Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

January 15, 2013

I actually heard of this book by one of NetGalley's emails during December. I thought it was a cute simple read that seemed very romantic - definitely my type of book. I was lucky enough to be approved by the publisher to get an early copy from NetGalley.

It started with Mia and Nick who bonded over the simplest of circumstances, they were both given up as babies after being born. They met in a classroom, (where later we realize that she actually set it up that he would sit close by! Something I would probably do so I was able to relate to this character so well!) They instantly form a connection where he was able to be a friend and lover at the same time...however he never wanted to take it a step farther than that, no mention of "love," and definitely no ring. However, when Mia surprises him with a ticket to go back home for a wedding, thats when he pushes her away.

Nick quickly realizes his mistake and follows Mia across the country to prove to her how much he loves her. I absolutely LOVED the chemistry & romance between Nick and Mia! In the end, it was a very short and easy book to read, and I can't wait to read more books written by Jill!

The Aviator's Wife

The Aviator's Wife
By: Melanie Benjamin
416 Pages
Anne Morrow was the other daughter. She wasn't the pretty one, and she wasn't expected to make a good match in a husband. But she did what no one thought she would. Anne Morrow caught the attention of one Mr. Charles Lindbergh. She wasn't the only one surprised by his proposal. However, Charles wasn't like your average man, and their marriage wouldn't be like your average marriage. As you read, you get to see the world, and one of it's most famous heroes, through Anne's eyes. 

Anne Morrow is the middle daughter of her parents. She's plain, not gorgeous. She's shy and quiet, not glitzy and popular. Still, when her family visits her father in Mexico, it's Anne who Charles Lindbergh takes notice of. It's Anne, not her sister, that he takes on a solo flight. And it's Anne who marries America's newest hero. 

But Charles Lindbergh is a man of different stock and Anne struggled with her new life. They bond over flying as Anne learns how to pilot planes. She accompanies her husband on numerous flights as he breaks more aviation ground. But everything changes the night their first born son is kidnapped from his nursery room. Both handled the tragedy in different ways and they never fully bounce back. 

Life continues on and they go on to have several children. But that life isn't always easy. Just like there are bumps in the roads, there are bumps in the air, as well. Charles experiences professional highs and lows. Anne is always there by his side, but is becoming her own person- not just his co-pilot.

The Aviator's Wife an incredible look through the eyes of a woman who married an American hero. The world knew her as Charles's wife, but now you get to know her for yourself. Melanie Benjamin did wonderfully thorough research to paint an accurate portrait of an incredible woman's journey. This was a book I loved reading and didn't want it to end.

Rating: Buy It/Borrow It

The Second Chance Cafe

January 12, 2013

The Second Chance Cafe
By: Alison Kent

Kaylie Flynn is opening a cafe in the only house that felt like home. However, her life isn't the only one changed.

Kaylie became a ward of the state at a very young age. Her Father was a missing member from her life, and her Mother battled a drug addiction that led to dire consequences. Life changed for the better when she was 10. Being placed with a couple who taught Kaylie, and other foster kids, the meaning of love and family. 

Years after leaving Hope Springs, Kaylie has come back in a big way. She has bought the Victorian house she connects with the happiest years of her life. Now she's turning it into a cafe. 

This new venture brings her several people. Tennessee Keller is the contractor with all the connections. He's the man who's going to work the magic that will turn the first floor into her cafe. He's a man with all the connections. He makes all the girls in town swoon. But, he's also a man with with a past he's struggling to overcome.

Luna is the new friend Kaylie makes. Luna has a successful career making scarves that Hollywood loves. However, like Kaylie and Ten, she has a secret in her past. A car accident she survived, but her best friend/passenger didn't. There's more to the story than she ever let anyone know. 

Luna also knows someone from Kaylie's past. Turns out Luna knows Kaylie's Father, Mitch. Mitch and Luna's Father fought in war together and remained best friends. Now Luna has the ability to introduce the two, but will she?

There are several plot questions you don't get answers to. The Second Chance Cafe is part of Kent's Hope Springs series, so those answers may be found in other books. The whereabouts of Kaylie's Mother weighs heavily on her, but you don't get that resolution in here. The same goes for Luna's storyline. The mysterious secret involving her car accident isn't revealed, but that may be in another book, as well. 

Overall, I enjoyed The Second Chance Cafe. This book had a plot that you wanted to read more of. While parts of the story were rather predictable, Alison Kent didn't do the predictable thing every time. I found this very refreshing. I could see myself reading more books in this series. I'll be keeping an eye for future books by Kent.

Rating: Borrow From Library

When This Blonde Cleans...

January 8, 2013

Normally, I enjoy cleaning. And, normally, I'm good at it. When life gets too stressful, I clean my stress away. I'd like to say my house was always clean and spotless. However, I have 2 young girls and a husband- an immaculate house is years away.

On one particular day I was cleaning the front room to my house. Christmas had come and gone, but a collection of Christmas presents past and current had converged here. Christmas decorations had just been put away and my house was going back to normal. I was vacuuming the floor- which desperately needed to be done. I realized just before my vacuum sucked it up that there was a plastic tie on the ground- the kind you find on bread or wrap cords in. No sooner did I add it to my growing collection of dirt in my vacuum's canister than my vacuum shut off. Right there, in the middle of vacuuming the room my vacuum died.

Nothing I did made it start again. I tried to find the offensive visitor to no avail. I had no choice but to call my hubby and inform him that I may have just offed the vacuum. Upon his arrival and looking at the traumatized machine, he discovered the plug had come out of the wall enough to cut the power to it. Sure enough, it started up- completely unfazed- when the plug was pushed back in all the way.

Like I said, normally I'm good at cleaning. Sometimes, not so much. Glad to know I didn't off the vacuum, though.

Revenge of the Crafty Corpse

Revenge of the Crafty Corpse
By: Lois Winston
288 Pages
Reviewed by: Betsey Brooks
The story centers around Anastasia Pollack, a craft editor for American Woman magazine. Her husband, "Dead Louse of a Spouse" as she calls him, had been cheating and sucking money out of their accounts for some time. This all came to life when he suddenly dies while on one of his "business" trips to Vegas.
Anastasia is now faced with a huge debt, supporting her two teenage sons, her mother-in-law and her mother(when she is between husbands).

The story opens with Anastasia getting an objecting Lurille settled at "Sunyside of Westfield Assisted Living and Rehabilitation Center". On her way out, Anastasia meets her old college roommate Kara who works at the center. Kara is about to go on maturnity leave and the center needs someone to cover her weekend art classes. She talks Anastasia into applying, emphasizing how well it will pay. The director, Shirley Hallstead is very happy to have someone as knowledgeable as Anastasia. The following morning Lurille's 98 year old roommate is found murdered and the police think Lurille did it.

Anastasia sets out to clear her mother-in-law. Some very strange things begin to emerge. First, the victim seems to be a very skilled artist. All her creations centered around- sex including a picture of Michelangelo's "David" made of lint. Second, she is hated by all the other residents, but seems to have had some control of them. Third, Lyndella Wagner had enjoyed a very active sex life right up to the day she died.

While looking through Lyndella's art notebooks Anastasia discovers hidden pieces of information written into the directions and accounts centering around her art work. Discovering what all these mean takes you back to meet Lyndella at fifteen. Traveling forward in through time you discover just how talented, clever, resourceful and prosperous Lyndella was. The path to solving Lynelle's murder is filled with surprises and twists, some very humorous. So settle back and enjoy a most unusual mystery. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse has a little bit of everything. romance, sex, murder, history and funny events.

Isn't It Time For A Coffee Break?

January 5, 2013

Isn't It Time For A Coffee Break?
By: Amelia Rhodes
176 Pages

Another great study book from the Women Living Life Together series. Isn't It Time For A Coffee Break centers around the importance of friends and family in our lives. Instead of going through life- and all of it's bumps in the road- alone, we should rely on our support group of family and friends. Especially those within your Church. 

Having friends to be completely open and honest with can give you strength you need during rough times. Being part of someone's support system is an important gift. God calls us to be there for one another- no excuses. 

This book hit home for me because I know the value of having a strong support system. I know what it's like to go through personal upheaval with them, and I know what it's like to go through it without them. Personally  I'd rather have people I can trust to guide me when I can't see the path ahead of me clearly.

Filled with examples taken from the author's life, I loved reading this book. I immediately ordered it and look forward to reading it again. God is a big part of my life and I welcome opportunities to learn more about him. I would highly recommend Isn't It Time For A Coffee Break? to anyone who is learning the blessing that a great support system is or wanting to know how to create one.

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

January 1, 2013

While I was browsing lists upon lists of available books to choose to read, I stumbled upon "The Tutor's Daughter." Not only did the title strike me as appealing but so did the image. While reviewing the summary of what it was about, i just KNEW I had to read it! The moment I was requested the book I downloaded it to my kindle! I quickly realized that working out at the gym goes by much faster when I have a good book to read while I'm on the elliptical!

From the moment I started the book to when I finished it, I was captivated by it all!! Emma Smallwood is a tutor's daughter who owns his own boys school. They were invited to the Weston residence to tutor 2 brothers and since Emma lost her mom, she accompanied her dad as a secondary helper. The 2 Weston brothers, Julian and Rowan, have 2 olders brothers that actually attended the Smallwood academy, Henry and Julian. While staying at the Weston house, Emma experiences harassment, intrigue, learns of family secrets, as well as maybe finds love.

This book is filled with twists and turns as well as portrays the concept of prayer. You find out that one of the Weston brothers fully believes in the power of prayer, and that struck me very hard since I love to pray myself. I found myself sneaking opening this book at work just to read an extra couple pages when I could. At night, I kept telling myself, "only 10 more minutes!" and sometimes I didn't realize how 10 minutes could become 1 hour!

I honestly LOVED this book, and I can't wait to read more books written by this author!! I would recommend this book to anyone, it has such a great story line! This will definitely be on my book shelf the moment it comes out!!

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