Down the TBR Hole #17

Time for more Down the TBR Hole from Lost in a Love Story.

  • 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?

Here are this week’s selections:

A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean

A Trip to the Beach by Melinda Blanchard and Robert Blanchard
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added February 4, 2012

This is the true story of a trip to the beach that never ends. It’s about a husband and wife who escape civilization to build a small restaurant on an island paradise — and discover that even paradise has its pitfalls. It’s a story filled with calamities and comedy, culinary disasters and triumphs, and indelible portraits of people who live and work on a sliver of beauty set in the Caribbean Sea. It’s about the maddening, exhausting, outlandish complications of trying to live the simple life — and the joy that comes when you somehow pull it off.

Verdict: Remove

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen

Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added February 4, 2012

Share the unsurpassed pleasures of discovering, cooking, and eating good, simple food with this beloved book. Equal parts cookbook and memoir, Laurie Colwin’s “Home Cooking” combines her insightful, good-humored writing style with her lifelong passion for wonderful cuisine in essays such as “Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant,” “Repulsive Dinners: A Memoir,” and “Stuffed Breast of Veal: A Bad Idea.” “Home Cooking” is truly a feast for body and soul.

Verdict: Remove

The 7 Minute Solution: Creating a Life with Meaning 7 Minutes at a Time

The 7 Minute Solution by Allyson Lewis
Nonfiction; Self Help
Added February 4, 2012

With The 7 Minute Solution, you can be a different person tomorrow from the person you are today—more energetic, more resilient, and more positive. A straightforward, inspirational process for getting from where you are to where you want to be, The 7 Minute Solution will help you in your relationships, personal life, career, and health. Allyson Lewis is a renowned time-management expert, productivity speaker, and financial adviser who has spent the last twenty-seven years developing and teaching concrete, actionable business ideas to executives all over the country. Now, in The 7 Minute Solution, she shares these winning techniques and explains how you can apply them to all aspects of life. Lewis offers simple, effective strategies to help you prioritize, organize, and simplify your life for greater meaning and productivity. By breaking down big-picture goals into tiny, manageable, daily actions, you will find that you are able to achieve more than you ever have before. First, you will learn your “7 vital signs of living with meaning”—conscious awareness, motivation, growing and learning, engaging, persevering, living in flow, and living with faith. Then, you will bring each one into clear focus and balance with practical tools and techniques such as “5 before 11” (accomplishing five high-value tasks before 11:00 a.m. every day) and “7 Big-Life Questions,” which shows how to evaluate what’s most significant in the long term.

Verdict: Remove

The Accidental Bride (A Big Sky Romance, #2)

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter
Fiction; Romance; Christian
Added February 4, 2012

When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she’s an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water–and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders’ Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart–the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.

Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

Verdict: Remove

Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell about It)

Write-a-Thon by Rochelle Melander
Nonfiction; Writing
Added February 4, 2012

Everyone has dreamed of writing a book, but so many start writing only to stall out due to writer’s block, mental fatigue, and other challenges. Write-A-Thon helps you overcome those stumbling blocks and complete your book once and for all. And you don’t have to type away for years on end. Here’s a plan that’ll help you write your book–in twenty-six days!

Write-A-Thon gives you the tools, advice, and inspiration you need to succeed before, during, and after your writing race. Solid instruction, positive psychology, and inspiration from marathon runners will give you the momentum to take each step from here to the finish line.

Verdict: Keep

Another 4/5 week this week. Clearing a lot of books from the TBR shelf! 57/85 so far!

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

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #16

I fell in love with Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story and had to add it too my schedule!  I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

  • 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?

Here are this week’s selections:

An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude

An Embarrassment of Mangoes by Ann Vanderhoot
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

Who hasn’t fantasized about chucking the job, saying goodbye to the rat race, and escaping to some exotic destination in search of sun, sand, and a different way of life? Canadians Ann Vanderhoof and her husband, Steve did just that.

In the mid 1990s, they were driven, forty-something professionals who were desperate for a break from their deadline-dominated, career-defined lives. So they quit their jobs, rented out their house, moved onto a 42-foot sailboat called Receta (“recipe,” in Spanish), and set sail for the Caribbean on a two-year voyage of culinary and cultural discovery.

In lavish detail that will have you packing your swimsuit and dashing for the airport, Vanderhoof describes the sun-drenched landscapes, enchanting characters and mouthwatering tastes that season their new lifestyle. Come along for the ride and be seduced by Caribbean rhythms as she and Steve sip rum with their island neighbors, hike lush rain forests, pull their supper out of the sea, and adapt to life on “island time.”

Verdict: Remove

The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road

The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown.

Verdict: Remove

The Kitchen Daughter

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
Fiction; Food; Chick Lit
Added January 30, 2012

After the unexpected death of her parents, painfully shy and sheltered 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio seeks comfort in cooking from family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning (“do no let her…”) before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister, Amanda, (aka “Demanda”) insists on selling their parents’ house, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from dead people’s recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them.

Verdict: Remove

How to Eat a Cupcake

How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
Fiction; Food; Chick Lit
Added January 30, 2012

Funny, free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated, ambitious Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clair’s housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls who know nothing of class differences and scholarships could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie is now a talented, if underpaid, pastry chef who bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death. Julia, a successful businesswoman, is tormented by a painful secret that could jeopardize her engagement to the man she loves. When a chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, they must overcome past hurts and a mysterious saboteur or risk losing their fledgling business and any chance of healing their fractured friendship.

Verdict: Keep

The Book of Awesome

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
Nonfiction; Humor
Added February 4, 2012

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the things that make us smile. With a 24/7 news cycle reporting that the polar ice caps are melting, hurricanes are swirling in the seas, wars are heating up around the world, and the job market is in a deep freeze, it’s tempting to feel that the world is falling apart. But awesome things are all around us-sometimes we just need someone to point them out.

The Book of Awesome reminds us that the best things in life are free (yes, your grandma was right). With laugh-out-loud observations from award- winning comedy writer Neil Pasricha, The Book of Awesome is filled with smile-inducing moments on every page that make you feel like a kid looking at the world for the first time. Read it and you’ll remember all the things there are to feel good about.

Verdict: Remove

Another good removal week with 4/5. We are now up to 53/80.

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

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #15

I fell in love with Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story and had to add it too my schedule!  I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

  • 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?

Here are this week’s selections:

The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian

The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

After years of working on a string of sitcoms, Phil Doran found himself on the outside looking in. Just as he and his peers had replaced the older guys when he was coming up the ranks, it was now happening to him. And it was freaking him out. He came home every night angry, burned- out, and exhausted. After twenty-five years of losing her husband to Hollywood, Doran’s wife decided it was finally time for a change—so on one of her many solo trips to Italy she surprised her husband by purchasing a broken-down 300-year-old farmhouse for them to restore. The Reluctant Tuscan is about the author’s transition from being a successful but overworked writer-producer in Hollywood to rediscovering himself and his wife while in Italy, and finding happiness in the last place he expected.

Verdict: Remove

The Butcher and the Vegetarian: One Woman's Romp Through a World of Men, Meat, and Moral Crisis

The Butcher and the Vegetarian by Tara Austen-Weaver
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

Growing up in a family that kept jars of bean sprouts on its windowsill before such things were desirable or hip, Tara Austen Weaver never thought she’d stray from vegetarianism. But as an adult, she found herself in poor health, and, having tried cures of every kind, a doctor finally ordered her to eat meat. Warily, she ventured into the butcher shop, and as the man behind the counter wrapped up her first-ever chicken, she found herself charmed. Eventually, he dared her to cook her way through his meat counter. As Tara navigates through this new world—grass-fed beef vs. grain-fed beef; finding chickens that are truly free-range— she’s tempted to give up and go back to eating tempeh. The more she learns about meat and how it’s produced, and the effects eating it has on the human body and the planet, the less she feels she knows. She embarks upon a sometimes hilarious, sometimes frightening whirlwind tour that takes her from slaughterhouse to chef’s table, from urban farm to the hearthside of cow wranglers. Along the way, she meets an unforgettable cast of characters who all seem to take a vested interest in whether she opts for turnips or T-bones. The Butcher and the Vegetarian is the rollicking and relevant story of one woman’s quest to reconcile a nontraditional upbringing with carnal desires.

Verdict: Remove

There's Cake in My Future

There’s Cake in my Future by Kim Gruenenfelder
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added January 30, 2012

After listening to her closest friends latest travails in love, parenting, and careers, superstitious bride-to-be Nicole (Nic) believes she has the perfect recipe for everyone’s happiness: a bridal shower cake pull in which each ribboned silver charm planted in her cake will bring its recipient the magical assistance she needs to change her destiny.  Melissa (Mel), still ringless after dating the same man for six years, deserves the engagement ring charm.  The red hot chili pepper would be perfect for Seema, who is in love with her best male friend Scott, but can’t seem to make their relationship more than platonic.  And recently laid off journalist Nic wants the shovel, which symbolizes hard work, to help her get her career back on track.  Nic does everything she can to control who gets which silver keepsake as well as the future it represents.  But when the charmed cake is mysteriously shifted from the place settings Nic arranged around it, no one gets the charm she chose for them. And when the other party guests fortunes begin coming true, Mel, Seema, and Nic can’t help but wonder… Is the cake trying to tell them something?

Verdict: Keep

The Debutante

The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro
Fiction; Mystery; Chick Lit
Added January 30, 2012

Cate, an exile from New York, is sent to help value the contents of a once-grand house on the south-west coast of England. Cataloguing its contents, she uncovers details of two of the most famous debutantes of their generation. The tale that unfolds is one of dark, addictive love, leading Cate to face up to secrets of her own.

Verdict: Remove

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy (Austen Addicts, #1)

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added January 30, 2012

Of course she’s obsessed with Jane Austen…
Surrounded by appalling exes and fawning students, the only thing keeping professor Katherine Roberts sane is Jane Austen and her personal secret love for racy Regency romance novels. She thinks the Jane Austen Addicts conference in the English countryside is the perfect opportunity to escape her chaotic life and finally relax…
But then she encounters a devilishly handsome man at the conference who seems determined to sweep her off her feet. Is he more fiction than fact? Or could he be the hero she didn’t know she was looking for?

Verdict: Keep

3/5 removed this week; 49/75 removed overall

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

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #14

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

  • 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?

Here are this week’s selections:

MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
Nonfiction; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

When Rachel Bertsche first moves to Chicago, she’s thrilled to finally share a zip code with her boyfriend. But shortly after getting married, she realizes that her new life is missing one thing: friends. Sure, she has plenty of BFFs—in New York and San Francisco and Boston and Washington, D.C. Still, in her adopted hometown, there’s no one to call at the last minute for girl talk over brunch or a reality-TV marathon over a bottle of wine. Taking matters into her own hands, Bertsche develops a plan: Meeting people everywhere from improv class to friend rental websites, she’ll go on fifty-two friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.

Verdict: Remove

La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language

La Bella Lingua by Dianne Hales
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

A celebration of the language and culture of Italy, La Bella Lingua is the story of how a language shaped a nation, told against the backdrop of one woman’s personal quest to speak fluent Italian.

For anyone who has been to Italy, the fantasy of living the Italian life is powerfully seductive. But to truly become Italian, one must learn the language. This is how Dianne Hales began her journey. In La Bella Lingua, she brings the story of her decades-long experience with the “the world’s most loved and lovable language” together with explorations of Italy’s history, literature, art, music, movies, lifestyle and food in a true opera amorosa — a labor of her love of Italy.

Throughout  her first excursion in Italy — with  “non parlo Italiano” as her only Italian phrase — Dianne delighted in the beauty of what she saw but craved comprehension of what she heard.  And so she chose to inhabit the language.  Over more than twenty-five years she has studied Italian in every way possible through Berlitz,  books, CDs, podcasts, private tutorials and conversation groups, and, most importantly, large blocks of time in Italy.   In the process she found that Italian became not just a passion and a pleasure, but a passport into Italy’s storia and its very soul.  She offers charming insights into what it is that makes Italian the most emotionally expressive of languages, from how the “pronto” (“Ready!”) Italians say when they answer the telephone conveys a sense of something coming alive, to how even ordinary things such as a towel (asciugamano) or handkerchief (fazzoletto) sound better in Italian.

Verdict: Remove

Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents

Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

Spanning 15 years of travel, beginning when she is a sophomore in college, Wanderlust documents Elisabeth Eaves’s insatiable hunger for the rush of the unfamiliar and the experience of encountering new people and cultures. Young and independent, she crisscrosses five continents and chases the exotic, both in culture and in romance. In the jungles of Papua New Guinea, she loses herself—literally—to an Australian tour guide; in Cairo, she reconnects with her high school sweetheart, only to discover the beginning of a pattern that will characterize her life over the long-term: while long-distance relationships work well for her, traditional relationships do not.

Verdict: Remove

The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France

The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

When Carol Drinkwater and her fiancé, cute Michel, are given the opportunity to purchase ten acres of an abandoned olive farm in the South of France, they find the region’s splendor impossible to resist. Using their entire savings as a down payment, the couple embark on an adventure that brings them in contact with the charming countryside of Provence, its querulous personalities, petty bureaucracies, and extraordinary wildlife. From the glamour of Cannes and the Isles of L&eacuterins to the charm of her own small plot of land-which she transforms from overgrown weeds into a thriving farm-Drinkwater triumphantly relates how she realized her dream of a peaceful, meaningful life.

Verdict: Remove

Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy

Living in a Foreign Language by Michael Tucker
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

The actor Michael Tucker and his wife, the actress Jill Eikenberry, having sent their last child off to college, were vacationing in Italy when they happened upon a small cottage nestled in the Umbrian countryside. The three-hundred-fifty-year-old rustico sat perched on a hill in the verdant Spoleto valley amid an olive grove and fruit trees of every kind. For the Tuckers, it was literally love at first sight, and the couple purchased the house without testing the water pressure or checking for signs of termites. Shedding the vestiges of their American life, Michael and Jill endeavored to learn the language, understand the nuances of Italian culture, and build a home in this new chapter of their lives. Both a celebration of a good marriage and a careful study of the nature of home, Living in a Foreign Language is a gorgeous, organic travelogue written with an epicurean’s delight in detail and a gourmand’s appreciation for all things fine.

Verdict: Remove

We’re 5/5 on the removal this week, making it 46/70.

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

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #13

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

  • 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?

Here are this week’s selections:

Fablehaven (Fablehaven, #1)

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Fiction; Middle Grade; Fantasy
Added January 19, 2012

For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite.

Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken — Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good — powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.

Verdict: Keep

In Her Shoes

In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Fiction; Contemporary; Romance
Added January 19, 2012

Rose Feller is thirty; a successful lawyer with high hopes of a relationship with Jim, Mr Not-Quite-Right, a senior partner in her firm. The last thing she needs is her messed-up, only occasionally employed sister Maggie moving in: drinking, smoking, stealing her money – and her shoes – and spoiling her chance of romance. If only Maggie would grow up and settle down with a nice guy and a steady job.
Maggie is drop dead gorgeous and irresistible to men. She’s going to make it big as a TV presenter, or a singer…or an actress. All she needs is a lucky break. What she doesn’t need is her uptight sister Rose interfering in her life. If only Rose would lighten-up, have some fun – and learn how to use a pair of tweezers. Rose and Maggie think they have nothing in common but a childhood tragedy, shared DNA and the same size feet, but they are about to find out that they’re more alike than they’d ever believe.

Verdict: Keep

The Nanny Diaries (Nanny, #1)

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Fiction; Chick Lit
Added January 19, 2012

Wanted: One young woman to take care of four-year-old boy. Must be cheerful, enthusiastic and selfless–bordering on masochistic. Must relish sixteen-hour shifts with a deliberately nap-deprived preschooler. Must love getting thrown up on, literally and figuratively, by everyone in his family. Must enjoy the delicious anticipation of ridiculously erratic pay. Mostly, must love being treated like fungus found growing out of employers Hermès bag. Those who take it personally need not apply. Who wouldn’t want this job? Struggling to graduate from NYU and afford her microscopic studio apartment, Nanny takes a position caring for the only son of the wealthy X family. She rapidly learns the insane amount of juggling involved to ensure that a Park Avenue wife who doesn’t work, cook, clean, or raise her own child has a smooth day. When the X’s’ marriage begins to disintegrate, Nanny ends up involved way beyond the bounds of human decency or good taste. Her tenure with the X family becomes a nearly impossible mission to maintain the mental health of their four-year-old, her own integrity and, most importantly, her sense of humor. Over nine tense months, Mrs. X and Nanny perform the age-old dance of decorum and power as they test the limits of modern-day servitude.

Verdict: Keep

Baby Proof

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added January 19, 2012

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes . . . a baby carriage? Isn’t that what all women want?

Not so for Claudia Parr. And just as she gives up on finding a man who feels the same way, she meets warm, wonderful Ben. Things seem too good to be true when they fall in love and agree to buck tradition with a satisfying, child-free marriage. Then the unexpected occurs: one of them has a change of heart. One of them wants children after all.

Verdict: Remove

My Year with Eleanor

My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock
Nonfiction; Memoir
Added January 30, 2012

After losing her high-octane job as an entertainment blogger, Noelle Hancock was lost. About to turn twenty-nine, she’d spent her career writing about celebrities’ lives and had forgotten how to live her own. Unemployed and full of self-doubt, she had no idea what she wanted out of life. She feared change—in fact, she feared almost everything. Once confident and ambitious, she had become crippled by anxiety, lacking the courage required even to attend a dinner party—until inspiration struck one day in the form of a quote on a chalkboard in a coffee shop:

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt

Painfully timid as a child, Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated herself to facing her fears, a commitment that shaped the rest of her life. With Eleanor as her guide, Noelle spends the months leading up to her thirtieth birthday pursuing a “Year of Fear.” From shark diving to fighter pilot lessons, from tap dancing and stand-up comedy to confronting old boyfriends, her hilarious and harrowing adventures teach her about who she is, and what she can become—lessons she makes vital for all of us.

Verdict: Remove

Only 2/5 removed this week, but up to 41/65 overall so far.

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

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #12

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

  • 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?

Here are this week’s selections:

Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance

Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields
Nonfiction; Self Help
Added January 19, 2012

The influential blogger and author of Career Renegade counsels readers on how to navigate inevitable insecurities that mark a creative career, explaining how to understand fear and uncertainty in order to render them powerful forces for creative success rather than sources of anxiety and failure.

Verdict: Remove

Poet's Choice

Poet’s Choice by Edward Hirsch
Nonfiction; Writing; Poetry
Added January 19, 2012

Edward Hirsch began writing a column called “Poet’s Choice” in the Washington Post Book World in 2002. This book brings together those enormously popular columns, some of which have been revised and expanded, to present a minicourse in world poetry. Poet’s Choice includes the work of more than one hundred poets from ancient times to the present—among them Sappho, W. B. Yeats, Czeslaw Milosz, Primo Levi, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, Amy Lowell, Mark Strand, and many more—and shares them with all of Hirsch’s inimitable enthusiasm and joy. Rich, relevant, and inviting, the book offers us the fruits of a life lived in poetry.

Verdict: Remove

Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally

Plenty by Alisa Smith & JB MacKinnon
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

Like many great adventures, the 100-mile diet began with a memorable feast. Stranded in their off-the-grid summer cottage in the Canadian wilderness with unexpected guests, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon turned to the land around them. They caught a trout, picked mushrooms, and mulled apples from an abandoned orchard with rose hips in wine. The meal was truly satisfying; every ingredient had a story, a direct line they could trace from the soil to their forks. The experience raised a question: Was it possible to eat this way in their everyday lives?

Verdict: Remove

Where We Belong

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added January 19, 2012

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

Verdict: Remove

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1)

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Fiction; Young Adult; Fantasy
Added January 19, 2012

One boy. One dragon. A world of adventure.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

Verdict: Keep

Another good week with 4/5 removed. Running total now 39/60.

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

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #11

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • 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?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Côte d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella

Mediterranean Summer by David Shalleck
Nonfiction; Food; Travel
Added January 19, 2012

An alluring, evocative summer voyage on the Mediterranean and into the enchanting seaside towns of France’s Côte d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella by a young American chef aboard an Italian billionaire couple’s spectacular yacht.

Having begun his cooking career in some of New York’s and San Francisco’s best restaurants, David Shalleck undertakes a European culinary adventure, a quest to discover what it really means to be a chef through a series of demanding internships in Provence and throughout Italy. After four years, as he debates whether it is finally time to return stateside and pursue something more permanent, he stumbles on a rare opportunity: to become the chef on board Serenity, the classic sailing yacht owned by one of Italy’s most prominent couples. They present Shalleck with the ultimate challenge: to prepare all the meals for them and their guests for the summer, with no repeats, comprised exclusively of local ingredients that reflect the flavors of each port, presented flawlessly to the couple’s uncompromising taste— all from the confines of the yacht’s galley while at sea.

Serenity’s five-month journey starts on the French Riviera, continues along Italy’s western coast to Amalfi, crosses the Tyrrhenian Sea to Sardinia, up to Corsica, and back to St. Tropez for the season-ending regatta. Shalleck captures the glittery Riviera social scene, the distinctive sights and sounds of the unique ports along the way, the work hard/play hard life of being a crew member, and the challenges of producing world-class cuisine for the stylish and demanding owners and their guests. An intimate view of the most exclusive of worlds, Mediterranean Summer offers readers a new perspective on breathtaking places, a memorable portrait of old world elegance and life at sea, as well recipes and tips to recreate the delectable food.

Verdict: Remove

The Foremost Good Fortune

The Foremost Good Fortune by Susan Conley
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

In 2007, American writer Susan Conley moves to Beijing with her husband and two young sons. Six months later, she is diagnosed with breast cancer. Set against the fascinating backdrop of modern China and full of insight into the trickiest questions of motherhood, this wry and poignant memoir is a celebration of family and a candid exploration of mortality and belonging.

Verdict: Remove

360 Degrees Longitude: One Family's Journey Around the World

360 Degrees Longitude by John Higham
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

After more than a decade of planning, John Higham and his wife September bid their high-tech jobs and suburban lives good-bye, packed up their home and set out with two children, ages eight and eleven, to travel around the world. In the course of the next 52 weeks they crossed 24 time zones, visited 28 countries and experienced a lifetime of adventures.

Making their way across the world, the Highams discovered more than just different foods and cultures; they also learned such diverse things as a Chilean mall isn’t the best place to get your ears pierced, and that elephants appreciate flowers just as much as the next person.  But most importantly, they learned about each other, and just how much a family can weather if they do it together.

Verdict: Remove

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading

So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson
Nonfiction; Writing; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

Sometimes subtle, sometimes striking, the interplay between our lives and our books is the subject of this unique memoir by well-known publishing correspondent and self-described “readaholic” Sara Nelson. From Solzhenitsyn to Laura Zigman, Catherine M. to Captain Underpants, the result is a personal chronicle of insight, wit, and enough infectious enthusiasm to make a passionate reader out of anybody.

Verdict: Keep

The Whole Package

The Whole Package by Cynthia Ellingsen
Fiction; Contemporary; Romance
Added January 19, 2012

For lifelong friends Jackie, Cheryl, and Doris, life hasn’t turned out according to plan. But after a drunken night sampling the delights at a strip club for women, the ladies stumble upon an ingenious idea and open up The Whole Package-the world’s first restaurant staffed exclusively by very attractive men. Mixing business with pleasure can be risky, but for these three best friends, getting a little bit outrageous just might be what it takes to make their mark in the world.

Verdict: Remove

OK, so 4/5 removed this week for a total of 35/55. Of course I’m still over 3000, but we’ll get there {I hope!}.

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

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #10

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • 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?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

Katy Carter Wants a Hero (Katy Carter, #1)

Katy Carter Wants a Hero by Ruth Saberton
Fiction; Contemporary; Romance
Added January 19, 2012

Hopeless romantic Katy Carter still dreams of becoming bestselling novelist. A ghost writer by trade, Katy knows she’s no Booker Prize winner but has fun penning sizzling scenes and hot heroes for celebrity novels. Writing aside, Katy no longer fantasises about a hero of her own – she’s found him in teacher boyfriend, Ollie. After five years together their own happy ever after is just around the corner – if she can only rescue the couple’s ailing finances.

But with Ollie becoming increasingly career minded and teaching at a very strict school, Katy’s racy writing soon causes difficulties. When she secretly signs a contract with steamy publisher Throb, tensions mount. A surprise trip across the pond brings things to a head, sparking a chain of events which set Katy on a collision course with family, friends and, most of all, her one true hero…

Verdict: Keep

The Single Girl's To-Do List

The Single Girl’s To-Do List by LindseyKelk
Fiction; Chick Lit; Romance
Added January 19, 2012

Rachel Summers loves a to-do list:
• Boyfriend
• Flat
• Great job

NOT on the list:
• Being dumped

Best friends Emelie and Matthew ride to her rescue with an entirely new kind of list – The Single Girl’s To-Do List. Rachel doesn’t know it, but it will take her on all kinds of wild adventures – and get her in some romantic pickles too. And then it won’t be a case of what but who she decides to tick off…

• Mr. bendy yoga instructor
• Mr. teenage sweetheart
• Mr. persistent ex
• Mr. deeply unsuitable

Verdict: Keep

How to Bake a Perfect Life

How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added January 19, 2012

Professional baker Ramona Gallagher is a master of an art that has sustained her through the most turbulent times, including a baby at fifteen and an endless family feud. But now Ramona’s bakery threatens to crumble around her. Literally. She’s one water-heater disaster away from losing her grandmother’s rambling Victorian and everything she’s worked so hard to build.

When Ramona’s soldier son-in-law is wounded in Afghanistan, her daughter, Sophia, races overseas to be at his side, leaving Ramona as the only suitable guardian for Sophia’s thirteen-year-old stepdaughter, Katie. Heartbroken, Katie feels that she’s being dumped again—this time on the doorstep of a woman out of practice with mothering.

Verdict: Remove

From Notting Hill with Love... Actually (Actually #1)

From Notting Hill With Love…Actually by Ali McNamara
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
Added January 19, 2012

She was just a girl, standing in front of a boy . . . wishing he looked more like Hugh Grant.

Scarlett loves the movies. But does she love sensible fiancé David just as much? With a big white wedding on the horizon, Scarlett really should have decided by now . . .

When she has the chance to house-sit in Notting Hill – the setting of one of her favourite movies – Scarlett jumps at the chance. But living life like a movie is trickier than it seems, especially when her new neighbour Sean is so irritating. And so irritatingly handsome, too.

Scarlett soon finds herself starring in a romantic comedy of her very own: but who will end up as the leading man?

Verdict: Keep

Italian Neighbors

Italian Neighbors by Tim Parks
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

In this deliciously seductive account of an Italian neighborhood with a statue of the Virgin at one end of the street, a derelict bottle factory at the other, and a wealth of exotic flora and fauna in between, acclaimed novelist Tim Parks celebrates ten years of living with his wife, Rita, in Verona, Italy. Via Colombre, the main street in a village just outside Verona, offers an exemplary hodgepodge of all that is new and old in the bel paese, a point of collision between invading suburbia and diehard peasant tradition in a sometimes madcap, sometimes romantic always mixed-up world of creeping vines, stuccoed walls, shotguns, security cameras, hypochondria, and expensive sports cars.

Verdict: Remove

This week I removed 2/5 {I’m a sucker for cute Chick Lit}, for a total of 31/50 overall.

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

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #9

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • 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?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

Born to Darkness (Fighting Destiny, #1)

Born to Darkness by Suzanne Brockmann
Fiction; Paranormal; Romantic Suspense
Added December 26, 2011

In the near future, as America endures its second Great Depression, former Navy SEAL Shane Laughlin finds work as a test subject at the Obermeyer Institute, only to be plunged into a strange world where mild-mannered scientists can kick his highly skilled ass. These “Greater-Thans” undergo rigorous training to master unique abilities—including telekinesis, super strength, and reversal of the aging process—by accessing untapped regions of the brain. But for the rich and reckless, there’s a quick, seductive alternative: Destiny, a highly addictive designer drug that can make anyone a Greater-Than—for a lethal price.

Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie is determined to end the scourge of Destiny. As one of OI’s crack operatives, she’s learned to wield her powers responsibly. But she’s knocked for a loop when she meets the new test subject: Shane, the same smoldering stranger who just rocked her world in a one-night stand. Mac’s got reasons to keep her distance from him—and reasons that are just as strong to want him close. She’s used to risking her life, but now, in the midst of the ultimate war on drugs, she must face sacrificing her heart.

Verdict: Keep

Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

Part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet. Paris, My Sweet is a personal and moveable feast that’s a treasure map for anyone who loves fresh cupcakes and fine chocolate, New York and Paris, and life in general. It’s about how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a sliver of cheesecake and about how the life you’re meant to live doesn’t always taste like the one you envisioned. Organized into a baker’s dozen of delicacies (and the adventures they inspired) that will tempt readers’ appetites, Paris, My Sweet is something to savor.

Verdict: Remove

Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Plan B by Anne Lamott
Nonfiction; Spirituality; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

Terrorism and war have become the new normal; environmental devastation looms even closer. And there are personal demands on Lamott’s faith as well: turning fifty; her mother’s Alzheimer’s; her son’s adolescence; and the passing of friends and time.

Fortunately for those of us who are anxious and scared about the state of the world, whose parents are also aging and dying, whose children are growing harder to recognize as they become teenagers, Plan B offers hope in the midst of despair. It shares with us Lamott’s ability to comfort, and to make us laugh despite the grim realities.

Verdict: Remove

The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World.

The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett & Amanda Pressner
Nonfiction; Travel; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

Three friends, each on the brink of a quarter-life crisis, make a pact to quit their high pressure New York City media jobs and leave behind their friends, boyfriends, and everything familiar to embark on a year-long backpacking adventure around the world in The Lost Girls.

Verdict: Remove

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added January 19, 2012

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, writer Kathleen Flinn returned with no idea what to do next, until one day at a supermarket she watched a woman loading her cart with ultraprocessed foods. Flinn’s “chefternal” instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy, easy meals.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School includes practical, healthy tips that boost readers’ culinary self-confidence, and strategies to get the most from their grocery dollar, and simple recipes that get readers cooking.

Verdict: Keep

Removed 3/5 this time around; new total 29/45.

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

Posted in TBR

Down the TBR Hole #8

One of the newer memes that I found and fell in love with is Down the TBR Hole by Lost in a Love Story. I found this meme featured on Bursting with Books and had never seen anything like it, but I loved the concept. Essentially you go through your Goodreads TBR shelf and take another look at the books that have been hanging out there for a while. You then determine whether you want to keep the book on your TBR or remove it.

As I was starting to put together my version of this project meme, I started to find other similar ones, like Perspective of a Writer‘s Keep it or Skip it. As I liked the name, I decided to keep mine to the premise created in Down the TBR Hole:

  • 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?

As I have over 3000 books on my TBR shelf right now, I anticipate this project will take me well into 2018 to complete!

Here are this week’s selections:

A Vintage Affair

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
Fiction; Romance; Chick Lit
December 19, 2011

Phoebe Sanders runs her own vintage dress shop. But while she stitches and repairs couture suits and glorious dresses, there is something in Phoebe’s own past that she cannot restore, and which is stopping her searching for love.

Verdict: Remove

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added December 26, 2011

From failure to fusilli, this deliciously hilarious read tells the story of Giulia Melucci’s fizzled romances and the mouth-watering recipes she used to seduce her men, smooth over the lumps, and console herself when the relationships flamed out.

From an affectionate alcoholic, to the classic New York City commitment-phobe, to a hipster aged past his sell date, and not one, but two novelists with Peter Pan complexes, Giulia has cooked for them all. She suffers each disappointment with resolute cheer (after a few tears) and a bowl of pastina (recipe included) and has lived to tell the tale so that other women may go out, hopefully with greater success, and if that’s not possible, at least have something good to eat.

Verdict: Keep

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added December 26, 2011

In 2003, Kathleen Flinn, a thirty-six-year-old American living and working in London, returned from vacation to find that her corporate job had been eliminated. Ignoring her mother’s advice that she get another job immediately or “never get hired anywhere ever again,” Flinn instead cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream-a diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the touching and remarkably funny account of Flinn’s transformation as she moves through the school’s intense program and falls deeply in love along the way. Flinn interweaves more than two dozen recipes with a unique look inside Le Cordon Bleu amid battles with demanding chefs, competitive classmates, and her “wretchedly inadequate” French. Flinn offers a vibrant portrait of Paris, one in which the sights and sounds of the city’s street markets and purveyors come alive in rich detail.

Verdict: Keep

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
Nonfiction: Food; Memoir
Added December 26, 2011

Lunch In Paris is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs–one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world’s most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate souffle) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart.

Verdict: Remove

Extra Virgin

Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes
Nonfiction; Food; Memoir
Added December 26, 2011

A small stone house deep among the olive groves of Liguria, going for the price of a dodgy second-hand car. Annie Hawes and her sister, on the spot by chance, have no plans whatsoever to move to the Italian Riviera but find naturally that it’s an offer they can’t refuse. The laugh is on the Foreign Females who discover that here amongst the hardcore olive farming folk their incompetence is positively alarming. Not to worry: the thrifty villagers of Diano San Pietro are on the case, and soon plying the Pallid Sisters with advice, ridicule, tall tales and copious hillside refreshments

Verdict: Remove

This week I removed 3/5, for a total of 26/40… a little more than half so far.

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

Posted in TBR