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Teresa's Reading Corner: October 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Join the Freedom Listening Club

Oprah is talking about it. So is TIME magazine and The New York Times. And you can too!  

Join in the fun:

Freedom Listening Club: Macmillan Audio’s month-long online audiobook discussion, launching November 1.

Having recently discovered my love of audio books I jumped at the chance to be a part of this.  Freedom is the longest audio book that I've tackled to date and I'm looking forward to the challenge.  If you haven't tried audio books yet, there are several reasons to give them a try.  The biggest one being that you can listen wherever and whenever you want to.  Listen in the car, at the gym, at home or even at work (my personal favorite).  

See what the folks at Macmillan had to say about the Freedom audio. 

Read by esteemed narrator David LeDoux, the audio edition of Freedom has received outstanding praise, mirroring the acclaim for the hardcover. Naming Freedom an “Earphones Award Winner,” AudioFile magazine describes the audiobook as “masterful” and one that “demonstrates the power of both the written and spoken word.” BookPage recently named Freedom their “Audio of the Month” for November, and Eric Alterman of The Nation called it “perhaps the best read audio book I've ever heard.”

They've already got some of the general information up on their facebook page.  Stop by and check it out.  Beginning on November 1st the discussion begins.

As an added bonus at the end of the Listening Club, Macmillan will pick 5 participants at random to win any Macmillan Audio audiobook of their choice. 

That is so cool!  I hope I'm one of the lucky five.

So what do you think?  Will you join me?  We can have mini discussions here at Teresa's Reading Corner and then take them over to the Facebook discussion.

I'm starting to listen tomorrow and then let the discussion begin.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Book Blogger Hop October 29th Edition

Welcome to Teresa's Reading Corner and this weeks edition of the Book Blogger Hop.  The Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books. The Blog Hop allows you to hop around and meet other bloggers.  All you have to do is write a brief post answering this weeks question and add your link to her post.  Then you visit other blogs, have a look around and say hello.

This weeks question is:
"What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"

I would love to have an in home library/reading room.  In this imaginary space you'll find floor to ceiling book shelves loaded with books.  There are also a few comfy chairs and a fireplace so that you are nice and cozy while you're there.

What about you?

A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand (audio book)

Narrated by:  Isabel Keating

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Claire Danner Crispin, mother of four young children and nationally renowned glassblower, bites off more than she can chew when she agrees to co-chair the Nantucket's Children Summer Gala. Claire is asked to chair the benefit, in part, because she is the former high school sweetheart of rock star Max West. Claire agrees to play the gala and it looks like smooth sailing for Claire-until she promises a "museum-quality" piece of glass for the auction, offers her best friend the catering job, goes nose-to-nose with her Manhattan socialite co-chair, and begins a "good-hearted" affair with the charity's Executive Director, Lockhart Dixon.

My thoughts:    I was really excited to dive into A Summer Affair after my wonderful experience listening to The Island.  This one was tough for me to get through in part because of the subject matter. To me the title and the cover graphic  presented something much more light hearted than what it delivered. I was never able to relate to Claire, I disliked the way that she handled the situation she was in and much of her behavior. I honestly never understood why Claire began the affair.  She didn't seem like she had a bad marriage.  Four kids under the age of 10 has to be a lot of work, but it can be done.  The only thing that I could come up with was that she was bored. The Affair never felt "good-hearted" as the synopsis indicates, but rather tawdry.

There were a couple of secondary stories that were interesting and I would have liked to see them developed a little bit more.  The effect of Claire's relationship with her sister in law and friend, Chavon is one of those.  It is something that many might not consider when beginning such an affair.

All in all I'd have to say that I would recommend this audio to those who like a story that is rife with sexual tension and aren't easily offended.

It seems that I have a love hate relationship with Hilderbrand's work.  I have The Castaways in my TBR pile so we'll see how our relationship continues.

Review based on an audio book version that I purchased. 

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First Impressions: The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate

Release Date: Oct 26, 2010

Synopsis from Goodreads: Holly Maguire's grandmother was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine–a Milanese fortune teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can't make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that's why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla's Cucinotta, she's determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother's legacy. 

But Holly's four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla's chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter's heart. Juliet, Holly's childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can't find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. 

As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla's essential ingredients of wishes and memories into every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed–and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness. 

My First Impression:  I was drawn to this book initially by the title.  My recent obsession with food related books has yet to be satisfied.  The second thing that I noticed about this book was the cover.  I wondered about the kitchen, whose kitchen is it, what happens.  Then I read the synopsis and knew that I had to read it.  

I know cover images are very important.  I've admitted myself that I do judge a book by its cover (just as I did with this one).  Knowing that the cover image played an important role in my own desire to read the book, I'm sure that you can imagine my surprise when I came upon this post from Girlfriends Book Club outlining how this wasn't the original cover.  I've learned that authors don't have much say in what their covers look like, but I didn't realize that it was driven by booksellers.  I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense.  The booksellers can see what books are being picked up and either bought or put back on the shelf.  Would I have had the same reaction to the initial book cover?  It's hard to say.  What about you?  Which cover would drive you to pick up this book.

First Impressions is a feature in which I tell you about a book that I've received, but not yet read.  My copy of The Love Goddess' Cooking School was sent to me by the publisher with the hope that I would review it.  


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blue Bells of Scotland by Laura Vosika

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Shawn has a skyrocketing musical career, fans, fame, money, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants. Everything changes Amy has enough and leaves him stranded in a Scottish castle tower overnight. He wakes up in medieval Scotland. Mistaken for the castle's future laird, he is forced to make a dangerous cross-country trek with a beautiful woman wielding a knife, pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor, to raise men for the critical battle at Bannockburn. 

Niall Campbell, Shawn's opposite in everything except looks, is no more happy to find himself caught in Shawn's life, pursued by women, the target of an angry girlfriend, expected to play a sell-out concert, and hearing the account of his own death and Scotland's annihilation at Bannockburn. He vows to figure out what went wrong at the battle, and find a way back to change it. 

Blue Bells of Scotland is both an action-packed adventure and a tale of redemption that will be remembered long after the last page has been turned. 

About the author:  Laura Vosika is a world traveler who has a degree in music.  Much of Laura's career has been spent with music.  She has worked for years as a music teacher, freelance musician, music teacher and band director as well as giving private music lessons.  She currently makes her home in Minnesota with her husband and nine children.

My thoughts:   I was very excited about this tour when it was announced.  The summary was somewhat reminiscent of the very book that turned me on to historical fiction.  It involved handsome Scots, and travel back into time.  Is this sounding familiar at all?  Niall was no Jamie Fraser, but he was captivating in his own way.  I was a little bit afraid that I would spend the entire novel making comparisons to Outlander, but I didn't have to worry about that.  Blue Bells of Scotland was different enough to grab my attention on its own.    

The story jumps back and forth between present day Scotland and Scotland in the year 1314.  The imagery transported me to the castles and moors of Scotland and I became immersed in the story.   I think that the author spent a sufficient amount of time in both time periods so that you really understood where each of the characters were coming from.  She gave you time to form your opinions on each of them and figure out where you wanted the story to go.  I was truly surprised by the ending and I am thrilled that this is the first installment of the trilogy.  I cannot wait to read the next installment, but I was unable to find out when we should expect to see it.

I would recommend this story to fans of Historical/time travel fiction.  Anyone who enjoyed Outlander will enjoy Blue Bells of Scotland.  I've already had two requests from friends to read my copy because they know how much I enjoyed it.  If you do pick it up, let me know what you think.

Do you have any suggestions of other authors or books similar to the Outlander series?  I'd love to check them out.  

I received my copy of Blue Bells of Scotland from the author to participate in this tour presented by Pump up Your Book. 

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Key Lime Pie by Josi S. Kilpack

Synopsis from Goodreads:  When Sadie Hoffmiller's new friend, Eric Burton, receives word that his missing daughter's body may have been found in Florida, he immediately packs his bags. Sadie is determined to stay home and prove to everyone that she is not a busybody. But when she senses Eric is hiding something, Sadie is compelled to take action. Before she knows it, she's in the heart of Miami, trying to piece together a trail that might just give Eric the answers he's so desperately searching for. In the process, Sadie finds herself in the company of some colorful characters and some good ol' southern cooking. But despite the drama and intrigue, all Sadie really wants is to go home ... as soon as she does just one more thing. 

My thoughts:  I received my introduction into Sadie Hofmiller's world when I read English Trifle earlier this year.  Key Lime Pie is the fourth in the Culinary Mystery series.  This had the mystery aspect that English Trifle had, but wasn't so much of a "whodunit" as it was a "what the heck happened" and a "do whatever is needed to save the day" kind of story.  While they are part of a series, each of these books is easily read as a standalone.  There are a few references to the previous stories, but not enough to confuse a reader who wasn't familiar with them.

If you have read any of the previous stories, you know that each volume has recipes scattered throughout.  I am really looking forward to trying some of the recipes that are included in Key Lime Pie.  The recipes range from Key Lime Pie (of course) to Southern BBQ Slow Cooked Chicken (which I really want to try).  There are also some Craisin Cookies that sound divine.  If you go to you can download a PDF of the recipes in the book.

Sadie is a bit of a busybody, but that is exactly what makes her so easy to like.  She only has the best of intentions with everything that she does.  Its extremely amusing that she always seems to get herself in a pickle.  One of the things that I love about this series is that even though it is a mystery, there is still that sense that everything is going to be okay.  Key Lime Pie is a highly entertaining read that is perfect for enjoying on a lazy weekend afternoon. 

This will be making the rounds to all of my friends and family who like a satisfying and fun read. 

Disclosure:  I received my copy of Key Lime Pie from the author to participate in her blog tour through Pump Up Your Book. 

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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel by Drew Hayden Taylor

Synopsis from Goodreads:  A sleepy native reservation. A troubled teen girl. A vampire returns home.

Nothing ever happens on the Otter Lake reservation. But when 16-year-old Tiffany discovers her father is renting out her room, she's deeply upset. Sure, their guest is polite and keeps to himself. But he's also a little creepy.

Little do Tiffany, her father or even her astute Granny Ruth suspect the truth. The mysterious Pierre L'Errant is actually a vampire, returning to his tribal home after centuries spent in Europe. But Tiffany has other things on her mind: her new boyfriend is acting weird, disputes with her father are escalating, and her estranged mother is starting a new life with somebody else.

Fed up and heartsick, Tiffany threatens drastic measures and flees into the bush. There, in the midnight woods, a chilling encounter with L'Errant changes everything... for both of them.

A mesmerizing blend of Gothic thriller and modern coming-of-age novel,The Night Wanderer is unlike any other vampire story.

My thoughts: I haven't really explored the paranormal genre so this was a step outside of my comfort zone.  There were a few different things that drew me to this story.   The first thing that peaked my interest was the setting.  The story is set in rural Canada near an Indian reservation.  I could easily picture the setting based on my own memories of the Queen Charlotte Islands.  I had the honor of living off the coast of British Columbia for two years while I was growing up.   

I knew that this book was geared toward a younger reader so I was pretty sure I could handle the "fright factor".  This was just about perfect for me.  It was descriptive enough to get your mind to wander down the path of anticipation but not so scary that you couldn't sleep at night. 

This truly is a coming of age story, but not just for the teens.  Several of the characters are going through their own coming of age.  This is what makes The Night Wanderer a story that any age can relate to.

Pick this one up for a quick read that explores culture, teen angst, three generations trying to relate to one another with a little bit of the paranormal thrown in.  I enjoyed it, and I think most of you will to. 

So now that I've taken a small step into the genre, which book should I read next?

You can learn more about Drew Hayden Taylor by visiting his page at Annick Press.


Check out the other stops on the Spooky Halloween Blog Tour!

Oct. 27: Chick Loves Lit
I was provided a copy of the Night Wanderer by the Publisher.  This is my honest opinion of the book.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Book Blog Hop October 22 Edition

Happy Friday Friends!  I'm very glad that the weekend is finally here.  Maybe I can get caught up on my posts.  If you are new to Teresa's Reading Corner please take a moment to look around.  I review a variety of genres including both historical and contemporary fiction.  I occasionally review children's books with my little monkey.  Take a moment to introduce yourself so that I may stop by and say hello as well.  

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books.  Its a simple but fantastic concept.  As a blogger we write a post for visitors to say hello on.  Once we've done that we head over to Crazy for Books and add the link to our post to the Mr. Linky.  Final Step, visit some of the other hoppers and say hello.

Each week Jennifer poses a new question so we can get to know one another a little better.  This weeks question is:

"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

Like so many other things, it depends.  If I am reading over my lunch hour I can be found at the picnic table outside the office.  I'm not sure what I'll do once it gets cold.  If I am reading in the evening I'm usually stretched out on my bed propped up by a bunch of pillows.  

How about you?

Planning to Live by Heather Wardell

Synopsis from authors website:  
Thirty-something Rhiannon is an obsessive planner and goal-setter, but somehow nothing she achieves ever seems good enough to her. Determined to lose forty pounds for her best friend's August wedding, Rhiannon flees her parents' house in a Christmas-day blizzard to avoid the temptation of all her favorite foods, but her car skids off the deserted road into a tree.Unable to escape the car, with her leg trapped and bleeding and her cell phone out of reach, Rhiannon is at first certain she'll be rescued and writes notes to her friends and family to pass the time. As the weather cools and her condition deteriorates, though, she recognizes the possibility that her life might be over. Interspersed with increasingly desperate escape attempts, her letters become deeper and more heart-felt as she comes to see what really matters in life.

My thoughts: I recently read Seven Exes are Eight too Many by Heather Wardell.  She warned me that Planning to Live was a very different kind of story.  She wasn't kidding.  

I found Planning to Live to be an entertaining read and was able to get through it quickly.  The characters were believable but felt a bit rushed.  I would have liked to get to know them a bit better.  This might have been due to the pace in which the story needed to be told.

I think Heather Wardell is extremely talented and is a great addition to Women's Fiction, but Planning to Live isn't her best work.  I'd definitely recommend Seven Exes are Eight too Many over Planning to Live.  

I received my copy of Planning to Live from the Author in hopes that I would review it.  All opinions are my own and were not influenced by receipt of the book.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Black Child to Black Woman- A Journey of Tremendous Proportions by Cheryl Denise Bannerman

Black Child to Black Woman is a 'live diary' experience that will grab your attention right from the start. Tara Walker speaks directly to the reader as she adds entry after entry into her Journal. She documents her experiences, her family life, her triumphs, as well as her interpretation of life and the world as she saw it. As she grows, so does the language and tone of the diary, which matches her maturity and speech patterns as the time passes.

Experiences are mere images engraved in our minds that we recall when future events occur such as a tragedy or even when a song is playing on the radio. Tara has captured those moments in time in her diary, even the painful ones. Although she came from a loving home with both parents, she struggled to come to grips with siblings addicted to drugs, molestation, attempted rape, broken hearts, and so much more.

Her diary experiences will make you laugh, cry, scream, sigh, and gasp aloud. As Tara struggles to keep her head above water and fight through the tribulations of her life, she continues to smile, continues to grow as a person, continues to be successful in her career, and continues to survive. Through it all and through her daughter, she eventually discovers the true meaning of unconditional love.

Come discover life through the eyes of Tara as she grows from a black child to a black woman.

My thoughts:  One of the things that I enjoy about blogging is being introduced to books that I wouldn't have picked up on my own as was the case with this book. 

This was a very quick read that follows Tara from her preteen years into her early thirties.  It is comprised of a series of journal entries that read much like excerpts from something you or I might have written.  I would have liked to have seen a little less of the standard "I'm sorry I haven't written in so long." and more story development.  I felt like there were a lot of unanswered questions.

I've thought a lot about what the author was trying to convey through this story.  The main message that I took away was about maintaining perspective.   I had a tough time relating to Tara as her life experiences were so different from my own.  Reading this was a reminder to me that things look differently when you look at them through your own lens of experience.  If you strip that lens away and look at things from a different perspective they look vastly different.

A Preview of the Book 

From a small town down South...
Hi. My name is Tara. Tara Walker. I'm just a child (nine years old to be exact), though sometimes I don't feel like one. I'm one of those kids that is tall for my age. But that's not all. I see and hear things I am not supposed to. Grown-ups are always tryin' to hide stuff from me, like I don't know already.

Trying to be a good little girl is not hard for me. I don't say much so it makes it easy to be the perfect little girl I am supposed to and expected to be. Good in school, no trouble at home, and I eat just about anything, so you can't even say I'm a picky eater. Sometimes I wonder why everyone always calls me "heavy-handed". I guess it's because I break things by accident, and also I'm kind of klutzy, I guess you could say. I’m much taller than most of my friends which makes me somewhat stronger than most my age. This is not something I do on purpose, but I think my mom and dad think that I do. Speaking of mom and dad, I guess you want to know about them, huh? Well, my mom works for this bank in Philadelphia called "1st Pennsy" I think. Anyway, she works all the time and mostly the late shift, so I'm stuck with my brother watching me until my dad comes home. My mom is nice. She's very pretty, and very classy, from what I hear. I try to be like her and also listen to everything she tells me because she's smart.

Sometimes my mom is upset because of my dad. You see, my dad drinks acka-hall (that's a bad drink), and my mom doesn't like it too much. Sometimes their fighting wakes me up and I can't get back to sleep for a long time. My dad's really cool! He's funny and he takes me everywhere. He works at this lumber company where they sell wood and when he has to take me with him to work I get to pretend I'm building all these neat things with hammers and nails. I get lost in my own little world and even forget to have lunch!  My dad takes me everywhere! Oh, wait, I said that already. Sorry. Well, this may seem weird to you but I even go with him to the bar. It's a place where all these people meet every day or weekend, I think. They drink that stuff my mom doesn't like and play pool (some boring game with sticks and balls), and video games. Whenever I go there I would drink soda from these tiny little glasses and eat snacks from a bowl and play video games. My favorite game was Space Invaders. Pinball was cool too. Everyone treats me great. It's like I am a movie star! Whenever I run out of quarters I just get more from my dad. That is my typical Friday or Saturday night. I guess my mom is at work. I don't really know.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author in order to participate in her tour through Pump Up Your Book.  

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Monday, October 18, 2010

One Day by David Nicholls

Synopsis from Goodreads:  It's 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. They both know that the next day, after college graduation, they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. As the years go by, Dex and Em begin to lead separate lives—lives very different from the people they once dreamed they'd become. And yet, unable to let go of that special something that grabbed onto them that first night, an extraordinary relationship develops between the two.
            Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself. 


My thoughts:  I had really high expectations for One Day.  I had read several favorable reviews of the book and gotten more than one personal recommendation.  Maybe it was because I had such high expectations that it fell short for me. 

I really liked the concept of viewing their lives over time on the same date and overall I thought that part of the story was well executed.  I really didn't understand either Emma or Dexter and found each of them difficult to like at times.  I wondered how could be such close friends and not sense something of the others feelings?  If they did sense them but didn't want to ruin their friendship, why not at least acknowledge them?  

Having said that, I did enjoy the book.  I just don't think it held up to the hype.  Had I not heard about how incredible it was, I likely wouldn't have had such high expectations and may have enjoyed it more.  Have you ever experienced a letdown after reading a book that had been hyped up?  I'd love to hear your experiences.

Disclosure:  I purchased my copy of One Day.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

Synopsis from Goodreads: Lindsey Rose has always lived in the shadow of her devastatingly beautiful twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey has put in years of 80-hour weeks and at twenty-nine is about to be named Creative Vice President of an elite New York advertising agency. Fate, however, has other plans and in one awful night, Lindsey's carefully constructed life implodes.

Humiliated and desperate, Lindsey flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents' Maryland home. Struggling to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible sister, she finds herself taking a job in a dating service - and having the time of her life. She is even beginning to have a real sisterly relationship with Alex ... until they both fall in love with the same guy. Then a long-held family secret is unleashed, flipping Lindsey into the one spot she never dreamed she'd land.

My Thoughts: I'm a sucker for a story about sisters, I have two sisters that I love dearly. Unfortunately they both live several hundred miles away from me so I don't get to enjoy them as much as I would if they were closer.

The Opposite of Me starts out with a sentiment that pretty much anyone can relate to. That sentiment is "My sibling is smarter, more beautiful, more successful, more (whatever) than I am." While I think I can safely say that we've all felt that way at one point or another, we generally get over it. Lindsay Rose hasn't. She is living to one up her gorgeous twin sister. Finally, the stress gets to her and she self destructs causing a series of events that she sees as catastrophic, but really leads to better things.

I seriously could not put this book down. The story so engaging that I returned to it in any spare moments that I had. There were twists and turns to Lindsay's discovery of her true self that I did not anticipate and I enjoyed every one of them.

I suggest The Opposite of Me to anyone who would enjoy a light read that still leads you through a wide range of emotions. I would love to read a follow up to find out what happens to Lindsay and Alex.

According to her website, Sarah Pekkanen's next book titled Skipping a Beat is coming out on February 23, 2011. I can't wait. 

To learn more about Sarah Pekkanen check out her website at: 

I'd like to thank Sarah Pekkanen for sending me a copy of this fantastic book to review.  This is my honest opinion of the book.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Book Blog Hop October 15th Edition

Happy Friday!  I don't know about you, but I'm glad its finally here!  Lets get started shall we?

If you are unfamiliar with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for books its a wonderfully simple concept.  Each week she poses a new question for us to answer to help jump start the conversations.  Each participant answers the question, adds their link to the list and starts hopping!

This weeks question is:

"When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?"

This is something that I have battled with.  I haven't done it very often (three times this year) but I will put it down if I am hating it.  There are so many books to read that I don't want to spend too much time on something that I'm not enjoying.

For those of you who haven't visited Teresa's Reading Corner before, Welcome.  For those who have, Welcome Back!  I invite you to take a look around.

Make sure you stop by my review of The Island and enter for your chance to win a copy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand (audio book)- Review and Give Away

Narrated by: Denice Hicks

Synopsis: If you you've read any of Hilderbrand's works you know that they are always set on or around Nantucket.  This time Hilderbrand has set the story on the island of Tuckernuck.  Sisters India and Birdie along with her daughters Chess and Tate visit the family retreat for the first time in many years.  Initially they were planning a "girls" retreat in anticipation of Chess' upcoming wedding.  When Chess announces that she has called off the wedding, the retreat turns into something very different.

My thoughts:  I was hesitant to start this one as my introduction to Hilderbrand did not go as well as I had hoped.  I read Barefoot in 2009 and wasn't really that impressed with it.  The Island was so much better.  I really enjoyed this audio book.  It was engaging enough to keep me interested yet light enough that I didn't have to focus solely on listening, allowing me to multitask.

Each one of the ladies heads to the island under the guise of "helping Chess", but we  quickly learn that they all had other motives for making the trip.  Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the ladies.  The reader learns what is going on through description of current situations and the explanation of what it is that brought them to the Island. There were some twists and turns introduced that I didn't completely expect. 

The narrator did an excellent job.  She had a distinct voice for each of the characters that helped to reinforce their personalities and backgrounds. 
While it was a very different story, The Island has the same feel as Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer that I read earlier this year.    I was pleased how the story ended, even if it was pretty clear that it was heading in that direction.  I don't think it was feasible to give it any other ending.

This was my second audio book experience, the first being Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson.  On a recent perusal of the Bargain Bin at Barnes and Noble I saw that The Affair on audio book was deeply discounted.  Since I enjoyed this one so much I immediately purchased a copy and am listening to it in bits and pieces.

What is your experience with Elin Hilderbrand's work?  Do you have a suggestion for an audio book that I must listen to?

I received my copy of The Island from Hachette Audio.

Thanks to Hachette Audio I have One copy of The Island to give to one of my followers.  To enter the giveaway you must complete the form.  Comments will not be considered entries.  The contest will end  at 11:59 PM Mountain Time on October 29th.  The winner will then have 48 hours to respond to my notification email or I will select another winner.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Author Spotlight: Julie Metz the author of Perfection

Last week I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Perfection by Julie Metz.  This week she's stopping by with some words of wisdom for the readers of Teresa's Reading Corner.

The Art of Stopping

For a person whose life has been an extreme motion whirlwind of work and mothering for the last seven years, my first thought in considering this theme was that I’d have nothing useful to say. But in truth, the only thing that has kept me sane has been learning to stop. And for me, that really meant learning. I’ve been a yoga student for the last fifteen years. Yoga classes have provided a wonderful place to let my mind get quieter while strengthening my body and sense of self. For me the most difficult poses have always been the short meditation at the beginning of class and the “corpse pose” at the end of class, where we lie still on our back for several minutes.
            I always hoped that one day I’d really learn how to just sit still without completely freaking out. This past February I made the rash decision to sign up for a three-day silent Zen retreat. I had no prior experience with Zen, and little knowledge, except from reading Natalie Goldberg’s beautiful memoir Long Quiet Highway, but there was something about the simplicity, dedication, and rigor of the practice as described in that book that appealed to my worker bee nature. I registered sight unseen, perhaps a good thing, for had I understood that I was about to subject myself to Zen bootcamp I might never have gone.
            Over the course of the weekend I learned all about the art of stopping. Each day we had two sessions consisting of three 30-minute sittings. We sat in the same spot for all the sittings, so I became intimate with the hole in the left sock of the woman sitting in front of me, the pain in my hips, and, even more painfully, with the chatter in my head that just would not quit. In between sitting sessions, we did silent walking meditation outdoors. I noticed so many details with refreshed senses—a fearless bird singing in a tall pine, the late winter light, the gusts blowing up from the river nearby. Meals were silent. I ate slowly and fidgeted less. I had nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. At night I sat still on my bed, and looked at the mountain framed by my small-paned window.
            Back at home, I told my boyfriend of six years about my new discovery. To my surprise (for he moves through life like a terrier chasing a stick), he was intrigued. We began sitting together several evenings a week before bed. We bow, I read a short passage from a book of Zen teachings, and we sit for ten to fifteen minutes. The first minutes are spent frantically running through lists in my head: things my daughter needs for school, laundry I forgot to put in the dryer, work deadlines. Then I see myself doing that and can find a quieter way to be. After several months, sitting itself has become a pleasurable posture and I look forward to the shared quiet time when we both take time to take some good breaths and find a good place to just stop our day.
            I have signed up for another retreat this winter—as I am sure I have much more to learn about the art of stopping.
Julie Metz is the New York Times bestselling author of PERFECTION, A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection for 2009. The paperback edition was released by Voice/Hyperion in May 2010. The recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, Ms. Metz lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York where she is currently at work on a novel.

Thank you so much for those fantastic words.  I know I am terrible at slowing down, let alone stopping.  I enjoy yoga, but I've not ever been able to really slow down and let my thoughts wander in and out of my mind without spending time on them.  Meditation is one of those things that I keep meaning to get to... maybe I should make it a priority this winter.

What about you, do my wonderful readers have any words of wisdom about slowing down?


Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Friday Blog Hop October 8th Edition

Welcome to the October 8th edition of the Friday Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books.  The concept is simple yet fantastic.  We each write a post answering her question of the week then link up to her post.  Once we've done that, we hop around and visit other blogs who have done the same.

This weeks question is:
What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging, if any? Is it tea, coffee, water, a glass of wine, or something else?
It depends on where I am and what time of day it is.  If I'm blogging in the morning you'll find me with either a cup of coffee or a latte.  In the afternoon I'll likely have water or a Dr. Pepper.  If its in the evening it could be water or possibly a glass of wine.

Okay, your turn!  Tell me what your beverage of choice is.

If you are new to Teresa's Reading Corner I invite you to take a look around.  I read and review a variety of genres.  Lately I have been reading a lot of women's fiction but I have some great historicals and children's reviews coming up.

Let me know that you were here and what you think so that I can hop by your place and visit you as well.  While my reader is full and my TBR shelves are overflowing, I'm always looking for more blogs and book suggestions.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Happy Fall Giveaway Winner!

Last Friday my Happy Fall Coffee Giveaway ended and the winner was selected.


was the lucky winner and confirmed that she wanted a pound of the Sumatra Organic French Roast from my favorite local roaster, The Black Cup Roaster .  Her coffee is on its way to her.

Congratulations Susan, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson (audiobook)

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Rose Mae Lolley is a fierce and dirty girl, long-suppressed under flowery skirts and bow-trimmed ballet flats. As "Mrs. Ro Grandee" she's trapped in a marriage that's thick with love and sick with abuse. Her true self has been bound in the chains of marital bliss in rural Texas, letting "Ro" make eggs, iron shirts, and take her punches. She seems doomed to spend the rest of her life battered outside by her husband and inside by her former self, until fate throws her in the path of an airport gypsy---one who shares her past and knows her future. The tarot cards foretell that Rose's beautiful, abusive husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first. 

Hot-blooded Rose Mae escapes from under Ro's perky compliance and emerges with a gun and a plan to beat the hand she's been dealt. Following messages that her long-missing mother has left hidden for her in graffiti and behind paintings, Rose and her dog Gretel set out from Amarillo, TX back to her hometown of Fruiton, AL, and then on to California, unearthing a host of family secrets as she goes. Running for her life, she realizes that she must face her past in order to overcome her fate---death by marriage---and become a girl who is strong enough to save herself from the one who loves her best. 

My thoughts:  Backseat Saints was my first foray into the world of audiobooks.  Well, that isn't entirely true.  When I was young, my dad sat down with his cassette recorder and a microphone and recorded our favorite bed time stories onto cassette tapes so that we could listen to them when he had to work the night shift.  Then there was the time that I borrowed a books on tape from the library a zillion years ago.  That was a BAD experience so we won't even go there.

Backseat Saints was my first experience with an audiobook that I loaded onto my ipod.  The story was read by Joshilyn Jackson herself.  I think she was a fantastic choice.  Her accent made a huge contribution to the story.  You knew exactly when you were with Rose Mae and when you were with Ro.  The inflection in Jackson's voice as she read and changed her voice for each character had such an impact.  I don't know if I would have affected as much as I was had I read the book.

The story itself tackles the extremely difficult topic of spousal abuse.  Jackson presents a complex character in Ro/Rose Mae.   Ro Grandee knew she was in a bad situation, and knew that she needed to do something about it.  She remained stuck until she comes into contact with the appropriate catalyst, the airport gypsy.  How do you make the choice when presented with the option of only one survivor, you or him?  Does a reasonable person take a chance encounter in the airport and turn it into a quest to regain their life?  Was Ro a reasonable person at that point?  There were several times that I just didn't know what to think. 

Throughout the story I felt like I was riding the emotional roller coaster right along with Ro/Rose Mae.  I was caught off guard more than once during the story and I think that was a good thing.  I hate it when a story is so predictable that I could have written it.

The intensity of the story was not entirely unexpected as I have read Jackson's work before, but that didn't make it any less thrilling.

I don't think that this story is appropriate for anyone that is easily offended.  If you liked Gods in Alabama or Between, Georgia you should definitely pick this one up.

I received my copy of Backseat Saints from Hachette Audio.

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Challenge Update

I have been meaning to write this update post for a long time now.  You may have noticed that my Challenge Page has disappeared.   I took it down because I need to revamp it.  I reached my goal of 50 books in 2010!!  (I actually reached it mid August, but like I said, its taken me awhile to write this).  I'm thinking that I might even be able to make it to 100!  I don't know if I'm confident enough in that to set it as a replacement goal, yet.

I just started book number 65 and have completed 20,949 pages.  

I've even ventured into the world of audio books.  I've now completed two and just started my third so look for those reviews to come.

Now on to the competition between me and my hubby... I have no idea where he's at.  I know that he has surpassed the 50 book goal as well, but he keeps telling me that I'm kicking his butt.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Voyages of the Artemis: Film Rumors

Voyages of the Artemis: Film Rumors: Diana Gabaldon addresses the rumors circulating that Katherine Heigl is being considered as a possible Claire Randall in the film adaptation of Outlander.

I have to say that I don't think she is right for the part at all. What do you guys think?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Jule Metz

Synopsis from the back of the book:  Julie Metz's life changed forever on one ordinary January afternoon when her husband, Henry, collapsed on the kitchen floor and died in her arms.  Suddenly this mother of a six year old became the young widow in her bucolic small town.  But that was only the beginning.  Seven months after Henry's death, just when Julie thought she was emerging from the worst of it, came the rest of it: Henry had hidden another life from her. 

Perfection is the story of rebuilding both a life and an identity after betrayal and widowhood.  It is a story of rebirth and happiness- if not perfection.

My thoughts:  I experienced a range of emotions while reading this book.  I felt Julie's pain as she was presented with the sudden loss of her spouse.  Facing the prospect of being a single mother to her young daughter had to be daunting, let alone having to deal with the aftermath of Henry's death. 

I also felt anger because I didn't understand why Julie felt the need to seek further information about things that happened in Henry's life.  I know that we all handle situations differently, but there were times that I felt like she wasn't moving forward.  I must tell you that I appreciated the fact that she was so incredibly honest in sharing her grief with the reader.  The story had an edge to it that kept me reading during those times that I didn't think I could continue.

Finally I felt relief when things started to come together for Julie and her daughter.  I was glad that things turned out for them the way that they did.

I hope that doesn't give away too much of the story.  This is a pretty intense story that you will get caught up in.  I'm not sure exactly who I would recommend it to...I guess anyone who likes intensity.   

In preparation for writing this review I visited Julie's website which you can find at  I came across a picture of her and Henry, which I hope she doesn't mind me including it here.  When I saw this picture I thought that she'd done an excellent job of describing him.  He looked very much like the man I had pictured as I read their story. 

Disclosure:  I was provided a copy of Perfection in order to provide my honest review.  My opinions were not influenced by receipt of the book. 


Friday, October 1, 2010

First Impressions: The Dead Rise First Rapture Countdown

Synopsis:  In the small town of Jordan, Oklahoma residents find themselves the victim of a shocking terrorist attack. A society so completely dependant on technology for its security and commerce has suddenly been turned upside down. Even worse than the uncertainty of their immediate safety is another problem that no one can explain.

People who have been dead for years are popping up all over town, appearing and giving witness that the Rapture of the Church is eminent but for the lost, the Great Tribulation. Who will listen to their message and repent and who will refuse to believe their own eyes?

Meet Jack, a pastor who is suddenly slapped in the face by what has happened and then baffled when he spots Sister Gregg, a former member of his church. The only trouble is the last time he saw the woman was at her own funeral. The town begins to shake at these events and as a church turns to their leader, Pastor Jack desperately searches for the answers he must give his congregation. How much time remains for people to repent is anyone’s guess, for Jack and his flock it’s a race to reach the lost.

The Dead Rise First is a fast paced, intriguing read for anyone interested in the Rapture. This book brings something new to readers and is provoking discussion among scholars with this one question: why do the dead rise first? Although purely fiction, the events are based on scriptural answers that unearth a new understanding concerning the rapture of the Church. Does it reveal a mystery about how God will raise the dead in Christ as seen in 1Thess. 4:13-14? Will it be the same way Jesus resurrected in Matthew 27:52-53? You decide.

Synopsis from the Authors website

My thoughts:   This is another one of those books that presents a very unique idea.  All of the reviews that I have seen for it present a lot of enthusiasm.  It is a bit of a departure for me, but I'm looking forward to giving it a shot.  Have you read it?  What did you think? 

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for review from the publicist.

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