Monday, March 28, 2011


Semi-Sweet: A Novel of Love and CupcakesSemi-Sweet: A Novel of Love and Cupcakes
From the bestselling Irish author Roisin Meaney, comes a novel about a cupcake shop owner searching for love after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman.  
Hannah Robinson, is just about to open the doors to her new shop Cupcakes on the Corner when out of the blue her boyfriend Patrick announces that he's leaving her for another woman. Faced with starting a business on her own, Hannah begins to wonder if her life-long dream has just turned into a nightmare.    
So her best friend Adam sets his birthday as a deadline - seven months to make her shop a success, or walk away from it all. And as Hannah immerses herself in early-morning icing, she soon discovers that she's too busy to think about Patrick and his now pregnant girlfriend ...or to notice an increasingly regular customer who has recently developed a sweet tooth for all things cupcake.    
But while Hannah is slowly piecing her life back together, family friend Alice's is falling apart. Her husband Tom's drinking is getting out of control and things are about to get a whole lot worse. As the seven-month milestone approaches, Hannah must decide her future. And while she's figuring out what's really important, it becomes clear to everyone that happiness in life, and in love, is all in the making.    
The first edition of SEMI-SWEET was published in Ireland in February 2010 and spent five weeks in the Top 5 on the Irish Bestseller list. Roisin Meaney is the author of six books and is a consistent bestseller in Ireland. The Last Week of May and The People Next Door went to #1 and #2, respectively. Heralded as the new "Maeve Binchy," Meaney has received high acclaim in the Irish press.  
Roisin Meaney was born in Listowel, Co Kerry, Ireland. She has lived in the US, Canada, Africa, and Europe. In 2002, Roisin won the Tivoli Write a Bestseller competition with her first novel, The Daisy Picker, which was subsequently followed by Putting Out Stars. Roisin is currently based in Limerick. SEMI-SWEET is her sixth book.

My Review

I read this book last weekend and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  Set in modern Ireland, this is a very upbeat love story with interesting characters and a good plot line.  There are several other smaller stories taking place that feed into the major plot and it works together nicely.

Roisin Meaney did a good job writing an adult romance that wasn't overly graphic in description.  The situations seem real and not contrived like so many other romance novels. I would definitely read another of her works as well as recommend it to my readers. 

Also, beware that as you are reading this novel, you will find yourself craving cupcakes.  I did and ended up making 3 recipes of them.  Don't worry though, they went to the local fire department fund raiser and I ate only a couple! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hey y'all....

One MississippiOkay, I am from the deep south, Mississippi as it happens, and I tend to be a little bit harder on these type books because so many of them are too exaggerated and seem cartoonish in their characterizations.  I have to give Mr. Childress credit, he got it just right in my opinion.  I literally could not lay this one down.   It was what I dreamed about last night after I finished at 1 a.m.  There is so much good in this book.  I love the time it  was set in (early 1970's) during integration and Watergate.  It is a coming of age story about 17 year old Daniel Musgrove who is transplanted into Mississippi from Indiana.  It had incredible conflicts, and was dark without being negative.  There are issues the author addresses such as inter-racial relationships, bullying, and Daniel's crisis of conscience.  I thought it made the people of the South seem real and true to life especially since Daniel considers himself a "Yankee" and the story is told from his point of view.  It has conflict and humor and it is one of the most enjoyable reads I have had in quite awhile.  Be aware that there is some rough language and some explicit descriptions, but overall I loved the book and will be reading it again!

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (September 19, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0316012122
  • ASIN: B001G60G0G

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An Amish I want shoofly pie

This weekend I read two books whose main premise dealt with the Amish.  I thought they were both good reads and there were points where I maybe even considered that I might like to live like the Amish...but then I reminded myself that I like electricity and cars and air conditioning so I will just appreciate the lifestyle through books!

  Author:  Beth Wiseman
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date :  3/29/2011

Beth Wiseman's story of Miriam and Saul is a sweet escape into the Amish culture of Lancaster, PA.  The story itself was good and I enjoyed reading the entire book.  The story revolves around young people who are struggling with the decision to leave the community to live in the Englisch world.  I can definitely see further books written on characters you meet in this story.  The way the author incorporates the different traditions and ways of the Amish is both informative and enjoyable at the same time.  I really appreciated the way the characters' conflicts were dealt with and how they managed to honor the traditions of their family while dealing with real life modern day choices. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction, or is interested in Amish culture.

Author:  Kelly Long
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Pub Date:  3/29/2011

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lilly's Wedding Quilt by Kelly Long.  The character were very engaging and real, and the author did a good job incorporating the Amish traditions and culture into her story.  I thought the interaction between the main characters was very true to what I would imagine it would be like to be in their situations and be of the Amish community.  I really liked that the conflict in the book was not an easy fix, the characters showed some depth and real humanity in coping with their problems and their feelings for each other and their community.

This is one I would recommend for Christian fiction fans and those who are curious about Amish life and traditions. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What is in that thermos????

I have appreciated the benefit of an excellent book since very early childhood.  My favorite thing then was to go to the library and take my canvas bag and leave with it stuffed full of books to read for the next two weeks.  I was reading for readings sake and nothing more.

Then, in ninth grade I got an English teacher...not just a regular teacher mind you....this lady was a legend.  She was notorious for picking favorites.  If she liked you, good grades, no problems.  If you were unfortunate enough to fall into the other category, well, you were doomed.  So first day in I was a wreck, I wanted this woman to love me.  Add to that the rumors of her "coffee" thermos that she took with her everywhere and her wobbly stance in fourth period and I was terrified.

You got 5 grades in that class, and four of them were from book reports.  She had a book list we could choose easy readers either.  This woman was a literature connoisseur.  She introduced us to all kinds of books and poetry.  Not only did we read them, we learned to dissect them.  We would discuss symbolism, man versus machine, allegory, and a host of other writing techniques.  When she required an essay, the more elaborate your musings, the better.  She loved a good descriptive sentence.  Now I was reading for more that just readings sake.  I found out that there is an artistry and a form to an author's work.

We would laugh at her slurry speech, and whisper about that darn thermos, but I learned love all kinds of literature that year and I still have my reading list.  I hope to read through all of them one day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Reading schedule???

Today I am trying to make myself schedule some of my Net Galley books to be read and reviewed.  I have a tendency to be a bit of a collector of books and they will sometimes go forgotten when something new catches my eye.  So, in the spirit of fairness, I am trying out a reading schedule of sorts. 
I am smack in the middle of The Fiery Cross by Diana Galbaldon and loving it.  I have to step away from it some though because of the immensity of the overall story and all the details given by the author.  I have to marinate on it.  In the meantime, I have some interesting diversions to read while I stew.  Hopefully, I will post my upcoming review calender once I figure out what goes out when.

Anybody got any recommends?  I love books in a series.  It is kind of comforting to know that even though I am closing in on the end of one book there is another in the story to keep me going.  The worst is when I actually get to the last one.  I have grieved a little over some of them...Thankfully, I still have a few in this Outlander series before I am done!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Love to my Kindle...

I spent the better part of 20 minutes last night talking with a friend who got a Kindle for her birthday.  She is like me and has shelves and stacks of books.  She wasn't really sure whether or not she would enjoy a Kindle in place of a "real" book.  I LOVE mine!  The idea that in my purse I can carry hundreds of books at a time is thrilling to me and I love describing all the ways that my Kindle is wonderful.  I still love a full bookshelf, don't get me wrong, but to be able to have my current interests at my finger tips wherever I am is just too wonderful not to gush.

I also am a huge fan of Audible books.  They are great for riding or mindless housecleaning.  My problem now is the same as the one I have with my Kindle...too many incredible books to get them all listened to, but I am trying!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Time traveling...

I love Diana Gabaldon...seriously...the Outlander series has me in it's clutches and I can't stop picking up my Kindle to see what Jamie and Claire are doing next.  I'll admit that the first book almost did me in.  Very graphic in detail, not something I want my seventeen year old to read just yet...however, the story was incredible and the attention to detail and the customs of that time period is awe inspiring.

Long.  Cannot say you didn't get your money's worth of words.  These books are huge undertakings.  I bought several of them as Audible books because I was not going to be able to raise my kids and stay married if I gave myself completely over to the printed family will tell you that the headphones were just as bad, but at least they had food and clean underwear.  I couldn't promise that otherwise.  I am reading The Fiery Cross right now instead of listening, and so far so good...