Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker

Read: March 13 - March 30
Format: ARC Paperback 304 pages
Source: publisher for review
Subject: divorce, dysfunctional family, depression
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, BOYS
Category: Something New - books that were acquired in 2011
Genre: Fiction
Stars: ★★½

Angry divorcée, teenager with self-esteem issues, depressed grandmother with emotional problems - put them together in the same house and the story should be full of strange ways of coping with each other and their individual lives. Caroline, a 15 year-old, checks every morning to see if her breasts have grown and worries about never losing her virginity. Her mother, Joanie, is trying to recover from her husband walking out on her and compelling her to enter the workforce when she hasn't held a regular job since college. Finally, you have Ivy, the grandmother, who takes up shoplifting to lift her spirits.

Take this combination and add a runaway father with a pregnant girlfriend who thinks that Caroline should be her new best friend and you should have an entertaining book. Unfortunately, it falls a bit short of expectations.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Read: March 20 - March 26
Format: Audio 7 discs - 32 hrs equivalent and Paperback 327 pages
Source: audio via library and owned from B&N
Subject: german occupation of Guernsey
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, BOYS, AUDIO, SYLL
Category: Something Old - Read those TBRs
Genre: Historical Fiction Stars: ★★½

There are many reviews out there for this book so I will just comment on my impressions. First I was disappointed because I had heard so much about this book and then when I finally read it, it didn't live up to my expectations. The characters were very flat caricatures IMO, and the situations seemed a bit contrived. It never really grabbed my attention thoroughly and didn't hold my interest as I went along.


Naked Heat

Read: March 21 - March 28
Format: Hardback 288 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Subject: gossip columns,
Category: Going steady: Should we keep seeing each other? - ongoing series
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★½

For those readers that follow the TV program CASTLE, reading the books that are "written" by its character Richard Castle are entertaining throughout. This second book written by Castle definitely utilizes the characters from the original but also blend in a bit of Beckett and Castle too. The reader is gratified by the emotional relationship development which viewers can only see and desire.

Nikki and Rook come back together at the crime scene - Cassidy Towne, gossip columnist has been murdered and throughout their investigation not only are they both endangered physically but their emotions are at risk.

This book was completely fun and entertaining. Certainly hope that there will be another!


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Read: March 1 - March 21
Format: Audio 28 discs - 32 hrs equivalent and Nook book 784 pages
Source: audio via library and Nook from B&N
Subject: time travel, Scottish ancestry, torture
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, Endless Europe, BOYS, AUDIO, SYLL
Category: Blind dates: Will I like them? - New series / new authors
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Stars: ★★★★

Clare Randall is on vacation with her husband Frank who is researching his ancestors in Scotland. While there magically Clare is transported back in time and her adventure begins. She is accepted as a healer and to protect her from investigation of her political leanings, is "forced" into a marriage with a Scottish Laird. The story evolves including the love developed between the two main characters.

I truly enjoyed the story and was surprised that the length didn't bother me because of the quality of the writing and character development. I usually don't go in for time travel and such but this was so cleverly woven into the tale that I didn't mind it at all. I was very much surprised when I realized that the story continues in another book. I'm not sure that I am ready for another chunkster immediately, but will definitely follow-up on this tale.


Scones & Bones by Laura Childs

Read: March 12 - March 17
Format: paperback 288 pages including recipes
Source: Author for review
Subject: pirates, folklore, tea, recipes
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Something New - books that were acquired in 2010 & 2011
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Stars: ★★★½

Drayton Conneley, master tea blender for the Indigo Tea Shop, escorts its owner, Theodosia Browning, to the Heritage Society's Pirates and Plunder Party and in doing so, exposes Theo to the exploits of a murderer searching for Blackbeard's buried treasure. When murder threatens her friends, Theodosia and Drayton learn the mysteries of Blackbeard's Skull Cup following the clues and legends of old, while at the same time preparing for the Food & Wine Festival activities in Charleston. We've all heard Wine & Cheese, well, the Indigo Tea Shop is serving Tea & Cheese pairing different teas with exotic cheeses. But that's not all that brews up before the end of the book. A fun read bringing old friends (this is the 12th installment of the Tea Shop Mysteries) back to us with new and interesting revelations.


BOOKMARK Day - March 15th

For avid readers, we couldn't live without our bookmarks! There are magnetic ones that clip to the top of the page, there are elastic ones that hug your book with a brace in the middle, a thread sewn into the binding, there are cloth ones, leather ones, paper or embroidered ones, there are small ones, tall ones, there are even cyber bookmarks on the Internet. They can be fancy or plain, a scrap of torn paper or an elegant printed piece of cardboard. They can have pictures of beautiful places or people we know. They can be verses that we love or funny catch phrases. Some people even use the corner of the page turned down to be a bookmark. Whatever it is that you use for your bookmarks, we all know that a reader absolutely hates to lose any special indicator that was in a book.

Treasure your bookmarks and pass them around!


Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett

Read: March 6 - March 9
Format: paperback 288 pages including recipes
Source: Barnes & Noble 2009
Subject: independent booksellers, twins, fraud, murder
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Category: Something Old - read those TBRs
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Stars: ★★★★

In the first BookTown mystery, the reader is introduced to Stoneham, New Hampshire, a small town which has revitalized its Main Street by inviting booksellers of all genres to open bookstores. Tricia Miles opened Haven't Got a Clue, a store for mystery lovers. Right next store is the Cookery, a cookbook store owned and operated by Doris Gleason, probably the least favorite person in town, so it's not surprising when she is found, by Tricia, murdered in her shop and a valuable old cookbook missing.

Little does Tricia know that she's in for a boat load of trouble because the Sheriff (Wendy Adams) thinks Tricia is after her boyfriend and so sets out to blame Tricia for the murder. Just as all these problems happen, Angelica Prescott, Tricia's not so loving sister, descends on Stoneham because of her impending divorce, seeking family to sustain her. Even though they are not the closest siblings, Tricia and Angelica set out to clear up the murder since Sheriff Wendy sees no reason to investigate further.

The whole idea of BookTown has the reader wishing that it really existed and that they could hop on a bus and arrive in this quaint little town and buy books. I know that I'd be on the bus in a heartbeat. The characters in this book are fun, dysfunctional, and in some ways unique to the Cozy genre and in others welcomed friends. Can't wait to visit the other bookstores! I loved it!


The Crafty Teddy by John J. Lamb

Read: March 3 - March 6
Format: 288 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble
Subject: Teddy Bear collectors, counterfeit collectibles
Category: Setting up Housekeeping/ Leftovers - Crafts, cooking, & hobbies at home
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★★

Brad needs some time away from the ladies of the Teddy Bear Guild so he sets off to spend the morning with Sergei. While there, two Japanese mobsters (Brad recognizes the markings) come in searching for the local Historical Museum. Curious after their departure, Brad goes to the museum where he finds the museum director dead.

Sheriff Tina (a member of the Guild) reports to the scene with Ashleigh (Brad's wife) and together they notice the fake antique teddy Bears on display. Using this point as a start, Brad and Ash along with Tina delve deeper into the Japanese visitors along with the people who were vital to the victim.

The third installment of the Teddy Collectors Series is more fun than the previous books because the reader is blessed with further development of the central characters while they join together to solve the murder of the local Museum director. Brad and Ashleigh are fully involved in the investigation and their relationship as well as their teddies continued to evolve. It was sensational to see the Boyds Bear locale described so perfectly. Can't wait for the next story!


Get Real and Stop Dieting! by Brett Blumental

Read: March 3
Format: 140 pages
Source: Amazon publicist for review
Subject: nutrition, weight loss, fitness
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, TIOLI, BOYS
Stars: ★★★½

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am weight challenged (is that the politically correct wording for overweight?) and so if I can find a book that will at least help me to eat healthier, even if I can't lose weight, I'm going to take a look. I wish I'd looked sooner.

This is a quick easy book filled with all different kinds of information including charts of examples of soluble fiber vs. insoluble fiber, cooking and baking substitutions, recipes with nutritional information, and details of what that nutritional label means to you, just to name some. The advice for changing your eating habits seems just common sense when the explanation is read and understanding the differences in ingredients could knock you for a loop.

This is a book that I am planning on keeping readily accessible in my kitchen. Maybe I won't lose weight because of it, but I definitely hope to be eating healthier.



I really got on a roll this month! Even though there were fewer days this month, I got more books read than in January. 20 hours in a car for a trip to and from Hilton Head gave me plenty of time to read and read I did!
The best of the month was - [StandIn Groom]
The worst of the month - [Bleak House] not really bad just waaaay toooo longggg!
Travel plans are currently in progress for early in the month so I should have time to read while I sit in the airport. I want to finish the catch up for the January shortfall this month so I will be reading some of the following books:
The Crafty Teddy
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough
Naked Heat Group Read March
The Border Vixen
The True Darcy Spirit
Talk of the Ton
Scones and Bones
The Amber Room
French Pressed
Murder is binding
Get Real and Stop Dieting!
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society

The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig

Read: February 26 - February 28
Format: Audiobook 11 CDs equivalent 400 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: espionage, Napoleonic Wars
Category: The good old days - Histories
Genre: History fiction
Challenges: 11 in 11, 75 Book, SYLL
Stars: ★★★½

In this third installment of the Pink Carnation series, Eloise comes across some undiscovered references for the work of the Pink Carnation while at the same time she is expanding her social life.

Noticing a discrepancy in some records at the library, Eloise digs deeper and finds details of the Pink Carnation's effort to foil the Black Tulip (French operative) and stop the Irish Rebellion of 1803. The background story is extremely entertaining and the characters, both new and old, especially the tale of Eloise's blind date is terribly amusing.

The love story and introduction of more members of the Pink Carnation band expand the readers desire to join up and defeat the French. I started this series earlier this year and have been moving steadily along but I admit, this is my favorite so far. Definitely a series keeper.