Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Memes

Monday is Mailbox Monday Day, when book bloggers brag about the books they acquired the previous week.  It is hosted this month at Library of Clean Reads.

Spirituality You Can Live With
Can you still be spiritual dealing with life’s daily grind? Do you sometimes lose hope amid the chaos of your daily routine? Chris Padgett has some practical help for you – a low-key guide for those interested in habits of holiness they can actually maintain amid the frantic pace of daily life. Thirty lively chapters geared to the busy person cover the essentials of the faith -- from brokenness and repentance to joy, dryness in prayer, and loving yourself and your neighbor. Features questions for reflection that help you make the content your own.
From The Catholic Company, for review.

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All Following Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, Beth Pattillo returns with her new novel. Inspired by Sense and Sensibility, The Dashwood Sisters Tell All follows two modern-day sisters as they set out on a walking tour of Jane Austen's England and uncover what might actually be Jane's long-lost diary.

Ellen and Mimi Dodge have never been close, but their mother's dying wish sends them on a walking tour of Hampshire, England, that follows in the footsteps of Jane Austen. Their mother also left them something else: a diary that belonged to Jane's sister Cassandra. These pages shed light on the secrets that nearly tore the Austen sisters apart and inspired one of the greatest love stories of all time. They also bring Jane to life in a way that no one has ever seen before: through the eyes of her sister. As the Dodge sisters embark on their walking tour, they too are drawn together in ways they never expected. They also discover that Cassandra's diary holds secrets, and someone doesn't want Ellen and Mimi to discover the truth. As they stumble on their way toward love, the women learn how Jane and Cassandra Austen inspired the original Marianne and Elinor Dashwood and come to realize that despite their very different personalities, they are a vital part of each other's happy endings.
From the publisher, for review

Treasure Me (The Legend Hunters)DeHart pairs up a bluestocking and a spy in the third Legend Hunters Victorian romance (after Desire Me and Seduce Me). When scholarly Vanessa Pembrooke travels to Loch Ness to hunt fossils, she accidentally marries Graeme Langford, one of the secretive "Legend Hunters" of Solomon's in London, who's on the trail of the Stone of Destiny. Their mutual love of adventure complements their growing physical attraction, and soon Vanessa is caught up in Graeme's quest to save the stone from a ruthless villain called the Raven. DeHart delivers plenty of adventure and suspense along with the romance: secret passages, ancient encoded texts, and a double helping of theft, blackmail, kidnapping, and murder.
From the publisher--I signed up for another tour they were offering and this was in the envelope too, we'll see....
Welcome to Last Chance
Ramsay's delicious contemporary debut introduces the town of Last Chance, S.C., and its warmhearted inhabitants. Down to her last five bucks, beautiful runaway Wanda Jane Coblentz heads to the town watering hole and picks up local fiddler Clay Rhodes, figuring that a night at the local no-tell motel beats sleeping on a park bench. When Clay catches her going through his wallet, he dumps her purse out and discovers ID for somebody named Mary Smith. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot! Jane, aka Mary, reveals that she's on the run from a shady, possibly dangerous past. Despite her sketchy behavior, Clay falls in love with her, and soon he and his mother are scheming in fine style to give Jane a last chance of her own. Ramsay strikes an excellent balance between tension and humor as she spins a fine yarn.    From the publisher for a blog tour.

NetGalley brought me a few
Semi-Sweet: A Novel of Love and Cupcakes
Hannah Robinson is just about to open the doors to her new shop Cupcakes on the Corner when out of the blue her boyfriend Patrick announces that he's leaving her for another woman. Faced with starting a business on her own, Hannah begins to wonder if her life-long dream has just turned into a nightmare. So her best friend Adam sets his birthday as a deadline - seven months to make her shop a success, or walk away from it all. And as Hannah immerses herself in her new business, she soon discovers that she's too busy to think about Patrick and his now pregnant girlfriend ...or to notice an increasingly regular customer who has recently developed a sweet tooth for all things cupcake. But while Hannah is slowly piecing her life back together, family friend Alice's is falling apart. Her husband Tom's drinking is getting out of control and things are about to get a whole lot worse. As the seven-month milestone approaches, Hannah must decide her future. And while she's figuring out what's really important, it becomes clear to everyone that happiness in life, and in love, is all in the making.

Look Away, Dixieland: A Carpetbagger's Great-grandson Travels Highway 84 in Search of the Shack-up-on-cinder-blocks, Confederate-flag-waving, Squirrel-hunting, Boiled-peanuAs a boy, James Twitchell heard stories about his ancestors in Louisiana and even played with his great-grandfather's Civil War sword, but he never appreciated the state and the events that influenced a pivotal chapter in his family history. His great-grandfather, Marshall Harvey Twitchell, a carpetbagger from Vermont, had settled in upstate Louisiana during Reconstruction, married a local girl, and encountered much success until a fateful day in August 1874. The dramatic story of the elder Twitchell's life and near assassination fuels the author s pursuit of his family s history and a true understanding of the South.
In Look Away, Dixieland, Vermont-native Twitchell sets out from his current home in Florida on the inauguration day of America s first black president to find the real South and to try to understand the truth about his illustrious ancestor. He travels in an RV from Georgia s Okefenokee Swamp across Alabama and Mississippi to Coushatta, Louisiana. As he drives through the heart of Dixie, Twitchell sorts through the prejudices he learned from his northern rearing. In searching for the culture he had held at arm's length for so long, he tours small-town southern life in campgrounds, cotton gins, churches, country fairs, and squirrel dog kennels and uncovers some fundamental truths along the way. Notably, he discovers that prejudices of race, class, and ideology are not limited by geography. As one man from Georgia mockingly summed up North versus South stereotypes, ''Y'all are rude and we re stupid.''

Unexpectedly, Twitchell also uncovers facts about his great-grandfather and sheds new light on his family's past. An enlightening, humorous, and refreshingly honest search, Look Away, Dixieland reveals some of the differences and similarities that ultimately define us as a nation.

Abbott Awaits: A Novel (Yellow Shoe Fiction)
A quiet tour de force, Chris Bachelder's Abbott Awaits transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary, startlingly depicting the intense and poignant challenges of a vulnerable, imaginative father as he lives his everyday American existence.
In Abbott we see a modern-day Sisyphus: he is the exhausted father of a lively two-year old, the ruminative husband of a pregnant insomniac, and the confused owner of a terrified dog. Confronted by a flooded basement, a broken refrigerator, a urine-soaked carpet, and a literal snake in the woodpile, Abbott endures the beauty and hopelessness of each moment, often while contemplating evolutionary history, altruism, or the passage of time.

An expectant father and university teacher on summer break, Abbott tackles the agonizing chores of each day, laboring for peace in his household and struggling to keep his daughter clean and happy, all while staving off a fear of failure as a parent, and even as a human being. As he cleans car seats, forgets to apply sun block, clips his dog s nails, dresses his daughter out of season, and makes unsuccessful furniture-buying trips with his wife, his mind plays out an unrelenting series of paradoxical reflections. Abbott's pensive self-doubt comes to a head one day in late June as he cleans vomited raspberries out of his daughter s car seat and realizes: The following propositions are both true: (A) Abbott would not, given the opportunity, change one significant element of his life, but (B) Abbott cannot stand his life.

Thank You God For MommyThank You, God, For DaddyI'd Choose You

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila over at Bookjourney.  She asks what we read last week and what we plan to read this week, and for what we reviewed last week.  Well, no reviews this week--I wrote plenty but publishers asked that they not be published yet, so this coming week  you'll get several reviews.  As for what I read:
Plain Proposal (A Daughters of the Promise Novel)The Mountains Bow Down (A Raleigh Harmon Novel)Welcome to Last ChanceA Cowboy's Touch (A Big Sky Romance)

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

I'd like to welcome everyone to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival.  We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other.  To particpate, go to your blog and create an entry titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival.  In it, highlight one or more of your posts from the past week that you believe would be of interest to Catholic bloggers---whether they are posts reflecting on spiritual matters or posts about antics of Catholic kids, or anything in between.  Come back here and enter the URL of that post into Mr. Linky.  Finally, go visit other participants, and leave comments!  If you want a weekly reminder to post, join our yahoogroup.

Not much blogging here--I wrote a couple of reviews but they've been scheduled off in the future.  Do take a look at my Monday Memes post--the first book is about Catholics so you'll see a review of it before long.  I've already checked the ending, and the priest does not end up with the girl, which in my book is a good thing.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Monday Memes

Mailbox Monday is hosted at Library of Clean Reads this month at and it asks us to list what we got via the mail this week--and ebooks count.  Via snail mail I got:

Father Whiting is asleep in his own life. As a St. Louis priest and the head of Pastoral Care at a local teaching hospital, he’s already on edge wondering if he’s up to the job and wondering how far his predecessor’s–and now his–secretary will go to sabotage him. He is fatigued by his mother’s increasingly erratic behavior, fears he is incapable of ministering to an old friend and fellow priest stricken with cancer, and secretly longs to share everything about his confused, mixed-up life with the very attractive Sarah James, the hospital’s head of public relations. When he overhears a heated argument between the Chairman of the Board and the Abbess who runs the hospital, he fears his job will soon be history. Instead, he finds himself tapped to minister to a small Central American circus bequeathed to an order of aging nuns in St. Louis. Through his deepening relationship with Nikolai, the enigmatic trapeze artist, Whiting wakes to his loneliness, realizes he has been living a half-life, and finally finds the courage to be the man he was meant to be.
In Dancing with Gravity, Anene Tressler, an Emmy Award-winning writer, paints an unforgettable portrait of the grand and petty motivations of the human heart.  Her poignant exploration of lost, unrecognized and courageous love will prompt you to consider your own journey toward purpose and fulfillment.

Only one free Kindle download this week:

Talk of the TownThe show American Megastar is the hottest thing on television but its associate producer, Mandalay Florentino, is worried. She's just arrived in the tiny town of Daily, Texas, to arrange a surprise "reunion concert" for hometown finalist Amber Amberson. Only it turns out everyone in town seems to know the secret. And paparazzi are arriving. Word from Hollywood is that Amber has disappeared with a "bad boy" actor. Can anything go right in this tumbleweed town? Imagene Doll loves her town of Daily, Texas, but things are lonely without her beloved husband. Life seems dull. At least until that fancy-dressed woman pulls into town, looking terrified and glamorous all at once. Soon life's not the least bit boring as Imagene and the rest of Daily find themselves at the center of a media maelstrom--with a young girl's future on the line.

NetGalley on the other hand, sent me a bunch:

Miriam Raber enjoys life in her Old Order Amish community, and she is hopeful that Saul Fisher will propose to her soon. But when Saul starts talking about leaving the only world either of them has ever known, Miriam imagines what her life might look like as an Englischer. One thing she knows for certain, she loves Saul and feels he's the one God has chosen for her. But Saul's indecision has come at an inconvenient time as Miriam is noticing advances from Jesse Dienner, a man she went to school with, who is committed to marry and live his life in the Old Order community.
Lilly's Wedding Quilt (A Patch of Heaven Novel)
Local Amish schoolteacher Lilly Lapp is tired of weddings, afraid of horses, and immersed in caring for her depressed mother. But when Jacob Wyse, a handsome horse breeder from her small community rescues her from a dangerous accident, Lilly discovers a renewed interest in life and the possibility of love.

A Creed in Stone Creek (Hqn) My Review.

The Lightkeeper's Ball (A Mercy Falls Novel)Olivia Stewart's family is one of the Four Hundred-the highest echelon of society in 1910. When her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Olivia leaves their New York City home for Mercy Falls, California, to determine what befell Eleanor. She suspects Harrison Bennett, the man Eleanor planned to marry. But the more Olivia gets to know him, the more she doubts his guilt-and the more she is drawn to him herself.

When several attempts are made on her life, Olivia turns to Harrison for help. He takes her on a ride in his aeroplane, but then crashes, and they're forced to spend two days alone together. With her reputation hanging by a thread, Harrison offers to marry her to make the situation right. As a charity ball to rebuild the Mercy Falls lighthouse draws near, she realizes she wants more than a sham engagement-she wants Harrison in her life forever. But her enemy plans to shatter the happiness she is ready to grasp. If Olivia dares to drop her masquerade, she just might see the path to true happiness.

A Cowboy's Touch (A Big Sky Romance)Four years ago, rodeo celebrity Wade Ryan gave up his identity to protect his daughter. Now, settled on a ranch in Big Sky Country, he lives in obscurity, his heart guarded by a high, thick fence.

Abigail Jones isn't sure how she went from big-city columnist to small-town nanny, but her new charge is growing on her, to say nothing of her ruggedly handsome boss. Love blossoms between Abigail and Wade--despite her better judgment. Will the secrets she brought with her to Moose Creek, Montana separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?

Moonlight Cove (Chesapeake Shores)
I enjoyed this one, and will have a review up the first week in April.
Jess O’Brien has overcome a lot — the challenges of attention deficit disorder, the near bankruptcy of her beloved Inn at Eagle Point and her self-perception as a screwup in a family of overachievers. Now she’s ready to share the future with a man. Her friends persuade her to join a dating service — but she gets no takers! Which is fine with her childhood friend, psychologist Will Lincoln, who’s already chosen the perfect man for Jess: himself. Will has loved Jess practically forever. He knows her faults and her strengths. But for all Will’s sincerity and charm, Jess fears he views her as some psychological case study. With her family and the town of Chesapeake Shores behind him, Will finally makes his case. But is it enough to convince Jess to take the risk of a lifetime?

A Turn in the Road (Blossom Street)Pretty typical Macomber enjoyable clean read.  Review to be published the first week in April.
In the middle of the year, in the middle of her life, Bethanne Hamlin takes a road trip with her daughter, Annie, and her former mother-in-law, Ruth. They’re driving to Florida for Ruth’s 50th high-school reunion. A longtime widow, Ruth would like to reconnect with Royce, the love of her teenage life. She’s heard he’s alone, too...and, well, she’s curious. Maybe even hopeful. Bethanne herself needs time to reflect, to ponder a decision she has to make. Her ex-husband, Grant — her children’s father — wants to reconcile now that his second marriage has failed. Bethanne’s considering it.... Meanwhile, Annie’s out to prove to her onetime boyfriend that she can live a brilliant life without him! So there they are, three women driving across America. They have their maps and their directions — but even the best-planned journey can take you to a turn in the road. Or lead you to an unexpected encounter — like the day Bethanne meets a man named Max who really is a hero on a Harley. That’s when Bethanne’s decision becomes a lot harder. Because Grant wants her back, but now there’s Max.... From Seattle’s Blossom Street to the other end of the country, this is a trip that could change three women’s lives
Cowboy, Take Me Away (Harlequin Special Edition)

Pretty typical Harlequin romance about a rodeo-riding cowboy and a photographer.  Review   will be published first week in April.

The Midwife's Confession'I don't know how to tell you what I did.' The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle - her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her family - described a woman who embraced life. But they didn't know everything. Because the unaddressed letter reveals a terrible secret...and a legacy of guilt that changes everything they thought they knew about the woman who delivered their children. A legacy that will irrevocably change their own lives - and the life of a desperate stranger - forever. Diane Chamberlain gets to the heart of the story

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila over at Bookjourney.  It asks what we read last week and what we plan to read this week.  Last  week I read:
Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper My Review.
Love Me Back to Life (Circle of Friends (Barbour)) My Review.
A Turn in the Road (Blossom Street)Moonlight Cove (Chesapeake Shores)Cowboy, Take Me Away (Harlequin Special Edition)

I'm in the middle of
The Mountains Bow Down (A Raleigh Harmon Novel)
 which is my tread mill book right now.  Using that rating scale, it is keeping me coming back to the treadmill, but isn't motivating me to stay on much beyond my mandatory 30 minutes.

What's next?  Who knows?

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