TBR

Down the TBR Hole #35

In mid-2017 I was inspired by a post on Bursting with Books to start tackling my TBR shelf on Goodreads and see if these were books I still wanted to read. The title and premise come from Lost in a Love Story. I eliminated quite a few books, but still have a massive TBR of over 2500 books. This year I’ll be tackling 10 books per week to determine if I am still interested and want to keep them, or if I’m ready to remove them from the list.

How does it work?

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This week’s selections:

Sugar Daddy (Travises, #1)

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added July 2, 2012

SHE’S FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS
Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas—if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty Jones is a complication he doesn’t need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.

HE’S THE ONE MAN SHE CAN’T HAVE
When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty finds herself under the spell of a billionaire tycoon—a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family’s past.

WILL THEY FIND THEIR HEARTS’ DESIRES OR WILL HEARTBREAK TEAR THEM APART?
Two men. One woman. A choice that can make her or break her. A woman you’ll root for every step of the way. A love story you’ll never forget.

Verdict: Remove

Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Fiction; Romance; Magical Realism
Added July 2, 2012

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, Like Water For Chocolate is a romantic, poignant tale, touched with moments of magic, graphic earthiness, bittersweet wit – and recipes.

A sumptuous feast of a novel, it relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. In desperation, Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close to her, so that Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. Only a freakish chain of tragedies, bad luck and fate finally reunite them against all the odds.

Verdict: Remove

A Simple Thing

A Simple Thing by Kathleen McCleary
Fiction; Contemporary; Chick Lit
Added July 2, 2012

A Simple Thing is a lovely, truly heartwarming novel about the drastic measures two mothers take to keep their families safe. Kathleen McCleary, the critically acclaimed author of House and Home, tells the intertwining stories of Susannah Delaney and Betty Pavalak. Susannah moves her family to remote Sounder Island—a primitive retreat with no electricity—to escape television, the internet, and the dangerous, corrupting influences of the modern technological world. Decades earlier, Betty also came to the island to escape her demons. A Simple Thing is a poignant and unforgettable novel in the vein of Jacqueline Sheehan’s Lost and Found and The Art of Saying Goodbye by Ellyn Bache. It is a tale of family and friendship that Kristin Hannah fans will take into their hearts.

Verdict: Remove

Low Pressure

Low Pressure by Sandra Brown
Fiction; Romantic Suspense
Added July 2, 2012

Bellamy Lyston Price was only 12 years old when her older sister Susan was killed on a stormy Memorial Day. Bellamy’s fear of storms is a legacy of the tornado that destroyed the crime scene as well as her memory of one vital fact that still eludes her…

Now, 18 years later, Bellamy has written a novel based on Susan’s murder. It’s her first book, and it’s an instant sensation. But because the novel is based on the most traumatic event of her life, she’s published it under a pseudonym to protect herself and her family.

But when a sleazy reporter for a tabloid newspaper discovers that the book is based on a real crime, Bellamy’s identity – and dark family secrets — are exposed. Suddenly, she finds herself embroiled in a personal conflict and at the mercy of her sister’s killer, who for almost two decades has gotten away with murder…and will stop at nothing to keep it that way.

Verdict: Remove

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch
Nonfiction; Memoir
Added July 2, 2012

A book about losing your place, finding your purpose, and immersing yourself in what holds community, and humanity, together—books

Wendy Welch and her husband had always dreamed of owning a bookstore. When the opportunity to escape a toxic work environment and run to a struggling Virginia coal mining town presented itself, they took it. And took the plunge into starting their dream as well. They chose to ignore the “death of the book,” the closing of bookstores across the nation, and the difficult economic environment, and six years later they have carved a bookstore—and a life—out of an Appalachian mountain community.

A story of beating bad odds with grace, ingenuity, good books, and single malt, this memoir chronicles two bibliophiles discovering unlikely ways in which daily living and literature intertwine. Their customers—”Bob the Mad Irishman,” “Wee Willie,” and “The Lady Who Liked Romances,” to name a few—come to the shop looking for the kind of interactive wisdom Kindles don’t spark, and they find friendship, community, and the uncommon pleasure of a good book in good company.

Verdict: Keep

The Things I Do For You

The Things I Do For You by Mary Carter
Fiction; Contemporary; Chick Lit
Added July 2, 2012

After years of supporting her husband Brad’s generally ill-fated career ventures, Bailey Jordan has a job and a life she loves, working as a high profile real estate agent in Manhattan. Things are wonderful, and she’s ready to start a family. Everything changes when Brad is involved in a car crash and dies for thirteen minutes. Previously an agnostic, Brad comes back to life on a mission. Unbeknownst to his wife, he buys a lighthouse on the Hudson River and plans to turn it into a bed and breakfast. Bailey reluctantly joins him, but she’s overwhelmed by business stresses, eclectic guests, and strange rumours. And as Brad’s behaviour grows increasingly erratic, she must find a way to get him to come back down to earth if their marriage is to survive…

Verdict: Remove

Dead Aim (Eve Duncan, #4.5)

Dead Aim by Iris Johansen
Fiction; Suspense; Thriller
Added July 4, 2012

She witnesses death through the eye of her camera…now a relentless killer is focused on her. A celebrated photojournalist, Alex Graham has recorded some of the most tragic and heartbreaking of stories, but her latest assignment has forced her across a dangerous line. At a dam collapse in Arapahoe Junction, Colorado, Alex witnesses a conspiracy that will shock a nation. For the collapse of the Arapahoe Dam was not an accident. The official story is just a cover-up for a truth so frightening, so unthinkable, anyone who threatens to reveal it must be silenced. Forever. Hr only ally is an ex-convert commando with a checkered past, a price on his head, and a deadly assassin at his heels. What happens when a reporter does more than just report? What happens when she becomes involved in the story? She ends up marked for death by an enemy who never misses, by those who’ve already got her centred…dead aim.

Verdict: Remove

One Reckless Summer (Destiny, #1)

One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake
Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Added July 4, 2012

The perfect daughter. The perfect prom queen. The perfect wife. Jenny Tolliver’s been the good girl all her life, and it’s gotten her nowhere. Now that her marriage has been busted up by her cheating ex, she’s decided it’s time to regroup and rediscover herself. This summer she’s headed back to her hometown of Destiny, Ohio, to the very lakeshore cottage where she grew up, to figure out what life holds in store for her next.

She never dreamed the answer would be Mick Brody, Destiny’s #1 hellraiser. He comes from the wrong side of the tracks (or in his case, the lake), and he’s landed in hot water more times than he can count. He’s exactly the kind of guy Jenny’s always kept her distance from . . . but soon the good girl and the bad boy are caught in a raw heat that’s out of control. Too bad Mick’s got a secret that threatens to tear them apart and ruin Jenny’s perfectly, passionately reckless summer .

Verdict: Remove

Backfire (FBI Thriller, #16)

Backfire by Catherine Coulter
Fiction; Romantic Suspense
Added July 4, 2012

San Francisco Judge Ramsey Hunt, longtime friend to FBI agents Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich, is presiding over the trial of Clive and Cindy Cahill – accused in a string of murders – when the proceedings take a radical turn. Federal prosecutor Mickey O’Rourke, known for his relentless style, becomes suddenly tentative in his opening statement, leading Hunt to suspect he’s been threatened – suspicions that are all but confirmed when Hunt is shot in the back.

Savich and Sherlock receive news of the attack as an ominous note is delivered to Savich at the Hoover Building: YOU DESERVE THIS FOR WHAT YOU DID.  Security tapes fail to reveal who delivered the tapes.  Who is behind the shooting of Judge Ramsey Hunt?  Who sent the note to Savich? And what does it all mean?  Savich and Sherlock race to San Francisco to find out…watching their backs all the while.

Verdict: Keep

Reinventing Claire

Reinventing Claire by Darian Wilk
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added July 6, 2012

People get divorced, but that’s what happens to other people. That’s what Claire thought anyway, until her husband, Charlie, tells her he wants a divorce.

Claire has no choice but to take on the title of Divorced Woman, and face the question she has no idea how to answer. Who is Claire without Charlie? Her family believes her newly divorced woes can be cured by landing herself a boyfriend. With her dating dunce cap in hand, Claire stumbles her way through the foreign territory of online dating.

A teacher from hell, a softball coach, and a sap later, Claire proclaims herself the dating idiot she thought she was, and fears she’s doomed to be a lonely, crazy cat lady. But an accidental run-in with an old acquaintance might change everything. What starts with comparing dating battle wounds over a cup of coffee, quickly turns into something Claire had given up on.

As Claire discovers maybe there is love after Charlie after all, Charlie realizes his mistake. He wants her back, and he’ll do anything to prove it to her. Now Claire must choose who deserves her heart, and if she’s really willing to give it away again.

Verdict: Remove

This week’s stats: Keep 2; Remove 8

2018 stats: Keep 21; Remove 59

**All covers link to Goodreads; all title link to Amazon {affiliate}

TBR

Down the TBR Hole #34

In mid-2017 I was inspired by a post on Bursting with Books to start tackling my TBR shelf on Goodreads and see if these were books I still wanted to read. The title and premise come from Lost in a Love Story. I eliminated quite a few books, but still have a massive TBR of over 2500 books. This year I’ll be tackling 10 books per week to determine if I am still interested and want to keep them, or if I’m ready to remove them from the list.

How does it work?

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This week’s selections:

Crazy Hot (Steele Street, #1)

Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen
Fiction; Romantic Suspense
Added June 25, 2012

Only the most dire emergency could send paleontologist Regan McKinney racing across the West in search of a man. But her grandfather has mysteriously vanished, and Quinn Younger could be the missing link. What the bad-boy-turned-American-hero is doing in the deserted tumbleweed town of Cisco, Utah, is an even bigger mystery…until danger trails Regan right to his front door and the sexy ex–air force pilot becomes her sole hope of survival.…

Quinn figures things can’t get worse than being stuck in tiny Cisco on an impossible special-ops mission. Then the dinosaur doc’s granddaughter roars into town with bad guys on her tail. Once, Quinn was on the fast track to a life of crime…until Regan’s grandfather rescued him. Now Quinn owes it to them both to find the old guy. But throw in a deadly terrorist and some hot dinosaur bones, and a man could get himself killed. Because facing down danger with this revved-up lady is one endless adrenaline-rush of pleasure—especially when they’re falling crazy in love… and hanging on for dear life.…

Verdict: Remove

Stealing Shadows (Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #1)

Stealing Shadows by Kay Hooper
Fiction; Romantic Suspense; Paranormal
Added June 25, 2012

Psychic Cassie Neill helps the L.A. police catch killers – until she makes a terrible mistake and an innocent child dies. Cassie flees to a small North Carolina town, hoping that a quiet life will silence the voices that invade her unwilling mind. But Cassie’s abilities know few boundaries. And she’s become certain – as no one else can be – that a murderer is stalking Ryan’s Bluff.

It’s his fury that Cassie senses first, then his foul thoughts and perverse excitement. Yet she doesn’t know who he is or where he will strike. The sheriff won’t even listen to her – until the first body is found exactly where and how she predicted. Now a suspect herself, she races desperately to unmask the killer in the only way she knows: by entering his twisted mind. Her every step is loaded with fear and uncertainty… because if he senses her within him, he’ll trap her there, so deep she’ll never find her way out.

Verdict: Remove

The Bride's Necklace (Necklace Trilogy, #1)

The Bride’s Necklace by Kat Martin
Fiction; Romance; Historical
Added June 25, 2012

Knowing that she alone can protect her sister from the Baron Harwood, their lecherous stepfather, Victoria Temple Whiting snatches the family’s heirloom necklace, believed to hold the power to bring great happiness or terrible tragedy, to pay for their escape to London. Terrified that the baron will find them, Victoria poses as Tory Temple and finds employment as a servant in the household of handsome Cordell Easton, the scandalous Earl of Brant.

The sisters’ arrival couldn’t have been more welcome. In need of a new mistress, Cord turns to Tory, whose wit and intellect intrigue him. But when the baron discovers the girls’ whereabouts, Cord learns Tory’s secret—her noble birth. Furious that he has compromised the daughter of a peer, Cord must decide—marry Tory and keep her safe, or allow his stubborn pride to deny his heart.

Verdict: Remove

Shadow and Silk

Shadow and Silk by Elizabeth Lowell
Fiction; Romantic Suspense
Added June 25, 2012

Starting over with a new career after a bitter divorce, Dani Warren is approached by ex-mercenary Shane Crowe, who seeks her help in locating a sacred Tibetan treasure.

Verdict: Remove

Something From Tiffany’s

Something from Tiffany’s by Melissa Hill
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added June 25, 2012

Two very different men are shopping for gifts for the women they love. Gary is buying his girlfriend Rachel a charm bracelet whereas Ethan’s looking for something a little more special – an engagement ring. But when the two men’s shopping bags get confused, the couples’ lives become intertwined.

Verdict: Remove

Mr. Maybe

Mr. Maybe by Jane Green
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added June 25, 2012

To Libby Mason, Mr. Right has always meant Mr. Rich. A twenty seven-year-old publicist, she’s barely able to afford her fashionable and fabulous lifestyle and often has to foot the bill for dates with Struggling Writer Nick, a sexy but perpetually strapped-for-cash guy she’s dating (no commitments – really). So when Ed, Britain’s wealthiest but stodgiest bachelor, enters the picture, her idea of the fairy tale romance is turned on it’s head.

On one hand, Nick makes up for his low bank-account balance by his performance in the sack, or in the bathtub, as the case may be. But life with him means little more than nightly trips to the bar, a dark and grungy apartment, and plenty of dull political tirades to boot. But those blue eyes, and that tender heart…

On the other hand, there’s Ed, whose luxurious house and gargantuan bank account are quite tempting to the starving Libby. But his unsavory mustache and bumbling ways make Libby wonder if the platinum AMEX and unlimited “retail therapy” are worth it. He may have fallen in love with her at first sight, but nothing seems to solve his lackluster performance in the sack – even speed reading The Joy of Sex. When the diamond shopping commences, Libby is forced to realize that the time for “maybe” is up.

Verdict: Remove

Rescue Me (Last Chance Rescue, #1)

Rescue Me by Christy Reece
Fiction; Romantic Suspense
Added June 25, 2012

A covert operative of Last Chance Rescue (LCR) Enterprises, Eden St. Claire has made secrets her life’s work. Seven years ago, an evening of emotional vulnerability and pure pleasure almost destroyed her. Now Eden wears her beauty like a mask, concealing any hint of vulnerability or the demons of her past.

A daring rescue of an innocent girl on a Greek island leads Eden to a new partner. Jordan Montgomery has been looking for Eden–though he knows her by another name, from another time. But his search for her is overshadowed by a case that’s gone international. A powerful, ruthless, organized network is stealing women and children around the world. And a lover, a traitor, and a killer all wait for Eden’s next move.

Verdict: Remove

Fancy Pants (Wynette, Texas, #1)

Fancy Pants by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added July 2, 2012

THEY’RE CAVIAR AND BEER. KEROSENE ON FIRE. AND THEY’RE FALLING HEAD-OVER-HEELS IN LOVE….

She was the most beautiful British bauble in Europe’s jet-set playgrounds. Now she’s broke, furious, and limping down a backwoods road in an ugly pink Southern Belle gown….

He was tall, lean, and all-American gorgeous. He liked his brews cold and women loved to keep him warm. Why in hell is he stopping his car for this woebegone, surly Scarlett?

Meet Francesca Day and Dallie Beaudine, two incredible characters whose tangled love affair is at the heart of this ravishing New York Times bestseller from award-winning author Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Come enjoy the adventure of a lifetime — an irresistible story that’s touching, hilarious, and hellcat-passionate. You’ll never forget Dallie and the sassy lady who needs a good swift kick in her…

Verdict: Remove

The Road Not Taken and Other Poems

The Road not Taken and Other Poems by Robert Frost
Poetry
Added July 2, 2012

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

These deceptively simple lines from the title poem of this collection suggest Robert Frost at his most representative: the language is simple, clear and colloquial, yet dense with meaning and wider significance. Drawing upon everyday incidents, common situations and rural imagery, Frost fashioned poetry of great lyrical beauty and potent symbolism. Now a selection of the best of his early works is available in this volume, originally published in 1916 under the title Mountain Interval. Included are many moving and expressive poems: “An Old Man’s Winter Night,” “In the Home Stretch,” “Meeting and passing,” “Putting In the Seed,” “A Time to Talk,” “The Hill Wife,” “The Exposed Nest,” “The Sound of Trees,” and more. All are reprinted here complete and unabridged.

Verdict: Keep

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd
Nonfiction; Memoir; Spirituality
Added July 2, 2012

The acclaimed spiritual memoir from the author of The Secret Life of Bees.

I was amazed to find that I had no idea how to unfold my spiritual life in a feminine way. I was surprised and, in fact, a little terrified when I found myself in the middle of a feminist spiritual reawakening.

Sue Monk was a “conventionally religious, churchgoing woman, a traditional wife and mother” with a thriving career as a Christian writer until she began to question her role as a woman in her culture, her family, and her church. From a jarring encounter with sexism in a suburban drugstore to monastery retreats and rituals in the caves of Crete, Kidd takes readers through the fear, anger, healing, and transformation of her awakening. Retaining a meaningful connection “with the deep song of Christianity,” she opens the door for traditional Christian women to discover a spirituality that speaks directly to them and provides inspiring wisdom for all who struggle to embrace their full humanity.

Verdict: Remove

This week’s stats: Keep 1; Remove 9

2018 stats: Keep 19; Remove 51

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

TBR

Down the TBR Hole #33

In mid-2017 I was inspired by a post on Bursting with Books to start tackling my TBR shelf on Goodreads and see if these were books I still wanted to read. The title and premise come from Lost in a Love Story. I eliminated quite a few books, but still have a massive TBR of over 2500 books. This year I’ll be tackling 10 books per week to determine if I am still interested and want to keep them, or if I’m ready to remove them from the list.

How does it work?

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This week’s selections:

Moving Target (Rarities Unlimited, #1)

Moving Target by Elizabeth Lowell
Fiction; Romantic Suspense
Added June 1, 2012

The troubling message from Serena Charters’s late grandmother appears in a package containing four pages of a centuries-old illuminated manuscript — a strange inheritance that hides many secrets…and has already cost many lives. Seeking answers, Serena turns to Erik North of Rarities Unlimited, a reclusive manuscript appraiser with a passion for the past. Without warning, they are thrust together into the center of a lethal firestorm that rages between two worlds — one long dead, yet living on in an ancient text, the other chillingly alive and fraught with peril. In the blink of an eye, Serena and Erik have become targets of an unseen and determined stalker as they get closer to shocking revelations about Serena’s legacy, the cold murder of an eccentric old woman in the heat of the Mojave Desert…and just how far a remorseless killer is willing to go. And now their only slim hope of survival is to keep moving.

Verdict: Keep

Last Summer

Last Summer by Holly Chamberlin
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added June 1, 2012

The town of Yorktide, close to Maine’s beautiful beaches and the city of Portland, seems like the perfect place to raise a family. For Jane Patterson, there’s another advantage: her best friend, Frannie Giroux, lives next door, and their teenaged daughters, Rosie and Meg, are inseparable. But in the girls’ freshman year of high school, everything changes.

Jane always felt lucky that she was able to work from home, to be there to nurture and protect Rosie. But has she been too protective? Rosie—quiet, shy, and also very pretty—attracts the sneers and slights of a clique of older girls. Over time, the bullying worsens. When Meg betrays their friendship, fearful that she too will be targeted, Rosie suffers an emotional breakdown.

Blaming both Meg and Frannie, Jane tries to help Rosie heal while dealing with her own guilt and anger. In the months that follow, each struggles with the ideas of forgiveness and compassion, of knowing when a friendship has been shattered beyond repair—and when hope can be salvaged, one small moment at a time…

Verdict: Remove

Sweet Talk

Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood
Fiction; Contemporary; Romantic Suspense
Added June 1, 2012

When FBI agent Grayson Kincaid first encounters Olivia MacKenzie, she makes quite an impression.

The beautiful, tough, young attorney has stumbled into the middle of an FBI sting operation and has reduced it to chaos. Months of surveillance and careful planning down the drain, Kincaid’s partner is furious and lets Olivia know that she’s ticked off the wrong guy. After all, he’s FBI.

Olivia isn’t intimidated by his partner’s bullying because she’s something even scarier . . . she’s IRS.

And working for the IRS isn’t for the faint of heart. She’s on the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naive and unsuspecting victims, and one she has personal reasons to be angry about. But after she asks questions of the wrong people, her life is suddenly endangered. She’s accustomed to fighting for the underdog but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when to call for reinforcements, she contacts Grayson Kincaid.

Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.

Verdict: Keep

Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha's Path

Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness by Henepola Gunaratana
Nonfiction; Sprirtuality
Added June 3, 2012

In his classic and engaging style, Bhante Gunaratana delves deeply into the noble eightfold path, the Buddha’s most profound teaching on bringing an end to suffering.

With easy-to-understand and specific advice, Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness offers skillful ways to handle anger, find right livelihood, cultivate loving-friendliness, and overcome the mental hindrances that prevent happiness.

Whether you are an experienced meditator or someone who’s only just beginning, this gentle and down-to-earth guide will help you bring the heart of the Buddha’s teachings into every aspect of your life.

Verdict: Keep

Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life

Hand Wash Cold by Karen Maezen Miller
Nonfiction; Spirituality; Memoir
Added June 3, 2012

It’s easy to think that meaning, fulfillment, and bliss are “out there,” somewhere outside of our daily routine. But in this playful yet profound reflection on awareness, the compelling voice of a contemporary woman reveals the happiness at the bottom of the laundry basket, the love in the kitchen sink, and the peace possible in one’s own backyard. Follow Karen Maezen Miller through youthful ambition and self-absorption, beyond a broken marriage, and into the steady calm of a so-called ordinary life. In her hands, household chores and caregiving tasks become opportunities for self-examination, lessons in relationship, and liberating moments of selflessness. With attention, it’s the little things — even the unexpected, unpleasant, and unwanted things — that count

Verdict: Remove

Objects of My Affection

Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added June 3, 2012

Lucy Bloom is broke, freshly dumped by her boyfriend, and forced to sell her house to send her nineteen-year-old son to drug rehab. Although she’s lost it all, she’s determined to start over. So when she’s offered a high-paying gig helping clear the clutter from the home of reclusive and eccentric painter Marva Meier Rios, Lucy grabs it. Armed with the organizing expertise she gained while writing her book, Things Are Not People, and fueled by a burning desire to get her life back on track, Lucy rolls up her sleeves to take on the mess that fills every room of Marva’s huge home. Lucy soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva, who seems to love the objects in her home too much to let go of any of them.

While trying to stay on course toward a strict deadline—and with an ex-boyfriend back in the picture, a new romance on the scene, and her son’s rehab not going as planned—Lucy discovers that Marva isn’t just hoarding, she is also hiding a big secret. The two form an unlikely bond, as each learns from the other that there are those things in life we keep, those we need to let go—but it’s not always easy to know the difference.

Verdict: Remove

Erotic Deception

Erotic Deception by Karen Cote’
Fiction; Contemporary; Erotica
Added June 3, 2012

Her brother was dead. He’d practically raised her and stood by her during a miscarriage that left her barren. He’d been the sole person she’d had left in this world. How had Dr. Lily Delaney with a PhD in Psychology missed the psychotic signs of Anthony Capriccio, the Kansas City District Attorney and her ex-fiancé? Now at twenty-nine she was on the run to hide from the impending threats to her own life. But on the road to a safe secluded lake community, Lily crashes into the path of a new dangerous element, literally. One with deep blue eyes who totes a badge and carries a gun. And would their budding relationship be threatened when Lily finds out her own doctor had lied and discovers she really can have children? How would the sheriff take knowing she’d gotten pregnant when she’d already heartily assured him she wasn’t?

After his experience as a detective in Kansas City, Missouri, Jet Walker enjoyed his life as sheriff of the quiet lake community, Windom Hills. However, when Lily Delaney literally crashes into his car and life, his world disrupts into chaos. Couldn’t the woman do anything normal? Between fighting to protect her and fighting against his growing attraction for her, the previous peace Jet had found was now falling apart. And how could he possibly trust another woman after the trick his ex-wife played in trying to pass off another man’s child as his?

Verdict: Keep

Shelter

Shelter by Frances Greenslade
Fiction; Contemporary
Added June 3, 2012

For sisters Maggie and Jenny growing up in the Pacific mountains in the early 1970s, life felt nearly perfect. Seasons in their tiny rustic home were peppered with wilderness hikes, building shelters from pine boughs and telling stories by the fire with their doting father and beautiful, adventurous mother. But at night, Maggie—a born worrier—would count the freckles on her father’s weathered arms, listening for the peal of her mother’s laughter in the kitchen, and never stop praying to keep them all safe from harm. Then her worst fears come true: Not long after Maggie’s tenth birthday, their father is killed in a logging accident, and a few months later, their mother abruptly drops the girls at a neighbor’s house, promising to return. She never does.

With deep compassion and sparkling prose, Frances Greenslade’s mesmerizing debut takes us inside the extraordinary strength of these two girls as they are propelled from the quiet, natural freedom in which they were raised to a world they can’t begin to fathom. Even as the sisters struggle to understand how their mother could abandon them, they keep alive the hope that she is fighting her way back to the daughters who adore her and who need her so desperately.

Heartwarming and lushly imagined, Shelter celebrates the love between two sisters and the complicated bonds of family. It is an exquisitely written ode to sisters, mothers, daughters, and to a woman’s responsibility to herself and those she loves.

Verdict: Remove

The Life List (The List Trilogy, #1)

The Life List by Chrissy Anderson
Fiction; Romance
Added June 3, 2012

When she was just sixteen, Chrissy Anderson made a life list…

…The outcome is a dream husband, a career to envy, and the kind of best friends every girl wants. Then out of nowhere…an affair. What would you do if you realized the life you created wasn’t right for you? You think you know the answer? Think again. Follow Chrissy as she lies and cheats and ultimately learns to tell the truth to herself and those that she loves.

At twenty-eight, Chrissy has been steadily checking off the boxes on her life list as she mocks the style and life choices of everyone around her. She’s got it all—or so everyone thinks. Her life begins to fall apart when she unexpectedly meets a much younger man, Leo, who makes her question just how perfect her “perfect life” really is. With the help of her no-nonsense therapist, Dr. Maria, Chrissy learns more about herself than she anticipates. But it isn’t until she stares an untimely death in the face that Chrissy is catapulted into an overdue reality check. Only then does she scramble to correct the mistakes of her past…trying to figure out if it’s her husband Kurt, her lover Leo, or both that she has to leave behind to make everything right.

Verdict: Remove

Be Free Where You Are

Be Free Where You Are by Thich Nhat Hanh
Nonfiction; Spirituality; Buddhism
Added June 25, 2012

This compendium of the core teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, based on a talk given at a prison, shows how mindfulness practice can cultivate freedom no matter where you are.

Verdict: Remove

This week’s stats: Keep 4; Remove 6

2018 stats: Keep 18; Remove 47

**all covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

TBR

My TBR List~ February 2018

I have always been a mood reader and never really created a TBR list to work off of, but I decided that this year I wanted to try something different. Each month I will share with you the books that I hope to read… and we’ll see how it goes.

January was a tough month and it took me much longer to get my apartment set up than I expected. Unfortunately that means I barely touched on my January TBR so there are several repeats on this month’s list. That being said, here are my selections for February…

Audio:

Make Me Sin (Bad Habit, #2)  Not Quite Enough (Not Quite, #3)  Goalie (Texas Mutiny, #3)  The Comfort of Favorite Things (Hope Springs #5)

Make Me Sin//Not Quite Enough//Goalie//The Comfort of Favorite Things

eARCs:

Kit Kat and Lucy: The Country Cats Who Changed a City Girl's World  Hostile Takeover  In Ruins (Something More, #3)  It Started With Goodbye

Kit Kat and Lucy//Hostile Takeover//In Ruins//It Started with Goodbye

eBooks:

Angels & Whiskey (Saddles & Racks, #1)  Sweet Harmonies (Hope Falls, #2)  What's Left of Me (What's Left of Me, #1)  The Girl of Sand & Fog (Sand & Fog, #2)

Angels & Whiskey//Sweet Harmonies//What’s Left of Me//The Girl of Sand & Fog

Physical books:

Island of Glass (The Guardians Trilogy, #3)  Holding Up the Universe   An Abundance of Katherines  Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Island of Glass//Holding Up the Universe//An Abundance of Katherines//Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Library books:

Love May Fail  We Were Liars  Neverwhere  The Accident Season

Love May Fail//We Were Liars//Neverwhere//The Accident Season

What are you planning to read this month?

**all covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

 

TBR

Down the TBR Hole #32

In mid-2017 I was inspired by a post on Bursting with Books to start tackling my TBR shelf on Goodreads and see if these were books I still wanted to read. The title and premise come from Lost in a Love Story. I eliminated quite a few books, but still have a massive TBR of over 2500 books. This year I’ll be tackling 10 books per week to determine if I am still interested and want to keep them, or if I’m ready to remove them from the list.

How does it work?

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This week’s selections:

Good Girls Don't

Good Girls Don’t by Kelley St. John
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added May 11, 2012

In high school, Bill Brannon was head over heels for his childhood friend Lettie Campbell. Twelve years later, Bill has almost forgotten his crush on the wild and feisty Lettie. Almost. But when fate reunites them, he realizes that some opportunities shouldn’t be missed. Lettie Campbell wants to start her own business designing lingerie. Her dream is going to become a reality with the cash she’s bringing in as a cheating consultant at My Alibi, a company that lies for cheaters 24/7. When her sister, Amy, asks her to help a friend by providing an alibi, Lettie agrees. Lying to strangers is easy. But lying to the friend you’ve had since third grade is hard. As the lies pile up and Lettie and Bill burn up the sheets, she will have to come clean. Because the person she’s lying to is Bill, and no amount of lies will help her when he discovers that he’s been conned.

Verdict: Remove

Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress by Susan McBride
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added May 11, 2012

Two sisters whose lives seemed forever intertwined are torn apart when a magical little black dress gives each one a glimpse of an unavoidable future.

Antonia Ashton has worked hard to build a thriving career and a committed relationship, but she realizes her life has gone off-track. Forced to return home to Blue Hills when her mother, Evie, suffers a massive stroke, Toni finds the old Victorian where she grew up as crammed full of secrets as it is with clutter. Now she must put her mother’s house in order—and uncover long-buried truths about Evie and her aunt, Anna, who vanished fifty years earlier on the eve of her wedding. By shedding light on the past, Toni illuminates her own mistakes and learns the most unexpected things about love, magic, and a little black dress with the power to break hearts…and mend them.

Verdict: Remove

A Single Thread (Cobbled Quilt #1)

A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added May 11, 2012

It’s a long way from Fort Worth, Texas, to New Bern, Connecticut, yet it only takes a day in the charming Yankee town to make Evelyn Dixon realize she’s found her new home. The abrupt end of her marriage was Evelyn’s wake-up call to get busy chasing her dream of opening a quilt shop. Finding a storefront is easy enough; starting a new life isn’t. Little does Evelyn imagine it will bring a trio like Abigail Burgess, her niece Liza, and Margot Matthews through her door.

Troubled and angry after her mother’s death, Liza threatens to embarrass her Aunt Abigail all over town unless she joins her for quilting classes. A victim of downsizing at the peak of her career, Margot hopes an event hosted by the quilt shop could be a great chance to network-and keep from dying of boredom.

As they stitch their unique creations, Evelyn, Abigail, Liza, and Margot form a sisterhood they never sought-but one that they’ll be grateful for when the unexpected provides a poignant reminder of the single thread that binds us all.

Verdict: Remove

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added May 11, 2012

Behind closed doors, they’re laying down the law.

When it comes to the laws of attraction…

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face-to-face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they have kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as coworkers for one reason: to make partner at the firm.

…There are no rules.

But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. Though apprehensive at first, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection does not last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all-out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar…

Verdict: Remove

After Hello

After Hello by Lisa Mangum
Fiction; Young Adult; Contemporary
Added May 11, 2012

What if the first day of your relationship was the only day you had?

Seventeen-year-old Sara is a seeker. She’s always on the lookout for the perfect moment to capture with her ever-present, point-and-shoot camera, especially on her first trip to New York City. Sam is a finder. He has a knack for finding what other people can’t—a first-edition book or the last two tickets to a sold-out Broadway show.

When Sam and Sara’s paths cross, they form an unlikely partnership in search of a seemingly elusive work of art. They have one day to find the impossible. Fate brought their talents together, but what happens when time runs out? Will love be able to overcome fate?

Verdict: Remove

Summerland

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added May 11, 2012

It’s June 15th, the night of Nantucket High School graduation. Four juniors are driving home from a party when something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash. The driver of the car, Penny Alistair, is killed, and her twin brother, Hobby Alistair, is left in a coma. Penny’s boyfriend, Jake Randolph, and Penny’s friend Demeter Castle are unhurt–but suffer tremendous emotional damage. Jake and his family move to the other side of the globe–to the west coast of Australia–in order to escape the horrors of the accident. Demeter falls prey to alcohol abuse and other self-destructive behaviors that nearly lead to her destroying her own life.

SUMMERLAND delves into the circumstances surrounding this accident, the roots of which lie deep in the past, with the first interactions between these four friends and their parents. It’s a novel about how tragedy affects individuals, families, and the island community as a whole, and how healing can happen, in even the most devastating circumstances.

Verdict: Remove

Next to Love

Next to Love by Ellen Feldman
Fiction; Historical; Romance
Added May 11, 2012

It’s 1941. Babe throws like a boy, thinks for herself, and never expects to escape the poor section of her quiet Massachusetts town. Then World War II breaks out, and everything changes. Her friend Grace, married to a reporter on the local paper, fears being left alone with her infant daughter when her husband ships out; Millie, the third member of their childhood trio, now weds the boy who always refused to settle down; and Babe wonders if she should marry Claude, who even as a child could never harm a living thing. As the war rages abroad, life on the home front undergoes its own battles and victories; and when the men return, and civilian life resumes, nothing can go back to quite the way it was.

From postwar traumas to women’s rights, racial injustice to anti-Semitism, Babe, Grace, and Millie experience the dislocations, the acute pains, and the exhilaration of a society in flux. Along the way, they will learn what it means to be a wife, a mother, a friend, a fighter, and a survivor. Beautiful, startling, and heartbreaking, Next to Love is a love letter to the brave women who shaped a nation’s destiny.

Verdict: Remove

Buddhism for Beginners

Buddhism for Beginners by Thubton Chodron
Nonfiction; Spirituality
Added May 26, 2012

This user’s guide to Buddhist basics takes the most commonly asked questions—beginning with “What is the essence of the Buddha’s teachings?”—and provides simple answers in plain English. Thubten Chodron’s responses to the questions that always seem to arise among people approaching Buddhism make this an exceptionally complete and accessible introduction—as well as a manual for living a more peaceful, mindful, and satisfying Life. Buddhism for Beginners is an ideal first book on the subject for anyone, but it’s also a wonderful resource for seasoned students, since the question-and-answer format makes it easy to find just the topic you’re looking for, such as:

• What is the goal of the Buddhist path?
• What is karma?
• If all phenomena are empty, does that mean nothing exists?
• How can we deal with fear?
• How do I establish a regular meditation practice?
• What are the qualities I should look for in a teacher?
• What is Buddha-nature?
• Why can’t we remember our past lives?

Verdict: Keep

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added May 26, 2012

Thirty-nine year old Rachel is having a really bad year. After losing her job and breaking up with her boyfriend, Rachel has inherited her late aunt’s house, her beloved border collie, and a crowded rescue kennel, despite the fact that she knows almost nothing about dogs. Still, considering her limited options, she gamely takes up the challenge of running the kennel. And as Rachel starts finding new homes for the abandoned strays, it turns out that it might not just be the dogs that need rescuing.

Verdict: Remove

Let Love Find You (Reid Family, #4)

Let Love Find You by Johanna Lindsey
Fiction; Historical Romance
Added May 26, 2012

London society has its very own Cupid. Renowned horse breeder and occasional matchmaker Devin Baldwin pairs eligible young ladies with suitable gentlemen based on his theory of animal magnetism. Unafraid of ruffling the ton’s feathers, this darkly handsome Cupid doles out tips for bettering one’s chances of meeting a mate that are as pointed as the love legend’s sharpest arrows!
Lovely Amanda Locke, the daughter of a duke, is everything a nobleman could desire, yet she enters her third Season still searching for a match. Gossipmongers’ tongues are wagging, and her mystified family is considering drastic measures to find her a husband. But the insufferable advice of this Cupid fellow is the last thing Amanda wants.
When an earl passionate about horses becomes the target of her husband hunt, Amanda knows it’s time to overcome her fear of riding. With her sister-in-law Ophelia hastening the romance along by arranging riding lessons, Amanda is soon taking instruction from infuriating Devin Baldwin. Astonishingly, in her daily encounters with Devin—who treats her as an ordinary young woman, not a prize to be won at the marriage mart—Amanda experiences passion for the first time. Now, her search for a match takes her in an unexpected direction as she finds herself falling in love with Cupid himself.

Verdict: Remove

This Week’s stats: Keep 1; Remove 9

2018 Stats: Keep 14; Remove 36

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

TBR

Down the TBR Hole #31

In mid-2017 I was inspired by a post on Bursting with Books to start tackling my TBR shelf on Goodreads and see if these were books I still wanted to read. The title and premise come from Lost in a Love Story. I eliminated quite a few books, but still have a massive TBR of over 2500 books. This year I’ll be tackling 10 books per week to determine if I am still interested and want to keep them, or if I’m ready to remove them from the list.

How does it work?

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This week’s selections:

The Art of Eating

The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher
Nonfiction; Memoir; Food
Added May 7, 2012

This contains the author’s five most popular books – “Consider the Oyster”, “The Gastronomical Me”, “Serve it Forth”, “How to Cook a Wolf”, and “An Alphabet for Gourmets”. The volume contains an array of thoughts, memories and recipes.

Verdict: Keep

The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life

The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life by Steve Leveen
Nonfiction; Reference
Added May 7, 2012

Do not set out to live a well-read life but rather your well-read life. No one can be well-read using someone else’s reading list. Unless a book is good for you, you won’t connect with it and gain from it. Just as no one can tell you how to lead your life, no one can tell you what to read for your life.

How do readers find more time to read? In The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life, Steve Leveen offers both inspiration and practical advice for bibliophiles on how to get more books in their life and more life from their books.

His recommendations are disarmingly refreshing, as when he advises when not to read a book and why not to feel guilty if you missed reading all those classics in school. He helps readers reorganize their bookshelves into a Library of Candidates that they actively build and a Living Library of books read with enthusiasm, and he emphasizes the value of creating a Bookography, or annotated list of your reading life. Separate chapters are devoted to the power of audio books and the merits of reading groups.

Verdict: Keep

Light in Shadow (Whispering Springs, #1)

Light in Shadow by Jayne Ann Krentz
Fiction; Romance; Paranormal
Added May 7, 2012

Zoe Luce is a successful interior designer in the Arizona town of Whispering Springs who’s developed an unusual career specialty-helping recently divorced clients redesign their homes, to help them forget the past and start anew. But Zoe knows that some things can’t be covered up with a coat of paint. And when she senses that one of her clients may be hiding a dark secret, she enlists P.I. Ethan Truax to find the truth.

Working together, they solve the mystery… and barely escape with their lives. But Ethan’s exquisite detection skills are starting to backfire on Zoe: she never wanted to let him find out about her former life; she never wanted to reveal her powerful, inexplicable gift for sensing the history hidden within a house’s walls; she never wanted him to know that “Zoe Luce” doesn’t really exist. She never wanted to fall in love with him.

Now, no matter how much she resists, Ethan may be her only hope-because the people she’s been running from have found her. And just when Zoe dares to dream of a normal life and a future with the man she loves, her own past starts to shadow her every step-and threatens to take her back into a nightmare.

Verdict: Keep

Fabulous Beast

Fabulous Beast by Jayne Ann Krentz
Fiction; Romance
Added May 7, 2012

Much More Than He Seemed…

Tabitha Graham thought she had found a soul mate when she rescued Dev Colter from a dangerous situation. She thought he was a kindred spirit: gentle, shy and in need of love.

But Dev had a secret life that made him as dangerous as any of the fabulous, legendary beasts the bookstore owner had studied. When she fled from his sensual claim, his pursuit was relentless. Once he had tasted Tabitha, Dev had no intention of relinquishing his prey!

Too late Tabitha discovered she had roused a sleeping dragon…

Verdict: Keep

The Cowboy (Bitter Creek #1)

The Cowboy by Joan Johnston
Fiction; Romance; Western
Added May 7, 2012

Trace Blackthorne was taught from the cradle to take what he wanted. And he wanted Callie Creed. Eleven years ago, the feud between their families had torn them apart. But now Trace has come home, a ruthless hard-eyed stranger, making her an offer she couldn’t refuse: marry him and save her struggling family from financial ruin. But the secrets of the past return to haunt them. And Callie is once again compelled to make an impossible choice – between the family who desperately needs her and the only man she has ever loved.

Verdict: Remove

Sleeping Tigers

Sleeping Tigers by Holly Robinson
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added May 7, 2012

Jordan O’Malley has everything she ever wanted: a job she loves, a beautiful home, and a dependable boyfriend. When her life unravels after a breast cancer scare, Jordan decides to join her wildest childhood friend in San Francisco and track down her drifter brother, Cam, who harbors secrets of his own. When Cam suddenly flees the country, Jordan follows, determined to bring him home. Her journey takes her to the farthest reaches of majestic Nepal, where she encounters tests-and truths-about love and family that she never could have imagined.

Verdict: Remove

Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life

Learning to Breathe by Priscilla Warner
Nonfiction; Memoir; Spirituality
Added May 7, 2012

Priscilla Warner has had a great life: a supportive husband, a flourishing marriage, two loving sons, and a bestselling book, The Faith Club. Despite all her good fortune and success, she suffers from anxiety and panic attacks so debilitating that they leave her unable to breathe. She’s tried self-medicating—in high school, with a hidden flask of vodka—and later, with prescription medications—daily doses of Klonopin with a dark chocolate chaser. After forty years of hyperventilating, and an overwhelming panic attack that’s the ultimate wake-up call, Warner’s mantra becomes “Neurotic, Heal Thyself.” A spirited New Yorker, she sets out to find her inner Tibetan monk by meditating every day, aiming to rewire her brain and her body and mend her frayed nerves. On this winding path from panic to peace, with its hairpin emotional curves and breathtaking drops, she also delves into a wide range of spiritual and alternative health practices, some serious, and some . . . not so much.

Verdict: Remove

Then Came You

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added May 7, 2012

Jules Strauss is a Princeton senior on a full scholarship who plans on selling her “pedigree” eggs to help save her father from addiction.

Annie Barrow, a struggling Pennsylvania housewife, thinks that carrying another woman’s child will help her recover a sense of purpose and will bring in some much-needed cash.

India Bishop, thirty-eight (really, forty-three) and recently married to the wealthy Marcus Croft, yearns for a baby for reasons that have more to do with money than with love. When her attempts at pregnancy fail, she turns to Jules and Annie to make her dreams come true.

But each of their plans is thrown into disarray when Bettina, Marcus’s privileged daughter, becomes suspicious that her new stepmother is not what she seems…

Verdict: Remove

Small Damages

Small Damages by Beth Kephart
Fiction; Young Adult; Romance
Added May 7, 2012

It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she is mourning the loss of her father. She finds solace in the one person she trusts, her boyfriend, and she soon finds herself pregnant. Kenzie’s boyfriend and mother do not understand her determination to keep the baby. She is sent to southern Spain for the summer, where she will live out her pregnancy as a cook’s assistant on a bull ranch, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. She begins to open her eyes and her heart to the beauty that is all around her and inside of her.

Verdict: Remove

A Catered Affair

A Catered Affair by Sue Margolis
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added May 11, 2012

When Tallulah gets jilted at the altar, she gets very drunk and starts making passes at the male wedding guests. She even propositions the caterer. But in the next few weeks, reality comes crashing down around her. Her difficult mother becomes more impossible than ever. Her lesbian sister starts trying to have a baby. Nana Ida gets busy matchmaking. What Tallulah is about to discover is that happiness doesn’t always come in the form of the perfect doctor- and that sometimes real love doesn’t require a catered affair.

Verdict: Remove

This week’s stats: Keep 4; Remove 6

2018 stats: Keep 13; Remove 27

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

TBR

Down the TBR Hole #30

In mid-2017 I was inspired by a post on Bursting with Books to start tackling my TBR shelf on Goodreads and see if these were books I still wanted to read. The title and premise come from Lost in a Love Story. I eliminated quite a few books, but still have a massive TBR of over 2500 books. This year I’ll be tackling 10 books per week to determine if I am still interested and want to keep them, or if I’m ready to remove them from the list.

How does it work?

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This week’s selections:

The Scent of Water: Grace for Every Kind of Broken

The Scent of Water by Naomi Zacharias
Nonfiction; Religion
Added April 22, 2012

Follow Naomi as she talks to women working in brothels in Mumbai; survivors of an Indonesian tsunami in which more than 160,000 lives were lost; a young girl waiting on an operation to save her life; and victims of domestic violence horrifically burned by fire. Be still with her when she realizes the pain she feels in the face of these extreme injustices reveals a common struggle that exists within all of humanity. And rise with her as she wrestles with confusion over her identity, comes face to face with redemption, and then begins to understand her own story and to find her calling.

The Scent of Water will open your eyes to the complexities of the world, showing you pain can also be beauty, and how each are found in the unlikeliest of places. Zacharias doesn’t have all the answers. But she has hope and encouragement that will empower you to find and begin the adventure of your life.

Verdict: Remove

The Bliss Experiment: 28 Days to Personal Transformation

The Bliss Experiment by Sean Meshorer
Nonfiction; Spirituality; Self Help
Added April 22, 2012

HAPPINESS IS GOOD. BLISS IS BETTER.

We have a higher standard of living and more ways to instantaneously fulfill every desire than ever before. Then why are we unhappy? Because happiness isn’t what we really want. Happiness alone is fleeting and not deeply transformative. Bliss is a spiritual state where happiness, profound meaning, and enduring truth converge. With bliss comes an unshakable joy, a practical wisdom, and a lasting solution to our personal and planetary sufferings.

Based on a successful seminar taught by Sean Meshorer, a leading spiritual teacher and New Thought minister, The Bliss Experiment contains dozens of stories of real people learning from everyday situations, backed by more than five hundred scientific studies. This is the one essential book that distills and unifies seemingly competing practices, philosophies, religions, and psychologies. Meshorer includes exercises that have worked time and again for people from all walks of life—including him. Meshorer suffers with severe chronic pain and is able to live his life to the fullest through the practices he shares here.

Bliss helps with stress, anxiety, and depression. It makes people more successful, better able to see and seize opportunities, and build or improve relationships. Give these ideas and practices twenty-eight days of dedicated attention and you will see results. You only need a moment of bliss to benefit the rest of your life.

Verdict: Remove

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag: A Memoir of a Life Through Events--the Ones You Plan and the Ones You Don't

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert
Nonfiction; Memoir
Added April 22, 2012

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag is a warm, wise, and wholly original memoir of survival, renewal, and transformation, by one of New York City’s most successful and respected special events coordinators.

With her top-level events company, Save the Date, Jennifer Gilbert has worked with Fortune 500 companies, broadcast media giants, international nonprofit organizations, and celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Bill Gates and beyond. Yet few of her clients or colleagues have known, until now, that Jennifer not only a self-made success: she’s also a survivor. After a random, near-fatal attack left her body in critical condition on a crowded city street, and left her with emotional wounds that would take years to heal, Jennifer embarked upon a journey to reclaim her life.

This is her story, in her own words: I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag, an intimate, poignant, inspiring memoir of perseverance, rediscovery, and hope.

Verdict: Keep

The Summer of Living Dangerously

The Summer of Living Dangerously by Julie Cohen
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added April 22, 2012

Alice Woodstock has her life under control. She’s successful and she’s happy – as long as she continues to ignore the hurt from her past. But when said past walks back into her life in the shape of Leo – the man she married too young, ran away to Paris with and who ultimately broke her heart – Alice is desperate for an escape route. She finds the perfect thing – a new job as a tour guide in a Regency stately home. But as she immerses herself in acting out the stories of the house, Alice begins to see parallels with her own life, forcing her to confront her feelings about what she wants and, finally, live in the real world.

Verdict: Remove

True Love Way

True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added April 22, 2012

Marlo Spencer relishes all things retro. Old TV shows, classic movies, and even the collectible lunch boxes to go with them. In fact, she’s quite cozy in her Malibu apartment, surrounded by her treasured knick-knacks and vintage memorabilia. It’s her best friend, Nik, who doesn’t get her fascination with all that “old junk,” as he calls it. He especially doesn’t understand why she’s so keen to get back to their hometown of Napa when her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris and nary a single phone call, eager to reunite with her. So, when Marlo heads up north to wine country to rekindle her relationship with Josh, Nik tags along, claiming he was already planning to visit his sister, Savannah, Marlo’s gal pal. Once they reach Napa, however, dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and past betrayals are revealed, leaving an unsuspecting Marlo to pick up the pieces. Can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart?

Verdict: Remove

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added May 7, 2012

Brokenhearted and still mourning the loss of her husband, Heidi travels with Abbott, her obsessive-compulsive seven-year-old son, and Charlotte, her jaded sixteen-year-old niece, to the small village of Puyloubier in the south of France, where a crumbling stone house may be responsible for mending hearts since before World War II.

There, Charlotte confesses a shocking secret, and Heidi learns the truth about her mother’s “lost summer” when Heidi was a child. As three generations collide with one another, with the neighbor who seems to know all of their family skeletons, and with an enigmatic Frenchman, Heidi, Charlotte, and Abbot journey through love, loss, and healing amid the vineyards, warm winds and delicious food of Provence. Can the magic of the house heal Heidi’s heart, too?

Verdict: Remove

Logan (Montana Creeds, #1)

Logan by Linda Lael Miller
Fiction; Romance
Added May 7, 2012

Descendants of the legendary McKettrick family, the Creeds are renowned in Stillwater Springs, Montana–for raising hell…After years of wandering, Logan Creed, a cowboy with a dusty law degree, has returned home. To put down roots, to restore his family’s neglected ranch…to have kids of his own proudly bearing the Creed name.

Divorced mom Briana Grant has heard the stories about her gorgeous neighbor. So Logan’s kindness with her young boys is a welcome surprise, especially when her ex reappears. And when an unknown enemy vandalizes her home, Logan shows Briana–and the folks of Big Sky country–just what he’s made of.

Verdict: Remove

Mackenzie's Mountain (Mackenzie Family, #1)

Mackenzie’s Mountain by Linda Howard
Fiction; Romance
Added May 7, 2012

A small Wyoming town is about to learn a few lessons from a new schoolteacher with the courage to win the heart of a man who swore he had nothing to give….

Mary Elizabeth Potter is a self-appointed spinster with no illusions about love. But she is a good teacher and she wants Wolf Mackenzie’s son back in school. And after one heated confrontation with the boy s father, she knows father and son have changed her life forever.

Still paying for a crime he didn’t commit, Wolf Mackenzie has a chip on his shoulder the size of Wyoming. But prim-and-proper Mary Elizabeth Potter doesn’t see Wolf as the dangerous half-breed the town has branded him. Somehow she sees him as a good, decent, honest man. A man who could love…

Wolf’s not sure he or the town of Ruth, Wyoming is ready for the taming of Wolf Mackenzie.

Verdict: Remove

Heartbreaker (Buchanan-Renard, #1)

Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood
Fiction; Romantic Suspense
Added May 7, 2012

In the still shadows of the confessional, a madman tauntingly reveals his plan for a murder he is going to commit, pulling Father Thomas Madden into a twisted game by disclosing his next intended victim: Tom’s sister, Laurant. In a frantic race to protect her, Tom calls upon his best friend, elite FBI agent Nick Buchanan, to track the predator who is closing in on Laurant. Now, as an electrifying attraction grows between Laurant and Nick, so does the danger — and one false move will cost both of them everything that matters.

Verdict: Remove

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Fiction; Contemporary; Animals
Added May 7, 2012

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

Verdict: Keep

This week’s stats: Keep 2; Remove 8

2018 stats: Keep 9; Remove 21

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

TBR

Down the TBR Hole #29

In mid-2017 I was inspired by a post on Bursting with Books to start tackling my TBR shelf on Goodreads and see if these were books I still wanted to read. The title and premise come from Lost in a Love Story. I eliminated quite a few books, but still have a massive TBR of over 2500 books. This year I’ll be tackling 10 books per week to determine if I am still interested and want to keep them, or if I’m ready to remove them from the list.

How does it work?

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This week’s selections:

Single In The City

Single in the City by Michele Gorman
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added March 31, 2012

To think Hannah ever believed that Americans differed from Brits mainly in pronunciation, sophistication and dentistry. That’s been the understatement of a lifetime. She lands upon England’s gentle shores with no job, no friends and no idea how she’s supposed to build the life she’s dreaming of. Armed with little more than her enthusiasm, she charges headlong into London, baffling the locals in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself.

Verdict: Keep

Unclutter Your Life in One Week

Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Rooney Doland
Nonfiction; Self Help; Reference
Added April 13, 2012

Are you constantly late to the office because you have trouble getting out the door in the morning? Is your house in such disarray that you can’t have friends over for dinner? It’s easy to feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed when your surroundings, schedule, and thoughts are chaotic. The solution? “Unclutter Your Life in One Week” with organization expert and Editor-in-Chief of Unclutterer.com Erin Rooney Doland. This essential manual is a simple, day-by-day plan for purging your life of clutter, becoming more efficient and productive, and creating a symbiotic relationship between your work and personal life.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for organization. Erin offers useful and innovative suggestions for tackling the physical, mental, and systemic distractions in different areas of your home and office each day. Her down-to-earth approach will help you part with sentimental clutter, organize your closet based on how you process information, build an effective and personalized filing system, avoid the procrastination that often hinders the process, and much more. Once you cure the clutter, she shares practical advice for maintaining your harmonious home and work environments with minimal daily effort.

Verdict: Remove

Stardust

Stardust by Carla Stewart
Fiction; Chick Lit; Historical
Added April 13, 2012

Shortly after burying her unfaithful husband, Georgia Peyton unexpectedly inherits the derelict Stardust motel from a distant relative. Despite doubts from the community and the aunt who raised her, she is determined to breathe new life into it. But the guests who arrive aren’t what Georgia expects: Her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband’s mistress; an attractive but down-on-his-luck drifter who’s tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia’s past.

Can Georgia find the courage to forgive those who’ve betrayed her, the grace to shelter those who need her, and the moxy to face the future? And will her dream of a new life under the flickering neon of the Stardust ever come true?

Verdict: Remove

Texas! Chase (Texas! Tyler Family Saga, #2)

Texas! Chase by Sandra Brown
Fiction; Romance
Added April 13, 2012

Set against the background of the rough-and-tumble Texas oil business, a contemporary love story combining gritty and colorful characters with exciting and sensual romance.

Verdict: Remove

The Cottage At Glass Beach

The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbiere
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added April 13, 2012

Heather Barbieri follows her acclaimed Gaelic-tinged drama The Lace Makers of Glenmara with the resonant tale of a woman who, in the wake of scandal, flees to a remote Maine island to reconnect with her past—and to come to terms with the childhood tragedy that has haunted her for a lifetime.

Set on the rugged New England coast, Barbieri’s The Cottage at Glass Beach strikes the perfect balance between high lit and mainstream women’s fiction, infusing a potent and unforgettable love story with unforgettable characters that will remain with you long after the final chapter. Richly evocative, Barbieri’s narrative of intimacy, struggle, and redemption will call out to readers of Joanne Harris, Alice Hoffman, and other modern masters of drama.

Verdict: Remove

Blogging for Bliss: Crafting Your Own Online Journal: A Guide for Crafters, Artists Creatives of all Kinds

Blogging for Bliss by Tara Frey
Nonfiction; Writing
Added April 22, 2012

Today’s crafting community is online, connected, and blissfully blogging about their work and ideas. Blogging is hot in this highly creative world—and here is the only how-to book aimed directly at them. Everyone from knitters and beaders to scrapbookers and altered artists will find the practical information and visual inspiration they need to create an artful online journal.

Thanks to hundreds of gorgeous screen grabs from the very best blogs, a thorough introduction to the tools of the trade, and instructions that virtually take you by the hand, even beginners will swiftly go from blank screen to colorful, enticing pages. Those who already have a blog, but want to enhance their presence on the Web, will learn how to add banners and graphics, take the perfect shots, crop and size photos, establish links, and attract an audience of eager readers.

Verdict: Remove

My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire

My So-Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman
Nonfiction; Writing; Reference
Added April 22, 2012

Tired of clocking in and losing out? Want to pursue creative, fulfilling work on your own time and also make a living in the process? My So-Called Freelance Life is a how-to guidebook for women who want to avoid the daily grind and turn their freelance dreams into reality. Michelle Goodman, author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide and self-proclaimed former “wage slave,” offers tips, advice, how-to’s, and everything else a woman needs to pursue a freelance career.

Confused as to whether you should tell your clients that the odd gurgling sound during a conference call is emanating from the infant sleeping on your shoulder? Goodman answers all of the unusual questions that may arise for women exploring the freelance world. Far more than your normal business guidebook, My So-Called Freelance Life blends candid, humorous anecdotes from a wide variety of freelancers with Goodman’s own personal experiences as a creative worker for hire.

Verdict: Remove

The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business

The Boss of You by Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon
Nonfiction; Reference; Business
Added April 22, 2012

Female entrepreneurs are a growing force to be reckoned with. Each year, more and more women take the initiative and start their own business ventures—at twice the rate of men. Women continue to reshape the business world with innovative models, both large and small. So why is there a lack of clear-cut, expert advice aimed at this dynamic female audience?

In The Boss of You, Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon, founders of Raised Eyebrow Web Studios Inc. and co-editors of the well-known webzine Soapboxgirls, set out to answer this question. As intelligent entrepreneurs and straightforward writers, Emira and Lauren offer insight into beginning—and sustaining—small businesses from the female perspective. Peppered with stories from women who have been there, from cautionary tales to success stories, The Boss of You provides readers with real advice and career options that will allow them to live their values and achieve their own version of work-life balance.

Verdict: Remove

Chasing Perfect (Fool's Gold, #1)

Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery
Fiction; Romance
Added April 22, 2012

Welcome to Fool’s Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There’s lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there’s just one tiny problem in Fool’s Gold: the men don’t seem to stick around. Maybe it’s the lure of big-city life, or maybe it’s plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.

Charity’s nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer — everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she’s not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he’s perfect just the way he is. But maybe that’s just what he needs — someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he’s just chasing perfect.

Verdict: Keep

These Girls

These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added April 22, 2012

Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.

Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.

Cate’s roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger.

Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.

Verdict: Keep

This week’s stats: Keep 3; Remove 7

2018 stats: Keep 8; Remove13

**all covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

TBR

My TBR List~ January 2018

I have always been a mood reader and never really created a TBR list to work off of, but I decided that this year I wanted to try something different. Each month I will share with you the books that I hope to read… and we’ll see how it goes.

Now my list includes 20 books; which is quite a lot. Considering my reading goal this year is 150 books, my monthly goal is 13. I’m setting the bar a little high, but I figure I won’t get to everything.

So here we go…

Audio:

  Make Me Sin (Bad Habit, #2)  Not Quite Enough (Not Quite, #3)  Goalie (Texas Mutiny, #3)  The Comfort of Favorite Things (Hope Springs #5)

Make Me Sin//Not Quite Enough//Goalie//The Comfort of Favorite Things

eARCs:

Kit Kat and Lucy: The Country Cats Who Changed a City Girl's World  Hostile Takeover  In Ruins (Something More, #3)  It Started With Goodbye

Kit Kat and Lucy//Hostile Takeover//In Ruins//It Started with Goodbye

eBooks:

Angels & Whiskey (Saddles & Racks, #1)  Sweet Harmonies (Hope Falls, #2)  What's Left of Me (What's Left of Me, #1)  The Girl of Sand & Fog (Sand & Fog, #2)

Angels & Whiskey//Sweet Harmonies//What’s Left of Me//The Girl of Sand & Fog

Physical books:

Island of Glass (The Guardians Trilogy, #3)  Holding Up the Universe   An Abundance of Katherines  Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Island of Glass//Holding Up the Universe//An Abundance of Katherines//Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Library books:

Love May Fail  We Were Liars  Neverwhere  The Accident Season

Love May Fail//We Were Liars//Neverwhere//The Accident Season

What are you planning to read this month?

**all covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

TBR

Down the TBR Hole #28

In mid-2017 I was inspired by a post on Bursting with Books to start tackling my TBR shelf on Goodreads and see if these were books I still wanted to read. The title and premise come from Lost in a Love Story. I eliminated quite a few books, but still have a massive TBR of over 2500 books. This year I’ll be tackling 10 books per week to determine if I am still interested and want to keep them, or if I’m ready to remove them from the list.

How does it work?

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This week’s selections:

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Nonfiction; Self Help
Added March 21, 2012

New York Times best-selling author and professor Brené Brown offers a powerful and inspiring book that explores how to cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to embrace your imperfections and to recognize that you are enough.

Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?In The Gifts of Imperfection, Bren頂rown, PhD, a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging, shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living–a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.

Verdict: Keep

Live in a Better Way: Reflections on Truth, Love, and Happiness

Live a Better Way by Dalai Lama
Nonfiction; Spirituality
Added March 21, 2012

Imbued with a friendly tone and pithy wisdom, this handsome handbook to approaching life “in a better way” includes six of His Holiness The Dalai Lama‘s most accessible and inspirational public lectures. Following each talk are the original question-and-answer sessions in which His Holiness opens himself up to his listeners and-now-to readers everywhere. His characteristically candid guidance on living fully and responsibly, especially at the start of a new millennium, focuses on specific themes that range from religious tolerance to compassion and nonviolence. The book also includes a practical and highly readable introduction to Buddhism and The Dalai Lama‘s own spiritual heritage, written by the renowned Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.

Verdict: Remove

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café (At the Cupcake Café, #1)

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added March 21, 2012

Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that – Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafe.

Verdict: Remove

Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives

Peace is Every Breath by Thich Nhat Hanh
Nonfiction; Spirituality
Added March 21, 2012

In this much-anticipated follow-up to his bestselling classic, Peace Is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh—one of the most revered spiritual leaders in the world today—offers an insightful guide to living a fuller life. In this deeply insightful meditation, the world-renowned Vietnamese Zen Buddhist master, poet, scholar, and peace activist illuminates how each of us can incorporate the practice of mindfulness into our every waking moment. In the tradition of The Art of Happiness and Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace Is Every Breath opens a pathway to greater spiritual fulfillment through its patient examination of how we live our lives.

Verdict: Remove

Toujours Provence

Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added March 21, 2012

Taking up where his beloved A Year in Provence leaves off, Peter Mayle offers us another funny, beautifully (and deliciously) evocative book about life in Provence. With tales only one who lives there could know—of finding gold coins while digging in the garden, of indulging in sumptuous feasts at truck stops—and with characters introduced with great affection and wit—the gendarme fallen from grace, the summer visitors ever trying the patience of even the most genial Provençaux, the straightforward dog “Boy”—Toujours Provence is a heart-warming portrait of a place where, if you can’t quite “get away from it all,” you can surely have a very good time trying.

Verdict: Keep

When in Doubt, Add Butter

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added March 21, 2012

As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other people’s dates, and that’s just fine by her.At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an uberwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and—oh yes—butter.

Verdict: Keep

If You Were Here

If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added March 21, 2012

If You Were Here follows Amish-zombie-teen- romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) through the alternately frustrating, exciting, terrifying-but always funny-process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that John hughes’s movies made famous. Along their harrowing renovation journey, Mia and Mac get caught up in various wars with the homeowners’ association, meet some less-than-friendly neighbors, and are joined by a hilarious cast of supporting characters, including a celebutard ex- landlady. As they struggle to adapt to their new surroundings- with Mac taking on the renovations himself- Mia and Mac will discover if their marriage is strong enough to survive months of DIY renovations.

Verdict: Keep

Keeping the Castle (Keeping the Castle, #1)

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl
Fiction; Young Adult; Historical
Added March 21, 2012

Seventeen-year-old Althea is the sole support of her entire family, and she must marry well. But there are few wealthy suitors–or suitors of any kind–in their small Yorkshire town of Lesser Hoo. Then, the young and attractive (and very rich) Lord Boring arrives, and Althea sets her plans in motion. There’s only one problem; his friend and business manager Mr. Fredericks keeps getting in the way. And, as it turns out, Fredericks has his own set of plans

Verdict: Remove

Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time

Make a Scene by Jordan E Rosenfeld
Nonfiction; Writing
Added March 31, 2012

Scenes are useful fictional units, and if a single unit falters, then an entire novel or short story can be weakened. This title explains the fundamentals of strong scene construction and how other useful fiction-writing techniques, such as character development, description, and transitions must function within the framework of individual scenes.

Verdict: Remove

Meet Me In The Mountains

Meet Me in the Mountains by Candy Marie Bridges
Nonfiction; Memoir
Added March 31, 2012

She was named Candy Cotten. When people said her name backwards, it made them smile. Candy’s inspirational memoir exposes an emotional life story. She welcomes you to enter into her life through the pages of Meet Me In The Mountains. From her parents divorce when she was a child to the wrongful death of her husband after twenty-three years of marriage, an explosion of heart felt, brutally honest, thought provoking stories will challenge you to find faith, inspiration and hope when life is unfair. You may be prompted through the pages of her book to question your own paths in life. Known and unknown paths from where you have been and where you are now, and where you might be in your future. If you are struggling with finding hope through one or more tragic events, Candy’s story just might change your perspective and outlook on life.

Verdict: Remove

This week’s stats: 4 Kept; 6 Removed

2018 stats: 4 Kept; 6 Removed

**All Covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}