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Teresa's Reading Corner: July 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Blog Hop

Book Blogger HopHappy Friday.  I don't know about you, but I am ready for the weekend. It's time to start it out right with the Friday Blog Hop.  I can't tell you how many new and fantastic bloggers I've found through the Friday Blog Hop.  A huge Thank You to Jennifer over at Crazy for Books for putting this together and hosting it each week.

What is the blog hop?  Jennifer can explain it much better than I can so head on over to her blog and see what its all about.

This weeks question:

Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?

This is a really tough question because I have read so many fantastic books already this year.  I'd have to say that my favorite new to me author this year is Leah Stewart.  I recently read and reviewed Husband and Wife.  I really enjoyed the story even though it was about a not so pleasant topic.  You should definitely check it out.

If you have come to me from the Hop, Welcome.  Please check out some of my reviews.  I do review a few genres including contemporary fiction, children's books, historical fiction and I'm hoping to get in a few classics.

Please say hello and let me know you were here so I can return the favor.  Happy Hopping!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Rose Blooms Among the Thorns by Cissy Hunt

Synopsis from Goodreads: After finally receiving the divorce that LaRae believed would finally set her free from domestic violence, she ends up staying on the run from her abusive ex-husband, James, who stalks her across the country. When she finds herself really free of James, LaRae struggles through the up and downs of trying to make a peaceful life for herself. A life free of the violence that left scars of fear and pain, not only physically, but mentally as well. LaRae finds a friend that helps point her on a path that leads to hope, healing, and a new life.

My thoughts:  Domestic abuse is such a difficult topic to address in any medium.  The numbers are absolutely astounding yet it doesn't seem that it is a problem that is openly being discussed.   By writing about it, Hunt is bringing this problem to our attention.

In A Rose Blooms Among the Thorns you will feel the fear that LaRae Jones lives with every day of her life.  She did what you are "supposed" to do by leaving her husband and getting a divorce after he began abusing her.  Even leaving the situation she did not get her life back.  She moves from town to town always looking over her shoulder to make sure that her ex isn't there.  She has developed an intuition that tells her when it is time to move on.   These long lasting effects of the abuse stay with her.  I can't even begin to imagine what that must feel like. 

The premise of this story is a great one but I do feel that it could use some tweaking.  Some parts of the story just felt awkward to me.  In the end I couldn't finish the book.  LaRae's path to healing takes some turns that are just a bit over the top for my taste. Putting down a book is always a difficult decision for me to make, but I found myself not enjoying the story any longer and skipping pages at a time so I knew it was time.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lucy Springer Gets Even by Lisa Heidke

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Lucy Springer thinks she's got it tough. She's living through renovation hell, her two kids seem more challenging than ever, and her once successful acting career has been reduced to the odd commercial. 

Then Max, her husband, absconds to Bali with an unknown companion and things got from bad to disastrous. 

But Lucy doesn't give up easily. Juggling increasingly chaotic building dramas, bewildered children, her crazy best friend-slash-agent Gloria, her ever "helpful" mother and chasing after Max, Lucy Springer is determined to get her life onto an even keel - and more.

My thoughts:  Lucy Springer gets even is Lisa Heidke's first novel.  As soon as it arrived I was anxious to pick it up.  This summer I've been trying to lighten up my reading a little bit and this book fit the bill.  The story takes infidelity which is a pretty heavy topic and turns it into a humorous read.   

The characters are spunky but human.  The way that they react to the situations at hand could easily be found in your own parents group or community.  The revelation of Max's mistress was wonderfully written.  I was truly surprised by who it was and how Lucy found out.  I loved that I was "in the dark" right along with her.  Through the first part of the story I was occasionally frustrated by Lucy, but she turned it around and I really liked her character in the end and was pleased with the outcome of the story.  I am left wondering if there is a sequel in the works...

Since Lisa is an Australian author there were some phrases that I was unfamiliar with but that made the story that much more interesting to me.  I also had fun imagining the characters speaking with an accent.  Especially those in the construction crew.  

What Kate did Next is Lisa Heidke's second work that I would love to get my hands on.  It looks pretty good as well.  

For more information on Lisa Heidke go check out her website

Disclosure:  I was provided a copy of Lucy Springer Gets Even by the Author to participate in her virtual tour with Pump Up Your Book.  This is my honest opinion of the book.  

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Beautifully written, powerfully felt, full of both abundant joy and heart-wrenching sorrow, Beachcombers is an extraordinary novel that centers on the bittersweet reunion of three captivating, very different sisters on Nantucket over one gorgeous, exhilarating summer. 

Abbie Fox hasn’t seen her father or two younger sisters in almost two years, during which she’s jetted around the world and experienced life, if not love. But now Lily, the baby of the family, is sending Abbie urgent emails begging her to return home to Nantucket. Their middle sister, Emma, has taken to her bed, emotionally devastated after the loss of her high-powered stockbroker’s job and a shockingly unexpected break-up with her fiancé. Also, Lily is deeply worried that Marina, the beautiful, enigmatic woman renting their guesthouse, has set her sights on the sisters’ widowed father, Jim. The Fox girls closed ranks years ago after the haunting, untimely death of their mother, but seeing their dad move on with his life forces each of them to take stock. 

Over the course of the summer, the sisters’ lives grow as turbulent as the unpredictable currents encircling Nantucket. When Abbie encounters an incredibly appealing married man, she breaks her own rules in the name of love, fearing all the while that she’ll regret it. Meanwhile, type-A Emma learns a new definition of success, and strong-minded Lily must reconcile her dreams with reality. Even Marina, who has come to Nantucket to forget heartbreak and betrayal, faces an astonishing turn of events that will find her torn between fate and freedom. At summer’s end, these unforgettable women will face profound choices—and undergo personal transformations that will surprise even themselves

My thoughts:  Nancy Thayer is a new to me author, but she is definitely not new,  she has 20 novels to her credit.   I selected this book for two reasons.  The first is that I was looking for a good sisters story since the last one I read was  Get Lucky.  The second was that I was looking for a lighter summer read.  I was not disappointed on either front. 

All of the characters were likable, but my favorite character was Marina.  She was dealing with such a difficult situation and handled it with tremendous grace.  Her time wasn't spent moping around and whining about what happened to her, instead she was embracing her time on the island, meeting new people and learning new things.  

My least favorite without question was Lily.  The youngest of the Fox sisters pranced around like the world owed her something and threw tantrums when she didn't get it.  I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to tell her to get over it.  

Beachcombers is a story about overcoming adversity, growing up, letting go and finding your true love.  So many great themes wrapped up in this lovely package.  

If you haven't read it, I recommend picking it up and giving it a try.  If you have, what did you think?

Disclosure:  I received my copy of Beachcombers from the publisher to participate in this Virtual Tour hosted by Pump up Your Book.  This is my honest opinion of Beachcombers.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010


Congratulations Karen, you are the winner of my Red Rain giveaway. 

Thank you to all of my readers.  I appreciate every one of you.  Keep reading,  I've got some more giveaways coming up soon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Author Spotlight: Renee Wiggins

Please welcome Renee Wiggins author of Transformations: Give up the Struggle to Teresa's Reading Corner.

Q. Tell me about you?
a. Renee Wiggins has mentored, trained and changed lives in the health and wellness industry for more than 20 years. A strong believer and encourager in living an authentic, healthy lifestyle  programs that are tailored to the clients needs, goals. Renee Wiggins is registered dietitian and  certified Massage therapist. She is the author of several book including "Stress Down and Lift Up'

Q.  Where did you get your inspiration  or idea for this book?
I wrote Transformations in response to situation I saw all around me. I saw women and men struggling simply because they didn't know that change is not a negative thing. When we are open to taking ourselves from one level to the next , we take our power back, chains are broken, and positive things begin to happen in our lives.

Q. What is one thing about your book that makes it different from other books on the market?
A. My book is unique  because it is based on real-life situations , as opposed to theory. I wrote  this book with a sincere desire to heal and to help.

Q. Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, I am currently writing Part Two of my current book, Transformations:Give UP The Struggle.This book will be a collection of non-fiction and fiction stories of people who danced through some of life's most turbulent storms. It 's my hope that these stories will provide the strength and guidance others my need to change their lives.

Thank you for this interview, Renee , good luck with your book tour 

You can also visit Renee on her website.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's Friday, Let's Hop!

It's Friday again,  I hope everyone had a fantastic week and are ready for the weekend.  I know I am.  

That Crazy Jennifer over at Crazy for Books who is the fantastic hostess of the Friday Book Blogger Hop is mixing things up for us again this week. 

I am getting ready to finish Lucy Springer gets even by Lisa Heidke.  It is about a thirty something Australian actress who is in the process of trying to spark up her career in the midst of handling some curve balls that life has thrown her way.  Look for my review in the next week.

Jump over to Crazy for Books and add your link to the list.  Hope by some of the other blogs and say hello.  I'm sure you will find something new, I always do. 

To those of you who have come to Teresa's Reading Corner via the hop, welcome.  I'm glad you stopped by.  I hope that you will stay awhile.  I've got a giveaway going on which is getting ready to end .  It is for a fantastic book that I've just reviewed, Red Rain by Tim Wendel.  Make sure you stop by that post and enter. Good Luck!
Make sure you say hello so that I know you were here. 

Transformations: Give up the Struggle by Renee Wiggins

Synopsis from the Author’s Website:   We all have had our ups and downs in our lives, some more than others. But, how we end up in the end, determines how we actually see the storms. The storms help us to change to a better and stronger person. Resisting change can make the obstacles, the hindrances and the storms become even more unbearable. However, if we choose to view them in a different light, change can move us into a bigger and better job, or a more rewarding, loving relationship -it indeed can make us better. The affirmations presented in "Transformations: Give Up the Struggle," can be a turning point in your life. View hardships as helpers to a stronger you. See obstacles as ripples in a pond as you move closer to your victory. Discover that hindrances are hurdles that make you jump high above the clouds. See that valleys are mere lessons that will release you from your past and help heal the brokenness. Be ye transformed by renewing of your mind. Affirm yourself-release the past, give up the struggle and move forward -TODAY!

My thoughts:   Facing the trials of everyday life is something that each of us has in common.  How we face those trials is what sets us apart from one another.  Each of us has a set of tools that we use in various situations, but none of us carry the same set of tools.  Transformations: Give up the Struggle is one of the tools that should be in that tool box.  It is a series of quotes that can be read to remind you of what is important when trying to sort something out.  Many of the passages could easily be used as mantra. 

I’ve been carrying my copy around for awhile now.  I’ve found myself picking it up at different times during the day when I’m feeling especially stressed by a project or unable to settle down at the end of a busy day.  

Sometimes it serves me well to have a reminder that Attitude is Everything.

This is a helpful addition to my toolbox.  What kinds of things do you keep in yours?

A Sampling of my favorites:

"No matter how hard the challenges or how many obstacles I have endured, they only made me stronger, and have helped transform me."

What am I Made of
An Ounce of Peace,
An Ounce of Courage,
An ounce of love,
An ounce of strength,
An ounce of patience,
An ounce of tolerance,
An ounce of obedience.

Mix in an ounce of peace,
courage and love.

Stir in strength and an ounce of
patience, tolerance, and obedience.

Blend in guidance.
The product is faith

"Our fears, our negative thoughts, our stress, and our emotions can be changed by how we approach them."

Please stop back by tomorrow when Renee Wiggins will be here with a guest post!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Red Rain by Tim Wendel- A Review an Interview and a Giveaway

Synopsis from Goodreads:  As the B-29 bombers began to pound Tokyo and most of the other major Japanese cities to rubble, the Japanese military became desperate to find a way to once again instill fear in its enemies. Out of such efforts was born the greatest secret of WWII — the fire balloon. One woman, Yoshi, camouflaging her identity, is sent to uncover these delicate but deadly creations.

My thoughts:With my new fascination for the historical fiction genre, the synopsis of Red Rain intrigued me. I've only read one other novel recently that focused on this time period.  Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas focused on the lives of Japanese Americans in the internment camps and their trials within the community.  While it starts out in the internment camp, Red Rain quickly moves to Tokyo and gives perspective on the war from that front. 

Wendel does an excellent job of explaining the instruments of war to the reader (me) who isn't familiar with them.  Since the fire balloons are such a major part of the story, he starts out with a preface explaining them and the position that the US Government took on them during the war.  

He immediately introduces the main characters so that the reader has time to get to know them, but doesn't drag it out to the point that you are waiting for something to happen.  The characters are easily liked so you are quickly invested in the story.

Neil Starling is fighting the war from his new and slightly unusual posting in the US and Yoshi is fighting as best she can from her posting in Tokyo.  The story switches back and forth between the two fronts exposing the reader to the different battle each faces for the same cause.  

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII stories.  There is the war aspect that will appeal to some, but there is also an element of interpersonal relationships that will appeal to others.

I really enjoyed Wendel's writing style and am looking forward to reading some of his other titles which include his newest release High Heat and Castro's Curveball.  

In addition to writing Tim teaches fiction and non fiction writing at Johns Hopkins University.  (I wonder if they offer a long distance option, I think I'd like to take his class)

As part of the Blog Tour I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim.  Please welcome Tim Wendel to Teresa's Reading Corner.

How much time do you have to spend researching for your novels?
I’ll research for a few months and then I’ll force myself to start writing. Researching can be a lot of fun, especially in the Washington, D.C., area, where I live. I’ve seen several of my peers begin researching a new project and starting having so much fun at the Library of Congress or National Archives that they forget to start putting words on the page. So, I like to get writing and when I reach a dead end, I’ll research some more. A dead end could be an area I don’t understand or it could be a major scene that I’m trying to pull off and I don’t have enough sensory details yet. That’s when I’m back researching again.

What is the first assignment a student receives when they step into your classroom?
Motivation is a key for me. So, in the first class I often ask why they are here. Many of classes are held in the early evening, so they’re missing dinner, perhaps their favorite TV show, to be in a classroom with me and other writers. So I ask them why? It’s important to understand motivation. If you cannot articulate your own then it’s perhaps even more difficult to know your characters’ motivations. Why they are doing this rather than that?

What book are your reading right now?

I often have several books in play. Right now I’m reading THE WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield and EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON by S.C. Gwynne. The later has been a tremendous read. It’s about the Comanches, which were the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. They held the territory that eventually became big chunks of Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. They held it against the Spanish, French and, for a long time, the Americans. I love history. I thought I knew U.S. history, but I didn’t realize what a force the Comanches were. After that I’ll finish the final book of Stein Larsson’s “The Girl” trilogy.

Who would you say is your biggest influence and why?

I always enjoyed reading as a kid. My family grew up in the country, between Buffalo and Rochester in Western New York. Of course, this well before cable television and the Internet, so reading was what you had. My parents were big readers and going to the local library was a huge deal. We went every weekend during the winter. Richard Ford, who I’ve had the good fortune to do a workshop with, once said that if you love reading then it’s only natural to try writing yourself. That’s what I started to do by junior high school. I wasn’t particularly good back then. I was a lousy speller, for example. But I worked on several newspapers in college and then after graduation. They were a great proving ground. I covered everything from fires and murders to sports events and concerts. That period really improved my ability to write and do it on deadline. Later on in my career, I wanted to learn more about writing and that first took me to conferences at Squaw Valley and then to do graduate work at Johns Hopkins University.
To me, nothing is more satisfying that writing well. 

What are your five favorite books and why?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ve had the good fortune to study under Ford, Oakley Hall, Carolyn Doty, Alice McDermott, Marita Golden, Margot Livesey, John Casey and Nicholas Delbanco. I’ve learned so much from all of their works. Perhaps I should give you the titles I tend to come back to while teaching my grad-level classes at Johns Hopkins.

Topping the list would THE GREAT GATSBY by Fitzgerald. To me, it’s perhaps the best use of first-person narration. Recently in my fiction workshops, I’ve been assigning WHO WILL RUN THE FROG HOSPITAL? by Lorrie Moore and CITIES OF THE PLAIN by Cormac McCarthy. Two very different works, but both employ similar plotting devices. I love the voice in Bob Dylan’s CHRONICLES. And, finally, I return to Michael Ondaatje’s IN THE SKIN OF A LION every few years. Of course, he wrote THE ENGLISH PATIENT, but I really enjoy this one.

I see that you've just released High Heat, do you have anything else coming up?

I’m still doing some promotion for HIGH HEAT. But I just finished a new novel, OVER THE FALLS, which we’re beginning to shop around. It’s set just east of Niagara Falls, where I grew up, and asks questions that Gatsby fans will find a touch familiar: Can we remake the past? Do we dare?

 Are there any upcoming releases that you are looking forward to picking up?

Thomas Mallon is working on a novel about Watergate, which I’m looking forward to. Also, I’m keeping an eye out for Stephen Hunter’s next thriller. I don’t read a lot in that genre, but his major scenes are so well choreographed.

Is there something that you've been meaning to read, but never get to?

I’ve learned a lot about myth and story construction from Joseph Campbell and I have read several of his books, including the classic THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. But the guy was too prolific. I cannot seem to catch up. The same goes for Joyce Carol Oates. We share the same hometown – Lockport, N.Y. I was born in Philadelphia, but my family moved soon afterward and I was raised in Lockport, which is on the Erie Canal. Remember the song that went, “Low bridge, everybody down?” We learned that in my elementary school. Anyway, some readers know that Joyce Carol Oates is also from Lockport. I finally got a chance to meet her a few years ago. She grew up on the west side of Lockport, which has changed a great deal in recent decades. She asked where I’d grown up and I told it was the other side of town, the east side, along Canal Road. Her eyes got big and she replied, “That’s the real Lockport.” Still not sure what to think of that.

 What is your typical day like?

I write in the morning. That’s the time that works best for me. It used to be evening, but I think raising two kids drove that out of me. On a good day, I’ll work until about noon and then the phone will start ringing or there will be some material to chase down on the research end.

What question are you never asked in an interview, but wish you were?  What is the answer to that question?

I suppose it’s a question my writing students kind of ask but not quite. They want to know if there’s some magic formula for doing a book. As in if you do X amount of work, it will result in what kind of book, even how many pages. Of course, each book is different and that’s some of the fun as well as the heartbreak with it all. I believe you have to carry a story with you for a time. You cannot just work on it when you’re inspired. Sometimes the most “blah” days can lead to real revelations and epiphanies about your story.
I wrote my first novel, CASTRO’S CURVEBALL, on the D.C. Metro, the local subway. At the time, I had an intense day job with USA Today. I didn’t have much free time, but I tried to write at least a page in my spiral notebook every day on the Metro going to work. One day I almost didn’t write. It seemed to be pointless. But with my stop only minutes away, I got out my notebook and started to write in a voice that I like to think is more desperate and innocent than my own. I ended up rewriting my first novel in that voice, the voice of Billy Bryan, the washed-up ballplayer in Havana. I’m convinced that if I hadn’t picked up my pen that day, that voice/character would have moved on to some other writer.

In closing, I’d urge readers to check out the YouTube book trailers for RED RAIN and even HIGH HEAT. These days a writer has to be part promoter, too. Both of these are short and can be found at:
And people can always reach me through my web site,

Thanks for your time, Tim

Thank you Tim!  This has been my favorite interview so far!

Thanks to Tim and the lovely people at Writers Lair Books I have one copy of Red Rain to giveaway to my loyal readers.   This giveaway will be open until Friday July 23rd at 12 AM Mountain Time.  I will choose the winner using and will email them notification giving them 48 hours to respond.  If I don't hear from the first winner within 48 hours I will choose another winner.  Good Luck!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of Red Rain from the Author and Writers Lair Books to participate in this blog tour.  This is my honest opinion of the book.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

We have a winner!

The winner of the Shiva's Arms giveaway was Sheila from Book Journey.

If you haven't checked out her blog you MUST do it now.  She has a lot of great features and giveaways.

Congratulations Sheila!

Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart

Synopsis from Goodreads:  In her youth, Sarah Price had dreams of becoming a poet. But the meticulously responsible 35-year-old traded her MFA for a steady job that allows her husband, Nathan, to devote himself to his fiction. And there are two small children who need their mother’s attention as well. But Sarah is happy and she believes Nathan is too, until she discovers that his new novel, Infidelity, is based in fact. Suddenly Sarah’s world is turned upside down. How well does she really know Nathan? And more importantly, how well does she know herself?

Why I chose this book:  I wanted to read Husband and Wife based on three things.  The first was a review that I read on a book blog (sorry, I don't remember whose it was) before I started blogging.  The second was the synopsis, it sounded like a good story, and the third was the cover.  I've admitted before, that I occasionally judge a book by its cover.  I'm not sure what it is about this particular cover.  It might be the simplicity of just a man and woman embracing, or it could have been the red jacket.  One night I happened upon Leah Stewart's page at the Harper Collins website and noticed that she went to high school in Clovis, New Mexico.   Clovis is a mere 293 miles from Las Cruces, New Mexico where I went to high school.  I thought I could use this for a Literary Road Trip post since New Mexico is sort of  local since I still have family there.  I know its a stretch, but it was what I thought at the time.  The idea was cemented, I had to get my hands on a copy.

My thoughts:  Imagine sitting down to coffee with a friend that you haven't seen in awhile.  You're catching up on things that have happened in your lives.   This is what reading husband and wife was like for me. The story is told from the perspective of Sarah Price a 35 year old with two young children.

Its a story about infidelity, but I found it to be so much more than that.  Its a book about marriage, motherhood, growing up, and life in general.  There were several parts of the story that I thought Stewart had peeked inside my life.  At one point a conversation that Sarah was having with Nathan reminded me of a conversation that could easily have taken place in my house.  There were situations that anyone who has had small children could relate to.  These were just two of the parts that I found to be laugh out loud funny.  More than once I got some strange looks as I was chuckling to myself while I was reading.  

This is not to say that I didn't get frustrated with the characters on occasion because I definitely did.  If they would only TALK TO EACH OTHER! 

If you get a chance you should visit Leah Stewart's website.  She's got some great responses to FAQ's on there. 

The bottom line, I loved this book.  I recommend it to anyone who likes to read about "real life" and all of the messes we get ourselves into from time to time.  I would go so far as to say that this is my favorite book that I've read so far this summer. 

Disclosure:  I was provided a copy by  Harper Collins with the hope that I would review it.  Receipt of the book did not affect my review in any way.  This is my honest opinion of Husband and Wife.

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Online Window Shopping?

I admit it, I like to peruse the web looking at things I might never purchase.  It depends on the mood that I'm in whether I'm looking at books, clothes, shoes, or furniture.  When I began to see the posts pop up about CSN I hopped over to their site to check out the merchandise.  I looked at bookish and not bookish items.  One of the things I dream of is doing something to the bathroom.  This little dream let me to check out  a new vanity and some mirrors..  I've already redone my bathroom in my head several times over.

Imagine how excited I was to be approached to review something.  I probably won't get to redo the bathroom, but I'm excited to check out something else from one of their stores.  Stay tuned to see what I select!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Jill is a single mother who’s a master of cultural etiquette with a flair for exotic cuisine. She has a beautiful 10-year old daughter and steady career as an advisor at Great Girlfriend Getaways, a fabulous no-boys-allowed travel agency, perfect for a woman now leading a no-boys-allowed lifestyle. She thinks she finally has her life together, and there’s even a cute, free-spirited bicycle entrepreneur in the picture. For once, the dust in Jill’s life is starting to settle. But when Seth, the deadbeat husband who abandoned Jill and her then three-year old daughter Anastasia for the Peace Corps, comes back into her life, Jill finds herself utterly furious – and flabbergasted. He’s interested in getting to know his daughter, who’s dreamt of having a father, and Jill is powerless to say no. A spunky, worldly Jill of All Trades who has mastered the art of communication can’t seem to hold herself together in front of him. And on top of that, Great Girlfriend Getaways might be up for sale. Jill must make a choice – not necessarily between the two men in her life, but between the woman she is and the woman she wants to be.

The Book Trailer:

My thoughts:  The ideal place to read this book is in a hammock swaying in the breeze and sipping a cold drink.  It can be in your back yard, in the mountains by a lake or on the beach, it doesn't matter.   Seven Year Switch is at the top of several lists of summer must reads for a reason.

When I chose to participate in the Virtual Tour for Seven Year Switch Claire Cook was a new author to me.  As I explored her website I began to get even more excited to receive my copy.  At first I didn't realize that I was already familiar with one of Cook's stories.  One of my "go to" movies is Must Love Dogs which was adapted from the work of Ms. Cook!  Between that and all of the great things I was hearing about the book, I knew I was in for a treat, I was not disappointed.

This story celebrates friendships and reminds you that they can be found where you least expect them. 
Jill's story is also a reminder that sometimes you have to forgive the unforgivable in order to move on.  As a single mom, Jill is doing her best to raise her daughter, provide her a happy home and live her life.  Her long lost husband drifts back into their lives just as Jill is finally branching out.  Jill has some tough decisions to make to determine exactly where her future lies. How she gets to those decisions can be comical for the reader and on occasion just plain laugh out loud funny.

If you need a fantastic summer read, this one is for you.  I am looking forward to picking up Claire's six other novels. 

Disclosure:  I received a copy of Seven Year Switch from the Publicist in order to participate in this Virtual Blog Tour. Receipt of my copy did not affect my opinion in any way.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Remembering the Classics: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

There is a lot going on in the book world to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.  I was recently asked to share my memories of my first experience reading this book.  I remember discussions about the story and watching the movie as part of a class in high school, but I don't specifically remember reading the book.   In any case, its been on my TBR list for the last couple months as I try to broaden my horizons and take a second look at the classics. 

Many people who are taking part in the celebration have commented that like many other things in life, the experience is different the second time around.  Maybe its just that we're older and wiser and that we pick up on different nuances in the story.  Maybe its that we can appreciate it more.  I'll let you know when I find out as I plan to pick this one up soon. 

I'll ask you, what memories do you have of your first experience with  To Kill a Mockingbird?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Castaways Winner is...

Thank you to Hachette for the opportunity to host this giveaway and to everyone who entered.  Using I selected the winner this morning and that person was

Jess from Spine Creases

Congratulations Jess, I've forwarded your info to Hachette.

I've still got my Cheryl Snell Giveaway going and a couple more in the works.  I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Last Track by Sam Hilliard

Synopsis from Goodreads: Imagine if being late meant a child disappeared forever. That is the fear that drives Mike Brody: the man you want, when the one you love is missing.

Mike is more than just a master tracker. An ex-Special Forces operative, Smoke jumper, and now extreme adventure tour guide, he also possesses a unique ability to tap into the memory and emotional state of those he pursues.

In The Last Track, a police detective recruits Mike to help find an asthmatic boy lost in the dense woods surrounding a dude ranch in Montana. An unwitting murder witness, the boy burrows ever deeper into the rugged terrain, fearful of being found. As Mike and a local officer search for the boy, the killer follows them. While the investigation expands, his ex-wife, a well-connected journalist, uses her contacts to unravel the truth behind the murder.

Her discoveries threaten to snare them all in a treacherous conspiracy . . .

My thoughts:   I selected this book because I hadn't read anything truly described as suspenseful in quite some time.   Once I read the synopsis and immediately knew this one held promise.  My first clue that I was  really going to enjoy this book came from a note from Sam that was included.  His wit and candor was amusing and the tone of the note felt like it was coming from a friend. 

The story is pretty fast paced with much of the story taking place over a four day period.  The characters were believable.  Mike Brody has excellent tracking skills with a little bit of super human kicked in for good measure.  His ex, Jessica is completely likable and I found myself wondering why they were divorced.  With some novels you've already figured out the "whodunit" before they really get into the story.  Not this one,  I found that there were some great twists and turns in the plot.  Just when I thought I had it figured out, something new was revealed and I was left wondering if I was right. 
I understand that The Last Track is the first in a series.  I am eagerly anticipating the next installment, hopefully I won't have to wait too long.  I would recommend The Last Track to anyone who has some time to spare because you aren't going to want to put it down!  Seriously, if you enjoy crime solving novels or movies pick this one up, you aren't going to regret it.  
For an example of Sam's wit check out his guest post if you haven't already.

Disclosure:  I received my copy of The Last Track from the Publisher through Pump up Your Book to participate in this blog tour.  Receipt of my copy did not affect my opinion of the book.  The review you read reflects my honest opinion.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Friday Blog Hop

It's Friday again!  Although it was a short week for me as I had Monday off of work to celebrate Independence Day it felt extremely long.  I hope you all had a great week.

That Crazy Jennifer over at Crazy for Books is mixing things up for us again this week. 

This week's question:  Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!
This is such a tough question for me to answer.  In the few months that I've been blogging I've come across so many great authors in addition to the ones I already liked that it is difficult for me to choose just one.  I think the author that I've read several works by and have never been disappointed is Sandra Dallas.   Some of my new favorites include Katherine Center, Leah Stewart (review coming up shortly), C.W. Gortner and Sam Hilliard.

There are some of my favorites, tell us about yours.  Jump over to Crazy for Books and add your link to the list.  Hope by some of the other blogs and say hello.  I'm sure you will find something new, I always do. 

To those of you who have come to Teresa's Reading Corner via the hop, welcome.  I'm glad you stopped by.  I hope that you will stay awhile.  I've got two giveaways going on right now.  One of which ends at Midnight Mountain Time.  That is for one copy of Elin Hildebrand's The Castaways.  The second is for a copy of Shiva's Arms by Cheryl Snell.  Good Luck!
Make sure you say hello so that I know you were here.  Have a fantastic weekend.

Author Spotlight: Sam Hilliard

Today I am featuring a guest post by author Sam Hilliard author of The Last Track, a Mike Brody Mystery.

Please welcome, Sam Hilliard.

So how do these New Age writers shoot down the sloth monster that seems a ready-made date for those in such a sedentary profession? Here’s a sample writer’s workout routine. It’s a careful blend of resistance training and aerobics, and of course sensible eating.

NOTE: This strenuous routine may not be appropriate for all writers. Please consult your physician before making any changes in your own diet or physical regimen.

6:40 AM – Crawl from bed to bathroom. Feed cats on return to bed.
6:42 AM – Meditate.
7:59 AM – Beat the alarm clock to pulp for interrupting morning meditation session.
8:10 AM – Steal paper off a neighboring lawn, running back to home quickly so they don’t throw garbage at you again.
8:20 AM – Complain about crappy coffee.
8:45 AM – Shower, dress (in something besides a robe), eat breakfast and read purloined paper.
9:10 AM – Commence Power meditation while positioned horizontally with head supported by pillows.
11:13 AM – Interrupt meditation to curse world for not having written a word.
11:19 AM – Screw around on Internet, checking mail, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and stock quotes. Tell your editor you’re deep into “research” when they call to ask how the book is coming along.
11:59 AM – Write for seven minutes and then make lunch.
12:59 PM – Return from lunch. Resume writing. Break every forty five minutes to stretch or eat something crunchy, whichever feels better.
2:00 PM – Doritos break.
2:17 PM – Mid-day caffeine break.
4:56 PM – Read the day’s pages. Curse world for forcing you to read your own written words.
5:30 PM – Eat a balanced dinner that includes at least one of the following food groups: pizza, tacos, hot dogs, donuts, or beer.
6:10 PM – Think about working out. Just thinking about it usually makes you feel better about not
 doing it.
7:30 PM – Channel surf while holding some form of alcoholic beverage in your other hand.
9:35 PM – Read (hopefully someone else’s work).
11:14 PM – Wake  up to cat licking drool off your face, and retire for evening’s meditation, but not before final power snack from one or more of the following food groups: cheez whiz, potato chips, or leftover Chinese.
11:20 PM – Begin evening meditation session.

Thank you Sam!  Come back tomorrow for my review of The Last Track.  You won't want to miss it.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blogger Problems...

I see that blogger is having some problems registering comments.  I just wanted to let you know that I am still seeing them in my email and will make sure that your comments and entries are included once Blogger resolves their issues.

Thanks for visiting and commenting!

Author Spotlight on Cheryl Snell and a Giveaway

I had the opportunity to ask Cheryl Snell, the author of Shiva's Arms a couple of questions. 

1. What is a typical day for you?

I was trained as a classical pianist and the habit of music is as ingrained in me as the habit of writing, so I begin my day by listening to Bach. Then, I read until my head is full of language and I’m ready to write. I juggle poetry and fiction, plus the occasional review---maybe that’s why I never suffer from writer’s block.

The rest of my day is spent with family and friends, doing ordinary things. The only difference is, I do them from my bed. I have a neurological problem that keeps me there.

2. What is on your bookshelf?

Let me look: I’ve got at least a thousand volumes. On the shelf I can see from here, there’s the complete works of Shakespeare, some Faulkner, and Henry James, The Brothers Karamazov, The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead, John Dos Passos's U.S.A. trilogy, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters.
3. What isn’t on your bookshelf but should be?

More novels by poets. Where are my books by Jack Kerouac, Kathy Acker, Michael Ondaatje, Randall Jarrell, James Schulyer, Thomas Wolfe, Kenneth Patchen, Djuna Barnes, Henry Green, John Crowley, Tobias Hill, and Elizabeth Smart? Maybe in a box in the basement.
4. What question are you never asked in an interview but wish you were?

What is your true subject?

5. What’s next?

Another volume of short stories with post- modern American, quirky characters. The stories are in a very different authorial voice from the long fiction. Another project is another collaboration with my artist sister on a poetry and art book, like these: Also, I’ve made progress on another novel about Nela (the sister in Shiva’s Arms) that will try to give her a happy ending. No guarantee though---at a certain point in their development, my characters seem to have their own plans, and I can’t force them back into mine. Mary Lee Settle advised that empathy without identity was one way to keep control of a character, but it's very hard to maintain that distance. In early drafts of Shiva’s Arms, for instance, I insisted that the character of Shiva treat Alice badly throughout the book. But as the women became fleshier on the page, it seemed inevitable that their relationship relax a little. When Amma offers Alice the other half of her banana during Golu, the festival of women's friendship, the stage is set for a new beginning. The Christian ideal and power of reconciliation dovetailed into the Hindu belief system in the cycle of birth and re-birth, and turned out to be one of the most important themes in the book.
6. Anything else you'd like to share?

My whereabouts on the Web-

               Author’s blog:
               Amazon Author Page:

Thank you Cheryl for stopping by Teresa's Reading Corner today.  I guess I should have asked that one question... "What is your true subject".  If you happen to stop  by, maybe you can answer it for us.  I'm looking up to your follow up on Nela, she was one of my favorite characters.

If you would like to win a copy of Shiva's Arms please leave a comment or question for Cheryl with your email address (or have it accessible in your profile).  The Giveaway will be open until 7/16/2010 12:00 Mountain Time.  Winner will be chosen using  I will notify the winner via email and announcement on the Blog.  The winner will have 48 hours to get back to me with their address or I will have to select another winner.  Good Luck!

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Shiva's Arms by Cheryl Snell

When Alice marries Ramesh, she is plunged into a battle of wills with her mother-in-law. And when a family secret is revealed that costs the old woman everything, it is up to Alice to heal the rift between them, as Shiva’s Arms evolves into an exploration of cultural identity, the power of reconciliation, and the meaning of home.

My thoughts: In Shiva's Arms, Cheryl took me into a world that is so different from my own.  It is the story of an American woman who marries a South Indian man.  The couple tries to live peacefully while merging two very different cultures.  Alice is immediately cast out by her mother in law as an unacceptable match for Ramesh.  She does everything she can to prove that her in laws are wrong, sometimes at great cost to herself.

I spent much of the story disliking Ramesh's mother for the way she treated Alice and sometimes found myself very angry with Alice for allowing her to do it.  I am fortunate enough to have a very good relationship with my mother in law so I cannot relate to Alice in this sense. A few twists and turns later, I got it.

We meet several characters during the story of Alice and Ramesh.  One of them is Ramesh's sister Nela.  Nela was one of my favorite characters.  Cast out of her own family she has the strength and courage to strike out on her own.  During my interview with Cheryl I learned that she is working on telling Nela's story.  I am looking forward to reading it.

Shivas Arms was a story that really got me thinking.  It evoked a lot of different emotions as I read through it.  It isn't a fluffy story that allows you to race through it in one afternoon.  Don't read it while hungry though, Cheryl includes some recipes in the book.  I'm looking forward to trying them out.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of Shiva's Arms from the author and her publicist for participation in this blog tour.  Receipt of this book did not affect my review in any way.  These are my honest opinions.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Unwilling Warrior by Andrea Boeshaar

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Amid the dangers of the Civil War, Valerie Fontaine longs to know she is loved and safe. Her father, however, is cold and withdrawn. And their Christian houseguest, the photographer Benjamin McCabe, seems arrogant and judgmental. When Valerie commits her own life to Christ she finds herself drawn to Ben. But her father, against her wishes, is prepared to sell her into a loveless marriage with someone else. Will Valerie be forced to abandon her newfound love? Or will she and Ben, against the backdrop of this country's most ruthless war, become in their own way, unwilling warriors?

My thoughts: Unwilling Warrior is the first in the Seasons of Redemption series written and Andrea Boeshaar.    This is another Historical Christian Romance, a genre that is still fairly new to me.  I like the genre because it seems to focus on the relationship development and the setting.  This story was no exception.  Andrea takes a setting that might not appeal to readers who aren't history buffs and makes it appealing.  I loved the descriptions she uses about the lavish home that Valerie lives in as well as the fashion of the period.  I can't say that I'd want to spend too much time in those dresses though, they seem like they are rather bulky.

The attraction between Valerie and Ben is undeniable the instant they are in each other's presence.  It almost felt electric.  I truly believed that it was a struggle for them to follow the courtship rules of society.  It is because of this that I had difficulty believing some other parts of the story.  I don't want to ruin it for you.  At times it did feel a little bit preachy. Now that I think about it, that might be because the characters needed that extra reinforcement of their faith to temper the electricity that they felt between them. 

If the genre appeals to you at all, this one is worth picking up.  I'll be forwarding my copy to my grandmother soon.  If you like a bit of steam with your romance, this one probably isn't for you, but I'm sure I have some other recommendations for you.

Book Two in the Seasons of Redemption Series will be coming out in October of 2010.  

You may visit Andrea Boeshaar at

Disclosure:  I received my copy of Unwilling Warrior from Glass Road Public Relations to participate in this blog tour.  Receipt of my copy did not affect my review in any way, these are my honest opinions of the book. 

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

First Impressions: Lumby on the Air by Gail Fraser

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Pam and Mark Walker are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with a week-long family reunion and a ceremony renewing their vows. But when Mark's brother-in-law starts broadcasting his radio talk show from Montis Inn, his disparaging remarks about small-town life cause immediate rifts that only widen when he sides with a real estate developer who wants to turn Lumby into an asphalt Aspen. As the controversy pits family against family, and neighbor against neighbor, will the spirit that defines Lumby triumph once again?

My thoughts:  Its no secret that I have loved this series.  I've read books one through four so far.  The Lumby Lines was my introduction to the fabulous little town.   The series continues with Stealing Lumby (which is my favorite book in the series so far).  The third installment, Lumby's Bounty was still entertaining and introduced us to some new townsfolk.  The fourth was The Promise of Lumby where some previous stories were continued and the new veterinarian was introduced..  I was so excited to learn about the fifth installment,  Lumby on the Air. 
I haven't had a chance to read Lumby on the Air yet, but wanted to introduce it to you because its releasing on Tuesday July 6th.  I would encourage you to go out and pick up the entire series.    It is a fun, lighthearted series with great characters, a little bit of intrigue and a touch of romance.  I don't think you will be disappointed.

You can check out Gail Fraser and the Lumby Series at

You can look for my review soon, if you get a chance to read any of the Lumby series, pop back by and let me know what you think.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's Friday!!!!

Happy Friday Everyone! I am so excited for the Holiday and a long weekend.  

The Friday Blog hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books.  It's a simple but fantastic idea. All you do is link up your blog and then visit others who have done the same. Its a great way to connect with other book bloggers.  Crazy girl that she is, Jennifer is mixing it up a bit this week by asking a question so that we get to know one another a little bit better. 

This week she's asking us to share our names and why we started blogging.  I'll bet you've already guessed my name, it really is Teresa.  I started blogging as a way to share my thoughts on the MANY books I read. 

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

If you've come to Teresa's Reading Corner from the hop, welcome! I read and review a variety of books including contemporary fiction, classics, historical fiction, and children's books. I've got some great reviews coming up and several giveaways scheduled. It's going to be a busy summer at Teresa's Reading corner. I hope that you will become a follower and stick around to participate.

Speaking of giveaways, I've got one going on right now. One lucky follower will win a copy of The Castaways by Elin Hildebrand. Fill out the form for your chance.

Make sure you say hello so that I can do the same.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday weekend!