Friday, January 27, 2012

Free Books from Shelf Awareness

I subscribe to Shelf Awareness for Readers and always get great ideas about upcoming books to read.  They often have galley giveaways and right now you have a chance to win several galleys of upcoming books.  Who doesn't love free books? Especially ones that haven't been published!! For your chance to win, go here.

And while you are there, sign up for the Shelf Awareness e-mail. Because we all need more books on the TBR pile.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

Combine a book-appraising heroine, a family mystery in the English countryside, ghosts and a little romance plus a dose of astronomy and you have me hooked!  In Rachel Hore's A PLACE OF SECRETS, auction house appraiser Jude gets a phone call about an unusual collection of books on astronomy and assorted astronomical devices at an estate in the countryside that could be worth a quite deal.  Taking a break from her London life and her lukewarm feelings for her boyfriend, Jude heads to the estate only to find that there may be a connection to her own family. Her grandmother grew up in the gameskeeper's cottage. As Jude sorts through the collection, she finds a series of journals and gets drawn into the story she finds there. The collection belongs to amateur astronomer Anthony Wickham who built a folly on his property in order to better observe the stars.  Wickham enlisted his ward's help in his endeavor's and Esther's story proves as compelling as the collection itself. While drawn in by the mysteries surrounding Esther's story as well as the folly itself, Jude discovers that her niece is being haunted by the exact same nightmare that Jude herself had years ago.  Is it all connected?

There is so much going on in this book that it is difficult to summarize in any way that makes sense. I love the idea of characters delving into books and archives and discovering long hidden secrets. The connection with astronomy was especially charming.  You get a love story, a ghost story and a mystery all rolled into one. Kate Morton fans will really enjoy this one. It is a quick read that is hard to put down. I only wish it had been a little longer.

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended. A terrific read in the tradition of Kate Morton.   Take this book on vacation with you because you won't want to put it down!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Falling Behind

I am so behind!!!  I have several reviews to post and a couple of books to finish.  I am currently reading THE MARRIAGE PLOT by Jeffrey Eugenides and A PLACE OF SECRETS by Rachel Hore and I am really enjoying both!

There are so many wonderful books coming out this year and I couldn't be more excited. However, I am also working on cultivating my creative side and I have been taking several online classes to kickstart a new year of creativity. This has cut down on my reading time but I think it will be so worth it.

Bear with me and I'll get caught up soon.  Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Favorite Books of 2011

I used to title this list "Best Books of 2011" but because reading is subjective and I sometimes don't like a book based on things other than the quality of the book, I decided to retitle my list "Favorite Books of 2011." You certainly don't have to take my word for it.  (thanks Reading Rainbow!)


10.  Weird Sisters  by Eleanor Brown
Appealed to the Shakespeare lover within me.  A nice tale of the conflict and competition between three sisters.

9.  Discovery of Witches  by Deborah Harkness
Not the best written book but highly entertaining. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

8.  22 Britannia Road  by Amanda Hodgkinson
Lovely and bittersweet. Left me thinking about what I would do in that situation.  A great look at what happens AFTER war.

7.  Rules of Civility  by Amor Towles
Reminiscent of the GREAT GATSBY. A terrific book of manners.

6.  Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Not your average baseball book.    Not really about baseball at all.

5. Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
A very clever look at those left behind after a Rapture-like event.

4. Faith by Jennifer Haigh
A beautiful look at faith and truth.

3. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Whimsical and wonderful. I was a little disappointed by the ending but it was a truly enjoyable read.

2. Night Strangers by Christopher Bohjalian
Extremely creepy read in the tradition of ROSEMARY'S BABY and WICKER MAN.

1. Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
Beautiful historical tale of a group of women in the last Zealot stronghold in the desert after the fall of Temple in Jerusalem.  Sad and lovely.

So many great books in 2011 that even my least favorite books were still worth reading.  Can't wait to see what 2012 brings!!!

Least Favorite Books of 2011

I can't believe it's that time again!  My goal each year is to read at least 52 books.  This year, I got 62 done. Not bad!  There were some great books in 2011.  As always, I will start with my LEAST favorite books of 2011.  Some of these are not bad in and of themselves but they were disappointments that often didn't live up to their hype.  One's experience of books is very different from that of other people.  Some of the books on this list made many Best of 2011 lists.  You may very well disagree with my selections.  All are reviewed on this blog.


10.  Kingdom of Childhood  by Rebecca Coleman
An interesting concept in the tradition of WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? that just missed the mark for me.  I would have loved the story to be developed a bit more.  It left me with too many questions.

9. This Beautiful Life  by Helen Schulman
I loved the idea of this book and it is certainly timely but I felt it was too short to really delve into the topic.

8. Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos
This book just didn't come together for me. All the build-up led to a very anticlimactic reveal.

7. The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson
There was so much buzz about this book that I expected a lot. Although the ideas were interesting, it didn't entirely work.

6. Forgotten Waltz  by Anne Enright
I am far in the minority on this one. Most people have it on their Best of 2011 list. I found it slow and tedious.

5. Demi-Monde: Winter  by Rod Rees
This skewed very "young adult" to me. The concept was creative but didn't leave me interested enough to want to continue the series.

4. Hypnotist  by Lars Kepler and Ann Long
This started out so well and then completely fell apart.  Too many things going on to make it a truly effective thriller.

3. Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer
I loved the concept but it just didn't work. The characters weren't likeable and I was left unclear about the point Wolitzer really wanted to make.

2. Last Werewolf   by Glen Duncan
Ugh.  Major disappointment.  Duncan is clearly a gifted writer but some of this came off as so cheesy as to be embarrassing.  "Werewolf sex."  Enough said.

1. Waiting for Spring  by R.J. Keller
Too long and unbelievable to be effective.  The themes are good but I just didn't buy the story.

Stay tuned for the Best of 2011!