Tuesday, March 10, 2015

One Plus One: A Novel by Jojo Moyes

One Plus One: A Novel

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted Stateside she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.
My thoughts:
I requested this book at the library ages ago and last week my turn came up.  I started reading it with no memory of why I requested it in the first place.  I read a lot, I love to read book reviews and I come across a lot of books I think I can't wait read, but then I forget why.  I think this must happen to book lovers a lot, but I could be wrong.  This week I caught the stomach bug and spent a whole day in bed,  First time since before kids that I have spent a day that way.  It would have been better had I not been sick and dizzy, but it gave me a day to read and this is the book  I read.
Ed has made some questionable choices in his desire to get away from a clingy girlfriend and Jess has been afraid to put pressure on her husband who left the family while suffering from depression two years ago to live with his mother.  Even though she can barely make ends meets and often has to skip paying one bill to pay another, Jess is afraid that to ask him for money to support their two children will set him off again so she does it all alone.  But her daughter Tanzie is a math genius and a private school will give her a 90% scholarship if she can come up with the other fees and her math teacher has found an Olympiad that she could win to pay, but it is in Scotland.  With no money to pay for the trip and only an unlicensed and unregistered car in which to do it Jess is stuck, until Ed steps up and offers to help.  But would he have helped had he known that going over 40 mph would make Tanzie vomit?  Or that their dog farts like crazy or that Jess has no money for hotels or restaurants and wants to make sandwiches at every stop?
Spending hours in the car creates a closeness that these four are unable to get away from.  Each of their stories starts to spill out from the bullies in their poor neighborhood, to the math Tanzie loves, to the dad who left and hasn't looked back and the many jobs Jess takes on to make things work for her family.  Often times people wonder how someone ended up where they are in life, was it one choice or many choices that led to this spot, and you get to see how each of these people got to where they are through memories and stories and how they act now.  Do pat acts define you?  Can you be forgiven for one mistake?  Can you be a good person at heart but still make mistakes?

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143127505
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/31/2015
  • Pages: 416
Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes is the internationally bestselling author of Me Before YouThe Girl You Left BehindThe Last Letter from Your LoverSilver Bay, and The Ship of Brides. She is married to Charles Arthur, technology editor of The Guardian, and lives with their three children on a farm in Essex, England.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Stories from Candyland: Confections from One of Hollywood's Most Famous Wives and Mothers by Candy Spelling

Stories from Candyland: Confections from One of Hollywood's Most Famous Wives and Mothers

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Carole Gene Marer spent her girlhood dreaming of meeting Rock Hudson, but when she finally had the chance—on her second date with her future husband, television mogul Aaron Spelling—she was so shy she hid all night in the powder room.  How Candy morphed from that quiet girl into a seemingly-confident, stylish trophy wife, mistress of the largest house in Los Angeles (70,000 square feet when you count the attic) is at the heart of Stories from Candyland
The life Candy created for her family—her husband and children Tori and Randy—was fabulous, over-the-top, and often magical.  So what if California Christmases don’t come with snow? Let’s make some on the tennis court!  How do we take a cross-country family vacation with a dad who doesn’t fly? By private train car, of course (with an extra for the fifty-two pieces of luggage).  The kids want to dress up for Halloween? No problem, why not call in Nolan Miller to design their costumes?
My thoughts:
This book has been on my shelf for a few years.  As part of spring cleaning I am working through my shelves, reading and removing books.  This book was a quick read and had some interesting parts, but I have to say it could have used some organization and a bit more editing.  Candy  had funny stories to share, but it felt like she circled back to the same ones and repeated herself quite a bit.  I also think she has a different sense of reality than most of us.  Her 17,000 square foot attic with everything neatly ordered and boxed and a hair salon is larger than most people's homes.  Does she know many people live in a home that is ten percent of that size?  Do you really need to save every Halloween costume your children ever wore?  
I can't tell you why I decided I wanted this book to begin with.  I have really enjoyed Tori Spelling's books and maybe I was curious about how her mother would recall events, but I requested it on Paperbackswap years ago and then just put it on the shelf.  In the book she talks about how she is selling or planning to sell the family home, the Manor, but I didn't recall it ever being sold.  I looked it up though and it was.  I wonder what she did get rid of in her move.
I think it must be really hard to write about your own like and keep it in order and organized, because everything that has happened to you has made you who you are today.  I hope that if she writes any more she has someone else go through and edit it for her more to keep it flowing.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429921183
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272

CANDY SPELLING, whose husband Aaron produced America’s favorite entertainment (“Dynasty”, “Charlie’s Angels”, “The Love Boat”, “Beverly Hills 90210”), is one of Hollywood’s most famous wives and mothers.  Her marriage was one of Tinseltown’s happiest and most enduring, ending only with Aaron’s death in 2006.  Since then, Candy has begun writing, for TMZ.com and The Huffington Post, as well as becoming a contributing editor for Los Angeles Confidential Magazine.  She is involved with a number of charitable and public service organizations, and is in the process of “downsizing” from Spelling Manor to a 17,000 square foot condominium in Century City.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Wild Ride

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Mary Alice Brannigan doesn't believe in the supernatural. Nor does she expect to find that Dreamland, the decaying amusement park she's been hired to restore, is a prison for the five Untouchables, the most powerful demons in the history of the world. Plus, there's a guy she's falling hard for--and there's something about him that's not quite right.
But rocky romances and demented demons aren't the only problems in Dreamland: Mab's also coping with a crooked politician, a supernatural raven, a secret government agency, an inexperienced sorceress, an unsettling inheritance, and some mind-boggling revelations from her past. As her personal demons wreck her newfound relationship and real demons wreck the park, Mab faces down immortal evil and discovers what everybody who's ever been to an amusement park knows: The end of the ride is always the wildest.
My thoughts:
This was a fun, fast moving book.  I picked it up last week while I was sick and read it over the course of a day spent mostly resting.  I haven't read a Jennifer Crusie book in some time.  I enjoy her humor and the way she uses sarcasm and unusual situations.  The demons were a new thing for me in her books, but it worked.  I was worried it wouldn't, but the supernatural elements fit without feeling forced.
Growing up Mab was not allowed to go to Dreamland park because her mother said there were demons there.  Her crusade against the park earned Mab a solitary existence growing up and she couldn't wait to move away.  Added to her burdens were how upset her mother got if she go angry or emotional, so she repressed her feelings and channeled herself into her work restoring artifacts from amusement parks.
When she returns to restore the park and is run down by a metal clown she restored just weeks earlier, things start to go a little funny.  When Ethan returns to the park to live what is left of his life with a bullet lodged near his heart he isn't ready to hear what his mother tells him until she has repeated it multiple times.  After a few too many odd events everyone is on board, but will they be able to thwart the Untouchables.
It has almost every aspect I expect from Crusie except for a dog, but this time there is a raven. Not as cute and cuddly, but Frankie has his own ways.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312533823
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/26/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues by Cindy Vincent Litfuse Blog Tour

About the book:
Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next big case with the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency to be their most complicated ever! It all starts when someone hides a mysterious package in their Mom's antique store --- in the middle of the night! Of course, the boys find it, and put it in a nice, safe place, until they can open it . . . and, find the rightful owner. But that's when a whole bunch of suspicious people show up in St. Gertrude, and every single one of them seems to be after that package! Holy Catnip! Plus, everything happens just when a priceless, jeweled statue collection goes on display at the St. Gertrude Museum. Missing from that collection are two jewel covered cat statues that disappeared almost a hundred and fifty years ago.

But soon Buckley and Bogey wonder how long those statues will stay missing. Because this is one case that really keeps them on their paws! From a trip to the Museum, and to an old church for the Blessing of the Animals; and from dinosaurs to diamonds, they end up dodging shady suspects the whole time. It sure helps to have their friends with them, especially when the bad guys make a beeline for boys. That's because it becomes very clear, very quick --- the priceless cat statues aren't the only cats those crooks are after! Holy Mackerel!

Purchase a copy: http://amzn.to/1xrwgJb 

About the author: Cindy Vincent was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has lived all around the US and Canada. She holds an M.A.Ed, and is the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She is also the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper books, the Daisy Diamond Detective book series, and the Cats are Part of His Kingdom, Too: 33 Daily Devotions to Understanding God's Love. She lives with her husband and the real, live Buckley and Bogey, who run surveillance on her house each and every night.

Find Cindy, Buckley, and Bogey online: website

My thoughts:
Some of the first books I recall reading independently and enjoying were mysteries.  There was something about looking for the clues with the characters and seeing if you could figure it out before the end of the book.  This is a fun mystery with the added element that it is from the point of view of the family cats.  What kid hasn't felt awkward and clumsy like Buckley or wanted to be just like their older sibling?

It was a fun ride tagging along with there two cat detectives as they worked through another mystery while keeping up with their nighttime watch duties at home, see there really is a reason why cats get so active at night, they are doing a job!  I plan to pass this along to my kids.  I can't wait to see what they think of it.

I loved how the cats worked behind the scenes.  They had to come up with ways to let people know what they were thinking and doing without being able to speak.  Typing things up on the computer and leaving mysterious notes.  I also appreciated how Vincent worked in animal adoptions as well.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last by Deb Dearmond Litfuse Blog Tour

About the book: 

I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last (Abingdon Press, January 2015)

Married for nearly 38 years, author Deborah DeArmond and her husband have made the spoken declaration, "I choose you today" a regular part of their communication. It's when we least feel like saying it that we need to remind ourselves that love is a choice, not a feeling. I Choose You Today features 31 scriptural principles that support marriage and help couples develop healthy biblically based behavior.

Built on an introductory anecdotal story, each chapter has an inspirational takeaway of not only what to do, but how to begin applying the principles immediately. Thought provoking questions create talking points for couples to explore their own choices and experiences in each area serve to generate open dialogue of discovery. I Choose You Today is not a book of "shoulds," but one of clearly identified choices that each individual can make to grow their marriage and align it with the word of God. Every saying ends with a conventional wisdom quote.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/HLFvU  

Landing page:

My thoughts:  
I love how this book was broken down into 31 separate chapters with ways to connect and questions to ask yourself and your spouse.  Even  more, I appreciated how the author encouraged the reader to go to the chapters that felt right to them instead of following the order given.  It makes so much more sense for people to address the issues that are important to them and their relationships instead of following a set in stone plan.  Each chapter starts with an example of a couple showing the issue and then how things can be different.  I loved that the author's husband proposed to her again years later, letting her know that he continued to choose her even after decades of marriage.

About the author:

Deb DeArmond
 is an author, a speaker, and relationship coach-helping her clients improve theiinteractions at work and at home. Her first book, Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships, was released iNovember 2013 by Kregel Publications.

Find Deb online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Swept Away by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven Quilts of Love Litfuse Blog Tour

About the book: 

Sara doesn't think she wants love. But her grandmother has other plans.
Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don't always go as planned.
Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past---and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane's grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew and his new employer's granddaughter.
Still, it doesn't take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn't what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts researching him online. What she discovers could change her life---and her heart---forever.

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

Landing page: 

My thoughts:  Sara Jane and Drew are both dealing with their own feelings of survivors guilt from the loss of loved ones, each in his or her own way.  Because of the large amount of pain that has not been dealt with, neither of them has been able to move forward in their personal lives or been able to open up to others.

Sara Jane's grandmother forces the issue with them both due to her stubbornness and her ailing memory.  Drew has been hired as her handyman, but it uncomfortable with the assumption that he will date and marry Sara Jane just because he has been told to.  Sara Jane is worried about her grandmother and embarrassed by her not so subtle matchmaking.

The two find that they have some interests in common, top among them keeping Sari safe and cared for, but there is a big stumbling block for them.  Drew has found comfort in his faith and shares his beliefs freely, while Sara Jane goes to church out of obligation, but feels no connection with God  and lacks faith.  Before they can move ahead and work on connecting with one another, Sara Jane needs to find forgiveness and faith herself to move past her feelings of guilt.

I would have loved to have seen a picture of the quilt, just a sketch of each of the squares that belonged to the song!

About the Authors: 

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning author and a professional book reviewer. A stay-at-home mom and home school teacher, Laura lives with her family in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. Cindy Loven is active in the church and writes from her home in Conway, Arkansas, where she lives with her husband and their son.

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. TheQuilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.