Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: Night Road by Kristen Hannah

For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices.
To hold on…
To let go..
To forget…
To forgive…
Which road will you take? 


For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.

Jude does everything to keep her kids safe and on track for college. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.

On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.

NIGHT ROAD is vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love


It took me some time to read this book. The subject matter was too real and too scary. I have three sons and my youngest just left for his first year of college. Although they are great kids and we have tried to instill good values in our children, they are young and sometimes fearless. We lost our seventeen year-old nephew in a drunk driving accident several years ago and we live in fear that something like that could happen again.

Night Road is the story of a similar tragedy. One bad decision, one moment in time, changes the lives of many people. The emotions are real and raw. My heart broke for this family and I could especially feel the mother's pain. Kristen Hannah's writing is gripping and keeps you reading. 

I didn't care for the characters much in the first part of the story. They weren't bad people and I liked that they were flawed but they were self absorbed and predictable. Some of their actions and reactions seemed off. After the accident the emotions took over and hooked me for the rest of the book. The characters become more flexible and tolerant which made the reading more interesting. I became invested in their journey and was glad I followed it through.

This is a story of survival and redemption. I found it to be a good summer read for the hammock. Fans of Hannah will have a hard time resisting this one!

Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for an ARC of this book to review.


Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release date: 3/22/11
Pages: 385
Price/format: $27.99/hardcover
Type: contemporary fiction

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blogging slump, empty nest

After a very busy spring and summer of college visits, high school prom, senior trip, baseball games (championships too!), banquets, rehearsals, graduations, parties and more parties, college paperwork, last minute packing and apartment hunting -  my baby left for college last month. The house is too quiet now and I hate it. We were so busy for so long and now the flurry is tapering off. There is still paperwork and details to work out for college, more packing and things to buy for his house (filled with 8 baseball players!), weekend college baseball games and other odds and ends but it's not the same. I miss my kids and I miss having them need me. The house is too quiet, I don't have to run the dishwasher and washing machine every day and a gallon of milk lasts a long time now.

I have been pleasantly surprised by how much college boy has called home. We send text messages back and forth every day like we always have but we've also been receiving actual phone calls as well. And not just because he needs something, sometimes it's to talk and tell us about his day! I don't know about you but where I come from 18 year-old boys don't often talk to their parents any more than they have to. It's so nice to hear him say he has a break between classes and wanted to chat or wondered what we were doing. He's also become quite responsible doing chores at his house, giving friends and teammates rides to school, even doing homework early!

Most days I'm fine and I'm enjoying the  last days of summer and time with my hubby. I'm getting back to blogging and reading. My two oldest boys live here in town and come to the house often. I do have to shed a few tears here and there though. This will be the first soccer season in 16 years that we don't have anyone playing. We have no (local) school functions to attend, teens wandering in and out of the house (the pitter patter of really big feet), and the house is too darn quiet. But on the good side there's also no detention slips for being late - again, no school functions to attend (I've had enough parent/teacher conferences and spring concerts to last a lifetime!), no uniforms or school clothes to wash, homework to fight over, late nights waiting for the last kid to come home... I guess it's not all bad.

When I really get lonely I remember that next month we are taking our first real family vacation ever. (Hubby won a trip to the Universal Resort in Orlando, Florida last year. More on that later.) The five of us get to go the amusement parks and stay on sight in a beautiful hotel and for 4 days and 3 nights. How wonderful! BUT...we also get to travel together by planes and shuttles, stay together in 1 hotel room with 2 beds and 1 cot,  and bicker... When I think about all of that "quality" time together I don't seem to feel as sad anymore!

We were also blessed to welcome a new little person into our lives last year. My oldest son met a sweet girl who already had an adorable daughter. We were happy to have them join our family and the little one is my favorite 3 year-old. And now my son and his girlfriend are expecting a baby boy in November! Somehow, I think having these little people in my life is going to keep me very busy and it won't always be so quiet around here. We've already got toys scattered around, a Barbie townhouse (we aren't used to girl toys!), and a new cradle to keep in the spare room. Ah, the pitter patter of little feet again! And when I get tired or need peace and quiet, I get to send them home to their parents!! Of course I'll make sure they are all sugared up first and have learned a few new tricks before they go... Isn't that what a grandparent is for?

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday (started at The Printed Page and now a traveling meme) is at Amused By Books this month and is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Whew, it's been some time since I've been here and I have some catching up to do! I didn't get a lot of books over the summer but I still had plenty to read. These are the goodies I got recently. I hope your mailbox was full of goodies too!

The Stranger You Seek (ARC) by Kyle Williams
From Random House for review

The papers have called me a monster. You’ve either concluded that I am a braggart as well as a sadist or that I have a deep and driving need to be caught and punished.

In the sweltering heat of an Atlanta summer, a killer is pushing the city to its breaking point, preying on the unsuspecting, writing taunting letters to the media, promising more death. Desperate to stop the Wishbone Killer before another victim meets a shattering end, A.P.D. lieutenant Aaron Rauser turns to the one person he knows can penetrate a deranged mind: ex–FBI profiler Keye Street.

And you must certainly be wondering if I am, in fact, the stranger you seek.

Keye was a rising young star at the Bureau until addiction derailed her career and her life. Now sober and fighting to stay so, Keye picks up jobs where she can get them: catching adulterers, serving subpoenas, chasing down bailjumpers, and dodging the occasional bullet. With multiple victims, little to go on, and an entire police force looking for direction, the last thing Keye wants is to be pulled into the firestorm of Atlanta’s worst nightmare.
Shall I convince you?

And then it suddenly becomes clear that the hunter has become the hunted—and the stranger she seeks is far closer than she ever dared imagine.An electrifying thriller debut, The Stranger You Seek introduces a brash, flawed, and unforgettable heroine in a complex, twisting novel that takes readers deep into a sultry Southern summer, a city in the grips of chaos, and a harrowing cat-and-mouse game no reader will ever forget.

All These Things I've Done (ARC) by Gabrielle Zevin
From Macmillan for review

 In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

You Don't Sweat Much For A Fat Girl: Observations On Life From The Shallow End Of The Pool  (ARC) by Celia Rivenbark
From Wunderkind PR for review and giveaway

From the bestselling, award-winning author of "You Can't Drink All Day If You Don't Start in the Morning" comes another collection of hilarious observations that are sure to resonate with women, mothers, and girlfriends everywhere.

Coming Up For Air (ARC) by Patti Callahan Henry
From Wunderkind PR for review and giveaway

On the coast of Alabama, there is a house cloaked in mystery, a place that reveals the truth and changes lives...
Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband – between her reality and the woman she wants to be – she doesn’t quite seem to fit into her own life.
But everything changes after her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie’s world turns upside down when she sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at her mother’s funeral and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death. He wants answers to questions that Ellie’s not sure she can face, until, in the painful midst of going through her mother’s things, she discovers a hidden diary – and a window onto stories buried long ago.

As Ellie and Hutch start speaking for the first time in years, Ellie’s closed heart slowly begins to open. Fighting their feelings, they set out together to dig into Lillian’s history. Using both the diary and a trip to the Summer House, a mysterious and seductive bayside home, they gamble that they can work together and not fall in love again. But in piecing together a decades-old unrequited-love story, they just might uncover the secrets in their own hearts… 

Firespell by Chloe Neill
From Paperback Swap

New Girl.
New School.
Old Evil.

From the author of the Chicagoland Vampires novels.

A new series about a boarding school filled with something worse than homework.

Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet... 

Scorched by Sharon Ashwood
From Paperback Swap

Ex-detective Macmillan has a taste for bad girls, but his last lover really took the cake-and his humanity. Now a half-demon, Mac's lost his friends, his family, and his job. Then a beguiling vampire asks for his help to find her son. Suddenly, Mac has a case to work-one that leads him deeps into the supernatural prison where Mac learns that cracking the case will cost him his last scrap of humanity.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day Pictures, Comments, Images, Graphics
I hope you all have been enjoying a wonderful long weekend and reaping the fruits of our labor(ers)!