It’s Monday! What are you reading?



It’s Monday!  What are you reading?  is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey  where we discuss what we have been up to lately, and what we are looking forward to in the coming week.  Stop over there and see what other bloggers have posted!

I actually had a great time this week blog wise!


I took part in Bloggiesta, where bloggers map out all the little things they want to do to clean up/improve their blog!  I got some of my goals accomplished- very happy- but not the big things like making a Reviews Page, fixing widgets (I stink at this), and joining The Classsics Club-though I think I have finally picked out all 50 books I want to read, so I should be able to do that soon!

I did get the following done-

1- completed the A to Z Survey, 2- cross posted old reviews, 3- posted the second part to The Book Thief Read Along, 4- checked out 4 of the mini challenges.

Bloggiesta was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it again.

I posted a review of Amity & Sorrow.

I am currently reading-

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty


From the author of the critically acclaimed What Alice Forgot comes a breakout new novel about the secrets husbands and wives keep from each other.

My Darling Cecilia
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died . . .

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret. (from Goodreads)

Next up, not to sure.  I really news to sit down and map out what is lined up, but I think it will probably be Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield.


Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget… 

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business. 

And Bellman & Black is born

How was your week?  What are you reading?

Fall 2013 Bloggiesta!!



I am so excited to finally have a chance to join in on Bloggiesta– a blogging marathon that was created several years ago by Natasha from Maw Maws Book Blog!

The idea behind Bloggiesta is to spend these next three days working on perfecting your blog and connecting with other bloggers who are doing the same thing. Spread the word and get all your friends to come and fiesta with us!”

Here is my To Do List-

~ Cross post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Librarything, etc.

~  Make a Reviews page (I think I finally got the whole link thing down-I know, very lame)

~  Complete A to Z Survey  that was created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner

~Post Part Two of The Book Thief Read Along questions and answers

~ Try to come up with 5 more books to complete my Classics Club list (any suggestions are appreciated!)

~ Join The Classics Club

~Last but not least, maybe find a new theme that has the cool widgets I really want- the ones with the little pics for FB and Goodreads-any suggestions?????

~Check out the following mini challenges:

How to Make Goodreads Work for You hosted by Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide (@bookaddictguide)

Favorite WordPress Plugins hosted by April from My Shelf Confessions (@shelfconfession)

 Bloggiesta Master To Do List hosted by Suey from It’s All About Books (@SueySays)

Book Blogging Heroes hosted by Book Bloggers International (@bookbloggersint)

Whew, glad I figured that out.  Now, I just have to try to do it all!!

Please leave a comment-I love to hear from you!

Amity & Sorrow- a review



Amity & Sorrow

by Peggy Riley

published by Little, Brown and Company


I read a copy of this book that  I borrowed from the library.


A mother and her daughters drive for days without sleep until they crash their car in rural Oklahoma. The mother, Amaranth, is desperate to get away from someone she’s convinced will follow them wherever they go–her husband. The girls, Amity and Sorrow, can’t imagine what the world holds outside their father’s polygamous compound. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of Bradley, a farmer grieving the loss of his wife. At first unwelcoming to these strange, prayerful women, Bradley’s abiding tolerance gets the best of him, and they become a new kind of family. An unforgettable story of belief and redemption, AMITY & SORROW is about the influence of community and learning to stand on your own.  (from Goodreads)

My Review

I usually enjoy books about cults/polygamy, so when I saw this book making the rounds on book blogs, I got excited to read it-plus it has a pretty cool cover.  When I saw it in the library a few weeks ago, I gave a little happy dance and grabbed it up.  I liked the beginning of the book a lot, but after awhile I was a little creeped out by Sorrow.  That girl should not be allowed to roam free without some serious psychological help!  I did however like the other characters, especially Bradley.  I wanted to like Amaranth more, and feel sympathy/pity for her, but after awhile, I was like” Lady, your daughter is NUTS!  Keep her away from other people!!”  The writing was very good, the prose quite lyrical.  I did enjoy this book, only a little less than I had thought I would.


3 out of 5

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It’s Monday! What are you reading?



It’s Monday!  What are you reading?  is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey  where we discuss what we have been up to lately, and what we are looking forward to in the coming week.  Stop over there and see what other bloggers have posted!

 Here is what happened with me this week

Whew- my 3 year old nephew JUST left, and before I fall into a very deep sleep, I thought I would catch up real quick!

This week I read-

Beautiful Day 

by Elin Hildebrand

beautiful wife

Amity & Sorrow

by Peggy Riley


I am currently reading-

The Book Thief

by Mark Zusack


I am reading this for a great little read along over at  It’s All About Books,

We start the discussion tomorrow and I am almost done with part 3!

Up next-

Honestly not too sure.  I need to take a breath, wash some sheets, and figure out what’s next!

So- What have you been reading?

Please leave a comment and let me know!!

My Notorious Life



My Notorious Life

by Kate Manning

published by Scribner


I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for a fair and honest review.


A brilliant rendering of a scandalous historical figure, Kate Manning’s My Notorious Life is an ambitious, thrilling novel introducing Axie Muldoon, a fiery heroine for the ages. 

Axie’s story begins on the streets of 1860s New York. The impoverished child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day.

In vivid prose, Axie recounts how she is forcibly separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband parlay the sale of a few bottles of “Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint” into a thriving midwifery business. Flouting convention and defying the law in the name of women’s reproductive rights, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendor of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, amassing wealth while learning over and over never to trust a man who says “trust me.”

When her services attract outraged headlines, Axie finds herself on a collision course with a crusading official—Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It will take all of Axie’s cunning and power to outwit him in the fight to preserve her freedom and everything she holds dear.

Inspired by the true history of an infamous female physician who was once called “the Wickedest Woman in New York,” My Notorious Life is a mys­tery, a family saga, a love story, and an exquisitely detailed portrait of nineteenth-century America. Axie Muldoon’s inimitable voice brings the past alive, and her story haunts and enlightens the present (from Goodreads)

My Review

I love historical fiction, women’s fiction, and books based on true stories, so It was inevitable that I would be interested in My Notorious Life by Kate Manning.  While it took me a while to get used to the way it was written- journal form, with spelling and grammatical errors, I did enjoy reading this book.  It went pretty quickly for me too!  I immediately fell in love with Axie Muldoon, a 12 year old growing up poor on the mean streets of NYC in the 1860’s.  When her mother’s health places her and her family in danger of starving, Axie, her sister Dutchie, and their baby brother Joe are sent out West on the Orphan Trains run by the Children’s Aid Society (to read about another great book based on the orphan trains click here).  Axie loses her sister and brother to new families and chooses to return to New York, where she eventually becomes a servant in the house of Mrs. Evans, a reputable midwife.  Axie becomes Mrs. Evans’ assistant also, and following her death, begins her own midwife practice.  After years of helping both the wealthy and destitute alike, Axie believes she is helping women take a little control over their own bodies.  She feels she is helping all these women, wither welcoming babies into the world, or preventing unwanted pregnancies through  medicines, or, when necessary and still possible,  procedures.  When she is threatened with arrest and incarceration, she refuses to stop.

This book was based on the true story of Ann Trow Lohman, also known as Madame Restell-

My Notorious Life is a very well written book that gives the reader an amazing look into the lives of women in the later part of the 19th century.  I would highly recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction.


4 out of 5

For other review of this book, check out-

Book’d Out

Sam Still Reading

To learn more about the author, visit her website at-

Top Ten Things That Make My Reading Life Easier





Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.  It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists!  Check out what others have posted by going over there!


This was a tough one and I only came up with 7- I guess I didn’t even think about making reading life easier, until I began this blog!



1.  Goodreads


I started using Goodreads before I started this blog, to help me keep track of what I have already read.  When I found myself forgetting to list books on Goodreads, I began this blog.  So really, this blog is my way of staving off early onset dementia.



2.  My Local Library


I LOVE my library.  When I first moved here (country like area from the City) I had two little kids and knew not a soul.  The library was the place we turned to for social time.  We went for books, movies, puppets, went to story time.  I still go at least twice a week.



3.  My $10 reading glasses.


I did actually go to the eye doctor last year, tested my eyes, and got a lovely pair of Kate Spade readers-gorgeous!


Then I proceeded to lose them in less than a month like every other pair of readers I have ever owned.  So back to my $10 readers from CVS.



4.  Book Page


This is a great little paper that they give away for free at local libraries and where I would get my ideas of what to read next before I discovered Goodreads and the blog world.



5.  She Reads


Right after I started using Goodreads, a fellow reader told me about She Reads.  I love this sight- especially their Book Club!



6.  Library Thing


A little like Goodreads, but they also have an Early Reviewers group where you can enter to win new books in exchange for a review.  My first entry into the world of ARCs-plus it sounds like I could work in a library.



7. My daughter’s Kindle


I have tried to maintain my dislike of e-readers, but in the work or reviewing and blogging, it became apparent I was holding on to a dream.


Now I have to admit to using it about 1/3 of the time.



What make your reading life easier?

English: The main reading romm of Graz Univers...

English: The main reading romm of Graz University Library (19th century) on 2 Sep 2003. Picture taken and uploaded by Dr. Marcus Gossler. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading glasses

Reading glasses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon


The Perfume Collector-She Reads’ August Book Club


the perfume collector

The Perfume Collector

by Kathleen Tessaro

published by Harper


An inheritance from a mysterious stranger . . .
An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank of Paris . . .
And three exquisite perfumes that hold a memory . . . and a secret

London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come easily to her—and perhaps never will.

Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance. There’s only one problem: she has never heard of her benefactor, the mysterious Eva d’Orsey.

So begins a journey that takes Grace to Paris in search of Eva. There, in a long-abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank, she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising, complex love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d’Orsey’s story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.

But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect, Grace realizes she must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.

Illuminating the lives and challenging times of two fascinating women,The Perfume Collector weaves a haunting, imaginative, and beautifully written tale filled with passion and possibility, heartbreak and hope.

(from Goodreads)

My Review

I was very excited to start reading this book and I was definitely not disappointed!  The author has given her readers a beautifully written work of historical fiction.

This novel intertwines the stories of Grace Munroe, a young british socialite in the 1950’s and of the mysterious Eva D’Orsey, who has made Grace her sole heir.  When Grace is informed that Eva, a woman she has never heard of before, has passed away and left her entire estate to Grace, she travels from London to Paris, to learn more about her.

The author takes us through the lives of these to wonderful characters, bringing the setting of New York in the 1920’s and Paris in the 1950’s to life.  She gives us a wonderful cast of characters, especially Eva and Grace.

As part of Eva’s story, we learn about the art of perfume making.  I found this part so interesting.  I would love to have a perfume that was made especially for me-that takes my nature and personality  into account.  While I was in Bermuda last month, we happened upon a small perfumery, called Lili Bermuda.  They make only a handful of perfumes and they take you through each perfume and explain what the major factor is in the scent.  Being the best husband in the entire world, John bought me the one I loved called Fresh Water.  I love it, and I was reminded of that special feeling while I read this book.

I would definitely recommend The Perfume Collector!

Please head over to She Reads and see some of the other wonderful reviews of The Perfume Collector @


4.5 out of 5

English: Perfume urn in the Caron shop in Pari...

English: Perfume urn in the Caron shop in Paris, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Light in the Ruins- a review



The Light in the Ruins

by Chris Bohjalian

published by Doubleday


borrowed from the library


1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.  (from Goodreads)

My Review

I have been a fan of Chris Bohjalian since I read Midwives many years ago.  I remember being surprised that a male author could tell such a compelling story in a female voice.  So began my love of (almost) everything this prolific author has produced.  I loved Secrets of Eden and The Double Bind, as well as his recent The Sandcastle Girls, which I reviewed on this blog.  I haven’t yet read Before You Know Kindness, but it is on my list!  What I find most surprising about this author is his ability to make every book he writes almost completely different from anything he has written previously.  Each book is beautifully written, with well established character, yet each are originals.  The Light in the Ruins continues this.

What begins as a murder mystery slowly intertwines with an historical drama.  We begin the story with the brutal murder of Francesca Rosati in 1955.  She is the widowed daughter in law of the once prominent Rosati family.  The killer addresses the audience and his hatred of the family is tied back to the late days of the war, in the beautiful Tuscan countryside.  The story goes back and forth between Florence in 1955, where the female detective Serafina Bettini is working to catch the killer, and 1943 Tuscany at the family’s beautiful Villa Chimera.  The suspense slowly builds as the author brings the countryside to life for the reader.  I think one of Bohjalian’s best talents lie here- in making you see, feel, and experience a place so well.

I definitely recommend this book, as I would most of Bohjalian’s work.  The only book that I will not rave about was The Night Strangers, which, while well written, just wasn’t my style.  I am trying to pull my mom into this author’s camp also.  Put this one on your TBR list right now-at the top!


4.5 out of 5

tuscan villa

tuscan villa (Photo credit: Mircea2011)

It’s Monday! What are you reading?



It’s Monday!  What are you reading?  is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey  where we discuss what we have been up to lately, and what we are looking forward to in the coming week.  Stop one there and see what other bloggers have posted!


Top Ten Turn Offs

Review-The Clock of Life by Nancy Klann-Moren

Books Finished

I started reading The Rathbones, which I received through a Goodreads giveaway.  I really like the writing, but found I was struggling to continue reading.  Alas, I went to the library, and they had some lovely books on hold for me, so I put this aside and picked up a different book..Which leads me to-

Currently Reading

I am now reading The Dark Monk by Oliver Potzsch.  This is a sequel to a book I read and LOVED last year called The Hangman’s Daughter.  I had put a hold on it at my library.  Since I never know how quickly a book will come in, I was really excited to get it so quickly!  I am whipping through it as we speak.


Up Next

I have lots of books waiting for me, so I will probably hit the library books that have a return date, and the ebooks that have a read by date.

The Clock of Life- a review



The Clock of Life

by Nancy Klann-Moren

published by Anthony Ann Books


I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


In the small town of Hadlee, Mississippi, during the 1980’s, Jason Lee Rainey struggles to find his way amongst the old, steadfast Southern attitudes about race, while his friendship with a black boy, Samson Johnson, deepens.
By way of stories from others, Jason Lee learns about his larger-than-life father, who was killed in Vietnam. He longs to become that sort of man, but doesn’t believe he has it in him.
In The Clock Of Life he learns lessons from the past, and the realities of inequality. He flourishes with the bond of friendship; endures the pain of senseless death; finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right; and comes to realize he is his father’s son.
This story explores how two unsettling chapters in American history, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, affect the fate of a family, a town, and two boyhood friends. (from Goodreads)

My Review

This is a wonderful debut novel from author Nancy Klann-Moren.  In what has been compared to the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, we learn the story of Jason Lee Rainey as he grows up in a still segregated Mississippi.  On his very first day of school, Jason Lee becomes friends with a black boy, Sampson, which immediately makes him some very strong enemies.  Jason lives with his mom Cassie and his Uncle Mooks, who was injured in Vietnam, and is a little “off”.  His father, who served and died in the same war, is a source of wonder and mystery to Jason.  As the years pass, Jason Lee’s friendship with Sampson becomes stronger still and they become “blood brothers”.  Jason also slowly starts learning more about his dad from his dad’s best friend Wally.  In a box of old books given to him by Wally,  Jason finds his dad’s old journal.  Through this journal, he learns about his father’s work in the civil rights movement, including the March on Selma.    Jason Lee grows into a remarkable young man through this story.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and finished it pretty quickly.  The author has produced an extremely well written and researched piece of work and I was not surprised to learn that this novel will be used in classrooms starting in September.  I would definitely recommend this book.  It was a captivating story set in one of the difficult periods in our country’s history.


4 out of 5

For other great reviews of this book, check out the following-


For more about the author, you can visit her website at-

Bloody Sunday Mural

Bloody Sunday Mural (Photo credit: qbix08)