Everyday Tidbits...

"I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." - Anne Shirley

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Books or Groceries?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Sea House...Review

About the book:
Scotland, 1860.

Reverend Alexander Ferguson, naive and newly-ordained, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the Hebridean island of Harris. His time on the island will irrevocably change the course of his life, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after Alexander departs. It will be more than a century before the Sea House reluctantly gives up its secrets. Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building and begin to turn it into a home for the family they hope to have. Their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery. The tiny bones of a baby are buried beneath the house; the child's fragile legs are fused together -- a mermaid child. Who buried the bones? And why? Ruth needs to solve the mystery of her new home -- but the answers to her questions may lie in her own past.

Based on a real nineteenth-century letter to The Times in which a Scottish clergyman claimed to have seen a mermaid, The Sea House is an epic, sweeping tale of loss and love, hope and redemption, and how we heal ourselves with the stories we tell.

In 1992, Ruth and Michael have purchased the rundown Sea House on the island of Harris in the Hebrides with the hope of turning it into a Bed & Breakfast. During the renovations, they discover the remains of a baby whose legs are fused together. From appearance, a mermaid child.

Ruth, in an effort to overcome her own issues of abandonment and to find out what happened to the mermaid baby, begins researching the history of The Sea House and learns the story of Reverend Alexander Ferguson a newly ordained pastor, recently arrived on Harris.

Having always been told he was descended from the selkies or seal people, Alexander has had a lifelong fascination with mermaids. As the story alternates between 1860 and 1992, the novel bounces back and forth between Ruth's efforts to find out what happened to the mermaid child and Alexander's efforts to discover the truth behind the selkie/mermaid legend.

Historically, I was intrigued by the premise of The Sea House and Elisabeth Gifford has done an amazing job of blending legend with fact as well as addressing issues of PTSD and abandonment.

There were some complaints on this tour that the book contained profanity. I found two instances of the "F" word in only one sentence and it in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the novel.

A fascinating, compelling story.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Elisabeth Gifford here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 10/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mailbox Monday 10/20

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at To Be Continued.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

I was out of town last weekend for a family funeral and missed posting Mailbox Monday.  Here's what has arrived over the past two weeks.

At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot (for review, from Baker Publishing)
The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer, from Netgalley

Ryder: American Treasure by Nick Pengelley (for review, from TLC Book Tours)
A Thing of Beauty by Lisa Samson, from Netgalley

The Beekeeper's Son by Kelly Irvin, from Netgalley

What new books did you receive?  Check out more Mailbox Monday posts here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Mason Jar...Review

About the book:
What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she’s ever read? “But,” she said, “it’s about you.” The author is your college ex.

In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather’s desk; letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark, debutante, named Savannah. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.

Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar.

A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her and a reunion they never imagined.

Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational epic, romance, tragedy which brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common to Dances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It and Legends of the Fall.

It's always disappointing when a book doesn't live up to your expectations.

The premise of the letters between Clayton and his grandfather was what drew me to the book and that was a minor subplot to Clayton's obsession and inability to move on from Eden. Clayton spends much of the book wallowing and it drew no sympathy from me.

There were also glaring inconsistencies that distracted me. The main one being that in the back cover blurb, the name of the woman Clayton is in love with is Savannah. In the book, her name is Eden. He also is supposed to have changed her last name in his novel, but it's the same in the novel as well as the book. I'm still puzzling over how those were missed in the editing process. I also found the dialogue difficult to follow at times.

There wasn't enough explanation for me of why Eden left and when the friends all gather together again years later for college homecoming, the interactions are juvenile and childish. I kept thinking, "Enough already".

The ending is very reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks and a comparison to him isn't a great recommendation for me.

Overall the parts just didn't add up to a whole and it was a promising potential that went unfulfilled.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about James Russell Lingerfelt here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 10/14

* *
2/5 Stars

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ryder...Review and Giveaway

About the book
As Israeli and Palestinian leaders prepare to make a joint announcement at the Tower of London, an influential scholar is tortured and murdered in his well-appointed home in St. John’s Wood. Academic researcher Ayesha Ryder believes the killing is no coincidence. Sir Evelyn Montagu had unearthed shocking revelations about T. E. Lawrence—the famed Lawrence of Arabia. Could Montagu have been targeted because of his discoveries?

Ryder’s search for answers takes her back to her old life in the Middle East and into a lion’s den of killers and traitors. As she draws the attention of agents from both sides of the conflict, including detectives from Scotland Yard and MI5, Ryder stumbles deeper into Lawrence’s secrets, an astounding case of royal blackmail, even the search for the Bible’s lost Ark of the Covenant. 

Every step of the way, the endgame grows more terrifying. But when an attack rocks London, the real players show their hand—and Ayesha Ryder is left holding the final piece of the puzzle.

Wow and wow.  I'm 2 for 2 this week on my thrillers and I'm loving it. Ryder invokes feelings of Indiana Jones and National Treasure. The race to discover clues and secrets was edge-of-your seat thrilling.

I really liked Ayesha. Seriously an awesome heroine and tough ass woman. She's been through hell and back, literally, and she can hold her own against terrorists and killers. I loved that it was the women who were strong and who ultimately figured out the answers to the Lawrence puzzle. I hope we see more of Dame Imogen and Lady Madrigal in later books.

Historically rich and detailed. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, my understanding and knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is minimal at best. My knowledge of T.E. Lawrence is even scantier. I've never seen Lawrence of Arabia. So, I have no idea how much of the history is real or how much, if any, is fictional. And I don't care. The book was fast-paced and thrilling and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough.

I can't wait for the next book in the series.

Mild profanity and descriptions of torture.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Nick Pengelley here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 10/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Because I loved the book and I know many of you will too, please enter the giveaway for a gift card and copy of the book!

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