Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Rainshadow Road

Title: Rainshadow Road
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Length: 308 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffen
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Chick-Lit
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
My Rating:SmileySmileySmiley
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington, with a boyfriend, Kevin, who she believes is her soul mate. She has always had a magical side - a gift that finds its way into the breathtaking glasswork she creates - and she struggles to keep it contained. But when Lucy is blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal, she questions many of her choices. Her boyfriend leaves her and his new lover is none other than Lucy's own sister. Lucy's bitterness over this devastation is multiplied buy the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life.

Meanwhile, facing the severe disapproval of Lucy's family, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on the San Juan Island, to "romance" Lucy so that she can more easily move on. But when Sam and Lucy begin to feel real sparks between them, Lucy must ask herself if she can easily risk her heart again.

As Lucy questions her beliefs about love, loyalty, and old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings, she explores the possibility that some things in life - even after are being broken - can be re-made into something beautiful. And that is the only by discovering who you really are that you can find the one who truly deserves you.

My Thoughts: This was a fun book! An easy read, beautiful setting, a little magic, a heart-melting hero, and a happy ending. What more do you need? The backgrounds of both main characters were a little extreme but not necessarily implausible, though they did make the characters a little hard to relate to at times. There were a lot of quirky side characters and you could pick out the budding romance for the second book in this trilogy, which I will happily read! The one thing I would have really liked to see more of was the magic. I do not feel like this aspect was fully developed.

If your looking for a nice summer read, go ahead and add Rainshadow Road to your list!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dancing Naked in Dixie

Hi everyone! This post is going to look a little different than my other ones. I am participating, for the first time, in a blog tour hosted by Virtual Book Tour Cafe.
Dancing Naked in Dixie Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

 With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage. Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?

Lauren Clark:
Lauren Clark writes contemporary women’s fiction set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with love, family and friendship, and the challenges that life unexpectedly throws at all of us! Her characters are real women; smart and sassy, who tackle complicated issues with tenacity and intelligence. Readers will empathize and relate to her flawed yet likable heroines. A former TV anchor and journalist at WWNY and WTVY, Lauren’s stories allow us an insight into the excitement, drama and fast- paced world of media. Lauren is a reformed news junkie, a non-reformed coffee drinker, and an official library geek. Her big loves are family, paying it forward, eight hours of sleep a night, and homemade macaroni and cheese. She lives near the Florida Gulf Coast where she is surrounded by family and and true-blue friends that inspire her writing and keep her sane.

Sign up to Lauren’s newsletter to stay in the loop with all of Lauren’s book news!

I really love the cover and title of this novel. It sets the perfect tone for fun, light chick-lit! Lauren Clark has written a novel with quirky, lovable characters and full of surprises. I really enjoyed the feel that I got for the South while reading, so much so that I wanted to go and visit for myself! 

If you enjoy a spunky heroine and an "exotic" setting, and the deep South could fall under that label for many, then pack your bags and join Julia on her trip to Eufaula, Alabama!

You can find Dancing Naked in Dixie on Amazon and at your favorite online or local bookstore!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: The Cranes Dance

Title: The Cranes Dance
Author: Meg Howrey
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Vintage Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: Vintage Books
My Rating: SmileySmileySmiley
Synopsis: (from Goodreads):  I threw my neck out in the middle of Swan Lake last night.
So begins the tale of Kate Crane, a soloist in a celebrated New York City ballet company who is struggling to keep her place in a very demanding world. At every turn she is haunted by her close relationship with her younger sister, Gwen, a fellow company dancer whose career quickly surpassed Kate’s, but who has recently suffered a breakdown and returned home.

Alone for the first time in her life, Kate is anxious and full of guilt about the role she may have played in her sister’s collapse.  As we follow her on an insider tour of rehearsals, performances, and partners onstage and off, she confronts the tangle of love, jealousy, pride, and obsession that are beginning to fracture her own sanity. Funny, dark, intimate, and unflinchingly honest, The Cranes Dance is a book that pulls back the curtains to reveal the private lives of dancers and explores the complicated bond between sisters.

My Thoughts: **3 1/2 Smiley** I found this book to be incredibly interesting. It's like a behind the scenes look at a ballet company and one dancer's life. Fascinating! Kate Crane is a very reliable, likeable narrator. I felt her pain, drive, guilt. I liked that we followed Kate through both the ups and downs. This is not a book that glorifies ballet or ballet dancers. It is a real look at what it takes to be a ballerina.

For those of you who crave a little extra drama you will not be disappointed in Gwen's appearances in The Cranes Dance. I feel like that story line is one better left explored on your own.

As an extra bonus, as I hang my head in shame, I now know the story line of Swan Lake. I have never seen Swan Lake but am now looking forward to an opportunity to arise for me to do so.

If you are interested in performing arts, family dynamics, and enjoy a compelling read I would suggest picking up The Cranes Dance. If you do, I would love to know what you thought of it!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review: The Solitary House

Title: The Solitary House
Author: Lynn Shepherd
Length: 340 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Source: Publisher as part of Early Bird Reads
My Rating:SmileySmileySmileySmiley
Synopsis (from Goodreads): London, 1850. Charles Maddox had been an up-and-coming officer for the Metropolitan police until a charge of insubordination abruptly ended his career. Now he works alone, struggling to eke out a living by tracking down criminals. Whenever he needs it, he has the help of his great-uncle Maddox, a legendary “thief taker,” a detective as brilliant and intuitive as they come.

On Charles’s latest case, he’ll need all the assistance he can get.

To his shock, Charles has been approached by Edward Tulkinghorn, the shadowy and feared attorney, who offers him a handsome price to do some sleuthing for a client. Powerful financier Sir Julius Cremorne has been receiving threatening letters, and Tulkinghorn wants Charles to—discreetly—find and stop whoever is responsible.

But what starts as a simple, open-and-shut case swiftly escalates into something bigger and much darker. As he cascades toward a collision with an unspeakable truth, Charles can only be aided so far by Maddox. The old man shows signs of forgetfulness and anger, symptoms of an age-related ailment that has yet to be named.

Intricately plotted and intellectually ambitious, The Solitary House is an ingenious novel that does more than spin an enthralling tale: it plumbs the mysteries of the human mind.

My Review: The Solitary House was a gripping, if somewhat confusing, novel of suspense. Lynn Shepherd did an excellent job of making her reader feel as if they were a part of 1850's London. While reading this book I felt transported which always makes for a better read. As dreary a place as London in the 1850's could be, I enjoyed being there, feeling it, smelling it.

I found Charles to to be a bit naive/brash on occasions which caused me to feel a little upset with him at times. This, however, only took away slightly from the overall feel of the book. I loved how Shepherd used perspective in her writing. Writing as if we were an audience watching the story with her. The feeling that we were "in the know". I don't think I've ever read a book from that perspective before.I also must admit that Inspector Bucket became quite  favorite at the end!

The sub-plot was introduced and played out in a very intriguing way. The ending was a surprise to me and I felt as if there were a few loose ends that weren't tied up. That being said, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in suspense, mysteries, historical London, and an overall good story.  I am looking forward to reading Ms. Shepherd's first book, Murder at Mansfield Park!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Armchair BEA Giveaway!!!

Hi! It was so nice reading all the Intro posts yesterday and finding lots of new blogs to follow. We have some really interesting and awesome bloggers out there!

Today is the day for Armchair BEA bloggers to host giveaways. I spent some time thinking about this. I knew that I wanted to participate but I was having a hard time coming up with what I wanted to giveaway. I didn't like the idea of picking just one book to offer but I also didn't like the idea of offering any random book. I wanted it, somehow, to be special to A Library of our Own. I've decided that I am going to offer a choice of one of the books I listed as my favorites for 2012 in my Intro post. I am also adding two additional choices. The first is my favorite book from childhood, Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McClosky. The second is Overseas by Beatriz Williams who it looks like I'm going to get to meet at BEA, which was made possible by Armchair BEA!

All you have to do to win is be an Armchair BEA participant and  fill out your email address in the Rafflecopter below. I will offer two additional entries. The first one is  for current and new followers and the second one is if you leave a comment telling me which book you would pick! This giveaway will Thursday night at 12am EST. as BEA ends Thursday evening. Good Luck! I can't wait to share an awesome book with one of you!

As a reminder, these will be your choices;

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
A Night to Remember by Walter Lord
The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson
Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McClosky
Overseas by Beatriz Williams

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now see what other participants are giving away

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Armchair BEA - Hi there!

Hi everyone! It's Armchair BEA time! For those of you who do not know, Book Expo of America is being held this week in New York city.  This is like a dream come true for most book bloggers! You get to go and interact with all the large publishing houses, and many of the small, check out the upcoming releases, pick up ARCs, meet authors and get books signed, and last but not least meet many of the people you've been connecting with via social media. FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

Unfortunately for a multitude of reasons a lot of book bloggers are not able to make it to BEA in New York. Then Armchair BEA was formed. Armchair BEA will allow bloggers to follow along at home, network with each other, participate in twitter parties. and giveaways from their own home.

I was lucky enough to win a bloggers pass through Armchair BEA and ended up turning it down because there was no way that I could arrange 4 days in NYC in 16hrs. Today I had the revelation that I didn't have to go for all 4 days! I could go for just one day if I wanted! I contacted Armchair BEA and luckily they still had a pass available, soooooo.....I'm going to BEA!!!! I haven't decided whether it will be Tuesday or Wednesday yet, but I WILL be there! In the mean time I would like to kick off Armchair BEA with an introduction.  Participants have been asked to answer 5 questions as a way of getting to know each other. So with out further ado...

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?   Hi, My name is Debbie. I have 3 kids, one of whom is grown, one about to graduate Pre-K, if you can believe it, and one starting Pre-k next year. I'm a retired paramedic and am now playing the role of Stay-at-Home Mom. A Library of our Own has only been active for a little over two months but I have loved it! I started the blog as a way to record what I and my two children were reading. The blog has turned into much more than that on my end but unfortunately I have yet to figure out a good format to highlight G and E's reading. I'm still working on it. Now it looks like my eldest daughter might be joining us too, fingers crossed!

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?   Right now I am currently reading The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones, which I won on Goodreads, The Promise in a Kiss by Stephanie Laurens, my guilty pleasure, and Charlotte's Web by E. B. White with G. I'm ashamed to say that I have not previously read Charlotte's Web but soon that will no longer be the case! I don't know if I can actually pick a favorite for this year so I'll list the top ones; The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, A Night to Remember by Walter Lord, The Bungalow by Sarah Jio, The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson, and Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray. Wow, that is a lot! I might have to start narrowing down a bit!

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.   Wow! Just one. That's going to be hard as there are not many non-book-related things that have come up on my blog so far. Randomly, I've danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly in DC. SO MUCH FUN! Feel free to ask for more random pieces of info if you would like to know!

Where do you see your blog in five years?   If my blog lasts 5 years there are many things I would like to see happen. I definitely want to have figured out how to include G and E appropriately, though by then hopefully they'll be able to write their own reviews! I would like to polish the look of my blog and have my own URL. I would like to be entrench in the book blogging community. I would also like to have a lot of author interaction and move more towards recommending books than "reviewing" them as I am by no means a literary critic. Let's not even mention improving my writing! :) Oops, I wasn't suppose to mention that...

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?   This is an incredibly hard one because there are so many authors and characters I would love to get to know. My answer might also change given any multitude of variables at any time. For right now I am going to say Alice Steinbach, author of Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman.  This book was given to me at exactly the right time and inspired me so much and gave me the courage to travel as an independent woman myself. I would love to let her know how she affected my life and to learn more about the woman behind the book. Who is she? What led to her travels? How does she feel about them now? There are just so many questions!

So there you have it! I hope that this has given you a little insight into myself and A Library of our Own. I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have and am looking forward to both Armchair BEA and BEA! Click here to see other introduction posts! Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sunday Post #4

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 I and also participating in three other memes. The first is Stacking The Shelves hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews , the second is Mailbox Monday which is hosted by Sassy Brit at this month, and the third is Sunday Showcase hosted by Books Biscuits and Tea. Stop by and take a look!

Welcome to June everyone! I can't believe that half the year is already over! Unbelievable! This was an incredibly slow, alright non-existent, week here on A Library of our Own. I'm not sure exactly why. I finished Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas and read Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark, which will be featured as part of a blog tour on June 14th. I have three books waiting to be reviewed and posted, the two I promised you for this week and now Rainshadow Road. have no fear, they will eventually all end up here.

There was some brief excitement around here when I found out that I had won a Blogger's Pass to BEA from Armchair BEA however that was short lived as I reluctantly decided that there was too much that would need to be arranged in a very short period of time. I declined the Blogger's Pass with great regret and many thanks to Armchair BEA. I'll definitely be planning ahead for next year. As for this year I will be following along with all the other great bloggers registered for Armchair BEA! It looks like it will be a lot of fun!

My oldest daughter and I attended a signing of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzgerald today at the Arlington, VA library! This was a lot of fun and hopefully the beginning of many great book adventures for us! We are already planning a trip to see Emily Griffen in July! I have not read Hush, Hush but my daughter loves it and not only got it signed but also the two following books and the Hush, Hush graphic novel, which we won at the event today! She may be passing these along to me in the not so distant future, Some very exciting news that came out of today is that my eldest daughter may be joining me here at A Library of our Own and doing some book reviews of her own! She already has at least two picked out that she would like to do. Let us all keep our fingers crossed that she finds the time, while working and going to school, so that we may officially welcome her very soon!

My mailbox was not very active this week but we did get a few things!

 Goodreads Giveaways

The Algebra of Snow: A Bedtime Story for My Mother by Ginger Moran 


Spin by Catherine McKenzie 

To G and E from MeMe and BaBa

The Empty Pot by Demi
Grasshopper Pie and Other Poems by David Steinberg
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Ruth Sanderson

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that your mailboxes treat you well!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Post #3

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 I and also participating in three other memes. The first is Stacking The Shelves hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews , the second is Mailbox Monday which is hosted by Martha from reviews from Martha's Bookshelf this month, and the third is Sunday Showcase hosted by Books Biscuits and Tea. Stop by and take a look!

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY to everyone! I hope that you are enjoying yourselves so far! Last night I attended the wedding of a friend, one of the last in this group to get married, we still have one holdout, and it was lovely! A chance to see them publicly proclaim their love and experience, for the first time, a Thai  Water Ceremony. They also did one of those very fun choreographed first dances! This wedding was also a chance for a group of friends who now live in CA, FL, MA and the DC area to get together again and catch up. What a wonderful thing! We will continue this a at a BBQ today with all but one of the couples. Such a special time especially with all the new little additions! Now we just need the last one to get married so we can do this all again and then I guess we'll have to find a new excuse! Anyway, I guess that's enough rambling on about me.

On the blog this week we had three posts; Monday's Bookishly Beautiful which is definitely worth a look, a review of Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray, and a review of When Morning Comes by Francis Ray. I also read two books; The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd and The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey. I enjoyed both of these very much and you can look forward to the reviews coming out this week. Right now I've started reading Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas.

A really exciting piece of news is that I will be participating in a blog tour for I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff including a Q/A with the author and a giveaway! I am thrilled to be a part of this! It is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26th!

I've been toying with a few ideas for opinion/discussion blog posts though haven't quite worked out the what and how.  Keep an eye out for one of those in the next couple of weeks!

Now on to the books I received this week! I noted this week that I get a little sad if my mailbox forgets to bring me a book one day but the fact is that there is no way I could ever read a book a day. That means that some of these lovely books will end up neglected which is such a shame. I'm going to start thinking about this conundrum but any suggestions you all have would be greatly welcomed! So without further ado, here are this weeks newest additions!


Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer - Thanks Larraine from The Divining Wand!
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding Of Facebook by Ben Mezrich - Thanks Anchor Books!
I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert - Thanks Chick Lit Central!

For Review

I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff 
The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill - Thanks Free Press
Wunderkind by Nikolai Grozni - Thanks Free Pree

I also pick up 3 or 4 free chick lit books for Kindle which are not pictured.

How was your week and what did your mailbox bring you? I'd love to hear from you! Talk to you again next Sunday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: When Morning Comes

Title: When Morning Comes
Author: Francis Ray
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Source: LibraryThings FirstLit
My Rating:SmileySmiley
Synopsis (from Goodreads): In this unforgettable new novel, Francis Ray delivers an emotionally powerful tale about the families we build, the choices we make, and how we find love and family along the way.

My Thoughts: I have very conflicting thoughts on this book.  This novel is actually two different stories woven together through the two female protagonists being best friends. Other than that, and the very unrealistical ending, which tied everything up into a nice, neat, happy little package, they are almost completely separate. I'm not sure how I would normally feel about this arrangement but in this book it worked OK because I was really irritated by the secondary female lead character and it was nice to be able to separate the two in my mind.

Sabrina and Cade's story was one I would have really enjoyed.  There were two strong characters, engaging plot, very interesting subplot, and who doesn't love a happy ending?

Kara and Tristan's story was not at all enjoyable. Tristan was an awesome male lead, strong, supportive, rich, handsome, trustworthy, etc. Kara on the other hand drove me crazy. I understand what Ray was trying to do with her character but it just angered me. Kara was such the victim and continuously allowed it to happen. It was to the point where I didn't believe she deserved the guy. There was even a fairly substantial plot point that was never wrapped up.

Ray would have done well to keep the two stories separate.  Unfortunately she didn't. I give When Morning Comes as a whole 2 1/2 Smiley, Sabrina and Cade's story 3 1/2 Smiley. If you like chick-lit and romances I wouldn't say don't read it. Give it a try yourself. I think everyone will probably have a different reaction to this story. If you read it I would love to hear your opinions on it!

I will definitely read another book by Francis Ray if given the chance!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Calling Invisible Women

Title: Calling Invisible Women
Author: Jeanne Ray
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Crown
Genre: Fiction
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
My Rating:SmileySmileySmileySmiley
Synopsis (from Goodreads):  A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to, and she's only really missed when dinner isn't on the table on time. Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she's invisible--truly invisible. She panics, but when her husband and son sit down to dinner, nothing is amiss. Even though she's been with her husband, Arthur, since college, her condition goes unnoticed. Her friend Gilda immediately observes that Clover is invisible, which relieves Clover immensely--she's not losing her mind after all!--but she is crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her.  She was invisible even before she knew she was invisible.
   Clover discovers that there are other women like her, women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared.  As she uses her invisibility to get to know her family and her town better, Clover leads the way in helping invisible women become recognized and appreciated no matter what their role. 

My Thoughts: What a novel! It brought forward so many points to ponder in such an open way. It was such a quick easy read that I finished it in one day! I will be thinking about it for many more.

You must go into this novel being able to give a little suspension of disbelief. Some things, no matter how you look at them just don't fit, are hard to picture. However, for me, this took nothing major away from the rest of the story. What is the definition of invisible? Is it not being seen, not being able to be seen? What can cause one to be invisible? What does one do when one is invisible? Where does a person's worth stand? In them or in the fact of their visibility? All questions brought to light in the fairly unassuming character of Clover, who could actually be many of us. This is story for any woman.

Ray even manages to bring in the subject of big pharmaceutical companies and their ethics without being overbearing. Does the end justify the means? Are there such things as acceptable casualties? Can "Invisible" people make a difference? 

This is an incredibly engrossing and thought provoking read! I highly recommend that you pick it up, read it, and take a look in the mirror! Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday's Bookishly Beautiful #6

Who couldn't use a book lift-me-up on Monday mornings? This meme will consist of anything related to books that could also be considered beautiful, art, or uplifting. It could include pictures, quotes, book covers that caught your eye, products that celebrate books, beautiful locations that promote books, or anything else pertaining to books that brightens your day. We all see something different as beautiful which will make this meme a real joy to peruse through as you and others in the blogging community join in. Please link back to A Library of our Own and leave a comment with the link to your post. Thank you and I can't wait to see all of your Monday's Bookishly Beautiful posts!

I sadly did not have a Bookishly Beautiful post last week. However I hope that these beautiful images will make up for it! They are quite stunning and imaginative! Talk about books coming alive! In 4yo G's words "Wow, those are cool!". I found these on My Modern Net and Web Urbanist.  Please check out Su Blackwell's site for her full portfolio. Here you go, book art in sculpture form allows the story to jump out at you!

I hope you enjoyed these as much as G, E, and I did!