Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Give a Damn's Busted by Carolyn Brown - Book Review

Title: My Give a Damn's Busted
Author: Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

About the book:  This book takes us once again to the apparently charmed Honky Tonk beer joint.  It is currently being run by Larissa Morley, the third owner in as many years.  The previous two owners, Daisy and Cathy, both met and married a cowboy and passed the Honky Tonk on to it's next owner.  Larissa isn't looking for a cowboy, having just found herself and is finally happy.

Happy, that is,  until she almost crashes her little sportscar into the back of a beat up pickup truck driven by Hank Wells.  Hank had the unfortunate timing as to be driving down the road at the same time that a deer decided to cross it.  This is what caused him to crash - causing Larissa to slide into a ditch.

Even in her anger, she didn't fail to notice that this was one hot cowboy.  Sparks flew from the very beginning, but they are each harboring secrets from the other, secrets about their past and secrets about themselves.  Will the charm of the Honky Tonk be enough to keep those secrets from blowing their romance apart?

My thoughts:  This has been a very cute series to read - three very different ladies - three very different romances - the common thread being the Honky Tonk.  I have enjoyed getting to know each new owner and hope that we might meet up with them sometime again to learn about their lives after the Honky Tonk. 

You can read my reviews of the first two books here: I Love This Bar and Hell, Yeah.

~I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review from Sourcebooks.~

My Give a Damn's Busted
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks, Oct 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4022-3928-1
366 pages

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan (Book Review)

Title: The Miracle of Mercy Land
Author: River Jordan
Publisher: Waterbrook Press

My thoughts: Mercy Land is just a girl in the 1930's when she moves from Bittersweet to Bay City.  She has followed her Aunt Ida's advice and gone to the big city - at least big compared to Bittersweet. She moves into a boarding house and eventual lands herself a job at the Banner - the local newspaper.  She becomes known as Doc's girl.

Doc is the owner and editor of the Banner and she goes from being an employee to being a friend.  She is really the assistant editor and does whatever needs to be done to get the paper out with the most current headlines.  When Doc calls her to in as soon as possible one morning, she goes wondering what the big news will be.  It turns out that a book has mysteriously arrived on Doc's desk and he has spent all night wondering what it means.

The book is unlike anything anyone has ever seen.  When you touch it, it pulls you in and takes you through other people's lives from birth on, and the lives overlap and run together.  What feels like minutes with the book turns out to be hours when you can finally pull yourself away.  They don't know what this means, or why they received this book.  They only know that it must be protected and that they have to figure out what it is to be used for.

This book poses the question of whether we would change the past if we had the choice, and in so doing, how would the ripples affect those around us.  For me, the first 100 pages or so seemed to be slow moving, and I was almost ready to put it aside when I was given enough information to start to wonder what was really going to happen to Mercy and how her past was going to affect her present.  It really made me think about some of the choices I had made in my life and how my life might be different now if any of those choices had been different.  At what point does one's life change?

About the author: River Jordan is a critically acclaimed novelist and playwright.  Her previous works include Saints in Limbo and The Messenger of Magnolia Street.  She speaks around the country on the "Power of Story" and produces and hosts the radio series Clearstory from Nashville, Tennessee where she makes her home.

~I received this book from KBK Public Relations in exchange for my review.~

Publisher/Publication Date: Waterbrook Press, Sept 2010
ISBN: 978-0-307-45705-9
341 pages

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Library Loot - Oct 27, 2010

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they've checked out from the library.  If you'd like to participate, just write up your post - feel free to steal the button - and visit the above 2 blogs to see who has the Mr. Linky this week. Don't forget to check out what others are checking out!

I haven't done a Library Loot post since March!  Doesn't mean I haven't been checking out books though!

The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini (An Elm Creek Quilts Novel - 1)

When Sarah McClure and her husband, Matt, move to Waterford, Pennsylvania, she hopes to make a fresh start in the small college town.  Unable to find a job both practical and fulfilling, she takes a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor helping its reclusive owner, Sylvia Compson, prepare her family estate for sale after the death of her estranged sister.  Sylvia is also a master quilter and, as part of Sarah's compensation, offers to share the secrets of her creative gifts with the younger women.

During their lessons, the intricate, varied threads of Sylvia's life begin to emerge.  It is the story of a young wife living through the hardships and agonies of the World WAar II home front; of a family torn apart by jealousy and betrayal; of misunderstanding, loss, and a tragedy that can never be undone.  As the bond between them deepens, Sarah resolves to help Sylvia free herself from remembered sorrows and restore her life -- and her home -- to its former glory.  In the process, she confronts painful truths about her own family, even as she creates new dreams for her future.

Just as the darker sections of a quilt can enhance the brighter ones, the mistakes of the past can strengthen understanding and lead the way to new beginnings.  The powerful debut novel by a gifted storyteller, The Quilter's Apprentice tells a timeless tale of family, friendship, and forgiveness as two women weave the disparate pieces of their lives into a bountiful and harmonious whole.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan

In 1967, Bashir Khairi, a twenty-five-year-old Palestinian, journeyed to Israel with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house with the lemon tree behind it that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier.  To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust.  On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967.  Sandy Tolan brings the Israeli Palestinian conflict down to its most human level, suggesting that even amid the bleakest political realities there exist stories of hope and reconciliation.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in the smallest of towns, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit.  In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it. . .

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina.  Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers.  Generations of Waverleys tended this garden.  Their history was in the soil.  But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants -- from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor.  Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanell is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncanilly clear.   They are the last of the Waverleys -- except for Claire's rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire's quiet life is turned upside down -- along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart.  Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past.  And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy -- if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom -- or with each other.

Every Move She Makes by Beverly Barton

As the pampered daughter of one of Spring Creek's most  prestigious southern families, Ella Porter has lived her entire life on the straight-and-narrow.  And being "good" has kept Ella safe and sane -- until now.  Suggestive yet ominous letters have been arriving at her office with alarming frequency.  Letters that remind her of the disturbing ones she used to get from Reed Conway -- the hellraiser she kenw from childhood -- after her father prosecuted him for murder.  Now Reed's been released from prison, and though Ella finds herself wanting to believe his claims of innocence, she's getting closer that a "good girl" ever should to a man with such a bad reputation.

Reed Conway is on a mission: to find out who really murdered his stepfather.  But someone wants to interfere -- someone determined to send Reed right back to prison for a brand-new crime.  They've made it look like he's still a threat to Ella Porter and her family, when the truth is, the more he sees Ella, the more he wants her.  But his attempt to prove his innocence have put both their lives in jeopardy. .. .Because whoever is stalking Ella will stop at nothing -- including murder. . .

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Somewhere Along the Way by Jodi Thomas - Book Review and Giveaway

Title: Somewhere Along the Way
Author: Jodi Thomas
Publisher: Berkley

My Thoughts:  Somewhere Along the Way is the second book in the Harmony series, but it does well as a stand alone (but I recommend reading the first book - Welcome to Harmony!)  We join a lot of the same characters two years down the road, but let me try to tell you about them.

Reagan is almost 18 and is living with her Uncle Jeremiah - he isn't really her uncle, but he will never state otherwise.  She has 2 best friends - Noah McAllen and Brandon Briggs.  Noah has been distant lately and though Reagan doesn't want more than friendship, she can't help feeling jealous.  Brandon is about as different from Noah as you can get.  Where Noah comes from a close knit family and has plans for college and the rodeo, Brandon's father died years ago and his mother has basically checked out.  He is on his own, determined to turn out better than his parents but is rough around the edges.

Alex (Noah's sister) is the sheriff and is engaged to Hank Matheson - volunteer fireman.  Hank wants to marry, but Alex keeps putting him off. She seems to have a problem admitting that she needs anyone.   Liz, Hank's sister, has just hung her shingle as a brand new lawyer in Harmony.  Too proud to let her family know she is short on cash, she is actually living out of her office and showering at the gym where she has a free month's membership.  The postman begins leaving her "neighbor's" mail with her when his office is locked.  This neighbor is G.L Smith - but his real name is just Gabriel Leary. G.L. Smith is his pen name under which he writes graphic novels.  He lives on a farm outside of town and has been a loner since he walked away from a military hospital about 4 years before as Gabe Wiseman.  He is paranoid and doesn't seem to do well mixing with people - until he meets Liz.

There are some other characters that round out the story and help to give you a picture of Harmony - where things don't always fall into place as the name implies.  It is a story full of warmth though and the characters are ones that I wouldn't mind having in my own life.  It is a story of how family can be found in the most unlikely places and people aren't always who they appear to be.  Sometimes you have to really look to see the gold under grime.  I loved this book and flew through it in 2 days!

~I received a copy of this book from the author for review.~


Jodi has kindly sent me an extra copy to giveaway to one of my readers.

Eligibility: U.S./Canada only

1. Sign up to be a follower of this blog - just let me know how you follow. (1 entry)

2. Follow me on twitter (@kherbrand) and tweet or use tweet button below. (1 entry)
3. Comment on any non-giveaway post and let me know. (1 entry)

All entries can be left in one comment, but must leave email address also! Giveaway will end on Nov 16. Winners will have 48 hours to respond.
Somewhere Along the Way
Publisher/Publication Date:
ISBN: 978-0-425-23772-4
358 pages

Jodi Thomas - Here today!

Please welcome Jodi Thomas, author of Somewhere Along the Way to Books and Needlepoint.

Thanks for asking me to drop by and tell everyone about my thirtieth novel and what I think is the best one I’ve ever written. These characters came alive for me and I hope they will for you. So, lets step into the second book about a small town in Texas, Harmony called SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY.

SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY is a story about a small Texas town where the people know and care about one another. From the mysterious Gabe Leary who tries to remain unnoticed because he fears someone from his past is hunting him, to the wild Liz Matheson who is trying to straighten her life out and matter, you’ll enjoy the journey.

Readers will see the story through the eyes of a teenager named Reagan who settled in as part of this town she loves and Tyler, the funeral director. You’ll fall in love and laugh at Gabe and Liz as they find love. My characters are not super heroes with magic powers, they are ordinary people living their lives, helping others and sometimes finding a love worth keeping.

I hope you enjoy SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’d be happy to hear for you when you’ve finished the story.

Jodi Thomas

Thank you Jodi for visiting Books and Needlepoint again. I must say that I am almost through with Somewhere Along the Way and am loving it! It kept me up way later than I should have been last night! Readers - be sure to check back later today for my review and a giveaway!

About Jodi

Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of 31 novels and 8 short story collec-tions. As of July 2006, she was the 11th woman to be inducted in to RWA Hall of Fame. She is also cur-rently serving as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

Jodi’s 30th Novel
NY Times and USA Today best-selling author Jodi Thomas is pleased to present her 30th novel, SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY. Thomas proves once again that she is one of mainstream romance genre’s most compelling writers with her highly anticipated sequel to WELCOME TO HARMONY, which captured America’s heart.

“Picking up two years after the conclu-sion to WELCOME TO HARMONY, Thomas once again brings to life this fascinating little Texas town and its numerous characters. The reader is expertly drawn into their lives and left eager to know what happens next with all of them.”
—RT Book Reviews

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Oct 25, 2010)

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too!  Even though this week's post covers the last two weeks - you will not see a lot of change in it.  I seem to have slept through a couple of days last week!  I just don't know where they went!

Currently Reading:

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Somewhere Along the Way by Jodi Thomas
My Give a Damn's Busted by Carolyn Brown
Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell

Bathroom Book:
Surrender the Heart by M.L. Tyndall

Audio Book:
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

New this week:
French Letters: Engaged in War by Jack W. London
The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

Books Reviewed Last Week:
Not one!

Books Waiting to Be Reviewed:
Ah-Choo!: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold by Jennifer Ackerman
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Big Dirt Nap by Rosemary Harris
Two Lethal Lies by Annie Solomon
Perfection by Julie Metz
Dewey's Nine Lives by Vicki Myron
When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead by Jerry Weintraub (audio)

Books that have been languishing here so long I will probably have to re-read to review!
Meet Me in Dreamland: A Lu-Chu and Lena Book by Steven McKinney, Valerie McKinney
Masked edited by Lou Anders

Ready - Set - Read!

Mailbox Monday (Oct 18 - Oct 24)

Bison roam the Black Hills of South Dakota

In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren.  Mailbox Monday's host for October is Avis at She Reads and Reads. Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week!

by Kate Morton

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old estate, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted fifty years before as a thirteen-year-old girl during WWII.  The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn't been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother's past.  but there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected.  The truth of what happened in "the distant hours" of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

Morton once again enthralls readers with an atmospheric story featuring characters beset by circumstance and haunted by memory.  The Distant Hours is an homage to the great classics of gothic literature and to the power of storytelling.

For many Americans, the names Yosemite, the High Sierra, and the Grand Canyon conjure up first and foremost an Ansel Adams photograph.  A lifelong environmentalist, Adams was one of the most ardent champions of our national parks and wilderness systems, and through his magnificent photographs, letter-writing campaigns, and Sierra Club activities, he arguably did more than any individual since John Muir to raise our awareness and appreciation of America's wild places.

He visited more than forty national parks in his lifetime, lugging an 8x10-inch view camera, tripod, and photographic gear through dense old-growth forest and over precarious mountain passes, often with a burro as traveling companion and baggage handler.  His customized wood-paneled station wagon, nicknamed Helios, took him across the land and boasted a photographic platform on its roof, a mobile stage from which he could gain the best possible vantage points for image making.

With more than 225 photographs -- many rarely seen and 50 never before published -- Ansel Adams in the National Parks is the most comprehensive book of Adams' photographs of our national parks and wilderness areas.  Edited by Andrea G. Stillman, who worked for Adams in the 1970s, it features original essays by critic Richard B. Woodward and commentary by Stillman on the making of numerous photographs, enlivened by quotations from Adams.  Essays by Wallace Stegner, William A. Turnage of The Ansel Adams Trust, and Adams himself capture the essence of Ansel Adams as both gifted photographer and passionate environmentalist. 

In 1950, Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts made its unassuming debut in just seven newspapers.  Today, ten years after Schulz inked his final strip, Peanuts appears in 2,200 newspapers in 75 countries, and Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang live on in film and advertisements and on television -- adored by fans and forever ingrained in popular culture.

The Peanuts Collection features rare materials -- some never before published -- carefully selected from the Charles M. Schulz Museum and family archives.  With quotes from Schulz family members and a foreward by daughter Amy Schulz Johnson, The Peanuts Collection offers insight into the world's most endearing comic strip characters and the man who made them an essential part of our world.

  • Frameable prints of Peanuts characters
  • Animation cels from holiday specials
  • Peanuts stickers and booklets
  • Rare draft sketches from throughout Schulz's career
  • Cookbook featuring Snoopy's recipe for dog treats
  • Much more!

by Jillian Larkin

Every girl wants what she can't have.  Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle -- and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it.  Now that she's engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago's most powerful families, Gloria's party days are over before they've even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria's goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch -- but Clara isn't as lilywhite as she appears.  Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she'll do anything to keep hidden. . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria's social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria's shadow.  When Lorraine's envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe.  And someone's going to be very sorry. . .

From debut author Jillian Larkin, Vixen is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties. . . when anything goes.

by Clare B. Dunkle

A chilling prequel to Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights that blends Yorkshire lore and Bronte family history.

The child who will become Heathcliff is already a savage little creature when Tabby Aykroyd arrives at Seldom House as his nursemaid.  The ghost of the last maid will not leave Tabby in peace, and her spirit is only one of many.  As she struggles against the evil forces that surround the house, Tabby tries to befriend her uncouth young charge, but her kindness cannot alter his fate.  Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff has already doomed himself and any who try to befriend him.

by Alexander Yates

A singularly effervescent novel about the disappearance of an American businessman in the Pilippines and the estranged son, jilted lover, misguided felon, and supernatural saviors who all want a piece of him.

Benicio has not spoken with Howard -- his jet-setting father -- in five years, but after his mother's death Benicio travels to Manila so they can heal their relationship.  When he arrives, Howard is nowhere to be found -- leaving an irritated son to conclude that his father has let him down again.  But Howard has actually been kidnapped by a meth-addled cabdriver and his villainous rooster.

Benicio's search for Howard uncovers the truth about his father's womanizing ways and suspicious business deals.  Interspersed with Benicio's intense inquiry and his father's calamitous life in captivity are the high-octane interconnecting narratives of Reynato Ocampo, the local celebrity-hero policeman charged with rescuing Howard; Ocampo's rag-tag team of wizardry-infused soldiers; and Monique, a novice officer at the American Embassy, whose family still feels desperately unmoored in the Philippines.

With blistering speed, wonderfully bizarre turns, and glimpses into both Filipino and ex-pat culture, Moondogs marches toward a stunning climax and challenges our conventional ideas of family and identity.

by Lucie Simone

Trina Stewart needs cash.  Fast. She's barely got enough dough to keep her fanny off the streets, let alone any spending money for hot nights clubbing on Sunset Strip.  And her job teaching English as a Second Language is seriously lacking in both pay and glamour.  But not just any job will do.  She's after a real Hollywood job.  The kind that makes her $100,000 in film school debt and ten years in Tinsel Town not seem like such a big fat waste of time and money.  But a girl can't fritter away all her time fretting over her next paycheck, can she?  Certainly not when a man like Matiu Wulf, a sexy Maori from New Zealand, parks his oh-so-fine self in the apartment above hers while he takes his best shot at Showbiz.

If only Matiu didn't seem so. . . repelled by Trina.  Really, though, it's Los Angeles that Matiu finds so revolting.  He's only in L.A. to get some scene design experience to beef up his resume, and then he's headed back to New Zealand to follow his dreams in peace, thank you very much.  That's his plan, anyway, until he falls hard for Trina. . . and Trina falls under the spell of a toothy-grinned wannabe actor who charms the pants right off her.

With Matiu on a mission to win Trina's heart, and Trina on a mission to nail down that ever elusive Hollywood job, these two soon discover that when love gets tossed in the mix, life in Tinsel Town isn't all red carpets, after parties, and celebrity gossip.  In fact, Hollywood can be a downright bitch!

What books found a home with you this week?


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