Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Inn at Eagle Point by Sherryl Woods

*Tap Tap*

Is this mic on?

Whoaaaa.  Heyyyyy!  Long time no "see".

So I just finished The Inn at Eagle Point, which is the first book in the Chesapeake Shores series by Sherryl Woods.  I wouldn't classify these as romance novels, but this first one was definitely a drama and romance thrown in to one... is that a dromance?

I liked this first book enough that I'd like to continue with this series.  It's about an Irish family that lives along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.  I love the Bay, and I love Maryland, and so this series is meant for me! :)  I also enjoy series book (like the Alex Cross series!).  The Inn at Eagle Point is mostly about 2 sisters and a man, of course.  Abby is Jess's older sister and someone who stepped in to assume the role of "mom" when theirs walked out on them as children.  Abby resides in NYC full-time, but has to return to her hometown to help her sister get the Inn on it's feet.   The man's name is Trace and I won't tell you which girl he likes :).

You can certainly expect to see more of this series from me in the future!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

I was told that if I liked Memoirs of a Geisha, then I could be sure that I'd like Snowflower and the Secret Fan.  I'd have to agree with this assessment.  I loved Memoirs of a Geisha because I learned a little bit about a culture that I was not at all familiar with.  The same is true for Snowflower.  Foot-binding anyone?

If you've read this book, then you know what I'm talking about!  I am SO glad that in our culture, women are not treated like they are in China (at least at the time period that the book was written - I have no idea if these same practices take place today).  In short, and this is by no means a direct quotation from the book, women are practically valued as nothing.  They exist as servants, as baby makers (you better have a boy!), and women are essentially used by men as a means of social status and as a way to secure their family's financial future.  But I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself here...

Lily is the storyteller of this novel that takes you all the way back to her childhood. She shares the story of her life and how she came to be known as Lady Lu, the 'queen bee' of the wealthiest family in her county.  Lily's family was not well off, and it was up to them to ensure that they took all the right steps to get Lily married off to the best family possible.  One way to help secure a decent marriage was to have the tiniest feet possible - enter foot-binding.  Lily's feet were bound (and I have to show pics here so you can see exactly what this is all about...)

The term was 'lily feet' - get them as small as you can get them!

Marriages could be arranged for you even before you became a teenage girl.  Auntie Wang, a marriage arranger, pays Lily a visit one day and finds that she has extraordinarily bound feet.  She decides to set Lily up with a laotang, meaning "Old Sames".  This is an extremely tight knit bond between women, and something that can also make you more desirable for marriage.  The laotang Auntie Wang chooses for Lily is Snowflower. 

Thus the story begins of two little girls who formed a stronger bond than even a man and wife could ever conceive of having in their county.  Snowflower is a story about friendship and the challenges all relationships face at various points throughout their history, including deceitfulness. This book will teach you a lesson about the importance of forgiveness and selflessness.

Have you read this?  What did you think?

Next up - Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - in preparation for our summer vacation to Savannah, GA! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Shack by William P. Young

I'd heard a lot of hype about The Shack and I was hoping it was going to move me like The Five People You Meet in Heaven or the Lovely Bones - two of my all time favorite books.  What can I say - I'm apparently in love with books about death and images of heaven!

The Shack is hard to read at times because the overall story is sad.  Mack, the father of several children (I was never clear on the exact number), takes at least three of his kids on a camping trip.  Mack describes the day that the "Great Sadness" set in as one that never even got off on the right foot.  From the very beginning, he messed up breakfast over the campfire, and as he was trying to get that under control, his son and daughter were out on the lake in a canoe about to embark on danger.  The canoe flips over and the son goes under water, while the one daughter Katie yells for help.  Mack bolts to the lake and quickly realizes the dilemma - his son's life jacket strap is caught in the canoe, preventing him from coming up for air.  As Mack works to free his son from drowning, another tragedy is taking place.  His youngest daughter, Missy, was kidnapped during the canoe fiasco.  What are the chances of such disasters occurring simultaneously?  A mad search ensues and the only thing the authorities find is Missy's bloodied dress laying on the floor of a dilapidated shack in the woods. 

Three years pass and the Great Sadness has not even began to leave Mack's heart and mind.  One day, Mack receives a note in his mailbox, signed by "Papa", asking him to return to the Shack.  "Papa" also happens to be the name Mack's wife uses to refer to God.  After some deliberation about the note, Mack sets out on his quest to return to the Shack.  Shortly after Mack arrives, he's introduced to three people: Elousia (Papa), Sarayu, and Jesus.  These three actually make up the Holy Trinity.  So Mack goes on a journey with these three variations of God and learns several things about himself and about Missy's death. 

The book ends as a Jodi Picoult novel would - with a twist! 

I liked the concept of the book and I found a few things in the book that really spoke to me.  Still, at times I found it confusing to follow along with what the three versions of "God" were actually talking about.  Overall I give the book 4 stars out of 5!     

Monday, May 2, 2011

Water for Elephants - The Movie

Friday evening Joel & I went to see Water for Elephants in theaters.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well the movie mimicked the book, in my opinion.  I think that Reese and Edward (I know it's Robert, but he'll always be Edward to me) did a great job portraying Marlena and Jacob.  Scenes that were particularly hard to watch were the beatings of Rosie (the elephant) and Marlena and just generally watching August act they way he did.  There are very few times when I feel a movie does a book justice, and this time the movie producers prevailed! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sex and the City... and a d-bag alert

I cannot imagine that any of us will be purchasing this gem, Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin's Crosshairs, due out this fall.

On to more exciting things, the creator of Sex and the City, Candace Bushnell, is coming out with her second novel chronicling the teenage years of Carrie Bradshaw.  It's entitled Summer and the City, taking us through Carrie's first experience in the Big Apple where she meets up with her cousin, Samantha and new friend Miranda.  This is supposedly a teenage book, but it won't stop me from eventually reading it :). 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cat & Mouse by James Patterson

I knew you wouldn't let me down Alex Cross! (Of course, I owe this all to Katie....)

I never thought I'd like murder mysteries.  Then I met Alex, fell in love, and the rest is history!

First, you must read the series in order (in my opinion) to get all of the back stories that end up permeating throughout each book.  I mean, Jimmy does do a great job of summing them up everytime a prior book's storyline is referenced, but they're such page turners you should just go ahead and read them all.

Now, on to Cat & Mouse.  This is a continuation of Along Came a Spider, and the 4th book in the Cross Series.  Alex is faced with hunting down former villain, Gary Soneji.  Almost all of the book takes place in Washington, DC with a few trips to places like NYC, Princeton, Boston and even Europe.  Of course, there is always a twist with Cross novels, always!  As usual, Patterson keeps the chapters short and sweet, but the page turning remains addicting.  Now, go ahead, go figure out who did it!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

M.orr Than a Bag

A friend of mine from the Motherland recently started her own business making these cute, custom photo bags. The name of her business is a sweet spin-off of her name: M.orr Than a Bag. I've known Megan since I was in high school, and I got to know her a little better as we worked together at the locally owned drugstore. Megan is a wonderful young lady - very intelligent, thoughtful, and an all-around nice person.

one of her latest creations (photo inserts on left side)

She is also a proud military wife and mother of two. Her husband, also my childhood neighbor, is a member of the United States Navy. Megan talks about the inspiration behind her bags on her website:

I am a proud Navy wife and mother of the two most amazing babies, Noah and Avery. We recently moved to New York as my husband is now a recruiter in Oswego. Since he joined the Navy in 2006, we have moved four times. While we do enjoy change and seeing new places, the military has made it difficult for me to reach some of my own goals.

I recently realized that I needed to stop adapting my dreams to fit his schedule and that, perhaps, the plans I had for myself hadn't worked out because I was going in the wrong direction. As much as I love being at home with my kids, I wanted to find something new that I could accomplish for myself.

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love taking pictures, but I also love showing them off, and that's what led to the idea of photo bags. I picked out some cute fabric and just started experimenting. With each bag I make, I learn something new. I love each one more than the last, and I would love for the next bag I make to be yours!

If you're looking for a unique gift for someone special (birthday, mother's day, baby shower, etc), or even just yourself, please stop by her site, 'Like' her on Facebook (M.orr Than a Bag) and have a look around! She works with you on fabric choices and add on's.  She also offers a 10% discount to all members of the military & their spouses!

*Megan has no idea that I just promoted her on my blog - this was my own doing to try to get her business some publicity.*

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