Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Lying Game

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature that highlights a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Due out July 25, 2017

Product information taken from Amazon:

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be a human bone.

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Belated BEA Thoughts and Books I'm Excited To Have

I came home from Book Expo with forty books packed in my suitcase and backpack - and I shipped seventy pounds of books home from the convention.  I was so excited to get the stacks of books organized and look through them again.  There is no way I can show every single book I got and I am looking forward to reading, but this is a little sample.


1. Mrs. by Caitlin Macy - due out February 2018

2.  Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford - due out September 2017

3.  The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin -due out January 2018

4.  George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl - due out September 2017

5.  The Address by Fiona Davis - due out August 2017


1.  Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush - due out October 2017

2.  Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker- due out August 2017

3. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin - due out September 2017

4.  Code Girls by Liza Mundy -due out October 2017

5.  The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan - due out September 2017

Young Adult and Children's Lit

1.  Jacky Ha Ha: My Life is a Joke by James Patterson - due out November 2017

2.  Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds - due out October 2017

3.  Refugee by Alan Gratz - due out July 2017

4.  Backfield Boys by John Feinstein -due out August 2017

5.  Before I Let You Go by Marieke Nijkamp -due out January 2018

These are just a few of the fantastic books that I have stacked up to read.  Now, to find time to get to all of these books.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

You've Read That? Now Read This!: Books for my Dad

I have always struggled with what to get my dad for Father's Day. This is compounded by the fact that his birthday is June 19, and some years that is the same day as Father's Day.  As if one gift idea weren't tricky enough, I had to come up with two gifts.  

For the past five years my dad has been in a nursing home, suffering from dementia.  Birthday and Father's Day gifts mean nothing to him at this point.  However, I can't help but think of him as some sports-themed books come across my doorstep.  I could always pick up John Feinstein's newest book and give it to my dad with the knowledge that he would enjoy it as he read before bed each night.

You’ve Read That?

Caddy for Life by John Feinstein was published in 2004 and I bought a copy for myself and my dad. We didn't set out to discuss it, but my dad offered what he knew of Edwards from the many (and I do mean MANY) hours he spent watching PGA golf on television.  The story is heartwarming and heartbreaking.  Bruce Edwards was Tom Watson's caddy, a job he took as a young man and kept until his death at the age of forty-nine of Lou Gehrig's disease.  His friendship with Watson and battle with his disease was big news in the golf world at the time, and Feinstein allows readers to get to know Edwards and Watson and their friendship.

Today is my dad's 71st birthday.  Recently I've read a few books that make me think of him and his love of sports. These would have been perfect Father's Day gifts or birthday gifts for the man who spent his free time glued to ESPN and The Golf Channel.

Now Read This!

Coach Wooden and Me:Our 50 Year Friendship On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  - Abdul-Jabbar is the author of this book that is autobiographical, but really focuses on his relationship with John Wooden, his college basketball coach.  Their relationship evolved over the many years the two knew each other, only ending with Wooden's death.  Wooden was an amazing man-even more amazing as a man than a coach- and Abdul-Jabbar captures that perfectly.

Augusta's Fairways: A Collection of the Greatest Masters Stories Ever Told by Jim Hawkins with Robert Hartman- a book like this would have been right up my dad's alley.  Some of these stories are from as early as the 1930s, but run right up until the present day and cover a variety of different famous golfers and their experiences at Augusta. My dad liked nothing better than reliving some of the stories he had watched unfold on television.

Arnie: The Life of Arnold Palmer by Tom Callahan - If you love watching golf, Arnold Palmer is a man you want to know more about. This biography fills in some pieces of Palmer's life very nicely by including a variety of anecdotes about this golf legend.  (Incidentally, as I was reading this book, we were just minutes away from Palmer's home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania).

What other sports-themed books should I add to my list? Even though my dad can't enjoy them himself, I continue to read these books, and remember so many things about my Dad and his love of sports. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

TLC Book Tours: The Beach At Painter's Cove

I've been lucky to have had a lot of great summery books sent my way.  At some point I will be ready to read something beside a "beach read" but for right now, I am perfectly content to do some fun summer, reading.  And let's be honest.  There aren't a lot of beaches here in Iowa, so sometimes a beach read also fits the bill while I'm huddled under a blanket in the middle of January

Synopsis taken from Amazon:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Beach comes another heartwarming story of four generations of women who reunite in their crumbling family mansion by the sea for a dramatic summer filled with love, family, secrets and sisterhood.
The Whitaker family’s Connecticut mansion, Muses by the Sea, has always been a haven for artists, a hotbed of creativity, extravagances, and the occasional scandal. Art patrons for generations, the Whitakers supported strangers but drained the life out of each other. Now, after being estranged for years, four generations of Whitaker women find themselves once again at The Muses.

Leo, the Whitaker matriarch, lives in the rambling mansion crammed with artwork and junk. She plans to stay there until she joins her husband Wes on the knoll overlooking the cove and meadow where they first met. Her sister-in-law Fae, the town eccentric, is desperate to keep a secret she has been hiding for years.

Jillian, is a jet setting actress, down on her luck, and has run out of men to support her. She thinks selling The Muses will make life easier for her mother, Leo, and Fae by moving them into assisted living. The sale will also bring her the funds to get herself back on top.

Issy, Jillian’s daughter, has a successful life as a museum exhibit designer that takes her around the world. But the Muses and her grandmother are the only family she’s known and when her sister leaves her own children with Leo, Issy knows she has to step in to help.

Steph, is only twelve-years-old and desperately needs someone to fire her imagination and bring her out of her shell. What she begins to discover at the Muses could change the course of her future.

As Issy martials the family together to restore the mansion and catalogue the massive art collection, a surprising thing happens. Despite storms and moonlight dancing, diva attacks and cat fights, trips to the beach and flights of fancy, these four generations of erratic, dramatic women may just find a way to save the Muses and reunite their family.

 My Thoughts:

I haven't read anything by Shelley Noble before, and this was a great book to start out with.  After a little bit of attempting to figure out the various characters and their relationships, I was interested in the Whitaker family and rooting for them to be OK in the end.

I started reading this book as we left home for vacation yesterday.  I was still reading as it grew dark and I attempted to make out the words on the page, wanting to know how Noble resolved things. It's a good sign when you enjoy a book so much that you can read the entire thing in one sitting. 

The book is a bit predictable, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment.  Sometimes it feels good to read something that isn't full of big surprises and twists and turns.  

Noble sums everything up at the book's end, and I felt like the Whitaker's were in good hands.  I was happy that there was romance, suspense, and some family secrets to be uncovered, which kept me thoroughly entertained.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book for my review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

For more information, visit the HarperCollins website.

Friday Five: The First Week of Summer Break

Over the past week plenty of people have commented about summer or asked if I am enjoying it.  Honestly, at this point, I feel like summer hasn't even started. I've been back at school two days cleaning out my office.  This is time consuming and a little painful as I say goodbye to the twenty years of teaching at the elementary level.  I've had the oil changed in our car, I've taken kids back and forth to cross country practice, been to an orthodontist appointment,tried to do some cleaning at home, and also packed for vacation.

As you are reading this on Friday morning, we are (hopefully) just getting on the road for a second day of driving.  This year's trip takes us to Hershey, PA, for a tour of the Hershey factory and Washington, D.C., where we will meet up with friends and take in the many sights.

Once we get back from our trip, I'm hoping for a little more relaxation.  And a little more reading.  

Maybe even a little more internet shopping.'s a few of the things I've found this week:

1.  You're The Avocado to My Toast T-Shirt - Janssen at Everyday Reading wore this in some pictures a while back. I remember liking it, but apparently so did a lot of other blog readers.  She posted information on where to get a shirt like this recently.  I'm still debating the purchase....I certainly can't wear it to work, and I do own a ton of is kind of cool.

2.  Garmin Forerunner 230 - Little Sister's friend has this watch. Which means now Little Sister wants one.  The price on this one is not something I feel is appropriate for a ten year old, although if it were on sale, or for a gift and on sale, I might reconsider.  However, now I want one.  

3.  Plaid Gauze Shirt in Boyfriend Fit - this plaid shirt reminds me of a skirt/shirt outfit I had in high school that I bought at JC Penney's for Easter one year.  I wore the heck out of that dress.  I'm into the partial button-down shirt look as well.

4. Shaun Top  - Bungalow 123 is becoming a site I look at fairly frequently. I've only ordered from them a handful of times, but I've liked what I have purchased. I think this would be a great little shirt that I could wear to work (with a sweater over the top) or with a pair of white jeans.

5.  Mid Rise Linen Blend Pants for Women -I'm just going to admit that after listening to the most recent Big Boo podcast, and heaing them discuss what Sophie would wear to Kenya, I became more interested in the linen pants from Old Navy.  I've already made a trip there and bought myself a pair. I do love them, but just a word of caution: white or nude underwear with the white pants are a must.

6. Zima -ahhhh I feel like it's 1993 all over again.  When I spent a semester in Denver, Colorado, Zima was easy to purchase.  Iowa didn't sell it. So I came home with two cases that I "saved."  The bad news is that I saved it for such a long time, by the time I tried to drink it, it had a horrible skunky taste.  I'm here to tell you that right now for a limited time, Zima is back.  And I have loved reliving 1993 the past few nights here at home with a good book and a bottle of Zima.  

So how about you? What's caught your eye this week?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Tour: Secrets of Southern Girls

The Secrets of Southern Girls is a coming of age novel and a novel of suspense, two of my favorite things.

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

A tender, yet thrilling suspense novel about a young woman who uncovers devastating secrets that will resurrect the people she lost and the lies she buried – perfect for fans of Diane Chamberlain and Ellen Marie Wiseman
Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What's worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back. Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can't forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.
When August, Reba's first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie's past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried...and reveal that Julie isn't the only one who feels responsible for Reba's death.

My Thoughts:

Harrigan had me from the first page.  I liked meeting Julie in the present day, as a single mother.  Harrigan reveals things about Julie throughout the novel: bits and pieces about her relationship with her daughter, Beck's father, are slowly parceled out; information about her own childhood, and her relationship with Reba are also given to the reader slowly.  I liked how this was done, creating suspense and also giving the characters some depth.  

We learn more about what happened to Reba as well, not only from Julie and August, but from Reba's diary entries, the one place she truly revealed herself.  I love books that are composed of journal entries, and reading Reba's diary brought her to life, despite the fact that she had been gone for a decade.  

Harrigan's novel shows that it is impossible for anyone to truly know everything about someone.  I always appreciate this which just proves how truly complex people are, and how little people reveal about themselves to the world.

Finally, the southern setting is something I enjoyed.  The fact that racism was alive and well in Mississippi in 1997 is sad, but also very believable.  

The Secrets of Southern Girls would be a great book club selection, providing plenty to discuss. It would also be the perfect book to take to the beach or pool this summer, or curl up with on the couch on a rainy day.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Good People

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature that highlights a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's title: The Good People by Hannah Kent
Due out: September 19, 2017

Product information taken from Amazon:

From the author of Burial Rites, "a literary novel with the pace and tension of a thriller [that] takes us on a frightening journey towards an unspeakable tragedy" (Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train) 

Hedged in by gossip and joined by their desperation, three women in nineteenth-century Ireland are drawn together in the hope of rescuing a child from a superstitious community, determined to rid itself of the strange and unknowable. Bereft after the loss of her husband, Nora finds herself alone and caring for her young grandson Micheal--a boy whom she recalls as having been a happy and healthy infant but now, in the wake of both his mother's and grandfather's deaths, can neither speak nor walk. Mary, a servant girl from more rural parts, comes to the valley to help Nora just as the rumors are spreading: the talk of unexplained misfortunes and illnesses, and the theory that deformed Micheal is a changeling, a fairy child to blame for the bad luck the valley has endured since his arrival. 

Determined to banish the evil in Micheal, Nora and Mary enlist the help of the elderly Nance, a recluse and wanderer once revered by her neighbors for her healing powers, but now condemned as a fraud and a threat by the new priest in town. 

As the trio's situation grows more dire, their folkloric practices become increasingly daring--culminating, at last, in a stunning and irreversible act that will put all their lives in danger. Terrifying, thrilling, and wholly original, THE GOOD PEOPLE is a startling examination of absolute belief and superstition taken to their extremes, of the universal yearning to belong, and of love, both tender and harsh.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TLC Book Tour: Sweet Tea Tuesday

Ashley Farley's Sweet Tea Tuesday is the perfect read for a hot summer day.  I love a good Southern women's fiction novel and this book fit the bill.

Synopsis from Amazon:

Three best friends met every Tuesday for twenty-six years. And then they stopped. From the author of the bestselling Sweeney Sisters Series comes a novel of friendship, family, and hope. When new next-door neighbors Georgia, Midge, and Lula first assembled on Georgia’s porch in Charleston for sweet tea, they couldn’t have known their gathering was the beginning of a treasured tradition. For twenty-six years they have met on Tuesdays at four o’clock, watching the seasons change and their children grow up, supporting each other in good times and in bad. With their ambitions as different as their personalities, these best friends anticipate many more years of tea time. And then, one Tuesday, Georgia shares news that brings their long-standing social hour to an abrupt halt. And that’s only the beginning as unraveling secrets threaten to alter their friendship forever.

My Thoughts:

I loved all three women in this novel.  Each one had their own personality and issues they were dealing with that kept me entertained and wondering how their story would be resolved.  Georgia, Midge and Lula are in their fifties with grown children, and Farley does a nice job of showing that there is more to each of them than their role as a mother.  

The Southern setting reminds me a little of Mary Kay Andrews' books which I love, and I was easily able to transport myself to the neighborhood these women live in.

Fans of the Butternut Lake series will enjoy Sweet Tea Tuesday, and I'm anxious to read Farley's Sweeney Sisters series.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book for my review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

Monday, June 12, 2017

TLC Book Tour: It Happens In the Hamptons

The cover of this book alone makes me want to go to the pool or beach.  And once I started reading, I quickly became immersed in the goings-on in the Hamptons by those who have it all, and those who work for those who have it all.

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

When Katie Doyle moves across the country to the Hamptons, she is hoping for summer employment, new friends for her young son, and a chance to explore a new love affair with a dazzling investor. What she finds is a strange cocktail of classes, where society’s one-percenters vacation alongside local, hard-working people who’ve lived in the Hamptons for generations. Though she’s looking forward to their move, Katie is wary about mingling with her boyfriends’ East Coast elite circles. She soon discovers Southampton isn’t all that it seems to be on the surface—and neither are the people who live there.

As George takes Katie on a whirlwind tour of country clubs, haute couture, and lavish events, she is amazed to witness sudden whims become dire needs, extra-marital affairs blossoming right and left, and people purchase friends and loyalties like a pair of shoes. Even the middle-class townspeople maintain a determined fa├žade while maneuvering like sharks among the wealthy summer invaders.

The more Katie becomes immersed, the more she learns the secrets of both the upstairs and downstairs, the upper crust and middle of the road. The combustion between the classes becomes explosive as the summer tears on. Betrayals, a sexual predator, and a missing person lost in murky waves drive the reader on a racing Learjet ride through impossible twists and turns until landing at the shocking conclusion. When she meets Luke, a local surfer and middle school teacher, he makes her question what it is she really wants as she understands the life she’s begun for herself is built on shifting Hamptons’ dunes.

My Thoughts:

Katie and her son may be the intended focus of this novel, but their story is not the only one being told.  The two have relocated from the Pacific Northwest to the Hamptons, living in the cottage that her sort-of boyfriend, George, has given them access to.

Katie isn't sure she wants to date George, and becomes interested in Luke , who isn't part of the same social elite that George is.  Although Katie sees George as gentleman, readers get another picture of him which doesn't paint him in such a favorable light.

I love books about the wealthy and the dysfunction in their lives, and It Happens in the Hamptons certainly does paint a picture of people who have it all, yet have nothing that really matters.

This would be a perfect book to throw in your beach bag or bring along on vacation.  

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this book for my review.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

Visit the HarperCollins website for more information.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Five: School Is Finally Out!

Wednesday was the last day of school for student at my school and Thursday was the last day for us teachers.  Usually I am fairly busy at this time of year, but this year has been far worse.  After twelve years in my current position, I decided to move to the middle school. There was a library position that opened up there and after pondering whether the move was right or not, I decided to go for it.  So, I packed up (although I'm not done yet) twelve years of stuff I had acquired.  In the middle school I won't be scheduled to teach all day every day, so some of the cute elementary things I have, I had to part with.  And that was rough.

I'm sure I'll write more about the job change at some point. It has taken up a lot of my thinking time and certainly affected my reading time.

However, I did find some things online I liked this week:

1.  Women's New Balance For JCrew  - I like the style of these and I also like that they are gold.  Still holding off on ordering them for now....but we'll see how long the willpower lasts.

2.  Sperry Seaside Metallic Slip-on Sneaker - I must be liking shiny footwear this week. 

3.  Leather Slip On Sneakers- the Gap also has a version

4.  Bold Broad Capri - I've cycled through the same workout wear for a while now. I find pants I like but never actually spend the money. I do like these,though.

5.  Stripe Fringe Scarf - and this summery, colorful scarf would go with a lot of different things...

6.  Cosby Unraveled - as the Bill Cosby trial takes place, this podcast starts by giving information on Cosby's childhood, excerpts from different interviews he has given, and also how the trial is unfolding.  I like listening to it, but having grown up with Cosby's Fat Albert and The Cosby Show, I am saddened by how he conducted himself in his personal life and how that has tarnished a brilliant career.

So how about you? What's caught your eye this week?