Friday, June 28, 2013

This Book Room: lots of new releases!

In this luminous prequel to her beloved Cobbled Court Quilts series, New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick takes readers into the heart of a small Texas town and the soul of a woman who discovers her destiny there. . .

Welcome to Too Much--where the women are strong-willed and the men are handsome yet shiftless. Ever since Mary Dell Templeton and her twin sister Lydia Dale were children, their Aunt Velvet has warned them away from local boys. But it's well known that the females in Mary Dell's family have two traits in common--superior sewing skills and a fatal weakness for men.

While Lydia Dale grows up petite and pretty, Mary Dell just keeps growing. Tall, smart, and sassy, she is determined to one day turn her love of sewing into a business. Meanwhile, she'll settle for raising babies with her new husband, Donny. But that dream proves elusive too, until finally, Mary Dell gets the son she always wanted--a child as different as he is wonderful. And as Mary Dell is forced to reconsider what truly matters in her family and her marriage, she begins to piece together a life that, like the colorful quilts she creates, will prove vibrant, rich, and absolutely unforgettable. . .

My thoughts: What an amazing book! I really and truly love this author. This book officially stands as a prequel to the Cobbled Court Quilts series, but please don't worry about reading that series first (although that is a fantastical series so you'll want to read it anyway eventually!). I really, really hope Marie keeps writing these characters - maybe it is a new series? Her writing is so beautiful, and the story is easy to read and captivating. I could not put this book down.

“There is really no better indicator you’re a mother than acquiring the ability to catch throw-up in a
plastic bag, disinfect your hands, and immediately ask your friend to pass the beef jerky as you put on another Taylor Swift song and act as if nothing has happened.”

This is the type of insight Melanie Shankle offers in this quirky memoir of motherhood.

Written in the familiar, stream-of-consciousness style of her blog, Big Mama, Sparkly Green Earrings is a heartwarming and hilarious look at motherhood from someone who is still trying to figure it all out. Filled with personal stories—from the decision to become a mother to the heartbreak of miscarriage and ultimately, to the joy of raising a baby and living to tell about it—Sparkly Green Earrings will make you feel like you’re sitting across the table from your best friend. A must-read for anyone who’s ever had a child or even thought about it.

My thoughts: If you're a mum, you There is no option. Run, DO NOT WALK, to your local library and check out this book. This book is everything I've ever felt since becoming a mum just three short months ago (12 if we're counting conception, which I do!). I can't even put into words my feelings on this book. I devoured it in 2 days. And I really want to re-read it and I'm not in the habit of re-reading books anymore (since I was a child). I want to live in this book. I want to meet this author, hug her and be friends with her.

When Marcy’s friend Reggie, Tallulah Falls’ local librarian, asks her to teach an embroidery class as therapy for domestic abuse victims, she gladly agrees. One of the women wants to flee from her abusive husband but is afraid to leave her elderly father-in-law behind. And she thinks Marcy can help.

The elderly gentleman shows Marcy a tapestry his grandmother made, which he believes reveals the location of pirate treasure off the Oregon coast. He’ll move to a shelter—provided Marcy takes the tapestry to keep it safe. But when the police arrive the next day to escort him out, they find the old man murdered and the house ransacked. Does someone want that treasured tapestry desperately enough to kill for it?

Additional notes: This is the fifth book in the Embroidery mystery series. The sixth book is due out later this year. You can read my review of the first book here, the second book here, the third book here and the fourth book here.

My thoughts: Far and away, this is the best book in this series. Marcy finally chooses which guy she wants to officially date (that sounds so high school, but it's not quite like that, I promise!), and she picks the guy I thought would be best for her (ya know because what I think really matters is situations of fictional characters and their fictional relationships!). I really enjoyed this story, anyway. It had a twist I wasn't quite expecting, but one that made a lot of sense. I think that's why I like this series - it all ties up, but not in a cookie cutter way, and the story is logical. Who doesn't need logic?

When Joshua moves to a small cabin on the edge of town, the local people are mystified by his
presence. A quiet and simple man, Joshua appears to seek nothing for himself. He supports himself by working as a carpenter. He charges very little for his services, yet his craftsmanship is exquisite. The statue of Moses that he carves for the local synagogue prompts amazement as well as consternation.

What are the townsfolk to make of this enigmatic stranger? Some people report having seen him carry a huge cherry log on his shoulders effortlessly. Still others talk about the child in a poor part of town who was dreadfully ill but, after Joshua's visit, recovered completely.

Despite his benevolence and selfless work in the community, some remain suspicious. Finally, in an effort to address the community's doubts, the local religious leaders confront Joshua.

Additional notes: There are multiple books in this series, and this is the first book in the series. All the books have been released.

My thoughts: Upon a recommendation from a friend, I checked out this book from the library. This book is thought-provoking and life-changing. Everything Joshua said is what I've been trying (in much more uneloquent words) for years. I truly loved this book. If you are a Christian, read this book. If you are not a Christian, read this book. If you seek God but are afraid - the church has let you down, you are a horrific sinner (Hi, my name is Jess and I'm a truly awful sinner), you don't see how God could love you, you can't follow God's laws so surely you can't be a Christian, you think Christians are radical and don't love everyone, you think Christians are wacky and hate them - read this book. It sums up what true Christianity is in a way that Christians seem to lack the words or actions to say and do (Hi, my name is Jess and I really struggle with loving everyone all the time no matter what). I could write for years on this book, but really, just go read it.

Almost a decade has passed since Andy Sachs quit the job a million girls would die for working for Miranda Priestly at Runway magazine, a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Andy and Emily, her former nemesis and co-assistant, have since joined forces to start a high end bridal magazine. The Plunge has quickly become required reading for the young and stylish. Now they get to call all the shots: Andy writes and travels to her hearts content; Emily plans parties and secures advertising like a seasoned pro. Even better, Andy has met the love of her life. Max Harrison, scion of a storied media family, is confident, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. Their wedding will be splashed across all the society pages as their friends and family gather to toast the glowing couple. Andy Sachs is on top of the world. But karmas a bitch. The morning of her wedding, Andy can't shake the past. And when she discovers a secret letter with crushing implications, her wedding-day jitters turn to cold dread. Andy realizes that nothing not her husband, nor her beloved career is as it seems. She never suspected that her efforts to build a bright new life would lead her back to the darkness she barely escaped ten years ago and directly into the path of the devil herself...

Additional notes: This is the sequel to the Devil Wears Prada.

My thoughts: I gave this a two-star rating on, and I really feel that was being generous. I read this book easily, and it definitely caught my attention, but I hated this book. It was horrible. Andy really pisses me off in this book. Like a lot. More than I could ever express. I really wouldn't read this book. I'm very disappointed by it, and I likely wouldn't read a book by this author again.

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