end she's chosen three women she asks him to consider. First on Hannah's list is her cousin, Winter Adams, a trained chef who owns a caf? on Seattle's Blossom Street. The second is Leanne Lancaster, Hannah's oncology nurse. Michael knows them both. But the third name is one he's not familiar with ? Macy Roth. Each of these three women has her own heartache, her own private grief. More than a year earlier, Winter broke off her relationship with another chef. Leanne is divorced from a man who defrauded the hospital for which she works. And Macy lacks family of her own, the family she craves, but she's a rescuer of strays, human and animal. Macy is energetic, artistic, eccentric ? and couldn't be more different from Michael. During the months that follow, he spends time with Winter, Leanne and Macy, learning more about each of them?and about himself. Learning what Hannah already knew. He's a man who needs the completeness only love can offer. And Hannah's list leads him to the woman who can help him find it.

My Thoughts: This was my first Debbie Macomber novel and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I listened to the story instead of reading the actual book, which was an enjoyable experience. The story was light enough that it didn't require too much thought while I was driving (those are my favorite audiobooks: the light ones that make it easy to listen to and easy to walk away from when it's time to get out of my car). The plot is pretty explanatory in the synopsis and there weren't any surprises. I already knew who Michael would choose just a few chapters into the book. However, I did like how Macomber stuck with the other two women, Leanne and Winter, throughout the rest of the novel. She didn't just dump them once it was clear who Michael would end up with.

Now, the worst part of this book for me was the woman who he ended up with, Macy. She was so annoying! She just came across as an unrealistic person, someone who wouldn't exist out in the real world. She was just too flaky to be an adult who lived on her own, someone who was just too sweet. She really got on my nerves and I might have liked this book even more if she was not so unbelievable. I will listen to more of Macomber's books in the future but hope that there aren't more characters like Macy in them.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.
Author: Nichole Bernier
Published: June 5, 2012
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 309 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth's journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew.

The complicated portrait of Elizabeth—her troubled upbringing, and her route to marriage and motherhood—makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage.

The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was, and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional, and the legacy she herself would want to leave behind. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn’t know about her friend, including where she was really going on the day she died.

Set in the anxious summer after the September 11th attacks, this story of two women—their friendship, their marriages, private ambitions and fears—considers the aspects of ourselves we show and those we conceal, and the repercussions of our choices.

My Thoughts: I was really looking forward to reading this novel. So many people had read it and liked that I couldn't wait to join in and see what was so great about this novel. It has several elements that I like: journal entries (I love when novels have journal/diary entries in them!), a summer at the beach, life in a big city. It had elements that I always enjoy, but the book fell short of my expectations. I felt like there was no real push or drive in the novel to move forward. Kate is a mom of two and questioning her husband on some issues (such as his continuing to smoke, even though she asked him to stop years ago). Throughout this novel, she constantly wonders if she knows her husband, if he was faithful to her, if he honors her wishes. However, all she does is question with no real answers ever given. I felt like we were building up to this huge showdown between the two of them, where she doesn't know who he is and he tells her that he hates her being so nosy and absorbed in those journals. But, that never happened. The end of the book was a little odd to me, because you aren't sure how their marriage will survive or if Kate can get over her constant worrying. Bernier just kind of drops it and walks away, leaving me as a reader feel very empty at the end of the novel, like, "what was the point in reading that."

The journal entries were great and helped us to understand Elizabeth more, but they were placed in the story so awkwardly it was hard to tell if the entries were meant to let us know about Elizabeth or prove that what Kate is feeling in her life right now is vindicated. They were just stuck in the middle of chapters so awkwardly, like when you try on a shoe that's half a size too small for you. You just keep on shoving your foot into the shoe, even though you know that these shoes will never work for you. I think that if Bernier had alternated chapters with Kate's current life and Elizabeth's journals, it would have helped the story immensely. This is Nichole Bernier's first novel, so I'm hesitant to read her next one. I did enjoy her writing style, so I'm hoping her storytelling matures over time.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (12-28-12)

Happy Friday everyone! Did you have a great Christmas? Did Santa leave you anything extra special under the tree? He left me ... a Kindle Fire! I'm super excited and still just messing around with it, figuring out how it works, but I was really happy that I got one. Tablets are a blessing when I travel because they can carry so many books, movies, TV shows, etc., without having to weigh me down. It won't replace normal, old-fashioned, printed books, but it will definitely get some use. Now, onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy For Books asks:

What is your chosen book to start the new year with?

Great question! I've been in a bit of a reading slump this month (too much to get done!), so I have a few library books that I wanted to read but haven't had the time for. So maybe one of those will start off the year.

Parajunkee asks:


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I believe it's a novel that resonates with basically everyone on some level, regardless of your age, gender, or background.

So, what book do you plan to start the New Year with? What book do you think everyone should read? Let me know and have a great weekend and a wonderful (and safe) New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Holidays on Ice
Author: David Sedaris
Published: October 1, 1997
Genre: humor
Paperback: 166 pages
Source: personal copy

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): It's hard to describe David Sedaris to those who've never read him. Mixing autobiographical details with sharp sarcasm and social commentary, Sedaris can probably best be described as a '90s version of brilliant humorist Jean Shepherd (who did his own scathing take on the holiday season with the film A Christmas Story). Sedaris' essays and stories are at once hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. His new anthology, Holidays on Ice, collects three previously released stories and essays and offers three brand-new ones; all revolve around Christmas. "SantaLand Diaries," which originally appeared in "Barrel Fever," leads off the collection and may be Sedaris's best-known work. A laugh-out-loud-hysterical look at Sedaris's experiences working as an elf in SantaLand in Macy's, the story is a wickedly funny slicing-and-dicing of the holiday season and the good cheer that supposedly accompanies it. His dark humor is exactly what you need when you're getting sick of all the fuss about Christmas.

My Thoughts: I really like David Sedaris's work and have been wanting to read his holiday book for quite some time now. Luckily, I was able to get to it right before Christmas and it made my holiday that much more enjoyable, being able to laugh at the absudity of it all, as seen through the eyes of Sedaris. This book focuses on the holidays (obviously) and Sedaris' commentary on the season definitely makes you realize how ridiculous some people get at Christmastime.

The book opens with "Santa Land Diaries", which is one of Sedaris's most well-known essays. He chronicles his month working as an elf at Santa Land in Macy's in New York City. If you don't laugh the entire way through this chapter, then you are a true Grinch. His time at Macy's his hilarious and I can only imagine what my own experience would be like working there. There are some other humorous chapters throughout the book, but there are others that are a drag to get through. 

If you had a stressful holiday season and need a little pick-me-up before the year is out, then this book will definitely help you to see the humor in the season. I've already recommended it to quite a few people to read!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (12-26-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly anticipating. This week, I'm looking forward to The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin (release date: January 15, 2013).

Synopsis (from GoodReads): For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness. Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart,The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: Aftertaste by Meredith Mileti

Author: Meredith Mileti
Published: September 1, 2011
Genre: contemporary fiction
Paperback: 384 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Mira Rinaldi lives life at a rolling boil. Co-owner of Grappa, a chic New York City trattoria, she has an enviable apartment, a brand-new baby, and a frenzied schedule befitting her success.
Everything changes the night she catches her husband, Jake, "wielding his whisk" with Grappa's new M itress d'. Mira's fiery response earns her a court-ordered stint in anger management and the beginning of legal and personal predicaments as she battles to save her restaurant and pick up the pieces of her life. Mira falls back on family and friends in Pittsburgh as she struggles to find a recipe for happiness. But the heat is really on when some surprising developments in New York present her with a high stakes opportunity to win back what she thought she had lost forever. For Mira, cooking isn't just about delicious flavors and textures, but about the pleasure found in filling others' needs. And the time has come to decide where her own fulfillment lies-even if the answers are unexpected.
My Thoughts: Now, I may be biased in this review of the book because I am from Pittsburgh, but I just want to say that I really enjoyed this novel. Following a chef as she leaves her restaurant in New York City after she catches her husband cheating on her, Meredith Mileti takes you on a journey of one woman who must rediscover who she is and what it is that will make her happy. Unsure of what to do after moving back in with her father in Pittsburgh, Mira struggles with being a single mother and being taken away from what she was meant to do with her life, which is to cook. Over the course of the story, you see Mira grow from being an adult who only knows one way to do things, turning into a woman who reinvents herself and realizes that happiness isn't just one set thing, but can result from a variety of circumstances and relationships.
Mira is a complex woman, and as I said above, you are able to see her progress throughout the novel. Her anger at the beginning of the book is understandable and you are on her side immediately, even though you recognize that ripping out another woman's hair may not be the best couse of action. She grows into a woman who realizes that she must make a new path for herself in a new city, all while being a single mother. Seeing her grow throughout the novel and deal with the hardships that face her are great and Mileti does a fabulous job of character development. The other thing that I loved about this book was the descriptions. Mileti is a gifted writer who will have you lost in her descriptions of people, places, and things. The way that she describes the city is wonderful, and like I said before, I may be biased since I'm from Pittsburgh, but she paints the city in such a way that she doesn't make it more than what it is. There is not a large, thriving culinary world here, but there are some really great restaurants and areas of the city. Her descriptions of food are unparalleled and had my mouth watering and wishing that I was able to cook like Mira. Overall, this was a great first book and I look forward to seeing what Mileti will write in the future.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review: When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

When in Doubt, Add Butter
Author: Beth Harbison
Published: July 17, 2012
Genre: chick lit
Hardcover: 352 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an ├╝berwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.

My Thoughts: I have read two of Beth Harbison's books before (reviews here) and really enjoyed one of them and didn't really like the other one. So when I heard about her new book coming out, I figured, "Maybe the third times the charm." And I'm so glad that I decided to give her a second chance. In this one, we meet Gemma, a personal chef in the DC area who has a strange mix of clients, no real personal life, and a one night stand who she just can't stop thinking about. Gemma is a great character, someone who just really like because she is average. She isn't in some extreme circumstances, she has a pretty normal job (private chef isn't entirely normal, but they way she goes about her business is what most of us do in our daily lives), and she keeps mostly to herself. Gemma wonders about the "what ifs" in her life, but just continues to move forward to forge ahead, forsaking her personal life in an attempt to further her business.

Now, this was an enjoyable novel, something that I was able to read prety quickly and just get lost it (which everyone needs sometimes). The thing that I found lacking, though, was a strong plot. There is a plot, but Harbison just kind of meanders through the book, knowing that she is going to get where she wants, but not always pulling you along with her. There were times when I wondered if there would really be an ending to this book (there was, don't worry!), but it was just such an easy read, and Gemma was so engaging, that I didn't want to give up on it. I am happy that I decided to give Beth Harbison another chance because she didn't disappoint with this novel. If you are looking for something easy to read that's engaging, then you might want to check this one out.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (12-21-12)

Happy Friday everyone! Are you all ready for Christmas? I just finished up the last of my shopping this week and all that's left is to wrap! Most of my baking is done, just some brownies left to bake and I'm all done with that. Well, let's get onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy For Books asks:

What book were you determined to read this year and you still didn't pick up? Is it at least on your bookshelf or ereader?

Another year has gone by and I still have not read this book! I always try, but there's some library book to get back on time that I let get in the way of this one. It is sitting in my TBR pile, so maybe 2013 will be the year!

Parajunkee asks:


Before blogging, I had no idea that this huge community existed, where publishers would connect with bloggers to gain reviews for new books. It was just so cool to learn about!

Well, what book did you not get around to this year? What have you learning about the publishing industry? Let me know and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (12-19-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly anticipating. This week, I'm looking forward to The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman (release date: December 25, 2012).

Synopsis (from GoodReads): “Bloom where you’re planted,” is the advice Christine Bolz receives from her beloved Oma. But seventeen-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village. It’s a world she’s begun to glimpse through music, books—and through Isaac Bauerman, the cultured son of the wealthy Jewish family she works for. Yet the future she and Isaac dream of sharing faces greater challenges than their difference in stations. In the fall of 1938, Germany is changing rapidly under Hitler’s regime. Anti-Jewish posters are everywhere, dissenting talk is silenced, and a new law forbids Christine from returning to her job—and from having any relationship with Isaac. In the months and years that follow, Christine will confront the Gestapo’s wrath and the horrors of Dachau, desperate to be with the man she loves, to survive—and finally, to speak out. Set against the backdrop of the German home front, this is an unforgettable novel of courage and resolve, of the inhumanity of war, and the heartbreak and hope left in its wake.

I've been looking for a great WWII novel to read and this sounds like something that I might really enjoy. So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (12-18-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

1) Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani - this was probably the best book I read this year and it was an audiobook! I loved it so much ... the characters, the stuggles, the settings ... it was just a great book and I cannot wait for the final book in this trilogy to come out!

2) The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach - I was so hesitant to read this book because I don't like baseball, but it turned out that although the sport was talked about, it wasn't the sole focus of this novel. This was Harbach's first novel and I'm so anxious to see what else he writes.

3) Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead - a close look at a New England family in the midst of a wedding, this novel examines society's expectations for us, what we expect from ourselves, and how certain milestones in life bring about certain behaviors.

4) Arranged by Catherine McKenzie - I became a huge McKenzie fan this year and read all of her books (she has three published), but this one was my favorite. It's chick lit but a step up, and something that you attempt to devour in one sitting (even though life kept on getting in the way!)

5) Dearie: The Remarkable Life Story of Julia Child by Bob Spitz - I've always wanted to know more about Julia Child and Spitz has written the definitive work on her life in this book. Very engrossing and read quite easy (which can be hard to do for a biography well over 500 pages).

6) More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi - this was my first Vincenzi book and I fell in love with her writing style and characters. 

7) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling - so, Mindy and I are destined to be best friends and this book proves it. It was like having a conversation with my best friend, who is geeky like me but we are both okay with it.

8) The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani - another Trigiani novel that has made my list! A moving love story spanning decades and continents, this was one of my favorite stories from 2012.

9) Defending Jacob by William Landay - I don't read many legal thrillers but I had to make an exception for this book. It was riveting and kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire novel. I never could have guessed the ending!

10) The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Freidman - I love a good travel memoir and Freidman's is one of my all-time faves. Showing how someone who always does thing by the book, Freidman takes you on an amazing journey across many continents.

There were so many great books that I read this year! It was hard to only choose ten! So, what were your favorite books of 2012? Let me know!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

Author: Catherine McKenzie
Published: January 8, 2011
Genre: chick lit
Paperback: 416 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, close friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share her life with, however, she just can't seem to get it right. When her latest relationship implodes, and her best friend announces she's engaged, Anne impulsively calls what she thinks is a dating service--only to discover that it's actually an exclusive, and pricey, arranged "marriage" service. Anne initially rejects the idea, but the more she learns about the service, the more she thinks: "Why not?" After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world; maybe it could work for her.

A few months later, Anne is traveling to a Mexican resort, where, over the course of a weekend, she meets and then marries Jack. And initially, everything seems to be working out. . .

My Thoughts: After reading the novel Spin (link goes to my review), I really fell in love with Catherine McKenzie's writing style. It's laid back yet manages to grip you in such a way that you want to read the book in one sitting. Her second novel was no exception to her first book and it made me love her even more. In this novel, we have Anne who has given up on the idea of ever finding the right man. When she discovers a professional arranged marriage business, she figures that she has nothing left to lose and gives it a shot. She is arranged to marry Jack, someone who is very compatible with her, but of course, things go awry and not everything is perfect.
One of the best things about this book was Anne. She is such a strong character, someone who you could definitely see existing out in the real world. McKenzie doesn't overexaggerate her characters and put them into positions and situations that are unfathomable. Arranged marriage might sound way out there, but as you are reading this book, it slowly starts to not seem so crazy. You can relate to why Anne would go this route instead of continue dating (especially as you learn about her exes). Her actions are things that any woman might do, making her so great. And Jack is a great foil for her. They instantly connect and they are a great pair. You know that something has to happen between him and Anne since this novel can't just sail along smoothly, but you just can't put your finger on it.
I also really enjoyed this idea of arranged marriages in our world. I wish that McKenzie has explored this concept a little more, because I do find it intriguing, but her novel gave a pretty good overview of how the process might work. If you haven't heard of McKenzie, I highly recommend her to anyone that enjoys chick lit. She is a great writer, someone with a fresh voice and plots that aren't like anything else that is coming out right now. She has a great writing style and you just want to devour her books in one sitting. Her latest one, Forgotten, came out in mid-October, and I'm already looking forward to seeing what she publishes next! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Audiobook Review: Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg

Home Safe
Author: Elizabeth Berg
Narrator: Elizabeth Berg
Published: January 1, 2009
Genre: chick lit
Audiobook: 7 discs (approx. 8.5 hours)

My Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): In this new novel, beloved bestselling author Elizabeth Berg weaves a beautifully written and richly resonant story of a mother and daughter in emotional transit. Helen Ames–recently widowed, coping with loss and grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained her–is beginning to depend far too much on her twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Tessa, and is meddling in her life, offering unsolicited and unwelcome advice. Helen’s problems are compounded by her shocking discovery that her mild-mannered and loyal husband was apparently leading a double life. The Ameses had painstakingly saved for a happy retirement, but that money disappeared in several large withdrawals made by Helen’s husband before he died. In order to support herself and garner a measure of much needed independence, Helen takes an unusual job that ends up offering far more than she had anticipated. And then a phone call from a stranger sets Helen on a surprising path of discovery that causes both mother and daughter to reassess what they thought they knew about each other, themselves, and what really makes a home and a family.

My Thoughts: I'm so torn by Elizabeth Berg's work and this novel is the perfect demonstration of my opinion of her books. The topics that her books cover are so interesting that I feel the need to read them. Then there is a character who is so annoying that it ruins the whole novel for me, and that character tends to be the main one. In this novel, we have Helen, a recent widow who is struggling with being alone after her husband died suddenly. Her daughter no longer lives at home so she has no one living with her, which gives her a lot of time to think. And what I realized very quickly was that Helen is so weak, it's absurd. There were so many times throughout the book that I wanted to slap Helen and say, "You need a dose of reality and fast. Seriously, grow up!" Unfortunately, I couldn't do that, so I had to suffer through her lamentations of how difficult it is to be a weak woman just to see what happens to the other characters in the book. 

Helen confuses a quiet woman with a weak woman. She says an ode to "weak" women at point, praising how they rely on others to call people to fix things, rely on others to pay bills and never once question their finances. It annoyed me so much because I wanted to tell her that she is not a real woman whatsoever when she relied on her husband to do everything. Seriously, it annoys me so much when women think that they should let a man do everything concerning money/important decisions/taking care of a home. Just get a grip and figure it out yourself! (I'm sorry if I'm preaching from my soap box here, but it's a huge pet peeve of mine.)

The premise of the novel is unique and it was interesting to read about how Dan surprised Helen with her dream house in California. However, hearing her constant complaining about life did not make it any easier to listen to. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (12-14-12)

Happy Friday everyone! Having a good week so far? I know I am ... I only have one present left to buy and I was able to finish my sugar and molasses cookies! Yay for being productive and getting some of the baking done (I do love to bake, but hours of it becomes tiring). Well, let's get onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy for Books asks:

What bookmarker are you currently using?

I have a magnetic bookmark that I'm using that as lasted me all year (which has never happened before, I tend to lose bookmarks quickly). It's a small one with a drawing of the Eiffel Tower on one side, then it says "Bonjour!" on the other. It's cute, small, and hard to lose, which I love.

Parajunkee asks:

What is the last book that made you cry? Tell us about the scene.

It's really hard for me to cry while reading books, but the last time I cried while reading one was last summer, reading Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I was reading the scene about Tully's grandmother dying, and it really touched me since my grandma had passed about two weeks before.

So, what bookmarker do you use? What's the last book that made you cry? Let me know and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (12-12-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly anticipating. This week, I'm looking forward to Vanity Fare by Megan Caldwell (release date: December 26, 2012).

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Molly Hagan is overwhelmed. Her husband left her for a younger, blonder woman, her six year-old son is questioning her authority, and now, so is she. In order to pay her Brooklyn rent and keep her son supplied with Pokemon and Legos-not to mention food and clothing-she has to get a job. Fast.So when an old friend offers Molly a copywriting position at a new bakery, finding romance is just about the last thing on her mind. But the sexy British pastry chef who's heading up the bakery has other thoughts. And so does Molly when she meets the chef's intimidating business partner-who also happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own Happily Ever After.

I'm really into food lit right now and this sounds like it's right up my alley! So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (12-11-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Favorite New-to-Me Authors in 2012

1) Jacqueline Winspear (the Maisie Dobbs series) - I fell in love with this series early in the spring and have been addicted ever since! I've managed to read every book in the series (but one), and am eagerly anticipating the newest book in 2013!

2) Nora Roberts - I know, I know, she's been around for years and I'm just reading her work now. However, I'm really enjoying it (especially in audiobook form), and cannot wait to read more of her books in 2013.

3) Jen Lancaster - I read my first Jen Lancaster book around New Year's last year and have been laughing ever since. She has a new work of fiction coming out in at the end of January, which I'm already waiting on!

4) Catherine McKenzie - I stumbled upon McKenzie's first novel back in the spring and have been addicted ever since. I have managed to read all three of her novels and I cannot wait to see what she writes in the future. If you haven't read her works (or even heard about her), I encourage you to learn more! She's a great chick lit writer and someone who I think has the potential to be around for a long time.

5) Adriana Trigiani - I have fallen in love with this author over the course of 2012. Her writing style just grabs you and pulls you in, and she leaves you rooting for her leading ladies. So glad I discovered her this year!

6) Penny Vincenzi - I read one of her books this year and absolutely loved it. The characters, the setting, the plot ... it all made for one great story. One of my reading resolutions for 2013 is to read at least two of her books.

7) Maggie Shipstead - Shipstead published her first novel this year, and what a masterpiece it was. Such a great work of literature from someone so young makes me anxious to see what she will write in the future. She was new to everyone in 2012, but I don't think this is the last we will see from her.

8) Bob Spitz - after reading his comprehensive biography of Julia Childs', I am wanting to read more of his work. The book was so thoroughly researched that I would like to see what he does with other subjects.

9) Chad Harbach - another first time author who wrote a beautiful novel. This was Harbach's first foray into fiction, and it was such a great read. It was so moving that I couldn't start on another book for a few days, I just had to let his words sink in. If you haven't read his premier book ... what are you waiting for?!?

10) Mary Kay Andrews - if you know me, that you know that I'm a huge fan of chick lit, and I discovered one of the bests this year. Andrews' work is so light and fun that it's hard not to enjoy.

It was hard to only choose 10, but I think that's a pretty good list! I'm excited to see who everyone else listed and I'm looking forward to reading more new-to-me authors in 2013!