Thrifty Thursday: The Mermaid Chair – Sue Monk Kidd

I try to feature a book that I recently purchased via a thrift store {or for real cheap via Amazon or whatnot}. This week’s feature is…

Per Amazon: Sue Monk Kidd’s The Mermaid Chair is the soulful tale of Jessie Sullivan, a middle-aged woman whose stifled dreams and desires take shape during an extended stay on Egret Island, where she is caring for her troubled mother, Nelle. Like Kidd’s stunning debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees, her highly anticipated follow up evokes the same magical sense of whimsy and poignancy.
While Kidd places an obvious importance on the role of mysticism and legend in this tale, including the mysterious mermaid’s chair at the center of the island’s history, the relationships between characters is what gives this novel its true weight. Once she returns to her childhood home, Jessie is forced to confront not only her relationship with her estranged mother, but her other emotional ties as well. After decades of marriage to Hugh, her practical yet conventional husband, Jessie starts to question whether she is craving an independence she never had the chance to experience. After she meets Brother Thomas, a handsome monk who has yet to take his final vows, Jessie is forced to decide whether passion can coexist with comfort, or if the two are mutually exclusive. As her soul begins to reawaken, Jessie must also confront the circumstances of her father’s death, a tragedy that continues to haunt Jessie and Nelle over thirty years later.

By boldly tackling such major themes as love, betrayal, grief, and forgiveness, The Mermaid Chair forces readers to question whether moral issues can always be interpreted in black or white. It is this ability to so gracefully present multiple sides of a story that reinforces Kidd’s reputation as a well-respected modern literary voice. –Gisele Toueg

Have you picked up anything thrifty lately? Let me know in the comments!

{Per FTC rules and regulations I am obliged to let you know that the link used here in this post is via my Amazon Affiliate link. You are not required to purchase the book via this link, but if you do, I shall receive a small percentage of the sale.}

Initiate -The Unfinished Song – by Tara Maya

Initiate The Unfinished Song by Tara Maya

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Price: Free for Kindle as of 4/18/12 – Amazon
Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0983107319
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Misque Press; 1 edition (December 22, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

I was able to get a Kindle copy of this book for free through Amazon. I’m so happy that I picked it up!

The world the author spins is an old and harsh one filled with magic, faeries, struggle, and war. I really loved the idea of weaving magic with a dance. And though people live and die, Maya mentions these things the descriptions are not horribly graphic or off putting. Some times the implied is just enough to make one squirm and feel for a character. I appreciated the changed track from over-description syndrome.

The chapters are nicely broken up and titled with which character we’re following as the tale unfolds for our protagonists. And since there are new characters being added in here and there, these are much appreciated cues otherwise, I imagine one would have very easily gotten lost without them.

It took me a chapter or two to really get into the story, and I am very glad that I stuck to it. The book picked up fast and once the momentum of the novel got going the pacing was an entertaining one! I enjoyed the main female character Dindi very much. She’s sort of an odd ball, but in an absolutely likable and relate-able way. I can’t wait to see what the next book has in store for her.

The only negative I got from this book was the very sudden drop off at the end. It sort of felt like it was chopped awkwardly. Left me wanting at least a segue into the ending.

Although it did make me want to get the next novel right away. Which could be considered diabolically genius.

When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

First of all, I’d like to say that I won this ARC through the Goodreads First Reads program and was in no way coerced or rewarded via monetary gains or otherwise for a positive review. All of the statements made in the following review are my own and given honestly.

When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison follows Gemma Craig (not to be mistaken with Jenny Craig!), a private chef, through various adventures and misadventures. Her clients are a kooky mix of characters including the annoying and highly demanding Angela who insists she is allergic to practically every food under the sun, the odd Olekseis who seems to have some deep dark family secret, and the mysterious “Mr. Tuesday” who Gemma has never once laid eyes on. When an unexpected turn of events throws a wrench into an already dire situation, Gemma is forced to reevaluate what she thought she wanted out of life and answer some very difficult questions concerning life and love.

Ms. Harbison’s latest novel is smoothly written, with equal parts wit and seriousness; an equation that works extremely well. There is some adult language and scenery, BUT it is in no way graphic or gratuitous so please don’t let that stop you from picking up this book. Once I started reading, I had a hard time putting it down. It’s just that addicting! I fell in love with the sometimes snarky, sometimes introspective Gemma and felt an almost instant connection with most of the other characters as well (especially Willa). I lost count of how often I laughed out loud while I was reading this novel. The peacock incident gave me stitches (sorry, no elaboration on that – you’ll have to read to find out!). This is a sure to please, fun read for foodies and romance lovers alike.

When In Doubt, Add Butter is due out July 17, 2012. Be sure to preorder your copy!

Waiting on Wednesdays: The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling

Waiting on Wednesdays is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.

I’m sure this book is going to show up on a LOT of WoW lists this week and upcoming weeks.

Per Amazon: When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Sounds good for her first Post-Harry Potter novel if you ask me! What doesn’t sound good to me is the price tag at this point in the game. I can see $21 for the hardcover book, but $20 for the Kindle edition? Eh, I may wait until the hype is over before I pick this one up. Not that I don’t want to support her in her next great adventure {Thank you, Professor Dumbledore for those inspiring words}, it’s just that I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford it! So, if anyone at her publishing company happens to come upon this post, I’LL READ IT AND REVIEW IT FOR YOU! *Laughs*

So, what are y’all waiting on?

{I am obliged to let you know that the link provided in this post is via my Amazon Affiliate link. If you purchase the book using the link provided, I will earn a small percentage.}

In The Mail: 3 Love Inspired books & 2 Bookmarks! All courtesy of Listia!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Listia? Seriously, you get 500 credits for signing up and can spend them on auctions for whatever your heart desires. I usually go for books or Amazon gift cards. You can also list your own auctions and decide if you want to pay the shipping yourself or have your winner pay for it. Either way, it’s a win-win site!

Recently I won the following Love Inspired books.

01. Per Amazon – To fulfill a sick boy’s wish, rodeo star Tucker Granger surprises little Owen in the hospital. But no one is more surprised than single mother Sierra Baker. She figures the carefree champion for a different kind of man. One who doesn’t spend hours talking “cowboy code” with a hospital-bound child. One who can’t have her dreaming of a second chance at love. Somehow, Tucker ropes her heart and fills it with hope. Hope that this country girl and her son can lasso the roaming bronc rider into their family forever.

02. Per Amazon –
Five years ago, Abby Franklin thought she’d marry Donovan Woodward. But her first love walked out of her life. Now, he’s back in town, with his motherless godchild, Ariane, in tow. Avoiding him is essential–and impossible. Because Donovan has rejoined the family business, Weddings by Woodwards…where Abby works as a jewelry designer. Then Abby meets Ariane, and something about the silent young girl draws Abby in. In spite of herself, Abby finds herself opening up her heart…to Ariane and Donovan.

03. Per Amazon – A Dry Creek Family by Janet Tronstad
Maegan Shay is on a mission—to meet her long-lost niece, Lilly, in Dry Creek, Montana. When Maegan discovers she and Lilly share a special trait, the two grow close. Now the girl’s handsome guardian, Clint Parker, fears he can’t be what Lilly needs. Unless Maegan can show him what faith and family are all about.

A Mother for Mule Hollow by Debra Clopton

Widowed mother Olivia Dancer arrives in Mule Hollow, Texas, to check on her nephew—and his single father. But gorgeous rancher Gabe McKennon isn’t exactly welcoming, for reasons that break and touch Olivia’s heart. Until they’re both won over by the town matchmakers and a little boy who just wants a mama.

{Note: If anyone has any Love Inspired books they’d like to give away, I’d be more than happy to take them off of your hands!}

I won the following two bookmarks on there as well!

What did YOU get in the mail recently? Leave me a comment and let me know!

{Per FTC Rules & Regulations I am obliged to let you know that all links used in this post are for my affiliate accounts through Amazon and Listia. By clicking on my Listia link, you and I will both receive credits if you join and participate in an auction. Via my Amazon links, if you purchase one or all three books shown, I’ll receive a small percentage of the sales. You are not required to use my links if you do not wish to.}

Contests & Giveaways: It’s Raining Cash Blog Event

$550 It's Raining Cash Giveaway

Welcome to the $550 It’s Raining Cash Giveaway hosted by Giveaway Promote.
We’ve joined a fantastic group of bloggers to give away $550 in cash via PayPal to one lucky person. Just complete the tasks below to earn entries into this giveaway. One winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
Bloggers, join us in an upcoming giveaway event! Sign up and we’ll keep you posted about future group events, like this one, hosted by Giveaway Promote. If you’d also like to hear about all other events currently open for blogger sign-ups, subscribe to Giveaway Promote’s weekly group giveaway events and hops newsletter.

This giveaway is open worldwide.
It will end at 11:59pm EST on April 29th, 2012.

Continue reading →

Contests & Giveaways: 140 Follower Giveaway

In the hopes of doubling my current readership, I am going to hold a month long contest in the hopes of getting at least 140 followers in that time. Please be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

BONUS! If by the end of the contest I have over 300 readers, I will add another $10 gift certificate to the winner’s choice of Allromance, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Continue reading →

Interview: Author – Deanna Jewel

As previously mentioned, I won a copy of NEVER SURRENDER through the Goodreads FirstReads giveaways.

This is the cover that I received:

This is the recently revamped cover!

Big difference, huh? Regardless of the cover, this was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. The characters were believable and grew on you immediately. Below is my interview with Ms. Jewel, who just so happens to be my first author interview! Please don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter to win a copy of Never surrender located HERE!!!

The lovely Ms. Jewel:

01. When did you know that you wanted to write?

I’ve always had stories and characters in my head and thought that everyone had that! My writing started years ago when I hurt my back and got laid up for an extended period of time. After reading some hokey romance books, I decided to write my own so I could make them end the way I thought they should end and also manipulate what happened in between!

02. What was your inspiration for Never Surrender?

My brother lived in Dubois WY back in the late ‘90’s and when I visited, two characters popped into my head and wouldn’t let me rest until I wrote their story. When I came to this basin and saw the petroglyphs, I just knew then that a time travel novel is what had to be written. I’m told by readers that it makes them feel like they’re right there when they read the novel. I couldn’t get enough information in my hands or read fast enough. I wanted to be true to the Native Americans who lived here then and now and I hope I’ve done that. I wanted to portray the Shoshone lives as close to what it might have been like. Their way of life back then wasn’t easy but they are a proud people and stick together to help each other.

03. Do you have a special ritual you follow when writing {such as listening to a playlist, etc.}
No, but I do write better when I’m alone and its quiet. That way I can better listen to the characters as they help me move through my scenes. They certainly let me know if I need to change something! That happened during the writing of my current book, Whispers at Ghost Point. I’d made the decision to make a certain character the ghost when another character tapped my shoulder until I listened to him. He made it known that he would make a way better ghost then the one I had and proceeded to show me how to write him in and I have to say….he was right! You can read Chapter One of Whispers at Ghost Point HERE to find out for yourself!

04. Where did you come up with the names for your characters?

I use a character name book that also has the meaning behind some of the names but depending on the personality of my character, the name has to fit. I also get inspiration from TV shows and movies. If my character is strong and bold, they have to have a name to match – usually with hard consonants like Mike, Drake, James. If the character is soft and shy, the name has to reflect that with a softer name. Is this making sense? LOL

05. Will there be a follow up to Never Surrender?

The characters are finally starting to show up with an interest in the sequel! That’s refreshing! So after I finish Whispers, I will get started on the next book for Never Surrender but that won’t likely be out until late summer of 2013. Hubby and I are very busy during tax season and the month of December prior to tax season getting the computer programs updated and all the employees trained for the new season so no new writing happens until May of each year.

06. How much research do you have to do for historical romances?

Historical romance require a lot of research because I pull in the settings, the historical events of that period and the prominent figures of the time so they also play a small part in the stories. As a reader, I love the English historical and reading of the kings and queens participating in the novels. If the author can pull me into the setting to stand next to the queen, bravo! Readers are the first to let us know if we’ve gotten a few facts wrong so I try very hard to make sure all my research is correct before putting the story out for you.

Angie, thank you so much for having me here and I look forward to chatting with your readers!


A HUGE thank you to Ms. Jewel for consenting to this interview and for giving away a copy of Never Surrender! I can’t wait to read more from you! – Angie

Review: Twin Souls {Nevermore 1} – K.A. Poe

Twin Souls (Nevermore, Book 1)Twin Souls by K.A. Poe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

{Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of this book by the author in exchange for my review. I received no monetary compensation nor am I expected to give this book a positive review…all thoughts and feelings about this book are my own.}

I’m going to say right away that this book was out of my comfort zone, or so I thought. In an attempt to read something that wasn’t fluffy and light and wonderful I agreed to read this at Ms. Poe’s request.

I am so glad I did. I loved every page I read of this book. Alexis was a great lead female and Salem was a strong male lead. I wasn’t overly fond of Paul, but he does redeem himself a bit as the book goes along. There were parts of the ending that were quite the surprise as I never saw them coming.

Alexis’s whole life changes the day she turns 18. Her mother mysteriously disappears leaving a rather cryptic note and a beautiful boy shows up at school and talks her into going to his house. There she learns that her entire life has been a lie and she’s not exactly who she thought she was.

I had to stop reading halfway through to email Ms. Poe and ask her if there would be a sequel as I didn’t want this to be the end of Alexis’s story! Thankfully she told me that there’ll be a sequel coming soon. I can’t wait to read it!

Again, thank you so, so much! It was a pleasure to read Alexis and Salem’s story!

View all my reviews

Coming Soon: Book Tours, Giveaways, & More

As promised, April is going to be a jam packed month! I have several giveaways planned and am participating in two blog hop contests!

04.16.12: I’ll be participating in the Small Blogs, Big Dreams event. Those who stop by can enter to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card! Also, make sure to visit the other participating blogs and show some love! This event goes live at 12:01AM.

Also on 04.16.12, I’ll be participating in the It’s Raining Cash giveaway with hundreds of other bloggers! Make sure to stop by and enter to win $550 in cash! Event goes live at 12:01AM as well.

Make sure to check out this post for a chance to win a copy of Never Surrender by Deanna Jewel! Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter and leave a question for Ms. Jewel to answer before the contest ends on Saturday! I’ll be posting my own interview with her on Thursday.

One of my best friends, Christie, has just opened her Zazzle shop, Pristine Christine’s. Be sure to stop by this post and enter to win a $10.00 gift certificate towards your purchase of anything she has in her shop! Also, be sure to stop by her Facebook page and give her a “like”!

On 04.26.12 Emily Guido, author of Charmeine (The Light-Bearer Series), will be featured here on Once Upon A Book as part of her book blog tour, hosted by Cassie of Shadow Kisses Book Reviews.

I’ll be posting up reviews of K.A. Poe’s Twin Souls (Nevermore, Book 1), which is currently free to borrow through Amazon Prime or can be bought for .99 {I highly recommend it}, Rose Gordon’s Her Sudden Groom (Groom Series, BOOK 1) as well as her currently free for download Intentions of the Earl (Scandalous Sisters, Book 1) {I highly recommend these as well, and suggest reading Intentions of the Earl first}.

Currently there are 77 of you following Once Upon A Book. In the hopes of nearly doubling my current readership, I’ll be hosting a contest where one lucky reader can win a $10 Amazon gift card courtesy of my friend Dani! Look for this contest to be posted up starting next week and lasting until May 01.

Last but not least, I’ll be reviewing for Romancing the Book as well. Be sure to stop by and check out what my fellow reviewers have read and enter to win print or digital copies of books!

I’m sure there is more that I’m forgetting, but that’s okay. As you can see, this is going to be an exciting month. If there’s anything you’d like to me to feature or if you have a suggestion, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or shoot me an email {you can find my email in my contact information}.

Oh! If you’ve sent me a copy of your book for review but haven’t seen it reviewed on here as of yet, there’s currently at least another week’s delay in reviews. Currently I’m reading A.J. Walkley’s Queer Greer.

Take care and best wishes in the giveaways!

Hugs & Happy Reading,

Thrifty Thursday: The Wind off of the Sea – Charlotte Bingham

Every week I try to post up what I’ve bought recently at thrift stores {or garage sales now that the weather is getting warmer}. Today’s spotlight is on Charlotte Bingham’s The Wind off the Sea.

Per Goodreads: It is 1947, the worst winter in England since records began, and even the sea is frozen. For the women living in the little fishing port of Bexham, the chronic lack of everything from fuel to food has left them reeling.

When Waldo Astley drives through thick Sussex snow into the village in his large American Buick, it is to find Bexham filled not just with grumbling residents, but with frustrated wives and mothers, forced back behind their stoves after the joy of the victory for which they fought so hard on the home front. Government directives have ensured that the returning men resumed the jobs their women managed so brilliantly through the gruelling years of war.

But Waldo is no ordinary character, and while he has come to Bexham on a personal mission, his effect on all the residents is as warming as the electricity of which there is still such a shortage. For Judy, whose marriage to Walter has been badly affected by long years of separation; for Rusty, whose miscarriage has been mind-shattering; for Mathilda, whose single motherhood has put her eligibility in jeopardy, and for Meggie, still not recovered from her alter ego as a secret agent. No matter what the age or circumstances of the person, Waldo Astley is not just a breath of fresh air — but the wind off the sea.

This book is part of a series, so I’m going to have to find the other books before I can start this one. Story of my life!

Found any good deals lately? Leave me a comment letting me know!

Hugs & Happy Reading,

{Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains a link to my Amazon Affiliates account. You are not required to purchase this book via my link if you don’t want to.}

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