Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

1. I remember, I remember rarely anything.

2. Dear Family I want you to know that I miss you terribly.

3. Is that my weight !!??

4. I'm trying to resist the temptation of getting anxious and impatient.

5. I'm saving a smooch just for you!

6. If I made a birthday list a Nikon digital SLR would definitely be on it!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to catching up with my best friend Tina, tomorrow my plans include baking my Daring Bakers Challenge with Jill and Sunday, I want to clean my house, nap and read!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I love me some ARC's!

Eeek! I received an ARC of The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman in the mail this week through Shelf Awareness and I'm super excited to read it! I feel beyond blessed that publishers send me books to review, it really has become a dream come true! Thank you!!

Here's the description from

From the bestselling author of Motherless Daughters, here is the real-life story of one woman’s search for a cure to her family’s escalating troubles, and the leap of faith that took her on a journey to an exotic place and a new state of mind.

In the autumn of 2000, Hope Edelman was a woman adrift, questioning her marriage, her profession, and her place in the larger world. Feeling vulnerable and isolated, she was primed for change. Into her stagnant routine dropped Dodo, her three-year-old daughter Maya’s curiously disruptive imaginary friend. Confused and worried about how to handle Dodo’s apparent hold on their daughter, Edelman and her husband made the unlikely choice to take her to Maya healers in Belize, hoping that a shaman might help them banish Dodo–and, as they came to understand, all he represented–from their lives.

An account of how an otherwise mainstream mother and wife finds herself making an extremely unorthodox choice, The Possibility of Everything chronicles the magical week in Central America that transformed Edelman from a person whose past had led her to believe only in the visible and the “proven” to someone open to the idea of larger, unseen forces. This deeply affecting, beautifully written memoir of a family’s emotional journey explores what Edelman and her husband went looking for in the jungle and what they ultimately discovered–as parents, as spouses, and as ordinary people–about the things that possess and destroy, or that can heal us all.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Club: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

So I've mentioned briefly before that I had joined a ladies book-club. Well back in July I wasn't able to attend the meeting due to scheduling conflicts so I wasn't there when they announced that our next assignment was to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett! I was so ecstatic when I found out because finally it was a book I hadn't read yet! And not only that, but it was one on my TBR pile. Double bonus!

I ADORED this book! Yeah! Finally a book I could rave about! After the last couple reviews I was starting to feel like a Negative Nancy and was really hoping I would have something positive to say :-) And Lawd (that's how they say it in The Help) have mercy! I'm sure glad I read it!

The story revolves around three women set back in the 60's in Jackson, Mississippi. It was a time of uproar and turbulence as the lines drawn between races were challenged and crossed. The author gracefully switches between the three character's points of view in such a way I was never confused or lost. I absolutely fell in love with the characters and was completely emotionally tied up in the well-being of Skeeter, Aibileen and Minnie. Though I have to admit, Minnie was my absolute favorite! There is a scene in there that will have you rolling on the floor. I felt as if Minnie were in the room herself telling me about the "something terrible" she did! I really don't want to give anymore away than what the synopsis already portrays - but you will absolutely fall in love with these characters and be astounded that this is a first-time novelist. Put this one at the top of your TBR list! Kathryn Stockett is sure to become a favorite of mine and I'm looking forward to see what she comes up with next!

Here's my bookclub meeting at the Arrington Vineyards in Arrington, Tennessee for dinner and discussion on The Help!
Can you honestly imagine a more beautiful location to have a book and some wine?
Description: Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

Rating: *****!

Recommend: Completely!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn

Altogether Secrets to Happiness was a bit too much of a soap opera for me. I felt the friendships between Holly, Amanda and Betsy were all really shallow with hardly any moral-redeeming qualities. At times I was impressed with Holly's stand against infidelity, but then she had her little 22 year old boy-toy on the side of which she broke his heart. And then there's Amanda who seems to have a great marriage and a small child and she's off having an affair with some other guy that Holly ends up falling for herself. Betsy thinks she's too old to find a man, so she's contemplating the door man. Oh and then there's Holly's ex who's off cheating on his girlfriend with some crazy floozy. I mean really - is being happy all about who you're having sex with? How shallow can we be? I thought it was sad that each character was desperately grasping at something else that might possibly fill that void and make them happy.

The only redeeming element for me was the little sick dog that Holly adopts who has a brain tumor. Finally a part of the storyline that has to do with giving and selflessness. That part of the story actually reached me a bit and I was glad it was included. Oh that and the cover, I love the cover!

I really do hate writing a negative review, but I feel I need to be honest of my impression of Secrets to Happiness. But to be fair, please check out these other reviews:

Everyday I Write the Book
Booking Mama
A High and Hidden Place
S. Krishna's Books

Description: Holly Frick just went through the worst kind of divorce: the kind where you're still in love with the person divorcing you. Alex had left her on January 3rd like a benevolent CEO who holds off the pink slips until after the holidays. Holly is left to wonder if she'll ever find happiness again. Like Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse, Holly is intimately involved in the lives of those around her, and she's compelled to give advice with unwavering moral certainty. And, like Emma, she is often completely off the mark. Soon, her advice will get her in over her head, and she'll find herself playing therapist to her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend while at the same time falling for her married friend's lover. Smart and touching, Secrets To Happiness is a hilarious look at the funny things people do to be happy.

Rating: **

Recommend: Sorry, not this time.

Precious by Sandra Novack

The storyline of Precious just altogether irked me. The majority of the book centered around the Kirsh family and hardly any attention towards Vicki Anderson who went missing at the beginning of the story. Then way too much detail was given on the relationship between Eva and her pathetic married high school teacher. He was such an idiot I wanted to flick him in the forehead! Then there's Eva's mom, Natalia who left her two daughters to discover herself with another man overseas and then returns back home which just about made me want to throw the book across the room. She behaved as if leaving her family shouldn't affect them at all and she could pick up right where she left off. I know life is messy and I wasn't asking for rainbows and butterflies, because I can tell you I've experienced my own fair share of mess - but still!

I mean sure, the characters were all complicated and flawed, but there was no redemption to them and they were so independent of each other. The story didn't drag on at all and was actually written really well in a way to pull you in therefore it was easy to get into, but at the end I was just blah about the whole thing and eager to fill my head with something else.

I'm so sorry, I'm not trying to rag on the author at all - it was just the storyline and premise that I was disappointed with. Not my cup of tea, but there are others out there who fully enjoyed it. So please check out their reviews for a more well-rounded opinion!

Book Addiction
Booking Mama
The Literate Housewife
Fizzy Thoughts

Description: The summer of 1978, ten-year-old Vicki Anderson rides her bike to the local park and goes missing. Her tight-knit blue-collar Pennsylvania neighborhood, where children roam the streets at night playing lightning tag, above-ground pools sparkle in backyards, and flowers scent the air, will never be the same.

Down the street from Vicki’s house, another family is in crisis. Troubled by her past, headstrong Natalia Kisch has abandoned her husband and two daughters for another man. Frank Kisch, grappling with his anger, is left to raise their girls alone, oblivious to his daughters’ struggles with both disappearances: Eva, seventeen, plunges into an affair with her married high school teacher, and nine-year-old Sissy escapes to a world of imagination and storytelling that becomes so magical it pierces the reality of the everyday.

When Natalia unexpectedly returns, the struggles and tensions that have built over the summer erupt into a series of events that change the Kisches irrevocably—forcing them to piece together their complicated pasts and commitments to each other.

In this haunting, atmospheric debut, Sandra Novack examines loss, loyalty, and a family in crisis. Lyrical and elegiac, Precious illuminates our attempts to make sense of the volatility that surrounds and consumes us, and explores our ability, even during the most trying times, to remember and hold on to those we love most.

Rating: **

Recommend: I'm sorry, but I really can't recommend this one. But the other reviewers definately would, so don't forget to check out what they had to say!