Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Improper Life of Bezilla Grove: Book Review

                                                             The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove
                                                              By Susan Gregg Gilmore

The story takes place in the south, Nashville Tenn during the 1960's. The story is about a little girl named Bezilla. This is a name handed down from generation to generation in the family. Bezilla has alot to grow in with the important name Bezilla Grove. She wants to use her proper name and doesn't want a nick name. Grove, is one of the most prominent families in Nashville.

She is expected to act like a Grove.  She is expected to learn to have the best etiquette. Attend the best schools, learn to dance with the prominent son's at the contillions, learn French, etc.

Her sister is a bit different and because of this Bezilla is always trying to protect her sister. Her mother is from a low class family. She escaped that life and marries a doctor. Something happened to her mother when she was a teens that has brought her mother to drink and become emotional disturbed.

Her mother was putting together with Mrs. Hunt, the most important social event of the season.. After it was over she was thanked.  Just as fast as the event was planned and finished was forgotten about.  Her mother became depressed and a alcoholic because she was not remembered for all the hard work to put it together. She was not asked to help in the next social event of the year

Her father, a pediatrician decides to send Bezilla's mother to a asylum because of her drinking and emotional instability. Her father is having a affair with one of the most prominent women in town, Mrs. Hunt. . Everyone seemed to know he is carrying on and having a affair. One day Bezilla's father comes home late at night. No one knows exactly what happens but Bezilla's father had a accident and he dies.

The story takes place during the 1960's. During the civil rights movement. Where there was a " negro bathroom and a white bathroom. Whites sat with whites. Blacks gave up sits to a white person. You called Afro Americans negroes during that time. Servants were treated poorly. Nathaniel and Mezilla eat in the kitchen.

 Nathaniel and Maizelle treated the children as their own children. Many a time both of them wanted to say something to Bezilla's parent's, but knew their place. This was at the time that " negroes still knew to keep their mouth quiet, there were lynchings of negroes. This was a dangerous time in the south.

Bezilla falls in love with Nathaniel's son, Samuel. Which is a no-no in the 1960's. still.   Class, color and status is very important in the south.

 I expected the story to have more story line during the era of the civil rights. What was going on during this time. Instead it was a little taste about the terrible times in the south. Perhaps because it was a little girls perspective. Bezilla did not comprehend the entire picture of the south, since she was still growing up.

Bezilla ready for college learned about feminism and women's rights. Bezilla's mother falls ill again and Bedzilla returns home. I am not going to tell you any further because of spoiler's.

My Thoughts: not enough was talked about the events of the 1960's growing up in the prospective of a teenager, Civil Rights Movement and Women's Movement. If she was going to college during that time there was alot of anti-establishment, anti conventional ideas, anti-government, anti war, draft dodgers, rallies, protests, hippies etc. ideas at the colleges and universities, and high school. 

This story was a twist of Gone With The Wind meets To Kill A Mockingbird that meets a beach read. The story was very light reading. It had some serious undertones but just a touch. The end of the story, which I am not going to tell you did not fit right to the story. I felt it should have been in a different place in the book not the end.

The story was the coming of age of a young girls prospective growing up in a very destructive family. This is not anything to laugh at, and make light of. That is most likely why I had such a problem with this book. I was growing up in the 60's and I may have a different prospective of the book that other bloggers that may be younger, and did not grow up during that time.

I will give it three stars. I have not read any novels from the south that was light reading before.  I think there was serious events that should have been address more seriously. Have a bit more depth to what was going on in the south.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Girl Friends Book Swap Party

I just had to share this post that came from Girl Friend Celebration's website. It is full of party fun and money making ideas for fundraising too. I found this site looking for book swapping website and fell on to this. I am happy I did. It is a great idea too bad this came a bit late. School already started and I most likely will not have time to do this now. I would love to plan something like this next summer. We will just have to see. 

Here’s a hot summer party idea that’s guaranteed to generate good times, great reads and girlfriend conversation all summer long. Our Girlfriend Book Swap party is designed to help you learn more about your friends, meet some new ones, and gain some super summer reads for free! Give it a try on a starry night, and you’ll probably want to make it a tradition like we did

You may want to limit invitations to local girlfriends (reasonable driving distance); this makes it more convenient to pass the books on to the next borrower. Make your own invitations on the computer, or order custom ones from one of the many great online sources. We ordered ours from Impressive Inscriptions. The invitation text (minus the date and time details) went like this:
“Sip sangria under the stars

Swap some summer reads

Share sparkling conversation!

Girlfriends’ Summer Book Swap

It’s the season for summer reading! Please bring a book or two that you think a girlfriend would enjoy (fiction, nonfiction, self-help, beauty, humor—anything you have appreciated as a woman). Everyone will leave with a “new” book to read and return. Bring a friend if you like!”

Setting and setup

This party could work at any time of year, of course, but to us it simply screams summer–that time of year when we actually seem to have more time for reading. Holding the party outdoors, under the stars, makes for one enchanting evening. We like to hold ours on the summer solstice (the longest day of the year; this year it’s June 22). We used plenty of candlelight and blue-and-gold starry decorations to play up the “summer night” theme. Here are some setup tips:

» Arrange your backyard furniture into “conversation areas.”

» Provide a table to display the books.

» Download and print our simple form for guests to fill out and insert in each book. (Click HERE.) If you would rather make your own form, include space for the book owner’s name, address, phone number and/or email. Then, include spaces for your girlfriends to sign up as borrowers of the book. Leave space for up to three borrowers’ names and phone numbers, as well as a space for comments when they’ve finished the book.

Food and drink

A summery and super-simple menu includes Fruity Sangria Blanca (recipe here) and appetizers. Be sure to make enough of this delicious sangria; it disappears quickly! Your girlfriends could bring the appetizers, simplifying things even further. Otherwise, here are some simple ones that go nicely with the sangria. Trader Joe’s is a great source for almost all these items:

» Chips and salsa

» Guacamole and various veggie dipppers

» Spicy nuts

» Chicken Chipotle Quesadilla Rolls from Market Day

» Celery and blue cheese dip

» Cream cheese with mango salsa poured over it, served with flatbread

» Key lime cheesecake

Show, tell and swap

Have guests fill out their swap form and insert in their book(s) when they arrive. Then leave all the books on the central table for browsing. After everyone has arrived, chatted and had a cocktail, ask your friends to say a few words about the book they brought. This is not a book report; just say why they liked the book and/or why they think a girlfriend might enjoy it. (We know, we know, some of you are cringing at the thought of this little public-speaking exercise. Don’t chicken out. The effort really does pay off by adding some substance to your gathering. You’re among friends, and besides, your first glass of sangria should have kicked in by now.) If there are too many books/people to make this feasible, you can split into small groups.

Now it’s time to swap! We suggest asking everyone to sign up as the first borrower in one book only, then sign up in other books as available. Everyone leaves with their first book, to read, comment and pass on to the next borrower. The comment forms are a way of continuing the dialogue all summer. Try to read your book and pass it on promptly, especially if other borrowers are waiting.

If a girlfriend doesn’t want her book back at the end of the summer, she can simply write “please pass it on” in the “owner” space on the swap form. Or you may to keep the fun going by registering it at and leaving it in a public place for a lucky finder.

Party favors

You’ll want to give bookmarks, of course! Find some pretty ones at the dollar store, make them yourself from cardstock and rubber stamps, or do like we did and order custom ones from Impressive Inscriptions. They have great service and the beautiful laminated bookmarks made our guests feel special. You can even get them personalized if you know all your guests’ names in advance.

This party created quite a buzz among our local girlfriends and we are all looking forward to a bigger and better book swap this summer. Please be sure to let us know if you try this Girlfriend Celebration by commenting below!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Labor Day By Joyce Maynard

Labor Day
By Joyce Maynard

Labor Day is The story takes place in Holton Mills, New Hampshire, in the summer of 1987.   The novel is about 13 year old adolescent boy, named Henry.  He watches TV, reads comic books, and plays with his pet gerbil.   He thinks about girls constantly   He occasionally goes out with his father and their family to Friendly's. Which he fights with himself and forces him self to go. His mother stays to herself. She goes out only about every six weeks for groceries.  Most meals consist of Campbell's soup and TV dinners.

Henry convinces her that he needs new clothes for the start of the school year.  At the PriceMart he is at the magazine rack. A stranger is bleeding and has blood on his jeans. He starts talking to Henry.  For some reason Henry convinces his mother to take, the stranger Frank home.   They find out that he is a escaped convict.  He was in the prison hospital recovering from surgery. He jumps out of a window and here he is.

The man, Frank  is he a friend, a foe, does he keep them as hostage? We find that out later in the book.  We find out the fate of each one's decision. Frank did have another life. Adele, was a dancer and she was very good at it.  Until something in each of their lives changed them and could not turn back the clock.

The main focus is about the little boy and growing up as adolescent. What the effect the man had on his life that labor day weekend.

My Thoughts: At first I did not like the book. But as I the momentum and story kept being layered I started to care about all the characters, and I was hooked.    At first I thought it was ridiculous for Adele to bring home this stranger. What mother would do such a thing. She must be crazy.    I then thought ok there must be two reasons. Either she has such a lonely existance.  Why not? Then the other is she feels so sorry for this man she wants to help someone, I will take a chance.

 In parts of the novel I thought I was reading " A Flash From the Past", a Patty Hearst scenerio. Because if you remember Patty Hearst she originally was taken hostage, or was she? Or she was just swept in? That is what I felt from this book.  There were parts in the novel, I wanted to shake her, and say are you crazy. You have a son to think of..
 She is naive, compulsive, a risk taker without thinking of the consequences of her actions.  She talks to her son inappropriately, she has poor judgement. She is asking her son what he thinks.

  Later on in the novel as we read futher, what happened that Frank's life came to this. Why Adele has a reclusive exixtance.    I don't want to tell you any more spoilers.

 Through out the book, the boy is telling about his  thoughts and feeling of his mother, her relationship of Frank,  and what he feels about his father(divorced, and remarried with children). His growing from adulthood and his sexuality. At times he loves Frank at other times he is jealous of his relationship with his mother.   He feels alot of times he's mother talks to him about very mature subjects  that should not be discussed with him. But because she doesn't have any friends he confides in him. Then the mother and the stranger make a dreadful decision that affects all of them for the rest of their lives that fateful weekend.

The stranger becomes his mentor this labor day weekend.  The story takes place over a labor day weekend.  He teaches him how to play catch, how to make a pie crust, etc.

 I felt that the author did a good job going into a  teenagers head, especially a single child.   I am a single mom and some of the things he said is exactly what my son felt at times. He sometimes felt that he was responsible for my happiness.  I think that is typical for a only child being raised by a single parent.  It was just kind of interesting that see it on paper.  I was like, wow this author must know my son. 

I recieved Labor Day from Book Club Girl for her blog talk radio program. If it was not for that I most likely would not have read it.    I think this book will stay on my book shelf.  This is a keeper and I will remember this one for a while.  I can't rave enough about this short, lovely book.  You must read it.   I had read a novel, called Golden Grove about adolescent. That one I did not enjoy as much.   I would recommend this novel to all my friends and book club members. 
Here is a review by The Washington post.
 I would like to ask Joyce why she called the novel Labor Day? Is there some kind of significance?

On another note, I happy to report, I  read on Joyce's website that Labor Day is going into production for a movie. The entire time I was reading it, I was watching it as a movie. Isn't that interesting.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Book Review: 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

The 19th Wife 
By David Ebershoff
505 pages

The 19th Wife, from the flap:
Spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff's The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with spellbinding modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense.

It is 1875, Anna Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband., Brigham Young, prophet, leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled  and a outcast. Anna Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States.  A rich account of the family's polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman becomes a plural wife.

soon after Anna Eliza's story begins a second exquisite narrative unfolds a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present day Utah.  Jordon Scott a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father's death.  And as Anna Eliza;s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan's search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith.

My thoughts of 19th Wife:  

With modern times Jordan's mother is in a polygamous marriage.  She is the 19th wife. She is accused of murdering her husband.  Her son, Jordan who is a young adult. Was exiled out of the compound because he was seen holding a girls hand when he was 15.   Through the entire book he is trying to help find out who the killer was.  He never believes it is his mother.

Then it flips to the historical Mormon Church's beginnings. Since I did not know anything about the religion and the church I found it very interesting.  There was a woman named Anna Eliza Young, she was married to the famous Brigham Young.  Brigham Young was a famous Mormon leader.  The Mormon Church believed in polygamy.  She was a advocate to stomp out polygamy. There was a real person named Anna Eliza Young.

The novel is great for discussion. How do you keep up with all your wife's. ?What about the children? How would you feel if you lived in this kind of marriage? What happens to the boys when they become adolescence? The women actually had to wait in line to talk to their husband.
The husband had a time table for each of them. #1 wife had Monday night, #2 wife had Monday afternoon etc., etc.. Can you imagine the complication this was.  Brigham Young and his followers used polygamy for their advantage. It was a form of abuse to the wives. But it was child abuse to the young girls that were forced into marriage

There was competition of the wives. The favourites  received a beautiful home,  jewelry, and clothes etc..  The men would have several homes for each of their wives. The wives were jealous of each others time with the husband. Or the affection they gave to each of them.    Some of the families enjoyed the commune life. Some of the families had over 100 children. The wives shared in the responsibilities of the household.   How would the other wives feel if another wife came into the family? How would they treat the children when they were born? Would they love them or reject them?

Anna Eliza after she married Brigham Young was given a new home. But there was a price to pay. She had to farm for the entire family.  But then after she was not needed there. She was given a dilapidated home. This is when she realized that this kind of marriage was a form of abuse and she was not going to tolerate this any longer.  She decided she was going to go on the lecture circuit to let society become aware. Since Brigham Young and the Mormon Church denied they were polygamists.  With the help of Anna Eliza and several others a law was passed called The Poland Law that stamped out polygamy.

While reading the novel, I dug and did my own research on Brigham Young and Anna Eliza Young and the Mormon Church.    The characters were rich in detail and multi dimensional.  Most historical novels are one dimensional characters.  The story was multi layered as well.  The only thing I did not like, and irritated me while reading.  Was the flipping back in forth of the two stories. But I think this gave the book depth and dimension. I don't think the book would have been as good as a read if it did not.    The novel gave you  a idea of the life of a polygamous marriage. Believe me I would not want to live that lifestyle.  One of the reasons polygamy ended was because it would have been the end of the church.  

The novel uses the book, The 19th Wife( that Anna Eliza Young did write many years ago). The history of the church, and Eliza Young, and the story of Jordan and his mother made the novel confusing at first till I got into the book. 

I am not going to give you the spoilers of course. But I will tell you the ending justified the entire book, the murder and polygamy.   Which at first I did not like. But after digesting it for a few days.  It made a lot of sense.   

I enjoyed reading this book. I had this book on my shelf for two years. But I am assuming the 500 page book may have been a bit daunting.  Luckily my book club talked me into it.  Thank you 38th Ave. Diva Readers for picking this one.  I recommend this highly.

  I already started talking about this novel to other book club members.  I can see this will be a good book club discussion and also a good  spring board for discussion of polygamy and what life was like for the wives.  

Look out for my post of our book club meeting this month.    We will be meeting in October for, Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Author of Stiltsville Susanna Daniel

Susana Daniels has just released her debut novel this month called Stiltsville.
I have the pleasure of introducing her on Carolina Book Stacks.  You can read the synopsis of her novel and my review here.

This is one of the best books I have read this summer. I could not wait to read it.  I connected with this book so much because of my connection with Miami. The description of Miami and it's exotic nature was beautiful. Her writing style was awesome.   It is a quiet novel about growing and maturing in marriage.  From the early marriage to the twilight years.

One of the questions on my mind was what was it like to live in the community of Stiltsville? Did anyone live there full time? Did you have good memories living there?

This kept going through my mind. Because I kept putting myself in one of the homes when I was reading.
I kept thinking as a child there is not a playground or a backyard to play ball, only blue ocean everywhere.  The house would be so cramped because I would think it would be a bit smaller than a house.
You couldn't just go to the corner store for a gallon of milk. I am sure it was a distance going by boat. I am sure there must have been so kind of mail service.  But, I was wondering if there were telephones. What happens if there was a emergency or you needed some help.
It seems like you would be isolated from everything. You couldn't go shopping, the movies, to the restauraunt. It would be a distance.   It was a different kind of lifestyle.  It would be somewhat of a inconvience. But, It sure sounds like a interesting get away for a summer weekend.

I just wondering what children or adults did for entertainment and for fun? I would assume they would sun on their boats, go deep water fishing, water skiing etc. But what about the evening?

I assume you would go to the main land( Miami).  Just not a local spot you would have to travel.

This must have been a  great experience and good memories.

Susanna wrote her experiences and this is what she said:
My family lived full-time in Coral Gables, a few miles from where my father was born and raised, but we spent about one weekend a month at Stiltsville, in a house there that was built by my grandfather. In the summer, we usually spent longer, and went out more often, when my father could get off work. During the week, much of Stiltsville was empty, though the teenagers whose parents owned the houses went there when they skipped school. The majority of Stiltsville residents were like my family -- they had homes in Miami and spent weekends at their stilt houses -- and, also like us, the majority shared use of the houses with other families. However, there was one person during my time there who lived at Stiltsville full-time: a hermit, whose house was next to ours. Everything I know about him is in the novel. People came out to visit him but to my knowledge he didn't go to shore often, if at all. I don't know what happened to him after Hurricane Andrew. I've always wondered.

The last time I was in Miami, Florida -- where I was born and raised, and where my novel STILTSVILLE takes place -- I sat outside at a coffee shop on Miracle Mile, peering through sunglasses at a laptop computer as the traffic rushed by.

There were the usual noises: ladies in high heels passing on the sidewalk, drivers honking their horns. And then there was a burst of angry shouting, coming from the intersection right in front of me. I looked up. A driver had his head out his car window, and he was shouting -- in a ranting, maniacal voice -- at the driver of the car in front of him, which was stopped at the light. The light was red, but the woman in the front car, for some reason, had her car in reverse.

 The woman was old and small, with white hair and narrow shoulders and thick eyeglasses, and as the man screamed at her she looked in her side view mirror at him, visibly confused.

He continued to holler. "Lady," he screamed at one point, "if you hit my car, I'm going to come up there and beat you."

The woman, after several seconds, put her car into drive and the light turned green and the man ducked back into his car, his knuckles white against his steering wheel, and traffic moved on.

Miami, at times, can be an ugly, ugly place. Who would want to write about such a place?

As a child, I lived in a modest ranch home in a pretty section of Coral Gables, near South Miami. I rode my bike to school every day, starting when I was ten years old. The closest I came, at a young age, to knowing seediness or cruelty was when I found a page torn from a pornographic magazine on the sidewalk around the corner from my house. I was nominally acquainted with accidents and challenges -- my sister had died in a car accident when I was a baby -- but not with the uglier bits of life, the unseemliest bits.

When I was about twelve, in a house surrounded by elaborate gardens just a few blocks south of us, a man blew his wife's brains out, then turned the gun on himself. This was news, and of course I heard about it -- but still, crimes of passion, bloody as they can be, are not ugly in the particular way of the man screaming at the old lady at the intersection.

When the man threatened to beat the old woman, the whole scene -- which, thankfully, did not come to pass -- played out in my mind. This man was young -- maybe mid-thirties -- and seemed fit and rugged, and had very large hands. In my mind, I saw him using those hands to hurt this fragile woman. It was so unsettling that my own hands shook as I closed my laptop and walked to my car. I have never repeated that story to anyone, until now. It's not a story I choose to keep with me. It stays all on its own.

There are writers who are fascinated with ugliness, and there are writers who avoid it completely. My preference is somewhere in the middle, as a reader as well as a writer. I prefer to highlight the beauty in the face of the ugliness, when possible. To look away, as I do in real life, from the ugliness, toward something better. Sometimes it's impossible to do this except at a remove. To write about Miami, I had to leave it.

Though I no longer live there, I know many, many people who still do, including many people who have lived there all their lives. My father is one such native -- and I have never heard him complain about the traffic or recount a story from his hairy commute that reflected anything like the ugliness I witnessed at that Miracle Mile intersection. Though in recent afternoon driving through Miami I encountered five car accidents and was nearly involved in two, my father hasn't had so much as a fender bender in twenty years.

I now live in the Midwest, which is a place as foreign to Miamians as Miami is to everyone else. One might assume I moved here in reaction to growing up in Miami, but that's not the case. I didn't move here because of notions -- which are mostly exaggerated -- about the Midwest being simple and friendly and easily navigated. I moved here on a lark, almost by accident. And I stayed because I met my husband and our family is here, and family has a way of tethering a person to a place the way nothing else can.

Sometimes I think I'd like to write about the Midwest, about the beauty and peace of it. And maybe one day if something intercedes in my life to take me away from the Midwest, I'll be able to.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Today is Mailbox Monday. It seems to go so fast now that summer is ready for a close. It seems to wiz right by. Before you know it Labor Day will be here.

In South Carolina school starts before Labor Day. In Myrtle Beach Public school starts up again on 8/23.

 I went on campus to pick up my text books.  I am only taking two classes this semester. I am looking forward to start in some ways.  But in other ways I don't want to start stressing out.

 I just recieved a letter that I should have gotten in July. I have been accepted in the nursing program.  That is great, but I have to wait till 2012!! Hopefully it will go quickly.

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Chickloveslit
These are the books I recieved in my mailbox this past week:

Lucy by Laurence Gonzalez
The novel, is about a primatologist that travels to the Congo in Africa. A civil war breaks out and Jenny is trapped in the crossfire.  Everyone is dead but a young girl.  The daughter of Jenny's brutally murdered fellow scientist.
Jenny and the child flee.  Then when she reaches  Chicago. She reads into the notebook. That the girl is a hybrid. Half human, half ape.
This should be interesting reading. I love to read books with a ethical slant.

The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove was sent to me by the author. She was looking for Southern book Bloggers. I am looking forward to reading this one.

Father of the Rain was sent to me by the author, Lily King.
The story is set in the 1960's.  Ever since Mad Men has come out. It seems that there are many books that are being set in the 60's. Either because of Mad Men or because author's think this is a good setting. I grew up in the 1960's, I did not think it was a interesting time. Perhaps because I lived it. It was actually a scary time. Between Kennedy being shot, Detroit Riots, College Riots, Jail Riot, Attica(jail riot). There was just alot of anti-establishment going on.

But after doing a project on the 60's I realize now that it was a interesting time growing up. I was not exactly a flower child as I was too young remembering some of the 60's as my teen years were in the 70's. But, I do remember some of it.

Have a great week everyone. Happy Reading, Keep those pages flipping. 

What books did you get in the mail this week??

Addendum: I can't believe I forgot to mention this book.

The novel is Stashed by David Klein.  The novel deals with a wife that does a favor for her husband. She does a errand and is carring marijuna.  She gets in a car accident and then all hell breaks loose. Please excuse the foul language.  But, anyway I can't wait to read this. I love a book that is a jumping board to ethical issues to be discussed.  Looking forward to reading this one. Thank you to the author David Klein.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday tour is hosted by Marcia, of the Printed Page. She has decided to expand and let others host each month the monthly Mailbox Monday. This month it is hosted by Chickloveslit. Join in and let us know what you received in your mailbox this past week. 

Here are the books that came to my mailbox this week:

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard. It was sent by Joyce and Book Club Girl sent me another copy.  I will have a book giveaway with the extra copy in the next couple weeks to coinside with Labor Day.
This novel ,a lonely 13 year old with his divorced mother.  The last weekend before school starts  a man shows up in town. How this changes his life for 5 days and beyond.

Stiltsville by Susanna Daniels I have a extra copy for a book giveaway I am hosting.  You can go to a few previous posts to enter my giveaway and read my post here.

Remedies by Kate Ledger was sent by the author. This sounds like a good one.
This is the story about a Baltimore doctor is obsessed with easing the suffering of his chronic pain patients.  Simon has stumbled upon a obscured drug that may revolutionalize the treatment of pain.
This sounds like a great read for me since I am entering the medical field again.

Vivian Rising by Daniella Brodsky. This is the story of Vivian. She misses her grand mother after she passes away.She misses her grandmother. She feels very alone. She stubbles upon a astrologer's walkway. Things start to open up to her.  This was sent to me by Simon and Schuster.

Heart of Lies by M. L Malcolm. This is the story of Leo Hoffman. He was born with a gift for languages. When he dreams for the future are destroyed by WW1. The dashing young hungarian attempts to use his rare talent to rebuild his life, only to find himself inadvertently embroilded in an international conterfeiting scheme.  Suddenly Leo is wanted all across Europe  for a host of crimes.
This was sent to me by the publishing house Harper Collins.

Beach Trip by Cathy Holton.  The story is about four women. They were friend until they went their separate ways after college. Now they are in their 40's want to relive their college years and meet up in one of their summer cottages. But then secrets are revealed.  This was sent by the author Cathy Holton.

What did you get in your mailbox this past week? Did you have tax weekend in your town? If so what did you buy? Was books included?

Now I did buy my self a few goodies. This weekend in Myrtle Beach SC was tax free weekend. Mainly geared for back to school.  This includes, clothes, furniture, computers, etc.
But yesterday was the last day. I was waiting to pick up my son. As I was waiting in Book a Million. I found out this included books. Well as any book blogger knows do you think I am going to walk away from that.  If any one knows me. I can't walk away from my favorite thing books. The sale did not include just tax free but included 20% off. I could not walk away from that.

Here are the little goodies I bought:

Intervention by Robin Cook
The Island by Elin Hilderbrand
Cutting the Stone by Abraham Verghese
The Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier. I have been looking forward to this one.  Do you think I took advantage of tax weekend?? or do you think I should have gotten more??? LOL!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Castaways-Book Reviews

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

The novel is about 4 couples of the inner circle that live on Nantucket Island.
 Chief( Ed), Andrea, Jeffrey, Delilah, Addison, Phoebe try to figure out the events that led to the tragic death of Tess and Greg. Tess and Greg leave behind their twin children.

The 4 couples are a close knit group they don't do anything without each other. They party together, spend time vacationing together, they don't do anything without each other knowing about it.

 They all have their story to tell. Each one shares the idea, and speculation and gossip why it is their fault some thing happened to their friends.

Greg is a music teacher in the high school. One of his students starts a rumor that he seduced her.  This starts all the trouble in his marriage, and the community, and is talked about in the entire novel.

Tess is married to Greg but she is having a affair with Addison.
Addison is married to Phoebe. He is having a hard time dealing with his marriage to Phoebe since her twin brother died on 9/11. Phoebe and Addison have been trying to get pregnant without success.

Andrea is the cousin to Tess she is very conservative. She has two children. She was engaged to Jeff, the farmer but instead Jeff married Delilah.. She married  Ed, the police chief.

Delilah is a free spirit. She works with Greg in a bar and grill. There are plenty of times she comes home drunk. Delilah is in love with Greg.

This is just a line or two about each couple. If you want to find out what other dirt is in the novel you will just have to read it.

My thoughts: I enjoyed reading The Castaways. It was like watching a soap opera.
It did not disappoint me.  I kept wanted to read more.  This was a perfect getaway book that you don't want to put down. The characters were multi-dimensional.  I can see this as a jumping off point to discuss marriage, and infidelity.

 I read her other book Barefoot and loved that one too.  I bought Summer Affair and now The Island. I can't wait to start that one.  Soon it will time to go back to literary fiction.  School will be back in session and it will be back to the old dull text books again.  But, for now I will read a few more fun summer reads.

Thank you Marian from Hachette books for this copy.

Sima's Undergarments for Women- Book Review

I am posting my review on Sima's Undergarments for Women on Bagels, Books and Schmooze for the Jewish Carnival. Check it out at Bagels, Books and Schmooze.
I thought this book was wonderful.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book Giveaway-Stiltsville

I am hosting a book giveaway, Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel from August 2nd to August 15th.
I wanted to read the book because of my connection with Miami. I enjoyed reading about the sight,sounds and smells of the Miami beat. The story takes place from the 60's to the 90's.  Her writing style is poetic of the surrounding of the area.

The story is about the relationship of two people falling in love. Their marriage,  how their marriage matured to the older years.  I liked the connection of the story line and how the author intertwined it with the current events that was happening in the Miami area. The best part was how Miami developed as a character in the book.

If you ever wanted to go to Miami or ever lived in Miami or just wanted to escape to the tropics then this novel you will enjoy.

The giveaway coins ides with the release of the book on August 2.
 The drawing will be August 15th.

First, write a comment on my blog and write the details about the
contest and link it to my blog.
 2) for a second entry tell me what book that you like that you felt the character was a place.
Good Luck.

Susanna Daniel was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she spent much of her childhood at her family’s stilt house in Biscayne Bay. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was a Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.
Her stories have been published in Harcourt’s Best New American Voices AnthologyOne StoryEpoch, The Madison Review, and
Susanna lives with her husband and son in Madison, Wisconsin, where during the long winter she dreams of the sun and the sea, and of jumping off the stilt house porch at 

This is a picture of one of the homes in Stiltsville. You can scroll a few posts below and find a few more. You will also find a interesting video there as well. If you want to dig more research do a google search.