Jean-Marie's bookshelf: read

Mistress by Mistake
The Bride
The Winter Sea
Three Weeks in Paris
The Secret
The Duke's perfect wife
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron
Lady Isabella's scandalous marriage
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie


Jean-Marie's favorite books »

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Halloween...a tad after the fact

I have gotten quite a chuckle reading through different posts on the traditions in other parts of the world.  One I am particularly fond of was from Aberdeen, Scotland... children telling jokes for their treat.  How adorable is that :)

I was very proud of myself this year for my costume frugality .  Times have been tough as of late and have been trying to pinch the ole pennies.  This year was a bit easier as my older two had high school hockey games and could not participate { makes me sad they are growing up :(  } ....  The youngest also did his part by deciding to be a hobo .   I can soooo do that, esp with the help of my local beloved Goodwill store  and their tag of the day discount... That lovely Pumpkin Orange tags saved me a bundle.  I paid $2.97 for three items which were the main pieces of lil man's costume (and quite wearable after the fact) With an additional $2.10 for face paint (a splurge) ... a halloween pillowcase, hat and a walking stick...all from home.... the costume was complete.  So for around $5 ,  we created a costume that was a hit with my son and all our peeps in the hood.

Funny how the treaters and parents alike gave him praise for his creative costume idea.  I thought it funny as it was a very "old school" costume idea.  Maybe in the days of Disney, Cartoon Network and Marvel comics .... it actual did appear very original.  He was thrilled and I love that I made him happy and saved the family budget.



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Rose Garden



The Rose Garden
by Susanna Kearsley


Per Shelfari
When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived - and died - long before she herself was born. Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.


     When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. 
     But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived--and died--long before she herself was born. 
     Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.


My Thoughts :)
Wow... Having a love/like relationship with this book . I would probably give it a 5 because I enjoyed the writing, the subject matter and am a big Kearsley fan . I am just not sure how I "feel " about it and having a hard time putting this one into words without giving away spoilers.. Kearsley did a nice job with the time travel and keeping the times/places equally weighted and interesting. Didn't find it to be a carbon copy or repeat of other stories. I am an "Outlander" fan and am not interested in nor believe there can be another like that series. This book has found a comfy place unto its self. 
I was drawn to the characters and enjoyed that their individual circles overlapped and each came full circle. Felt a happy completion with its ending yet there was a sense of sadness. You will just have to read this one .....
This was not my favorite Kearsley book ( though that may change as I digest and take it in ) but certainly a "to read" and recommended to all.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Highlander Untamed


Highlander Untamed
MacLeod of Skye Series, Book 1
by Monica McCarty


Per Shelfari
Rory MacLeod is a bold and powerful Highland Chief with only one allegiance–to his clan. He vows revenge against the rival MacDonald clan, though duty demands a handfast marriage to Isabel MacDonald–a bride he does not want and has no intention of keeping. But Rory couldn’t have anticipated the captivating woman who challenges his steely control, and unleashes the untamed passion simmering beneath his fierce exterior. Blessed with incomparable beauty, Isabel MacDonald is prepared to use every means possible–including seduction–to uncover her husband’s most guarded secrets. Instead Rory awakens Isabel’s deepest desires and her sweetest fantasies. Now Isabel has found the happiness she’s always dreamed of with the very man she must betray, and discovers that passion can be far more dangerous than revenge.

Per Goodreads
Rory MacLeod is a bold and powerful Highland Chief with only one allegiance–to his clan. He vows revenge against the rival MacDonald clan, though duty demands a handfast marriage to Isabel MacDonald–a bride he does not want and has no intention of keeping. But Rory couldn’t have anticipated the captivating woman who challenges his steely control, and unleashes the untamed passion simmering beneath his fierce exterior.

Blessed with incomparable beauty, Isabel MacDonald is prepared to use every means possible–including seduction–to uncover her husband’s most guarded secrets. Instead Rory awakens Isabel’s deepest desires and her sweetest fantasies. Now Isabel has found the happiness she’s always dreamed of with the very man she must betray, and discovers that passion can be far more dangerous than revenge.


My thoughts :)
Actually read this one about three weeks ago.... I wrote my review but my mommy brain forgot to hit "Publish"....sooooo better late that never (one hopes).  I checked out Book 2 "Highlander Unmasked" today from my local library via kindle.  That is what jump started the old brain to revisit the "post" that never was.... Thank Goodness for series.

On the sole basis of the writing, I would say a solid 4 - 4.5 , but this romantic fiction is actually based at its heart on fact/history , so a solid 5 within that criteria.  Now was their creative license...most assuredly.  But, the core of this story is factual and stayed pretty true, best I can tell.  I love books that draw me in and then inspire me to do research on my own and increase my knowledge... esp about a land and culture that I love. Scotland and clans...   This read has placed another MUST SEE on my eventual trip to Scotland.  Dunvegan Castle, the actual home of the Chief of clan MacLeod.  Not a ruin but an actively functioning castle with a current Chief of clan MacLeod.  How neat is that?!?!

I would have liked a little more of a sprinkling of Scottish dialect... it adds to the story... at least for me :)





Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sleepy ramblings

Coming off a run of night shifts, which pretty well make me a useless ball of mush on the sofa.  Like a bad hangover minus the alcohol.  Music has always had a way of soothing me.  As a young child/teen, my father would find me stretched out on my bed, asleep, music playing and would always say.."Music soothes the savage beast"...  sooo true...  Just ask my family...  I can be a pretty grumpy beast when sleep deprived..

This is the song that has been stuck in my mind all afternoon... humming away while I take care of MOM duties.  Its just so smooth, like caramel or fine cognac..... Hope you like it as well.



No real point to this post... just a little sharing

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mariana


Mariana
by Susanna Kearsley

Goodreads
   The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew that it was her house. And now that she’s at last become its owner, she suspects that she was drawn there for a reason.
   As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself transported into seventeenth-century England, becoming Mariana, a young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love.
    Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past...until she realizes Mariana’s life is threatening to eclipse her own, and she must find a way to lay the past to rest or lose the chance for happiness in her own time.

Shelfari
The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew that it was her house. And now that she’s at last become its owner, she suspects that she was drawn there for a reason.
   As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself transported into seventeenth-century England, becoming Mariana, a young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love.
   Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past...until she realizes Mariana’s life is threatening to eclipse her own, and she must find a way to lay the past to rest or lose the chance for happiness in her own time.

My thoughts
     Susanna Kearsley is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite authors.  She just has such a way of drawing me into the story and creating characters that become part of my soul.   Seamlessly transporting the reader between the past and present.   Having personally had flashes of things I cannot explain,  could totally immerse myself into "Mariana".   Once again, like "The Winter Sea", I find myself craving more and not wanting the story to end.  Feeling a bit of empty loneliness upon reaching the final page. 
      Initially the transitions into the past confused me and I found myself stumbling a bit.  But, I was in fact much like the main character, Julia, shocked and confused by the occurrences that were taking over her mind, body, heart and soul.  As time goes on, I,  like Julia, found it much easier to maneuver the flashes of the past.  I imagine all part of Kearsley's  pulling the reader into the story and characters. 
     A definite 5 stars.. or 5 big hearts.  One I will definitely own in all its forms.   Wish that is were available on Audible.com  :(   
 I will most assuredly be dropping them HELPFUL HINTS :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pen to paper

A mutual blogger that I follow made reference to the series "Felicity".....so I find myself watching "Felicity" on Netflix.  How could I have missed this series?!?!  I recall the title but I have never seen it during its primary broadcasting nor in syndication.  What a wonderful series.  In thinking back this was during the time of my own college days, probably right around my graduation and nose dive into the grown-up world of real employment.  Honest to goodness make my own living, pay my own bills, provide my own health benefits and pulling up my big girl panties.   Having always worked nights... no wonder I missed some really cool television.    Funny I recall my very first credit card (so that I could establish my adult credit ) was a Sears card.  My first purchase... a VCR.. but even more funny.. I don't think I recorded one single show.

While watching, Felicity, I was particularly taken with the "taped" letters she composed at the beginning of each episode.   I often wish that I had kept in touch with childhood penpals.  One in particular comes to mind.. Her name was Paula, and I am horribly embarrassed to admit that I have forgotten her last name.   While in 4th grade at Cathedral Day Parochial School, Sister Georgette was new to our school and as a class project gave each of us a name and address of a student from her previous teaching assignment in NY.  She chose each one with care and tried her best to link students with similar interests and personalities.  Paula was Polish Catholic  (like myself... very rare in the South) and had a love of horses, as most dreamy eyed girls that age.  I also remember thinking how unbelievably worldly she must have been to live in NY.  Spoken like a true southern girl from the tiny town of Hardeeville, SC.   There's another really special connection as my father grew up in NY and often spoke of his childhood.... I would put those vivid descriptions together with the letter that I so eagerly awaited.  We had such big plans of visiting one another, growing up and being roommates and taking the world by storm... of course while owning horses...lol.    But sadly, time moved on, life's trials got in the way and the letters became fewer and further between.  Both of us finding other "real time" activities more exciting.   I often think of her and wonder how life has treated her.   Hoping that all her 10 year old dreams came true...while riding that magical pony.

The art of putting pen to paper is such a dying art.   With the advent of the computer age and instant correspondence , waiting for a letter to arrive in the mail seems so antiquated to most.   I find myself sorely remiss in writing a simple thank you or sending a birthday greeting or card.  How sad that in yet another area of our lives we are losing the human touch.   Maybe I need to find a penpal...

Side note... the day after posting the above
On second thought I need glasses or I have dyslexia.... I rechecked the time line on Felicity... 1998 not 1989...   In 1998 I was knee deep in dirty diapers, sleepless nights and motherhood.   Yet another good reason not to be aware of the latest tv series...lol   Oddly enough, the actors in the show closer to my actual age making time difference not seem sooo long.    Oh well I liked my post.. So I am going to leave it as is with this small disclaimer at the bottom..     


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall is in the air....

I do love the nip of winter, but I especially LOVE the brilliant colors of fall.  The crisp morning air and the chill of the evening as the sun begins to set.  The warmth and snuggle factor of flannel and fuzzy socks.  The smell of people putting fires in their chimneys , pumpkin spice lattes and of course HALLOWEEN.... apple orchards, hot spiced cider,  pumpkin patches and corn mazes.  Truly these are a few of my favorite things..... Que The Sound of Music....when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I feeling sad......I digress.






I have been stalking this book for some time now.  I am an avid buyer of used books, kindle worshipper and frequent my public library... But, with fall in the air and the vibrant colors of the cover.... it just drew me in.   Well that and of course the lovely sale price sticker...hehe.  I am always curious how my views compare from the YOUNG ME and the SLIGHTLY OLDER version of ME.  The internal lettering pleases me as well.  Its has an atypical warm sepia quality as opposed to the more often seen stark black and white printing.  It just feels like a hug..  



HAPPY 
FALL
YA'LL

(psssst....close your eyes and ignore the calorie count on those lattes....yikes)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Audible.com

I have discovered Audible.com... and I must say it is AWESOME!!  My first download was "The Winter Sea" (own in every form.....love this book)....  Its a sub-branch of amazon.com and if you own a book on kindle they give you a greatly discounted rate on the audiobook.   Just download the app or have the appropriate kindle device and open an account.  I have the app on my droid phone and two iPod touches.  One day an iPhone or iPad...coveting!!!   The account is free although you can go with a paid version, for which you receive discounts and you a free download of your choice every month.   I had an insta-chat with one of the associates and he gave me a link for 3 half priced months, 7.49/month for 3 months and then 14.95/month thereafter.  You can cancel at anytime and the downloads you make are yours forever, regardless if you use the paid or free app.  Win Win for sure..  I  intend to use my monthly credits to buy the Outlander series (I own in hard and paperback), these run mid 20 to mid 30 per... so I think it is a great deal.   Hoping they will get the rights to release the Harry Potter series soon.   I enjoy listening to audiobooks when I clean (rare....lol), sit in my carpool, drive to work or on loooong out of town tournaments for my kiddlywinks.

                                                                              
CHECK IT OUT!!!!        




Not my actual phone screen but an example
what mine looks like.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Wedding by Julie Garwood


THE WEDDING
(Sequel to "The Bride")
by Julie Garwood
1119. Journeying from England to Scotland to wed a highlander, Lady Brenna had resigned herself to the arranged match. But when a band of fierce, painted warriors captured her en route, she fearlessly met their demand to marry their leader -- the quick-tempered laird Connor MacAlister. She couldn't know that her capture was merely the first act of vengeance against her betrothed, Connor's sworn enemy.
Brenna harbored no illusions that her husband was in love with her; after a hasty forest wedding, MacAlister assured her she could return home once she had borne him a son. But she could not deny that she had once proposed to MacAlister -- ten years ago, when she was just a child, and the visitor to her father's castle charmed her with his dazzling, unexpected smile. Now, as she sets out to win the brave chieftain whom she has come to adore, a legacy of revenge ensnares Brenna in a furious clan war -- and only her faith in her gallant hero can save her....

It's a classic plot: a marriage of convenience that lays the groundwork for true love. But in Julie Garwood's deft hands, the story takes on a unique flavor. Set in medieval Scotland, a time and place Garwood obviously knows and loves, The Wedding couples a high-spirited and impulsive young woman named Brenna with a fierce Highland laird, Connor MacAlister. Their desperate attempts to maneuver around their true emotions have all the twists, turns, and kicks of a raucous Scottish dance.

ME
Really more of a 4.5+.  I adore Alec, Connor and Quinlan... would love the stories to go on and on.  The female characters are strong but have their quirky flaws which make them human and equally as lovable..  Makes you cheer for them and a happy ending.  Would have liked a longer epilogue , esp since there wasn't a third book to the series :(
Garwood is quickly becoming one of my go to authors.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Raspberry Fool

A decadent cool treat for the family in honor of a recent decadent read for mom....  The money I saved on the free kindle download from my public library, I spent on raspberries.  Those buggers ain't cheap

                                     Raspberry Fool inspired by


Mistress By Mistake
by Maggie Robinson
Goodreads
Charlotte Fallon let her guarded virtue fall once--and she's paid dearly for it ever since. She swore she'd never succumb to men's desires again. But even a village spinster's life miles from temptation can't save her from a sister with no shame whatsoever. Or a heart that longs for more, whatever the cost. . .
Sir Michael Bayard found more than he expected in his bed when he finally joined his new mistress. He'd fantasized about her dewy skin and luscious curves, assured her understanding that what passed between them was mere dalliance. But he didn't expect the innocence and heat of her response in his arms. Nor her surprisingly sharp tongue once she was out of them. . .
A few days of abandon cannot undo the hard-learned lessons of a lifetime. Nor can an honest passion burn away the restraints of society's judgments. Unless, of course, one believes in nonsense like true love. . .




one pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
raspberries...approx 18 oz

Whip cream and sugar until stiff peaks
My beloved magic bullet with
processor blade

 put approx 1 1/2 cups raspberries in a food processor (not blender), you do not want to grind the seeds.  Place puree in a fine strainer and with a rubber spatula separate liquid from pulp.  Pour liquid portion of puree into whipped cream/sugar mixture and fold or continue to whip.  I received a fancy mixer for my birthday so I whipped to my hearts content.  

Layer the whipped mixture and fresh raspberries in a serving dish of you liking.  I chose wine goblets.. three large for my growing greedy boys and two smaller ones for the hubs and myself.  Chill in fridge until ready to serve. 
 My boys were fools for Raspberry Fool!!!




Austenland by Shannon Hale







Austenland
by Shannon Hale

Shelfari
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.   Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen—or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?


Goodreads
Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man—perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
Don't miss Shannon Hale's next book, Midnight in Austenland, a mystery set at Pemberly available in February, 2012





ME
What a fun, light and enjoyable read. Certainly touched the deeply romantic but ever so modern "Austen-gal" in me. We have all been through the trials and tribulation of the modern love with hope of the romantic notion of Mr Darcy.

A total 5 stars for its entertainment value.  Made me smile.

"I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun. "
Elizabeth…. “Pride and Prejudice”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Further reflection on "The WInter Sea"

I read many book within a short span of time... Many I love or at least like a great deal.  Rarely, if ever,  do I bother to read a book that doesn't hold my attention by the end of the "free sample" (kindle mania).  But, I must say that I am having a hard time shaking this read.  It seems to resonate within my soul.   I am coastal gal, with a deeply romantic heart and truly feel that I am an old soul (with a young spirit ).   I sooo loved this book.

The following quote from "The Winter Sea" is profound just from the basic level of its wording... but can certainly hold deeper meaning when one is going through periods of great turmoil.  To all my friends and love ones that need a little extra love.

"-- the fields might fall to fallow and the birds might stop their song awhile;  the growing things might die and lie in silence under snow, while through it all the cold sea wore its face of storms and death and sunken hopes...and yet unseen beneath the waves a warmer current ran that, in its time, would bring the spring. "

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Bride by Julie Garwood

The Bride
by Julie Garwood


1102. By edict of the King, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie, youngest daughter of Baron Jamison... a feisty, violet-eyed beauty. Alec ached to touch her, to tame her, to possess her... forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this Highland barbarian.

He was everything her heart warned against--an arrogant scoundrel whose rough good looks spoke of savage pleasures. And though Kincaid's scorching kisses fired her blood, she brazenly resisted him... until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills, and something far more dangerous than desire threatened to conquer her senses...

Goodreads

By edict of the king, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie, the feisty youngest daughter of Baron Jamison. Alec ached to touch her, to tame her, to possess her forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this highland barbarian. Though his kisses fired her blood, shadowed secrets from Alec’s past threatened Jamie’s happiness. She brazenly resisted him — until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills, and something far more dangerous than desire promised to conquer her heart.

ME
I am torn between 3 and 4 stars on this one.  Its not that I didn't really like it, just struggled a bit with the circular issues.  Realized with the ending that it all comes full circle and all "issues" were necessary.  I am just one of those people that got frustrated with Lucy and Ethel and the Seinfeld crew... I am of the mind.. Just don't do stupid things.  

I am looking forward to the next book in this series... "The Wedding".  I do enjoy this author, her books are an easy and fast read (at least for me).  She fits into and fulfills my romantic, Scottish Highlander, happy place.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

THE WINTER SEA by Susanna Kearsley


The Winter Sea
by Susanna Kearsley

Per Shelfari
History has all but forgotten the spring of 1708, when an invasion fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors, and starts to write.
But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory...making her the only living person who can know the truth of what did happen all those years ago - a tale of love and loyalty...and ultimate betrayal.

The story of an epic love that transcends both time and place from an award-winning author. "A deeply engaging romance and a compelling historical novel . . . Susanna Kearsley has written a marvelous book."--Bernard Cornwell.

Per ME :)
Probably THE best book I have read in a very long, and that is HUGE, as I read 3 books in a week.  I have run the gammet of emotions with this book,... I find my self emotionally spent and in need of a respit..   Normally, I am ravenous to start my next literary find, have many waiting in the wings... I do not see this as a bad thing...  Please do not interpret as a slight to this wonderful book... for it is not.   I have this feeling of being at peace and in need of contemplation ... to gaze upon that winter sea and reflect. 

Such wonderful descriptions..  Not the filler fluff that can be distracting, but those that add color and texture and make the story richer.  Fluids transitions between past and present, author and characters.  Found it very hard to put down and had to make myself SLOOOOW down and  savor every detail..   Though classified as historical fiction.. I found the fictional characters as real as the non-fictional characters and events.  Learned additional information about pre-Culloden Scotland.  Wonderful balance of story and character development with a romantic edge.

I have rated many books as "loved" with 5 stars, and I truly did love them..  BUT, having read this novel, certainly makes me re-evaluate some of my reviews and reset the bar for 5 stars.   This one far exceeded many.  Cannot recommend enough.... SHOUTING IT FROM THE EDGE OF THE CLIFFS AT CASTLE SLAIN.

"Where e' er' I go, my soul shall stay with thee:
'Tis but my Shadow that I take away."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My kingdom for heavy cream

In the land of milk and honey is there no heavy whipping cream to be had??  I am attempting to make my own Clotted Cream , all part of my UK obsession.   The recipe calls for heavy whipping cream... I think... NO problem.  Au contraire my dear..  I guess the only kind available is Ultra Pasteurized and I need non-ultra pasteurized.  Every recipe clearly states NO ultra pasteurized.   Grrrrr looks like a trip south to Whole Foods Market.  I had to settle for overpaying for a small container of Devonshire Cream ....and of course a few other nibbles that caught my eye.






I will admit.... the Yorkshire pudding doesn't go with an afternoon tea , will save for dinner.   But grab a cuppa and I will bring the biscuits and cream..

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Outlander on Audio CD

Well in preparing a pre-post for my next book ,  I suddenly realized to my dismay, that I had inadvertently started with book two of the series....  HUGE SAD FACE, esp because the library does not have book number one and I am 6th on the download waitlist for kindle.  I am trying to show restraint and not buy it from Amazon nor from my beloved McKays.   So, in an attempt to satiate the withdrawal, I am listening to Outlander on audio CD.  I have always wanted to give it a go and there it was, on the library shelf, calling my name. Jamie calling to me from the Craigh na Dun.





Outlander series in oversized paperback...... I WANT!!!!
Have been attempting to 
collect from used bookstores.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Three Weeks in Paris by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Three Weeks in Paris
by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Description per Shelfari
Legendary storyteller Barbara Taylor Bradford presents a spellbinding story of four women transformed by old memories and surprising revelations when they meet again at a school reunion in Paris. As students at the prestigious Anya Sedgwick School of Decorative Arts in Paris, Alexandra Gordon, Kay Lenox, Jessica Pierce, and Maria Franconi share the challenges and excitement of developing their various artistic talents to the fullest under Sedgwick’s caring and demanding guidance. Once best friends, they part enemies, and after graduation go their separate ways, pursuing careers and establishing lives in different corners of the world. Alexandra, a set designer, becomes a leading figure in New York’s theater world. Kay, who marries and moves to Scotland, designs a successful line of clothing. Jessica, an interior designer, makes her home in California, while Maria returns to her native Italy, where she continues to work in her family’s textile business. For each of them, the arrival of an invitation to Paris to celebrate Anya Sedgwick’s eighty-fifth birthday stirs up complicated feelings: Nostalgic memories are colored by poignant regrets, and the reluctance to revisit their own pasts mixes with curiosity about their former friends. It is ultimately their desire to deal with unfinished business that convinces all of them to attend the party. During three eventful weeks in Paris, they visit their old haunts, rekindle ties, and awaken in one another the sense of wonder, adventure, and possibilities they had shared so long ago. Barbara Taylor Bradford has long been recognized as one of today’s finest chroniclers of women’s lives. From her blockbuster debut novel, A Woman of Substance , to her most recent bestseller, The Triumph of Katie Byrne , her books have sold more than 61 million copies worldwide. Three Weeks in Paris is vintage Bradford, filled with the emotional power and captivating plot twists her readers cherish.

Summary per Goodreads
Four young women attending the prestigious Anya Sedgwick School of Decorative Arts in Paris share the time of their lives, but they part bitterly. Seven years later, they return to celebrate the 85th birthday of the school's founder and spend three unforgettable weeks learning about each others' lives--their loves, marriages, betrayals, and triumphs--while rediscovering the City of Light and each other.


My feelings:
I enjoyed this book a great deal.  Initially took me a bit to get into ( blamed in part to my being in a Scottish Highlander mode)  and I got a little muddled in Bradford's descriptive nature, but in the end, saw that it fit in with the characters and core nature of the story.  One needs to see the city and country side, envision the colors and textures... Not pivotal to the plot but a nice accoutrement if you enjoy those types of details.  There were moments of sadness and those still follow me after my reading was done... but overall I had a feeling of completion upon finishing this book, which I need in order to enjoy a stand alone novel/book/writing. 
I absolutely hate when a book leaves me guessing with no epilogue or inclination of a sequel.  I feel as though a relationship has ended with no sense of closure... and we girls sure hate that ..
I gave this book 3 of 5 stars and would recommend.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Feeling odd ...Where is my cup half full??


I have been feeling the oddest sense of unrest today.  I cannot put my finger on what has me in such a tizzy and muddled in this hard to describe blah....  For the past few months I have been in a "carpe diem" mindset.  Taking time to focus a bit on myself and ponder what is that I want to do when I grow up... (like that will ever really happen )... Overall I have felt very empowered.   Yes, there are things I need to work/focus on and current responsibilities in filling the needs of others.  But, there will come a day when I will not be needed as mom at the ready and it is important that I have something that fills that space....
Today I just feel forlorn about my goals and dreams.  Are they the ridiculous ramblings or realistic expectation??  Surely not the beginnings of a mid-life crisis... for how does one reach the middle of forever.  Maybe I just need a long overdue nap.....  or maybe a cuppa... a FULL one.... strong.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Secret by Julie Garwood



The Secret
by Julie Garwood

Description per Shelfari and Goodreads
Judith Hampton was as beautiful as she was proud, as purposeful as she was loyal. The dear Scottish friend of her childhood was about to give birth, and Judith had promised to be at her side. But there was another, private reason for the journey from her bleak English home to the Highlands: to meet the father she had never known, the Laird Maclean. Nothing prepared her for the sight of the Scottish barbarian who was to escort her into his land ... Iain Maitland, Laird of his clan, a man more powerfully compelling than any she had ever encountered.

In a spirited clash of wills and customs, Judith reveled in the melting bliss of Iain's searching kisses, his passionate caresses. Perplexed by her sprightly defiance, bemused by her tender nature, Iain felt his soul growing into the light and warmth of her love. Surely nothing would wrench her from the affection and trust of Iain and his clan ... not even the truth about her father, a devastating secret that could shatter the boldest alliance, and the most glorious of loves!

My thoughts:
This was my first venture with checking out books from my local library via my kindle.  I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.  I have known about this method for quite some time,  but have been diligent in getting linked.....    I absolutely wish that I had done it sooner.. The last three series I have read are available in my e-library.  
Anyone that knows me and my romantic OBSESSION with all that is the Scottish Highlands, will know this is right up my alley.  I am always up for a tale of the Scottish Highlanders, Lairds, a fair maiden with a dash of honor and passion. 
I really liked this book, found it to be an easy read and will definitely look into others written by this author.  
T'was tale of friendship, honor and ties that bind.
Gave it a 5 of 5 stars on my goodreads & shelfari, and added to my faves.

Baking urge... biscotti it is


Nothing fancy... just had an urge to bake
Almond and Cherry Biscotti (with a touch of orange essence)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Perfect way to spend a gray day

Spent my morning at my beloved McKay's used bookstore HEAVEN!!!  With my mega Tervis mug in hand, filled to the brim with hot tea... I was locked and loaded for my pilgrimage south.  
My pulse quickens as I enter the door and my eyes focus upon rows and rows of books... all shapes, sizes and genre.   I walk along the books, viewing titles and authors, running my hand down the gently loved spines of each one that catches my attention.  I have a list in hand with tried and true titles that are a MUST BUY... Yet, at the same moment I am googling with my smart phone, checking reviews and pricing vs kindle downloads for books that seem to have found their way into my cart and want to come home with me.


only $3.00
(have started reading and already appears to be a fun and easy read)
I have a secret desire to downsize and live in an airstream ... just roaming
Let's see if that holds true when I finish this one....   :)




only  $0.05... not a mistake 5 cents
in perfect condition



I own these last two in  mass marker paperback :( , but I have been wanting them in hardcover...so when I found them today in perfect condition with dust covers.... I splurged.    My ultimate goal is to gather all my favorites  in the Oversized Paperback format...which is truly my favorite format... Butter baybeeeee!!!

$6.00 so a big splurge


$3.00 for the romantic in me


And last but not least..... For my youngest son... who is also a ravenous bibliophile.

$1.75 in new condition


 I really wanted Austenland by Shannon Hale, but sadly could only find it for 69 cents cheaper than kindle download... so the hunt continues.





Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Schools in session

Well it looks as though some sort of agreement has finally been reached on the budget for this years school term.  After a week and a half of delays, the kiddos are finally on the eve of a new school year.  This one will be particularly bittersweet for me as my oldest will be a senior and one step closer to flying the nest.  I am so unbelievably proud of him and am super excited about what the future holds for him.  But, I can't help feeling a part of my heart is slowly breaking off.   He has such an incredible sense of humor... much like my own.  We can just look at each other and "get the joke" without saying a word.

I pray that I have done my job as mother, mentor and guide... and that he will have the tools to take life by storm.... I wish this for all my boys... but I still have a few more years to mess em up..   :)

If I am this maudlin during his senior year of high school... wait until he actually goes off to college...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Things that make my kindle feel like home

I have seen much debate on kindle vs books..  I must say that I fought getting a kindle for many years... In my mind I was killing the written word and playing a part in the demise of the bookstore.  I love the appearance, touch, feel and even smell of a good book... esp a gently loved edition.  I am all about a hardcover or large style paperbacks with its corners slightly dog-eared.  My favorite way to spend the day is perusing a bookstore, (esp used) with a coffee or hot tea in hand.  The beautiful covers are artwork and make my senses tingle.  To what magical place can I travel upon opening the cover...

This past Christmas my father and step-mother bought me the kindle touch.. and I was instantly in love.  With a few alterations/additions... (photos below) a cover for the feeling and appearance of a book and a skin to give it a visual appeal of a cover... not to mention a bit of girlie bling ;)

I love my kindle because
  • It is lightweight and  can travel everywhere
  • I can read/carry more that one book at a time and never lose my place
  • Easy to read with my tired and ever aging eyes...can change font size
  • Easy to read in bed, no matter which way I am lying
  • Love the ability to access definitions and translations with one touch of a finger 
  • Can highlight passages and "dog-ear" pages without actually damaging the book
  • No creases in the book spines.. a bit OCD I admit, but I hate damaging the covers
  • I can get "MY FIX" at 2 am when I NEED the next book in a series and the stores are closed
  • Reading in a crowd and no one has to know what I am reading
  • My kiddos are unable to see my less than G-rated covers...hehehe

My fears about the modern age of e-books
  • The demise of the bookstore, but esp used bookstores
  • The gradual decrease in book supply and possible demise of the public library as we know it
  • My children's children never knowing what it is like to enter a library or bookstore and never knowing the bliss of holding a little piece of heaven known as the BOOK


I have linked my kindle to my public library via the READS program.. 
for those living in Tennessee 

I still visit my public library and check out books
I still go to bookstores both new and used and buy the occasional morsel
BUT I DO LOVE MY KINDLE


cover