Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ready Or Not Here We Go....Back To School

What The What? 

Is it really time for school to begin? What happened to summer? As I contemplate these thoughts, school time is upon us. As teachers prepare their rooms and students prepare to give up the lazy days of summer, I reside in the library processing books and updating inventory.


Summer Happenings

I have had a quick but peaceful summer, which was exactly what I needed. I haven't posted here for sometime. I am excited to get back into the swing of blogging again after my hiatus.  

This is how I spent my summer:

1. My son graduated from High School (Whoop!).

2. We had several camping trips, in Kansas and in Colorado (which I loved).

3 We spent lots of time with my grandsons (which I loved).

4. Lots and lots of time spent reading (which, come on you know I loved that).

5. We had friends and family visit (which I always love).

6. Went to 2 weddings (who doesn't love a wedding?).

7. Enjoyed time at the pool and beach (doesn't get much better than that).

8. Enrolled my grandson in golf  lessons (oh what fun that was). 

9. Enjoyed several festivals and fairs as well (loved all the music I was able to hear this summer).

10. I spent a lot of time at the library (I even found a golden ticket).

Here are a few pics from my summer of fun. 

 
Books of Summer

Well you may be surprised to know that I did a lot of reading.

I am a part of an online book group with some friends both near and far. We read Mosquitoland by David Arnold.

This is a wonderful story, beautifully written, easy to read and I couldn't put it down. David Arnold is a first time author and it tells a story of Mim Malone who had her entire life uprooted after her parents divorce. Her father and step-mother moved her about 1000 miles from her mom, in Ohio. She completely despises her step-mother.

Mim comes to find that her mother is ill. She begins to wonder if her father left her mother because of her illness. Mim decides to go see her mother in Ohio. She buys a bus ticket to Ohio and along the way she meets a cast of characters. A catastrophe occurs on the trip and Mim begins to re-think everything. 

This story made me feel as if I had known Mim, her whole life. Mim also has a struggle with mental illness, she suffers from schizophrenia albeit, she doesn't allow her illness to define her and even finds strength from it. She has some unique quirks that makes Mim likeable and memorable; from her misplaced epiglottis, burnt-out right eye and her lipstick warpaint (read it to know what those quirks truly mean). 

I can't wait to read David Arnold's next novel he is one to watch.


The Good Girl by Mary Kubica 

Another first time author but you wouldn't know it. This book was an amazing read that kept me wondering why things happened as they did and not so much what's going to happen next. This story is about a 20 something girl named Mia she goes out to a bar and disappears and we find out that she has been kidnapped. 

Initially, I loved several things about this book right off the bat, it takes place in Chicago (where I grew up and lived most of my life), the story is written from 3 perspectives; Mia's mother, the detective and the kidnapper. Lastly, I enjoyed the intrigue that drew me in from the very first chapter. Without a doubt this was my favorite read of the summer.

I really liked that the author was unique in her delivery of Mia to the reader. As the story jumps back and forth in time through the different perspectives and we find out fairly early on that she was kidnapped and even know that she survives. It becomes less of a whodunit and more about putting the pieces together.

 The Rumor by Elin Hilderband

 My summer wouldn't be complete without a Nantucket based, Elin Hilderbrand book in my hand. The Rumor, is aptly titled, for the story concerns two best friends, Grace and Madeline, and their families who live on Nantucket Island.

The book provides a fantastic overview of life in this small community, where just about everyone starts and pays attention to the rumor mill. Whether true or pertinent to daily life, Hilderbrand provides the reader with rumors about the families and their impact on these two families and their lives.

I have read all of Elin Hilderbrand's books and this one is as good as it gets. Hilderbrand once again, brings Nantucket to life. In this easy to read, beach read,  the rumors start, take on lives of their own and spread everywhere on this small island. This could easily be any small town America. From the start, I found myself caught up in the book, as I eagerly read on to find out what was going to happen next. I found the characters, true-to life and well done, as they always are in this Hilderbrand's books. The story flowed along smoothly and quickly for me, from start to finish.


These next few photo's are from our online book club A Book and A Beverage.

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel 

I honestly had no idea that I would love this book as much I did!  I was most hesitant about reading the book because of the comparisons to the movies, Sliding Doors and P.S. I Love You.  I figured it’s been done already. But one of my favorite chick-lit books is P.S. I  Love You so I had to give it a try.

Well, I am so glad I opened the book up and started reading it.  Within the first few chapters, I was hooked! I was in complete sync with Kate, the main character.  As she goes to a dinner party, where she will be proposed to, I was kind of indifferent. I found myself wanting to know more about Kate and her late husband and wanting to know more about what she had lost. Then, as Kate evolves and the reader learns more about her past and how it connects with her future,  the story takes on a life of its own. You are gently drawn toward the here and now.

This is a beautiful story of second chances at love, listening to your intuition, and believing that there is always a plan for a future, even when it seems like all hope is lost. It’s a story that I kept thinking about, long after the last page and is definitely a favorite of mine for 2015!

 

  Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster

All of us, who have ever read a time travel book knows that changing the past tends to alter the future. And that's exactly what Lissy Ryder, hopes to do.

Ryder is a once-popular cheerleader who ruled high school and married the star quarterback. At 37, she is broke, unemployed, divorced and living in her parents house, her glory days well behind her. When she thinks life can't get much worse, she receives an invitation to her 20-year high school reunion. It then becomes apparent that Ryder wasn't well liked by her fellow students and that the key to a happier future could be in changing her past. Lucky for her, an unusual classmate has just the potion for this sort of thing one drink and Ryder finds herself back in 1992.

This was an easy fun read. I laughed out loud, numerous times.

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

This is a triumph. An inspiring, heartbreaking, uplifting, and incredible story.  No, it's not an easy book to swallow, and at times it's gut-wrenching, yet it's one of the most hopeful books I've ever read. Reminds me of The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. Gorgeous writing, captivating characters, and a powerful story that lingers, with an ending you want to hug. I haven't been able to forget about I'll Meet You There or its characters 2 months after finishing it. I doubt I ever will. I think the potential for a sequel is there and I will be ordering my copy.

 

 

 Objects Of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

I was first introduced to Jill Smolinski in her first book Next Thing On My List. We shared it at my book club 6 years ago. I loved her writing style, so easy to read, like sitting with an old friend.

This book tells the story of Lucy, a woman who is kind of a rock bottom. She is in dire financial straits after selling her house to pay for her son's stint in rehab, and she recently broke up with her boyfriend. However, Lucy is determined to get her life back on track. She starts by accepting a job to help an eccentric artist organize her possessions, and she dives right into the work. Unfortunately, the artist isn't very cooperative and she doesn't exactly appreciate the help that Lucy is offering.
Through it all, Lucy realizes that her life is full of new challenges. Like, cleaning up the artist's house before the deadline, convincing her son to get help for his drug problem, discovering an attraction to a new (and younger) man, and reconnecting with her ex. As she works her way through these issues, she manages to form a friendship of sorts with the artist and discover some valuable life lessons along the way.



I loved this book.

 

 The Summer's End by Mary Alice Monroe

 

I could not wait to read this last book in the Lowcountry Summer Series. I always feel like I am visiting a group of old friends when the next book in the series comes out. Do any of you feel the same as me?

This book focuses on Harper the youngest and richest of the three sisters. There is definitely outright resentment about that coming from Carson. Dora on the other hand hides it a little better while Carson is  confrontational at times about Harper’s funds. Which brings me to my one criticism, Harper is a bit whiny in this book while Carson on the other hand is a bit too harsh at times about the money issue. The funniest parts of the book was the exchange between the girls two grandmothers Mamaw, lowcountry and down to earth and Granny James, upper crust and upper class British! Mary Alice Monroe is such a descriptive writer I felt like I was on Sullivan’s Island and I know what it is like there because I have been there. Harper’s character is a bit more loose and she comes into her own in this book, not to give too much away, but her mother is awful and keeps her under her thumb back up in N.Y.C.

This last book is a good wrap up of the series. I read this book on the beach and enjoyed every minute of it.

 

These books were the highlights of my summer but I read several others. I hope you will share your summer reads with me and/or try out some of these. You won't be disappointed.

 

 I'm Currently Reading

  Swaps

I am involved with several swaps. As a blogger, I have many blogger friends and we create swaps to get to know each other.  I am currently involved in 2 swaps.

OTSP Secret Sister Swap: This swap is put together through On The Same Page . It is a six month long swap. We are each assigned a partner that we send to and someone else, is assigned to send to me.  We use social media to answer questions and share things with our secret sisters. 

I just received my first swap package and I also received a card prior to this delivery. This swap is based on books and our love of books. I feel lucky to have met so many people in this OTSP Secret Sister community.

 

My other swap is one that I absolutely love!!! It is through the wonderful ladies at Chaotic Goddess Swaps . They have different swaps and I have been swapping with them for several years now. This particular swap is called books and bloggers. This swap is a book swap. You swap 3 books; 1 book you love, 1 book you can't wait to read and a book from your partners wish list. Click on the link and check out some of their swaps, you won't be sorry.

 

Happy Reading, 

See you soon!