Monday, April 20, 2015

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

In her stunning new novel, Gruen returns to the kind of storytelling she excelled at in Water for Elephants: a historical timeframe in an unusual setting with a moving love story. Think Scottish Downton Abbey.

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

My thoughts...Love, love, love, loved this book. From the top. Ellis and his wife Maddie, along with his bff, Hank are spoiled, rich and act like fools. Ellis and Hank were unable to serve during WWII dure to unseen 'issues'. Daddy cuts Ellis off, so Ellis decides to go off in search of real proof of Loch Ness monster in hopes of reconciling. I really didn't much care for Ellis from the get go. Hank seemed to have some sort of spark that kept him redeemable in my mind and Maddie...she was all right. I don't want to give too much of the story line away, because it is really interesting and different. I do want to say Maddie grew on me until I was rooting for her!

At The Water's Edge is a novel where you can't be sure where it is going to go, I mean they are chasing a monster while a war is going on all around them! They are in a foreign land they don't know a soul. The story really is a poor little rich girl who for the first time seeing the world from a different station where she suddenly finds herself. I'd love to gush about a few different parts of the novel, but if I do I would ruin the story for you and I hate when people spoil a review with too much detail. Let me say this was fantastic novel, I was completely transported to Scotland! I highly recommend. Definitely my favorite book I've read this year. Seriously, loved this book!

Buy At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen is an Indie Next Pick and a Top LibraryReads Pick for April

“Maddie Hyde is a Sara Gruen heroine. She's bold, she's warm, and she's been cast out of Philadelphia polite society — in this case the family of her husband Ellis, who is 4F in the middle of World War II. To avoid the glares and scowls, and to earn their own way in the world after being cut off from a family fortune, they cross the Atlantic during a high tide of submarine warfare to try to burnish their family name by hunting down an older kind of monster in a Scottish village.” —NPR Weekend Edition

“Bestselling author Sara Gruen returns with the breathtaking tale of a young Philadelphia socialite who reluctantly follows her husband to a remote town in Scotland in search of the Loch Ness Monster. At the same time another monster, Hitler, threatens to tear their world apart. At The Water's Edge is a daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII.” —Harper’s Bazaar
“Monster romance…super steamy love story.” —Good Housekeeping (GH Read of the month)
“A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail, waves of deep emotions and a dash of Scottish mystical mythology.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Riveting...Gruen’s beautiful setting and deeply sympathetic characters ensure a memorable read for new and returning fans alike.” —Publishers Weekly
“At The Water’s Edge returns to the kind of storytelling Gruen excelled at in Water for Elephants…a moving love story: think Scottish Downton Abbey.”—Publishers Weekly (pre-pub alert)
"[Gruen's] narrative description is often sublime . . . A natural for the book-club set.—Booklist

“Gruen skillfully weaves in historical reference points, making Maddie’s story seem larger than that individual focus. The author conveys the lure of the Scottish Highlands, and its storied lore and mystery help create her novel’s riveting, ethereal atmosphere. Maddie’s growing self-awareness is presented in stark—and welcome—contrast to her husband’s spiral into conceit and self-deception. At the Water’s Edge captivates with its drama, intrigue and glimpses of both the dark and light of humanity. As Jane Austen once wrote, ‘with due exceptions, woman feels for woman very promptly and compassionately.’ For all her faults, Maddie’s tragic history and her courage in the face of her present predicament will win readers to her side.”—BookPage, Fiction Top Pick

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens: Best Breeds, Creating a Home, Care and Handling, Outdoor Fun, Crafts and Treats by Melissa Caughey

Chickens make wonderful pets, and Melissa Caughey (author of the award-winning blog Tilly’s Nest) provides all the information kids need to raise healthy chickens and have tons of fun doing it! Caughey shares her advice in an engaging way so that kids understand what it means to keep chickens and what kind of housing, food, equipment, and care the chickens will need to thrive. She also suggests lots of creative activities sure to spark enthusiasm and imagination, such as speaking chicken, creating a veggie piƱata for the flock, and making a chicken fort in the backyard. She even offers ten egg-centric recipes that kids will love to make and eat, including egg drop soup and Mexican egg pizza.

My thoughts...really enjoyed reading this with my almost eight year old son. I would say the book is more geared toward a slightly older audience (maybe 12), but a really great guide for anyone. Easy to read and so much information. Even though there is a lot of information it is put together in a really user friendly way. From how to set up a coop, ten best breeds for kids (and why), if your chicken gets sick, to even how to set up an incubator.

I loved the fun recipes for making treats for chickens, chicken crafts for kids and egg recipes! We've had chickens for a few years, but I found some great information. I'm excited about making a chicken fort for our backyard and seed rolls for the chickens! I am highly recommending A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens (for adults and or kids!).

my kiddos with their chickens.

As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What's Up

I haven't posted in some time! My goodness life sure can get busy! We've been busy finishing up basketball season (both kids played), enjoying the finally we can get outside weather, baby chicks and finishing up lessons. We still have a few weeks to go, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
About two weeks ago, I ordered my Abeka school books for next year! All our books arrived the other day plus I ordered a few other things for school next year. I love spending all this time with my
little ones and I have found M is someone I've got to get busy. I went ahead and bought these plastic pattern blocks and got her a book to use them with and she LOVES them. Helps her stay focused while I'm working with C. She is a huge fan (well honestly both my kids and any kid who comes to my house) of Magna-Tiles, but they can become a big mess while I'm doing school. I found these Orb magnetic cubes at the Knowledge Tree store the other day thinking it wouldn't make a mess on the floor. Well again both kids loved them! I went ahead and ordered another set from amazon :) I use some old magnetic boards that came with some Doug & Melissa calendars for them to put the small magnets on. They love building me pictures (they seem to be minecraft themed).

Here are some quick links (if you order through these links I do make a small commission, but I was not asked to review any of these products I just wanted to share).

I need to write up some more posts, we also planted our garden, planted a peach tree (yay! need more fruit trees), and my husband cleared out the black berry bushes gone wild! lol.