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Teresa's Reading Corner: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Challenges Update!

I first told you about my personal challenge in March.  I figured it might be time for an update.  I have completed 29 books so far.  I don't think I'm going to have any trouble reaching my 50 in 2010 goal.  When I completed the 29th I had read exactly 10,000 pages.  The competition between my husband an I is still going strong.  I got ahead of him in both books and pages, but he is making up ground because he possesses the ability to stay up all night reading while I have never been able to do that. 

I haven't started my book for Jane in June hosted by Book Rat.  I have chosen to read Emma and am working on fitting it in.  I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time recently and definitely want to read more Austen.

Finally the Literary Road Trip hosted by Jenn's Bookshelves that I told you about earlier this month.  I am cruising along with that one.  I have featured a couple of  reviews by Colorado Author Sandra Dallas.  I received several great suggestions for authors to include in my trip from my readers.  I'm hoping to pick up some of them soon. 

Are you participating in any challenges?  How are they going?  I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Almost Forever by Deborah Raney

Synopsis from the back of the book:
Bryn Hennesey, a volunteer at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, was there the night the shelter burned to the ground and five heroic firefighters died at the scene.  Among them was her husband, Adam.  Like the rest of the surviving spouses, Bryn must find a way to begin again. But Bryn must do so living with a horrible secret...

Garrett Edmonds's wife, Molly, was the only female firefighter to perish in the blaze.  As her husband, it was his job to protect the woman he loved.... How can he go on in the face of such unbearable loss and guilt?

And what started the fire that destroyed the dreams and futures of so many?  Investigators are stumped.  But someone knows the answer....

About Deborah Raney:
From her website:

DEBORAH RANEY is at work on her nineteenth novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her newest books, the Clayburn Novels, are from Howard/Simon & Schuster. She and her husband, Ken Raney, have four children and enjoy small- town life in Kansas.

My Thoughts:

Almost Forever starts out strong and keeps on going.  I was engaged in the story from the very first page.  I didn't feel like there was a lot of build up in the beginning.  You are thrown into the story and get the background on the characters as the story moves along.  I really enjoyed this approach and would love to read the follow up novels in the Hanover Falls series.  I learned from Deborah's website that there are two follow up novels in the series.  The next installment, Forever After is currently in editing and only the title (After All) of the third installment was mentioned.  There was no mention of release dates.

My one criticism of the story is that the title indicates to me that the story is about Bryn and her husband Adam.  After Adam perishes in the fire the story is definitely about Bryn, but there is a focus on her budding relationship with Garrett rather than on her life.  I would like to have learned more about how Bryn handled life alone, or some additional background on her married life.

Despite the unexpected turn that the story takes, it is an enjoyable read.  If you like a pleasant romance with a little bit of intrigue mixed in, then you should check this one out.  

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from Glass Road Public Relations to participate in their blog tour in exchange for my honest review of the book. 


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

English Trifle by Josi S. Kilpack

Synopsis from Goodreads: High Crimes at High Tea Things to Do in England Visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the London Zoo Take the Jack the Ripper tour creepy! Sample authentic English scones and crumpets Discover a dead body What begins as a holiday trip for amateur sleuth and cooking aficionado Sadie Hoffmiller and her daughter, Breanna, turns into a bizarre mystery when they discover a dead body in the sitting room of an English manor. Breanna's boyfriend, Liam, is heir to both the family title and the family estate of Southgate, where everyone seems to have a secret . . . or two. When the body in the sitting room disappears, Sadie and Breanna are stranded at the estate until the police can clear them to leave. With their departure delayed, they might as well solve the murder. Armed with a jogging whistle, her personal recipe collection, and an unfailing sense of American justice, Sadie begins her own investigation to find the killer. But as Sadie uncovers layer after layer of misdirection, secrets, and outright lies, she wonders if anyone is telling the truth or if the case is really as hopeless as it appears to be. Take a missing family history, toss in a secret romance, mix with a mysterious murder, and this is one vacation Sadie will never forget. 

About the Author: 

Has written several books on her own and in collaboration with others.  English Trifle is the second in the Sadie Hoffmiller series.  The others are Lemon Tart (which I have but have not read) and Devil's Food Cake was released on March 3, 2010.  She currently resides in Utah with her family and assorted animals.  For more info on Josi visit her website at

My thoughts:
What a fun book!  Don't read this one on an empty stomach.  The recipes, OMG the recipes.  I haven't made any of them yet, but each time I came across one I wanted to.  The story was engaging and while was able to figure out the "whodunit" before it was actually exposed, I still enjoyed it a great deal.  The characters were real people, you liked them sometimes and not so much at others.  I felt that Sadie was a little bit of a know it all at times but she does get put in her place a couple of times throughout the story.  

I loved reading about Sadie and Breanna's adventure through the Southgate Estate.  I will admit I've never been to England and would love to see this type of family estate.  How fun it would be to grow up with such a place with hidden staircases and secret rooms.

This book is for anyone who likes a little mystery, a little romance and a whole lot of fun.  I think that we all have a Sadie Hoffmiller in our lives and we love them for being that way.   

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from Pump Up your Book for review and participation in their  Blog tour.  The opinion expressed in this review is my honest opinion of the book.  

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Morning for Dove by Martha Rogers

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Luke Anderson falls in love with Dove Morris, he is aware of her Native American heritage. What he is not prepared for is the prejudice suddenly exhibited by his parents against Dove. Luke struggles with the feelings until a wildfire on the prairie threatens Morris Ranch. Luke joins the battle to stave off the fire as it approaches and risks his life to save Dove. Will his parents see that love knows no boundaries of race or culture when it is rooted in God's love for His people?

About the Author:
Morning for Dove is Martha Rogers' second novel and is the second in the "Winds Across the Prairie" Series.  Before turning to writing she was a schoolteacher for 36 years.  She has also written non fiction and part of a novella collection.  She live is Houston, Texas with her husband of 46 years.

My thoughts:
I am fairly new to the genre of Christian Fiction in which Morning for Dove falls.  I enjoyed this book in an odd way.  This book evoked a lot of emotion for me. I liked and hated the characters at the same time.  I enjoyed their innocence and passion but got very angry at their ignorance and some of their decisions.

The setting was fantastic.  I could imagine myself walking into the old mercantile in Barton Creek, Oklahoma Territory, or even riding in the buggy out to the Morris ranch.

At first I had trouble with the relationship between Luke and Dove.  He was hung up on another girl until she married another man and notices Dove at the wedding.  Once he sees her he is immediately infatuated.  I have to consider that maybe that is how things were in those times in a small town and your choices were limited.  Once I got over it I liked how their relationship blossomed.  I was often frustrated with some of the prejudices expressed by some of the townsfolk, but felt a renewed sense of community with the support offered by others.

I have not read the first book in the series entitled "Becoming Lucy".  Some points in this story referenced things that happened in Becoming Lucy but there was enough explanation that I wasn't lost.  If I have the opportunity I would definitely pick it up. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy and innocent romance. 

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from Glass Road Public Relations for participation in their Blog Tour.  This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

The Blogging Community

I am in awe of how many great people I've come into contact with since I started blogging almost three months ago, and some of you even before I had a blog.  I have received several awards since I started and I am ashamed to admit that I've been postponing this post for so long I've misplaced some of them.  If I missed accepting one, please forgive me!

My very first one was The Sunshine Blog award from Reading Aloud.  Thank you!

This one goes out to all of you who comment on my blog.  I am grateful for your support.

The next one is The Great Blog Neighbor award from Reading without Restraint.  For this one you pass it on to five other bloggers who are great neighbors.

I would like to thank the following Neighbors:
Just One More Paragraph
Tales of Whimsy
Crazy for Books
Emily's Reading Room
Busy Moms who Love to Read

Finally I received the Bodacious Blogging Book Reviewers Award from Red Headed Book Child
If you are given this award you must first accept it by leaving a comment on the post you were nominated on. Then copy and paste the post and add it to your own blog. Make a list of the last 5 books you read and pass the award on to 5 other bloggers (no backsies!). Please also identify the blog from which you got the award and don't forget to tell your picks that they have a blog award!

My fellow Bloggers:
Reading Aloud
Reading Without Restraint
Page Turners
Good Karma

The last five books I've read:
Morning for Dove by Martha Rogers (review coming)
Almost Forever by Deborah Raney (review coming)
English Trifle by Josi S Kilpack (review coming)
The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas
Her Mother's Diary by David Curry Kahn

You guys are great.  In the time I've been trying to get this post completed I've received MORE awards.  I can't thank you all enough for all of your support and for the wonderful books suggestions!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First Impressions: Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn

Synopsis from the back of the book:  Brooklyn's famed Park Slope neighborhood has it all: majestic Prospect Park, acclaimed public schools, historic brownstones, and progressive values.  Among bohemian bourgeois breeders, claiming a stake in Park Slope is a competitive sport.

In Amy Sohn's smart, sexy, satirical peek into the bedrooms and hearts of Prospect Park West, the lives of four women come together during one long, hot Brooklyn summer.  Frustrated Oscar winning actress Melora Leigh, eager to relieve the pressures of raising her adopted toddler, feels the seductive pull of kleptomania; Rebecca Rose, missing her formerly robust sex life, begins a dangerous flirtation with a handsome neighborhood celebrity; Lizzie O'Donnell, a former lesbian (or "hasbien"), wonders what draws her to women despite her sexy husband and adorable baby; and Karen Bryan Shapiro consumes herself with a powerful obsession- snagging the ultimate three bedroom apartment in a well maintained, P.S. 321-zoned co-op building.  As the women's paths intertwine (and sometimes collide), each must struggle to keep her man, her sanity... and her playdates.

My thoughts: I had high hopes for this one when I read the synopsis.  It struck me as a fun read.  I should have known what I was in for when I saw the quote on the front of the book stating "Makes Desperate Housewives look like amateur hour".

I was a bit skeptical after the first page that the story was going to live up to my hopes, but I trudged on hoping for the best.  Sixty pages in I determined that this book is just not for me and I gave up.  Usually by that point in a book you can see where the story might be headed.  I didn't feel like this one was going anywhere. There was a lot of name dropping and celebrity worship.  It was also much racier than I expected.   I can handle a little bit of raciness in a book if the plot can support it.  This one starts off racy and just keeps on going.  It could be possible that the plot can support it later on, but I will have to wait for someone to tell me.  I am going to pass this one on to another book lover, hopefully she likes it better than I did.

You can visit these blogs to see what they thought of Prospect Park West

Frugal Plus:
Country Bookshelf:
Just Another New Blog:
Books Gardens & Dogs:
Renee’s Reads:
Starting Fresh:
Star Shadow:
My Book Views:
Jeanne's Ramblings:
Avid Reader:
Books Like Breathing:
I Heart Book Gossip:
Knitting and Sundries:
My Life In Not So Many Words:
A Room Without Books Is Empty:
Booksie’s Blog:
I Read:
Books in the City:
Teresa’s Reading Corner:
Reminder List:
Loving Heart Mommy:
Tethered Mommy:
Wise Owl Book Review:
The Book Tree:
The Down Home Diva:
Once Upon a Twilight:

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Literary Road Trip: Colorado Authors

I've signed up to represent Colorado in the the Literary Road Trip featured at Jenn's Bookshelves.  It a nutshell the Literary Road Trip has bloggers featuring authors that are local to them. 

I know of two so far that I've already reviewed on my blog.  Those are Sandra Dallas who is based out of Denver and Maggie Sefton who is based out of Fort Collins. 

If you know of any Colorado authors please let me know as I am looking for more.  I would love to feature them as well.

You can contact me by leaving a comment here or emailing me at

I'm really looking forward to participating in this and hope you enjoy it as well.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A chance encounter with a stranger in an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly, Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the church. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find--and follow--her own path to happiness.

About the Author:

Kim Wright has been writing about travel, food and wine for over 25 years in various publications. She has written Fodor's Walt Disney World with Kids. Love in Mid Air is her first novel.

My thoughts:

While divorce rates in the US remain high it is something that people don't really talk about. When you read about divorce in many novels it is something very tidy. Many authors don't write about the confusion and turmoil. They don't write about the loss of friends. They gloss over the divorce and move on to the love story afterwards. The truth is, even the nicest of divorces is messy. It isn't an easy task to separate lives that have been intertwined, especially when children are involved.

This story is different, it doesn't gloss over the mess. It takes the reader smack into the middle of it. Every path to divorce is different. Love in Mid Air takes an honest look at the path that Elyse chooses in deciding to end her marriage.

The great part of this story is the friendship that Elyse has with her book group and ladies at the church. It shows how things happening in one persons life does spill over and affect others around them. Elyse was lucky to have such a great source of support.

Would I recommend this book to others? Absolutely. I enjoyed its honesty, however I will mention that some portions of this novel are very sexual in nature. If you are bothered by that sort of writing, you might want to skip this one.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

This has been an rough week for me.  I lost a friend and fellow book lover unexpectedly.  I'm really glad that its Friday and am looking forward to finding some great blogs this week. 
Like the last several weeks, I'm kicking off this Friday the right way by participating in the Friday Blog hop hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. It is so simple, you link up your blog and then visit others who have done the same. Its a great way to connect with other bloggers.

Visit Crazy For Books and add your link. Make sure that you blog about it as well so those that visit you have a place to say hello!

If you've come to my blog from the hop, welcome! I've been blogging for just over two months. I read and review a variety of books.  Check out the blog and let me know what you think. Please say hello so that I know you were here and I can come visit you!

Have a great weekend.

Thanks for visiting!

Kids Corner Blog Tour: Jack's Dreams Come to Life by Sara Jackson

Today I am participating in a Blog Tour for Jack's Dreams Come to Life by Sara Jackson.  I am always looking for new books for little monkey so I jumped at the opportunity to review this one.
This book was beautifully illustrated.  This family of dog lovers wanted to cuddle with each one of them.  The story starts out with Jack romping around his ranch looking for something to do.  Doing the things that dogs do, Jack has great fun playing with a stick that turns out to be a snake, and nosing a ball that turns out to be a turtle.  I could have read an entire book about these adventures to Monkey.  The story changes directions at this point.  Jack won't play with the other two dogs because they are puppies and dismisses them in favor of a nap.  It is during this nap that Jack's Dreams come to life. He dreams of a five foot tall squirrel, falling down a hole and squeaky toys circling around him.  He gets into a barking/quacking competition with his toy duck. 

The story is full of imagination and might be enjoyed by an older child, but was a bit too abstract for the monkey. 

Disclosure:  I was provided a free copy of this book by the publicist in exchange for my honest review.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas

Synopsis from: Author's Website

It is the 1930s, and hard times have hit Harveyville, Kansas, where the crops are burning up and there’s not a job to be found. For Queenie Bean, a young farm wife, a highlight of each week is the gathering of the Persian Pickle Club, a group of local ladies dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their quilting skills to good use. When a new member of the club stirs up a dark secret, the women must band together to support and protect one another. In her magical, memorable novel, Sandra Dallas explores the ties that unite women through good times and bad.

About Sandra Dallas: (information obtained from the author's website)  I was pleased to learn that Sandra Dallas is a local author based out of Denver, CO.  She graduated with a degree in journalism from The University of Denver, and has since made her home there.  She has nine novels to her credit, as well as two non fiction works. 

She began her career covering the Rocky Mountain Region for Business Week and began writing fiction in 1990. 

My Thoughts:  

This is the third Sandra Dallas novel that I have read.  I previously read The Chili Queen and Tallgrass.  Impressed with her work I picked up several more novels, including this one.  I was not disappointed.  The Persian Pickle Club follows a diverse group of ladies in Harveyville, Kansas who get together once a week to quilt.  I was immediately immersed in the story. I enjoy quilting, but haven't experienced a quilting group like this.   For those of you who are not familiar (which I wasn't) Persian Pickle refers to a Paisley patterned fabric. 

Dallas lets you get to know each member of the club and explains their back story efficiently.  About mid way through the novel the main twist is revealed.  The remainder of the story is woven around the resolution to the twist as well as wrapping up the loose ends of the various sub stories.

My opinions of the members changed throughout the story as more facts are revealed.  This isn't a edge of your seat thriller by any stretch of the imagination, nor would I consider it a cozy mystery.  It is a well written story that will keep you reading until the very end. 

Of the three Dallas novels that I've read I would rank this as my third favorite.   I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story about friends and exploring another time in history.  I've got several more on my TBR shelf so look for those coming soon sometime.

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First Impressions: Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran

Synopsis from Goodreads:  She’s been burned not once but twice by London’s so-called gentlemen . . .Gwen Maudsley is pretty enough to be popular, and plenty wealthy, too. But what she’s best known and loved for is being so very, very nice. When a cad jilts her at the altar—again—the scandal has her outraged friends calling for blood. Only Gwen has a different plan. If nice no longer works for her, then it’s time to learn to be naughty. Happily, she knows the perfect tutor—Alexander Ramsey, her late brother’s best friend and a notorious rogue.So why won’t a confirmed scoundrel let her be as bad as she wants to be? Unbeknownst to Gwen, Alex’s aloof demeanor veils his deepest unspoken desire. He has no wish to see her change, nor to tempt himself with her presence when his own secrets make any future between them impossible. But on a wild romp from Paris to the Riviera, their friendship gives way to something hotter, darker, and altogether more dangerous. With Alex’s past and Gwen’s newly unleashed wildness on a collision course, Gwen must convince Alex that his wickedest intentions are exactly what she needs.

My First Impression: I just received this book yesterday and did not have time to read it before the tour kicked off today.  It has been a long time since I've read anything that is actually categorized as a "romance".  From the synopsis it seems like it is going to be pretty good, and it has gotten rave reviews all over the blogosphere.  It is also historical fiction which is one of my favorite genres. 

How many of us judge a book by its cover?  I know I shouldn't, but I often do.  This cover leads me to believe that this book might be a little on the racy side.  I'm looking forward to this one.

Other Tour Participants:
Frugal Plus:
My Five Monkeys:
Books and Things:
The Bibliophilic Book Blog:
My Book Addiction and More:
Just Another New Blog:
The Book Girl:
Poisoned Rationality:
She Reads:
Taking Time For Mommy:
Avid Reader:
Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks:
Books Like Breathing:
Knitting and Sundries:
See Michelle Read:
In The Hammock:
Reminder List:
Drey’s Library:
DK’s Everything Books Blog:
Loving Heart Mommy:
The Book Tree:
The Down Home Diva:
Once Upon a Twilight:

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A New Feature: First Impressions

I wanted to introduce a new feature here at Teresa's Reading Corner.  It has been my philosophy so far to only post about a book after I've read it.  I realized that perhaps I could generate more discussion on books if others were reading them at the same time, and thus First Impressions was born.

Periodically I will post my first impression of a book that I've picked up but not finished yet.  What do you think?


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Her Mother's Diary by David Curry Kahn

Synopsis from the back of the book: Alison Etcheverry is homeless, estranged from a wealthy family that refuses to acknowledge her, and on the run from the drug lords responsible for her parents' deaths. But she has more than her own survival to think about. To fulfill her late mother's last wish, Allison needs to find the money her mother hid before the killers do.

An unlikely haven appears in the form of an elderly man, devastated by the loss of his wife. As Allison reaches out to him and his family, she finds that she has the strength not only to overcome her own struggles, but to help others do so as well.

Her Mother's Diary combines suspense and romance in a tightly woven, fast paced story that you won't want to put down.

My thoughts:

Her Mother's Diary was a definite departure from the books that I've been reading lately.  I've been reading a lot of quirky, fun and slightly fluffy novels.  This one was darker than anything I've read for awhile.  At first I wasn't sure that I wanted to read it, but I kept coming back to it and finally gave in. I was drawn to this book by several things.  The first was Allison herself.  Even in the blurb above you can tell that Allison is not your typical 18 year old girl.  I was also drawn to the relationship between Allison and the "elderly" man (from blurb above). I was curious how a male author would handle writing from more of a female perspective. I have been reading a lot of work written by women lately.

That being said, I feel like this is one of those books that is not n easily reviewed without giving away a few things but I'm sure going to try.  I don't want to give away too much because I do feel like it is worth a read. 

The things that Allison endures throughout this story are simply mind boggling.  The fact that she is still standing by the end of it is tribute to the type of woman she is becoming.  there are a lot of unfathomable things happening throughout the story.  The way that Allison handles them might not be entirely realistic, but id does definitely teach a lesson in perseverance and determination.   I wholeheartedly agree with the blurb, it is extremely fast paced.

I believe that this book is marketed toward teens.  Considering that, I had some question about the romantic aspect of this story.  I've wondered whether it is appropriate or even necessary to the story.  I guess it goes to prove the message that even though one goes through all of these things, there is a life worth living on the other side.

My "final say" on this story keeps changing the longer I ponder it so I'm really not sure what to put here.  I'll say this.  If you get a chance to read it, let me know what you think.  Did it stick with you for awhile after you read it.  Do you agree with the romance or did you find it kind of peculiar?  I'd be interested to hear how it affected others. 

Disclosure:  A copy of this book was provided to me by Paula at AME in exchange for my honest review.  Thanks Paula!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Blog Hop

This has been an especially long week for me so I'm super excited that it's FINALLY Friday! Yay!

Like the last several weeks, I'm kicking off this Friday the right way by participating in the Friday Blog hop hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. It is so simple, you link up your blog and then visit others who have done the same. Its a great way to connect with other bloggers.

Visit Crazy For Books and add your link. Make sure that you blog about it as well so those that visit you have a place to say hello!

If you've come to my blog from the hop, welcome! I've been blogging for just over two months. I read and review a variety of books. I've got three reviews that I hope to post this weekend so look for those. Check out the blog and let me know what you think. Please say hello so that I know you were here and I can come visit you!

Have a great weekend.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Author Spotlight: Katherine Center

 I recently had the opportunity to chat with Katherine Center who has written three books.  I've read two of them and can tell you that they are absolutely outstanding.  The only reason I haven't read the third is that I haven't been able to find it locally.   Her most recent work, Get Lucky was just released at the beginning of April.  Her two previous works are The Bright Side of Disaster, and Everyone is Beautiful.

1. Is there an author that has inspired you?  If so, who?

Many, many, many. Too many to count! I get infatuated with authors and gobble them up--really almost like trying to absorb them into my cellular structure. In college, I was crazy for Lorrie Moore. In graduate school it was David Sedaris (and still is). I am totally fascinated by the intersection of comedy and heartbreak, and I'm always drawn to writers whose work is both funny and bittersweet.

2. What are you currently reading?

I am working my way through a non-fiction book about whales called The Whale, by Philip Hoare. But this month has been off-the-charts busy, so it's very slow going!

3. What is your favorite part about writing books?

The writing itself (as opposed to the publicizing) is always, always a happy thing for me. I do not suffer from writer's block. I have a list of at least 30 ideas for stories just waiting in line for their turn. Holding a story in your head and watching it come to life is so magical it actually gives me a butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling sometimes. In fact, writing a novel is very much like reading a novel that you're really into--you do that same thing of reading at stoplights and setting the book open on the kitchen counter while you're chopping dinner so you can steal a few more pages. Except with writing, you're stealing time to write, not read.

4. When someone asks you for a book recommendation, is there one that you always recommend?

It depends a lot on what people are looking for when they ask, but Jane Austen's Persuasion, Richard Ford's Independence Day, David Sedaris's Naked, and Anita Diamant's The Red Tent come up over and over. Within the genre of contemporary women's fiction, I love to recommend Sarah Dunn's The Big Love, Laura Zigman's Animal Husbandry, Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed, Lolly Winston's Good Grief, Marisa de los Santos's Love Walked In, and Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife. I'm sorry--did you ask for just one?

5. If you aren't enjoying a book do you finish it anyway or put it down? If you put it down, how much time do you allow before making that decision?

I put it down! But that's a new thing since I had kids. Before that, I felt duty-bound to finish. Now, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I have a 50 page rule. If it's not happening for me by page 50, I move on. Too many books in the world to waste time!

6. How long did it take you to write Get Lucky?

It takes about a year. I am actually a very fast writer, and also very obsessive when I have a project going. If that pesky thing called real life didn't need attention, I would just eat and sleep the story until it was done. As it is, I have to work my imaginary friends in when the real people in my life don't need me!

Anything else that you'd like to share?

Well, I have a fancy new website that we just redesigned to celebrate Get Lucky coming out, and it has a page with gorgeous blog buttons. We're about to do a new batch, too. I love them, and I wish I could get them as tattoos.

Also, in addition to writing novels, I've started making video essays. I feel very proud of them, and I'm always hoping people will discover them and share them with friends!

A big thank you to Katherine for taking the time to answer my questions.  I hope you will go and check out Katherine's website, its pretty cool!

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kids Corner: Wild Animal Baby

Wild Animal Baby is a publication put out by The National Wildlife Federation.  Little Monkey's aunt purchased a subscription for him for his first birthday.  He looks forward to this child friendly magazine's arrival.  Each month a different animal is featured on the cover.  It is not only entertaining, but educational.  Monkey has learned about so many different animals since he started reading these. He has read each edition numerous times. 

The subscription is $19.95 for a year with a bonus gift of a baby dish set (which monkey loves).  When your child outgrows the baby edition, there is another level although we haven't explored it yet as we are still enjoying Wild Animal Baby.   Click over there, its worth checking out.


The Promise of Lumby by Gail Fraser

The Promise of Lumby is the fourth book in the Lumby Series written by Gail Fraser. The others are Lumby Lines, Stealing Lumby, and Lumby's Bounty.

Synopsis from the back of the book:
Hidden in the foothills of a bucolic landscape are the charming village of Lumby and its quirky inhabitants.  The town mascot , Hank, a pink flamingo who thinks he's a bald eagle, came to Lumby long ago because of its mountains, while others still come for the promise of a brand-new start.  But what happens when the town's warm welcome turns cool?
At Montis Inn, the success of Pam Walker's on location restaurant is leaving her overworked and frazzled, while her husband Mark's fascination with Internet auctions leads to some outlandish purchases, one of which requires military clearance.  Meanwhile, Lumby's only veterinarian, Dr. Ellen Campbell, has decided to sell her business, and the townsfolk are in full panic mode.  Who will tell blind Jeremiah that his old horse Isabella is eating rabbit feed, and who will help little Timmy convince his parents that a puppy is the perfect pet?

When animal doctor Tom Candor arrives in Lumby, he seems the answer to everyone's prayers.  But some residents are not so trusting of the shy, pensive vet, especially newspaper owner Dennis Beezer, who is determined to expose Tom's secrets.  The repercussions lead to an unpredictable, over-the-top adventure- and a heartfelt lesson the people of Lumby won't soon forget.

My thoughts:

It took awhile for me to really get into this story.  Unlike the others it opens with the introduction of a new character, Tom Candor.  The opening is an introduction to an incident that occurred in Tom's life fifteen years ago.  I won't reveal it as it is a pretty relevant part of the story.

Following the pattern set in the previous stories, one of the characters that was previously in a supporting role is brought to the forefront of the story.  This time it is Mackenzie McGuire, the town carpenter.  Much of the story centers around a romance between Mac and the newcomer in town.  All of your favorites will still make an appearance, including the monks of Saint Cross Abbey who get themselves into a fine predicament while doing some public relations. 

Some of the characters from the previous novels who were among the group of townsfolk who were more accepting of newcomers will surprise you in this installment.

All in all this was a very entertaining story.  Some of Mark Walker's shenanigans were a bit over the top in this one, which is okay by me.  Escaping reality is one of the reasons to read such a novel.

I can't say that this one is a favorite in the series, but it is worth a read, especially if you've already gotten to know the town of Lumby in the previous three novels.  You might be interested in knowing that  there is a fifth installment Lumby on the Air coming out July 6, 2010.

If you are interested in learning more about Gail Fraser and the Lumby Series, head over to to learn more.  It is an interesting website which includes more of the fun artwork that is featured throughout the books. 

Disclaimer: I received my copy of The Promise of Lumby from the publicist in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Caitlin.  I was not compensated in any other way.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lumby's Bounty by Gail Fraser

Lumby's Bounty is the third installment in the Lumby Series written by Gail Fraser. The first was The Lumby Lines, the second was Stealing Lumby.

Synopsis from the back of the book:
Tucked into the foothills of the Rockies lies the charming village of Lumby, where quirky and tolerant townsfolk usually make the best of any situation. Not a week goes by without some humorous mayhem occurring under the watchful eyes of the mayor, the sheriff, and, of course the town mascot, Hank, a pink flamingo who thinks he's a bald eagle...

How Lumby has come to host a hot-air balloon festival is a long story, but the town's residents are jumping right into preparations. Montis Inn owner Mark Walker assumes command with less than successful results. Lucky for Lumbians, two visitors at Saint Cross Abbey are balloon enthusiasts. As Kai and Jamar help Lumby take flight, their efforts are noticed by Caroline Ross, granddaughter of the town's recently deceased matriarch. While romance grows, cultures clash, and balloons crash in town, Pam Walker is tethered to her home with an overwhelming challenge of her own. And all are keeping their fingers crossed for blue skies and smooth sailing...

My thoughts:
This third installment in the Lumby series contained the same elements as the first two. There is a great combination of mystery, drama, romance and humor. While all of the same characters were present, there were some newer ones that were highlighted. My favorite of these was Hannah. Hannah had previously been mentioned just a few times as the wife of mayor Jimmy D. Hannah plays an integral role in the towns balloon entry for the festival. Throughout the story she tackles some personal struggles and learns a lot about herself. If you've been reading my reviews, you know how I feel about strong female characters. I especially love when there is self discovery involved.

Of the three installments that I've read so far I'd have to say that the second, Stealing Lumby has been my favorite so far. This is a great series to pick up if you are looking for an escape. It will hold your attention and capture your heart.

Disclaimer: I received my copy of Lumby's Bounty from the publicist in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Caitlin.