Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Beginnings: The Light Between Oceans

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.


The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

"On the day of the miracle, Isabel was kneeling at the cliff's edge, tending the small, newly made driftwood cross."

The cross was marking the remains of her third child who did not make it to birth. The miracle was exactly what Isabel would have wished for, if wishes came true.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

“Waiting On” Wednesday: The One & Only

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

The One & Only by Emily Giffin

In her eagerly awaited new novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

Publishing May 20, 2014 by Ballantine Books.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation by Elizabeth Letts

I know it's an American cliche, but I do love books about underdogs that triumph. I adored Seabiscuit and even though I'm not a big animal person, I do sometimes like animal books. I read all the great horse books as a child (Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, Black Stallion) and liked to ride at summer camp. There's something relaxing and homey about a horse book, as it brings most women back to a time in our childhoods when life seemed simple and made sense.

Like the girls at the Knox School out on Long Island where Henry de Leyer worked as the stable master back in the 1950s. They too probably looked back on those years learning to ride and jump with fondness, particularly the girls who had ridden Snowman, a gentle lumbering former plow horse who wouldn't hurt a fly and who all the beginners started out on. Henry had saved him from the knacker's truck for only $80 and just hoped he'd be a good riding horse for students. He was surprised as anyone when Snowman turned out to be a gifted natural jumper. And the poor immigrant couldn't not let Snowman perform, even when he struggled to pay the entrance fees to contests or needed to ask someone else to ride Snowy when he couldn't escape from school duties. Within a couple of years, Snowman was competing against the best of the best at Madison Square Garden in New York City in front of an audience of tens of thousands including the richest of the rich.

Snowman's abilities were renowned and spectacular, but what truly won everyone over was his personality. His rags-to-riches story made for great copy and was perfectly suited to an American audience, but it was his steadiness, calmness, and his constant giving it his all for Henry, that made him beloved.

This book was a lovely break from stories inevitably involving some tragedy or at least  bad guys to overcome. Snowman only had to overcome people who didn't believe in him and the easiest way to do that was just to do what he did. To jump. It doesn't matter how many people say you can't do something if you then go prove them wrong. Words mean nothing up against actions. This story was uplifting, sweet, and made me wish for more.

Teaser Tuesdays: The Eighty-Dollar Champion

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Grab your current read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation by Elizabeth Letts p. 41

"Up at the barn, the atmosphere was rigorous but fun and can-do. An everyone-pitch-in spirit prevailed."

This was the kind of aura Harry de Leyer, the head of the stables at The Knox School on Long Island, always exuded, whether he was teaching young girls to ride, coaxing high-strung horses to calm down, or getting the best out of Snowman, the plowhorse-turned-champion.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme is now hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Books completed last week:
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

Books I am currently reading/listening to:
And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer
Wash by Margaret Wrinkle

Up next:
Kids These Days: A Novel by Drew Perry
Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina Stibbe
Starter House by Sonja Condit

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Beginnings: The Eighty-Dollar Champion

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation by Elizabeth Letts

"The horse vans parked along Seventh Avenue came loaded up with dreams."

The vans were there for the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in 1958, so the anticipation is to be expected.

I bought this book at B&N.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Shelf

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading by Phyllis Rose

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Can you have an Extreme Adventure in a library? Phyllis Rose casts herself into the wilds of an Upper East Side lending library in an effort to do just that. Hoping to explore the “real ground of literature,” she reads her way through a somewhat randomly chosen shelf of fiction, from LEQ to LES.

The shelf has everything Rose could wish for—a classic she has not read, a remarkable variety of authors, and a range of literary styles. The early nineteenth-century Russian classic A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov is spine by spine with The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Stories of French Canadian farmers sit beside those about aristocratic Austrians. California detective novels abut a picaresque novel from the seventeenth century. There are several novels by a wonderful, funny, contemporary novelist who has turned to raising dogs because of the tepid response to her work.

In The Shelf, Rose investigates the books on her shelf with exuberance, candor, and wit while pondering the many questions her experiment raises and measuring her discoveries against her own inner shelf—those texts that accompany us through life. “Fairly sure that no one in the history of the world has read exactly this series of novels,” she sustains a sense of excitement as she creates a refreshingly original and generous portrait of the literary enterprise.

Publishing May 13, 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.