Book Club 2019

This winter has been one for the books – record books! It was a snowy January February and March in Minnesota. Our book club has committed to meeting monthly, on or around the 4th Monday of the month, and we have been accomplishing our goal nicely! Enter 2019. Every time we tried to schedule a book club gathering to discuss “Goodnight, Mr. Wodehouse” there was a snow storm or a blizzard or some other arctic nastiness out there. So in February we had a Facebook Messenger book discussion – and it was fun! It was nice to be cozy at home and to talk about a book we all read. The only downside is that there’s no potluck meal or waitress to order your meal from when the discussion is over!

Our neighborhood, our trees

Facebook book club!

After our virtual meeting, we couldn’t decide on a book, so in March we gave Book Reports to each other! We all talked about what we had been reading lately and then swapped books with each other. It was a lot of fun to hear what people read, get ideas for our TBR piles and to bring home a new book to read! I took notes and posted them to our Facebook page (“Books books books”, appropriately) and now we are ready to read our Book Club in a bag from the Rochester Public Library – “Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother.” I’m hoping it inspires me to re-read “Little Women” before the updated movie comes out!

Book reports by all!

Book recommendations from my book recommendation!

I love book club night… How about you?

*What are you reading?
*What are your book club challenges?
*Do you have a favorite or memorable book club discussion?

The First Noel at the Villa des Violettes – my thoughts

The first Noel at the Villa des Violettes

The First Noël At The Villa Des Violettes

(women’s fiction)

Release date: November 15, 2018

Self-published

ISBN: B07KDXZDGM

206 pages

Author’s page | Goodreads

Synopsis: THE LOVE IN PROVENCE CHARACTERS ARE BACK …

Everything was going so well in Kat and Philippe’s life together. Then suddenly it wasn’t.

Roman ruins delayed the work on the Villa desViolettes. The Russian drug gang might be back in the neighbourhood. On top of that, Kat had worked herself into what Molly classified as a full blown “Christmas conundrum.” Kat wanted the holidays to work perfectly as she blended a Canadian Christmas with a Provençal Fête de Noêl for the first time in their new home. Now she’d lost her confidence and, with it, the holiday spirit.

Philippe hoped a weekend trip to the famous Christmas markets of Strasbourg would solve everything. As it happened, things were about to get worse.

***************************************************************

My thoughts:

What a treat to revisit these characters for their first Fête de Noêl together! Patricia Sands writes beautiful descriptions of their home, their friends, their neighborhood, and their travels. It is like taking a little trip to France! This is the first of a trilogy of novellas with these characters and it is a treat t know that we will learn more about their lives together. To add to the experience, follow Patricia Sands on Instagram to see her photography from this area – Kat speaks of her photography shoots of doorways and Patricia will give you the visuals!

A nice little Christmas read. Thanks for bringing them back!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Canadian author Patricia Sands writes award-winning women’s fiction. Her best-selling ‘Love in Provence trilogy’ was drafted in the south of France, where she spends time each year.

The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes is the first in a new trilogy of novellas.

Connect with Patricia

Blog pages

I added a new page to the blog – the list of books I read in 2017 – here it is!

Books I Read in 2017

As I look at this list of books from 2017, it is notable that most of them are for book club!  We made an intention in 2016 to meet monthly NO MATTER WHAT and so we have been more organized and planful. I have also read a few books for a work book club, listened to a few audiobooks, and picked up a few kindle books for quick reads.

Image result for christmas at the cupcake cafe book

By Jenny Colgan

Image result for thirty rooms to hide in book

by Luke Sullivan (Book Club)

Image result for harry potter and the cursed child  book

By John Tiffany and Jace Thorne

Image result for Big little lies book

By Liane Moriarty (book club)

Image result for sounds like me   book

By Sara Bereilles (audio)

Image result for four agreements  book

By Don Miguel Ruiz

Image result for the light between oceans  book

By M. L Stedman (book club)

Image result for euphoria  book

By Lily King (book club)

Image result for the supremes at earls all you can eat book

By Edward Kelsey Moore (book club)

Image result for when breath becomes air book

By Paul Kalanithi (work book club)

Image result for who do you love book

By Jennifer Weiner

Image result for the madeleine project  book

By Clara Beaudoux (blog)

Image result for better than before book

By Gretchen Rubin (audio)

Image result for the saturday evening girls club book

By Jane Healey

Image result for my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry book

By Fredrik Backman

Image result for truly madly guilty  book

By Liane Moriarty

Image result for no one's coming to save us book

By Stephanie Powell Watts

Image result for the bookshop on the corner book

By Jenny Colgan

Image result for chilbury ladies choir book

By Jennifer Ryan (book club)

Image result for kissing carlo book

By Adriana Trigiani

Image result for daring greatly  book

By Brene Brown

Image result for the storied life of aj fikry  book

By Gabrielle Zevin (book club)

Image result for a gentleman in moscow book

By Amor Towles (book club)

Image result for when dimple met rishibook

By Sandhya Menon

Image result for Mayor of the universe book

By Lorna Landvik – did not finish

Image result for Laura rider book

By Jane Hamilton – did not finish

Image result for Happier at home book

By Gretchen Rubin – reading monthly

 

Review: The Madeleine Project

Clara Beaudoux

on Tour

July 12-18

with

Madeleine Project-Cover

The Madeleine Project

(biography/history)

Release date: September 12, 2017
at New Vessel Press

ISBN: 978-1939931498
288 pages

Website
Goodreads

MY REVIEW

As someone who just decluttered and moved (and needs to continue decluttering), this was an interesting book to read! Imagine finding a storage room filled with someone else’s belongings from a different era… and then imagine tweeting about it! It is an interesting way to glimpse into the life of Madeleine. At times, I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t “click” to enlarge a photo or “click” on a link that was provided (etsy, youtube!), so I did end up going online and finding the songs she linked to (listen while you continue to read!):

I didn’t look for the audio of her interviews with those who knew her, as I don’t speak French, but I am glad that the author went in search of those who knew and remembered Madeleine, as I loved their thoughts about her.  The common thread seemed to be “I wish I had asked her more questions, got to know her better,” which led to, “I wish I knew my own parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents better, had asked them more questions.”  And that made me grateful that in my family we bought both of my parents a Story Worth subscription** so they are receiving weekly emails with questions about their lives which will be compiled into a book at the end of a year.

Ultimately, this book was not fully satisfying to me. I love Twitter, so I am now following #Madeleineproject and the author (@clarabdx) and will check in occasionally.  This book takes you through Seasons 1 and 2 and currently the author is working on Season 4, so I have some catching up to do. I would have loved more of the interaction with other Twitter followers to more fully develop the story of Madeleine and Paris. Unfortunately I don’t read or understand French, and the Storify links don’t translate, so I probably will not delve too much further into the life of Madeleine.

But maybe with all my decluttering, I will create a time capsule of life in the early 2000s that can be discovered by grandchildren in their adulthood. And I will be more purposeful in asking questions and learning about all the people in my life.

**I really should work for Story Worth, because I love it so and recommend it to everyone I know! CLICK Story Worth for more information!

I received a copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review.  I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.  Click below to enter a giveaway!

SYNOPSIS

A young woman moves into a Paris apartment and discovers a storage room filled with the belongings of the previous owner, a certain Madeleine who died in her late nineties, and whose treasured possessions nobody seems to want. In an audacious act of journalism driven by personal curiosity and humane tenderness, Clara Beaudoux embarks on The Madeleine Project, documenting what she finds on Twitter with text and photographs, introducing the world to an unsung 20th century figure. Along the way, she uncovers a Parisian life indelibly marked by European history. This is a graphic novel for the Twitter age, a true story that encapsulates one woman’s attempt to live a life of love and meaning together with a contemporary quest to prevent that existence from slipping into oblivion.
Through it all, The Madeleine Project movingly chronicles, and allows us to reconstruct, intimate memories of a bygone era.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madeleine Project-Beaudoux

Clara Beaudoux
is a Paris-based journalist for the France Info news network.
The Madeleine Project has been wildly popular in France.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Clarabdx

In French: on Facebook, The Madeleine Project page,
and the author’s main website

Follow New Vessel Press on Twitter | on Facebook
Sign up to receive their latest news and deals.

Buy the book: on Indiebound | on Amazon

***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to all
5 winners

 

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS

Madeleine Project-BannerSave

I Promise You This by Patricia Sands

 

I Promise You ThisI am thankful to have been given the opportunity to read the third in the Love in Provence trilogy in advance of release date.  I reviewed Patricia Sand’s first book in the trilogy, The Promise of Provence in July of 2013 (and it is a pretty great review, if I do say so myself, so please click through on this link and re-read it!), so when Emma from Words and Peace sent out an email looking for reviewers for the third in the series, I quickly devoured the second and signed up!   I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  See below for a giveaway so that you can get your own copy!  

Patricia’s books read like travel guides with some plot thrown in.  The descriptions of the locales and the food and the people make it feel as though you’re there!  It helps that I follow Patricia’s Instagram account (@patricialsands) and see her eautiful photos of France and her travels ! Click HERE to see her travel journal and Fall in Love with Provence!  

The second book (Promises to Keep) finds Kat remaining in France with Philippe and exploring their relationship. There’s some drama and intrigue, but nothing scary.  I don’t do scary, after all.  The book ends with a cliff hanger and I Promise You This picks up with Kat returning to her native Toronto to care for her great friend who was in a bad auto accident.

This third and final book in the Love in Provence series has Kat looking in her heart and wondering if she can leave the first and only home she has known for a new life in France. Being in her childhood home while her friend recuperates from her life-threatening accident brings Kat closure – with her ex-husband’s betrayal and with her mother’s death.  She packs up her treasured memories and boxes them for their voyage to her new home in France, wondering if she will ever return.  She is never unsure about her feelings for Philippe and their life together in Provence, even though an old beau professes his feelings.

This is a satisfying  resolution to this story of a woman starting her life over after an emotional crisis. In the first book her mother taught her that “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Her friends taught her to “Take a chance. Make a choice to change your life.” In this final book in the trilogy, her new found friend, Simone, teaches her “Once you choose to do what you really want to do, you will begin living a different kind of life. It will be the life you are meant to be living in that moment of time.”  Kat and Philippe are looking forward with great happiness to opening their Inn, to developing the website blending their love for photography and cheese (Fromagegraphie – love it!).  Their happiness exudes and Kat realizes that home is, truly, where your heart is.  

Kat and Philippe are living the life of their dreams – doing what they love, loving what they do.  Seems like I just read some articles about happiness that insist that very same theme – live authentically! (Like this one and this one!) And here are some quotes:

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Ghandi

“The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.” – HH The Dalai Lama

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.” – Helen Keller

As I said earlier, these books read as travel guides and make you yearn for your own travel adventures – thankfully I now have a fresh passport and am always ready!   France is definitely on the list!

Patricia Sands

on Tour

May 17-26

with

I Promise You This

I Promise You This

(women’s fiction)

Release date: May 17, 2016
at Lake Union Publishing

ISBN: 978-1503935723
365 pages

Author’s page | Goodreads

 

SYNOPSIS

Suddenly single after twenty-two years of marriage, the calm of Katherine Price’s midlife has turned upside down. Seeking to find her true self, she took a chance on starting over. A year later, she is certain of this: she’s in love with Philippe and adores his idyllic French homeland, where he wants her to live with him.

But all that feels like a fantasy far removed from Toronto, where she’s helping her friend Molly, hospitalized after a life-threatening accident. Staying in her childhood home full of memories, Katherine wonders: Is she really ready to leave everything behind for an unknown life abroad? And if all her happiness lies with Philippe, will it last? Can she trust in love again?

Searching her heart, Katherine finds the pull of the familiar is stronger than she thought. An unexpected meeting with her ex, the first time since his cruel departure, and a stunning declaration of love from an old flame spur her introspection.

With sunlit backdrops and plot twists as breathtaking as the beaches of Côte d’Azur, author Patricia Sands brings her trilogy about second chances to a provocative and satisfying close that proves that a new life just might be possible—if you’re willing to let your heart lead you home.

BOOK TRAILER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I Promise You This Patricia Sands

A confessed travel-addict,
best-selling author
Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada,
when she isn’t somewhere else,
and calls the south of France her second home.
I Promise You This,
is Book 3 in her award-winning Love in Provence series.
Find Patricia on Facebook,
on Twitter
on Instagram
at her Amazon Author Page
or her website

Subscribe to her mailing list and get information about new releases.

Buy the book : Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Amazon.fr | available on Barnes & Noble on May 17

***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below
.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open internationally:
10 participants will each win a copy of this book, print or digital

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ REVIEWS AND EXCERPTS

I Promise You This Banner

 

Urban Dictionary: reading slump

TOP DEFINITION
a readers worst nightmare.

not being able to pick up a book and read because you just can’t, you just can’t read.

person 1: “what’s the matter with you?”
reader: ” I CAN’T READ , NO BOOK IS GOOD ENOUGH, LEAVE ME ALONE, READING SLUMP

person 1: uhm….. okay.

Source: Urban Dictionary: reading slump

According to Goodreads, I am “currently reading” 6 books, and that doesn’t include the one I am actually listening to and the one I picked up last night, in the hopes to get out of this slump.  Uff.  I’m a one-at-a-time girl, so having 8 books in the air is not like me.  On Goodreads you can create folders and a while ago I created a “did not finish – taking too long” (DNF in the book blog world).  I’ll have to do some updating, I guess, but really these are all books that I do want to finish.  So I’ll leave them in my Currently Reading folder and hope to get in the mood to read them soon!

So I’ve implemented a few action steps to hopefully jumpstart my reading again.

  • I picked up Maeve Binchy.  A book of a collection of her short stories was published after her death.  They are previously published stories, in magazines, other compilations, etc., and now they’re all together in a book called “A Few of the Girls.”  Reading Maeve is like talking to an old friend.  I think she’ll keep me reading a bit.
  • I started listening to “The Girl on the Train.” I’ve heard good things about it and am finding it compelling to listen to.  It’s a little hard to follow the audio, as I remember things differently when I listen vs read with my eyes, but I think I’ve gotten past the confusing part and am excited to listen to more.
  • I went to Books on Tap at Forager Brewery last night.  It’s been on my calendar since it began but last night was the first night the stars aligned so I could go. The group is informal and flexible and different every meeting, I think.  All you need to do is talk about what you’re reading right now, books you love, books you hate, anything related to books.  The moderator from the library kept a running list of every book that was mentioned and will email it out to all.  I can talk about books, even if I’m not reading anything currently, and I got some sympathy from the avid readers for the feeling of being in a slump.  I didn’t want to go alone, so Jenny was going to meet me there, but she was late and it was ok.  I could go alone next time if I had to.  Of course, the best part was rehashing books and life and having a little supper afterwards with Jenny, but I could go alone if I had to.  Book people are book people!
  • And yesterday I signed up to do a book blog about a book by Patricia Sands.  I read and reviewed “The Promise of Provence” a few years ago and another of her books is being released on May 17 (“I Promise you This”).  It’s the 3rd in a trilogy, so I guess I better read the second one quick!  See!  There’s incentive and desire to read!

Have you ever had a reading slump?  What did you do about it?

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The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart

If you know me, you know I love authors.  I love to listen to them talk about their books, about their writing process, about their view the world, about the books the love to read.  I’m also loyal to authors.  If I like a book, I will continue to follow that author to see what they will come up with next.

If you know me, you also know I’ve been in a reading slump – planning a wedding and getting married takes a lot of brain power and time!  So when Nicole Baart, (an author I’ve followed since I read her book The Moment Between in 2009) posted on Facebook that she was looking for members of a “street team” for her newest book, The Beautiful Daughters, I applied!  The opportunity to read an Advanced Reader’s Copy, offer it for a giveaway, and then to receive a copy of the book when it is published on April 28, 2015 – I love stuff like that!  I was tickled to be chosen for her Street Team and for The Beautiful Daughters to be the first book I read in 2015.  Bonus:  She sent her favorite chocolates, book marks, signed book plates, and homemade soap made receipt of the package even sweeter!

Below is the description of the book from the Digital Catalog at Atria Publishing (a branch of Simon and Schuster), the tentative cover design, and a little info about Nicole Baart, the author.

Below that is my review and details on how you can get your hands on my ARC!!

The Beautiful Daughters – 

The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart

The Beautiful Daughters
by Nicole Baart

From the author of Sleeping in Eden, described as “intense and absorbing from the very first page” (Heather Gudenkauf, author of The Weight of Silence), comes a gripping new novel about two former best friends and the secrets they can’t escape.

Adrienne Vogt and Harper Penny were closer than sisters, until the day a tragedy blew their seemingly idyllic world apart. Afraid that they got away with murder and unable to accept who they had lost—and what they had done—Harper and Adri exiled themselves from small-town Blackhawk, Iowa, and from each other. Adri ran thousands of miles away to Africa while Harper ventured down a more destructive path closer to home.

Now, five years later, both are convinced that nothing could ever coax them out of the worlds in which they’ve been living. But unexpected news from home soon pulls Adri and Harper back together, and the two cannot avoid facing their memories and guilt head-on. As they are pulled back into the tangle of their fractured relationships and the mystery of Piperhall, the sprawling estate where their lives first began to unravel, secrets and lies behind the tragic accident are laid bare. The former best friends are forced to come to terms with their shared past and search for the beauty in each other while mending the brokenness in themselves.

Nicole Baart’s lush and lyrical writing has been called “sparkling” (Publishers Weekly), “taut and engrossing” (Booklist), and “evocative and beautiful” (Romantic Times). The Beautiful Daughters is another exquisitely rendered, haunting story that will stay with readers long after the last page.


Nicole BaartNicole Baart is the mother of four children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, Sleeping in Eden. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book.  I love books with rich character development.  I love beautiful descriptions.  This book has all that, plus a suspenseful plot with insight into how tragedy affects people.  The book also tackles sensitive topics, but I don’t want to spoil the suspense.

Some of the passages that I re-read and bent the pages for include:

Regarding Adri’s father, Sam:

“Her father was one such daydreamer, the kind of man who spoke volumes in silences and heard God whisper in the song of distant stars keeping watch over the land that he plowed.”

Regarding Adri’s fiance’, David:

“In his personal life he was sensible and composed, able to take up and set aside the mantle of a playboy as easily as donning a coat.  To laugh and joke and drink until his imposing mother slipped into the room, a quiet and watchful revenant whose presence instantly sobered and reined in her son.”

Regarding The Five:

“Jackson was hand in hand with Nora, a new girlfriend who didn’t quite fit.  Harper couldn’t help resenting her.  When Nora was around, they were quick to pair up, but when it was just the five of them, they were a unit.  A fist clenched tight.”

This book is about young adults who meet at a small college in Blackhawk, Iowa.  Adri and her brother Will grew up on a farm in Blackhawk, and David grew up at Piperhall, a mansion down the road.  Along with Harper and Jackson, The Five become fast friends and spend most of their out-of-school time playing grown-up at Piperhall and when Harper suggests a trip to commemorate their college graduation and mark endings and new beginnings, they are unaware of the tragic event that will happen and change their lives forever.  They scatter – Adri to Africa and Harper into dark relationships – and are called home five years later when the matriarch of Piperhall dies.

This is a page-turner and I’m so thankful it was the first book I read in 2015!

Now, to get your hands on my Advanced Readers Copy, please COMMENT BELOW with the FIRST BOOK YOU READ OR ARE READING in 2015!  If you share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter (and share the link), you 10933699_10152994556774210_1188091013014551439_nwill get extra entries!

I’ll pick a winner WEDNESDAY JANUARY 28.

My Wish List GIVEAWAY!

My Wish List coverThanks to the publisher of this little book, I have either an ebook or an ARC paperback to GIVEAWAY to one randomly selected person!  All you have to do is read my review posted HERE and comment on that post through the comment form.  Please tell me at least ONE THING that would be on YOUR wishlist, if you were to win, say, $25,000,000.


 

A winner will be selected on Tuesday, April 1 (no foolin’!) and will be notified by email.  Must be from USA or Canada to win.  Please state your preference of ebook or paperback, and provide your phone number, if you are from Canada.

Questions can be answered here or there in the comments! Thanks for playing!

 

Don’t you just love a free book???  

Happy reading!