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 »

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 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


Friday, August 10, 2012

Are smart phones really smart????

Is technology really a good thing...

GRRRRR with all my hard drives crashes (note that as plural) this summer and now today's smart phone snafu ... I am starting to think I need to go old school.

My smartphone would not recognize my gmail acct therefore would not open my blog.  I want to be able to jot when the mood strikes me and a photo op presents itself... TO MUCH TO ASK????

Well it must be... because with the most generous and patient help of my wireless carrier.. we went through every scenario possible and then finally had to perform the HORRIFIC ... FACTORY RESET.   I feel the bile rising in my throat as I type the words.    Long story longer.... it still does not work and I lost some files that contained seedling ideas for my blogs and MY ENTIRE PASSWORD FILE...

SHOOT ME PLEASE .... no you can't .... because I don't have that app nor the password to access it...

WHEW.. thank you for letting me vent

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Break the nose....

Had a much needed movie night out with a few of my bff roses. 
{ will call M and R ;)  }.
We saw the new release "Hope Springs" and I have to give it a huge thumbs up.  Subject matter was near to my heart.. as I am sure for anyone that has been married for any length of time.  Marriages and people go through transitions and change.   Sometimes those changes cause us to grow in different directions... but hopefully, like a vine, with a little TLC and attention, that vine can be reshaped...redirected....and grow... interlacing into a the beautiful trellis of a fulfilling marriage.

Or .... you could just Break The Nose... 

{LOL.. will make sense once you see the movie}

Steve Carell was great in this movie,  such a different character for him.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bee in my bonnet

I have gotten the travel bug once more.  Finding that I am so unbelievably dissatisfied with my current job track and stagnant in life in general, International Nursing has peaked my interest.  I do have to stay within the boundaries of English speaking territories for I am not bilingual.  Working on my Spanish Rosetta Stone... but sloooow going.   Have been perusing expat blogs and trying absorb all info possible to enable myself to make wise choices.  Would love feedback from expat nurses...both married and unmarried, expated for your spouse's job or purely for self adventure.  This has been something that I thought about for many years but have been unable to let myself dream.   Following others for their careers and activities... my time is coming near.