Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Preparation: [H]ead by Boomer Wadaska, C Michael, Kyle Phillips Bernhardy, Mike C. Flor

(Read in September) - Still playing catch up

This book is not a story but a compilation of short stories, poems and other oddities. When I picked up this book I knew I was diving in the mind of a group of teenage boys who grew up with me in my hometown of Levittown, PA and I honestly wasn't sure that this was a place I wanted to go.

The entries in the book were mostly written when we were in high school, I believe some were written in the college years. This is definitaly a book that a teenage boy can relate to most, and especially one who grew up in Levittown, PA.

There are a lot of Levittown references that brought back good memories. I found it very interesting to dive into the minds of some of my high school friends. The entries in the book were witty at times, snarky at others and touching in some as well, it was a fun ride down memory lane while reading this book.

These guys are definitely putting their soul out on these pages, the good, the bad and the ugly. It's hard to rate this book because it's not really something I would normally read but I am biased by the fact that I like these guys and Boomer was my biggest volleyball cheerleader. :)

My favorite parts of the book are actually the front and back covers as well as the Index/Glossary, they were pretty witty pieces of the book on their own, but I also liked a few of the stories inside too:

P.12 - Opening Day by C Michael

p.31 - Someone who doesn't care by Kyle Phillips Bernhardy

p.70 - Restless by Boomer Wadaska

p.202 - My mind spoken by Kyle Phillips Bernhardy

The Book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:

  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge (Muggle Studdies)
  • RYOB Challenge
  • New Authors Challenge

Monday, October 11, 2010

Just One Look by Harlan Coben

(Read in September)

Rating: 3/5 Stars

  • Pub. Date: May 2005
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Format: Paperback, 528pp
  • ISBN: 0451213203

Grace Lawson's life is good one, it hadn't always been but since meeting her husband Jack things have really turned around for her. She and Jack have two beautiful children and a loving and kind husband. One day when an old photograph was placed in with her other photos from a photomat, her life was turned upside down. When her husband saw the photo he pretended to not know the people in the photograph but then takes off without explanation.

After being turned down by the police to help find her missing husband, since it looks like he left on his own, she decides to do some investigating on her own for answers and her husband. What she finds shakes up her entire life to the absolute core. With some help from some friends of her present and past, as well as some strangers that have just come into her life she is able to unravel the story but in doing this she puts herself in grave danger as well.

Harlan Coben is a master at suspense and knows how to pull you into a story with believable action and characters.

This book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge
  • Thriller and Suspense Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge

The Last Child by John Hart

I finished a few books in September but I am way behind on the reviews so my next few reviews are from September.

The Last Child by John Hart
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Pub. Date: March 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Paperback, 432pp
ISBN: 0312642369

Alyssa Merrimon went missing a year ago as no good leads were ever found. Johnny, Alyssa's brother, has not given up the hunt for her and continues to search the neighborhoods for signs of Alyssa's captor. Detective Hunt, the cop assigned to Alyssa's case feels responsible for keeping an eye on Johnny and his mother whose lives have been destroyed by the disappearance of Alyssa. When another girl is taken close to the one year anniversary of Alyssa, Johnny is even mor
e vigilant to catch the person responsible for both of these disappearances. What Johnny finds in his search puts him in danger and leads the investigation to disturbing results.

I found some of the spots in this story to be a little slow but the idea's in this book felt completely original. This is My first by John Hart and I would give him another try for sure.

This book fits the following Category/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge (Defence Against the Dark Arts)
  • Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge
  • New Authors Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WoWO Book Club Meeting: The Education of Mrs. Brimley by Donna MacMeans

This month was the WoWO discussion of The Education of Mrs. Brimley by Donna MacMeans. We won this book from Author Dianna Love's Website. This is our second book won from this site and they have both made for fun and successful book club meetings. The other book we won was Wild Heart by Lori Brighton, you can read that review here. We obviously think that Dianna Love is Wonderful and We hope to win more from her author giveaways!

Once we won the books, Donna was such a pleasure to deal with. She mailed the books, signed personally to each one of our members, and she sent goodies as well as a VERY nice personal note to the ladies of the WoWO. At our Eat, Pray, Love discussion we gave out copies of The Education of Mrs. Brimley and commenced our reading it for this discussion. As usual this review posting will have spoilers in it to the story.. Here is us reading the note and excited about the book:

Pub. Date: October 2007
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352pp
Berkley Sensation Series
ISBN: 0425218309

WoWO Rating: 3.75/5 Stars (8 ratings)
My Personal Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

In an effort to escape her life in London, Emma obtains a teaching position at the Pettibone School for Young Ladies in Yorkshire. In order to get this position, she had to tell a little lie, that she is a young widow. Little does she know that this lie will come back to get her once she starts at the school: She is expected to teach the young women how to pleasure their future husbands in bed. Being that this is 1876 and Emma has in fact never been married, she is desperate to learn what she is to teach in the class. Emma cannot come clean because she cannot risk being sent back home to live with her uncle and in her desperation she seeks the help of the neighbor, Lord Nicholas Chambers, who is a bachelor with a reputation as "Lord BedChambers".

The WoWo's all agree this was a pretty steamy and very enjoyable book. The writing style was smooth and very easy to read. We all felt that the setting of the 1800's and Yorkshire was important to the story, because this type of story would never work today and the Pettibone School for Girls and Black Oak fit the scenery. The were Vivid and well defined, especially the Black Oak Studio. The only issue we had with the setting was that we had trouble determining the distance between Black Oak and the Pettibone School. Between the walking and the Carriage rides and various back and forth descriptions, it was hard to determine it's true distance. This however did not ruin the story for us.

Our first impressions of Emma were that although she was naive she had spunk and was pretty gutsy to search out the job and then search out help from Lord Chambers. At first it seemed a bit far fetched that she would reach out for help from this stranger, but it worked because she was desperate with no other choices. Our first impressions of Nicholas was that we liked him right from the beginning. We could tell there was something about him when he was "drunk" in the carriage but when Emma got out of the carriage he took a peak at her. Showing he wasn't quite what he portrayed himself to be. The sense of humor written into his character was wonderfully done. A nice mix of sarcasm and wit in a handsome male lead character is always a good thing.

Our favorite character overall was Nicholas with 6 votes and Emma had 2 votes for favorite due to her nerve and spunk. Our least favorite characters were Nicholas' brother George and Emma's Uncle, with the Uncle being slightly favored for worst character. We felt the Primary characters were developed well, but there was not a lot of details to the background characters, but it was enough to keep it well rounded and interesting.

Some of our favorite scenes in the book were:
  • "Lunch" Scenes - now this may seem silly if you haven't read the book, but if you read the book, you may know exactly to what we are referring. I wish I could remember who in the group called it that.. but it was hilarious. Hot, Steamy, and well written!

  • At the Ball when she steps outside and Nicholas is there waiting for her.

  • When Nicholas Rescues her from her Uncle

  • The Paint Brush scene - hot hot hot!

  • I personally loved the initial scene when Emma tells Nicholas that she's come to get help on how to teach sex to these young women. Nicholas laughs and laughs and laughs at the situation and I just adore a good sense of humor on a sexy man. This endeared him to me immediately.

A few of us were surprised to find that Nicholas was the real owner of Pettibone, but most of us were not. Everyone seemed surprised at the connection between Nicholas and Alice, and how she was his goddaughter and how he promised to watch over her -- and kept the promise all this time. It was a nice little added twist to the wonderful facets of Nicholas' character. We all felt that the title of the book was spot on and wouldn't change a thing. However, the cover of the book to us didn't do the story justice. We enjoyed the story so much but if we didn't win the book we would never have picked it up to read based on the cover. Most of us were happy with the Epilogue in the story and how it wrapped everything up to the point that there would be no need for a follow up story in another book. There was no wondering about their future, it was all right there provided for us.

All in all we really enjoyed the story and would be interested in reading another book authored by MacMeans in the future.

We went with a dessert theme this month. Hot and steamy stories go best with Dark Chocolate fountains, cheesecake and cupcakes! Here are some pictures of us discussing and eating the goodies:

WoWOs (left to right): Louise, Tricia, Faith(Me), Linda, Myrta, Karen, Darralyn, Peggy

Peggy, Louise, Karen, Darralyn

Louise, Linda, Karen, Peggy, Myrta, Tricia, Darralyn, Faith (me)

Karen and Louise searching for Steamy Scenes!

We are so happy to have Darralyn as a new member this month! She was a great addition to the group and to the discussion. We have two new members expected next month so that should be great. I love to see the WoWOs growing in numbers! We have changed our nominating procedures recently where every other discussion is a book nominated by one of our members and the other month is one that we won, that way we get to read a book we may not normally choose one month and a book we absolutely want to read the next. This month Linda was chosen to pick the book. She picked Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, we will be discussing this one on October 29th, so check back early November for the review!

Thanks again to Donna MacMeans and Dianna Love (and Cassondra from http://www.authordiannalove.com/) for providing the books and the contest to win the books! We have found so many great books from winning them through authors and sites like these.

This book fits the following Category/Challenges:

  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge
  • The Romance Reading Challenge
  • RYOB Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • New Authors Challenge

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Panic by Jeff Abbott

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Pub. Date: August 2006
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 416pp
BN Sales Rank: 229,148
ISBN: 0451412222

I listened to this on Audio but since it was borrowed from the library I no longer have the ISBN information.

How is it even possible that it's the end of August and I've finished only 1 book so far and it's an audio book! I thought with my vacation I would get so much read and I did not! Yikes.

Synopsis: Evan Casher is a successful Documentary film maker and has a pretty great life until one morning all of that changes. Evan receives a call from his mother to come home urgently and when he gets there his mother has been murdered and the assailants are still in the house. Evan is quickly thrust into the world of spies where you don't know who to trust and have to be willing to do anything to survive. Evan learns more about his parents than he ever knew was possible and when the assailants take his father as a way to get back what was stolen from them he has to become resourceful to get his father back from the kidnappers.

One of my book clubs had this as a side book club read and since I listened to Fear last year and loved it I thought I should listen to this one as well. LJ Ganser also read this one but it didn't have the same gusto for me. I thought Fear was so much better. This was exciting and well done, but a bit unbelievable for me at times that Evan knew so little about his parents life and yet could jump in so easily and run things so professionally. I will definitely read more by Abbott, he is very good with suspense and thriller - I just found this one a little too over the top for an amature, when professionals are dying left and right in the story. Still 3 stars is nothing to cry about, very good effort and enjoyable to listen to.

This book fits the following Challenges/Categories for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge - Defense against the Dark Arts
  • Thriller and Suspense Challenge (This completes that challenge!)
  • Monthly Mixer Mele

Saturday, August 07, 2010

WoWO Book Club Meeting: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

On Wednesday was the July/August WoWO book club discussion of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I started Eat, Pray, Love in June on my own before it was chosen as the next WoWO, so I decided to review it personally while the book was still fresh in my mind. To see my personal comments/review about the book use this link. We had a full house this month and the WoWO's were back in true form. Our newest member, Rebecca, sadly couldn't be there but she read the book and added her comments, as a true book lover would. In honor of Elizabeth's journey in Italy, we made pizza's and drank wine and a little lemoncello! We had a ball and enjoyed every minute of it. As is normal for WoWO discussion posts, there will be spoilers.

Pub. Date: February 2006
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Hardcover, 334pp
Genre: Non-Fiction
Coming to Theaters: August 13th, 2010

WoWO Rating: 3.60/5 Stars (9 ratings)
My Personal Rating: 4/5 Stars

Author Elizabeth Gilbert has been through an emotionally exhausting divorce and the breakup of a tumultuous love affair in a very short time period. After which she realizes, as most women do in relationships, she has lost her own identity and her own way in life. This realization leads her on a year long spiritual journey like no other that she shares with the reader along her way in Eat, Pray, Love. This memoir is written in three sections: Italy (Eat), India (Pray) and finally Indonesia (Love). With raw emotion and a window into her soul, Elizabeth Gilbert shares with the reader her amazing journey to spiritual self acceptance.

Almost Everyone loved the format of the book with 108 short chapters and 3 main sections (Eat, Pray, Love), most of us felt that this format made it easy to stay interested and helped the book flow quickly. One of us felt that the short chapters dampened the flow. We all felt like entertainment and pleasure were on the same level for American's. Music, Food and Art, can all be entertaining, and we can all find pleasure in these. We discussed Gilbert's life before her self discovering journey and felt that in her earlier relationships she wasn't happy with herself and she jumped too quickly into the arms of men, like a lot of us women. For most women, Men seem to fog our ability to make sound and reasonable decisions. We discussed everyone's "word", as in the book - Rome is "sex" and the Vatican's is "power" and Gilbert's is "achieve", Linda's is "compassionate", Faith's is "Angst", Karen is "sensitive", Rebecca's word is "scattered" and Myrta's is "sincere".

A few of us did relate to the spiritual aspects in the story but not everyone liked the spiritual elements in India, most keyed on the personal journey of self acceptance to be what they related to. We felt that her journey was less about persistence and more about perseverance: She didn't plan anything and she was also so she had to make her own way. I honestly didn't think about the fact that she's traveling and not having to worry about the money so persistence is necessary if she was to get her money's worth out of her trip. We felt that not everyone's spiritual journey is related to religion itself, but can still be spiritual in it's own way. We learned that Tricia is married to her soul mate (you sappy sweetie you) and she learned this while reading the book. The favorite section of the book for most of the group was Love (Indonesia) with 6 votes, second was Eat (India) with 3 votes (her descriptions of the food were incredible), and no one had Pray (India) as their favorite section. We appreciated it for what it was, but most felt that the details were a bit slow for reading.

Some of our favorite scenes where:
  • Pizza Trip in Bali
  • The trip with her girlfriend to Sicily
  • The Roof Scene (probably the favorite of all the scenes)
  • The initial sex scene with Felipe - we felt she earned it.
  • Any scene with Felipe
  • the banana talks with Wayan. HILARIOUS stuff.
Favorite Characters where:
  • Richard from Texas (he gave the best advice!)
  • Wayan (she was a hoot)
  • Ketut
  • Felipe
  • Gilbert herself
Favorite Quotes:
  • "Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be."
  • "The best way for a woman to get over a man is to get under another man"
  • "She's f---ing with you Groceries" - we just love that Richard calls her Groceries
  • "let your conscience be your guide"
  • "To find the balance you want, Ketut spoke through his translator, this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that its like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God."
  • “I have finally arrived at that age where a woman starts to question whether the wisest way to get over the loss of one beautiful brown-eyed young man is indeed to promptly invite another one into her bed.”
Everyone enjoyed the book for the most part, India was where everyone thought the book lulled but felt restored in the story when they got to Indonesia. If we were able to travel for a year, we would go all over the world: Italy, Ireland, California, Germany, Greece, China, Spain, a tour of Southern Europe, Australia. Everyone thought the cover of the book fit the story, 7 of us liked the original cover better and liked how the words were spelled in ways relevant to the locations. One of us liked the cover with Julia Roberts best. Six of us decided that we would probably like to read Committed and continue on with the story after Gilbert returns to America.

As usual we did something fun to incorporate our discussion with the book, here are some of the pictures:

Tricia, Louise, Lori, Linda, Faith(me), Karen, Myrta, Peggy

Food fit for Queens for the discussion

Myrta, Linda, me

Karen, Linda, Lori, Louise, Myrta

Tricia and Louise

Peggy and Me working on the dough.

Myrta and Lori making their pizzas

Om Namah Shivaya - We tried!

Lemoncello to top the night off!

If we are friends on facebook you can see the rest of the photos there. We had over 60 thanks to Tricia's photography Skills!

I handed out the next book "The Education of Mrs. Brimley" by Donna MacMeans, we are excited to read it and will be discussing it on September 10th.

July Reading Wrap-up

I am pretty behind with this post... July was a VERY slow reading month for me as I had a night class that was Monday through Thursday. Not much free time to read at all.

So this one will be a short one:
I also posted about my fabulous book club win of free books for the a year for the WoWO's.. The books have already started pouring in and we cannot wait to dig into those.

In August, I have a week vacation and I plan to veg and read and read and read... so Im hoping for a much better reading month. Some of the books scheduled this month are:
  • Finish Fallen by Lauren Kate (my current read)
  • Tall, Dark & Dead by Tate Hallaway
  • The short second life of bree tanner by Stephanie Meyer
  • Club Dead and Dead to the world by Charlaine Harris
  • Fireworks over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff
  • a soft place to land by Susan Rebecca white
  • Still missing by Chevy Stevens
Several of those are ARC requests so I'll be glad to have them read and I feel so far behind right now.

Happy Reading in August!

*picture borrowed from: http://www.lotuslandrealestate.com/blog/2009/02/02/sunshine-coast-poetry-2009.jpg

Friday, July 30, 2010

Make Ahead Meals Cookbook Giveaway from Audrey's Give Aways!

Audrey's Give Aways is hosting a Cookbook Giveaway... this cookbook looks right up my alley and I wanted to share it with all of you.
Im not a mom (unless you count my puppies), but I am terribly busy with working full-time and attending school at night.. so any help I can get in the cooking department I'll take.
Audrey has a review and pictures of some of the meals she made from the cookbook and they all look delicious. If the book interests you, go over to Audrey's site and enter for the cookbook.
Good Luck!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon

Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Racous Year of Eating Locally
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (April 24, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 030734732X

Genre: Non-Fiction

Received book in Shelfari Book Chat Book Swap

The authors of this book memoir their journey of eating locally (with-in 100 miles radius) for a year. This idea comes into fruition one day when they are in a remote location and only have a few items on hand and can't get to a store. They must feed themselves and their guests on what they can find locally. They fish and forage for mushrooms and veggies from their old garden and come up with a meal that proves you can make something good from seemingly nothing (of course you really need to know how to cook first - and be a little adventurous).

At the first of Spring they start their journey with only eating foods the come from with-in 100 mile radius of their home and it starts out a little bumpy. Sure they can find food, living in the Vancouver area, but it's expensive and again, you must have a creative cooking bone to accomplish this task. Their first meal cost them $128.87. This is when they realized the challenge they were facing. Being able to sustain this lifestyle will be harder then they imagined.

There were alot of good scenes in this book, I felt it honest and interesting. There were parts about the food itself that bored me a bit, but the relationships and the events were great. I really liked how they gave themselves a free pass when they were invited to a neighbors house for dinner (not alienating their friends) and when they travelled. I love the idea also of being able to bring food home from 100-miles of where they travelled to as well. Now, I am not one who would normally consider doing something like this but as soon as I finished Chapter One (March) I was sold on the idea. I started looking at local eating websites and all of a sudden this is something I'd really like to try to do. Living in Southern New Jersey should make things easier for me, right? We have so many farmers markets right near me. Well, Im seriously considering trying it. I think that the ramp of this task would be tremendous but once you got the hang of it (Canning, freezing, etc) it would end up being very rewarding.

This books fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge
  • Truth is Stranger than Fiction Reading Challenge
  • RYOB Challenge
  • New Authors Challenge

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Amazing Book WIN for the WoWOs - Year of Books Contest Win!

I entered a Year of Books contest at Leah Stewart's Facebook page (you can also find her at her website www.LeahStewart.com). Leah Stewart is the author of several books and she hosted a MAJOR contest for book clubs and I won books for the WoWO Book Club!!

This is just absolutely amazing that we (The WoWO's) won 10 copies of 12 different AMAZING books.

Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, by Kevin Wilson
(5 Stars on Amazon.com)

Kevin Wilson's characters inhabit a world that moves seamlessly between the real and the imagined, the mundane and the fantastic. "Grand Stand-In" is narrated by an employee of a Nuclear Family Supplemental Provider—a company that supplies "stand-ins" for families with deceased, ill, or just plain mean grandparents. And in "Blowing Up On the Spot," a young woman works sorting tiles at a Scrabble factory after her parents have spontaneously combusted.

Southern gothic at its best, laced with humor and pathos, these wonderfully inventive stories explore the relationship between loss and death and the many ways we try to cope with both.

*** We've already received this book from Kevin and it looks really interesting! ***

The Truth About Delilah Blue, by Tish Cohen
(3.5 Stars on Amazon.com)

Delilah Blue Lovett has always been a bit of an outsider, ever since her father moved her from Toronto to L.A. when she was eight, claiming Delilah's mother no longer wanted to be part of their family. Twenty now and broke, but determined to be an artist like her errant mom, Delilah attends art class for free—by modeling nude at the front of the room, a decision that lifts the veil from her once insular world. While she struggles to find her talent, her father, her only real companion, is beginning to exhibit telltale signs of early-onset Alzheimer's. And her mother, who Delilah always assumed had selfishly abandoned them, is about to reappear with a young daughter in tow... and a secret that will change everything. Delilah no longer knows which parent to trust—the only one she can really rely on is the most broken person of all: herself.

In a new novel as witty, sparkling, and poignant as her acclaimed Inside Out Girl, author Tish Cohen uncovers the humor and heart within the most dysfunctional of families.

** This just came out in June and I LOVE chick lit so I'm really looking forward to this one. I first saw this one available as an ARC (I believe) and the cover caught my eye.***

A Maze of Grace, by Trish Ryan

(Not Rated on Amazon.com)

In her first book, Trish Ryan chronicled the ways in which finding faith lead her to the happily-ever-after ending that had eluded her for so long. Only it wasn't an ending. It was a beginning.

In A MAZE OF GRACE, Ryan picks up where she left off, sharing the early years of her marriage, and the challenges that both shaped and startled her: temptations regarding fidelity, the anxiety of shifting body image, the awkward nature of following Jesus in a decidedly secular family and city, and struggles (depression, trying to conceive) that made her wonder if God had lost her file.

With appealing candor, Ryan sweeps the reader into her life and ponders questions and issues that we all face, dropping nuggets of wisdom along the way that are sure to inspire, encourage and help readers from all walks of life.

** This just came out in June and is the second book of a series, I'll be looking into if we should read the first book to enjoy the second or if they can be read stand alone. I am not really into religious books but if an author is willing to give me copies, I'm open to reading anything for a group discussion. Her first book (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not) has 5 stars on Amazon.com, so this should be pretty good. **

The Love Goddess’s Cooking School, by Melissa Senate

(Not Rated on Amazon.com)

A charming story about a woman who inherits her grandmother's cooking school in a small town in Maine, and finds her happy ending in the process.

**Short and Sweet Synopsis. This book doesn't come out until October, so the book cover isn't even shown on Amazon yet. But based on the other books that Melissa Senate has written, something tells me this is going to be a goodie. Im anticipating really enjoying this one for sure.**

The Embers, by Hyatt Bass

(2.5 Stars on Amazon.com)

A novel about a once-ascendant Upper East Side family that has crumbled in the aftermath of a tragedy for which the father has been held responsible, and how they put the pieces of their lives back together.

** With only 6 ratings on Amazon.com and the fact that it just came out in May of this year, this 2.5 rating doesn't bother me. The premise seems interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading it. **

The Last Will of Moira Leahy, by Therese Walsh

(5 Stars on Amazon.com)

This haunting debut novel explores the intense bond of sisterhood as a grieving twin searches for her own identity in the ruins of her sister's past.

Moira Leahy struggled growing up in her prodigious twin's shadow; Maeve was always more talented, more daring, more fun. In the autumn of the girls' sixteenth year, a secret love tempted Moira, allowing her to have her own taste of adventure, but it also damaged the intimate, intuitive relationship she'd always shared with her sister. Though Moira's adolescent struggles came to a tragic end nearly a decade ago, her brief flirtation with independence will haunt her sister for years to come.

When Maeve Leahy lost her twin, she left home and buried her fun-loving spirit to become a workaholic professor of languages at a small college in upstate New York. She lives a solitary life now, controlling what she can and ignoring the rest–the recurring nightmares, hallucinations about a child with red hair, the unquiet sounds in her mind, her reflection in the mirror. It doesn't help that her mother avoids her, her best friend questions her sanity, and her not-quite boyfriend has left the country. But at least her life is ordered. Exactly how she wants it.

Until one night at an auction when Maeve wins a
keris,a Javanese dagger that reminds her of her lost youth and happier days playing pirates with Moira in their father's boat. Days later, a book on weaponry is nailed to her office door, followed by the arrival of anonymous notes, including one that invites her to Rome to learn more about the blade and its legendary properties. Opening her heart and mind to possibility, Maeve accepts the invitation and, with it, also opens a window into her past.

Ultimately, she will revisit the tragic November night that shaped her and Moira's destinies–and learn that nothing can be taken at face value–as one sister emerges whole and the other's score is finally settled.

The Last Will of Moira Leahyis a mesmerizing and romantic consideration of the bonds of family, the impossibility of forgetting, and the value of forgiveness.

** This sounds amazing! **

Life After Yes, by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

(3.5 Stars on Amazon.com

"Music plays. Dad appears. I walk with him, eyes fastened to the floor. When I look up, something is very wrong. There are three grooms."

This is the story of Quinn—born Prudence Quinn O'Malley—a confused young Manhattan attorney who loses her father on that tragic September morning that changed everything. Now, at an existential crossroads in her life, Quinn must confront impossible questions about commitment and career, love and loss. Her idealistic beau desperately wants a wedding, and whisks her away to Paris just to propose. But then Quinn has a dream featuring judges and handcuffs and Nietzsche and Britney . . . and far too many grooms. Suddenly, her future isn't so clear. Quinn's world has become a minefield of men—some living, some gone, and traversing it safely is going to take a lot more than numerous glasses of pinot grigio.

Life After Yes is a blisteringly honest, thoroughly modern tale of life and love in chaos, marking the arrival of a truly exciting new voice in contemporary fiction.

**Have to admit I've been eying this one up. Just came out in May and since I saw that cover for the first time, which I loved, I've been wanting to read this one. ***

The Lost Girls, by Amanda Pressner, Holly Corbett, & Jennifer Baggett

(5 Stars on Amazon.com)

Jen, Holly, and Amanda are at a crossroads. They're feeling the pressure to hit certain milestones—scoring a big promotion, finding a soul mate, having 2.2 kids—before they reach their early thirties. When personal challenges force them to reevaluate their lives, they decide it's now or never to do something daring. Unable to gain perspective in fast-paced Manhattan, the three twentysomethings quit their coveted media jobs and leave behind their friends, boyfriends, and everything familiar to travel the globe. Dubbing themselves the Lost Girls, they embark on an epic yearlong search for inspiration and direction.

As they journey 60,000 miles across four continents and more than a dozen countries, Jen, Holly, and Amanda step far outside of their comfort zones, embracing every adventure and experience the world has to offer—shooting blowguns with Yagua elders in the Amazon, learning capoeira on the beaches of Brazil, volunteering with preteen girls at a school in rural Kenya, hiking with Hmong villagers in Vietnam, and driving through Australia in a psychedelic camper van. Along the way, the Lost Girls find not only themselves but also a lifelong friendship. Ultimately, theirs is a story of true sisterhood—a bond forged by sharing beds and backpacks, enduring exotic illnesses, fending off aggressive street vendors, trekking across rivers and over mountains, and standing by one another through heartaches, whirlwind romances, and everything in the world in between.

This candid and compelling memoir will speak to anyone who has ever felt the desire to spread her wings and discover the world with her best friends by her side.

** This one Just came out in May as well. I love that this is a memoir and not fiction (even though I'd love it as fiction as well). I feel like I'll really be able to relate to this one. **

Exley, by Brock Clarke
(Not Rated on Amazon.com)

** Not due out until October 2010, there is no synopsis of this on Amazon.com. On Good reads it's rated 4.2 Stars with the following Synopsis - Looks promising!**

A nine-year-old boy named Miller, who lives in Watertown, NY, struggles to make sense of his father's disappearance, for which he blames himself. Later, when he is convinced that his father is lying in a coma in the local VA hospital, he searches for the one person he thinks can save his father, the famously reclusive--and dead--author, Frederick Exley, Watertown native and author of the "fictional memoir" A Fan's Notes, his father's favorite book. Told in alternating voices of the young boy and the therapist the boy's mother has hired to help him, Exley is ultimately an exploration of the difference between what we believe to be real and what isreal and how difficult it is to reconcile the two.

Pug Hill, by Alison Pace
(4 Stars on Amazon.com)

For Holly Golightly, there was always Tiffany's. For me, there's always Pug Hill. For as long as I've lived in New York, whenever I've just wanted to think, or relax, or be happy, or even sad, my destination of choice has been, without fail, Pug Hill.

For Hope McNeill, pugs are love, unconditional friendship, happiness, and freedom-all qualities currently in short supply in her own life. She's also short on time and apartment space, and for those reasons she doesn't have a pug of her own. But she does have Pug Hill in Central Park, where pugs (and their owners) from all over New York City convene.

She also has a serious crush on one of her co-workers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a flailing relationship with her squash-playing, cold-weather-loving boyfriend, and an unspeakable fear of public speaking. When Hope's father calls with a daunting assignment-to make a speech at her parent's fortieth wedding anniversary party-Hope is completely taken off guard. As a last resort, she signs up for a public speaking class, but can't help wondering, will it be enough?

Some fears are so big that even all the pugs in the world might not be enough...

**I saw this at a book store last year and was VERY close to buying it. Mostly because of the dogs honestly and I didn't buy it because I really didn't know if it was any good. Based on the rating on Amazon.com and the synopsis, I think I'd like it. Although now I'm glad I didn't buy it then because I can enjoy it with my book club now! :)**

Sea Escape, by Lynne Griffin
(4 Stars on Amazon.com)

A sweeping story spanning from the idyllic 1950s through the present, about the people, places, and things each of us holds on to.

** Not much of a synopsis, but this book came out this month so I'm sure it will be updated at some point. Certainly has potential to be a good women's fiction book. **

Good Things I Wish You, by A. Manette Ansay
(4 Stars on Amazon.com)

The acclaimed author of Vinegar Hill returns with a story of two unlikely romances—one historical, the other modern-day—separated by thousands of miles and well over a century.

Battling feelings of loss and apathy in the wake of a painful divorce, novelist Jeanette struggles to complete a book about the long-term relationship between Clara Schumann, a celebrated pianist and the wife of the composer Robert Schumann, and her husband's protÉgÉ, the handsome young composer Johannes Brahms. Although this legendary love triangle has been studied exhaustively, Jeanette—herself a gifted pianist—wonders about the enduring nature of Clara and Johannes's lifelong attachment. Were they just "best friends," as both steadfastly claimed? Or was the relationship complicated by desires that may or may not have been consummated?

Through a chance encounter, Jeanette meets Hart, a mysterious, worldly entrepreneur who is a native of Clara's birthplace, Leipzig, Germany. Hart's casual help with translations quickly blossoms into something more. There are things about men and women, he insists, that do not change. The two embark on a whirlwind emotional journey that leads Jeanette across Germany and Switzerland to a crossroads similar to that faced by Clara Schumann—also a mother, also an artist—more than a century earlier.

Accompanied by photographs, sketches, and notes from past and present, A. Manette Ansay's original blend of fiction and history captures the timeless nature of love and friendship between women and men.

** Looks good! **

To see a list of all the winners and all the great books that were offered up, go here.

Thank you Leah for hosting this fabulous contest! If any of these books interest you, be sure to check back with the WoWO review posts so see what we thought of them.