On My Wish List

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too - Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. If you want to know more click here.

This week my WISH LIST is composed of the books I want to read AFTER. I have just finished reading Lisa See's Shanghai Girls. I cried, laughed, fell in love with the characters and was destroyed by the sadness of it. I read Laura Fitzgerald's Veil of Roses ages ago and still remember how much I enjoyed the clash and learning of the cultures. AND I am currently reading Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I cannot wait to read the following -

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
In her beloved New York Times bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. Now, in her most powerful novel yet, she returns to these timeless themes, continuing the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy.

Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime.

Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

Acclaimed for her richly drawn characters and vivid storytelling, Lisa See once again renders a family challenged by tragedy and time, yet ultimately united by the resilience of love.

**I also really loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan**

Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald

Knowing she could never be happy in Iran, Tamila Soroush took her mother's advice to "Go and wake up your luck" and joined her sister in the United States. Now, after a spur-of-the-moment exchange of "I do"s with her true love, Ike Hanson, Tami is eager to start her new life.

But not everyone is pleased with their marriage, and Tami's happily- ever-after is no sure thing. With an interview with Immigration looming, Tami wonders if she's got the right stuff when it comes to love, American-style. Maybe her luck is running out. Or maybe she'll stand up for herself and claim her American dream.

In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

What is on your wish list??

(I just had a flash of humor in my head thinking, what's in your wallet? lol)

Review - Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

Title: Don't Breathe a Word
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Publish Date: May 17, 2011
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Paperback, 464 pages

Barnes and Noble

I'll be completely honest here, I usually do not under any circumstances pick up a book that I know will keep me awake at night, but this cover had me at Hello. It scared the bejeezes out of me and I KNEW I had to read it.

I was not disappointed.

Ironically, I started the book late in the afternoon on a day off and ended up reading until 230am because I could not go to sleep until I finished it and knew what happened. It didn't matter how tired I got and how much my eyes wanted to close and my body ached to turn in, my mind would not turn off. I was so much caught up in the fairies and the shadow man who came up from the trap door under the bed. HOLY COW!! The four year old in me was up in arms. If I was still living with my parents I probably would have been laying between them trying to read it.

I really enjoyed this book. It got my blood flowing and my mind whirling from the first moment Phoebe was shown the six fingered glove in the middle of the woods. There were some moments where I was completely confused, like when the crazy lady in the woods came in their cabin and then ran out and they chased her. It went in a direction I could not follow. But all in all it was a very fun and exciting book. Great imagination.

A must read, even for those of us who cannot stand to be scared!

Summary -
On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.

Check out this other review of the book -

Giveaway Winner!!

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Broken Wings
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Wordless Wednesday - Lava caves

Wordless Wednesday

Read post for these pics here

WANTED: Cherry/Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

I bought an ice cream maker a year ago and I have been thinking about it. My favorite ice cream in the whole world is cherries with chocolate. It doesn't matter if it is vanilla ice cream with cherries and chocolate chips or cherry ice cream with chocolate shavings. In the past, I have made vanilla with caramel and chocolate and just plain vanilla. I like simple ice cream, but I am craving the cherry chocolate kind. I am pretty open to it all. I am thinking about making this recipe, but just wondering -


PS: Winner for Broken Wings Giveaway will be announced this week and an email will be sent out as well. Thanks for playing!

Weekend for Lovers

I was going to have a review post for The Girl in the Steel Corset because my copy got fubar'd somehow and I wasn't able to finish it since it got stuck on page 110, but the publishers (who are totally awesome) uploaded a new file so I am going to review it, after I read all of it. Wohoo! Thanks to HarlequinTeen for responding to my email.

Instead I thought I would share my incredibly awesome weekend I just had with Saint. (yes, get the tissues) He is driving back to his home as I write this and I, alas, stay here because that is the kind of relationship we have currently. He lives over there and I live here. We live for our weekends together and were lucky enough to have a whole week together when we went to visit (and meet) his family in Louisiana last month.

He showed up on Friday where I was at the moment stuck in the office at work with my boss and co-assistant manager having a meeting. It was hard because I could hear the clock ticking away waiting to be excused so my weekend could start. But I recognize this meeting for the importance of my boss teaching us both how to "think" like store managers. I finally blew out of there and pulled up to my man in the driveway. His rental sitting in the driveway always makes me wonder what my neighbors must think when a new car is present ever couple of weeks. (snicker)

We kissed and embraced a million times til we conceded that we were both hungry. I had already planned to take him to a place I found this past couple weeks where the food was good and healthy. As we wandered in the restaurant I realized it was the first Friday of the month which meant the Art Walk was going on. Double bonus! We had dinner by the window (my favorite place to be) and watched all the people walk by. There was one couple outside sitting, eating with two dogs. The way people stopped, talked and stared, I'd have thought this was their first encounter with a dog. I mean, come on, they are eating. Or maybe that is just me?

We then wandered around downtown checking out some cool stores and grabbing a beer in a nice spot that had music coming from all sides. A bit much for the both of us, but especially Saint who had been at work that morning at 2am. I spotted the Crepes place I have been dying to try was FINALLY OPEN. So we wandered in, checked their hours and we headed home. Actually, I screamed OHHH! and then practically knocked him over trying to turn and see it.

We climbed in bed and read. This is one of my favorite things to do, though lately I fall asleep way earlier than Saint. I feel like reading together is so romantic!

In the morning Saint roused me out of bed and we ate breakfast before setting off on a small car ride to the lava caves. It is a set of caves that was made by lava flowing under ground. It is complete darkness and light must be taken to explore them. For someone as afraid of the dark as me, I was surprised when I was not only excited, but I suggested we go do this. Granted, I had no idea really what I was getting in to. (Pictures on Wordless Wednesday this week - tune in to see) We rolled down the windows and enjoyed the beautiful air and the gorgeous weather pulling up to the area after pointing out multiple places we would like to camp in the future. The caves are literally a hole in the ground. There are hundreds of large to small rocks piled up in the entrance that we had to climb down to get in. The entrance is dark and foreboding, but exhilarating as well.

We climbed right in and started hiking our way in the dark cavernous area. We had a flashlight each, though they recommend three per person, we figured out later (much later, three is probably for when one of us drops one, batteries goes dead, someone falls and dies, etc). It stays a steady 37degrees in the cave so it was cold. I made us don gloves, hats and jackets much to Saint's dismay at first (though he was glad later, lol).

I could not get over how dark it was. Clearly a place for scary things to be happening, but the reality was it was peaceful. At one point Saint, stops and asked me to turn off my flashlight - I asked, ARE YOU CRAZY? But then when I did, I was glad because it was so surreal. It was so quiet, except for our breathing, foot moving and the occasional conversation there was just nothing but silence and in a world of chaos, people and sound - we really enjoyed these moments of peace. We stopped at certain points to roll our flashlights over the walls and floors to see the reds, oranges, blues and whites that were somehow etched in. The floor was completely lava rock, some hard and flat, some platelets and others like mud. We ran in to a couple of places that had ice on the floor and water dripping through the ceiling. There were more than a few places where the ceiling was so low we had to crouch and crawl to get through. We passed one family on the way in and a handful of people on the way out.

It was beautiful and scary and completely awe inspiring.

Mental note, Saint recommended should there ever be a nuclear war that is where we will head.

An hour and fifteen minutes later, we crawled out of there with our stomachs growling only to go get . . . crepes!! I got one with bananas, chocolate and strawberries topped with walnuts and Saint got one with apples, cinnamon and chocolate. I was missing my mother greatly during crepes because this place is so quaint that I picture my mom and I there every time I walk by it. We went straight from the crepes place to a burger joint and shared a burger and fries.

We then wandered through town with our full bellies enjoying the people and the amazing weather. It is about 30degrees hotter where Saint lives (and where I used to live). This is brilliant weather.

Afterward, we got home and took a nap, though not before reading a few pages.

Saint then got a crazy idea to go buy a bbq and make some steak. Me? I just wanted to drink a beer, read and eat. I thought it was a good idea. He then threw a tantrum when while putting the bbq together one of the lug nuts fell through the slats of the patio floor. I went in and did the dishes. That is how upset I was for him!

We then settled in for the night in front of the tv to watch some episodes of True Blood season 2 which Saint had bought and brought along with him. I have read all the Sookie Stackhouse books, even the latest (check out my review) and we like the show, but neither of us has HBO anymore.

We then woke up Sunday morning to wander through the farmers market, make some lunch and we pulled down my Christmas lights (yes, I did just say that, though my dad remarked they could be July 4th lights - lol) and power sprayed the back of the house with soap and water to get rid of the cobwebs. Afterward, we drove into town to catch a mansion tour.

We then came back for one more nap and off he headed home.

It is such a blessing to have a relationship like ours. I know first hand how hard it is to be so far away from a loved one, but we are building our lives and hopefully soon we will meet in the middle somewhere and begin residing together on a daily basis. In the meantime, we both agree that we do a fantastic job of making every moment together count.

How was your weekend?

In My Mailbox

This week was very light for In My Mailbox (hosted by The Story Siren), but I am not complaining. If you saw my post from yesterday, I have a few things to read.

From Goodreads, FirstReads:
The Insider -
First corporate attorney Will Connelly's colleague hurtles to his death outside his office window. Within days, Will is a prime suspect in a murder, the target of an S.E.C. insider trading investigation, and a pawn in a complex criminal scheme involving the Russian mafia and a ruthless terrorist plot. Now, to top things off, he must ensure a deadly enemy doesn't gain access to the nation's most sensitive and confidential information-that has the power to do incalculable, irrevocable harm.

Finalist for the 2011 International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel!

Borrowed from Work:
A Love That Multiplies: An Up-close View of How They Make It Work -
In this second book from the Duggars, they focus on the principles that equip them to face life's challenges—drawing from their most recent challenge with the 3-month premature birth of their newest child, Josie. They also share the new challenges their older children are facing as they prepare for adult life. Central to the book is a section on the principles that the Duggars have consistently taught their children. These simply worded principles are basic to the Duggar family and are shared in a way that other parents can incorporate in their own homes. A special chapter on homeschooling gives valuable information to parents who are considering this route or are already invested in it. The world continues to be amazed by their nineteen well-groomed, well-behaved, well-schooled children and their home life, which focuses on family, financial responsibility, fun—and must importantly, faith. The Duggars show how parents can succeed whether they’re rearing a single child or several.
I couldn't resist reading this one right when it came out of the box. I had no idea this was book #2. Gotta get my hands on book #1. I enjoyed watching the tv show when I had that channel, but now that I rarely watch tv, I'll just have to read their books.

What came in your MAILBOX?