Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Friday, February 16, 2024

First Lines Friday...




 


"This is a tale of murder.


Or maybe that’s not quite true. At its heart, it’s a love story, isn’t it? The saddest kind of love story— about the end of love; the death of love.


So I guess I was right the first time."


The Fury by Alex Michaelides

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Reese's February Book Club Pick...

Reese's February Book Club Pick just announced...


 Redwood Court by DéLana R. A. Dameron

“This book is filled with a sense of nostalgia as Mika takes us down memory lane, sharing stories of her Southern Black family through a collection of vivid vignettes. Read and discuss with us all month at #reesesbookclub as we explore community, love, and what it means to be seen in this exquisite debut.”—Reese’s Book Club

Monday, January 1, 2024

First Book of the Year 2024!



Happy New Year! New Year, New Books! And of course, if you have a TBR pile like I do, "old" books waiting to be read in the new year. 

This year I couldn't not pick These Precious Days by Ann Patchett as my first book of the year. The title drew me in... These Precious Days. Call me sentimental, but lately I've been wistfully thinking of days gone by. This past October, I turned 62. 62 is a pivotal age. I retired early and have been enjoying having the days to myself, but now I am actually collecting Social Security! OMG! What's also pretty funny is I'm collecting social security right along side my Mother! Think about that. When you're young, do you ever think that you will become a senior citizen, right along with your parent? But turning that number... 62... makes me think... reflect... wonder about the what if's... think how to enjoy these precious day...

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett is a book of essays. Here's what the publisher has to say...

Any story that starts will also end.” As a writer, Ann Patchett knows what the outcome of her fiction will be. Life, however, often takes turns we do not see coming. Patchett ponders this truth in these wise essays that afford a fresh and intimate look into her mind and heart. 

At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both. 

A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be. 

So I'm starting my reading year with little snippets of Ann's life, but also hoping that I will relate to them as well. And who better to take the journey with then the phenomenal writer, Ann Patchett. 

First Book of the Year: These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

Friday, December 29, 2023

11th Annual... First Book of the Year!


  It's that time of year again! Time to figure out what book you'll start your reading with for 2024! 

Every year, Sheila at Book Journey Reading Blog hosts the First Book of the Year event where book lovers and bloggers from all over submit a photo of themselves with the book they've chosen for their First Book of the Year. It's so much fun to see what everyone picks.

Want to join in on the fun? You can read all about it at Book Journey. And on January 1st I'll announce what my First Book of the Year for 2024 will be right here!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Giveaway!

 
A Giveway from Penguin Random House! Ends November 15th.  Enter HERE. Good Luck!

Monday, November 6, 2023

Berkley Giveaway!

Berkley Giveaway! 

Ends November 10th!

 Here's the LINK to learn all about it! Good luck! 
 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

The Sunday Salon... and Storytellers

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's the place where Book Bloggers from around the world share their bookish finds with one another in a virtual place called The Sunday Salon. Thank you to Deb at ReaderBuzz for keeping us all together on Sundays and hosting The Sunday Salon now! I also visited with Kim at The Caffeinated Reader, another Sunday gathering place for us bookish people called The Sunday Post . 

All books tell stories. Some better than others. When we look to fiction we generally want to be entertained, so this week I'm sharing three books I picked up to entertain me, from 3 great storytellers..

Absolution by Alice McDermott...

You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women, I mean. The wives.American women—

American wives—have been mostly minor characters in the literature of the Vietnam War, but in Absolution they take center stage. Tricia is a shy newlywed, married to a rising attorney on loan to navy intelligence. Charlene is a practiced corporate spouse and mother of three, a beauty and a bully. In Saigon in 1963, the two women form a wary alliance as they balance the era’s mandate to be “helpmeets” to their ambitious husbands with their own inchoate impulse to “do good” for the people of Vietnam.

Sixty years later, Charlene’s daughter, spurred by an encounter with an aging Vietnam vet, reaches out to Tricia. Together, they look back at their time in Saigon, taking wry account of that pivotal year and of Charlene’s altruistic machinations, and discovering how their own lives as women on the periphery—of politics, of history, of war, of their husbands’ convictions—have been shaped and burdened by the same sort of unintended consequences that followed America’s tragic interference in Southeast Asia.

A virtuosic new novel from Alice McDermott, one of our most observant, most affecting writers, about folly and grace, obligation, sacrifice, and, finally, the quest for absolution in a broken world.

With that simple line, "You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women..." I was hooked.  Alice McDermott is a storyteller and I'm looking forward to reading her latest novel, Absolution. 


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

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett...


At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both. 

A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be. 

From the enchantments of Kate DiCamillo’s children’s books (author of The Beatryce Prophecy) to youthful memories of Paris; the cherished life gifts given by her three fathers to the unexpected influence of Charles Schultz’s Snoopy; the expansive vision of Eudora Welty to the importance of knitting, Patchett connects life and art as she illuminates what matters most. Infused with the author’s grace, wit, and warmth, the pieces in These Precious Days resonate deep in the soul, leaving an indelible mark—and demonstrate why Ann Patchett is one of the most celebrated writers of our time.

Ann Patchett is another great storyteller and even though this is not a book of fiction, these are stories. Her writing is wonderful and after reading just the one story in this collection, I wanted to read more. 

Published by Harper in 2021, and "if you've never read it, it's new to you", which is a favorite Ann Patchettism during her Instagram posts for Parnassus Books every week. 

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

Making It So by Patrick Stewart...


From his acclaimed stage triumphs to his legendary onscreen work in the Star Trek and X-Men franchises, Sir Patrick Stewart has captivated audiences around the world and across multiple generations with his indelible command of stage and screen. Now, he presents his long-awaited memoir, Making It So, a revealing portrait of an artist whose astonishing life—from his humble beginnings in Yorkshire, England, to the heights of Hollywood and worldwide acclaim—proves a story as exuberant, definitive, and enduring as the author himself

I enjoy reading biographies & memoirs, but I do get tired seeing every celebrity publish a memoir. Patrick Stewart is one of my exceptions. I just loved him on Star Trek NG, I loved seeing him in The Caretaker on Broadway a few years back, and I am so looking forward to reading his book, Making It So. I am rethinking that though. I heard him read an excerpt from his book and found his voice so soothing, I think I am going to listen to the audio book first. Another storyteller, like listening to your Father, Uncle, or Grandfather tell stories from a lifetime ago.

Published by Gallery Books this past October 3rd. 

Do YOU have a favorite storyteller?

Week in Review...

Friday, Nov. 3rd... Author Sheila Roberts makes a stop at Chick with Books during her Virtual Book Tour in November! Check out the post all about Sheila and her newest Holiday story, The Twelve Months of Christmas!

I hope you found something interesting here today. And please feel free to share your interesting finds this week here too!

Happy reading... Suzanne



Friday, November 3, 2023

Sheila Roberts and The Twelve Months of Christmas Virtual Book Tour!

From USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts comes a story of family, second chances and holiday do-overs, brimming with warmth and Christmas charm.


Sheila Roberts is on a Virtual Book Tour with The Twelve Months of Christmas and today the tour is stopping at Chick with Books! Let's welcome her and hear more about her book...


Title: The Twelve Months of Christmas

Author: Sheila Roberts

Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Pages: 400

Genre: Women's Fiction/Romance

goodreads add to

About the Book... Sunny, Arianna and Molly are having three different but equally terrible Christmases. Sunny is a newlywed with two new stepkids who want nothing to do with her; Arianna is newly divorced and hates having to send her daughter off to spend the holiday with her dad; for Molly, nothing is new, but her job at the post office is getting very, very old. The whole Christmas season has been a bust all around. 

But Sunny and Arianna have a wild idea: What if they had a Christmas do-over in January? February? On Saint Patrick’s Day? Christmas all year long – what could that look like?    As these three determined women chase the perfect holiday through twelve months of cooking disasters, over-the-top festivity, and lots of laughter and tears, they’ll discover perfection is way overrated.

What did I think about the book?

My Review... Ho Ho Humbug-that's what Christmas was for Sunny, Arianna and Molly. Sunny, newly married and her stepkids basically hate her; Arianna, newly divorced and sharing her young daughter with a jerk of an ex, and that means him having her for Christmas too! And Molly, who is tired of the snarky customers she has at the Post Office.  So, what's a girl to do after Christmas wasn't very Christmasy? Well, a Christmas do-over of course! And that's exactly what these 3 friends choose to do, together! These ladies decide to keep the spirit of Christmas all year long and celebrate "Christmas" every month (ever hear of the Christmas Easter Bunny?!). At first the celebrations were just the 3 of them, but then more and more of their family and friends joined in ultimately becoming the Christmas they all wanted and needed thru-out the whole year.

Along the way, we get to know Sunny, Arianna, Molly, their families, and their lives. You can't help but step into the story and feel like you are walking along side these wonderful characters, dealing with their struggles, but also their celebrations. I have to admit I did shed a tear or two along the way, but in the end it was nice to see these women choose to lift each other up when times are tough and show us what true friendship is. 

Sheila Roberts is a wonderful writer. Her books are heartfelt, sprinkled with romance and just a touch of humor. The Twelve Months of Christmas is all of that and more. A great Christmas read or anytime read when you want to satisfy that need for sitting down with a good book. I really enjoyed spending time with Sunny, Arianna, Molly and their families. The story kept me engaged, and I was sorry to turn that last page and say goodbye. Thank you, Sheila Roberts, for another great read!

P.S. Sheila always has some great recipes in the back of her books, and this one includes Dirt Cake which sounds deelish!


Want to read a little of The Twelve Months of Christmas? 

Here's a Book Excerpt...  

Sunny Hollowell had planned a perfect day for her first Christmas as a wife and stepmom and it was a fail. Who was it that said something about the best-laid plans getting screwed up? Whoever it was, her mom liked to quote him a lot. 

“The best-laid plans of mice and men,” her mom had begun when Sunny told her about the latest development as she and Dad walked in the door, presents in tow. 

“And women,” Sunny had added before Mom could finish. Women who were trying their best to be a good wife and mother, women who only wanted to bring two families together for a memorable day. 

The day was memorable all right, but not in the way Sunny had intended. 

It all began at eight in the morning. Sunny had found a recipe online for a crescent roll breakfast pastry with a cherry filling shaped like a candy cane and, to her surprise and glee, it had actually turned out like the picture, ready for the kids to be dropped off by their mom at nine o’clock. She was laying it out on the family room coffee table for everyone to enjoy while they opened presents when the Weed called Travis to let him know that she wasn’t going to bring the kids over for the big day. 

“What do you mean you’re still stuck in Spokane?” Travis had growled into his cell phone. 

Sunny had watched the anger roll over his features like a breaking storm. Scratch two kids from the guest list. Tansy strikes again. 

“You did this on purpose,” he’d accused. 

Of course, Tansy would deny it. That was how she rolled. Mess with the ex and his new wife as much as possible but never let it look like you meant to. Was Tansy’s mother psychic when she named her daughter after a noxious weed? 

“Well, thanks a lot,” Travis had growled. “Way to screw up Christmas for the kids.” 

“Okay, what happened?” Sunny had asked after he ended the call and dumped his phone on the coffee table. 

“She did it again, managed to screw us over,” he’d said, and slumped on the sofa. “She and Jared accidentally—” he held up exaggerated air quotes “—missed their flight home last night and are stuck at his parents’ place.” 

“Can’t they get another flight out? There has to be something going out today.” Of course, by the time they got to Bremerton, Washington, breakfast and Christmas dinner would long be over. 

“Not until tomorrow.” 

Sunny had made a superhuman effort to blink back tears. Poor Travis was already upset about not getting to be with his kids. She didn’t need to make things worse by having a holiday meltdown. But darn, she’d sure wanted to. 

Buy Links

Amazon | B&N HarperCollins | Target | Harlequin | Walmart

And More!

About the Author 

USA Today and Publishers Weekly best-selling author Sheila Roberts has written over fifty books under various names, ranging from romance to self-improvement. Over three million copies of her novels have been sold to date. Her humor and heart have won her a legion of fans and her holiday novels have been turned into movies for the Lifetime and Hallmark and Great American Family channels. When she’s not out dancing with her husband or hanging out with her girlfriends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends and chocolate.  

Author Links 

Website | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub | Goodreads






Sheila's Virtual Book Tour is going on the whole month of November! 
Sponsored by Pump Up Your Book



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