Monday, March 12, 2018

Travel: Washington Square, New York

I recently took a quick trip to Washington Square in New York for a work conference.

It was a quick trip (an overnight) so not much sight-seeing.  It snowed too, and it was pretty magical seeing a snowy Washington Square.  Despite the weather I did walk around a little bit the night I arrived, and made sure to check out the C.O. Bigelow store, which was only a block or two away from where I stayed at the Washington Square Hotel.

I really enjoyed my stay at the hotel.  It was well-situated, right across from Washington Square Park.  If the weather had cooperated, I would have loved to walk around to check out the shops and sites in the area.

I traveled to NYC to attend a library conference.  The meeting took place at NYU's Bobst Library.  This was one of the coolest libraries I've ever seen.  Along with meeting great colleagues and taking part in conversations with those in my field, I had the chance to take a tour of the building.

As I said, it was a quick trip and I didn't have much chance to sight-see.  This was the first time I was in Washington Square Park and I hope to travel there again soon!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Book Review & Blog Tour: A Letter from Lancaster County

I recently had the pleasure of reading Kate Lloyd's new book, A Letter from Lancaster County, as part of a blog tour with LitFuse.

This book tells the story of two sisters that return to their mother's hometown of Lancaster, when their aunt writes a letter requesting that they visit.  Angela, the older sister, is still reeling from the loss of her mother, and hopes to feel closer to her while visiting her Aunt Sylvia.   Though married with children and wanting for nothing, Angela has her share of secrets and appears to be very unhappy.  It doesn't help that old rivalries with her sister Rose begin to emerge when they arrive in Lancaster.  Rose is unmarried and has her own business, and longs for a family of her own.  Though she feels that Angela is unhappy, she can't help but envy her.

Will these two sisters follow in the footsteps of their mother and aunt, and allow things to separate them?  Or will both of them finally find peace and understanding?  This is a wonderful story of two sisters struggling to find themselves and learn how to relate to one another.  Kate Lloyd's newest book is an enjoyable and emotional read, one that fans of both Amish and contemporary fiction will enjoy!

Celebrate the release of Kate's new book by entering to win her Two Sisters, Two Winners Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Letter from Lancaster County
  • A Kindle Fire
Another grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of A Letter from Lancaster County
  • A queen-size Amish quilt

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 27. The winner will be announced July 28 on the Litfuse blog.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Review: My Not So Perfect Life

Small-town girl Katie Brenner is struggling to make it on her own in London, living in a tiny apartment with strange roommates and struggling to make ends meet. She can’t help but envy her beautiful and put-together boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter seems to have it all–the great job, the perfect family and the most beautiful home and clothing. Katie works hard to prove herself to her office mates and to Demeter, and is devastated when Demeter suddenly fires her.

Coincidentally, Katie’s father and stepmother ask for her help in establishing their new glamping vacation business at their farm in Somerset. While Katie dreams of finding a new job, at the moment, she’s desperate to get away from the city and her troubles there. Katie retreats to her childhood home and throws herself in to creating marketing materials for her family’s business, along with setting up an experience that guests won’t soon forget. Before she knows it, she finds that their business is a thriving one. But when Demeter arrives for some time away with her family, life becomes more complicated. Suddenly, Katie must face telling her family the truth about why she left London. Will she make a life for herself in London, or stay in Somerset with her family?

Sophie Kinsella’s latest novel, My Not So Perfect Life is a fun novel about finding yourself. Katie is extremely relatable as a classic small-town girl longing to make a life for herself, with often disastrous results. Readers will root for her with the turn of every page. I loved her quirky family and their glamping business. At first it all seemed so far-fetched, but they made it work. Her romance with Alex was also great fun, though we all know the complications of workplace romances. This novel also explored how we portray ourselves on social media and the lies we tell others, and ourselves about the lives we lead. I’ve always been a fan of Kinsella, and this novel is no exception. Highly recommended!

This review originally appeared at Luxury Reading.  I received a copy of this book from Luxury Reading.  All opinions expressed are my own and I received no compensation in exchange for my review.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: The Mark of the King

Julianne Chevalier is a gifted young midwife in 18th century France. When a patient dies suddenly, Julianne is considered a murderer, and sentenced to life in prison. Longing to escape her life in prison, she agrees to be exiled to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana. In order to make the journey, however, Julianne must be married. Male and female convicts are paired together in marriage, so Julianne becomes the wife of the fiery and reckless, yet compassionate Simon LeGrange.

Once she is in the colony, Julianne is determined to try to make a new life for herself, but fears that there is no redemption for her past. She also hopes to be reunited with her brother Benjamin, whom she lost touch with after he became a soldier in Louisiana. When searching for answers about her brother proves to be dangerous for Simon, Julianne wonders what fellow soldier Marc-Paul Girard isn’t telling her about her brother’s disappearance. Will she find Benjamin and make a new life for herself, or will her past come back to haunt her?

Jocelyn Green’s The Mark of the King is a beautifully written historical novel of redemption and finding new hope. Julianne is a complex character who faces more trials in one life than any woman should. Marc-Paul is a good and honorable man who recognizes the good in Julianne despite her past, and longs to help her and Simon in their new lives. The novel portrays the struggle of colony life, from brutal practices and war-related combat to the colonists relations with Native Americans. At times some of the content can be quite hard to read, as there is some violence and disturbing behavior from characters in the novel. Rich with history and drama, this is a tale you won’t soon forget.

This review originally appeared at Luxury Reading.  I received a copy of this book from Luxury Reading in exchange for my review.  No compensation was received, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Review: The Road to Enchantment

When she was a child, Willow’s father cheated on her mother and left their family in shambles. She and her mother moved to New Mexico, where she felt like an outsider among the Apache people. Her only saving grace in her mother’s strange and eccentric new life was Darrel, a young Apache boy who would become her best friend in the world.

Fast forward many years, and Willow is a musician living in Los Angeles. She finds out she’s been dumped, and that her mother has died in a tragic accident on the same horrible day. And when she returns to New Mexico to settle her mother’s affairs and sees Darrel for the first time in years, he realizes before she does that she is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s child. She also discovers that her mother had financial problems. All she has left is her mother’s winery. Will it be enough? Will she be able to get back on her feet and figure out her next step?

Kaya McLaren’s The Road to Enchantment is a touching story that brings the past and present together, all told from Willow’s unique and subjective perspective. Earlier in her life, Willow viewed her mother as a selfish and strange person, but as the story unfolds, Willow begins to recognize her mother’s strengths and the positive moments that they had together. Though Willow is not perfect, she learns a lot along the way. In many ways, this book is a real coming of age tale, as Willow steps on to a new path and discovers what she really wants. This story is also about the family that we find during our journey through life, the people that come alongside us and lift us up when we fall. Darrel and his grandparents, full of wisdom and intense love for Willow, are those people.

I made my way through this book in just a few short days, and many of its words still resonate with me. If you love a good book about discovering yourself and appreciating the good people in your life, you’ll love this story.

This review originally appeared on Luxury Reading.  Luxury Reading provided a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.  I received no compensation and all opinions expressed here are my own.